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

Small Press Bookwatch

Volume 13, Number 7 July 2014 Home | SPBW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice Writing/Publishing Shelf Social Issues Shelf
Political Science Shelf Language Studies Shelf Health/Medicine Shelf
Self-Help Shelf Fantasy/SciFi Shelf Mystery/Suspense Shelf
Fiction Shelf Metaphysical Studies Shelf Poetry Shelf
Human Sexuality Shelf Gaming Shelf Cookbook Shelf
Photography Shelf Biography Shelf Military Shelf

Reviewer's Choice

101 Kids Activities
Holly Homer & Rachel Miller
Page Street Publishing Co.
27 Congress Street, Suite 103
Salem, MA 01970
9781624140570 $19.99

Illustrated with full-color photography on almost every other page, 101 Kids Activities That Are The Bestest, Funnest Ever! lives up to its title with a wealth of inexpensive, educational, and creative activities for children, ranging from crafts and games to simple science experiments. One such project turns an ordinary shoe box lid, tape, a few unsharpened pencils, etc. into a "shoe box pinball" ring; another uses a little science, Epsom salt, and food coloring to create sparkling stones for the bath. 101 Kids Activities is a treasure trove of great ideas for parents, caretakers, babysitters, and educators, highly recommended.

Bob Gray
Outskirts Press, Inc.
10940 South Parker Road, #515, Parker, CO 80134
9781478726548, $11.95, 108pp,

Synopsis: Life in a New England village can be both joyful and tragic, at once ordinary and complicated. Housatonic is such a village, providing its residents with a sense of place-a sense of home. The deserted mill on the cover and the rusting water tower, which has kept watch over the village for decades, illustrate both Housatonic's transition from past to present and its people, who cling to traditions of what was and hope for what may be. Housatonic is a charming collection of personal essays written by one of the town's long-term residents. In the tradition of Garrison Keillor, Bob Gray offers a perceptive, humorous, and loving commentary on village life.

Critique: The art of the essay is alive and well in Bob Gray's anthology "Housatonic: life in a backwater of the beautiful berkshires". A quick and easy read, "Housatonic: life in a backwater of the beautiful berkshires" is highly recommended for personal summertime (or anytime!) reading lists and would well serve as a template for other imaginative and contemplative writers in framing their own essay reminiscences of their own life and times. It should be noted that "Housatonic: life in a backwater of the beautiful berkshires" is also available in a Kindle edition ($9.99).

My Life After Death
Bukiwe Zonke
AuthorHouse UK
1663 Liberty Drive, Suite 200, Bloomington, IN 47403-5161
9781491894668, $15.18, 120pp,

Synopsis: Life is a journey of living and dying, of new birth, and of burying the dead. Living is a gift from above because we cannot add to its value even though we can subtract from it. Death on the other hand is a loss of life as we know it, and we can never take back from it. What I knew as my life is no longer there; in its stead, a new person emerged. The purpose that I thought was for my life no longer exists, and through my divorce, a cocoon has been broken, and the caterpillar became a butterfly.

Critique: As inspired and inspiring as it is thoughtful and thought-provoking, "My Life After Death" is an intimately personal story deftly told from first page to last with candor and faith. Very highly recommended and rewarding reading, it should be noted that "My Life After Death" is also available in a Kindle edition ($3.99).

Scripted in Heaven
Lourdes Duque Baron
Xulon Press
2301 Lucien Way, Suite 415, Maitland, FL 32751
Bella Luce Productions
9781626972421, $25.99, 310pp,

Synopsis: "Scripted in Heaven" follows the journey of Dr. Robinson V. Baron and his physical and metaphysical healing. As a stubborn surgeon, he ignores a cryptic warning from an old lady about a supposedly imminent complication with his health. The struggles that follow take him to a journey of spiritual renewal, which leads him to rediscover his true faith and his true love. He seeks for the divine guidance of Padre Pio da Pietrelcina while trials and tribulations test him and his family. His devotion grew, even causing him to embark on a punishing pilgrimage to San Giovanni Rotondo in Italy, despite his fragile health. His mystical metamorphosis is a story of courage, sacrifice, and triumph. Upon embarking on this incredible journey, she has dedicated her life to spreading the message of Padre Pio. In late 2012, she will open a shrine of St. Pio da Pietrelcina in the convent of the Trinitarians of Mary on 3009 E. Cameron Avenue in West Covina, California.

Critique: "Scripted in Heaven" is inspired and inspiring. Deftly written, candid, and dealing intimately with metaphysical themes, spiritual aspirations, and the human condition, "Scripted in Heaven is a rewarding read. Thoughtful and thought provoking, "Scripted in Heaven is very highly recommended for personal studies, as well as academic and community library collections.

The Writing/Publishing Shelf

Saddle Up: A Cowboy Guide to Writing
Slim Randles
Foreword by Max Evans
Introduction by George Cornell
Rio Grande Books
925 Salamanca NW, Los Ranchos, NM 87107
9781936744312 $15.95

Journalist, outdoorsman, novelist, and award-winning author Saddle Up: A Cowboy Guide to Writing, a thoroughly accessible, no-nonsense guide for professional authors. The primary emphasis is upon getting one's work published for money, whether it's an article for a magazine (Randles emphasizes that many specialty-interest magazines are still alive and well, even though general-interest magazines have mostly gone out of business) or a fiction or nonfiction book for a publishing house. Tips, tricks, and techniques for the creative process are also included, but the topic of self-publishing is (more or less) left for other guides to cover. One of the most valuable lessons the reader will learn is the importance of sending a well-crafted query letter to publication editors, before pouring hours of time into creating an article or a book. "You should never 'shotgun' query letters... By that I mean changing only the editor's name and address on the query and sending it to every magazine that might be interested in the piece. This is a real temptation for beginning writers... It's actually something close to journalistic suicide." Saddle Up is an absolute "must-read" for aspiring professional writers; even those who pursue self-publishing as their primary path will find Randles' life-tested writing advice indispensable.

The Social Issues Shelf

A Journey to the Dark Heart of Nameless, Unspeakable Evil
Jane Bussmann
Nortia Press
2321 E. 4th Street, C-219
Santa Ana, CA 92705
9780988879843 $25.95

A Journey to the Dark Heart of Nameless, Unspeakable Evil: Charities, Hollywood, Joseph Kony and Other Abominations is a nonfiction blend of humor and real-life international horror. British comedy writer Jane Bussmann, whose career most consisted of relatively vapid celebrity interviews, received the shock of her life when she pursued an audience with human rights activist, author, and peace negotiator John Prendergast. She traveled to Uganda, utterly unprepared, and learned about an ongoing nightmare - rogue "religious nut-job" Joseph Kony has kidnapped tens of thousands of children to torture and use as soldiers or sex slaves. Ugandan President Museveni's army has failed to stop Kony's atrocities, preferring instead to loot the gold and diamond mines of nearby Congo. Museveni has received billions of dollars in aid from the U.S. and U.K.; none of this money was used to capture Kony. Though Bussmann's heartbreaking true story of widespread violence and corruption was never published by a British newspaper, she transformed it into a comedy show, and now a true-life memoir; if laughter is the only way to spread the terrible truth about the vile corruption on both sides of the law in Uganda, then so be it. A Journey to the Dark Heart of Nameless, Unspeakable Evil lives up to its title, interspersed with just enough jocularity to keep the reader from sinking into abject despair; highly recommended.

The Political Science Shelf

The Looting of Social Security
Allen W. Smith
Ironwood Publications
487 Majestic Gardens Blvd., Winter Haven, FL 33880
News & Experts (publicity)
9780977085194, $17.00, 272pp,

Synopsis: Every cent generated by the 1983 Social Security tax increase-money ostensibly earmarked for the retirement of the baby-boom generation is gone, having been already spent by our government. But most Americans are ignorant of this travesty. The emptying of the Social Security Trust Fund is one of the greatest frauds ever perpetrated on the American public by their government. "The Looting of Social Security" by Allen W. Smith explains the history of Social Security from its inception in 1935 to the present, including the 1983 Social Security fix. Then, step by appalling step, "The Looting of Social Security" details how the government's promise to the American people-a pledge to never spend the Social Security funds-was broken by every succeeding administration.

Critique: Informed and informative, "The Looting of Social Security" should be considered a 'must read' by anyone concerned with the economic welfare of the country, the veracity of the government, and their own future as Social Security recipients. Detailed and documented from beginning to end, "The Looting of Social Security" should be a part of every community and academic library Political Science and Economic Studies collection. It should be noted that "The Looting of Social Security" is also available in a Kindle edition ($2.99).

Average Joe's State of the Union: 2014
Jon Marshall
1663 Liberty Drive, Suite 200, Bloomington, IN 47403-5161
9781491861660, $14.95, 108pp,

Synopsis: The "Address" to the nation was once about the true state of our nation and was based on true statistics and situations. Now, a nation of disenfranchised constituents who realize we are being misled by our government and that our liberties are now in jeopardy. The constitution is being ignored to further the agenda of Socialism, in our country. This "State of the Union" address is more about the truth pertaining to the state of our economy, our families and our faith, written by an average guy with some common sense. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of this book will go to The Wounded Warriors Project, on behalf of Spec. Joshua Lee Plocica - DOB 10/18/1988 and KIA 06/25/2008.

Critique: A quick and easy read, Jon Marshall's commentary on the contemporary state of our country should be read by every man and woman of voting age. Highly recommended for community library Political Science collections, it should be noted that "Average Joe's State of the Union: 2014" is also available in both a hardcover edition (9781491861653, $23.99) and a Kindle edition ($3.99).

The Language Studies Shelf

Spanish Fluency
Susan Elizabeth Nus
4900 LaCross Rd., North Charleston, SC 29406
9781484987919, $24.99, 356pp,

Synopsis: "Spanish Fluency" is a unique vocabulary companion written in a contemporary, easy-reading style with an emphasis on humor. This is not another boring grammar book. Whether beginner or advanced, "Spanish Fluency" is your shortcut to the language and will improve your Spanish by a quantum leap. The first part, Going for Fluency, provides an insight into the four modalities of language learning (reading, writing, listening and speaking) and a broad range of ideas for increasing fluency through today's technology: apps, blogs, ebooks, film, websites, music, media and more. The second part, Cognates, the Twin Words of Language, explores thousands of twin words, (such as interesante and interesting) that exist between Spanish and English. Linguistically, these words are your ultimate cheap trick to language acquisition and are your springboard to fluency. People who are "good with languages" take great advantage of the extraordinary abundance of twin words at their disposal. Twin words, by virtue of their similarity, make memorization a snap and make picking up the language exponentially easier. These twin words are presented in an engaging, readable way, first through grammar, (nouns, adjectives, verbs, etc.) and then through categories (People, Food, Travel, etc.) "Spanish Fluency" unlocks your language skills by showing you a multitude of words, "that you knew, but didn't know you knew." The third part, Essential Vocabulary, explores the 1000 most essential Spanish vocabulary words critical for everyday, fluent speech, through a variety of inspirational quotes, pithy quips and laugh-out-loud zingers.

Critique: In " Spanish Fluency: Twin Words and Essential Vocabulary", Susan Elizabeth Nus draws upon her many years of teaching Spanish and her experiences residing in Spain to provide the students with a unique and practical approach to gaining a true mastery of the Spanish language and applying it to 'real world' situations. Very highly recommended for personal independent studies as well as a classroom curriculum supplement, it should be noted that "Spanish Fluency: Twin Words and Essential Vocabulary" is also available in a Kindle edition ($9.99).

The Health/Medicine Shelf

Pump It Up!
Joe Petreycik, RN
Take Exercise To Heart, LLC
c/o Hannacroix Creek Books
1127 High Ridge Road, #110, Stamford, CT 06905
9780989408004, $26.95, 281pp,

In "Pump It Up!: Exercising Your Heart To Health", registered nurse Joe Petreycik draws upon his many years of experience and expertise as an ASCM Certified Clinical Exercise Specialist to create an illustrated and thoroughly 'user friendly' instruction manual that lays out the basics of the anatomy of a human heart, covers a series of exercise essentials; presents do-it-yourself strength training workouts, and also presents diet and nutrition guidelines. Of special note are the sample exercise logs. Thoroughly 'user friendly' from beginning to end, "Pump It Up!: Exercising Your Heart To Health" is enhanced with the inclusion of a section of extensive Notes, six Appendices, a list of Resources, a thematically targeted Bibliography, and a comprehensive Index, making it an ideal and highly recommended addition to personal and community library Health & Medicine instructional reference collections.

Fibromyalgia And Other Chronic Painful Conditions, second edition
Jeffrey B. Loomer, M.D., FACP, FACR
Mystery Doc Publishing, LLC
PO Box 36662, Tucson, AZ 85704-6662
9780984920747, $19.99,

Fibromyalgia is characterized by chronic widespread pain and allodynia (a heightened and painful response to pressure). Fibromyalgia symptoms are not restricted to pain, leading to the use of the alternative term fibromyalgia syndrome for the condition. Other symptoms include debilitating fatigue, sleep disturbance, and joint stiffness. Some people also report difficulty with swallowing, bowel and bladder abnormalities, numbness and tingling, and cognitive dysfunction. Fibromyalgia is frequently associated with psychiatric conditions such as depression and anxiety and stress-related disorders such as posttraumatic stress disorder. Not all people with fibromyalgia experience all associated symptoms. Its exact cause is unknown but is believed to involve psychological, genetic, neurobiological and environmental factors. Now in an updated and expanded second edition, "Fibromyalgia And Other Chronic Painful Conditions: The Patient's Guide And Survival Manual For Obtaining Proper And Effective Medical Care" by Dr. Jeffrey B. Loomer (a Dartmouth trained and Board Certified Rheumatologist) is a 266 page compendium that lays out what fibromyalgia is, how it can manifest, and medical management options. Of special note are the eleven illustrative case studies. Ideal and especially recommended for non-specialist general readers with an interest in learning about or having to deal with fibromyalgia, "Fibromyalgia And Other Chronic Painful Conditions Second Edition: The Patient's Guide And Survival Manual For Obtaining Proper And Effective Medical Care" is very highly recommended for personal and community library Health & Medicine instructional reference collections. It should be noted that "Fibromyalgia And Other Chronic Painful Conditions Second Edition: The Patient's Guide And Survival Manual For Obtaining Proper And Effective Medical Care" is also available in a Kindle edition ($9.99).

Conquering Concussion
Mary Lee Esty & C. M. Shifflett
Round Earth Publishing
PO Box 157, Sewickley, PA 15143
9780965342506, $24.95, 310pp,

Synopsis: This lively, well-researched, and hopeful book is an excellent primer for anyone dealing with a TBI head injury and its aftermath, from victims to caretakers. It is clearly written and illustrated for the average reader, but contains information that may be new to many healthcare professionals puzzled by odd and unresponsive symptoms. "Conquering Concussion" draws on 20 years of clinical experience and the realization that time alone does not heal the brain. These are real stories about real people struggling with effects of concussion: terrible fatigue, headache and physical pain, emotional swings, mental fog, insomnia, weight gain and balance problems. "Conquering Concussion" shows how post-concussion symptoms overlap with other diagnoses such as ADHD and depression, and reveals the link with PTSD. "Conquering Concussion" reviews appropriate therapies that can help with recovery. post-concussion symptoms overlap with other diagnoses such as ADHD and depression, and the link with PTSD. The topics covered in "Conquering Concussion" include: Head injuries in history, from Henry VIII to Elvis Presley; What happens in concussion, the many symptoms that may appear, and problems with standard testing and treatments; The origins, supporting research, and results of neurofeedback including detailed case histories of children, adults, and soldiers with memory problems, severe head pain, insomnia, ADHD and PTSD. Also covered are medical issues which may need attention before healing can occur. Of special interest is what happened to TBI victims who never expected to work or function normally ever again and how they regained their skills, jobs, families and lives.

Critique: The disastrous consequences of head injuries due to such contact sports as football is now a part of our national conversation. "Conquering Concussion" is highly recommended for community and academic library Health & Medicine reference collections in general, and to the attention of non-specialist general readers with an interest in the problems and treatment issues of and for head injuries in particular.

The Healing Revolution
Frank King
Healing Revolution Press LLC
PO Box 17395, Asheville, NC 28816
9780989436908, $19.95, 240pp,

Synopsis: You re stuck on the treadmill, up against the same old obstacles to health and happiness. All of life doesn't measure up to your hopes and dreams. Dr. Frank King's "The Healing Revolution" is your chance to break through the barriers and discover the new, beautiful you! Your destiny is to fill the holes in your wholeness and awaken the healing power within. Your best days are yet to come not only with health, but with your whole life s performance, purpose and passion! "The Healing Revolution" is a multi-dimensional lifestyle approach, bringing new joy and hope by empowering you to make natural, healing choices in the Eight Essential areas of everyday life. These areas include the creative power of the human spirit, food, water, fitness, sleep, nature, relationships and Hands On Techniques. "The Healing Revolution" s unique hands-on health techniques are absolutely free, safe and effective, having helped people like you for nearly forty years. You are your best doctor, so take back your health. Welcome to the end of flat earth medicine. Awaken the healing power within.

Critique: Exceptionally well written and presented, "The Healing Revolution: Eight Essentials to Awaken Abundant Life, Naturally" is especially recommended for non-specialist general readers with an interest in improving the quality of their lives and the lives of those around them. An ideal addition to community library Self-Help and Health/Medicine collections, it should be noted that "The Healing Revolution: Eight Essentials to Awaken Abundant Life, Naturally" is also available in a Kindle edition ($9.99).

The Self-Help Shelf

Turning the Page
Michael Bluemling Jr.
Trinity Press International
c/o Campbell Public Relations
1255 Lake Plaza Drive, Colorado Springs, CO 80906
9780578137643, $17.99, 164pp,

Synopsis: In "Turning the Page: Overcoming Abuse to Reach Life's Fulfillment", author Michael Bluemling Jr. combines a brief memoir of the abuse he suffered at his father's hands with his road map for how to move past abuse. Because Michael did not have many support channels to cope with his past, he created a practical and effective model he could use on a day-to-day basis, and now he offers that model to his readers. Each chapter provides a seven-step plan for a different aspect of recovery, such as getting over self-blame, overcoming pain and guilt, dealing with anxiety and depression, and learning how to trust again.

Critique: There are a great many self-help books available intent on helping those who suffered child abuse to overcome the damage done to themselves that is still reflected in their lives and personalities as adults and breaking what is all to often a generational chain or repeating cycle. "Turning the Page: Overcoming Abuse to Reach Life's Fulfillment" is one of the best of these and is deftly and candidly written so as to be completely accessible to the non-specialist general reading having to grapple with these kinds of personal issues. Practical, sensible, pragmatic, constructive, "Turning the Page: Overcoming Abuse to Reach Life's Fulfillment" is very highly recommended reading -- especially for those seeking to affected by child abuse themselves or who are trying to help a loved one deal with child abuse issues of their own. It should be noted that "Turning the Page: Overcoming Abuse to Reach Life's Fulfillment" is also available in a Kindle edition ($4.99).

The Ekahi Method
Brett Wade
Lulu Publishing
3101 Hillsborough Street, Raleigh, NC 27607-5436
Smith Publicity (publicity)
1930 E Marlton Pike, Suite I-46, Cherry Hill, NJ 08003
9781483403526, $17.40, 302pp,

Synopsis: In "The Ekahi Method", Brett Wade explores how to improve your health, achieve success, and form stronger relationships by mastering the one thing that connects all living and nonliving things - waves. Ekahi is the Hawaiian word for 'One'. "The Ekahi Method" method includes five parts that will help you use your natural base frequency to enrich all areas of your life. Learn why you naturally resonate with some people, while others are not on your wavelength. You will also discover that our measurable base frequencies are actually waves that interact with other people's waves. Sometimes these waves can be amplified or flattened by other people and external sources, such as electrosmog. By understanding, protecting, and resetting to base frequency, you can decrease stress, prevent and eliminate disease, and increase your happiness as you learn to 'Master the Waves of Life'.

Critique: Impressive in its accessibility for the non-specialist general readers, "The Ekahi Method" is as informed and informative as it is insightfully practical. A deftly written seminal work, "The Ekahi Method" is very highly recommended for readers interested in improving their personal health, their relationships, and the successful completion of their personal and/or professional goals in life. It should be noted that "The Ekahi Method" is also available in a Kindle edition ($8.99).

Starting Monday
Karen R. Koenig
Gurze Books
5145 B Avenida Encinas, Carlsbad, CA 92008
9780936077789, $17.95, 280pp,

Synopsis: "Starting Monday" is based on the simple premise that when our behaviors don't align with our expressed intentions, we've got a conflict going on, often outside of our awareness. Author Laren R. Koenig helps her readers dig deeply into their psyches to figure out what mistaken beliefs and needless fears are holding them back from achieving their health and fitness goals. The polarized feelings for disregulated eaters to identify and resolve fall within these seven key areas: 1) create lasting change, 2) making conscious choices, 3) feel deserving, 4) how to comfort themselves, 5) know what's enough, 6) manage intimacy, and 7) developing a healthy identity. "Starting Monday" first helps readers unearth their mixed feelings in these seven areas, then teaches them how to change their beliefs and behaviors to resolve them. Using humor, plain talk, examples from her clinical experience, reflection exercises, case studies, and homework, Koenig lets troubled eaters know that their yo-yo patterns of eating and self care are due to conflicts. She shies away from easy answers and, instead, provides hope and concrete actions to developing a permanent, positive relationship with food.

Critique: Informative, motivational, exceptionally well written, organized and presented, "Starting Monday: Seven Keys to a Permanent, Positive Relationship with Food" is especially recommended for anyone wanting to improve their mental and physical health through a more nutritional and balanced approach to meal time decisions. Very highly recommended and instructional reading, as well as an invaluable addition to community library Self-Help and Health/Medicine collections, "Starting Monday: Seven Keys to a Permanent, Positive Relationship with Food" is also available in a Kindle edition ($9.99).

The Jetstream of Success
Julian Pencilliah
Jetstream Publishing
News & Experts (publicity)
B00G9GOQFE, $2.99 (Kindle),

Synopsis: Legends create history everyday. The status of being a legend is reserved for the chosen few who believe they are destined for greatness. Achieving success is your ability to eliminate the weaknesses and biases that are inherent within yourself. History tells us that not all greats have off-the-chart IQs, nor are they born with limitless freedom. In fact, it is this triumph over less than favorable circumstances and their determination to achieve that we tend to respect the most. The people who have changed the world are people like you and I. They set out to achieve outstanding results and make their decisions within intellectual criteria. All the greats have engaged a higher impulse, a higher bandwidth, and an inherent strength.

Critique: As thoughtful and thought-provoking, informed and informative, inspired and inspiring, "The Jetstream Of Success" by Julian Pencilliah is packed from cover to cover with observational advice, practical insights, and a wealth of illustrative 'real life' anecdotal examples drawn from the lives of ordinary people who have had extraordinary accomplishments. Very highly recommended reading for anyone seeking to make the most of their life's opportunities.

The Fantasy/SciFi Shelf

The Wallingford Files: Last of the Firstborn
Glen M. Glenn
4900 LaCross Rd., North Charleston, SC 29406
9781495456503, $12.95, 432pp,

Synopsis: Eighty years have passed since the invasion, and Earth is just one more minor Sorion outpost. By the time it has been mined to the Sorion king's satisfaction, the planet will be peopled with Meldings - half-Sorion half-humans created in test tubes - and will become one more loyal planet in the Sorion kingdom. William Colton, dubbed the Angel, is considered by most humans to be their savior and is a major thorn in the side of the Sorion government, as represented by Outpost Governor Talex, a second-generation Melding whose sole purpose is to extinguish the native population. The king has replaced previous outpost governors because they failed to catch Colton. The Angel has learned that a great weapon, the only weapon with which he might be able to defeat the Sorions, lies far underground beneath the city of Manhattan. While searching for the weapon he stumbles upon a vast complex of underground cities to which many of Earth's scientists retreated during the early days of the invasion. There he meets Sondra Michaels, a scientist and part of the resistance movement, who will play a much more significant role in the coming tribulation than either she or William could ever imagine. She falls in love with William, and together they try to free Earth from Talex and the Sorions.

Critique: The first of what promises to be an outstandingly entertaining and original science fiction saga, "The Wallingford Files: Last of the Firstborn" clearly documents author Glen M. Glenn as a talented writer and a master of the genre. Very highly recommended for science fiction enthusiasts, "The Wallingford Files: Last of the Firstborn" will prove to be a popular addition to community library Science Fiction collections. It should be noted that "The Wallingford Files: Last of the Firstborn" is also available in a Kindle edition ($6.95).

Duncan Eagleson
Pink Narcissus press
PO Box 303, Auburn, MA 01501
9781939056047, $17.00, 372pp,

Synopsis: Some monsters are born, others are made... A supernatural killer is stalking Bay City. City Boss Micah Roth summons the Railwalkers - an Order of warrior shamans - to hunt for the killer the newsfeeds have dubbed "The Beast." Out in the Zones, Railwalker Wolf and his companions have faced mutants and madmen, animals and demons, but the Beast of Bay City is a predator the likes of which they've never seen before. To apprehend The Beast, Wolf will be called upon to face his own private demons, and plumb the depths of the mysterious darkness surrounding his own personal history.

Critique: A riveting read from first page to last, "Darkwalker" is a sophisticated action/adventure fantasy of the first order. Very highly recommended for personal reading lists and community library Adult Fantasy collections, it should be noted that "Darkwalker" is also available in a Kindle edition ($7.99).

A. N. Steinberg
Headline Book Publishing
c/o Independent Publishers Group
814 North Franklin Street, Chicago, IL 60610
9780747209607, $22.91 hc / $2.99 Kindle,

Synopsis: In the spring of 1939, Katherine Sheahan and her father, the taciturn Irishman Jesse, are looking for work in the isolated tourist town of Castlewood, Missouri, which offers bathing, gambling and adultery. Jesse gets a job as handyman and Katherine as maid at a small hotel. Jesse drinks and neglects his work and eventually disappears, abandoning his daughter. Katherine discovers the ginseng, the manroot, and other secrets of the foothills; she discovers herself as a natural healer who has inherited this gift from her Navajo Indian mother. She also has a special but unwelcome gift. She can communicate with spirits. Among the hotel's regular clientele is Judge William Reardon, a local hero who metes out justice by day, then drinks the foul taste away at night. Escaping his sterile marriage, he becomes captivated by Katherine. He is like a man reborn. Theirs is a union of like-minded souls, but a dangerous dark magic is released. Can their love survive? A powerful, haunting novel that explores the powerful themes of identity and destiny, love everlasting and its brutal twin, violence.

Critique: "Manroot" is author Annie Steinberg's debut as a novelist and documents her extraordinary and imaginative talents as a storyteller able to incorporate into her deftly woven and complex plot truly memorable and well crafted characters. An original novel that will linger long in the reader's appreciative memory after it is finished and set back upon the shelf, "Manroot" is very highly recommended for personal reading lists. Long out of print, it should be noted that "Manroot" is now available in a Kindle edition ($2.99). Attention Hollywood! "Manroot" is the stuff from which blockbuster movies are made!

The Mystery/Suspense Shelf

Murder in the Antarctic
Michael Warr
2640 Ewert Cres., Prince George, BC, Canada, V2M 2S2
9781784072766, $12.45, 308pp,

Synopsis: After a marriage break up Jim McKinnon, a security consultant, wants an Antarctic cruise with cool seals, penguins and icebergs, and the beautiful brunette Carol Martins. She is interested in him, but is on the cruise to avenge her dead father killed on an Antarctic sledge trip many years ago. Four million dollars of stolen gold coins are hidden on the cruise ship. A passenger dies. Murdered. Someone is protecting the stashed gold. Jim investigates. He cannot rely on Carol: she is the prime suspect in the murder of a second passenger. The rest of the passengers want the murders solved. They deny knowledge of the gold coins. But someone will kill again to protect the gold. Jim could be next.

Critique: A tautly written mystery, author Michael Warr has created a suspenseful entertainment that firmly holds the reader's interest and attention from beginning to end. It is clear that Warr drew upon his two years of living in the Antarctic, his experiences on five Antarctic cruises, and his enjoyment of the mystery genre, to provide accurate plot line details that promote and underscore his deftly woven story. Highly recommended for personal reading lists and community library Mystery/Suspense collections, it should be noted that "Murder in the Antarctic" is also available in a Kindle edition ($3.99).

Lincoln's Diary
D. L. Fowler
Harbor Hill Publishing
9780615445533, $12.95, 340pp,

Synopsis: Lincoln's Diary is a fast paced story about a young woman's determination to unbury secrets, including the disappearance of a private Lincoln diary her mysterious grandfather once owned. And when she hunts down a professor who likely swindled her mother out of it so he could prove Lincoln planned his own assassination, she's accused of his murder. Running from police and a stalker who's bent on destroying any evidence the diary exists, Sarah turns to the only person she trusts - herself. And when taxed to her limits, she turns to strangers for help - only to find betrayal pushing her to the breaking point.

Critique: "Lincoln's Diary" is a deftly written biographical novel of extraordinary complexity that will leave the reader fully entertained and reflecting on it long after this outstanding book has been finished and set back upon the shelf. This is the stuff of which block-buster movies are made! Also available in a Kindle edition ($2.99), "Lincoln's Diary" is perfect for summer reading lists and would prove to be a popular addition to community library collections!

Stains on the Gavel
Charles W. Massie
Outskirts Press, Inc.
10940 South Parker Road, #515, Parker, CO 80134
c/o News & Experts (publicity)
9781432799144, $19.95, 316pp,

Synopsis: In July of 2009, in southern Kentucky where the rules are sometimes made up on the fly, 60 year old Mark Casey has been arrested for crimes he did not commit. Now the battle begins between Mark and the good ol' boys of Kentucky. This particular case is a big deal for a little rural town where nothing much ever happens. The prosecution has virtually no evidence against Mark and the case is built on speculation. It's looking like an acquittal is the logical outcome. But in southern Kentucky, money always carries a lot of weight. Mark is about to find that even in the Bible-belt, not everybody lives by 'The Golden Rule'.

The sequel to "A Kentucky True Crime", "Stains on the Gavel" is the second novel of author Charles W. Massie's 'Blue Grass' series and continues to document Massie as an extraordinarily talented novelist. Very highly entertaining, and can be read as a 'stand alone' work, but one which will send avid readers in search of the first in this outstanding series, "Stains on the Gavel is recommended for personal reading lists and community library Contemporary Fiction collections alike. It should be noted that "Stains on the Gavel" is also available in a Kindle edition ($8.99).

The Conan Doyle Notes: The Secret of Jack the Ripper
Diane Gilbert Madsen
Mx Publishing Ltd.
c/o Lissy Peace & Associates (publicity)
9781780926186, $28.95, (HC), 352pp,

Synopsis: In Diane Gilbert Madsen's "The Conan Doyle Notes: The Secret of Jack the Ripper," the reader will uncover vital clues as to Why the Dog Did Not Bark in the Night. Sherlock Holmes concluded that it was because the intruder was known to the dog. Madsen's new mystery questions whether the identity of one of the greatest criminals of all time, Jack the Ripper, was deduced by Conan Doyle. Conan Doyle was already famous with his popular Sherlock Holmes stories when Jack the Ripper struck London in October 1888. Why was Conan Doyle silent about this case? Find out in "The Conan Doyle Notes: The Secret of Jack the Ripper".

Critique: "The Conan Doyle Notes: The Secret of Jack the Ripper" is an expertly written novel that pays full homage to one of literature's greatest characters and the author who created the deductive genius of Sherlock Holmes. "The Conan Doyle Notes: The Secret of Jack the Ripper" should be considered a 'must read' by the legions of Conan Doyle fans and would be an enduringly popular addition to community library collections. It should be noted that "The Conan Doyle Notes: The Secret of Jack the Ripper" is also available in a Kindle edition ($9.99).

The Keeper
Martha Carr
MRC Publishing
c/o Book Savvy Public Relations
8 Deerfield Lane, Natick, MA 01760
9781620304303, $19.00, 450pp,

Synopsis: Two old political powers have battled over control for hundreds of years actively recruiting new members at a young age to groom them for politics, Wall Street, Corporate corner offices and the military. Good Old Boy networks, private clubs and political action committees were all formed with the same idea in mind to grease the wheels of life. We all want to ensure a nice, fat piece of the American pie, especially for our children. However, families find out a little too late that once they've joined there's no out clause. Such was the case of Wallis Jones, the wife of Norman, mother to Ned and a successful attorney living the good life, but she's about to find out that she and her loved ones are pawns in the deadly games of two powerful global secret societies at war with each other.

Critique: The much anticipated sequel to Martha Carr's earlier novel "The List", the saga of the Wallis Family continues in "The Keeper", deftly written, complex, compelling, and an impressive entertainment from beginning to end. Very highly recommended for personal reading lists and community library fiction collections, it should also be noted that "The Keeper" is also available in a Kindle edition ($2.99).

John Hazen
Black Rose Writing
9781612963006, $16.95, 274pp,

Synopsis: The biggest story of Francine Vega's career could end her life... or start World War III. Francine is a rising TV news reporter in New York City. Despite her brains, beauty and a growing following, she is stuck covering local interest stories. That is until her career literally hits the jackpot when the winner of a $450 million dollar lottery tells Francine that he is committed to using his new fortune to avenge his brother's killing at the Pentagon on 9/11. His seemingly crazy plan is backed by more than just money - he is in league with a ruthless and powerful Army Colonel gone rogue, religious extremists and co-conspirators in the highest levels of government. Francine teams with FBI Special Agent Will Allen, one of the few people who believe the threat is real, in a desperate race across three continents to stop the plot before it's too late.

Critique: A terrific premise, "Fava' is a deftly written suspense novel that holds the reader's entertained attention from beginning to end. Very highly recommended for summertime (or anytime!) personal reading lists, "Fava" is also available in a Kindle edition ($7.99).

The Fiction Shelf

A Perfect Armenian
Keri Topouzian
Hyevan Publishing
c/o 834 Design & Marketing
9780985412401, $25.95, 320pp,

Synopsis: Tavid Kaloustian, a cunning and determined young Armenian, does whatever it takes to protect his family and friends from a quickly approaching genocide. Trained as a chemist to work in the silk industry, Tavid trades his knowledge for both survival and the hefty profit of the opium trade. He is a major player in the local black market, moving stealthily through enemy forces often disguised as one of "them." After Turkish soldiers killed his beloved grandfather, Tavid's actions are fueled by rage. He becomes the misunderstood protector of his people; a charming one-man army, ready to take a life in order to save another. As he seeks justice, however, he learns that things aren't always, as they seem. He discovers that before his death, his grandfather had initiated a shrewd plan, setting Tavid on an obstacle-ridden path to reunite his family. A novel based upon historic events, "A Perfect Armenian" leads the reader into the intimate world of cultural conflict. From Constantinople to Cyprus, "A Perfect Armenian" takes the twists and turns so deeply rooted in the duality of human nature.

Critique: The Armenian Genocide was the Ottoman government's systematic extermination of its minority Armenian subjects from their historic homeland in the territory constituting the present-day Republic of Turkey. The starting date is conventionally held to be 24 April 1915, the day Ottoman authorities rounded up and arrested some 250 Armenian intellectuals and community leaders in Constantinople. The genocide was carried out during and after World War I and implemented in two phases: the wholesale killing of the able-bodied male population through massacre and subjection of army conscripts to forced labor, followed by the deportation of women, children, the elderly and infirm on death marches leading to the Syrian desert. Driven forward by military escorts, the deportees were deprived of food and water and subjected to periodic robbery, rape, and massacre. The total number of people killed as a result has been estimated at between 1 and 1.5 million. Other indigenous and Christian ethnic groups such as the Assyrians, the Greeks and other minorities were similarly targeted for extermination by the Ottoman government, and their treatment is considered by many historians to be part of the same genocidal policy. The majority of Armenian diaspora communities around the world came into being as a direct result of the genocide. Author Keri Topouzian brings to his novel an historical authenticity that is derived from his own family's experience with the Armenian Genocide . Also available in a Kindle edition ($9.99), "A Perfect Armenian" is an especially recommended addition to community library "General Fiction" collections.

An Unplanned Encounter
Jonathan R. Husband
Lulu Publishing
3101 Hillsborough Street, Raleigh, NC 27607-5436
Smith Publicity (publicity)
1930 E Marlton Pike, Suite I-46, Cherry Hill, NJ 08003
9781483408071, $18.95, 258pp,

Synopsis: In England in 1943, a young woman's life and trust are forever shattered by a brutal act of violence. Sexually assaulted by Jock, her parents' lodger and the respected manager at the nearby airfield, twenty-year-old Mary Louise struggles for self-respect and safety in the aftermath of the attack. When she learns she is pregnant, she must find the courage for another battle. She fights to keep the child and raise him alone, as the father refuses to acknowledge, support, or participate in his son's life in any way. For thirty years, the aftershocks of that terrifying night continue to shake her world and those of her family, friends, and son. With ordinary lives thrown into chaos, complex human emotions run rampant. In her fierce determination to survive and thrive, Mary Louise will discover just how strong she really is. Inspired by one girl's real-life tragedy, "An Unplanned Encounter" reveals the secrets of a life torn apart by violence and rebuilt by courage and love.

Critique: Exceptionally well written and original, "An Unplanned Encounter" documents author Jonathan R. Hubbard as a novels of extraordinary talent who is able to hold his reader's attention from beginning to end. As thoughtful as it is entertaining, "An Unplanned Encounter" is especially recommended for personal reading lists and community library General Fiction collections. It should be noted that "An Unplanned Encounter" is also available in both a hardcover edition (9781483408095, $31.95) and a Kindle edition ($7.99).

Draining The Swamp
Ed Gibney
4900 LaCross Rd., North Charleston, SC 29406
9781492940098, $8.99, 214pp,

Synopsis: Justine Swensen is headed to Washington, DC and she's determined to find a place where she can truly make a difference. She's got the resume and passion to take her from the lowest staff positions in the legislative branch all the way to upper management posts in executive branch agencies and departments. She'll exert pressure from inside the Executive Office of the President, and as an external consultant and Non-Profit leader. She'll meet with journalists, think tanks, and lobbyists before running for higher political offices herself. All along the way she'll meet funny, sad, inspiring, and infuriating bureaucrats, but only after 30 years of tilting at these windmills and navigating Kafkaesque mazes will she finally learn the moral of her own story. Follow along with her to learn it for yourself as well. To change this town, you have to know this town.

Critique: A skillful and talented writer, Ed Gibney's "Draining The Swamp" belongs to a muckraker tradition as exemplified by such American authors as Upton Sinclair's "The Jungle" (the meatpacking industry) or Sinclair Lewis' "Elmer Gantry" (organized religion). In a more contemporary meaning, this fictional portrayal of the federal government falls into the category of a 'docudrama'. A deftly written and riveting read from beginning to end, "Draining The Swamp" is highly recommended for personal reading lists and community library Contemporary Fiction collections. It should be noted that "Draining The Swamp" is also available in a Kindle edition ($1.99).

The Whole Nine Yarns: Tales Of The West
Jim Moore
Raven Publishing
PO Box 2866, Cherry Creek Road, Norris, MI 59745
9781937849221, $10.00, 144pp,

Synopsis: A compilation of nine short stories by beloved storyteller, Jim Moore. Montana and the West come alive as he brings the reader back to a time when life was simpler -- or was it? Laugh at the unusual way a school marm meets cowboy in The Proposal. Learn a life lesson with a young boy accosted by a horse thief in 'Bars Reputation'. See why barbed wire is so important to the ranchers of the west in 'Cut Fence'. These and several more intriguing stories fill this little book.

Critique: Jim Moore is a master of the short story format. From Swamp; Harry's Ride to Knothole; and The Testimony of Toby Worth; to Lemonade Spring; Jerry Brayed; and Madie's Autumn Frolic, these are wonderfully entertaining accounts that will linger in the reader's appreciative memory long after this little anthology has been finished and set back upon the shelf. "The Whole Nine Yarns: Tales Of The West" is very highly recommended for summer reading lists and community library collections.

Apron Strings
Mary Morony
Privately Published
c/o Sgarlat Publicity
PO Box 4904, Charlottesville, VA 22905-4204
9780615951799, $14.95, 252pp,

Synopsis: At seven years old, Sallee Mackey is wary of the grown-ups that populate her Southern world - especially her mother, Ginny - and with good reason.

Ginny is flat out dangerous and not the kind of dangerous that threatens mortal harm, though at times death might be preferred. It's far worse than that, especially if you cross her in one of her moods. Sallee learns early on to rely on stealth and a watchful eye - skills absolutely essential to living with her family. The one grown-up exception might be Ethel, the black maid who has been with the family for two generations. But even Ethel has secrets.

Ethel and Ginny's relationship goes back to girlhood. While Ginny has conveniently forgotten that fact, Sallee hasn't. Like a hound on a scent, Sallee questions Ethel constantly about the mysteries of their shared history. Only Mr. Dabney, the bigoted neighbor next door knows that he, too, shares in that same past.

As martial and neighborhood tensions rise, the family is beset with a number of menacing events, and Sallee discovers growing schisms inside her own home. Her parents' marriage dissolves, and Joe Mackey, Sallee's father, asks Ethel to testify on his behalf in a custody suit. Ethel's conflicted loyalties threaten to destroy not only herself but the children she loves.

Critique: Complex and multi-layered, "Apron Strings" is a deftly written and compelling read from beginning to end. Author Mary Morony is able to showcase fully developed characters and a superbly crafted story that will linger in the mind long after the novel is finished and set back upon the shelf. "Apron Strings" is highly recommended for personal reading lists and community library general fiction collections. It should be noted that "Apron Strings" is also available in a Kindle edition ($3.99).

Suzanne Davis Gets A Life
Paula Marantz Cohen
Paul Dry Books
1700 Sansom Street, Suite 700
Philadelphia, PA 19103-5214
9781589880955, $15.95, 220pp,

Synopsis: Suzanne Davis lounges around her tiny New York City apartment in her pajamas, writing press releases for the International Association of Air-Conditioning Engineers, listening to the ticking of her biological clock, and wondering where life is taking her. As her 35th birthday looms, Suzanne embarks on a wrong-headed, but very funny, quest - to find Mr. Right and start the family she hopes will give meaning to her life. Her quest plunges us into the world of her Upper West Side apartment building, a world of overly invested mothers, fanatical dog-owners, curmudgeonly longtime residents, and young (and not so young) professionals. All are keenly observed by Suzanne, whose witty self-deprecation endears her to us even as it makes us want to shake some sense into her.

Critique: Deftly written with a flair for social satire and considerable wit laced with a bit of tongue-in-cheek humor, "Suzanne Davis Gets A Life" is thoroughly entertaining from beginning to end and documents Paula Marantz Cohen (who is a Distinguished Professor English at Drexel University) as being a gifted novelist of the first order! Simply stated, "Suzanne Davis Gets A Life" is very highly recommended summer reading and would make an enduringly popular addition to community library Contemporary Fiction collections. It should be noted that "Suzanne Davis Gets A Life" is also available in a Kindle edition ($9.95).

My Water Path
Timothy Joseph
Pants On Fire Press
9780615964539, $14.99, 340pp,

Synopsis: Mississippi, the late 1950s. After the death of his father, eleven-year-old Jory Sheppard runs away from an unwanted life in foster care. Trying to make it on his own, he is caught in a violent storm on the Mississippi River, but when he is rescued from the raging waters by an old black man named Moses, it becomes the event that will change his life. Taken into Moses' family as one of their own, Jory is introduced to a world so familiar and yet so very different from the one he once knew. As he learns and grows under the benevolent care of his new family, he struggles to make sense of the society in which he lives - a society that would spit on a man such as Moses simply because his skin is black, and make every effort to rip Jory from the family he loves. Quickly entrenched in a struggle that is much bigger than himself, Jory must learn the difference between what feels necessary and what is right, what pity is, and what hate is. If he wants to fight the injustice and uncertainty that surrounds him, he must learn what it really means to stand up for what he believes in.

Critique: With "My Water Path", author Timothy Joseph has produced an exceptionally well crafted novel that embeds truly memorable characters into a richly embellished story. The result is a novel that is very highly recommended and would prove to be a popular addition to any community library's General Fiction collection. It should be noted that "My Water Path" is also available in a Kindle edition ($2.99).

Beneath The Shadow Of Crows
Madelon Phillips
Lucky Star Books
c/o Kelley & Hall Book Publicity
9780615924335, $11.99, 302pp,

Synopsis: Mattie Collins, age eighteen, marries her third husband, a forty-year-old man she mistakenly believes she knows. When his mind-games begin, this spirited young woman rises to the challenge. Soon faced with the worst tragedy imaginable, she makes a decision that changes her life forever.

Critique: Deftly written from beginning to end, "Beneath The Shadow Of Crows" documents Madelon Phillips' impressive storytelling talents with its carefully crafted narrative and memorable characters. A sophisticated and entertaining tale of the human condition and the ultimate triumph of a determined woman, "Beneath The Shadow Of Crows" is very highly recommended for both personal reading lists and community library General Fiction collections. A good pick for summer reading, it should be noted that "Beneath The Shadow Of Crows" is also available in a Kindle edition ($2.99).

A Minor
Margaret Ann Philbrick
Koehler Books
210 60th Street, Virginia Beach, VA 23451
9781938467998, $16.95, 245pp,

Synopsis: Clive Serkin, a teenage piano prodigy, seeks victory at the Tchaikovsky Piano Competition in Moscow, and enlists the help of world-renowned pianist Clare Cardiff. She becomes his mentor and teacher, and even though she is more than twice his age, Clive finds himself falling in love with her. After Clare is diagnosed with early-onset dementia, Clare's estranged husband Nero takes her away from Clive to pursue further medical testing. Clive is faced with the challenge of traveling to Moscow and performing at the competition without his beloved mentor. Ultimately, he must discover if the music they share is enough to keep them together.

Critique: With "A Minor", author Margaret Ann Philbrick has deftly penned an engaging and entertaining coming-of-age romance novel that is a pure entertainment from beginning to end. Very highly recommended for personal reading lists and community library Contemporary Romance Fiction collections, it should be noted that "A Minor" is also available in a Kindle edition ($4.39).

Neil W. Flanzraich
1663 Liberty Drive, Suite 200, Bloomington, IN 47403-5161
Bohlsen Group (publicity)
9781491849521, $23.95, 430pp,

Synopsis: Roxanne Reynolds is just beginning her third year at a Maryland high school. She is one of a very small number of people with IQs of over 1,000 who call themselves "Geniuses" They secretly live among us while concealing their extraordinary intelligence and mental powers. The Geniuses living in the Western Hemisphere protect ordinary people from Eastern Geniuses who use their abilities to try to control ordinary people and dominate the world. Over thousands of years this has resulted in numerous confrontations between Western and Eastern Geniuses. Andor Lysenko, a young Eastern European Genius, has just transferred into Roxanne's school. What does Andor's arrival mean for Roxanne... and what does it mean for the safety of the world?

Critique: Imaginative, original, ingenious, Neil W. Flanzraich's debut novel demonstrates a genuine flair as a writer. "Geniuses" is a wonderfully entertaining read from beginning to end. Very highly recommended for community library collections, it should be noted that "Geniuses" is also available in both a hardcover edition (9781491849538, $31.99) and a Kindle edition ($6.99).

Her Land, Her Love
Evangeline Parsons Yazzie, author
LaFrenda Frank, editor
Salina Bookshelf Inc.
3120 North Caden Court, Suite 4, Flagstaff, AZ 86004
9781893354951, $22.00 print / $9.99 Kindle,

Synopsis: Ninaanibaa's heart belonged to Hashke Yil Naabaah (The Warrior Who Fights with Anger). She loved him for protecting his awee' (babies), K'e (kinship), Naabeeho (Navajo people) and Dinetah (land). Hashke Yil Naabaah is summoned on a pursuit to restore peace and harmony to Dinetah. Ninaanibaa gently placed her hand over her heart and wondered if her own heart was prepared to never feel love again. She stopped to think about life without love, the kind of love that her husband showered upon her. Leaving their sacred land was a painful decision forced upon them but Hashke Yil Naabaah and Ninaanibaa always relied on their love, prayers, and kinship in overcoming hardship, loneliness, and suffering. Will they escape the shackles of war and reunite with their children within the four sacred mountains of Dinetah?

Critique: An exceptionally well crafted novel and the first in a series showcasing a Navajo family's personal saga of struggle to survive the infamous 'Long Walk', "Her Land, Her Love" is extraordinary in author Evangeline Parson Yazzie's attention to historical detail. Very highly recommended reading and an ideal addition to community library collections, "Her Land, Her Love" is also available in a hardcover edition (9781893354968, $28.00) and a Kindle edition ($9.99).

Flames of Truth
Cristina Guarneri
c/o Buy Books On The Web
1094 New Dehaven Street, #100
West Conshohocken, PA 19428-2713
9781495800443, $13.95, 276pp,

Synopsis: There was a resiliency that strengthened the people to look beyond the wars and tragedies that once impacted a nation. For those who were left behind, it was a roadmap into their futures and the understood importance of one mans decision to leave his life behind so to fight for someone else's life instead. It was less than a year since returning home from Iraq before he caught the attention of fellow Marine Corps veteran and the city's first black mayor. It was persuasion that gripped him. Having no interest in politics, he fell hard to his curiosity and accepted a once in a lifetime invitation that would ultimately introduce him to his future. Holding to the thinking that in order to win you must lose first, he accepted the challenges that were waiting for him. Delivering too little to too few, but more tragically, shamefully, existed the failure to properly care for a city and its people. It would take more than an election to restore the people. It would take charity and integrity. With time that growth would only collapse for the city skyline, for the flight of the middle class would soon be taken over by its urban buildings and rising crime rates. Holding itself to rebirth, a second chance to rebuild the coastline emerged, as the gleam of new buildings and the disparity of income of the older, forgotten neighborhoods would fade into the city scenery. With the dysfunction of a political system still alive, there was less promise for reform.

Critique: A work of fiction that could have been ripped from the headlines of today's corrupted political and economic, including the continued debasement of America's infrastructure, urban cities, and environmental degradations. "Flames of Truth: Beyond the Darkness of Wall Street West" by Cristina Guarneri holds out a kind of literary mirror and the images seen are all too prophetic given our current and continuing political climate of corporate corruption wedded to ideological fanaticism. A hard story, carefully crafted, and based on the life of Jersey City mayor Steven M. Fulop, "Flames of Truth" is highly recommended reading and an invaluable addition to community library Contemporary Fiction collections. It should be noted that "Flames of Truth" is also available in a Kindle edition ($20.01).

The Terrifying Angel
Alana Eisenbarth
Light Realm Books
700 Fieldstone Drive NE, Suite 108-55
Leesburg, VA 20176
9780991464906, $12.00, 246pp,

Synopsis: "The Terrifying Angel" by Alana Eisenbarth is an exploration of madness from the inside out as a disillusioned dreamer grapples with events that have brought her to an institution for the final time When an attempt at destroying the darkness within leads Aurora to a locked ward, she creates a savior in an errant angel. Together, with a wise woman as their guide, they embark on a fantastical journey through the volatile terrain of the inner world where we are hardest on ourselves, where we confuse punishment with love, and where we let a tyrant reign at times to arrive in a place of control. But contending will mean relinquishing everything, and this angel is as flawed as its creator.

Critique: A deftly woven, unique and seminal novel, "The Terrifying Angel" documents author Alana Eisenbarth as an unusually talented storyteller who is able to command her reader's total attention from beginning to end. Thoughtful and thought-provoking, "The Terrifying Angel" is a novel that will linger in the reader's mind and memory long after it has been finished and set back upon the shelf. Highly recommended for personal reading lists and community library collections, it should be noted that "The Terrifying Angel" is also available in a Kindle edition ($9.78).

Dire Wolf
Eric Jubb
c/o Amazon Digital Services
Smith Publicity
B00IXQEVJO, $4.99 (Kindle), 341pp,

Synopsis: "Dire World" is a gripping tale of hunting a wolf pack that has returned to their genetic origins due to a misstep in breeding attack dogs. The reader feels the horror and suspense of the hunt. The tragedy of defeat and the exhilaration of success as the reader follow's John Johnston through the wilds of Montana in pursuit of the wolf pack. John Johnston, a Staff Sargent medic attached to a Special Forces "A" team. During a firefight in Afghanistan he is grievously wounded saving the life of his platoon leader. After a long recovery at Brooks Army medical center John is medically discharged and returns home to Montana. John's brother Toby loses his dog during a camping trip with the Boy Scouts to a wolf pack. John begins to hunt the wolves only to find that he needs to get additional information about the wolves from an expert, a professor at the University of Montana. During the winter the wolves develop a liking for cattle and begin terrorizing the flathead, mission and swan river valleys. The Forest Service begins to hunt the wolves only to be thwarted by the extremes of the winter weather. The State of Montana hires a professional hunter to exterminate the wolves, but he gets killed in the pursuit. A relationship develops between John and Beth, the University professor. They jointly begin to follow the wolves and document their findings. They discover that the wolves are poisonous with saliva that has hallucinogenic properties. After John and Beth's marriage, Beth loses a hand during a camping trip to a wolf. While Beth is in the hospital, John teams with his old First Sargent and hunts the wolves across the Great Bear wilderness area.

Critique: "Dire Wolf" is an impressively entertaining work with its deftly woven, complex storylines and its carefully crafted characters. Very highly recommended reading, it should be noted that "Dire Wolf" is only available in a Kindle edition.

The Nightingale Moon
Nicholas Sweedo, author
Little Creek Press
5341 Sunny Ridge Road, Mineral Point, WI 53565
9780989978026, $16.95, 228pp,

Synopsis: As the American Civil War is ending, a friendship is beginning. Two boys meet in the Southwest and quickly bond over their love of card games. Nightingale is an orphaned Native American, and Jack is an Easterner searching for his missing older brother. They enter a Hearts tournament on a Mississippi River steamboat and cross paths with several colorful characters including Wild Bill Hickok, Mark Twain, and an evil woman known simply as the Queen. The boys also learn the legend of the Lost Kingdom: a Medieval tale of European royals battling for continental supremacy and searching for a priceless, hidden treasure. As the boys traverse the bayou and lead an escaped slave to safety along an old Underground Railroad route, they discover their own personal connection to the Lost Kingdom legend. Can they foil the Queen's diabolic plot and stop the crime of the century? And what ancient secrets are written in the deck of cards?

Critique: Imaginative and skillfully written, "The Nightingale Moon" reveals author Nicholas Sweedo as an impressively talented novelist able to deftly weave memorable characters into an exciting storyline that will engage the rapt attention of young readers from beginning to end. A solid entertainment from first page to last, "The Nightingale Moon" is very highly recommended for school and community library collections.

The Metaphysical Studies Shelf

You Never Dance Alone
Carl Harmon & Sandra Harmon
Balboa Press
c/o Hay House, Inc.
PO Box 5100, Carlsbad, CA 92018-5100
Bohlsen Group (publicity)
9781452583945, $12.99, 164pp,

Synopsis: As you dance with the universe you harness the power of creation. During this exciting time when global consciousness is being raised, you are being guided every step of the way. In "You Never Dance Alone", Carl and Sandra Harmon capture the essence of the dance that all of us pursue with universal consciousness. In this enjoyable book you will learn to harness the power of creation by following the spiritual principles of success. "You Never Dance Alone" captivates your attention by engaging your mind, body and spirit in a fun-loving and entertaining way. Unforgettable. Carl and Sandra Harmon have used creativity and logic to stimulate your mind, reinforcing the spiritual principles of success with emotion and reason. The healing power of spiritual enlightenment is the greatest gift of all. "You Never Dance Alone" is a book that facilitates healing as it lifts your spirit.

Critique: As inspired and inspiring as it is thoughtful and thought-provoking, "You Never Dance Alone: An Uplifting Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment" is the collaborative work of the husband and wife team of Carl and Sandra Harmon and draws upon their experience as parents of autistic children. Very highly recommended for personal reading lists and community library Self-Help and Metaphysical Studies collections, it should be noted that "You Never Dance Alone: An Uplifting Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment" is also available in both a hardcover edition (9781452583969, $30.95) and a Kindle edition ($3.99).

The Poetry Shelf

The Lizard and Other Poems
Lori Bank
Dancing Dakini Press
9781484848319, $18.95, 90pp,

Synopsis: A magical collection of poetry, both seductive and wise, spanning Lori Bank's years of thoughtful, playful, and moving reflections on nature, love, culture, and the sacred. A book to enjoy again and again, for each reading will continue to reveal and enlighten. Thirteen full-color plates by award-winning artist Naomi C. Rose accompany these poetic gems. The Lizard and Other Poems makes a unique gift to yourself and others!

Critique: Simply stated, Lori Bank is a gifted poet with an impressive observational knack for evoking familiar emotions along universal themes reflected in common every day occurrences. Here is a sample: 'Dawn Song': Gardenias blossom / from my wrist / where you placed your lips // As I watch from the window / a white flood of seeds / spills down my leg // By noontime / a thousand flowers blossom / through the cracks in the floor "The Lizard and Other Poems" is highly recommended and leaves the reader looking forward to Lori Bank's next collection of free verse poetry.

Dear Lord, Answer The Phone
Delsue Welch
Outskirts Press, Inc.
10940 South Parker Road, #515, Parker, CO 80134
9781478723943, $14.95, 172pp,

Synopsis: (From the Author) Writing has been very therapeutic for me. There have been times in my life when I've said something and regretted it, or said nothing and regretted it, but writing gives me the opportunity to express my thoughts without the hesitancy of "I should" or "I should not". For my readers this book of poetry can be rejuvenating and motivating; it can also open up many inner thoughts of fears and confusion. My main focus is for my readers to know that addressing your problems do not mean that you are accepting them and creating them. You cannot fix a problem that has not been emotionally addressed. Therefore, this approach can be the beginning of healing and forgiveness. God is waiting to hear your complaints, but you must initiate the call. This unique and expressive book of poetry, "Dear Lord, Answer the Phone", will take you on a journey with all four of my dynamic personalities: passionate, radical, vain, and spiritual, so enjoy the ride and be poetically inspired.

Critique: As a poet, Delsue Welch is clearly gifted. Her verse is capable of proving her readers a highly recommended and unique kind of shared understanding the value in poetry as a coping mechanism for dealing with the inevitable adversities and expectations that human life is subject to. 'Flowers, My Sweet': When I was just a few inches tall / My mother would look at me with all smiles // I could see in her eyes that I was her dream / Flowers, my sweet, is what she would say // I knew then that I would have to make her proud of me / Because what she saw was a vision of herself in me

The Human Sexuality Shelf

Sex!: The Punctuation Mark of Life
Lucretia Torva
Tenth Street Press
c/o Smith Publicity
1930 E Marlton Pike, Suite I-46, Cherry Hill, NJ 08003
9780992386153, $13.95, 210 pp,

Synopsis: Sex is real and these are real stories. Leave the unrealistic heroes and ladies behind. Enjoy the trip through Lucretia Torva's actual sex-capades. Lucretia is an open-minded and curious artist ready for stimulating experiences. Follow her from the age of 18 up through her mid-fifties. She is with older men, younger men... and a few women. You will relate to some of these tales and live vicariously through others. The stories are told with honest observation and a spirited sense of humor. Sex is what we make of it. Enjoy the ride.

Critique: Candid, iconoclastic, deftly written, "Sex!: The Punctuation Mark of Life" is very highly recommended and entertaining reading for a mature readership with an interest in a practical, insightful approach to human sexuality and the human condition. It should be noted that "Sex!: The Punctuation Mark of Life" is also available in a Kindle edition ($3.99).

The Gaming Shelf

Model III: The Longitudinal Star Gate 14 Model
Siafa B. Neal
Outskirts Press, Inc.
10940 South Parker Road, #515, Parker, CO 80134
9781478718567, $83.95, 278pp,

Synopsis: Model III : The Longitudinal Star Gate 14 Model : An In-Depth Perspective of Sequential Conglomerates Informatics Playing the same chess games over and over for centuries is its own form of insanity. Once the basics of chess are mastered, where is there to go ? The third dimension, according to author Siafa B. Neal. Model III : The Longitudinal Star Gate 14 Model : An In-Depth Perspective of Sequential Conglomerates Informatics, raises the bar of conventional chess to higher levels of sophistication with challenging, new exciting concepts of Advance 3-Dimensional Matrix Vector Chess. The book provides an out-of-the-box learning experience about the complexities and challenges of strategic games which are mind-boggling and mind-baffling, allows readers who desperately want to divulge into the pseudo-dynamics and quasi-kinetics World of Chess to explore and exhaust the opportunities to test the plasticity boundary limit ranges of their full spectrum cognitive elasticity cognition capacities and permits readers to explore and to exhaust the tapestry of the intense psychological warfare of Matrix Chess under the philosophical guidance of exhausting the possibilities to newer approaches to life in general. Everyone from the beginner to master of the game of chess can appreciate the true value of Model III which provides finger-nail-biting, seat-gripping excitement and pizzazz, which enables chess enthusiasts to test their intelligence capabilities concerning matters with regards to Logistics and Strategics Planning and Analysis and which advocates the World of 3-D Chess. Model III which is a must-have chess novelty book, presents Diagrams, Illustrations, Drawings and Photos about the space-age, Advance Chess games - tools that makes relearning the game entertaining and easy to understand. The book also offers equations that display the mathematical and spatial relationships of the chess piece movement. The language of chess is indeed an expression of mathematical spatial relativity. By elevating the conventional game into newer and unique spheres, players advance into Master and Professional territory of the game. Model III : The Longitudinal Star Gate 14 Model is a once-in-a-lifetime book that provides readers the ultimate battle plan, entertains chess fans who have higher expectation of the game and allows readers who have an open mind and who are receptive to the newer challenges of 3-D Chess to reexamine their Diagnostic and Prognostic approaches to the game.

Critique: "Model III: The Longitudinal Star Gate 14 Model" is an expertly written and presented gaming theory that will be of particular and intense interest to advanced chess players. Also available in a hardcover edition (9781478717195, $92.95) "Model III: The Longitudinal Star Gate 14 Model" is also very highly recommended for college and university chess instructional reference collections as well.

The Cookbook Shelf

Dining at the White House
John Moeller
America Lifestyle Publishing
c/o Life Reloaded Speciality Publishing, LLC
9781608000135, $35.00, 416pp,

Synopsis: "Dining at the White House: From the President's Table to Yours" provides an insider's view into the experience of dining at the White House and describes Chef Moeller's most memorable moments cooking for three First Families. It includes over 100 recipes for one-of-a-kind dishes featuring his trademark use of fresh, seasonal ingredients inspired by his classical French training with an American twist. Useful chef notes help adapt fine French cooking techniques for the home cook.

Critique: As one of the most powerful and prestigious positions in the world, the presidential kitchens spare no expense or expertise in providing culinary pleasures to state dining occasions and ordinary meals for the presidential family at the White House. Covering the two Bush administrations as well as the Clinton administration, and very nicely illustrated throughout, "Dining at the White House: From the President's Table to Yours" is a unique and highly recommended addition to personal and community library collections replete with insider information on life as a White House chef.

Mealtime Magic
Amy Houts
Houts & Home Publications LLC
26162 Ridge Drive, Maryville, MO 64468-8338
9780985508401, $12.95,

Synopsis: With Amy Houts' "Mealtime Magic: Delicious Dinners in Half the Time", the family cook can save $500 a year in their grocery bills while spending fewer hours in the kitchen. Over 200 pages of recipes with clear, detailed directions will enable even the most novice kitchen chef to provide delicious, home-cooked meals quickly and efficiently. Amy's method (where one dinner becomes the basis of two additional meals) is practical and doable. Each meal is completely different, so different that no one will guess they are eating leftovers. And with little food waste, food budget money is saved.. Multicultural recipes in "Mealtime Magic" represent the melting pot of the USA. Recipes use ordinary ingredients available at any local grocery store. A semi-concealed spiral binding allows for easy recognition on the bookshelf and easy reading while cooking.

Critique: The recipes range from Old-Fashioned Chicken Salad; Turkey Tetrazzini; Grandma Lil's Stuffed Cabbage; and Nana's Beef Brisket; to Reuben Sandwiches; Lentil Soup with Brats; Pulled Pork with Honey-Mustard Sauce; and a Cheesy Ham & Potato Casserole. "Mealtime Magic: Delicious Dinners in Half the Time" will prove to be an extraordinarily popular addition to 'budget conscious' and time-stressed family cookbook collections.

The Photography Shelf

Dorothea Lange Color: Photography
Neil Scott-Petrie
4900 LaCross Rd., North Charleston, SC 29406
9781495477157, $30.00, 126pp,

Synopsis: Dorothea Lange never out of vogue, now her famous black and white images are in color bringing the real events closer to the observer, giving you a more realistic view of how things were during the migration to California 1935-1939. This unique book is packed with introductory facts about Dorothea Lange, the FSA, the dust bowl and the displaced migrants of the 1930's. With over 70 colored images of her famous photographs, this book makes a very interesting and thought provoking realization of how things really might have been, making this book a must buy.

Critique: Dorothea Lange (May 26, 1895 - October 11, 1965) was an influential American documentary photographer and photojournalist, best known for her Depression-era work for the Farm Security Administration (FSA). Lange's photographs humanized the consequences of the Great Depression and influenced the development of documentary photography. "Dorothea Lange color" should be considered a 'must' for her legions of fans and would make an enduringly popular addition to community and academic library American Photography collections.

The Biography Shelf

Fitz: The Colonial Adventures of James Edward FitzGerald
Jenifer Roberts
Otago University Press
c/o International Specialized Book Services
920 Northeast 58th Avenue, Suite 300, Portland, OR, 97213
9781877578731, $40.00, 392pp,

Synopsis: "Fitz" is the story of James Edward FitzGerald (circa 1818 - 2 August 1896), whose energy and enthusiasm contributed so much to the early history of Christchurch, New Zealand. Orator, writer, politician, and journalist, he was the first Canterbury Pilgrim to set foot in New Zealand, the first superintendent of the province of Canterbury, the first leader of the general government, and the founder of the Press newspaper. From the account of his early years in the Anglo-Irish gentry of England to his old age as auditor-general of the colony, Fitz is a gripping biography that reads like a novel, breathing new life into the extraordinary man who played a major role in public life through 50 years of New Zealand history. Jenifer Roberts, the author of "Fitz", is an English historian and direct descendant of James Edward FitzGerald. With access to sources previously inaccessible to researchers, Roberts provides new information about one of New Zealand's most outstanding colonists and his equally talented wife. Together, they personified the pioneer spirit of 19th-century New Zealand - a spirit re-invoked today in the people of Christchurch.

Critique: A superbly written, organized, and presented biography of a truly remarkable (and occasionally controversial) man, "Fitz: The Colonial Adventures of James Edward FitzGerald" is informative, engaging, and entertaining from beginning to end. Enhanced with the inclusion of a Timeline, extensive notes on the text, a bibliography, and an index, "Fitz: The Colonial Adventures of James Edward FitzGerald" is a model of biographical scholarship that is especially recommended to students of 19th Century British colonialism in general, and New Zealand's colonial period in particular.

Cubs To Bonanzas
Richard A. Komm
Xlibris Corporation
1663 South Liberty Drive, Bloomington, IN 47403-5161
Bohlsen Group (publicity)
9781483650395, $19.99, 154pp,

Synopsis: "Cubs to Bonanzas: A Sixty-Five-Year Perspective through a Pilot's Eyes" is the personal memoir of Richard A. Komm, who has been fascinated by and involved with grass-roots aviation from his early teen age years to the present. He first flew in St. Louis, Missouri in 1947, earning his Private Pilot Certificate in 1952 with Commercial, Multi-Engine, Glider, and Instrument Ratings to follow. This is Komm's personal view of the enormous changes that have evolved over the nearly seven past decades. Of special interest are his commentaries on flying cross-country. Now in his nineties and still involved in aviation at the Deer Valley Airport in Phoenix, Arizona, "Cubs To Bonanzas" offers a unique perspective and will be of especial interest to aviation enthusiasts. Highly recommended, it should be noted that "Cubs To Bonanzas" is also available in both a hardcover edition (9781483650401, $22.99) and a Kindle edition ($3.99).

The Way The Truth and The Life
Mickey R. Mullen
Trafford Publishing
1663 Liberty Drive, Bloomington, IN 47403
Bohlsen Group (publicity)
9781552127742, $14.00, 102pp,

Synopsis: A fast paced autobiography from World War II to the present "The Way The Truth and The Life" is the candid and personal story of Mickey R. Mullen. From living on a farm as a preachers kid who endured a variety of abuses, to a profane, drunken, hard-driving lifestyle, and then overcoming those character deficiencies with the Lord's help, Mullen's conversion from belligerent indifference to an enduring Christian commitment is inspired and inspiring.

Critique: Deftly written and enriched with scriptural quotes and occasional black-and-white period photography, making for very highly recommended reading, it should be noted that "The Way The Truth and The Life" is also available in both a hardcover edition (9781412201483, $25.95) and a Kindle edition ($7.99).

The Military Shelf

Fields of War: Battle of Normandy
Robert J. Mueller
French Battlefields
PO Box 4808
Buffalo Grove, Illinois 60089-4808
9780982367735 $29.95

Fields of War: Battle of Normandy is an in-depth guide to largest amphibious invasion in history - June 6, 1944, the day when the combined forces of American, Britain, Canada, and other allied nations arrived on the shore of Normandy, France to begin the liberation of Europe from Adolf Hitler, during the Second World War. Written to be accessible to travelers and military historians alike, Fields of War: Battle of Normandy pairs a historical overview of the battle with a meticulous tour of the surviving landmarks, military museums, and monuments. A wealth of black-and-white maps and historical (as well as contemporary) photographs illustrate this comprehensive reference and resource, as fascinating to armchair travelers as it is useful to tourists interested in seeing the battlefield firsthand.

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

Copyright ©2001

Site design by Williams Writing, Editing & Design