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Small Press Bookwatch

Volume 18, Number 6 June 2019 Home | SPBW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice American History Shelf Pets/Wildlife Shelf
Health/Medicine Shelf Self-Help Shelf Christian Studies Shelf
Fiction Shelf Mystery/Suspense Shelf Fantasy/SciFi Shelf
Political Science Shelf Biography Shelf Sports Shelf
Gardening Shelf Photography Shelf Money/Finance Shelf
Railroading Shelf Business Shelf Terrorism Studies Shelf

Reviewer's Choice

Abraham Lincoln and Making a Case
Joseph F. Roda
9781546263937 $26.99 hc / $3.03 Kindle

Synopsis: We remember Abraham Lincoln for many things, but without his ability at persuasion, we would remember him for nothing. It was that ability that brought him first to national prominence and the White House, and then through the most difficult four years that any president has ever faced. This book focuses exclusively on that ability, looking first at Lincoln's history of persuasive efforts, from the poverty-stricken boy who stood on tree stumps to repeat sermons, through the young state legislator and congressman, courtroom lawyer, rising national politician, and ultimately president, and then at what made him so effective: his personality and intellect, his credibility and clarity, and his masterful use of fact, logic, and emotion. It is a remarkable story.

Critique: Abraham Lincoln and Making a Case: The Story of a Master is a unique cross-examination of President Abraham Lincoln's character, studying how Lincoln honed his skills in negotiation and persuasion as a local politician and lawyer. Once a poverty-stricken child, Lincoln cultivated a masterful talent for appealing to both reason and emotion. Abraham Lincoln and the Making of a Case studies Lincoln's life journey, and his gradual transformation to a master statesman who ultimate saved the Union from being permanently riven in two by the Civil War. Abraham Lincoln and Making a Case is erudite, insightful, and highly recommended especially for public and college library collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Abraham Lincoln and Making a Case" is also available in a Kindle edition ($3.03).

The Third Of Three
Jim Graves
Dorrance Publishing Company
585 Alpha Drive, Suite 103, Pittsburgh, PA 15238
9781480959392, $21.00, HC, 110pp,

Synopsis: "The Third of Three" an anthology of deftly scripted short stories of and by the Wisconsin author, Jim Graves.

Graves starts with relatable family experiences from childhood to retirement, and evolves through a mosaic of interesting people that he has met in the course of his life.

While none of the people in the stories comprising "The Third Of Three" are famous, they showcase and illustrate just how remarkable the people are that we encounter in our everyday live can be, and how everyone has a story worthy of being told!

Critique: An absorbing, entertaining, original, thoughtful and thought-provoking read throughout, "The Third Of Three" by Jim Graves is an especially recommended addition to personal reading lists, as well as community library collections.

The American History Shelf

George Washington Dealmaker-In-Chief
Cyrus A. Ansary
Lambert Publications
9781732687905, $16.25, PB, 474pp,

Synopsis: Drawing on substantial new material, in "George Washington Dealmaker-In-Chief: The Story of How The Father of Our Country Unleashed The Entrepreneurial Spirit in America", international lawyer and financier, educator and philanthropist Cyrus A. Ansary gives a riveting account of how George Washington sought to put in place in America an economic system that was the antithesis of what had existed in the colonies under British rule.

The entrepreneurial economy (which nurtures and rewards innovation and inventiveness) did not sprout into being in the United States by sheer happenstance. It was put in place by our first President. He painstakingly laid the foundation for it, but it did not take root without a struggle. He needed extraordinary tenacity to overcome fierce opposition to his program.

President Washington's economic initiatives are the least well understood facets of Washington's busy and productive life. They enlarged the dreams and opportunities of Americans, led to a flourishing entrepreneurial climate, and are an inspiring tale for our time.

Critique: A unique, detailed, and compelling account, "International lawyer and financier, educator and philanthropist" is an extraordinary and highly recommended addition to 18th Century American History community and academic library collections in general, and George Washington supplemental studies reading lists in particular. It should be noted for students, academia, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "George Washington Dealmaker-In-Chief" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $7.50).

The Pets/Wildlife Shelf

Re-Bisoning the West
Kurt Repanshek
Torrey House Press
9781937226985, $18.95, PB, 200pp,

Synopsis: Kurt Repanshek, an award-winning journalist whose career stretches into four decades, is well-versed in public lands, wildlife, recreation, and environmental issues. His writing has appeared in Smithsonian, Audubon, National Geographic Traveler, and numerous other periodicals. He is the founder of, the only editorially independent media organization that is dedicated to daily coverage of national parks and protected areas.

In "Re-Bisoning the West: Restoring an American Icon to the Landscape" Kurt deftly traces the history of bison from the species' near extinction to present-day efforts to bring bison back to the landscape. Included are all the biological, political, and cultural hurdles confronting these efforts.

"Re-Bisoning the West" also explores Native Americans' relationships with bison, and presents a forward thinking approach to returning bison to the West and improving the health of American prairie ecosystems.

Critique: Impressively informative and exceptionally well written, "Re-Bisoning the West: Restoring an American Icon to the Landscape" is an extraordinary and detailed history of species restoration and one of which will be of paramount importance for community and academic library collections, as well as the personal reading lists of the non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject.

The Pet Sitter's Tale
Laura Vorreyer
1663 Liberty Drive, Suite 200, Bloomington, IN 47403-5161
9781546213260, $23.99, HC, 144pp,

Synopsis: "The Pet Sitter's Tale" is author Laura Vorreyer's personal collection of stories about her love affair with pets from the time she was a young girl growing up in Chicago to her unintentionally becoming a professional pet sitter in Los Angeles. Each individual story is infused with the Laura's unique sense of humor and observations about the foibles and adventures of furry children and their human counterparts.

Filling multiple roles as animal expert, companion, therapist, and friend, Laura muses over her client's pet obsessions while always lending a compassionate ear. Poignant and humorous, "The Pet Sitter's Tale" will have a very special appeal to anyone who has ever had their heartstrings tugged by a cute pet.

Critique: An entertainingly delightful read from cover to cover, "The Pet Sitter's Tale" is an extraordinary, unique, and unreservedly recommended addition to community library collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Pet Sitter's Tale" is also available in a paperback edition (9781546213284, $13.41) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $3.03).

The Health/Medicine Shelf

After Stroke, revised edition
David M. Hinds
Luminare Press, LLC
9781643881027, $17.08, PB, 300pp,

Synopsis: David M Hinds made a 100% recovery from a major stroke. To facilitate his recovery he used many of the techniques he employed as a successful stress management consultant to create a warmly personal and practical step-by-step recovery plan.

Now in a fully updated and newly revised edition, "After Stroke" is his offering of a motivational lifeline for all those recovering from stroke (and their caregivers as well) thereby helping them to adjust to this new situation.

David stresses the value of the three 'P's (Patience, Positive attitude and Perseverance) and includes the following advice: Keep calm, stop worrying and hold on to your sense of humor; Simplify your life and let others help; All that matters is getting well; Balance periods of healing exertion with much-needed rest; How the emotions you feel (anger, bitterness, guilt) can be used to fuel recovery;

Complete with information on risk factors; why a stroke occurs and what happens when it does; clear diagrams to help movement after stroke; how to get the best care in a specialized stroke unit; how to work hand-in-hand with the professionals; tests and surgery; and a comprehensive and valuable worldwide resource section, "After Stroke" is as informed and informative a read as it is ultimately inspiring.

Critique: Exceptionally well written, organized and presented, this newly expanded edition of "After Stroke" is an especially and unreservedly recommended addition to community Health & Medicine collections. Especially commended to the attention of anyone having to deal with the medical condition of a stroke, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "After Stroke" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.23).

The Great Book of Essenian and Egyptian Therapies
Daniel Meurois & Marie Johanne Croteau
Sacred Worlds Publishing
9780998741703, $21.95, PB, 210pp,

Synopsis: The Essenes were a Jewish sect during the Second Temple period that flourished from the 2nd century BCE to the 1st century CE -- and best known today in relation to the Dead Sea Scrolls.

What's not so well known is that the Essenians, like the Ancient Egyptians, had mastered the art of the energetic therapies. After being hidden for thousands of years, their knowledge is coming back today in response to our society's profound need to once again find deep roots and dimensions.

"The Great Book of Essenian and Egyptian Therapies" is the produce of many years of research and practice, the result of which is the most complete set of Essenian techniques and perceptions of the human being subtle anatomy ever collected. The authors, Daniel Meurois and his wife, Marie Johanne Croteau, intend the book as an especially well illustrated, clear and precise teaching tool.

All those who are interested in health and the harmonious balance of the being will appreciate "The Great Book of Essenian and Egyptian Therapies" because of its exciting content and training in terms of both the horizons it opens, and its practical-side, coupled with the reconciliatory philosophy that emerges. Therapists and students in energetic therapies will discover a pleasant user-friendly manual rich in working techniques and innovative elements designed to develop their practice.

Through its approach (based on the Archetypes and symbols that touch on the physical, subtle, psychological and spiritual dimensions of the being, and through its information on combining the internal development and global health of the organism) "The Great Book of Essenian and Egyptian Therapies" offers everyone new avenues of growth and harmony. More than ever, the reader as the practitioner will be brought to understand the marvelous relationship unifying human being (body, soul and spirit) with the force of Universal Life, the Divine that includes everything.

Critique: Essential reading for all body workers looking to deepen and expand their practice, "The Great Book of Essenian and Egyptian Therapies" is an inherently fascinating and unique contribution to the growing library of alternative medicine. While unreservedly recommended for personal, community, and academic library Health/Medicine collections, it should be noted for students, academia, health care professionals, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "The Great Book of Essenian and Egyptian Therapies" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

Yoga for Amputees
Marsha Therese Danzig
Sacred Oak Publishing
9780974485843, $39.95, PB, 446pp,

Synopsis: Written specifically for those who have lost a limb, "Yoga for Amputees: The Essential Guide to Finding Wholeness after Lim Loss for Yoga Students and their Teachers" shows how they can successfully engage in powerful yoga practices to build balance, strength, confidence and body awareness.

Readers will learn how to adapt their yoga activities to their own particular individual level of limb loss. How to reduce pain and stress due to limb loss. How to ignite their life with inner and outer transformation. How yoga instructors can their amputee clients to better health and well-being in a clinic or rehabilitation hospital setting.

Yoga offers amputees the flexibility, strength and stamina they are seeking, while also providing emotional, mental and spiritual well-being to help amputees of all levels thrive in life. Featuring step by step poses modeled by fellow amputees, with detailed adaptations for leg and arm amputees, as well as yoga tools specific to amputee challenges, such as yoga for phantom pain, "Yoga for Amputees" is a comprehensive guide for both amputees and the people who work with them.

Critique: Simply stated, exceptionally well organized and presented, "Yoga for Amputees" is an essential instruction guide and manual for any amputee wanting to reclaim their health and wellness after limb loss or anyone working in rehabilitation who wants to add yoga to their patient care plan, such as prosthetists, physical therapists, occupational therapists, recreational therapists, kinesiologists and physicians.

Editorial Note: Marsha Therese Danzig is a pioneer in the fields of yoga and wellness. She is the founder of Y4A: Yoga for Amputees. Given death rites at the age of five, she survived Ewing's sarcoma, a bone cancer, leg amputation, kidney failure, kidney transplant and heart issues. As an author, speaker, lifelong dancer and yoga specialist she has been featured in Good Housekeeping, Yoga Journal, and Oprah Magazine. Here website is

Save Your Life Now
Dr. April Schulte
Healing Horizons Media
9781733616706, $15.95, PB, 174pp,

Synopsis: Written especially for those who feel powerless in their quest to live life to its fullest because they aren't feeling well. Those who are frustrated by a health care system that matches prescription drugs to every symptom, and who are overwhelmed trying to figure out what their options are, "Save Your Life Now: Your Health is in Your Hands" is a seminal and instruction guide and manual by Dr. April Schulte that shows how her pioneering approach to integrative medicine can put the reader in the driver's seat to achieving their healthiest life possible.

Practical and easy-to-follow, the reader will be able to: Make connections between the mental, emotional, physical and spiritual aspects of health; Understand how integrative and collaborative medicines can help to identify and treat root causes of an illness; Gain independence from health insurance and pharmaceutical companies; Feel more comfortable with combining complementary medicine with conventional medicine; Establish customized path to feeling vibrantly healthy and full of energy.

Critique: Impressively informative, thoroughly 'user friendly' in organization and presentation, "Save Your Life Now: Your Health is in Your Hands" is an extraordinary and unreservedly recommended addition to personal and community library Contemporary Health & Medicine collections. It should be noted that "Save Your Life Now" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $5.99).

The Self-Help Shelf

Folder or Crumpler
Andrew Groelinger (Publisher)
9781733551304, $7.99, PB, 61pp,

Synopsis: "Folder or Crumpler: Wipe Away Your Misconceptions, Understand Your Strengths & Get the Most From Others" is about entrepreneurial coach and business owner Andrew Groelinger's theory that there are two types of people in the world; Folders and Crumplers. It's a reference to how you might actually use toilet paper, but in this slender little volume he explores how this behavior applies directly to defining the different natures of a Folder vs. Crumpler.

"Groelinger's goal of is to help his readers to understand the two personas so that they can identify and embrace who they are. Once they understand their own nature and subsequently how others around them "roll", they will understand how Folders and Crumplers can cause friction for each other or can create amazing success together.

Everyone is either a Folder or a Crumpler. But probably aren't 100% one or the other but somewhere on a the FC Continuum. This little collection of insights will enable the reader to better understand themselves and others.

Critique: A deftly presented and thoroughly 'reader friendly' little self-help manual, "Folder or Crumpler: Wipe Away Your Misconceptions, Understand Your Strengths & Get the Most From Others" is an original, entertaining, and highly recommended addition to personal and community library Self-Help/Self-Improvement collections. It should be noted that "Folder or Crumpler" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $2.99).

Imagineer Your Future
Les LaMotte
Xlibris Corporation
1663 South Liberty Drive, Bloomington, IN 47403-5161
9781984568571, $39.95, HC, 182pp,

Synopsis: "Imagineer Your Future" deftly draws upon insights that came from both the author Les LaMotte's successes and failures and will significantly help anyone seeking to discover their core passions before making educational or business decisions.

As LaMotte writes: "A half-century ago, my grandfather taught me the wonder of designing, building, and flying my first kite. It was a remarkable experience. The kite was made of sugar pine, wrapping string, newspaper and white glue."

Those very valuable insights and introduction to handmade creativity were combined with his Eagle Scouting experience and lightweight aerospace aluminum tent tubing and further development using his graphic design skills. His knowledge of the beginning wave of large scale digital printing led him to design and found Xtra Lite Display Systems Inc. of Burnsville, Minnesota, USA.

With fourteen dollars and armed with a single photo of his graphic display, some ad copy and a list of addresses of magazines from around the world, LaMotte instantly began receiving orders from places like Argentina, Brazil, and Spain, adding up to over thirty-six countries around the globe. His displays sold over fourteen million dollars in revenue over the fourteen years of his business.

Critique: Nicely illustrated throughout, thoroughly 'reader friendly' in organization and presentation, "Imagineer Your Future: Discover Your Core Passions" is as 'real world practical' as it is inspirationally motivating, making it unreservedly recommended for personal, community, and academic library Self-Help/Self-Improvement collections. It should be noted that "Imagineer Your Future" is also available in a paperback edition (9781984568564, $29.95) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $3.99).

The Christian Studies Shelf

Everything Can Change in Forty Days
Jean Watson
Seedbed Publishing
9781628245462, $12.95, PB, 193pp,

Synopsis: "Everything Can Change in Forty Days" by Jean Watson was specifically written for anyone who longs for change in themselves, in those they love, or in the world around them. For those who have prayed for transformation to no avail.

"Everything Can Change in Forty Days", encourages all of us to stop trying to create change and simply live a lifestyle of worship, allowing God to work in us and through us. If feeling discouraged or stuck, then set aside forty days to renew your faith and believe that, with Christ, everything can change!

Critique: Inspired and inspiring, "Everything Can Change in Forty Days" is a life changing, life enhancing instructional guide that is unreservedly recommended to all members of the Christian community regardless of denominational affiliations. It should be noted personal reading lists that "Everything Can Change in Forty Days" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $14.95).

Love Is the Answer, God Is the Cure
Aimee Cabo Nikolov
Inspirational Books Publishing
9780578433868, $15.95, PB, 150pp,

Synopsis: In this riveting memoir Aimee Cabo shares the inside story of a young girl's courage to stand up to sexual, physical, and emotional abuse while facing her abusers in a trial the media dubbed "The Case from Hell." Her family secrets burst in the spotlight when Aimee and her sister went to the authorities and as she fought court battles, poverty, abuse, and addiction, Aimee always turned to love and God.

"Love is the Answer, God is the Cure" is the intensely personal story of a woman who triumphed against all odds, persevered to find that her faith in God, along with true love would form a family that could withstand anything.

Critique: A simply riveting story of faith overcoming multiple tragedies of abuse, poverty and addiction, "Love Is the Answer, God Is the Cure: A True Story of Abuse, Betrayal and Unconditional Love" is inspired and inspiring. While highly recommended to the attention of all members of the Christian community, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Love Is the Answer, God Is the Cure" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $3.99).

The Fiction Shelf

The Countess
Lisa Doughty
Independently Published
9781796603460, $11.95, PB, 430pp,

Synopsis: Lady Cordelia began life abandoned by her father, the Earl of Swanstone, to the Fountain Abbey School for girls after her mother died in childbirth. Cold, detached and heartless, her father never visited his daughter until she became of age, then arranged her marriage, or rather sold her to Lord Harvey Cromwell, Earl of Middleton Park. Cromwell was 30 years her senior, infected with the French disease was practically destitute thanks to the escapades of his former and now deceased wife.

To make matters worse, the earl practiced disturbing sexual proclivities which he forced on his young wife. Cordelia, being innocent yet sharp, was forced to endure her circumstance and finds a way to survive. However, the encounters with the earl leave her scarred for life, distrusting of all men and their treatment of her. When the earl finally succumbs to his illness, she becomes the tenth Countess of Middleton Park at the tender age of nineteen and vows never to belong to a man ever again.

Left in debt and with a crumbling estate, Cordelia uses the only thing of value left to her by the late earl, her position and her connections. Out of necessity she begins a matchmaking service that caters to nobility, far and near. Clever and shrewd, she joins forces with London's most sought-after designer Rodrigo, who creates the most exquisite and unique fashions for the debutantes in her service.

The transformation of her clients is incredible and soon becomes her calling card. That, paired with her uncanny ability to match her clients to the members of the exclusive Ton, soon makes her services a lucrative commodity. For the young, beautiful, and unobtainable Countess this means independence and freedom, and she finally feels as if her life is her own. Until she encounters Lord Rhys Drayson, Marquess of Roth.

For the first time, Cordelia is taken aback by his handsome face and undeniable charisma. Lord Roth has a well-publicized reputation of being a rake and a womanizer, so Cordelia quickly decides to rid herself of the arrogant lord, who solicits her services at the insistence of his sister Lady Esme Drayson. Unable to escape the Marquess and the undeniable attraction between them, Cordelia soon starts to buckle under the rake's attentions. As her defenses fall, so does her resolve to never give her heart to a man.

Until the night his past follows him to her doorstep and threatens to shatter her heart into a million pieces, despite the undeniable love building between them.

Critique: The first title in author Lisa Doughty's 'The Matchmaker' series, "The Countess" is a simply riveting read from first page to last. A novelist with a genuine flair for originality and a distinctive, reader engaging, narrative storytelling style, "The Countess" is the stuff of which BBC miniseries are made -- and reads with all the style and flair of one! While very highly recommended, especially for community library Historical Romance collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Countess" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $4.99).

Occupational Hazard
Alex S. Avitabile
Independently Published
9781732306301, $9.99, PB, 198pp,

Synopsis: "Occupational Hazard: An Al and Mick Forte Story" is story of two cousins, both of whom grew up back in the day on the mean streets of South Brooklyn, who team up against a powerful bully who will stop at nothing to defeat a foe.

One is Al Forte, a highly competent and fair-minded attorney. The other is Mick Forte, a "semi-reformed" Mafioso. Cousin Al is not so sure about the extent of cousin Mick's reformation. The bully is Gordon Gilbert, the brilliant, former head of the powerhouse law firm he built, who is now a Deputy Mayor and remains as power-hungry and ruthless as ever.

Al is retained by a desperate Mary Woodley to sue Gilbert whom she says impregnated her and fathered a child he refuses to acknowledge and support. Despite having little litigation and no family law experience, Al readies himself to sue Gilbert for child support. Mick warns Al that the real battle will be not in the courtroom, but on the streets, Mick's turf, as Gilbert and his goons will surely resort to "dirty tricks" to thwart Al's efforts.

Al initially rejects Mick's offer to help, fearing such a loose cannon will undermine his legal battle against Gilbert. Al reconsiders after he finds himself in jail, where he awakens to the nature of the adversary he is up against. Will Al, even assisted by Mick and his considerable street smarts, be a match for devious Gilbert and his superior resources? Will justice for Mary be achieved in the courtroom or on the streets -- if at all?

Critique: A very nicely crafted and original novel by an author with a genuine flair for narrative storytelling and the creation of memorable characters, "Occupational Hazard" is a fully entertaining read from cover to cover. While very highly recommended, especially for community library collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Occupational Hazard" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $3.99).

The Dark Side of Paradise
Richard J. Kerr
Rand-Smith Publishing
9781950544004, $16.00, PB, 180pp,

Synopsis: Richard J. Kerr is a former Deputy Director of America's Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

"The Dark Side of Paradise: Odd and Intriguing Stories from Vero Beach" blends together Kerr's professional experiences from his over-thirty-year career as a high-ranking official in the CIA with his idyllic life as a Florida retiree living in beautiful Vero Beach.

Using his involvement in a local writing group as a common thread weaved through the stories, Kerr shares tales that explore the inner workings of the mind and examine good vs. evil. How do we decide between right and wrong? What do we do when we think no one is watching?

Kerr deft crafts his short stories so that they are unsettling, amusing, whimsical, and illuminating. Divided into four sections, "The Dark Side of Paradise" begins with spy-centric tales, moves to stories of surprise, segues into tales of death, and finishes on a lighter note. All the while, regardless of the section, the author's writer group and some of its members are weaved in and out of the stories to provide a common bond.

Only someone of his unique background could provide such an enlightening and intriguing look inside the mind of a CIA intelligence official as filtered through captivating tales that remain with the reader long after the last page has been turned.

Critique: An impressively entertaining and memorable collection of expertly written short stories that will hold the readers rapt attention from cover to cover, "The Dark Side of Paradise: Odd and Intriguing Stories from Vero Beach" is an extraordinary and unreservedly recommended addition to both community and academic library Contemporary Literary Fiction collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Dark Side of Paradise" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

Mom's Perfect Boyfriend
Crystal Hemmingway
Galbadia Press
9781950458004, $27.99, HC, 306pp,

Synopsis: Crystal has trouble saying no to her lonely, single mother. For 25 years, it wasn't a problem. But when one small mistake leaves Crystal jilted, homeless, and unemployed, she has to move back in with the person who caused it all: her mother.

Soon Crystal is sucked into her mother's vortex, partying with boomers and hawking homemade marshmallows. Desperate for some independence, she hatches a foolproof plan: get an experimental android to play her mom's "perfect" boyfriend. It's only a matter of time before her mom finds out, and Crystal will never live down the hilarious and disastrous consequences.

A story told through emails, texts, and journal entries, "Mom's Perfect Boyfriend" is a humorous yet deeply honest portrayal of the complicated friendship between mothers and daughters. Sometimes the people we want to rely upon the least are those who can help us the most!

Critique: A unique and inherently fascinating novel, "Mom's Perfect Boyfriend" showcases author Crystal Hemmingway's genuine flair for originality and complete mastery of the romantic comedy genre. A wonderfully entertaining read from beginning to end (and one which will resonate with many a daughter with similar mothers of their own!), "Mom's Perfect Boyfriend" is unreservedly recommended addition to community library Contemporary General Fiction collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Mom's Perfect Boyfriend" is also available in a paperback edition (9781950458011, $11.99) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $4.99).

A Tangled Web
A. Claire Everward
Author & Sister
9789659258451, $16.96, 410pp,

Synopsis: Tess Andrews needed to disappear. Ian Blackwell wanted the gossip chasers to stop disrupting his life. When the two of them said yes, neither had any idea who the other was, and they had nothing for each other but disdain and mistrust. But when Ian is threatened, Tess has a choice to make. Keep her head down, or help the man she married face an opponent who could destroy them both-and risk him discovering her secret.

Critique: A fully engaging, impressively original, deftly crafted romantic suspense novel by A. Claire Everward, "A Tangled Web" is a very highly recommended addition to community library Contemporary General Fiction collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "A Tangled Web" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $4.86).

The Austin Paradox
William R. Leibowitz
Manifesto Media Group
9780989866293, $15.98, PB, 476pp,

Synopsis: "The Austin Paradox" opens with Austin having lost his extraordinary intellectual powers in a laboratory explosion that was intended to kill him. Still in the prime of life, the blast cuts him down at the pinnacle of his brilliance and robs him of his tools. The greatest genius in history now struggles to find meaning in a life that has become devoid of purpose.

Embarking on a journey of self-discovery in an effort to regain his abilities, Austin clashes with private demons that threaten his sanity, a government obsessed with controlling him, and metaphysical forces intent on destroying him. When ruthless political and business interests align to pose an existential threat to humanity, Austin is thrust into the maelstrom.

Big Pharma which views him as their worst enemy, a CIA Director who is hell-bent on exploiting his genius, terrorists who lose control of a biological weapon, and a bevy of corrupt politicians and oligarches.

Doubted even by those who love him, Austin confronts a harrowing paradox as time runs out to save mankind from extinction.

Critique: "The Austin Paradox" is the long awaited sequel to the author William R. Leibowitz's award winning novel, "Miracle Man" and is another of his emotionally-charged stories that is a deftly crafted, complexly scripted, conspiracy thriller of the first order. A riveting read from first to last, "The Austin Paradox" is the stuff of which block-buster movies are made! While unreservedly recommended for community library collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Austin Paradox" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $2.99).

Stinky Tofu
Ross H. Nodell
Swamp Soup Corporation
9780960004317, $11.95, PB, 323pp,

Synopsis: "Stinky Tofu" by Ross H. Nodel presents the reader with a truly hilarious clash of cultures on steroids when conservative NYC Jewish banker Sam Lowe falls head over heels for Linda Liu, a stunning Chinese immigrant.

His desire to marry her requires a trip to Taiwan to get her mother's approval. Unfortunately Sam's travels are rife with awkward and embarrassing situations as he struggles like a buffoon with the language barrier, a horde of potential in-laws, bizarre foods and befuddling Asian customs.

Upon their return to New York, tensions ratchet up to an explosive level as Linda's large family begins their mass migration from Asia to the couple's tiny upper west side apartment.

Critique: A perfectly crafted comedic novel of the first order, Ross Nodell's "Stinky Tofu" is one of those all too rare, laugh out loud, fully entertaining novels by an author that not only possess a keen sense of humor and a genuine flair for originality as well. While "Stinky Tofu" is unreservedly and especially recommended for community library Contemporary General Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Stinky Tofu" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $3.99).

Man Mission
Eytan Uliel
Archway Publishing
1663 Liberty Drive, Bloomington, IN 47403-5161
9781480862920, $30.99, HC, 376pp,

Synopsis: In college a group of four young men establish a tradition: every year, they come together for a week-long trip in search of adventure and distraction. They travel around the world to go hiking, biking, or kayaking. They call it their Man Mission, a sacred ritual dedicated to new experiences and friendship.

In the course of their travels, they hitch a ride with drug dealers in New Zealand, down kava shots on Fijian beaches, come face-to-face with a roaring lion in South Africa, luxuriate in a resort intended only for Vietnamese Communist officials, trek to Machu Picchu, and go ice climbing in Iceland.

Over the years, they all get married, start families, establish careers, and do all the stuff upright men are supposed to do. But when the challenges of real life come into conflict with the perfect lives they are supposed to be living, the yearly Man Mission becomes more than an annual getaway. It's a source of stability and a place to find redemption.

Critique: An impressively scripted, erudite, entertaining and original novel by Eytan Iliel, "Man Mission" is about four regular guys as they seek meaning, purpose and adventure in a changing world where the traditional rules of "being a man" are no longer clear. While "Man Mission" is very highly recommended, especially for community and academic library Contemporary Literary Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Man Mission" is also available in a paperback edition (9781480862913, $16.20), and in a digital book format (Kindle, $3.03).

Victoria Landis
BookPainter Press
9780960066308, $16.99, PB, 355pp,

Synopsis: When Petra Simmons and her brother, Andy, help a seemingly homeless woman, it immediately changes their lives forever. Within days, it's clear the woman, Jordan Crissman, possesses an amazing ability -- perhaps the most miraculous ability of all.

They realize in the current world of viral social media, they must be careful. How best to employ the miracle without causing havoc? They plot a strategy. Despite their plans, word gets out too fast, and the world comes running, invading and overwhelming South Florida -- along with serious danger.

Television talking heads pontificate. Pundits opine. Some claim she's a messiah. Others insist she's the devil. Massive crowds gather, demanding to see Jordan. Everyone wants her. There seems to be nowhere to hide. Horrible rumors take hold. Protest groups march and riot. Mass hysteria reigns -- and people are dying.

Critique: From the Elmer Gantry school of American literature, and an inherently fascinating read from cover to cover, "Jordan" by Victoria Landis is unreservedly and enthusiastically recommended for both community and academic library Contemporary Literary Fiction collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Jordan" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $4.99).

The Promise
Gary Friedman
Lulu Publishing
3101 Hillsborough Street, Raleigh, NC 27607-5436
9781483447391, $14.95, PB, 212pp,

Synopsis: "The Promise" by Gary Friedman tells the story of David, who quietly returns to his hometown after failing to establish his musical career in Nashville. He avoids all contacts from his past except for his mentor Jacob, who helps David rise to the top of Buffalo's club scene.

With new success and reconciliation with his family on the horizon, tragedy suddenly strikes, and David finds himself lying in an emergency room, nearing death. While on his death bed, David makes a promise that proves to be life altering. After a miraculous recovery, he finds himself being held to his promise.

Thus begins a journey that will take David from New York to Georgia and back again, discovering that one man can make a difference, not only in the lives of others he encounters but in his own destiny.

Critique: "The Promise" is the first book of author Gary Friedman's 'The Shepherd Chronicles' trilogy. A deftly crafted novel by an author with a genuine flair for reader engaging storytelling, "The Promise" is an extraordinary and fully entertaining read from first page to last. While very highly recommended for community library Contemporary General Fiction collections it should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Promise" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $7.55).

Trophy Life
Lea Geller
Lake Union Publishing
9781503904200, $14.95, PB, 364pp,

Synopsis: For the last ten years, Agnes Parsons's biggest challenge has been juggling yoga classes and lunch dates. Her Santa Monica house staff takes care of everything, leaving Agnes to focus on her trophy-wife responsibilities: look perfect, adore her older husband, and wear terribly expensive (if uncomfortable) underwear.

When her husband disappears, leaving Agnes and their infant daughter with no money, no home, and no staff, she is forced to move across the country, where she lands a job teaching at an all-boys boarding school in the Bronx. So long, organic quinoa bowls and sunshine-filled California life. Hello, processed food, pest-infested house, and twelve-year-old-boy humor - all day, every day.

But it's in this place of second chances (and giant bugs), where Agnes is unexpectedly forced to take care of herself and her daughter, where she finds out the kind of woman she can be. Ultimately, she has to decide if she prefers the woman and mother she has become...or the trophy life she left behind.

"Trophy Life" is proof that granny panties and mom coats might not be the answer to everything; they're simply comfortable (if slightly unattractive) reminders of what happens when one life ends...and real life begins.

Critique: A deftly crafted and impressively entertaining gem of a novel by an author with a genuine flair for originality, humor, and a distinctively engage narrative storytelling style, "Trophy Life" is an extraordinary and highly recommended addition to community library Contemporary General Fiction collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Trophy Life" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $1.99) and as a complete and unabridged audio book (Brilliance Audio, 9781721337132, $14.99, CD).

Joseph Bentivegna
Outskirts Press, Inc.
10940 S. Parker Road, #515, Parker, CO 80134
9781977204349, $17.95, PB, 286pp,

Synopsis: Billionaire African-American Cord Campbell has just picked up his parents from the airport and is driving through a tony suburb to avoid traffic. But the local politicians have instructed the police to keep pigmented people out of the area and pull him over for DWB (driving while black). The police accuse Campbell of being a drug dealer and subject his family to a humiliating ordeal in which Campbell's elderly mother is strip-searched. Outraged and unable to obtain justice from the legal or political system, Campbell solicits the help of his old MIT college roommate, a CIA operative. Together they unleash a ruthless high-tech vendetta until Campbell accomplishes his true desire: Respect.

Critique: With a plot line that could well be ripped from tomorrow's newspaper headlines, "Respect" by Joseph Bentivegna is a deftly crafted and inherently riveting story of racism told with a distinctive narrative style that will hold the readers total attention from first page to last. While very highly recommended for community library Contemporary General Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Respect" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $2.99).

The Mystery/Suspense Shelf

Truth, Fiction and Lies
Susan Curry
Across Ocean Books
9780944176054, $15.99 PB, $8.69 Kindle, 296pp,

Synopsis: An old diary, tucked away in a historical museum since the Great Depression, provides clues as to what really happened on a farm outside Wirrim, a small Australian country town. Was it a murder/suicide, where a young mother shot herself and her three children? Or was her husband responsible? Does knowledge of the history of the time carry some weight?

A Japanese teenager and exchange student, Hiroshi Nakamura, chronically anxious and depressed, walks out of Wirrim and vanishes. Has he survived? If so, where is he? If not, is this a suicide? Or murder? Malcolm Richardson, an elderly farmer and son of a Japanese prisoner-of-war survivor, admits that he met the boy but swears that he had nothing to do with the disappearance. Truth, or lies? And where do his father's letters to his mother from the Middle East in World War II fit in?

These are mysteries that claim the attention of historian Merran Scofield, who grew up in Wirrim but left long ago to pursue an academic career in San Francisco. When she returns for a short study trip and attends a class reunion, she little guesses that her life will never be the same, thanks to former classmates, the local police officer and, again, her knowledge of the times.

Critique: A deftly crafted and inherently riveting mystery, "Truth, Fiction, and Lies" showcases author Susan Curry's genuine flair for originality and a distinctive, reader engaging narrative storytelling style. With a suspenseful plot that has more twists and turns than a Disney Land roller coaster, "Truth, Fiction, and Lies" is unreservedly recommended for community library Contemporary Mystery/Suspense collections. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of dedicated mystery buffs that "Truth, Fiction, and Lies" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $8.69).

Bob Adamov
Packard Island Publishing
9780978618483, $24.95, HC, 288pp,

Synopsis: In 1928 a Pinkerton detective in a Ford trimotor plane chases a Flagler treasure train to Key West during the Okeechobee Hurricane. Neither makes their destination.

Put-in-Bay's investigative reporter, Emerson Moore, learns of this mystery during a visit to Bellevue, Ohio's train museum. Working on a Cuba to Key West drug trafficking story, Moore goes undercover in a Key West bar, hoping to connect with a powerful Cuban drug lord while he also investigates the plane's and train's disappearance.

Amidst several murder attempts, Moore finds himself challenged to survive - especially when two characters appear from Moore's past who could reveal his true identity.

Assisted by a Cudjoe Key defense contractor, Moore is transported covertly to Cuba There he encounters a seductive Georgia woman searching for her lost brother, a DEA agent, and the two team up to infiltrate the drug lord's lair in the towering Sierra Maestra mountains.

After a series of mishaps, a seriously wounded and barely alive Moore flees down the mountainside into the jungle with his pursuers hot on his heels. Will he survive this deadly adventure?

Critique: "Flight" is an inherently riveting novel and one that showcases author Bob Adamov's genuine flair for originality, deftly crafted and memorable characters, as well as more plot twists and turns than a Coney Island roller coaster. Only available in a hardcover edition, "Flight" is certain to be an immediate and enduringly popular addition to community library collections and is highly recommended for the personal reading lists of all dedicated mystery/suspense fans.

False Horizon
Joseph Reid
Thomas & Mercer
9781503959361, $15.95, PB, 302pp,

Synopsis: A commuter flight has fallen from clear skies over West Virginia, its wing sheared off at twenty thousand feet. Air marshal Seth Walker is called to the mountains of Appalachia to investigate. But what he stumbles into is a ground war as unpredictable and combustible as a mason jar full of nitroglycerin.

Before he can even start searching for what might have downed the plane, Walker finds himself caught in the confounding (and deadly) cross fire between drone-deploying ecoterrorists, unstable frackers, ruthless drug smugglers, and armed miners pushed to the breaking point.

The escalating mystery takes a personal turn as Seth gets closer to the truth about the money, power, and politics motivating everyone involved - including those Seth believed he could trust. Can he dodge the danger lurking in every hill and holler long enough to discover what may be the biggest threat of all?

Critique: A deftly crafted and entertaining page turner of an action/adventure novel, "False Horizon" by Joseph Reid will prove to be an extraordinary and popular addition to community library collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "False Horizon" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $5.99) and as a complete and unabridged audio book (Brilliance Audio, 9781978641969, $14.99, CD).

A Lily in the Light
Kristin Fields
Lake Union Publishing
9781542041690, $15.99, HC, 288pp,

Synopsis: For eleven-year-old Esme, ballet is everything -- until her four-year-old sister, Lily, vanishes without a trace and nothing is certain anymore. People Esme has known her whole life suddenly become suspects, each new one hitting closer to home than the last.

Unable to cope, Esme escapes the nightmare that is her new reality when she receives an invitation to join an elite ballet academy in San Francisco. Desperate to leave behind her chaotic, broken family and the mystery surrounding Lily's disappearance, Esme accepts.

Eight years later, Esme is up for her big break: her first principal role in Paris. But a call from her older sister shatters the protective world she has built for herself, forcing her to revisit the tragedy she's run from for so long. Will her family finally have the answers they've been waiting for? And can Esme confront the pain that shaped her childhood, or will the darkness follow her into the spotlight?

Critique: A deftly scripted and reader engaging story told with a distinctive narrative style, "A Lily in the Light" by Kristin Fields" is a compelling and entertaining read from beginning to end. An impressively crafted psychological suspense novel by a master of the genre, "A Lily in the Light" is unreservedly recommended for community library collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "A Lily in the Light" is also available in a paperback edition (9781542041683, $14.95) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $4.99).

The Light of Our Yesterdays
Ken Hansen
Odium Odi Press, LLC
9781732853812, $27.95, HC, 702pp,

Synopsis: As a U.S. Homeland Security investigator becomes ensnared in a thicket of terrorist puzzles and codes unraveling his troubled past, his counterpart in a parallel Earth without Christianity experiences strange visions of our world after meeting a charismatic preacher with a new message of peace and forgiveness. The two men wade through intolerance, hatred and terrorism while struggling with their own skepticism as a growing connection between them unwittingly leads toward destruction, redemption, or both.

In our world, Chris Huxley, a former Catholic altar boy who has lost his faith, must decipher a series of clever codes hidden as contacts in a dead Islamic terrorist's cell phone. The puzzles toy with his past and take him through an odyssey of religious and historical sites as he hunts for the Ghost Leopard, a terrorist who may have a Vatican connection. As one of the terrorists vacillates over the dictates of his Islamic faith, Huxley is also forced to confront his own beliefs in the midst of troubling echoes from the parallel world.

In the parallel world dominated by Muslim empires, Tomadus, a prominent Romani technologist and merchant, experiences an intense flash of light when he meets the charismatic preacher, Isa, who has attracted both Islamic and Jewish followers. Trying to follow his inner "creature" and further confused by his ongoing visions, Tomadus befriends a downtrodden and disillusioned democratic terrorist, begins following Isa despite his ongoing disbelief, and seeks help from First Consul of Roma, a powerful mediator of emperors, who encourages him to keep tabs on the new preacher. As Tomadus tries to understand the source and nature of his visions and the world they represent, he becomes increasingly bent on saving his new friends and his world. But in the end, it may be Tomadus who needs saving.

Critique: A deftly crafted, multilayered, complexly plotted saga of a novel by an author with a genuine flair for originality and a distinctive, reader engaging, narrative storytelling style, "The Light Of Our Yesterdays" will have a very special appeal to science fiction fans and suspense thriller enthusiasts. While an especially recommended addition to community library collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Light Of Our Yesterdays" is also available in a paperback edition (9781732853805, $17.95) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $2.99).

Law and Addiction
Mike Papantonio
Waterside Productions
9781939116468, $24.95, HC, 312pp,

Synopsis: One week before his law school graduation, Jake Rutledge is shattered. His fraternal twin, Blake, has died of a drug overdose. When Jake returns to his hometown of Oakley, West Virginia, he discovers that his brother was not the only person hooked on opioid painkillers. The entire region has been ravaged by an epidemic insidiously planned and carried out by one of America's most powerful pharmaceutical companies.

Still wet behind the ears, Jake is determined to seek justice for all the victims of Big Pharma's greed. He soon learns that the drug companies' tentacles reach far and deep. His only hope is to get Nicholas "Deke" Deketomis to help. A partner at one of the country's most powerful law firms, Deke's "as tough as a two-dollar steak" and well-known for his winning tactics against corporate wrongdoers. With just enough persistence, Jake coaxes Deke to see Oakley's devastation firsthand. Overwhelmed, Deke agrees to join forces with Jake.

And that's when the real heat begins. Death threats, bribes, unlawful property seizure schemes - all are connected to the massive distribution of both legal and illegal drugs. Everyone is impacted, from the highest levels of corporate America to corrupt local officials to their lackeys and hapless victims. The complexity of the schemes is overwhelming.

Working tirelessly, the lawyers begin to uncover the truth. Along the way, Jake falls in love with Anna Fowler, a former homecoming queen who has succumbed to the power of opioids. With his support, she weans herself off the drugs. Hope begins to bloom -- when suddenly, Jake disappears. As Deke undertakes a desperate search to find him, questions swirl. Has Jake abandoned Anna and his crusade? Can the case against the evildoers move forward without him? Will Oakley and its residents survive?

Critique: "Law and Addiction" is a riveting, deftly scripted novel showcasing author Mike Papantonio's genuine flair for originality and reader engaging narrative storytelling style. A legal thriller of a read from first page to last, "Law and Addiction" is fully recommended for community library Contemporary General Fiction collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Law and Addiction" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.95) and as a complete and unabridged audio book (Blackstone Audio, 9781982652920, $29.95, MP3 CD).

Mink Eyes
Dan Flanigan
Arjuna Books
9781733610308, $9.95, PB, 296pp,

Synopsis: Private detective Peter O'Keefe is a physically scarred and emotionally battered Vietnam Vet. in October of 1986 when he is hired by his childhood best friend, ace attorney Mike Harrigan to investigate what appears to be merely a rinky-dink mink farm Ponzi scheme in the Ozarks. Instead, O'Keefe finds himself snared in a vicious web of money laundering, cocaine smuggling, and murder -- all woven together by a mysterious mobster known as "Mr. Canada". Also caught in Mr. Canada's web is the exquisite Tag Parker, who might be the girl of O'Keefe's dreams -- or his worst nightmares!

Critique: A terrifically entertaining and deftly crafted mystery by an author with an impressively flair for originality and a mastery of the genre, Dan Flanigan's "Mink Eyes" will prove to be an exceptional and enduringly appreciated addition to community library Mystery/Suspense collections -- and the personal reading lists of all truly dedicated mystery buffs who appreciate a 'whodunnit' with more twists and turns that a Coney Island roller coaster!

Death in Delmarva
Caroline Taylor
Black Rose Writing
PO Box 1540, Castroville, TX 78009
9781684332250, $18.95, PB, 219pp,

Synopsis: Daphne Dunn works as a lowly stockroom clerk in her cousin's Foggy Bottom grocery store. She's also required to play bill collector to customers who aren't paying for their food, including pregnant Beatriz Cabeza de Vaca, who used to keep house for Daphne's family in better times.

When Beatriz is stabbed to death outside her apartment, Daphne learns the baby has survived and sets out to find the baby's missing father. She gets sidetracked when a friend facing life-threatening surgery asks Daphne to locate his sister, Charlie. Except for the lip ring and a nasty drug habit, Charlie could be Daphne's twin.

The search for both people leads Daphne to the Delmarva Peninsula and a woman so desperate to cover her crimes that she will kill anyone in her way, including Charlie and quite possibly the girl's mirror image, Daphne Dunn.

Critique: A simply riveting read with more unexpected plot twists and hair raising turns than a Coney Island roller coaster, Caroline Taylor's "Death in Delmarva" is an especially and unreservedly recommended addition to community library Mystery/Suspense collections. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of dedicated mystery buffs that "Death in Delmarva" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $5.99).

Editorial Note: Now residing in North Carolina, Caroline Taylor is the author of four mystery novels and a nonfiction book. Her short stories are listed at A collection of those stories, "Enough! Thirty Stories of Fielding Life's Curve Balls", was published in 2018. She is a member of the North Carolina Writers' Network, Sisters in Crime, and Mystery Writers of America.

The Body on the Lido Deck
Jane Bennett Munro
iUniverse, Inc.
c/o Author House
1663 Liberty Dr. Suite #300, Bloomington, IN 47403
9781491795507, $20.99, PB, 290pp,

Synopsis: Twin Falls pathologist Toni Day is on a Caribbean cruise with her husband and parents when she is jerked out of a peaceful slumber by a horrific scream. After several unsuccessful attempts to reclaim sleep, Toni heads to the ship's deck to read. But shortly after the sun rises, everything changes when a mangled body plummets from the roof into the pool next to her.

Rather than flee in horror, Toni teams up with her stepfather, Nigel, and Scotland Yard to investigate the murder, despite resistance from the captain and the Royal Barbados Police. With just three days left in the cruise, Toni and Nigel must work fast, especially when two more bodies are discovered and a crew member is fatally injured.

As Toni delves into the histories of crew members, she uncovers mysterious connections that lead back nearly three decades. Finally, with only one night remaining, Toni and Nigel must set a trap in a last ditch attempt to find the killer before one of them becomes the final victim.

Critique: A simply riveting read from cover to cover, "The Body on the Lido Deck" is a mystery lover's delight and deftly showcases author Jane Bennett Munro's literary talents for originality and narrative driven storytelling replete with unexpected twists and turns. While very highly recommended and certain to be an enduringly popular addition to community library Mystery/Suspense collections, it should be noted for the personal reading lists of all dedicated mystery buffs that "The Body on the Lido Deck" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $3.99).

The Indulgence
Leslie Hall Pinder
Tellwell Talent
9780228807476, $18.99, PB, 384pp,

Synopsis: Lucinda Yates is a famous actress of stage and screen who begins a passionate affair with beautiful journalist Eva Ryder. After an interview with Eva and Lucinda begin an obsessive, passionate affair that ultimate takes over Lucinda's life -- leading to her emotional and psychological unraveling. Lucinda finally extricates herself from the toxic obsessive relationship and returns home to Canada.

Just as Lucinda feels she's finally free is when she gets charged with criminal abduction of her lovers' teenage daughter. That's also when she becomes the daily fare of the courtroom -- which isn't helped by her adamant refusal to take the stand to answer questions. As detail upon detail is revealed of her fatal attractions, the question looms as to wether or not Lucinda is going to be able to exonerate herself -- or if she even can!

Critique: "The Indulgence" by Leslie Hall Pinder is a deftly scripted courtroom drama about what happens when love turns to hate and everyone turns to the law. A psychological suspense thriller, "The Indulgence" combine fame, obsession, a problematic justice system, and darkly deep secrets. While very highly recommended for both community and academic library Contemporary Literary Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Indulgence" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $5.99).

The Fantasy/SciFi Shelf

Dragon Speaker
Elana A. Mugdan
Shivnath Productions
9781532387937 $14.99 pbk / $5.99 Kindle

Synopsis: Everyone knows this story: an unlikely young hero is chosen by divine providence to save the world from a terrible evil.

Except Keriya Nameless is crippled, without the ability to wield magic--in fact, she's the only person who doesn't have powers of her own. The god who chose her is a mysterious dragon with a knack for exploiting loopholes in rules. Oh, and that terrible evil the world needs to be saved from? Maybe it's not quite as evil as everyone says.

As Keriya ventures into the magical realm of Allentria, she learns that things aren't black-and-white, and not everything is what it appears to be. Her mission would test the courage of even the bravest hero, and as the chosen Dragon Speaker, she quickly learns she's at the center of an age-old war...

A war that will decide the fate of everything.

Critique: The first book in The Shadow War Saga, "Dragon Speaker" is an award-winning epic fantasy, about a young woman bereft of magic power, whose connection to a mysterious dragon god with a penchant for tying rules into knots just might be the secret to a better future. As the chosen Dragon Speaker, she's thrust in the center of a world-shattering war, but perhaps the sides of the battlefield aren't quite drawn in black-and-white terms. A grand adventure with twists and turns, "Dragon Speaker" is highly recommended to connoisseurs of groundbreaking fantasy, as is the second volume in the series, "Dragon Child" (9781532388002, $17.99). It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Dragon Speaker" is also available in a Kindle edtion ($5.99).

Firebrandt's Legacy
David Lee Summers
Hadrosaur Productions
9781885093851 $12.95 pbk / $3.99 Kindle

Synopsis: Ellison Firebrandt fights the good fight for Earth. Under a letter of marque, he raids the ships of Earth's opponents, slowing down their progress and ability to compete with the home system. On the planet Epsilon Indi 2, he rescues a woman named Suki Mori from a drug lord, only to find she isn't so happy about living a pirate's life. However, when the captain finds a new engine that will make him the most successful pirate of all, Suki is the only one who can make it work. Now Firebrandt must find a way to keep his crew fed and his ship supplied while relying on a woman who barely trusts him and while every government in the galaxy hunts him to get the engine back!

Critique: Firebrandt's Legacy is a rip-roaring space adventure! Privateer Ellison Firebrandt pursues the ships of Earth's enemies under a letter of marque. But when he stumbles across an extraordinary woman who knows the secrets to a new type of engine that every government wants for its own ends, he and his crew get swept into a maelstrom of galactic proportions! A grand space opera filled with high adventure from cover to cover, Firebrandt's Legacy is highly recommended. It should be noted for personal reading lists that Firebrandt's Legacy is also available in a Kindle edition ($3.99).

Apollo & Me
Cate Montana
Rampant Feline Media
9780999835432, $14.99, PB, 430pp,

Synopsis: American author Kathryn Adams has a last-minute plan: chill out on a Greek island and recover from her latest book launch.

But Apollo, the devastatingly handsome ancient Greek god of wisdom and light, has an agenda he's been cooking up for over a thousand years: Come back to Earth, obtain redemption for his betrayal of Kathryn in her previous life as a Delphic temple priestess, rekindle their love and get her to join forces with him in a desperate gamble to save humanity from the evil doomsday plot of one of his fellow gods.

A cross-time tale of deathless love, magic and sexual healing, "Apollo & Me" explodes the myths around older women and sex, the relationship between the gods and man, man and woman, and the very nature of the world itself.

Critique: A deftly crafted and original fantasy novel by an author with a genuine flair for an entertainingly distinctive narrative storytelling style, Cat Montana's "Apollo & Me" is an especially and unreservedly recommended addition to both personal reading lists and community library Contemporary Fantasy Fiction collections.

The Political Science Shelf

The DNA of Democracy
Richard C. Lyons
LyLea Creative
9780960072330, $19.95, 416pp,

Synopsis: Richard C. Lyons is an American poet whose new book, "The DNA of Democracy" is a compilation of historical vignettes that collectively discern the future of our democracy by rediscovering the combative, instructive, fascinating past of tyranny and democracy.

It seems that just as DNA is interwoven in every aspect of the human body, tyranny and democracy have their own historically distinctive DNA that have shaped our democracy today.

From Israel's Ten Commandments, to the Athenian Constitution, to Rome's Twelve Tables, to the overthrow of kings in England and America, "The DNA of Democracy" deftly traces democracy from its historical roots to the modern day, constructing a blueprint of what defines tyranny or democratic government.

"The DNA of Democracy" is a definitive guide that documents the struggle for power between tyrants and heroes across time and place. Chronicling the acts of tyrants which are expressive of tyranny's DNA, and the rebellions of heroes and the forms of law which are democracy's DNA -- this study outlines the roots of democracies by telling the tales of tyrants who ironically gave them birth -- births of rebellion! "The DNA of Democracy" also serves as a 'how to' contemporary guide on identifying the menace of a tyrant when you see one.

Critique: Impressively presented, "The DNA of Democracy" is extraordinarily informative and thought-provoking. A timely and valued addition to our current on-going political crisis with a polarized federal government reflecting a polarized national citizenry, and the democracy endangering activities of the Trump administration enabled by a seemingly impotent congress, "The DNA of Democracy" is an especially and unreservedly recommended addition to both community and academic library Contemporary Political Science collections and supplemental curriculum studies lists. It should be noted for students, academia, political activists, politicians, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "The DNA of Democracy" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $10.95) and in an audiobook format.

Populisms: A Quick Immersion
Carlos de la Torre
Tibidabo Publishing
9781949845013, $12.00, PB, 190pp,

Synopsis: Populism refers to a range of political stances that emphasize the idea of "the people" and often juxtapose this group against "the elite". Within political science and other social sciences, various different definitions of populism have been used; some scholars propose rejecting the term altogether. There is no single definition of the term, which developed in the 19th century and has been used to mean various things since that time. Few politicians or political groups describe themselves as "populist" and the term is often applied to others pejoratively. (Wikipedia)

In "Populisms: A Quick Immersion", Professor Torre analyzes populism globally and through the lens of Latin America, where populists have governed since the 1930s and 1940s up to the present. When populism is analyzed globally, the novelty is not its presence in most regions of the world. After all, populists have challenged the power of political and economic elites since the nineteenth century, and the first self-described Populist Party was formed in the U.S. in 1891.

What is new is that populists are in office not only in Venezuela, Bolivia, the Philippines and Turkey but also in the U.S. as well as other consolidated Western liberal democracies like Italy. By learning from the experiences of populism in the global south, citizens, activists, journalists and politicians in the global north might avoid making the same mistakes when dealing with populists in power.

Critique: An extraordinarily informative, exceptionally well written, accessibly organized and presented study, "Populisms: A Quick Immersion" by Carols de la Torre is unreservedly recommended for community and academic library Contemporary Political Science collections and supplemental curriculum lists. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of students, academics, political activists, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "Populisms: A Quick Immersion" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $6.95).

Editorial Note: Carlos de la Torre is a Professor of Sociology at the University of Kentucky and Emeritus Professor at FLACSO-Ecuador. He earned his PhD at the New School for Social Research, and was granted fellowships at the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation and the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. De la Torre has published a dozen books and more than one hundred articles and chapters in academic publications. Among his top books are his edited volumes The Routledge Handbook of Global Populism (2019), The Promise and Perils of Populism: Global Perspectives (The University Press of Kentucky, 2015), and Latin American Populism in the Twenty-First Century, co-edited with Cynthia J. Arnson (the Johns Hopkins University Press and the Woodrow Wilson Center Press, 2013). The second edition of his Populist Seduction in Latin America (Ohio University Press) was published in 2010.

Treason & Betrayal: The Rise and Fall of Individual
Kenneth Foard McCallion
HHI Media
9780997929232, $27.99, HC, 450pp,

Synopsis: In "Treason & Betrayal: The Rise and Fall of Individual-1" constitutional law and counterintelligence expert Kenneth Foard McCallion provides a detailed analysis as to how and why Donald Trump is now properly described as a co-opted agent for Russia who presents a clear and present danger to the U.S. as long as he is permitted to occupy the White House.

"Treason & Betrayal" makes a strong case for when and how a sitting president can be indicted, especially where the crimes involve the illegal manner in which he obtained the presidency, with help from a foreign hostile power.

"Treason & Betrayal" also provides detail and substance that can be used by opinion makers and Congress to sort through the mountains of evidence accumulating against Trump for impeachment and indictment purposes; An in-depth look into President Trump's life history, from early childhood to the present; Detailed information about Trump's ties to Russia, and the evidence that should be used to impeach him immediately; Insight into what it will take to indict President Trump, and on what charges; The background and history of Trump's money laundering and contacts with Russia agents and oligarchs that helped jump-start certain aspects of the federal probe into the Trump Campaign and its relationship with Russia.

Critique: A timely and invaluable contribution to our on-going national and constitutional crisis brought about with respect to the unique situation of having a documented Russian asset as President. If you only have time enough to read one book about the peril of the Trump administration proffers to our constitutional democracy then make it "Treason & Betrayal: The Rise and Fall of Individual".

Editorial Note: Kenneth F. McCallion is a nationally recognized expert on constitutional law, especially the impeachment clause, and has significant expertise in the fields of civil RICO, criminal law, and the history of Treason and Espionage in U.S. history. McCallion spent the early part of his law career working as a federal prosecutor with the U.S. Department of Justice, handling high-profile organized crime prosecutions and working on major labor racketeering cases, including some investigations that dealt with the construction of Trump Tower and other major construction projects in the New York area. He also worked on numerous sensitive counterintelligence investigations involving Russian espionage in the U.S., involving coordination between and among U.S. Department of Justice and FBI agents with the CIA and U.S. State Department. McCallion received his B.A. from Yale, and his J.D. from Fordham Law School. He is an Adjunct Professor at Cardozo Law School in New York, and Fairfield University in Connecticut. An avid sailor, he enjoys sailing with his family. Previous publications include Shoreham and the Rise and Fall of Nuclear Power, and The Essential Guide to Donald Trump.

The Biography Shelf

Elie Wiesel, An Extraordinary Life and Legacy
Nadine Epstein, editor
Moment Books
c/o Mandel Vilar Press
9781942134572, $35.00, PB, 176pp,

Synopsis: A survivor of Auschwitz and a powerful, enduring voice of the Holocaust, Elie Wiesel (1928-2016) was also a recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize and the Presidential Medal of Freedom, a hero of human rights, a professor and the author of more than 50 books.

Among his accomplishments, Wiesel co-founded Moment Magazine with Leonard Fein in 1975 to be a place of conversation for America's Jews. For editor-in-chief Nadine Epstein, he became a mentor and friend after she took over the magazine in 2004.

In "Elie Wiesel, An Extraordinary Life and Legacy: Writings, Photographs and Reflections", Epstein shares her memories of Wiesel and brings together 36 interviews with friends, colleagues and others who knew him -- including, his son Elisha, Michael Berenbaum, Wolf Blitzer, Father Patrick Debois, Ronald S. Lauder, Bernard Henri-Levi, Kati Marton, Natan Sharansky, Ben Kingsley, and Oprah Winfrey. The foreword is by British Rabbi Jonathan Sacks and the afterword is by broadcaster Ted Koppel.

To celebrate this humanitarian and keep his inspiration alive, Epstein presents readers with a visual history of Wiesel's life and examines the influence of Night. This chilling story of the Holocaust has already gripped the souls of millions of readers.

Epstein also includes a selection of his speeches and writings, lively conversations with teenagers about Night and discussion questions. This deftly edited biography is enhanced with more than 100 photos.

Critique: Impressively informative, exceptionally well organized, and memorable presented, "Elie Wiesel, An Extraordinary Life and Legacy: Writings, Photographs and Reflections" is an extraordinary and unreservedly recommended addition to personal, community, and academic library 20th Century Biography collections in general, and Elie Wiesel supplemental studies reading lists in particular.

A Surgeon's Life with Bipolar Disorder
John Emery, MD
Xlibris Corporation
9781984510624 $19.99 pbk / $3.99 Kindle

Synopsis: Dr. Emery has written this book to enhance your knowledge of bipolar disorder and point out how it affected his life. He will tell you of some of the unique and coincidental experiences he has had. These experiences will include his experience with the Watts Riot of 1965, the Vietnam War, and the Tet Offensive of 1968. When appropriate, he will give you his medical assessment of these experiences. We hope you will enjoy the book.

Critique: A Surgeon's Life with Bipolar Disorder: an American Surgeon Discusses Bipolar Disorder and Describes How It Affected His Life tells of author John Emery, MD's lifelong challenge living with this disease. A Surgeon's Life with Bipolar Disorder also tells of his service treating patients in Los Angeles during the Watts riots, as a Navy doctor for the U.S. Marine Corps during the Vietnam War, and much more. Emery's candid account also bears a strong, positive message for readers - that it is critically important to never allow other people's opinions of one's disability block one's dreams, or life goals. A Surgeon's Life with Bipolar Disorder is utterly fascinating to browse from cover to cover, and highly recommended. It should be noted for personal reading lists that A Surgeon's Life with Bipolar Disorder is also available in a Kindle edition ($3.99).

Thomas M. Caulfield
Ephphatha Publishing
9780998042206, $15.99, PB, 115pp,

Synopsis: For two decades a father kept a secret journal documenting the life of his only son, Christopher, who was born profoundly Deaf. He had a simple dream of someday presenting that journal to Christopher as a special gift from father to son. But as each new challenge was surmounted, it became clear Christopher Caulfield's story had to be shared.

Ephphatha, which means "to be opened," follows Christopher's transformational journey through the unimaginable obstacles he faced during his young life. Whose right is it to choose the intervention strategies that will help you be your best? How do you keep going when adults and children can be so unkind? Can you make yourself understood when no one around you has experienced what you are facing?

Christopher's support came from those in his life who did open up. His chances for success on and off the basketball court also hinged on hard work, faith, and his own undeniable inner fortitude to never give up.

By the time he was nine years old he had already completed 1,500 hours of speech therapy. That same dedication led him to be a Division I college basketball recruit before he reached high school.

Critique: An extraordinary story about a young man and his extraordinary life, ""EPHPHATHA" is a heartwarming and ultimately inspiring biography. While unreservedly recommended for community library collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that Christopher Caulfield's story as told by his father Thomas M. Caulfield is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

The Sports Shelf

Son of Havana
Luis Tiant with Saul Wisnia
Diversion Books
c/o Diversion Publishing Corp.
9781635765434 hc / $9.99 Kindle

Synopsis: Luis Tiant is one of the most charismatic and accomplished players in the history of the Boston Red Sox and all of Major League Baseball - a cigar-chomping maestro who was the heart and soul of Boston's title-contending teams in the 1970s. In his white polyester uniform, with a barrel-chested physique and a Fu Manchu mustache, Tiant may not have looked like the lean, sculpted aces he usually faced off against, but nobody was a tougher competitor on the diamond, and few were as successful. There may be no more qualified 20th-century pitcher not yet enshrined in the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

His big-league dreams came at a steep price - racism in the Deep South and the Boston suburbs, and nearly fifteen years separated from a family held captive in Castro's Cuba. But baseball also delivered World Series stardom and a heroic return to his island home after close to a half-century of forced exile. The man whose name - "El Tiante" - became a Fenway Park battle cry has never fully shared his tale in his own words, until now.

In Son of Havana, Tiant puts his huge heart on his sleeve and describes his road from fields strewn with rocks and rubbish in Havana to the pristine lawns of major league ballparks. Teammates, opponents, family, and media also weigh-in - including a foreword by fellow Red Sox legend Carl Yastrzemski and the first in-depth interview ever with Hall of Fame catcher Carlton Fisk on the magic behind these Boston batterymates.

Readers will share Tiant's pride when appeals by a pair of U.S. senators to baseball-fanatic Castro secure freedom for Luis's parents to fly to Boston and witness the 1975 World Series glory of their child. And readers will join the big-league ballplayers for their spring 2016 exhibition game in Havana, when Tiant - a living link to the earliest, scariest days of the Castro regime - threw out the first pitch.

Critique: Son of Havana: A Baseball Journey from Cuba to the Big Leagues and Back is the sports autobiography of Luis Tiant, who played major league baseball from 1964 to 1982. An exciting behind-the-scenes look at the intense competition of the sport's highest levels of play, along with Tiant's view of Cuban-American relations, Son of Havana is engrossing from cover to cover. Highly recommended, especially for baseball enthusiasts and public library sports biography collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that Son of Havana is also available in a Kindle edition ($9.99).

The Spirit of Nebraska
Debra Kleve White
Cheerful Books
9780998038865, $49.95, HC, 224pp,

Synopsis: With the publication of "The Spirit of Nebraska: A History of Husker Game Day Traditions - The Tunnel Walk, Mascots, Cheer, and More", author and former Yell Squad member Debra Kleve White provides a firsthand account of game day in Lincoln, Nebraska. "The Spirit of Nebraska" offers an in-depth look at where the Cornhusker fans' spirit began and how it evolved to today's game day experience.

Readers will learn about the history behind what makes Memorial Stadium magical: Husker Nation, mascots, the football team, the Sea of Red, the Yell Squad, the Scarlets, the band, the tunnel walk, the Blackshirts, tailgating, the balloon release, and more.

Critique: Exceptionally well written, expertly organized, accessibly presented, and nicely illustrated with period black/white photos, "The Spirit of Nebraska: A History of Husker Game Day Traditions - The Tunnel Walk, Mascots, Cheer, and More" could well serve as a template for similar books showcases other university sports teams. Unreservedly recommended for all Huskar fans, it should be noted that "The Spirit of Nebraska" is also available in a paperback edition (9780998038810, $19.95) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $8.99).

The Gardening Shelf

Lazy-Ass Gardening
Robert Kourik
Meatmorphic Press
9780961584870, $24.95, PB, 240pp,

Synopsis: Veteran horticulturalist and gardener Robert Kourik believes in using efficiency and forethought to create gardens and landscapes with a lot less work and a lot more enjoyment to them. By following Kourik's relaxed and readable guidance as laid out in the illustrated pages of "Lazy-Ass Gardening: Maximize Your Soil, Minimize Your Toil", both beginning and accomplished gardeners will discover how to save time and money, enrich their soil, increase their yields, and reduce their effort, all while absorbing the author's personal philosophy of kicking back and growing more good times.

Drawing on over four decades of immersing himself in horticultural work (and writing about it), Robert shares his hard-won secrets for the easiest planning, planting, cultivating, landscaping, irrigating, de-pestifying, and finding enjoyment in settings ranging from window-box herbs to showy ornamental plantings to the now-classic "edible landscape" and shows how to: Ease into gardening, if you're a newbie; Figure out which edibles to raise, with a careful selection of the most care-free varieties and tips for easy growing; Lay out your garden to balance effective growing area with space for enjoyment, relaxation, and play: Cultivate creatively to grow your own nutrients and build healthy self-sustaining (no-till) soil for the future; Attract the best pollinating insects and deter hungry pests; Plan your "hardscape" (paths, patios, arbors, etc.), for an easy-care (and more fun) aspect of your yard or garden; Choose the right plants for your landscape, climate, soil, and water supply, not to mention your aesthetic and nutritional needs: Learn how to develop a personal garden that manifests your own eccentricities; Grow more, stress less.

Critique: While essential reading for all aspiring and novice gardeners, "Lazy-Ass Gardening: Maximize Your Soil, Minimize Your Toil" will prove to have great and practical value for even the more experienced gardener. Exceptionally well organized and beautifully presented, "Lazy-Ass Gardening: Maximize Your Soil, Minimize Your Toil" is unreservedly recommended for personal, professional, community, and academic library Contemporary Gardening instructional reference collections.

The Photography Shelf

Encounters: Moments Of Inspiration
Patrick Stull
Stull Imagery
9780692960516, $95.00, 232pp

Synopsis: This coffee-table sized edition of "Encounters: Moments Of Inspiration" by Patick Stull is comprised of unique, transformative, photographic images accompanied by a thoughtful and thought-provoking text about women, art and our existence.

The male form is also included in a dynamic way. The intent of "Encounters: Moments Of Inspiration" is to source money to feed children, protect women from the violence they face in everyday life and to awaken the power of art in our lives.

An exhibition is currently under development.

Critique: Exceptional, original, unique, photographer Patrick Stull's "Encounters: Moments Of Inspiration" is a superbly crafted exhibition celebration of the human form both metaphorically and visually. A groundbreaking and truly memorable body of work, "Encounters: Moments Of Inspiration" is unreservedly recommended addition to personal, professional, community, and academic library Contemporary Photography collections.

The Money/Finance Shelf

Homeless To Billionaire
Andres Pira
9781946633866, $24.99, HC, 208pp,

Synopsis: "Homeless To Billionaire: The 18 Principles of Wealth Attraction And Creating Unlimited Opportunity" by Andres Pira presents eighteen principles for attracting wealth, creating opportunity, and celebrating self-discovery.

Inspired by his own massive life changes, Pira's details his business journey from telemarketer to one of Thailand's best-known billionaires. Using his mentors like Bryan Tracy, Jack Canfield, and Bob Proctor, Pira puts proven knowledge into action, innovating along the way, using his own employees and clients; through failure and success, the 18 Principles are forged.

A compilation of practical wisdom from a millennial adventurer turned businessman, "Homeless To billionaire" is blended with proven research and case studies into powerful lessons.

Critique: A combination autobiography and financial self-help/self-improvement instructional guide, "Homeless To Billionaire: The 18 Principles of Wealth Attraction And Creating Unlimited Opportunity" is an extraordinary and unreservedly recommended addition to personal, community, and academic library Business Management, Contemporary Biography, and Financial Management collections and supplemental studies lists.

The Railroading Shelf

Union Pacific
John Kelly
Enthusiast Books
9781583883563, $36.95, PB, 126pp,

Synopsis: Founded in 1862, the Union Pacific Railroad originally carried passengers and freight until 1971 when it became a freight-only carrier operating 8,600 locomotives over 32,000 route-miles in 23 states west of Chicago and New Orleans. No other railroad in this country has retained its historical equipment and honored its history like Union Pacific. The preservation of its fleet speaks to the high value Union Pacific places on its heritage and its role in America's history.

2019 marks the 150th anniversary of the completion of the first transcontinental railroad (May 10, 1869-May 10, 2019) and noted author John Kelly felt this was the perfect time to look back at some of the most important milestones and defining moments in the long UP history. He has culled through a huge archive of material to concentrate on six decades that showcase the many important roles UP played in the building of America. Helping bring life to the story is an array of photos with extended captions as well as vintage Union Pacific timetables, travel brochures, dining car menus, postcards, tickets, maps and advertising.

The chapters comprising "Union Pacific: America's Premier Railroad for Over 150 Years" include: "Building the First Transcontinental Railroad" chronicles one of the greatest epics in American history; "All Aboard for Yellowstone" showcases Union Pacific's Grand Circle Tours with trains to Zion, Bryce Canyon and Yellowstone National Park during the lively 1920s; "Tomorrow's Train Today" highlights Union Pacific's M-10000 and "City" streamliners to Portland, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Denver in the 1930s; "The Strategic Middle Route" salutes American soldiers during World War II and the legendary North Platte Canteen in the 1940s; "Along the Union Pacific" tracks "City" Streamliners and Domeliners during the 1950s and 1960s, and the end of Union Pacific passenger service in 1971.

Of special note is the final chapter which features notable photos of Union Pacific steam, diesel, and gas turbine-electric locomotives, plus a full-color image of Union Pacific's Heritage locomotive fleet.

Critique: Profusely illustrated throughout, "Union Pacific: America's Premier Railroad for Over 150 Years" is impressively informative, exceptionally well written, accessibly organized, and thoroughly 'reader friendly' in presentation making it an ideal and unreservedly recommended addition to both community and academic library American Railroading History collections and the personal reading lists of dedicated railroading buffs.

Editorial Note: John Kelly grew up in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, where his dad's best friend, an engineer on the Chicago & NorthWestern, gave him and his brother occasional midnight cab rides on C&NW freight trains from Altoona to Elroy, Wisconsin. As a teenager, he enjoyed watching C&NW, Milwaukee Road and Soo Line trains come through his home town. Given his hobby of railroad history, John has written articles for Trains magazine,, and Vintage Rails and has also authored a number of books on streamlined passenger trains, including Streamliners to the Twin Cities, Interurban Trains to Chicago, and Chicago Stations & Trains. In 2009, John co-authored "Trains to Victory: America's Railroads in World War II" with Don Heimburger. John is also a volunteer-docent for the innovative National Park Service-Amtrak partnership Trails & Rails program during the summer travel season. This program provides rail passengers with the educational opportunities that foster an appreciation of a selected region's natural and cultural heritage. He joined Trails & Rails in 2007, completing four years as a docent on Amtrak's famed Empire Builder between Chicago and Winona, Minnesota. In addition, he volunteers with the Center for Railroad Photography & Art in Madison, Wisconsin, archiving historic railroad images.

The Business Shelf

7 Rules of Marketing That Get Results
Temel Aksoy
Privately Published
9781797092324 $31.40 pbk / $9.99 Kindle

Synopsis: This well-organized book provides a fact-based guideline for marketing professionals to successfully grow their brands. Following the footsteps of Byron Sharp, the author of How Brands Grow, and the researchers at the Ehrenberg-Bass Institute, Temel Aksoy presents 7 essential rules for successful marketing. Refined, insightful, and easy to follow, 7 Rules of Marketing that Get Results, demonstrates how to do marketing and what myths to avoid on the way. Whether you are a CEO, a marketing professional, or a student aspiring to work in marketing, this book will tell you what is myth and what is reality when it comes to marketing.

Critique: 7 Rules of Marketing That Get Results is a guide written by a marketing professional, for marketing professionals. Chapters go beyond the titular seven rules of marketing to explain how the rules impact one's strategy, and suggest practices to get better results that take the rules into account. The very first rule is the "Double Jeopardy Law: Small brands both have fewer customers (consumers) and suffer from lower rates of customer loyalty", and is noted as the single most important law of marketing. A handful of simple cartoons help drive home the salient points and tested strategies presented in this "must-read" for business owners and marketing experts in the field. Highly recommended. It should be noted for personal reading lists that 7 Rules of Marketing That Get Results is also available in a Kindle edition ($9.99).

The Terrorism Studies Shelf

Family Terror Networks
Dean C. Alexander
Book Baby Publishers
9781543953237, $14.99, PB, 264pp,

Synopsis: "Family Terror Networks" by Dean C. Alexander (Director, Homeland Security Research Program and Professor at the School of Law Enforcement and Justice Administration at Western Illinois University) analyzes the emerging and troubling aspects of family terror networks. In doing so, Professor Alexander chronicles the issue of family affiliated terrorism along the following construct.

Chapter 1 addresses general principles of terrorism. Chapter 2 discusses the characteristics of family terror networks. Chapter 3 shares case studies involving family terror networks across ideologies. Chapter 4 proposes a model for predicting family terror networks and its utility in combating this type of political violence.

Also provided is an analysis of the 118 case studies of family connected terrorism involving 138 examples of kin relationships (e.g., brothers, husbands/wives, and fathers/sons) is provided. For purposes of these case studies, the term terrorism also signifies individuals otherwise referred to as extremists in the media.

Chapter 5 describes law enforcement responses to terrorism, which concurrently undermine kin connected terrorism. The epilogue projects as to the future of family terror networks. The appendix offers an inventory of the cases covered in the book by the names of family members, kin relationships, and extremist ideologies.

Critique: Family Terror Networks is a critically important work of scholarship. Expertly researched and astutely presented, Family Terror Networks draws heavily upon case studies to support its models for predicting family terror networks, and methods to stand against them. Extensive notes referring to sources, including and especially online articles, round out this welcome contribution to public and college library Terrorism Studies collections. A seminal work of original and meticulous scholarship, "Family Terror Networks" is especially relevant and recommended reading for governmental policy makers, criminal justice professionals. While unreservedly recommended for community, college, and university library collections, it should be noted for the personal reading lists of students, academia, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "Family Terror Networks" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $4.99).

Editorial Note: Since publishing on terrorism in 1991, Professor Alexander has published several books on the topic, including: The Islamic State: Combating the Caliphate Without Borders (Lexington, 2015), Business Confronts Terrorism: Risks and Responses (University of Wisconsin, 2004), and Terrorism and Business: The Impact of September 11, 2001 (Transnational, 2002). He has trained law enforcement and military personnel in the United States and abroad on terrorism and counterterrorism issues at NATO's Center of Excellence Defense Against Terrorism (Turkey), Illinois Statewide Terrorism and Intelligence Center, Oregon Fusion Center, and Milwaukee Police Department, among many other institutions. His insights on terrorism have been featured in domestic and international media, among them: the Washington Post, Voice of America, Tribune de Geneve, and NHK.

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

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