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Small Press Bookwatch

Volume 16, Number 3 March 2017 Home | SPBW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice Writing/Publishing Shelf Art Shelf
Biography Shelf Fantasy/SciFi Shelf Mystery/Suspense Shelf
Fiction Shelf Criminology Shelf Health/Medicine Shelf
Political Science Shelf Christian Studies Shelf Parenting Shelf
American History Shelf Literary Studies Shelf Travel Shelf
Jobs/Career Shelf    

Reviewer's Choice

Unforeseen Journey
John Roche
4900 LaCross Rd., North Charleston, SC 29406
9781541116832, $12.99, PB, 130pp,

Synopsis: "Unforeseen Journey" by John Roche is a raw and honest account of the his personal experience of caring for his mother in his home for ten years -- including the end of life sequences involved. An emotional testimony, "Unforeseen Journey" is the definition of love itself, demonstrated in the care provided, but also shows the stresses and strains put upon the caregiver.

As uplifting and satisfying as this labor of love can be, there are also life changing consequences to the caregiver, including exhaustion and burnout. Roche's goal in writing "Unforeseen Journey" is to help other caregivers avoid the negative effect of these feelings and to assure that the family member receives excellent care until the very end of life. The downfalls of informal or family caregiving, along with the motivation and strategies to avoid them, are presented based on the Roche's real life experiences while caring for his aging mother.

Critique: Many members of the 'Baby Boomer' generation are now solidly involved in having to take care of their own aging parents, either in their own home or in a sheltered living facility. Exceptionally well written, organized and presented, "Unforeseen Journey" is impressively informative, thoughtful and thought-provoking. A 'must read' for anyone charged with caregiving responsibilities for an aging parent (or any other family member), "Unforeseen Journey" is unreservedly recommended for personal reading lists and community library collections.

An Adventure in 1914
T. Tileston Wells, author
Christopher Kelly, editor
History Invasions Press
9780692767894 $23.95 hc / $9.99 Kindle

Synopsis: An Adventure in 1914 is a memoir written by Thomas Tileston Wells of New York City, and edited by his great-grandson Christopher Kelly. Wells, a lawyer, wrote this document after a harrowing journey he took in the summer of 1914 with his wife and two children. He had planned on pleasurable hikes in the Swiss and Austrian Tyrol. Instead he was a witness to history's greatest train wreck - the outbreak of World War I. Wells wrote poignantly about the mobilization of European armies and its effect on the soldier's families. He wrote about the impossibility of using a return ticket on French railway lines when all trains were being used to transport soldiers. Wells was even arrested and threatened by Austrian authorities with immediate execution on the grounds of being a Russian spy! Wells escaped but his manuscript was never published...until now.

Critique: An Adventure in 1914 is a true-life memoir as riveting as an Ernest Hemingway novel. In order to provide proper credit for his great-grandfather's writings, editor Christopher Kelly retraced Wells' journey, taking careful photographs as he went. A wealth of these full-color photographs illustrates this vivid, unforgettable testimony of the outbreak war on a never-before- seen scale. An Adventure in 1914 is as enjoyable as it is edifying, and highly recommended for both public library collections and personal reading lists. It should be noted that An Adventure in 1914 is also available in a Kindle edition ($9.99).

The Road To War
Steven Burgauer
iUniverse, Inc.
c/o Author House
1663 Liberty Dr. Suite #300, Bloomington, IN 47403
9781450218825, $33.95, HC, 348pp,

Synopsis: "The Road To War: Duty & Drill, Courage & Capture" is the true story of Captain William C. Frodsham, Jr., who, like thousands of other young men shortly after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, enlisted in the U.S. Army Infantry, where he excelled in basic training, became a junior officer, and eventually led a combat boat team ashore on Omaha Beach.

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

In "The Road To War" the reader is taken for a first-person tour of the times at home and then tunneled into a vastly different world on the battlefield and in a German prisoner-of-war camp.

Critique: A truly remarkable story that is an exceptionally candid and well written, riveting first-person account of a young man caught up in a cataclysmic World War, "The Road To War" is especially recommended for community library collections and is a worth addition to expanding academic library World War II memoirs and biographies. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Road To War" is also available in a paperback edition (9781450218801, $23.95) and in a Kindle format ($2.51).

The Writing/Publishing Shelf

How to Self-Publish a Children's Picture Book
Eve Heidi Bine-Stock
E & E Publishing
9780983149965, $19.44 pbk / $8.49 Kindle, 171pp,

Synopsis: Children's books continues to be a thriving part of the publishing industry and a sector in which self-published authors can succeed, especially by availing themselves of "How to Self-Publish a Children's Picture Book" by Eve Heidi Bine-Stock.

With this guide, aspiring children's authors will learn how to create a book with Canva, an easy-to-use, inexpensive design tool. They will also learn how to self-publish a children's book with the two major print-on-demand (POD) companies -- CreateSpace and IngramSpark.

No longer do you have to print 1,000 to 5,000 copies of your book at one time, with the enormous cost this entails. Not to mention the cost of warehousing the books, and arranging for distribution. With print-on-demand, the set-up costs are low, and a copy of your book is printed only when someone orders it.

"How to Self-Publish a Children's Picture Book" explains everything needed in order to successfully self-publish a professional-quality printed children's picture book-even if when authors are not graphic designers.

Step-by-step, "How to Self-Publish a Children's Picture Book" covers everything from finding an illustrator, to choosing fonts and colors, to design and layout. And, as a bonus, there's even a chapter on how to make an ebook for free to sell on Of special note are free email updates available by contacting the author at: EveHeidiWrites (at) gmail (dot) com.

Critique: Impressively well written, comprehensive, and practical, "How to Self-Publish a Children's Picture Book" is thoroughly 'user friendly' in organization and presentation. An absolute 'must' for any and all aspiring authors of children's books from preschool through young adult, fiction or non-fiction, "How to Self-Publish a Children's Picture Book" is unreservedly recommended for personal reading lists, as well as community and academic library Writing/Publishing collections.

The Art Shelf

In Search of Nampeyo: The Early Years 1875-1892
Steve Elmore
Spirit Bird Press
9780986285424, $50.00, PB, 220pp

Synopsis: An art history book of the Thomas Keam Hopi Pottery Collection at Harvard University's Peabody Museum that draws on 25 years of research, "In Search of Nampeyo: The Early Years 1875-1892" provides artist and art collector Steve Elmore's beautifully illustrated unified view of the early life and work of the Hopi potter Nampeyo..

Nampeyo's early life, which has been considered lost to history, has been recreated in the pages of "In Search of Nampeyo" through an examination of many diverse sources. The written historical record has been compared with Hopi oral history, photographic evidence, and a careful examination of the pottery in the Keam Collection at Harvard University's Peabody Museum which was collected before 1892. This historical material is through the expertise of modern Hopi potters and Steve's many years working with Hopi potters as an Indian trader.

The result is a comprehensive view of Nampeyo's early life. The book shows the continuity between Nampeyo's early work and her founding of the Sikyatki Revival art movement. Furthermore, Elmore connects Nampeyo historically to modernism and the Art Pottery and Arts & Crafts movements. While most scholars of Nampeyo have viewed her through the lens of archaeology or anthropology, Elmore views her through the history of art history and Modern art, greatly broadening our view of both.

Critique: Enhanced with some one hundred stunningly beautiful images, "In Search of Nampeyo: The Early Years 1875-1892" is impressively informed and informative. Thoroughly 'reader friendly' in organization and presentation, very highly recommended for both community and academic library Native American Art History collections and supplemental studies reading lists, "In Search of Nampeyo" is an inherently absorbing read and unreservedly recommended to the attention of both academia and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject.

Clear Seeing Place: Studio Visits
Brian Rutenberg
Permanent Green
9780997442304, $16.95, PB, 322pp,

Synopsis: Widely considered to be one of the finest American painters of his generation, Brian Rutenberg has spent forty years honing a distinctive method of compressing the rich color and form of his native coastal South Carolina into complex landscape paintings that imbue material reality with a deep sense of place.

From the salt marshes and moss-draped live oaks of the South Carolina Lowcountry to the New York art world, in the pages of "Clear Seeing Place: Studio Visits" Rutenberg takes the reader behind the studio door to explore the making of a painter in intimate detail.

Brimming with the joy of process and a love of art history, Rutenberg reveals the places, people, and experiences that led to the paintings for which he is so well known today. "Clear Seeing Place: Studio Visits" is packed from cover to cover with ideas, observations, techniques, and career advice all thought that are fully arranged into six sections that are specifically designed to inspire artists of all levels, as well as anyone interested in creativity.

Of special note is that "Clear Seeing Place: Studio Visits" is a companion to the artist's popular YouTube series, "Brian Rutenberg Studio Visits" and is a kind of love letter to painting written by a painter.

Critique: Exceptionally well written, organized and presented, "Clear Seeing Place: Studio Visits" is an inherently fascinating read and very highly recommended, especially for community and academic library Contemporary Art History collections in general, and Brian Rutenberg supplemental studies reading lists in particular. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of aspiring artists and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "Clear Seeing Place: Studio Visits" is also available in a Kindle format ($5.99).

Genesis Characters and Events in Ancient Greek Art
Robert Bowie Johnson Jr.
4900 LaCross Rd., North Charleston, SC 29406
9781539103615, $29.00, PB, 110pp,

Synopsis: The hallmark of a healthy humanity is a genuine connection to the truth of our historical identity. History, simply put, is what happened. But how do we find our way to the origins of the human race thousands of years ago?

In the pages of "Genesis Characters and Events in Ancient Greek Art" by Robert Bowie Johnson Jr. we go back two and a half millennia to Greek artists who were closer to it, and whose marble sculptures and vase paintings bear a silent witness to the key characters and events described in the early chapters of the Book of Genesis, validating their reality.

Here is some of what is revealed in this extraordinary and beautifully illustrated study: Zeus' and Hera's connection to the serpent-entwined apple tree; Cain killing Abel depicted on the Parthenon; Seth-men depicted as Centaurs who seize Cain-women as their wives; The unique Greek depiction of Noah's Flood; The Cain-woman who survived the Flood as Ham's wife; The true landing site of Noah's ark in the mountains of Ararat; Naamah reconsecrating her grandson Nimrod to the way of Cain; Nimrod/Herakles usurping the authority of Noah; The Genesis serpent transfigured into Zeus; The Altar of Zeus in Pergamum as the throne of Satan in the Book of Revelation; The post-Flood Canaanite onslaught against the line of Seth; The true identity of the Amazons. Of special is note is the offer of more relevant information at

Critique: Iconoclastic, exceptional, informative, thoughtful and thought-provoking, "Genesis Characters and Events in Ancient Greek Art" is an inherently fascinating read from cover to cover. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Genesis Characters and Events in Ancient Greek Art" is also available in a Kindle format ($15.00).

The Biography Shelf

Sorrows & Songs
Janice Wood Wetzel
Fullarton Press
9780996830102, $14.95, PB, 256pp,

Synopsis: In words as clear and sharp as cut crystal glass, the memoir of Janice Wood Wetzel, "Sorrows & Songs: One Lifetime - Many Lives" unflinchingly tells the story of a bright, beautiful, and promising young child who forged towards a fully realized life in spite of years of physical and mental abuse at the hands of her parents and pervasive society-wide gender discrimination.

Critique: Exceptionally well written, organized and presented, "Sorrows & Songs" is a consistently compelling read from cover to cover. Candid, insightful, moving, memorable, "Sorrows & Songs" is unreservedly recommended for community and academic library Contemporary American Biography collections. For personal reading lists it should be noted that "Sorrows & Songs" is also available in a Kindle format ($6.99).

The Fantasy/SciFi Shelf

Ray Donner - Planet Master
Stan Burns
1663 Liberty Drive, Suite 200, Bloomington, IN 47403-5161
9781449068851 $15.99 pbk / $3.99 Kindle

Synopsis: Ray Donner - Planet Master: Under The Double Integral is the second in a series of novels by Stan Burns. It is a sequel to Stan's first novel, Extraordinary Space, The Integral. Under The Double Integral is a work of science fiction that blends everyday life activities of a family from a moderately sized Midwestern community with various other intriguing activities, known only to a few, mainly that of exploring the vastness of space. In the novel, an ordinary teen is given the means to travel to distant planets and back. His explorative curiosity of the planets is first sparked while in high school and this curiosity continues well into his college years. While Ray Donner's extra-planetary adventures are intended to be kept secret from his younger siblings, their antics are nevertheless evident throughout the novel. Amazingly, Ray reaches a breakthrough that could have astounding implications for all mankind, a second chance if you will, for mankind to get it right. Ray Donner - Planet Master: Under The Double Integral, and Beyond the Final Frontier.

Critique: An adventurous novel for all ages, Ray Donner - Planet Master: Under The Double Integral takes the reader on a planet-spanning journey, with ramifications for all humankind. Imaginative and exciting, Ray Donner - Planet Master is enthusiastically recommended. It should be noted for personal reading lists that Ray Donner - Planet Master is also available in a Kindle edition ($3.99).

Xenogeneic: First Contact
Lance Erlick
Finlee Augare Books
9781943080229 $TBA pbk / $2.99 Kindle

Synopsis: Xenogeneic is a science fiction thriller about first contact with an alien race that lost their civil war and wants to take over Earth.

Dr. Elena Pyetrov's father vanished in space 18 years ago while searching for extraterrestrial life. As an aerospace engineer, Elena travels into space to search for answers and continue his work. Her ship is pulled off course and crashes. She suspects extraterrestrial interference.

The alien Knoonk lost their civil war in a distant star system and fled to Earth's neighborhood to hide and regroup. They seek a new home - Earth. Unable to live in Earth's toxic environment, the aliens kidnap and use humans to genetically modify their species to adapt.

Surviving the crash, Elena and her shipmates are transported to a closed cave system where the Knoonk monitor and control everything. Elena tries to make a connection with her hosts and find ways to work together, but Knoonk leaders rebuff her and force the humans to submit as slaves. The aliens use illusions, distractions, and social experiments to learn from their hostages and keep them off balance. Resistance by captive humans brings swift punishment to break the human spirit.

Critique: What if humankind's first meeting with an alien race were a desperate struggle to survive against an invasive species? A suspenseful, action-packed space saga featuring a strong female protagonist, Xenogeneic: First Contact is a gem for connoisseurs of the genre, and highly recommended. It should be noted for personal science fiction reading lists that Xenogeneic: First Contact is also available in a Kindle edition ($2.99).

The Stellar Phoenix
Robert Shows
Argus Enterprises International, Inc.
9781942981992 $17.99

Synopsis: The three greatest impediments to space travel - distance, gravity, and radiation - are overcome by the works of a more-than-brilliant physicist, who designs a revolutionary space ship; a true flying saucer: The Stellar Phoenix, capable of enormous speeds and safety. Launched in 2019, the Stellar Phoenix and its seven member highly-intelligent, highly-trained crew settle down to the routines of space travel and their two year maiden voyage mission of mapping the Milky Way Galaxy. All was normal and according to schedule until... A cascade of events disrupts the mission: the unexpected erosion of crew morale; the sudden, unexplained emergency of a hull breach; betrayal and abandonment in space; human survival and ingenuity; and an alien rescue.

Critique: The Stellar Phoenix is a sweeping science fiction drama. A fine balance of deep space sci-fi and character-driven storytelling, The Steller Phoenix is a choice pick for connoisseurs of the genre, and will keep the reader riveted to the final page. Highly recommended.

The Mystery/Suspense Shelf

Cameron's Quest
David Carraturo
iUniverse, Inc.
c/o Author House
1663 Liberty Dr. Suite #300, Bloomington, IN 47403
9781532012181, $20.99, PB, 260pp,

Synopsis: Tuckahoe's "Golden Boy" Chris Cameron had his future all mapped out. He was the big fish in the small pond as a star athlete and academic standout. Off to the University of Texas to play football, he was on track to make his Italian-American mother and Irish father proud.

His two blood brothers chose different paths. Soon after high school, Sal Esposito and Tony Albanese were swept into the life of organized crime. Imposing figures, the pair assisted with strong-armed activities for their capo. Away from that life, Cameron periodically returned to his neighborhood roots to assist his blood brothers in retribution and risk his promising future to avenge violent threats to his lifelong bond.

Critique: Filled with suspense and character twists, "Cameron's Quest" is set in the 1980s and relives a time when an Italian-American family's Sunday dinner table was the only setting needed for therapy sessions, interrogations, judgment, and jury for any punishment. In "Cameron's Quest" author David Carraturo showcases a genuine talent for engaging his reader's rapt attention as in the course of his original and consistently entertaining novel he reminisces about the Mets' championship season, Reaganomics, John Gotti's underworld reign, and the pop culture of the time. While "Cameron's Quest" is very highly recommended and certain to be an enduringly popular addition to community library General Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that it is also available in a Kindle format ($3.99).

The Sacred Sands
Vahan Zanoyan
Gampr Books
9780998392400,$16.95, PB, 370pp,

Synopsis: Some of the largest exporters of crude oil are colluding to bring down the price of oil, at great cost to their national coffers. Governments are violating core ideologies and national values. It falls to James Blackburn, a successful energy consultant based in Washington, DC, who advises oil traders, oil producing governments as well as the CIA and the US Department of Defense, to uncover a brewing conflict in the Middle East that explains it all.

Blackburn finds himself influencing US policy at a time of great turmoil and change in the world. But he gets caught in a quandary as the interests of his various clients clash. His predicament worsens when he gets tangled in the activities of a secret organization aiming to undermine the corrupt regimes of the Gulf.

Critique: A deftly crafted and consistently compelling novel from cover to cover, "The Sacred Sands" showcases author Vahan Zanoyan as having a genuine flair for original and entertaining storytelling. While unreservedly recommended for community library General Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Sacred Sands" is also available in a Kindle format ($8.99).

The Fiction Shelf

Things Unsaid
Diana Y. Paul
She Writes Press
9781631528125, $16.95, PB, 270pp,

Synopsis: Jules, her sister Joanne, and her brother Andrew all grew up in the same household -- but their varying views of and reactions to their experiences growing up have made them all very different people. Now, as adults with children of their own, they are all faced with the question of what to do to help their parents, who insist on maintaining the upscale lifestyle they're accustomed to despite their mounting debts. A deft exploration of the ever-shifting covenants between parents and children, "Things Unsaid" is a ferocious tale of family love, dysfunction, and sense of duty over forty years.

Critique: A story of the complexity of the bonds between parents and children and how difficult it can be to escape them, "Things Unsaid" clearly showcases author Diana Paul as a having a genuine flair for narrative driven and truly memorable characters. While very highly recommended, especially for community library General Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Things Unsaid" is also available in a Kindle format ($6.29).

The Discovery
Louis Kraft & Robert S. Goodman
4900 LaCross Rd., North Charleston, SC 29406
9781519745064, $17.99, PB, 322pp,

Synopsis: Harry Chapman, a physician beginning his career, delivered a young indigent woman's child in 1952. Facts about that birth remained dormant for 20 years. But then, in 1972, an unexpected encounter set in motion a number of events that would impact Chapman's life, and in ways he never imagined possible.

By now, Harry is a successful and honored physician, and perhaps the top OB/GYN practitioner in Los Angeles. Although unknown to him, his world would begin to fall apart when Greg Weston, a young man he doesn't know, is persuaded by girlfriend Gail Gordon to explore his past -- that is, being blind at birth.

Greg works for a law firm and knows how to obtain documents. What he discovers infuriates him and he presses forward and presents what he has found to his boss, Hal Winslow, a top malpractice lawyer. Winslow agrees that they have a case, and this initiates a domino effect that will affect a number of lives. Most notably Harry Chapman but also his wife Helen and their family; Harry's best friend and lawyer, Sid Shapiro; golf pro Phil Rogers; Greg's birth mother Laura Smith; and even Greg and Gail.

As the case moves toward trial in Los Angeles Superior Court Chapman is shocked by the accusations and what he learns. Bad turns to worse, and Harry secures the services of top malpractice defense attorney Tom Loman, but this is just the beginning of what happened in 1952 for now millions of dollars are at stake.

Add los Ninos, the most feared Latino street gang in Los Angeles, to the mix, and suddenly life includes a price tag. As the situation spirals out of control lives begin to fall apart; sex and even the consideration of murder enters the picture. Everything comes down to Harry Chapman vs. Greg Weston with Judge Jason Kimberly presiding, and only one of them will emerge the victor.

Critique: A simply riveting medical and legal thriller from beginning to end, "The Discovery" is an impressively written and collaborative novel by the team of Louis Kraft and Robert S. Goodman. Replete with deftly crafted characters and unexpected plot twists and turns, "The Discovery" is one of those novels that will linger in the mind and memory of the reader long after the book itself has been finished and set back upon the shelf. While unreservedly recommended, especially for community library collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Discovery" is also available in a Kindle format ($2.99).

Pursuing Gold
Cynthia L. Simmons
Elk Lake Publishing
9781944430764, $12.99, PB, 308pp,

Synopsis: With his father dead and his business partner incapacitated, Peter Chandler inherits the leadership of a bank in economic crisis. With only a newly-minted college degree and little experience, Peter joins his partner's daughter, Mary Beth Roper, in a struggle to keep C&R Bank afloat while the Civil War rages around Chattanooga. Political pressure for unsecured loans of gold to the government stirs up trouble as tempers and prices rise. Their problems multiply when Mary Beth discovers counterfeit money with Peter's forged signature. Can they find the forger before the bank fails? The two friends must pursue gold on behalf of their business, as they learn to pursue their heavenly Father to find hope and peace.

Critique: Exceptionally well written by an author with a genuine flair for deftly created memorable characters,, "Pursuing Gold" is a riveting and original Civil War era story by Cynthia Simmon. Very highly recommended, especially for community library General Fiction & Historical Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Pursuing Gold" is also available in a Kindle format ($4.99).

Sisters One, Two, Three
Nancy Star
Lake Union Publishing
9781503937468, $14.95, PB, 352pp,

Synopsis: After a tragic accident on Martha's Vineyard, keeping secrets becomes a way of life for the Tangle family. With memories locked away, the sisters take divergent paths. Callie disappears, Mimi keeps so busy she has no time to think, and Ginger develops a lifelong aversion to risk that threatens the relationships she holds most dear.

When a whispered comment overheard by her rebellious teenage daughter forces Ginger to reveal a long-held family secret, the Tangles' carefully constructed web of lies begins to unravel. Upon the death of Glory, the family's colorful matriarch, and the return of long-estranged Callie, Ginger resolves to return to Martha's Vineyard and piece together what really happened on that calamitous day when a shadow fell over four sun-kissed siblings playing at the shore. Along with Ginger's newfound understanding come the keys to reconciliation: with her mother, with her sisters, and with her daughter.

At turns heartbreaking, humorous, and hopeful, Sisters One, Two, Three explores not only the consequences of secrets (even secrets kept out of love) but also the courage it takes to speak the truth, to forgive, and to let go.

Critique: A consistently compelling and entertaining read from cover to cover, "Sisters One, Two, Three" clearly showcases author Nancy Star's genuine flair for deftly created characters and original storytelling. While very highly recommended and certain to be an enduringly popular addition to community library General Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Sisters One, Two, Three" is also available in a Kindle format ($4.99).

The Dream Keepers
Linda Keen
Mill City Press
9781635051674, $18.00, PB, 581pp,

Synopsis: In the first years of the new millennium, Star and Thatcher O'Day are seven and eight years old when they are forced to leave the only home they have ever known.

Driving cross country from the Deep South to the West Coast with their grandfather, a famous poet they consider strange, sister and brother will also have to accustom themselves before long to an eccentric artist who does not look or act anything like they think a grandmother should. Settling into entirely new surroundings, their joys as well as trials and tribulations, combined with the ebb and flow of memorable relationships, become central to the siblings' incitement for change.

As each advancing year elicits increasing levels of alarm and acute dangers, their continuing encounters steer them into places and circumstances they never could have imagined.

Critique: An exceptionally engaging and unfailingly entertaining kind of story about family, friendship, diversity, and self-knowledge, "The Dream Keepers" clearly establishes author Linda Keen as having a genuine flair for originality and storytelling. While "The Dream Keepers" is very highly recommended, especially for community library General Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that this outstanding novel is also available in a Kindle format ($9.99).

Foy: On the Road to Lost
Gordon Atkinson
Material Media
9780996753555, $15.95, PB, 194pp,

Synopsis: Foy is a minister who can no longer make sense of the religious world into which he was born. A strange bus journey to the heart of New Orleans marks his exit from a familiar life and a rebirth into a new reality. But the secular world is a strange and lonely place for Foy. His identity as a clergyman is more deeply embedded in his soul than he thought.

Foy is determined to chart his own course rather than allowing others to define who he is. A series of flashbacks to his childhood and his time as an unorthodox minister provides clues to the forces that shaped this man and a glimpse at what may be in store for him.

Critique: Original, engaging, and showcasing author Gordon Atkinson's natural flair for deftly crafted storytelling, "Foy: On the Road to Lost" is an extraordinary and unfailingly entertaining novel. "Foy: On the Road to Lost" is Highly recommended for both personal reading lists and community library General Fiction collections.

Alex Chu
Lulu Publishing
3101 Hillsborough Street, Raleigh, NC 27607-5436
9781483456201, $12.00, PB, 202pp,

Synopsis: It all started with an email, then a meeting at the pub, and then a bottle of hydrogen cyanide. Suddenly, disgruntled customer service rep Logan Weidman found himself initiated into the mysterious Ring of Monarchs, where wealth and status are guaranteed, and everything always works out for its members - even getting away with murder. When the Monarchs start demanding favors from Logan, he realizes that their idea of success is very different from his own, and there will be no easy escape from their midst.

Critique: A simply riveting read from cover to cover, "Monarchs" by Alex Chu is based on an actual email sent to the author and showcases a genuine flair for originality and deftly crafted storytelling. While very highly recommended for community library collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Monarchs" is also available in a Kindle format ($3.99).

The Criminology Shelf

Dual Mission
Nino Perrotta
Outskirts Press, Inc.
10940 S. Parker Road, #515, Parker, CO 80134
9781478761259, $24.95, PB, 236pp,

Synopsis: This is a true story of one United States Secret Service special agent assigned to the New York Field Office which was at one time located at 7 WTC. "Dual Mission: A True Story about a Secret Service Agent and His Investigative Experiences to Include His Battle with the New York Mafia!" is a true-life story that at times reads as a novel, and is as inherently riveting as any big screen action movie. "Dual Mission" is the extraordinary account of one ordinary person who vanishes into the "uncharted waters" of long term investigations at an agency where such work is an unknown. His personal mission to take down the New York Mafia, the rogue pitcher, Denny McLain and other global investigations become his mission. A mission with a dual purpose.

Critique: An incredible and complex account that is as inherently compelling as it is informed and informative, "Dual Mission" is very highly recommended, especially for community and academic library collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Dual Mission" is also available in a Kindle format ($4.99).

The Health/Medicine Shelf

Adam Weiss, D.C.
Privately Published
9780692576168, $19.95, PB, 174pp,

Synopsis: In "StretchSmart: Dynamic Stretching to Improve the Way You Feel and Move", Adam Weiss draws upon his more than twenty years of experience and expertise to can help his readers to expand their flexibility; regardless of their age, how out of shape, or stiff they are, and however many past attempts they have made to commit to a flexibility routine.

"StetchSmart" teaches how to eliminate improper straining and overcome structural limitations such as tight hamstrings, a stiff back, shoulder, or knees. StretchSmart will help to conquer"bad" chronic posture while preventing injuries at the same time. StretchSmart will also vastly enhance body awareness and motion.

There are no difficult positions to learn or get into and anyone will continue to benefit from theses stretches. There is no need to have to hold awkward positions for long periods of time to improve flexibility. "StretchSmart" shows step-by-step methods for improving flexibility, even for those who think they were born "stiff", and provides a fuller range of motion in joints and muscles, for a more enjoyable lifestyle.

"StretchSmart" will improve the way to sit and stand and improving performance in any chosen sport activity -- or just help in bending over and tying shoes.

"StretchSmart" will also show how to integrate stretching easily into a daily routine, even for those who are always on the go and have only a few minutes a day to get in a workout.

Critique: Usefully and profusely illustrated throughout, "StretchSmart: Dynamic Stretching to Improve the Way You Feel and Move" is exceptionally well written and impressively 'user friendly' in organization and presentation. Informative, practical, effective, "StretchSmart" is very highly recommended for personal, professional, community, and academic library Health/Medicine instructional reference collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "StretchSmart" is also available in a Kindle format ($9.99).

The Stevia Deception
Dr. Bruce Fife
Piccadilly Books, Ltd.
PO Box 25203, Colorado Springs, CO 80936
9781936709113, $15.95, PB, 170pp,

Synopsis: Through the power of persuasive advertising and clever marketing, we ve been sold on the idea that stevia is a natural herbal sweetener that is not only harmless but even health-promoting. As such, it is promoted as a better choice over sugar or other low-calorie sweeteners. Stevia has rapidly become a multimillion-dollar industry.

Despite all of the marketing hype, stevia is not the innocent little herb it is made out to be and it is not harmless. The stevia sweetener you purchase at the store is a highly refined, purified chemical that is little different from any other artificial sweetener, with many of the same drawbacks and dangers.

In "The Stevia Deception: The Hidden Dangers of Low-Calorie Sweeteners", Dr. Bruce Fife's observation of troubling adverse reactions associated with stevia led him on an investigation that uncovered disturbing facts hidden from the public, including studies that contradict the sweetener's safety and assumed benefits.

In "The Stevia Deception", you will learn why you should never use stevia if you want to lose excess weight or control diabetes. You will also learn why all low-calorie sweeteners are potentially dangerous, and what options you have available. The information in this book comes directly from published studies, historical facts, and the author's personal experiences.

Critique: From Wikipedia, we learn that "Stevia is a sweetener and sugar substitute extracted from the leaves of the plant species Stevia rebaudiana. The legal status of stevia extracts as food additives and supplements varies from country to country. In the United States, stevia was banned in 1991 after early studies found that it might be carcinogenic; after additional studies, the FDA approved some specific glycoside extracts for use as food additives in 2008." All of this adds a layer of justification to Dr. Bruce Fife's clarion call of warning regarding the consumption of Stevia. Exceptionally well researched, written, organized and presented, "The Stevia Deception: The Hidden Dangers of Low-Calorie Sweeteners" should be a part of every community, college, and university library Health/Medicine collection. It should be noted for students, academics, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "The Stevia Deception" is also available in a Kindle format ($8.99).

The Political Science Shelf

Book of Black Heroes
Gil L. Robertson IV
Just Us Books, Inc.
PO Box 5306, East Orange, NJ 07019
9781933491219, $12.95, PB, 80pp,

Synopsis: "Book of Black Heroes: Political Leaders Past and Present" by veteran journalist Gil Robertson showcases African Americans who have made valuable contributions in U.S. government leadership. Included in this informed and informative compendium are Hiram Revels, P.B.S. Pinchback and Robert Smalls, among the first African Americans to hold political offices, Oscar De Priest and Adam Clayton Powell, Jr, who served during the Jim Crow period as well as Edward M. Brooke, Shirley Chisholm, Barbara Jordan, John Lewis, John Conyers, Carl Stokes, and others who emerged during the 1960s on the heels of major civil rights legislation that gave millions of African American the right to vote. New political leaders are also featured, including Keith Ellison, Kamala Harris, Mia Love and Tim Scott. "Book of Black Heroes" is a celebration of 150 years of African-American political leadership, all of whom helped make and shape history.

Critique: "Book of Black Heroes: Political Leaders Past and Present" profiles more than four dozen black U.S. local and state representatives, mayors, members of Congress, and, of course, Barack Hussain Obama, the nation's first black president . Exceptionally well written, organized and presented, "Book of Black Heroes" is unreservedly recommended for personal, school, and community library Black History, American History, and Political Science collections and supplemental studies reading lists.

The Christian Studies Shelf

All the King's Horses
Barry Milazzo
Creation House
c/o Charisma Media Company
600 Rinehart Road, Lake Mary, FL 32746
9781629984193, $17.99, PB, 448pp,

Synopsis: With a happy family and millions in assets, Barry Milazzo seemed to have it all. Like that fairytale egg, his second child, Bryson, was suddenly shattered by catastrophic brain-injury. It was predicted that he would never walk or speak, and he would be virtually uneducable. An unwanted divorce resulted in his raising his children alone. Financial ruin came and he lost his family home. Shocking episodes of bullying and abuse caused his impaired son to threaten suicide. Finally, physical disease and collapse nearly ended this single father's life. Tempted to curse God and die in the face of unbearable pain, he chose to rely fully upon God, discovering timeless Scriptural truths which are passed on to the reader in this book.

Critique: Exceptionally well written and consistently compelling, "All the King's Horses: Finding Purpose and Hope in Brokenness and Impossibility" is a true and contemporary version of the biblical story of Job. Inspired and inspiring, "All the King's Horses" is a unique and especially recommended addition to community library collections. Commended to the attention of all members of the Christian community regardless of denominational affiliations, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "All the King's Horses" is also available in a Kindle format ($l0.99).

The Parenting Shelf

A Parent's Guide to Video Games
Dr. Rachel Kowert
4900 LaCross Rd., North Charleston, SC 29406
9781537359830 $24.99 pbk / $17.99 Kindle

Synopsis: Over the last forty years, video games have transformed from a niche market to a multibillion-dollar industry. No longer limited to arcade parlors, video games are everywhere and are accessible at any time. Along with the popularization of video games has come a growing concern about their ability to transform those who play them into antisocial killing machines who are desensitized to violence, have no friends, and will forever live in their parents' basements. But are these fears based in reality?

Over the last twenty years, psychologists, sociologists, and media scholars have been working hard to answer these questions. Until now, their findings have largely remained insulated within scientific circles and inaccessible to the general public. A Parent's Guide to Video Games breaks the long-standing barriers between science and society by providing the first comprehensive guide to the science behind the headlines. Drawing from the most recent research in the field of game studies, A Parent's Guide to Video Games was developed specifically to help parents better understand if, how, and why video game play can impact a child's physical, social, and psychological well-being.

This includes addressing questions such as these: Will playing violent video games make my child more aggressive and more likely to commit violent crime? Is video game addiction real? If so, how do I know if my child is addicted to video games? Will video game play worsen the symptoms of attention deficit disorder (ADD)? Answers to these questions and many more are discussed inside. Armed with accurate and up-to-date scientific information, parents will begin to understand the science behind the headlines and be able to make more informed decisions for themselves and their families.

Critique: A Parent's Guide to Video Games does not demonize video games, but rather critically evaluates their pros and cons. Grounded firmly in scientific research, A Parent's Guide to Video Games offers straightforward advice, and recommends ensuring that one's child engages in a balanced life with time for face-to-face activities with friends. "Video game play has been associated with the improvement of a range of cognitive skills, such as improved goal setting, initiative taking, and persistence in the face of difficult challenges." It should be noted for personal reading lists that A Parent's Guide to Video Games is also available in a Kindle edition ($17.99).

Dear Daycare Parent
Jackie Rioux & Jo-Ann Parylak
Rioux Advisory Group LLC
9780692572498, $24.95, PB, 128pp,

Synopsis: You've done the research. You've visited the facility. You've met the teachers. You've made your decision. But now what? Each year, millions of parents around the world put their children into daycare. And while they, like you, have done their research and found the right school, many are not prepared for what comes next.

Having a successful daycare or preschool experience goes beyond picking the school that's right for you and your child. It's about asking the right questions, preparing for the unexpected, taking action, communicating and so much more!

Feeling overwhelmed? Don't! Not when "Dear Daycare Parent" by Jackie Rioux and Jo-Ann Parylak has you covered!

Written in a fun, easy-to-understand manner, "Dear Daycare Parent" provides all the information needed to have a great childcare experience. Drawing upon their years of experience and expertise in childcare, Jackie Rioux and Jo-Ann Parylak provide more than 100 practical tips and real-life examples, covering everything from drop-off to departure.

Critique: Thoroughly 'parent friendly' in organization and presentation, "Dear Daycare Parent" is an impressively informed and informative instructional guide that is as practical as it is comprehensive and highly recommended for personal reading lists and community library Parenting instructional reference collections.

The American History Shelf

The Perfect 36: Tennessee Delivers Woman Suffrage
Carol Lynn Yellin & Janann Sherman, authors
Ilene Jones-Cornwell, editor
Vote 70 Press
9780974245652, $24.95, PB, 160pp,

In "The Perfect 36: Tennessee Delivers Woman Suffrage", Carol Yellin and Janann Sherman effectively collaborate reveal the 72-year suffrage struggle to earn women the right to vote which culminated with the final vote needed for ratification in the Tennessee legislature.

"The Perfect 36" gives voice to those who were for and against the right of women to vote in this richly illustrated study. Deftly edited by Ilene Jones-Cornwell, "The Perfect 36" includes a great deal of the writings of those who were involved in this important movement along with pictures and cartoons to give a vivid sense of what it was like to win enfranchisement.

"The Perfect 36" will prove to be an important resource for anyone interested in how women and men earned the right for women to fully participate in the democratic process of the United States. With the national centennial approaching in 2020, the importance of learning about this nonviolent revolution cannot be overstated. The suffragists proved democracy works. "The Perfect 36" contains interviews that no other book about woman suffrage has. It is the complete history of what happened in Tennessee to secure ratification.

Critique: Exceptionally well written, organized and presented, "The Perfect 36: Tennessee Delivers Woman Suffrage" is profusely illustrated and unreservedly recommended for community and academic library American History collections in general, and the Women's Suffrage Movement supplemental studies reading lists in particular. For the personal reading lists students and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject it should be noted that "The Perfect 36" is also available in a Kindle format ($6.99).

The Literary Studies Shelf

Great Books of China
Frances Wood
9781629190075 $19.95

Synopsis: Great Books of China invites readers to discover or rediscover some of the major achievements of Chinese culture and civilization. The literature of China remains largely unknown in the West, yet it offers much insight into Chinese life. The long continuity of Chinese culture means that texts created more than two thousand years ago are still part of the education and background of today's China. Great Books of China introduces outstanding works of various genres, from fiction, drama, and poetry to history, science, and travel; they were written by philosophers and artists, government officials and scholars, by men and women across many centuries and from every part of China. These great books are presented in their historic, cultural, and social context, with a focused summary of content and author.

Beginning with some of the Confucian and Daoist classics and ending with modern fiction, Great Books of China features famous novels including The Water Margin (Shuihu zhuan), Journey to the West (Xiyou ji), and Dream of the Red Chamber (Hongloumeng); celebrated dramas such as The Story of the Lute (Pipa ji) and The Peach Blossom Fan (Taohua shan); poetry from ancient times and the "golden age" of the Tang to the last years of imperial China; renowned historic manuals on Chinese painting, on the construction of Chinese gardens, and on a carpenter's varied tasks; major texts describing Chinese history, the military exploits of ancient generals, and the legendary journeys of Buddhist monks; and works by a number of modern writers including Lu Xun, Ding Ling, and Lao She.

Critique: Great Books of China: From Ancient Times to the Present provides summaries, historical context, and more concerning sixty-six great works of Chinese literature. Thoroughly accessible to readers of all backgrounds, and enhanced with an index for ease of use, Great Books of China is a choice pick for literary scholars, historians, and anyone with a interest in learning more about China's rich cultural legacy. Great Books of China is highly recommended especially for college library Literary Studies shelves.

The Travel Shelf

Camping Europe, fourth edition
Carol Mickelsen
Affordable Travel Press
9780578165844 $29.95

Synopsis: Camping Europe is a budget travel guide that includes essential information and tips for driving and enjoying both Europe's well-known sights and its off-the-beaten-track adventures. ...easily, safely, and affordably. Written to whet the reader's interest to travel, the guide includes descriptions and driving directions for regional sights, cycling routes, hike trails, kayaking waters, and bird watching locations in 26 countries. Hints on how to make car-camping easy encourages even the novice camper to enjoy being with others travelers in relaxed and unpretentious surroundings. 400 maps and accompanying directions on how to drive to campgrounds close to the sights of interest described are included. Photos entice the reader.

Critique: Now in an updated fourth edition, Camping Europe is a superb, user-friendly guide to making the most of one's European camping trip on an affordable budget. Of particular value are the detailed instructions for driving to camping grounds and points of interest. A wealth of black- and-white maps and an index for quick reference round out this choice pick for planning an unforgettable outdoors European adventure!

The Jobs/Career Shelf

Ace Your Job Search in 5 Steps
Narinder K. Mehta
4900 LaCross Rd., North Charleston, SC 29406
9781530774555 $11.95 pbk / $2.99 Kindle

Synopsis: The book reveals a step-by-step pathway for finding your dream job. It presents a framework to assess personal skills, put together resumes and cover letters, identify potential employers, prepare for job interviews, and evaluate job offers. It is based on author Narinder Mehta's experiences as a job hunter, as a hiring manager for large employers, and as a recruiter with an executive search firm. He shares many powerful techniques for building a successful career.

Critique: Packed cover to cover with tips, trips, and techniques for every aspect of job hunting, Ace Your Job Search in 5 Steps is a superb resource. As befitting a job-search guide of the modern era, Ace Your Job Search in 5 Steps also discusses using the internet as a job-seeking tool in depth, while cautioning that the internet should not be relied on exclusively. Highly recommended! "First impression is formed in less than 30 seconds. It is based on your appearance, behavior, and body language. Appropriate professional dress, a firm handshake, a smile on your face, eye contact, and a sense of confidence as you walk into the interviewer's office will help you make a good first impression." It should be noted for personal reading lists that Ace Your Job Search in 5 Steps is also available in a Kindle edition ($2.99).

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

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