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Small Press Bookwatch

Volume 13, Number 11 November 2014 Home | SPBW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice Writing/Publishing Shelf Health/Medicine Shelf
Biography Shelf Fantasy/SciFi Shelf Mystery/Suspense Shelf
Fiction Shelf Poetry Shelf Self-Help Shelf
Art Shelf Relationship Shelf American History Shelf
World History Shelf Audiobook Shelf Fashion Shelf
Social Issues Shelf Cookbook Shelf Architecture Shelf
Folktale/Fairytale Shelf Theatre/Cinema Shelf  

Reviewer's Choice

May's Boy: The Rest of the Story
Shirlee Monty
4900 LaCross Rd., North Charleston, SC 29406
9781479150311, $12.95, 156pp,

Synopsis: "May's Boy: The Rest of the Story" continues the amazing story of Leslie Lemke, one of less than l00 prodigious savants in the world, and of that group, Leslie is considered one of the most spectacularly musically gifted. Following the success of "May's Boy," Shirlee Monty and the Lemkes (Joe, May and Leslie) traveled throughout the country, responding to the demands for concerts and television appearances. It was a journey of joy, excitement and even the silence of disbelief as May saw audiences lifted to their feet again and again in tribute to her beloved son. Although May Lemke will always be remembered for her powerful love, determination, persistence and unshakeable belief in her foster son, readers of "May's Boy: The Rest of the Story" will discover many other facets of May Lemke's unique personality. They will discover that she was totally uninhibited, clearly unflappable, with a keen sense of humor, overwhelming love of children as well as disabled children and an irrepressible joy of living. Readers will be touched and amused by the captivating stories and anecdotes from chapters like "Getting Started, Extreme Generosity, Incredible Happenings" and "Taping at the Lemkes." It's a Road Show you're unlikely to forget. And it might even be a life-changing experience.

Critique: Inspired and inspiring, "May's Boy: The Rest of the Story" is the sequel to "May's Boy: An Incredible Story Of Love" (T. Nelson, 9780840740915, used HC $7.28, used PB $2.65). It should be noted that "May's Boy: The Rest of the Story" is also available in a Kindle edition ($3.99).

The Brothers Hogan: A Fort Worth History
Jacqueline Hogan Towery, Robert Towery, and Peter Barbour
Texas Christian University Press
3000 Sandage Avenue, Fort Worth, Texas 76109
c/o Get PR
9780875655963, $36.95, 256pp,

Synopsis: "The Brothers Hogan: A Fort Worth History" is a unique family portrait of one of golf's greatest legends. Lavishly illustrated with never-before-seen family photos, "The Brothers Hogan: A Fort Worth History" follows the lives of Ben Hogan, winner of sixty-eight tournaments and nine major championships, and his brother Royal, who climbed the ranks of top amateur golfers even as his brother Ben became one of golf's most successful pros. Narrated by Royal's daughter Jacque, Ben's niece, this revealing biography not only tells the story of Ben's and Royal's remarkable careers but also sets the record straight on the shocking suicide of the boys' father, on Ben's strained relationship with his wife Valerie, on the car crash that nearly ended Ben's career, and on scores of details that have been misconstrued in earlier accounts. The rise of Colonial Country Club and its legendary course - forever nicknamed "Hogan's Alley" - and the rise of modern Fort Worth are part of the narrative as the Hogan boys and their city grew up together. Major Fort Worth leaders such as Tex Moncrief, Amon Carter, and Marvin Leonard, the visionary who built both the Colonial and Shady Oaks courses, figure prominently in "The Brothers Hogan: A Fort Worth History".

Critique: Informed, informative, wonderfully illustrated with period photography, and a thoroughly entertaining read from beginning to end, "The Brothers Hogan: A Fort Worth History" is especially recommended reading for golfing enthusiasts interested in the contributions of fabled Ben Hogan and his brother to the sport. "The Brothers Hogan: A Fort Worth History" would make an enduringly popular addition to any personal or community library collection. It should be noted that "The Brothers Hogan: A Fort Worth History" is also available in a Kindle edition ($10.49).

Well Seasoned: Savoring Life's Lessons
Rebecca Webb Wilson
Inspire on Purpose Publishing
9780989800860 $25.00

Filled with beautiful, full-color photography on almost every page, Well Seasoned: Savoring Life's Lessons is a majestic reflection on the transient awe of life's treasured moments. The seasons of the year and the seasons of one's life form the framework of these thoughtful musings and inspiring images. "The second quarter of life, ages twenty-one to forty, might be viewed as autumn. It's a very busy time, so much so that many of us forget to savor life's lessons." Many of the captivating photographs are of natural scenery and wildlife, but some show people of different cultures engaged in community. Well Seasoned makes a wonderful giftbook.

The Book of Barkley
L.B. Johnson
Outskirts Press, Inc.
10940 South Parker Road, #515
Parker, CO 80134
9781478734345 $13.95

The Book of Barkley: Love and Life Through the Eyes of a Labrador Retriever is a Midwestern memoir of everyday life, and the bond between author L.B. Johnson and her beloved dog, Barkley. Animal lovers especially will cherish the tale of raising a near-helpless puppy, its playful antics such as "the bacon incident", and the joys of companionship. "After twelve days, the Cone of Shame was finally gone... What would Barkley do with this newly found freedom? 'Barkley, don't lick yourself there!'" Warmhearted and delightful, The Book of Barkley is a joy to read, highly recommended.

The Writing/Publishing Shelf

Guide to Writing the Mystery Novel
Barbara Gregorich
Philbar Books
9781500714482 $14.00

Guide to Writing the Mystery Novel: Lots of Examples Plus Dead Bodies is an accessible primer for writers of all skill and experience levels. Although especially geared to the subtleties of mystery and crime writing, Guide to Writing the Mystery Novel is packed with tips, tricks, and techniques that any aspiring author will find invaluable. Chapters discuss setting the scene of the crime, casting suspicion and planting clues, handling subplots and plot complications, how to disguise motive/means/opportunity, when to introduce the villain, managing the flow of dialogue, and much more, with numerous, illuminating examples. "If you don't belong to a critique group, then you might consider asking friends and acquaintances to read your manuscript. But beware: if your story is being read by people who are uncritical in their judgement (and usually non-writers are uncritical about story, structure, and language), you won't get much help from these people. Chances are they want to please and will say they love your story. They aren't able to help you improve it." Especially recommended for first-time mystery writers!

The Health/Medicine Shelf

My Home Pharmacy
Tracy Gibbs
Woodland Publishing
515 South 700 East, Suite 2D, Salt Lake City, UT 84102
9781580541497, $9.95, 168pp,

Synopsis: For thousands of years, herbal remedies dominated medicine and healing. Today, Tracy Gibbs, PhD, draws on the history of herbal and botanical medicine along with tried-and-true remedies in this new book! Read about recipes used in his own family as well as traditions from local healers, naturopathic doctors and researchers from around the world. In "My Home Pharmacy", Tracy shares his family recipes and years of knowledge about traditional methods of healing with you!

Critique: Exceptionally well written, organized and presented, "My Home Pharmacy" is ideal for the non-specialist general reader with an interest in herbal medicine and alternative medical approaches to common human ailments. Informed, informative, and thoroughly 'user friendly', "My Home Pharmacy" is very highly recommended for personal, family, and community library Health & Medicine reference collections.

Philly's Fit-Step Walking Diet
Fred A. Stutman, M.D.
Medical Manor Books
3501 Newberry Road, Philadelphia, PA 19154
9780934232340, $19.95, 278pp,

Synopsis: "Philly's Fit-Step Walking Diet: Lose 15 Lbs. Get Fit. Look Younger... In 21 Days!" by Dr. Fred A. Stutman is a unique weight-loss and fitness instruction guide. Originally developed for Dr. Stutman's Philadelphia patients who were tired of fad diets and strenuous exercises, "Philly's Fit-Step Walking Diet: Lose 15 Lbs. Get Fit. Look Younger... In 21 Days!" is an easy-to-follow, low-fat, high-fiber, moderate protein diet, combined with an aerobic walking plan and strength-training exercises. This combination produces a double-blast of calorie burning for added weight-loss, cardiovascular fitness, and body shaping. This plan also helps to prevent heart attacks, strokes, and hypertension. Readers will be able to slim down, shape up, and look younger by applying what they will learn from "The Philly Fit-Step Walking Diet", and even be able to eat a Philly cheesesteak in the process.

Critique: Practical, informative, and exceptionally well presented, "Philly's Fit-Step Walking Diet: Lose 15 Lbs. Get Fit. Look Younger... In 21 Days!" is enhanced with the inclusion of a three page bibliography, two appendices (Fat & Fiber Counter; Famous Landmarks and Walking Tours of Philadelphia), and a comprehensive subject index, making it very highly recommended for both personal and community library Health & Fitness instructional reference collections. It should be noted that "Philly's Fit-Step Walking Diet: Lose 15 Lbs. Get Fit. Look Younger... In 21 Days!" is also available in a Kindle edition ($7.69).

The Health Professional's Guide to Gastrointestinal Nutrition
Laura E. Matarese, Gerard E. Mullin, and Janice L. Raymond, editors
Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
120 South Riverside Plaza, Suite 2000
Chicago, Illinois 60606-6995
9780880914505 $70.00

The Health Professional's Guide to Gastrointestinal Nutrition is a reference written and edited by professional dietitians and physicians specializing in gastrointestinal nutrition, for professionals (and possibly graduate-level students) in the field. Topics covered include gastrointestinal anatomy; nutrition and gastrointestinal tract disorders including small intestine malabsorptive disorders, inflammatory bowl disease, irritable bowel syndrome, and celiac disease; liver and pancreatic diseases; gastrointestinal oncology and surgery; therapeutic interventions for gastrointestinal disorders including enteral and parenteral nutrition, drug-nutrient interactions, probiotics, and ethical and legal issues; obesity, eating disorders, and food allergy or intolerance; and much more. The Health Professional's Guide to Gastrointestinal Nutrition is an excellent, studious resource that draws directly on the latest research and medical findings. "Premature infants fed soy protein formulas demonstrated decreased bone mineralization and poor weight gain when compared with premature infants fed cow's milk-based formula. Thus, soy protein formulas are contraindicated in premature infants... Sucrose, corn syrup solids, and/or maltodextrin provide the carbohydrate in soy-based infant formulas. Because soy-based formulas contain no lactose, they are recommended for infants with galactosemia."

The Biography Shelf

Logan: The Honorable Life & Scandalous Death of a Western Lawman
Jackie Boor
Cable Publishing
14090 East Keinenen Road, Brule, WI 54820
9781934980361, $18.95, 269pp,

Synopsis: Dressed only in a nightshirt and unarmed, Sheriff Thomas Logan lay bleeding outside the Jewel, a house of ill-fame. His death in 1906 sent shock waves across Nevada, forcing Hannah and their eight children to face an unfathomable future. This richly textured account of a poplar lawman's life and death also includes many famous and colorful characters - all of whom were part of the Wild West's reluctant surrender to the 20th century.

Critique: A minor masterpiece of western biography, "Logan: The Honorable Life & Scandalous Death of a Western Lawman" by Jackie Boor is enhanced with the inclusion of period illustrations, an Appendix, ten pages of Chapter Notes, four page of Bibliography, and a comprehensive Index. But perhaps best of all is the inclusion of fifteen poems that evoke the period in which a remarkable western lawman lived and died. Informed and informative, "Logan: The Honorable Life & Scandalous Death of a Western Lawman" is one of those historical biographies that seize upon the reader's total attention and holds it firmly from beginning to end. Very highly recommended for personal reading lists, as well as community and academic library American History collections, it should be noted that "Logan: The Honorable Life & Scandalous Death of a Western Lawman" is also available in a hardcover edition (9781934980354, $25.95) and a Kindle edition ($9.95).

The Fantasy/SciFi Shelf

The Straw That Broke
Tom Whalen
Black Scat Books
c/o The Barret Company Communications
9780692259436, $14.95, 172pp, pb,

Synopsis: Bulwer Zetford's "The Cosmic Messenger" is about to take a strange turn (and the multiverse with it) when Roithamer of Relix 'beads' once again and brings swirling into Zetford's Kaduza M-mon processor the Encyclopedia Mouse, the one creature who can save the multiverse. "The Straw That Broke" is about a mouse who battles his Doppelganger in cyberspace, Heidegger in his Black Forest hut, and a hyper-crazed Roithamer. Death is everywhere, but the mouse, birling (if only barely) in his Binding Nexus Drive, is determined to narrate the universes away from their demise. But this won't be easy, since the mouse is wanted for crimes against philosophy, science, art, religion, fiction, history, logical positivism, and a great deal of what your mother and father taught you.

Critique: Tom Whalen is blessed with a unique and original storytelling talent and able to conjure up a complex, integrated, and unexpectedly funny novel that will hold the reader's rapt and fully engaged attention from first page to last. This is a superbly crafted narrative that is as thoughtful and thought-provoking as it is unrelentingly entertaining. "The Straw That Broke" is especially recommended to science fiction enthusiasts and the literate avant garde who enjoy a thoroughly archetypal metaphysical tour de force.

The Sixteen
Ali B.
Dewey Larson Publishing LLC
c/o The Cadence Group
9780988942219, $11.99, 206pp,

Synopsis: There are people out there who don't die with their bodies. Their souls live on in the bodies of others. Some good, some bad - they are soul jumpers. Nothing in Iris Brave's world make sense anymore. Her father, Micah, is still alive - his soul survives in the body of a teenage boy. It is up to Iris and a group of soul jumpers called the Sixteen to save Micah. To do so Iris must take on the unscrupulous leaders of the Council. Can she save her father? Will she survive?

Critique: "The Sixteen" is the second volume in Ali B.' outstanding 'Soul Jumpers' series. As exciting a story as it is deftly written, "The Sixteen" is pure entertainment from beginning to end and very highly recommended for personal reading lists and community library collections. It should be noted that "The Sixteen" is also available in a Kindle edition ($6.99). For those to whom this is their first introduction to Ali B.'s imaginative storytelling, the first volume in the 'Soul Jumpers' series is "Iris Brave" (9780988942202, $10.95 PB, $0.99 Kindle, 184pp).

The Mystery/Suspense Shelf

Night Drop
Michael W. Sherer
Cutter Press
c/o Flynn Media
9780989274821, $13.99, 388pp,

Synopsis: What would you do to save someone you love? More than a year after Blake Sanders's life fell apart he's finally starting to pick up the pieces and put it all back together. When his ex-wife Molly is abducted, he vows not to lose her, too. Her high-profile law firm calls in the FBI, which treats the case as a run-of-the-mill kidnap-for-ransom. But to Blake, it's personal. When the kidnappers demand that he deliver the ransom, he knows it is. With Molly's life hanging in the balance, Blake does the unexpected, setting off a chain reaction and a game of cat-and-mouse with the mastermind behind the abduction. The deeper Blake digs for answers, the more apparent it becomes that money is lowest on the kidnappers' list of demands. One of Molly's clients is an ex-Navy SEAL, an expert dolphin trainer turned animal rights activist. When he disappears the stakes suddenly go up, and Blake asks naval intelligence officer Reyna Chase for help. As soon as Reyna gets wind of what's happening, the game changes from saving Molly to saving Seattle from a terrorist threat that could wreak havoc on the city and kill thousands. The only way Blake can stop it is to pay the ransom - not with cash, but with his life.

Critique: A riveting read from first page to last with non-stop action and a variety of surprise plot twists and unexpected turns, "Night Drop" is the third volume in author Michael W. Sherer's 'Blake Sanders' series and continues to document his gift for imaginative storytelling. It should be noted that "Night Drop" is also available in a Kindle edition ($2.99). Also highly recommended are the first two in this outstanding thriller of series: "Night Blind" (Kindle edition $3.00) and "Night Tide" (Kindle edition $1.99). By the author of the Thriller Award-nominated Night Blind, Sherer's third book in the Blake Sanders series grabs the reader by the throat and doesn't let go until the last page is turned.

Dire Salvation
Charles B. Neff
Bennet & Hastings Publishing
9781934733752, $12.95, 214pp,

Synopsis: Calla Ogden's carefully organized life as a social worker in Washington's Central Cascade Mountains begins to fall apart when her half-brother is arrested for murder. The investigation centers on a fish hatchery operated by a local Native American tribe, and soon draws in Mayor Phil Bianchi and Greg Takarchuk, a junior police officer. As Phil and Calla grow close, they confront causes for the murder that bring them face to face with a dangerous new drug and with old events tied to Calla's native heritage. Native lore and modern science combine in a treacherous final confrontation that threatens to sweep away many lives, and with them, newfound love.

Critique: A riveting read from beginning to end, "Dire Salvation" documents author Charles B. Neff has an impressive literary talent able to deftly weave memorable characters into a complex plot that holds the reader's rapt attention and just won't let go. Very highly recommended, it should be noted that "Dire Salvation" is also available in a Kindle edition ($2.99). Also strongly recommended for fans of dramatic thriller fiction is Charles Neff's sixth novel, "Fractured Legacy" (9781934733868, $14.95 (PB), $5.95 (Kindle), 276pp.

The Fiction Shelf

The Unspeakable
Peter Anderson
C & R Press
72 North Crest Road, Chattanooga TN 37404
c/o AuthorRamp PR
9781936196371, $22.00, 286pp,

Synopsis: It is the mid-1980s, the era of so-called reformist apartheid, and South Africa is in flames. Police and military are gunning down children at the forefront of the liberation struggle. Far from such action, it seems, a small party of four is traveling by minibus to the north of the country, close to the border with Zimbabwe. Their aim is to shoot a documentary on the discovery of a prehistoric skull that Professor Digby Bamford boasts is evidence that, "True man first arose in southern Africa." Boozy, self-absorbed Professor Bamford is unaware that his young lover, Vicky, brings with her some complications. Rian, the videographer, was once in love with her, and his passion has been reignited. Bucs, a young man from the townships, is doing his best not to be involved in the increasingly deadly tensions. Powerful and provocative, brilliantly written, "The Unspeakable" is as unforgettable as it is unsettling. Told in the first person by Rian, it centers on the conflicted being of the white male under apartheid. Unlike many of the great novels of the era, it renounces any claim to the relative safety zone of moralistic dissociation from the racist crime against humanity, and cuts instead to the quick of complicity.

Critique: A deftly written and completely engaging novel, author Peter Anderson has an impressive gift for weaving a complex story with memorable characters and social issues, some of which continue to reverberate in South African today. A compelling read from beginning to end, "The Unspeakable" is very highly recommended for personal reading lists, as well as community and academic library Contemporary Fiction collections. It should be noted that "The Unspeakable" is also available in a paperback edition (9781936196388, $16.00).

Sailing Dangerous Waters
D. Andrew McChesney
Outskirts Press, Inc.
10940 South Parker Road, #515, Parker, CO 80134
9781478721895, $19.95, 372pp,

Synopsis: The Gallician frigate had come out of the fog from windward, and had fired its first devastating broadside into the Tritonish frigate from near point blank range. They paralleled each other, mere yards apart, and made no effort to alter course or maneuver for an advantage. With more sail set now, the schooner forged ahead and rapidly closed with the frigates. "Ready the port battery!" "Aye aye, sir!" "Helm, steer as to pass between them!" "Aye aye, sir!" "Sure madness, Edward!" warned Hotchkiss. "But a method to it, Isaac! When I give word, we must put into the wind, and as our guns bear, concentrate fire on the Toad's starboard quarter. Let us then fall off the wind and repeat with the starboard battery." "Aye!" Hotchkiss nodded with understanding. Fully awake and alert, his senses at their sharpest, Pierce watched the battling frigates grow larger. The damp night air whipped past mingled with spray thrown up by Island Expedition's hurried dash through the sea. Despite the apprehension in his gut, Pierce felt alive. Master and Commander Edward Pierce, captain of HMS Island Expedition, languishes with his ship and crew in a world both very like and unlike his own. A voyage of exploration has led him further afield than he would ever have imagined possible. As he works to convince the Tritonish Government that he is not a rebel pirate, Pierce is offered a unique opportunity to claim citizenship in this parallel world...but in doing so, will he breach his loyalty to King George III? Not knowing whether he will be able to sail back to England, Pierce navigates the uncertain course of diplomacy that allows Stone Island to become a official Land of Vespica...and allows him to be released to sail for home. But the voyage there is fraught with peril, and his welcome is uncertain. What will the Admiralty make of his incredible tale? And will Evangeline, his heart's joy, still be waiting for him?

Critique: This deftly written, complex, thoroughly entertaining novel truly evokes a nautical time when wooden ships and iron men sailed troubled seas. Author D. Andrew McChesney demonstrates an appreciative eye for dramatic detail in his development of memorable characters and unexpected plot twists and turns. "Sailing Dangerous Waters" is very highly recommended for personal reading lists and community library Historic Fiction collections. It should also be noted that "Sailing Dangerous Waters" is also available in a Kindle edition.

Hothouse Gods
Frederick Barrows
Lone Argonaut
c/o Independent Book Publishers Association
1020 Manhattan Beach Blvd., Suite 204
Manhattan Beach, CA 90266
9780989372916 $26.99

The debut novel of author Frederick Barrows, Hothouse Gods is the saga of a disillusioned young man trying to find his place in life. Set in the 1990s, a few years before smart phones and social networks redefined human interaction, Hothouse Gods follows Jimmy Breedlove's quest to escape his crummy job and his dying relationship for a fresh start, far from his childhood home in New Orleans. He embarks on a cross-country road trip, crosses paths with the adventurous (and sexy) Sarah Rainbird, and stumbles into increasingly bizarre, surprising, and even dangerous entanglements! A saga about breaking away from the endless, monotonous drudgery of a preplanned life, in a time when the lack of ubiquitous GPS devices meant that it was still possible to get lost in America, Hothouse Gods is quirky, eyebrow-raising, and captivating to the very end.

The Poetry Shelf

Sitting In Creation
Brenda Asterino
4900 LaCross Rd., North Charleston, SC 29406
9781491232678, $6.95, 46pp,

Synopsis: Brenda Asterino uses poetry, prose, and imagery to express a sense of being in moments of creation. Those moments feel like the spiritual connection of oneness. Sometimes these are moments of joy. Sometimes they are bittersweet, or a sad comment on reality. They are all moments of connection, whether sad, mundane, lofty, or surprising. They all reflect awareness of the world, others, or self. These times of connected awareness feel like being at the heart of creation.

Critique: Brenda Asterino presents a truly impressive talent for illustrating and communicating the human condition using both poetry and prose. A richly rewarding read, "Sitting In Creation" is very highly recommended reading -- over and over again. It should be noted that "Sitting In Creation" is also available in a Kindle edition ($1.99).

The Self-Help Shelf

The Road to Shine
Laurie Gardner
Central Recovery Press
3321 North Buffalo Drive, Las Vegas, NV 89129
9781937612597, $17.95, 204pp,

Synopsis: Laurie Gardner has Harvard degrees in comparative world religions, psychology, and education. She dedicated her career to spearheading an international public school reform movement and is a master practitioner in body/mind/spirit wellness. Using her own personal, professional, and exotic travel experiences, Laurie Gardner shows how we can derive life-changing insights and essential personal growth from any situation. Most importantly, we discover how to connect with our deepest desires and our highest selves, learning to honor our own intuition and truth.

Critique: There are a great many self-help titles available to the reading public, but few of them are as well written and presented as Laurie Gardner's "The Road to Shine: A Story of Adventure, Life Lessons, and My Quest for More". Informed, informative, coherent, inspired and inspiring, "The Road to Shine: A Story of Adventure, Life Lessons, and My Quest for More" is highly recommended for personal self-help, self-improvement personal reading lists and would prove to be an enduringly popular addition to community library Self-Help collections.

Success Is Your Birthright: God's Success
R. Stanton Tucker
Christelle, Stanton, & Lillie Publishing, LLC
9780989567503, $24.99, 242pp,

Synopsis: Life resembles a roller coaster. It has suspense, intrigue, smooth moments, hairpin turns, sudden twists, plummets, loopty loops, near misses, excitement, and anticipation. Life consists of countless moments. Moments that make us smile, experience tingling sensations, laugh until we can hardly breathe, and leave us speechless with wonder and admiration. As beautiful as those moments are, our memoirs hone in and linger on the moments that leave us in tears, wincing, grinding our teeth, and asking for Divine Intervention. It is that part of life's roller coaster that makes you want to get off, wonder why, and feel psychologically queasy. Questions like "What do I do? Where do I go from here? How will I bounce back or can I bounce back?" surface. In "Success Is Your Birthright: God's Success", author R. Stanton Tucker offers hope, love, and lessons to cope with those not so great moments and the people who instigate and perpetuate them, including ourselves, using the biblical Joseph Story as a platform. Why the Joseph Story? His story mirrors our own. He too experienced life's roller coaster. Joseph's story is not just a testament to resilience, but one of faith in and reliance on God. "Success Is Your Birthright: God's Success" offers a spiritual awakening; builds confidence; prods introspection and growth; encourages during difficult times; challenges misconceptions; opens a closed heart and hands; as well as demonstrating love, hope, selflessness, and forgiveness.

Critique: As inspired and inspiring as it is practical and relevant to coping with the vagaries and stresses of modern life, "Success Is Your Birthright: God's Success" is a very highly recommended and 'life changing' read which is also available in a paperback edition (9780989567510, $14.99).

The Time Bandit Solution
Edward G. Brown
Cohen Brown Picture Company, Inc.
11835 W. Olympic Blvd., Ste. 920
Los Angeles, CA 90064
c/o Smith Publicity
1930 E Marlton Pike, Suite I-46
Cherry Hill, NJ 08003
9780989915113 $23.99

The Time Bandit Solution is a different type of time management guide. It's not about the usual tips and tricks for multitasking or time consolidation, but rather focuses on practical strategies to deal with "time bandits" - people whose interruptions interfere with one's workflow and slow down personal productivity. "Time bandits" are rarely malicious, and typically aren't strangers; they're friends, family, clients - and you! Everyone has been guilty of distracting another person from their work at some point. But learning how to politely yet firmly defend oneself against "time bandits" can be enormously effective. Full-color photography and illustrations complement the simple, use-tested guidelines. Strategies range from prioritization methodologies, to preparing and rehearsing a polite script (similar to the scripts that salespeople use) to gently turn away interrupters, to presenting a "Time Lock" proposals to one's workplace superior, and much more. Highly recommended as a resource for obtaining more time in one's personal as well as professional life!

Build the Strength Within
Dr. Deborah Carlin
Select Books
87 Walker Street, Suite B1, New York City, NY 10013
c/o Jane Wesman Public Relations, Inc.
322 Eighth Avenue, Suite 1702, New York, NY 10001
9781590791479 $16.95

Psychologist and business consultant Dr. Deborah Carlin presents Build the Strength Within: Create the Blueprint for Your Best Life Yet, a consumable self-help guide offering eleven self-assessments that can be used to customize the "blueprint" to build a better life. Journaling exercises and affirmations interleave the practical advice about balancing exercise, good nutrition, and managed stress, especially as one gets older and their body tends to become slower and stiffer. "The practice of meditation is known around the world and comes in many forms. There are religious formats as well as secular. You can practice in silence or with music or sounds of nature. The goal is to provide yourself a physical space that allows you to release from this world and go into your head and feel free and relaxed inside of your own self, for the benefit of your mind and body."

The Art Shelf

Saving Mona Lisa
Gerri Chanel
Heliopa Press LLC
9780615990392, $18.00, 344pp,

Synopsis: In August 1939, curators at the Louvre nestled the world's most famous painting into a special red-velvet-lined case and spirited her away to the Loire Valley. Thus began the biggest evacuation of art and antiquities in history. As the Germans neared Paris in 1940, the French raced to move the masterpieces still further south, then again and again during the war, crisscrossing the southwest of France. At times Mona Lisa slept at the bedside of curators who were painfully aware of their heavy responsibility. Throughout the German occupation, the Louvre's staff fought to keep the priceless treasures out of the hands of Hitler and his henchmen and to keep the Louvre palace safe, many of them risking their jobs and their lives to protect the country's artistic heritage. "Saving Mona Lisa" is the sweeping, suspenseful narrative of their battle. Superbly researched and accompanied by riveting photographs of the period, "Saving Mona Lisa" is a compelling true story of art and beauty, intrigue and ingenuity, and remarkable moral courage in the face of one of the most fearful enemies in history.

Critique: One of the lesser travesty of the men who ran the so-called Third Reich was the wholesale looting of Europe's artistic treasures from museums and private collections. "Saving Mona Lisa: The Battle to Protect the Louvre and its Treasures During World War II" is an impressively detailed and documented account that will prove to be a monument to courage. Especially recommended to the attention of non-specialist general readers with an interest in World War II history and true tales of extraordinary heroism, "Saving Mona Lisa: The Battle to Protect the Louvre and its Treasures During World War II" should be considered an essential, core addition to academic library 20th Century European History collections

The Relationship Shelf

So THAT'S Why They Do That!
Judith Claire & Frank Wiegers
Top Gun Love Inc. Publishing
c/o Creative Center of America
9780991162291, $14.95, 352pp,

Synopsis: The collaborative work of Judith Claire and Frank Wiegers, "So THAT'S Why They Do That!: Men, Women And Their Hormones" explains how understanding male and female hormones affect human life and behavior. Understanding the role of hormones will enable the reader to create a deeply satisfying intimate relationship with the one she or he loves. Straightforward and compassionate, this down-to-earth relationship guide explains how hormones act as the silent drivers of behavior for women and men. Utilizing the authors' unique Top Gun Love approach, the book delivers easy-to-understand sections that provide practical help for men and women in every season of life: dating singles from young adults through men and women in their 30's and 40's; newlyweds; committed and married couples; expectant couples; boomers, seniors and divorced or widowed singles re-entering the world of dating; and partners facing menopause and andropause. Of special note is the commentary on unlocking the power of biology to enjoy a lifetime of love and sexual fulfillment, as well as learning communication tactics and understand methods to resolve conflicts, stay together, and be happy.

Critique: Exceptionally well informed and informative, "So THAT'S Why They Do That!: Men, Women And Their Hormones" is impressively organized and presented, and very highly recommended for the non-specialist general reader seeking to understand the basic and vital role hormones play in human behavior in general, and their own lives and relationships in particular. It should be noted that "So THAT'S Why They Do That!: Men, Women And Their Hormones" is also available in a Kindle edition ($9.95).

The American History Shelf

Unlikely Fame: Poor People Who Made History
David Wagner, author
Paradigm Publishers
5589 Arapahoe Avenue, Suite 206A, Boulder, CO 80303
9781612057156, $138.00, 208pp,

Synopsis: "Unlikely Fame: Poor People Who Made History" depicts the stories of Americans born in poverty, who achieved national or international fame. Accessible to students and lay readers, "Unlikely Fame: Poor People Who Made History" is a scholarly study describes poverty as a disability that typically stunts important areas of growth in childhood. Author David Wagner shows how poverty hampers individuals and groups for their entire lives, even many of those who emerge from poverty. Examples of individuals with difficult childhoods who faced residual lifelong challenges are presented in the stories of 27 Americans, including athlete Babe Ruth, birth control advocate Margaret Sanger, singer Billie Holliday, author Jack London, actress Marilyn Monroe, black leader Malcolm X, singer Johnny Cash, comedian Richard Pryor, author Stephen King, and entertainer Oprah Winfrey. "Unlikely Fame: Poor People Who Made History" yields insight into successful individuals and how they coped, adapted, and ultimately achieved success.

Critique: Informed and informative, "Unlikely Fame: Poor People Who Made History" is a fascinating and informative read from beginning to end. It is a unique and seminal work that is truly extraordinary and highly recommended for personal reading lists, as well as school, community and academic library American Biography collections. It should be noted that "Unlikely Fame: Poor People Who Made History" is also available in a paperback edition (9781612057149, $29.95).

The World History Shelf

Berlin 1945: World War II: Photos of the Aftermath
Michael Breetin & Peter Kroh
Berlinica Publishing LLC
255 West 43rd Street, Suite 1012, NY, NY 10036
9781935902027, $20.00, 218pp,

The capital city of Germany, Berlin was completely devastated by Allied bombing raids and Soviet block-by-block street fighting as the Third Reich collapsed and the Nazi regime was thoroughly defeated. Once one of the leading cultural and social centers of Europe, Berlin in 1945 was an horrendous human calamity that was extensively photographically documented at the time. A great number of those photos, along with explanatory commentaries and captions, comprise the pages of "Berlin 1945: World War II: Photos of the Aftermath" and presents a perspective of the inevitable consequences of modern warfare that should never be underestimated or forgotten by succeeding generations. Informed and informative, "Berlin 1945: World War II: Photos of the Aftermath" is very strongly recommended for academic library 20th Century European History collections in general, and the growing library of World War II Studies supplemental reading lists in particular.

The Audiobook Shelf

Terry Nation's Survivors Series One
Performed by Lucy Fleming, Ian McCulloch, et. al.
Big Finish
PO Box 3787, Maidenhead
Berkshire, England SL6 3TF
9781781782767 $47.86 CD / $25.00 download

Superbly performed by a full cast, Terry Nation's Survivors Series One is a boxed set audiobook anthology of four brand new, original stories based on the classic TV series about a flu pandemic that killed over 90% of the Earth's population. Only a handful of survivors are left to rebuild, and most of the modern marvels of technology are lost or destroyed. Amid the wastelands that were once cities, humankind must start over again - but can the handful of survivors maintain anything resembling a peaceful life, let alone rebuild? And could the flu pandemic mutate again, exterminating what's left? Survivors is a tense, post-apocalyptic drama, highly recommended for connoisseurs of the genre; it should be noted that these dark stories contain adult material, and are unsuitable for young listeners. 4 CDs, 240 min.

The Fashion Shelf

Collective Soles: The Shoe Banter Collection
Joyce Fishman, author/illustrator
Outskirts Press
10940 S. Parker Rd. - 515, Parker, CO 80134
9781478729112, $19.95,

"Collective Soles" is a title from The Shoe Banter Collection, a whimsical artistic impression of ideas about shoe philosophy, exploring the notion that "shoes contain a soul within its sole," culminating in the observation that "Our Collective Soles / Share in a unique journey / Soles reflect our souls." Delicious portraits of different shoes and soles, with expressive faces and uniquely colorful features adorn every other page, with a miniature portrait in verse to flesh out the sole, or soul depicted. Thus we find "Flip Flop soles are free spirits that like to hang on lightly between your toes..." accompanied by rainbow colored hanging flip flops with facial features and miniature heads. Or "Wedge soles know how to support an arch..." and a whole litany of different dance and theater soles that have many special creative features and telling characteristics. "Collective Soles" is a fabulous fantasy that perfectly marries soles with souls, or feet with feelings, or art and verse with life. Only the sensitive who feel fun at the heart should read "Collective Soles," or those who long to remember how to find fun at the heart. Another title from the Shoe Banter Collection is called "Running Shoes (9781478729297, $16.95). This book explores the use of verse and art to describe the experience of wearing running shoes with all the joyous exhilaration that experience can entail. For a new experience in creative graphic works, explore the Shoe Banter Collection. It will feel like a breath of fresh air for the soul.

The Social Issues Shelf

The Devil Inside the Beltway
Michael J. Daugherty
Broadland Press
425 Broadland Road, Atlanta, GA, 30342
9780985742225 $19.95

The Devil Inside the Beltway: The Shocking Expose of the US Government's Surveillance and Overreach into Cybersecurity, Medicine and Small Business is a true-life spy story that reads like an Orwellian dystopia. Author Michael J. Daugherty, the CEO of LabMD (a cancer-detection lab in Atlanta with 25 employees), tells how he discovered that more than 9000 of his company's patients' billing information and social security numbers were obtained by a security surveillance company called Tiversa. LabMD had taken the usual security measures of firewalls and servers designed to protect customer data, but all it took was for one employee to violate company policy and install a peer-to-peer file-sharing network on her computer (because she wanted to listen to music) to make LabMD's data vulnerable to Tiversa. Tiversa tried to extort money, and when Daugherty refused to pay, Tiversa turned Daugherty over to the Federal Trade Commission. A blood-in-the-water fight to save LabMD from the FTC's efforts to shut it down ensued. Regardless of political affiliation, readers of all backgrounds would do well to consider The Devil Inside the Beltway as a chilling example of the consequences of government overreach, and the costs inflicted on small businesses as well as hard-working individuals. Highly recommended.

The Cookbook Shelf

The Chew: A Year of Celebrations
c/o Disney Enterprises
125 West End Avenue, New York, NY 10023
9781484711088 $19.99

Illustrated with full-color photography throughout, The Chew: A Year of Celebrations is a cookbook filled with recipes from ABC's hit television show "The Chew". The five show hosts share handy entertaining tips, simple yet creative crafts, and mouth-watering recipes for any festive occasion, from football game gatherings to romantic Valentine's Day dinners. From Corn Apple Salad (perfect as a barbecues side!) to Brisket with Pearl Onions and Potatoes, Citrus Upside-Down Cake, Curried Butternut Squash Soup, and much more, The Chew is a splendid resource packed with easy-to-make dishes that look as appealing as they taste. Highly recommended, especially for gourmets who follow the show!

The Architecture Shelf

Last Is More
Robert Sharoff, text
William Zbaren, photography
The Images Publishing Group
c/o Langham Hospitality Group
9780957875975 $50.00

Award-winning architectural photojournalists Robert Sharoff and William Zbaren present Last Is More: Mies, IBM, and the Transformation of Chicago, a coffee-table book documenting how the IBM Building (the last skyscraper designed by Mies van der Rohe) was transformed into The Langham hotel of Chicago. Full-color photography on every other page complements the insightful writing into the history, architectural vision, and legacy of this majestic structure. Accessible to scholars and lay readers alike, Last Is More is a welcome addition to architecture shelves.

The Folktale/Fairytale Shelf

Beyond the Briar Patch
Retold by Lyn Ford
Parkhurst Brothers Publishers
110 West Main Street
Marion, Michigan 49665
9781624910265 $11.50 ebook
9781624910258 $17.00 pbk.

Beyond the Briar Patch: Affrilachian Folktales, Food and Folklore is an anthology of folklore, including animal/fool/trickster tales, drawn from African-American, Native-American, and European-American sources - a concoction she dubs "Affrilachain" (apparently a play on "Appalachian"). "What do you do when somebody is threatening to turn your grandma into a midnight snack? Well, if you're Rabbit, you don't sit around and cry about it. You don't hide, or run away. You start using your head for more than a place to hang your ears, and you come up with a plan to save your grandma." Beyond the Briar Patch is more than a compilation of engaging folktales; it's a cultural treasury for both casual browsers and library folklore shelves. Also highly recommended is the previous collection, "Affrilachian Tales" (9781935166665, $20.00).

The Theatre/Cinema Shelf

Commercial Acting in L.A.
Shaan Sharma, author
Paul Loudon, illustrator
Privately Published
c/o The Barrett Company (publicity)
12021 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 600, Los Angeles, CA 90025
9780990408000 $29.99

Actor, acting teacher, and casting session director Shaan Sharma presents Commercial Acting in L.A.: A Session Director's Guide, a no-nonsense, tell-it-like-it-is guide to working in the business. Sharma doesn't mince words - if Commercial Acting in L.A. were a movie, it would be rated R for language (including cussing) - but his years of hard-earned wisdom are invaluable to anyone trying to break into an acting career. Chapters cover the demands of an acting career, how to get a good agent, online services widely used to scout actors, how to handle auditions and callbacks, the basics of residuals and re-negotiations, and much more. An absolute must-read, must-have for aspiring actors, and even industry veterans are likely to learn new tricks, tips, and techniques for getting hired! "Commercially, you need to sign up for and maintain your account on Casting Networks and Casting Frontier. Make sure to completely fill out your profile and upload current photos. On the theatrical side, there's also Actors Access, the actor portal into the Breakdown Services system, the main online casting service used by TV/film CD's, and also Now Casting, but the breakdowns visible to the general public are usually for low budget and student films, or really hard to find roles like one-legged Asian opera singers."

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

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