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Wisconsin Bookwatch

Volume 19, Number 6 June 2024 Home | WBW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice Education Shelf Cookbook Shelf
Environmental Studies Shelf Parenting Shelf Biography Shelf
General Fiction Shelf Historical Fiction Shelf Romantic Fiction Shelf
Mystery/Suspense Shelf Fantasy/SciFi Shelf Poetry Shelf
Business Shelf Needlecraft Shelf Interior Design Shelf
Travel Shelf Christian Studies Shelf Judaic Studies Shelf
Buddhist Studies Shelf Music Shelf Theatre/Cinema Shelf
Graphic Novel Shelf Music CD Shelf DVD Shelf
Art Shelf Psychology Shelf Relationship Shelf
Self-Help Shelf Metaphysical Studies Shelf  


Reviewer's Choice

Broken Heart, Shared Heart, Healing Heart
Barbara Allen
Broadleaf Books
www.broadleafbooks.com
9781506493565, $22.99, HC, 176pp

https://www.amazon.com/Broken-Heart-Shared-Healing-Navigating/dp/1506493564

Synopsis: Deftly written by Barbara Allen, creator of a groundbreaking chaplaincy program in the largest animal hospital in the southern hemisphere, "Broken Heart, Shared Heart, Healing Heart: Navigating the Loss of Your Pet" acknowledges the deep pain that pet loss causes their human companions and offers gentle guidance on how to navigate this difficult time.

Grounded in practical advice and research that pet owners can draw on for real help for their broken hearts, "Broken Heart, Shared Heart, Healing Heart" offers strategies for honoring loss and our own grieving process. We will also see that we are not alone in our grief and how we process it as Allen introduces us to famous people and their pets and explores how pets have been memorialized in various cultures, including through prayers, funeral and burial services, condolence cards, and mourning jewelry.

Inevitably, those experiencing the death of a pet will ask about the afterlife of animals. Will they meet their beloved companion again? Allen explores long-held teachings in religious traditions (Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, and especially her own, Christian tradition) to look for answers, comfort, and reassurance. With this holistic and useful approach, you will find the support you need for navigating your grief, meaningful ways to memorialize your beloved pet, and the spiritual and emotional care you need during this tender time.

Critique: Absolutely and unreservedly recommended reading for anyone of any age who experiences the inevitable loss of a feline or canine companion (or any other pet ranging from goldfish to turtles to rabbits and more), "Broken Heart, Shared Heart, Healing Heart: Navigating the Loss of Your Pet" is an essential addition to personal, community, and college/university library Pet Care & Loss collections.

Editorial Note: Barbara Allen helped develop Australia's first animal chaplaincy program at Lort Smith Animal Hospital. She is passionate about animals and about stewardship of all creation, and is the author of numerous books, including I Was There, Pigeon, Animals in Religion, and Pelican. Allen serves as an ordained minister in the Uniting Church in Australia (a Methodist/Presbyterian/Congregational merged church), and in a voluntary capacity as the grief support person for Story Dogs, a charity that uses dogs to help children become confident readers.


The Education Shelf

Rentz's Student Affairs Practice in Higher Education, sixth edition
Naijian Zhang & Associates
Charles C. Thomas, Publisher
https://www.ccthomas.com
9780398094140, $71.95 HC, $71.95 eBook, 712pp

https://www.ccthomas.com/details.cfm?P_ISBN13=9780398094140

Synopsis: Now in a newly updated and expanded sixth edition, "Rentz's Student Affairs Practice in Higher Education' introduces readers to the functions of all student affairs services on college campus and to the nuts and bolts on what student affairs professionals in each specific area do to achieve their goals of providing students with meaningful collegiate experiences and accomplish the institution's mission.

This new edition of "Student Affairs Practice in Higher Education" not only includes the evolution of student affairs but also how its philosophy and theories are integrated into its practice. By reading "Student Affairs Practice in Higher Education" experienced student affairs professionals will acquire a thorough understanding of each student affairs service on college/university campus and increase their competence in practice.

This new sixth edition has 17 chapters which include the philosophical heritage of student affairs, historical perspective of higher education and student affairs, admissions to enrollment management, academic advising, career services, counseling centers, student conduct, multicultural affairs and special support services, orientation, residence halls, student life programs, fraternity and sorority life, collegiate recreation, financial aid, student learning assessment, health services, and future of student affairs.

It has also been integrated with the most recent literature on student affairs development, especially how the global pandemic has impacted the practice of student affairs in higher education and how the social, political, and economic dynamics at the national level have influenced the climate of college and university campus as well as the most recent professional standards. A unique feature of the book is that its contributors are expert practitioners and scholars.

Through this new edition of "Student Affairs Practice in Higher Education" student affairs professionals will learn knowledge and wisdom not only from the current generation in student affairs but also from the generations many years in the past. The sixth edition has advanced the knowledge base of student affairs while inheriting its values and missions for higher education.

Critique: Impressively comprehensive, detailed, organized and presented, as well as so very timely in view of the current college/university student movements that are disrupting campuses across the country today with respect to such issues as the national/political subject of student loan debt relief, and the evolving role of student affairs in institutions of higher education, this newly released sixth edition of "Student Affairs Practice in Higher Education" is a necessary and unreservedly recommended addition to personal, professional, college and university library collections and Higher Education curriculum studies lists.

The Magical Place We Call School
Dr. Kathleen Corley
Forefront Books
https://www.forefrontbooks.com
9781637632246, $26.00, HC, 256pp

https://www.amazon.com/Magical-Place-Call-School-Challenging/dp/163763224X

Synopsis: At a time when public discourse rages on about what students should or should not be taught, when books are being banned, when school shootings fill the news, and when families are still reeling from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic -- here comes "The Magical Place We Call School: Creating a Safe Space for Learning and Happiness in a Challenging World" by Dr. Kathleen Corley.

With its fresh focus on the power and perils of education, it's an intentional way of thinking that will intrigue readers everywhere.

In her literary debut, school principal Dr. Corley (a forty-year veteran in elementary education) writes knowingly and with unique humor and insight about the value of education, how kids think and learn, what they need to succeed in and out of school, and how their home life affects their performance. Plus, she tackles some of the most daunting societal issues impacting children today, from bullying to gun violence and beyond.

Dr. Corley reminds us that something extraordinary still occurs in classrooms across America -- not just miraculously, but by design and with tenacity.

With the publication of "The Magical Place We Call School", Dr. Corley shares human interest stories that shed light on what is and isn't working and provides a calm hand and a much-needed perspective from the front lines of learning. Her deep caring for the children, educators, and parents in her midst shines through, providing a true sense of what she calls "the magic of schools."

Critique: "The Magical Place We Call School: Creating a Safe Space for Learning and Happiness in a Challenging World" is a timely and invaluable contribution to our on-going national conversations regarding school safety in an increasingly gun violent American where 'active shooter' exercises are now commonplace, as is book banning from school libraries, and curriculum interference from radical political groups and local/state governmental officials. Highly recommended for personal, professional, community, school boards, and college/university library Contemporary Education Psychology/Administration collections, it should be noted that "The Magical Place We Call School" from Forefront Books is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $13.99) and as a complete and unabridged audio book (Blackstone Audio, 9798212980098, $36.40, CD).

Editorial Note: Dr. Kathleen Corley is an educator, an authority on school culture, and the charismatic principal at Red Cedar Elementary School in Bluffton, Corley has a bachelor's in music education from the University of Illinois, a master's in music administration from Chicago Musical College, Roosevelt University, and a Doctorate in Educational Administration from the University of Illinois. Dr. Corley began her career in education as an elementary music teacher, and then transitioned to education administration to make a wider impact upon student achievement and school culture. She entered the administrative ranks as an assistant principal in Palatine, Illinois, then became an elementary school principal in Lynchburg, Virginia, Salem Massachusetts, and Bluffton, South Carolina. She was the founding principal at three of those schools, and has been an educator for over 40 years (and still counting). Corley has also been an assistant professor at Salem State University and continues to mentor principals.

Grad School Life
Jacqueline M. Kory-Westlund
Columbia University Press
https://cup.columbia.edu
9780231207843, $110.00, HC, 328pp

https://www.amazon.com/Grad-School-Life-Surviving-Coursework/dp/0231207840

Synopsis: For students going after a Masters Degree or a Doctorate Degree, graduate school isn't easy. It's even less easy when you're also managing a second job, a family, or depression -- or when you are a first-generation student, or if you come from an under-represented group or a lower socioeconomic-status background. Grad students are overworked, over-stressed, and over it.

Most grad school advice books focus on the professional side: finding funding, managing research and teaching, and applying for academic jobs. But students today face a difficult job market. Only a handful will obtain coveted tenure-track professorships, so they need alternative career prep. Plus, grad school is only one part of your life. And with an average age of 33 years, today's students are juggling far more than school.

That's where "Grad School Life: Surviving and Thriving Beyond Coursework and Research" by Jacqueline M. Kory-Westlund comes in. It will help you keep up a personal life, make the most of your time, and prepare for your career -- whether in academia or beyond.

This pragmatic book explains how to persevere through the grad school long haul, covering challenges both on and off campus. It shares candid, specific advice on personal finances, mental health, setting your own learning and career goals, maintaining friendships and relationships, and more.

Peppy, sensible, and smart, "Grad School Life" points out the pitfalls of academia and helps you build the life you want. With fresh insights, concrete suggestions and exercises, and helpful lists of resources, "Grad School Life" gives grad students a new roadmap for not only surviving but thriving -- both in school and in the real world.

Critique: If you are preparing for (or already involved in) attending graduate school then it is vital that you give a close and careful reading to what author and independent scholar Jacquelin M. Kory-Westland has to say about maximizing the experience with all of its demands, requirements, surprises, frustrations and opportunities. Comprehensive and thoroughly 'reader friendly' in style, organization and presentation, "Grad School Life: Surviving and Thriving Beyond Coursework and Research" is unreservedly recommended for personal, professional, community, and college/university library Higher & Continuing Education collections. It should be noted that "Grad School Life" is also available for interested readers in a paperback edition (9780231207850, $28.00) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $15.39).

Editorial Note: Jacqueline M. Kory-Westlund (https://jakory.com) is a writer, artist, and independent scholar with the Ronin Institute for Independent Scholarship. She received her PhD from the MIT Media Lab in 2019. Kory-Westlund has worked for NASA developing autonomous vehicles and laser space robots, designed graphics for software startups, and currently consults for small businesses and think tanks on education, design, and technology.

The VESPA Handbook
Steve Oakes & Martin Griffen
Crown House Publishing
www.crownhousepublishing.com
9781785837104, $29.95, PB, 220pp

https://www.amazon.com/VESPA-Handbook-activities-commitment-productivity/dp/1785837109

Synopsis: Co-authored by educators Steve Oakes and Martin Griffin, "The VESPA Handbook: 40 new activities to boost student commitment, motivation and productivity" from Crown House Publishing offers 40 concrete, practical tools and activities that will supercharge learners' ambition, organization, persistence and determination.

"The Vespa Handbook" builds on the success of co-author Oakes & Martin's previous books, "The A Level Mindset" and "The GCSE Mindset", by introducing 40 new activities for teachers to use to improve the grades of their students. This handbook is a perfect introduction to the VESPA (Vision, Effort, Systems, Practice, Attitude) approach, as well as a practical addition to previous resources.

Just like their previous books, "The Vespa Handbook" will help teachers develop the five key characteristics and behaviours that students need to be successful: vision, effort, systems, practice and attitude. When it comes to achieving academic success, these characteristics are crucial. The ability of students to have a vision, commit the effort, be organised, practise and revise well and have a positive attitude and good work ethic are vital to their success.

The 40 activities included are set out clearly and categorised thematically under the VESPA umbrella, making them easy to navigate and use in any setting. Each activity can be delivered one-to-one, to a tutor group or to a whole cohort, has been designed to take fifteen to twenty minutes to complete, and has been written with a pupil audience in mind. The co-authors offer valuable advice for teachers looking to improve learners' resilience and ambition, based on their combined 40 plus years of experience in teaching and coaching.

Critique: Especially recommended as an ideal planning resource for classroom teachers, tutors and parents who want to boost academic outcomes in students ages 14-18 and equip them with powerful tools and techniques in preparation for further education and employment, "The VESPA Handbook: 40 new activities to boost student commitment, motivation and productivity" is an important addition to personal, professional, school district, and college/university library Contemporary Education collections and supplemental curriculum studies lists. It should be noted that "The VESPA Handbook" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $28.45).

Editorial Note #1: Steve Oakes has over 20 years' of experience as a teacher and leader, and has been a Head of Sixth Form at two successful schools in the UK and the UAE. As a current Head of Sixth Form, he works closely with students to maximise levels of engagement and commitment, designing high-impact interventions and practical tools for improving academic performance.

Editorial Note #2: Martin Griffin has over 20 years' experience teaching and coaching post-16 students. He was a Head of Sixth Form and Deputy Head at a successful comprehensive school for eight years, and has worked with hundreds of schools and colleges in the UK and beyond to design and implement study skills, character development and mindset programmes.


The Cookbook Shelf

Big Moe's Big Book of BBQ
Moe Cason
National Geographic Press
www.nationalgeographic.com
9781426223525, $30.00, HC, 240pp

https://www.amazon.com/Big-Moes-Book-BBQ-Cornbread/dp/1426223528

Synopsis: "Big Moe's Big Book of BBQ: 75 Recipes From Brisket and Ribs to Cornbread and Mac and Cheese" is comprised of mouth-watering, beautifully photographed recipes showcasing time-tested techniques and recipes ranging from smoked bone-in Tomahawk steaks to a 14-hour turkey brine.

Also included is a secret-ingredient mac-n-cheese, a generations-old family recipe for sweet-and-savory cornbread, and perfectly seasoned collard greens.

Cason offers expert guidance on different types of smokers and grills, filling the pantry with time-tested spice rubs and marinades, selecting the perfect cut of meat, and more.

The recipes comprising this BBQ compendium include: Fall-apart tender Texas brisket; Sweet and spicy pork ribs; Smoked pork shoulder; Hawaiian Burgers with pineapple, soy sauce, and feta cheese; Spicy mac-n-cheese; Collard greens; Cornbread; Homemade black-eyed peas -- and more!

Critique: Showcasing 75 unique, palate pleasing, appetite satisfying, and memorably flavorful recipes, "Big Moe's Big Book of BBQ" is delectable and thoroughly 'kitchen cook friendly' recipe collections will help even the most novice of family cooks to unlock the secrets of amazing barbecue flavor. Highly recommended for personal, professional, and community library BBQ cookbook collections, it should be noted that "Big Moe's Big Book of BBQ" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $14.99).

Editorial Note: In 2005, after a career in the Navy and then as a water treatment operator, Moe Cason began competing in (and winning!) barbecue competitions. He has faced off with some of the most famous pitmasters in America. He appeared on BBQ Pitmasters regularly from 2009 to 2018, and has also been featured on America's Pit Wars, Food Network's The Kitchen, and Chopped. His National Geographic series, World of Flavor, debuts in 2023. He has a website at https://moecasonbbq.com and can be followed on Instagram @bigmoecason

Wanda E. Brunstetter's Amish Friends Outdoor Cookbook
Wanda E. Brunstetter
Barbour Publishing
www.barbourbooks.com
9781636098319, $17.99, Spiral Bound, 224pp

https://www.amazon.com/Wanda-Brunstetters-Friends-Outdoor-Cookbook/dp/1636098312

Synopsis: With the publication of "Wanda E. Brunstetter's Amish Friends Outdoor Cookbook: Over 250 Recipes Proving Outdoor Cooking Is Much More Than a Hot Dog on a Stick", this iconic author of Amish romance novels share her Amish community's tips for cooking outdoors while still at home or away at a campsite.

This is an ideal and spiral bound compendium of DIY Amish recipes for nature lovers and adventurous cooks. In its pages, Amish cooks have shared over 250 recipes divided into sections by method: stick, pie iron, foil packet, cast iron, grill. Also included is advice for building a fire, packing a cooler, maintaining cast-iron tools, and much more. Encased in a lay-flat binding and presented in full color, home cooks of all ages will be delighted to add this cookbook to their collections.

Critique: Beautifully illustrated throughout with full color photos, each individual and authentically Amish recipe is thoroughly 'user friendly' in presentation. A delight to page through and practical for planning menus with, this spiral bound edition from Barbour Publishing is an extraordinary, unique, and highly recommended pick for personal and community library cookbook collections.

Editorial Note: Wanda E. Brunstetter (www.wandabrunstetter.com) is one of the founders of the Amish fiction genre. She has written more than 100 books translated in four languages. With over 12 million copies sold, Wanda's stories consistently earn spots on the nation's most prestigious bestseller lists and have received numerous awards. Wanda's ancestors were part of the Anabaptist faith, and her novels are based on personal research intended to accurately portray the Amish way of life. Her books are well-read and trusted by many Amish, who credit her for giving readers a deeper understanding of the people and their customs.

Rice: 80 Nice Rice Recipes from Asia
Billy Law, et al.
Smith Street Books
c/o Rizzoli
www.rizzoliusa.com
9781923049086, $19.95, HC, 128pp

https://www.amazon.com/Rice-80-Nice-Recipes-Asia/dp/1923049089

Synopsis: With the publication of "Rice: 80 Nice Rice Recipes from Asia", American kitchen cooks will discover some of the best rice based dishes that Asia has to offer, ranging from sushi and nam khao to chicken biryani and lo mai gai. Written by chefs who know their rice, these recipes celebrate the all-time classics, from dishes fit for a holiday feast to quick bowls of kimchi fried rice.

With recipes from China, Japan, Korea, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia and beyond, paging through the recipes that comprise "Rice: 80 Nice Rice Recipes from Asia" is (almost) as good as a trip across Asia. Start the day with nasi lemak and end it with nigiri.

Whip up a bowl of jok or learn to make biko. Sate your cravings, find new favorites and slurp your way from dawn to dusk with rice, rice, and more rice!

Critique: Enhanced for the novice and experienced cook alike with full page, full color photographs of finished dishes, "Rice: 80 Nice Rice Recipes from Asia" is an extraordinarily recommended and high value pick for personal, professional, family, and community library Ethnic Cookbook collections.

Editorial Note: The recipes comprising "Rice: 80 Nice Rice Recipes from Asia" were contributed by professional chefs Billy Law, Aim Aris, ArChan Chan, Caroline Griffiths, Jerry Mai, Sarin Rojanametin, Ahmad Salim and Jean Thamthanakorn.

Nicoise: Market-Inspired Cooking from France's Sunniest City
Rosa Jackson
W. W. Norton & Company
www.wwnorton.com
9781324021162, $39.99, HC, 384pp

https://www.amazon.com/Ni%C3%A7oise-Market-Inspired-Cooking-Frances-Sunniest/dp/1324021160

Synopsis: To eat (and cook) like a Nicoise from France involves snacks and sandwiches you can enjoy on the go (socca and pan bagnat), tender stuffed vegetables (petit farcis), slow-simmered meat stews (beef daube), and vivid fruit desserts.

This distinctive southern French cuisine is among the healthiest in the world, relying on classic Mediterranean ingredients like olive oil, fresh and dried herbs, preserved fish, and an abundance of seasonal produce.

Drawing on the city's rich food traditions, with the publication of "Nicoise: Market-Inspired Cooking from France's Sunniest City", French cuisine expert Rosa Jackson showcases over 100 recipes by season. Gliding through open air markets, tiny bakeries, and generations-old restaurants, she conjures a region and its cuisine as only a local can.

Critique: An ideal introduction to Nicoise style French cuisine that presents American family cooks the unique and captivating side of French food, "Nicoise: Market-Inspired Cooking from France's Sunniest City" by Rosa Jackson is enhanced with the inclusion of some 100 full-color photographs and a wealth of thoroughly 'kitchen cook friendly' step-by-step palate pleasing, appetite satisfying, nutritionally health recipes that will mae any and all dining occasions truly memorable experiences. While also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $19.99), this large format (8.3 x 1.3 x 10.3 inches, 3.51 pounds) hardcover edition from W. W. Norton & Company is especially and unreservedly recommended for personal, professional, family, and community library cookbook collections.

Editorial Note: Rosa Jackson (https://rosajackson.com) has run her cooking school Les Petits Farcis in Nice, France, for over twenty years. A former Paris restaurant critic, she has written about French food for international publications, including the Financial Times and Food & Wine, and also runs the Paris food tour company Edible Paris.

Noodles, Rice, and Everything Spice
Christina de Witte, author
Mallika Kauppinen, author
Ten Speed Graphic
c/o Penguin Random House
https://prhcomics.com
9781984861603, $22.99, PB, 208pp

https://www.amazon.com/Noodles-Rice-Everything-Spice-Cookbook/dp/1984861603

Synopsis: From an exciting all-female, all-Thai team, "Noodles, Rice, and Everything Spice" combines easy-to-follow comic book panels with pops of vibrant food photography to perfectly capture the bright, colorful flavors and ingredients that are crucial to Thai cuisine.

"Noodles, Rice, and Everything Spice" by co-authors Christina de Witte and Mallika Kauppinen showcases authentic Thai cuisine from the country's distinct culinary regions. Now American kitchen cooks and their families can journey to the northern Lanna region and dine "khan tok" style with small bowls of chile dips, curries, sticky rice, and vegetables on a gilded pedestal tray for sharing; sit cross-legged on a bamboo mat around a spread of tangy salads and grilled meats in the northeast Isaan region; roam the bustling markets of central Bangkok for iconic street food treats; and lounge on a beach in southern Thailand with dangerously spicy seafood.

With recipes divided into six delectable sections for any meal or mood of the day, "Noodles, Rice, and Everything Spice" shows step-by-step how to make world-class snacks and starters such as Som Tam (papaya salad) and Satay Gai (grilled chicken skewers), or iconic noodle dishes such as Khao Soi (coconut curry noodle soup) and Pad Kee Mao (drunken noodles), as well as some lesser-known regional favorites to pair with rice such as Pad Sator (stir-fried bitter beans) from the south and Nam Prik Ong (Ong's spicy pork and tomato chile dip) from the north. The book also teaches helpful cooking and preparation techniques such as how to properly grate a papaya, make sticky rice in the microwave, fry an egg to crispy perfection, and more.

In celebration of the warm, welcoming spirit of Thailand, "Noodles, Rice, and Everything Spice" shares the secrets to making these dynamic Thai dishes at home, whether as a quick one-plate meal or a showstopping spread of multiple dishes for enjoying communally.

Critique: Original, unique, authentic, and thoroughly 'kitchen cook' friendly in a fun style of organizations and presentation, "Noodles, Rice, and Everything Spice: A Thai Comic Book" is an unreservedly recommended addition to personal, family, and community library Ethnic Cookbook collections. It should be noted that "Noodles, Rice, and Everything Spice" is also readily available from Ten Speed Graphic in a digital book format (Kindle, $12.99).

Editorial Note #1: Mallika Kauppinen grew up in a remote area of southern Thailand where cooking was a huge part of her life. She now teaches Finnish and Thai online and has founded her own education company.

Editorial Note #2: Christina de Witte, also known by her illustrator alias chrostin, is a Thai Belgian cartoonist and the author of The Ultimate Survival Guide to Being a Girl.


The Environmental Studies Shelf

River Profiles
Pete Hill
Columbia University Press
https://cup.columbia.edu
9780231207645, $120.00, HC, 288pp

https://www.amazon.com/River-Profiles-People-Restoring-Waterways/dp/0231207646

Synopsis: Centuries of mismanagement and destructive development have gravely harmed American waterways, with significant consequences for the ecosystems and communities built around them. But a range of passionate and committed people have stepped up to restore streams and rivers around the United States.

A husband-and-wife scientist team in Pennsylvania lead projects to unclog the sediment left by early colonists' dams. Members of the Tulalip Tribes in western Washington State bring beavers back to headwater streams. A public servant in Milwaukee drives the sewer department to remove concrete channels and reduce flood risk. Community activists in Atlanta push for environmental justice in river restoration.

Telling these stories and many more, with the publication of "River Profiles: The People Restoring Our Waterways" Pete Hill (a twenty-year veteran of the field of watershed restoration) provides a deep dive into the world of river and stream conservation. He profiles the practitioners, scientists, and activists from all walks of life who take part in restoration efforts, exploring their differing, sometimes controversial approaches. Through their stories, Hill illustrates the challenges and rewards of river restoration and the evolving scientific understanding in the field.

Underscoring the need for a variety of strategies adapted to different local contexts, "River Profiles" reveals that new ideas have come from a wide range of people ranging from those operating the machinery, to those researching stream ecology -- and that Indigenous knowledge offers vital resources. At once personal and learned, insightful and inspiring, "River Profiles" shines a light on the people working to heal our streams and rivers.

Critique: An informative and inspiring read from start to finish, "River Profiles: The People Restoring Our Waterways" is an extraordinary and unreservedly recommended pick for personal, professional, community, and college/university library Environmental Reclamation collections and supplemental curriculum studies lists. It should be noted for students, academia, environmental activists, governmental policy makers, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "River Profiles: The People Restoring Our Waterways" is also available in a paperback edition (9780231207652, $30.00) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $16.19).

Editorial Note: Pete Hill is the principal and owner of Great Lakes Watershed Opportunities, a consultancy in the Milwaukee area. He previously worked in watershed planning and stream and wetland restoration for the Washington, DC, Department of Energy and the Environment. Hill holds a master's degree in environmental management from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies.


The Parenting Shelf

The Down and Dirty Guide to Camping with Kids, second edition
Helen Olsson
Roost Books
c/o Shambhala Publications, Inc.
www.shambhala.com
9781645470939, $24.95, PB, 288pp

https://www.amazon.com/Down-Dirty-Guide-Camping-Kids/dp/1645470938

Synopsis: Written by Helen Olsson (a seasoned camper, adventurer, and mother of three) this newly updated and expanded second edition of "The Down and Dirty Guide to Camping with Kids: How to Plan Memorable Family Adventures and Connect Kids to Nature" continues to be a practical, irreverent introductory guide to all things camping.

With the publication of "The Down and Dirty Guide to Camping with Kids", Olsson writes from a parent's point of view, giving her readers a clear plan (and plenty of encouragement) for creating an enjoyable family camping experience. Whether as a parent you are planning a simple outing, a multiday trek with babies or teens, or camping with several families, "The Down and Dirty Guide to Camping with Kids" has you covered.

Each individual chapter features helpful checklists, including "Little Tykes" lists dedicated to items for babies and toddlers. "The Down and Dirty Guide to Camping with Kids" also focuses on car camping but additionally nods to alternate ways to camp: backpacking, pull-behind campers, canoe/kayak trips, hut camping, and trips with pack animals.

The newly revised second edition of "The Down and Dirty Guide to Camping with Kids"is updated to reflect the latest products, outdoor etiquette, and lifestyles and provide guidance on: Choosing a destination; Packing gear and food; Setting up the campsite; Planning menus, and Staying Safe!

Critique: "The Down and Dirty Guide to Camping with Kids: How to Plan Memorable Family Adventures and Connect Kids to Nature" by Helen Olsson is a timeless camping instructional resource and 'how-to' manual that clearly and effectively addresses the myriad unique needs and concerns of parents and children for any and all forms of camping out! While especially and unreservedly recommended for family and community library Family Camping & Outdoor Family Recreation collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that this new second edition of "The Down and Dirty Guide to Camping with Kids" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $14.99).

Editorial Note: Helen Olsson (www.maddogmom.com) is a freelance travel and skiing writer and a regular contributor to the New York Times Travel and Escapes sections, where she writes about family outdoor and adventure travel. Among the camping trips she's chronicled are llama-trekking in Colorado's backcountry and a canoe-and-kayak trip in the Niobrara River Valley of Nebraska -- both taken with three children under nine.


The Biography Shelf

Black Girl IRL
Gail Hamilton Azodo
Lawrence Hill Press
c/o Chicago Review Press
www.chicagoreviewpress.com
9781641609296, $19.99, PB, 220pp

https://www.amazon.com/Black-Girl-IRL-Between-Magic/dp/164160929X

Synopsis: Whatever happened to the regular Black girl? -- The one who works a nine-to-five or maybe owns her own business or is completing her master's. Or how about the one figuring out how to be a good mom or wife or daughter? Or the one that's doing all the above?

A lot of Black women are doing it all, and it's not just the Oprahs and Beyonces. There's an entire group of Black women that are just, well, regular. They are handling things, like determining if they should speak up in that work meeting and risk becoming the "voice" for all Black women, or considering whether tonight is the night to introduce our silk hair bonnet in the relationship that is just getting serious.

These decisions range from impactful to trivial, but they shape who Black women are.

So where is the place for this type of girl talk and unfiltered sharing? Gail Hamilton Azodo is your thirtysomething corporate ladder climber turned entrepreneur, mom, wife, and Black Girl IRL. In her dinners, happy hours, and group texts with Black women, they shared everything from motivational quotes to the latest in Black girl advice.

Whether it's how to cut ties with friends who no longer align with a mutual purpose or how to talk about money and embrace Black women's wealth, Gail is here in the pages of "Black Girl IRL: Life Between the Mess and the Magic" to share these authentic stories of everyday Black women -- with a fair number of frills.

Critique: A fascinating and thought-provoking read from start to finish, "Black Girl IRL: Life Between the Mess and the Magic" will prove to be of particularly special and relevant value to readers with an interest in African-American Women's biographies and memoirs. While highly recommended for community and college/university library collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Black Girl IRL: Life Between the Mess and the Magic" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

Editorial Note: Gail Hamilton Azodo (www.blackgirlirl.com) is a writer, professor, entrepreneur, mom, wife, and Black Girl in Real Life. With over three decades of life as a Black woman, Gail has spent the last couple of years writing her story to record the experiences of everyday Black women. When she's not writing, she is a professor at the Chapman School of Hospitality and Honors College at Florida International University and the co-owner of Sips Coffee Roasters.

On My Way Back to You
Sarah Cart, author
Glenn Plaskin, author
Forefront Books
https://www.forefrontbooks.com
9781637632512, $26.00, HC, 304pp

https://www.amazon.com/My-Way-Back-You-Catastrophic/dp/1637632517

Synopsis: Throughout her 42-year marriage, writer Sarah Cart has enjoyed a life of "gloriously controlled chaos," as she and her husband, Ben, a successful entrepreneur and seasoned outdoorsman, embarked on numerous adventures with their four active sons. Then the unthinkable happened.

In suspenseful and heartrending detail, Cart shares how Ben developed an incurable autoimmune condition that was manageable and under control one minute and threatened to kill him the next, landing him in the ICU as the Covid pandemic closed the world down. Thrust into the role of nurse and caregiver, Sarah joined the ranks of 39 million Americans who champion and care for an ailing loved one.

In addition to confronting doubts, fears, and endless setbacks, aggravations, and red tape, she also had to consent to daunting procedures on Ben's behalf. Too, there were the months-long Covid-era restrictions on hospital visitations and the post-surgery snafus with home healthcare personnel. Thank goodness for the heartfelt communiques with family and friends, all of which reflect the faith, fortitude, grit, and grace that sustained her.

While readers will identify with Sarah's anxieties and be moved by hers and Ben's strength, they will also learn the questions to ask, the notes to take, the signs to never overlook, and the self-care necessary should they ever find themselves in her shoes. "On My Way Back to You: One Couple's Journey through Catastrophic Illness to Healing and Hope" is a profoundly inspirational account of one couple's medical odyssey and the patience, determination, and love that ultimately helped them find their way back to one another.

Critique: Extraordinary, remarkable, intensely personal and with a universal resonance, "On My Way Back to You: One Couple's Journey through Catastrophic Illness to Healing and Hope" by Sarah Cart (with the assistance of Glenn Plaskin) is an exceptionally well written and truly memorable memoir that will have an immense appeal to readers with an interest in what care-givers to loved ones had to cope with, endure, and overcome with the additional stresses of a world wide pandemic. While also available for personal reading lists in a digital book format (Kindle, $13.99), "On My Way Back to You: One Couple's Journey through Catastrophic Illness to Healing and Hope" is an especially and unreservedly recommended addition to community and college/university library Contemporary Medical themed American Biographies & Memoir collections.

Editorial Note: Sarah Cart was raised and educated in New York and New England. As a freelancer, she wrote for multiple local publications while she and her husband, Ben, raised four sons in northeastern Ohio. Upon becoming empty nesters, the two moved to the Florida Keys, but they returned every summer to the Pennsylvania Poconos, where each had lifelong family connections. Then came Covid. The pandemic, combined with Ben's health issues, necessitated their sheltering in place in Florida for the entirety of 2020. In the wake of Ben's undergoing miraculous lifesaving measures, they have been afforded the unanticipated gift of a future and, more than ever before, relish time spent with family and friends.

Editorial Note #2: Celebrity interviewer and columnist Glenn Plaskin is the New York Times bestselling author of twenty-five books, specializing in memoir, business, self-help, leadership, and inspiration.

Fire in the Hole!
Bob Parsons
Forefront Books
https://www.forefrontbooks.com
Blackstone Audiobooks
https://www.blackstonelibrary.com
9781637632987, $29.00, HC, 320pp

https://www.amazon.com/Fire-Hole-Traumatic-Explosive-Success/dp/1637632983

Synopsis: Born in the tough town of East Baltimore to parents who were inveterate gamblers, billionaire philanthropist Bob Parsons' early years were marked by hardship and financial struggle. While he vowed his own children would never lack for anything, never did he imagine the wealth he would one day amass as the founder of Parsons Technology, GoDaddy, PXG Golf, and YAM Worldwide.

In his personal memoir, "Fire in the Hole!: The Untold Story of My Traumatic Life and Explosive Success", this extraordinary entrepreneur recounts the exploits of his youth, his hellish days at the mercy of Catholic school nuns, his harrowing tour of combat duty in Vietnam as a US Marine, his pioneering contributions to the software and internet industries, and his latest ventures in power sports, golf, real estate, and marketing.

Along the way, we witness his remarkable resilience as he copes with his mother's mental illness and his father's struggles, battles PTSD resulting from both his childhood and war traumas, and mounts a quest to find new and effective treatments for himself and others who suffer from this affliction. He strongly supports veterans organizations, and believing in the concept of paying it forward, has awarded grants to more than ninety-six charities and organizations worldwide through the Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation.

Perhaps the only thing that has come easy to Parsons is his gift for storytelling. His reflections are at turns heartbreaking, heartwarming, hilarious, and inspiring. If ever there were a story about a self-made man whose wealth can be measured as much by the contents of his heart as by the contents of his bank account, this is it.

Critique: A fascinating read from start to finish, "Fire in the Hole!: The Untold Story of My Traumatic Life and Explosive Success" is the extraordinary story of an extraordinary man. Detailed, candid, and ultimately inspiring, "Fire in the Hole" will prove a welcome addition to community and college/university library Contemporary American Biography/Memoir collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Fire in the Hole!" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $15.99) and as a complete and unabridged audio book (Blackstone Audio, 9798874746209, $39.95, CD).

Editorial Note: Bob Parsons (https://tbrpf.org) is the CEO and founder of YAM Worldwide, home to his entrepreneurial ventures in the fields of motorcycles, golf, real estate, finance, marketing, innovation, and philanthropy. However, he is perhaps best known as the founder of GoDaddy.

Abandoned at Birth
Janet Sherlund
Worth
c/o Blackstone Audiobooks
https://www.blackstonelibrary.com
9781637632758, $26.00, HC, 256pp

https://www.amazon.com/Abandoned-Birth-Searching-Arms-that/dp/1637632754

Synopsis: Adoption is often painted as a happy, inspirational act -- a baby finds a family and lives happily ever after. But the truth is that adopted children experience displacement and rupture from their mother and that trauma can impact an individual for a lifetime. Adoption can lead to feelings of loss and grief not just for the adoptee, but for the biological and adoptive parents as well.

This startling fact comes vividly to life in Janet Sherlund's heartbreaking memoir, "Abandoned at Birth: Searching for the Arms that Once Held Me". In candidly recounted life story, Janet Sherlund explores the complex issues so many adoptees and their parents grapple with, including the complicated emotions of rejection, loss, grief, denial, and shame.

Sherlund, who was given up for adoption within days of her birth, shares her journey to fulfill her lifetime longing for connection with her family of origin, her instinctive ache for connection with her birth mother, and what it was like to have a "borrowed identity." In poignant detail, Sherlund describes her quest to find out who she is, where she came from, and why she was given away. And she reveals the pain and courage required to discover one's true identity.

With 5 million adoptees in the U.S., many of whom are discovering their biological roots on DNA websites, "Abandoned at Birth" offers insights that Sherlund derived from her journey of discovery that will encourage and console others on the same path, while examining the inherent need of all of us to belong, and understand our origins, our culture, and our genetic roots.

Critique: Eloquent, intimate, detailed, exceptional, "Abandoned at Birth: Searching for the Arms that Once Held Me" is an unreservedly recommended pick for personal, professional, community, and college/university library Contemporary American Biography/Memoir collections. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of anyone with an interest in adoption issues that "Abandoned at Birth" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $13.99) and as a complete and unabridged audio book (Blackstone Audio, 9798874811228, $35.60, CD).

Editorial Note: Janet Sherlund raised her family and served on nonprofit boards in education, health, and the cultural arts before writing her memoir, Abandoned at Birth. Her single most significant life event was being given up for adoption at birth. Being adopted made her feel as though she was living a "borrowed life," undermined her sense of trust and personal value, and impacted every decision she made. It also led to a lifelong quest to find her biological mother with the hope of finally feeling a tether to this world, a sense of belonging, and ultimately, herself.


The General Fiction Shelf

Anna Bright Is Hiding Something
Susie Orman Schnall
https://susieschnall.com
SparkPress
c/o Spark Point Studio
www.gosparkpress.com
9781684632527, $17.95, PB, 344pp

https://www.amazon.com/Anna-Bright-Hiding-Something-Novel/dp/1684632528

Synopsis: "Anna Bright Is Hiding Something" by novelist Susie Orman Schnall is a ripped-from-the-headlines story set in the glossy offices of Silicon Valley startups and NYC new media. It explores our fascination with female founders breaking barriers -- and sometimes behaving badly in the process.

Anna Bright is committing fraud. But nobody knows it yet. Not the board of her multibillion dollar company, not her investors, not the public breathlessly anticipating the launch of BrightSpot, and not the media -- including Jamie Roman, a hardworking journalist for BusinessBerry.

But when Jamie does learn about Anna's misconduct, she embarks on a bicoastal journey to expose the crimes and make a name for herself as a journalist. It's not long before Anna learns what the reporter is up to, however -- and that she will do anything to stop Jamie.

Especially now that BrightLife's IPO is days away!

Critique: An original and deftly crafted novel by Susie Orman Schnall from start to finish, "Anna Bright Is Hiding Something" expertly blends satire with suspense. While especially and unreservedly recommended as a prized pick for community library Contemporary Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Anna Bright Is Hiding Something" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.49) and as a complete and unabridged audio book (Dreamscape Media, 9798874751265, $45.95, CD).

Editorial Note: Susie Orman Schnall (https://susieschnall.com) is the author of the novels We Came Here To Shine, The Subway Girls, The Balance Project, and On Grace.

Searching for Van Gogh
Donald Lystra
Omena Hills Press
9798989772421, $24.95, HC, 272pp

https://www.amazon.com/Searching-Van-Gogh-Donald-Lystra/dp/B0CW651G2B

Synopsis: It's fall of 1963 in a city in America's industrial heartland. Audrey Brubaker, rejected by her family and community but determined to build a life for herself, becomes the unlikely mentor to Nate Walker, a math and science prodigy who has turned to art in an effort to cope with the death of a revered older brother.

In a relationship that borders on love but never quite seems to get there, Audrey gives meaning to Nate's artistic aspirations, introduces him to life's hard edges, and helps him find courage. Together they set off on an ill-fated mission: to recover Nate's brother's body from a military cemetery in northern Michigan.

Along the way, secrets are uncovered and boundaries are crossed which will change Nate's life forever. But in a heart-wrenching ending, it is Audrey who will need to tap the well-spring of Nate's empathy for her own redemptive needs.

Critique: Rising to the level of literary excellence, "Searching for Van Gogh" showcases author Donald Lystra's genuine flair for creating memorable characters and a distinctive, narrative driven storytelling style that quickly engages the reader's total attention from start to finish. "Searching for Van Gogh" is one of those novels that will linger in the mind and memory long after the book itself has been finished and set back upon the shelf. An impressive work of biographical fiction, "Searching for Van Gogh" from Omena Hills Press is especially and unreservedly recommended for community and college/university library Contemporary American Literary Fiction collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Searching for Van Gogh" is also readily available in a paperback edition (9798989772407, $16.99) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $5.99).

Editorial Note: Donald Lystra (http://donaldlystra.com) was in his fifties when he began to write fiction in a serious way. As a writer Lystra has received creative writing fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the McDowell Colony. His 2012 novel, Season of Water and Ice, received a gold medal from the Midwest Independent Publishers Association and was named a Michigan Notable Book by the Library of Michigan. His 2014 story collection, Something that Feels like Truth, also received a MIPA gold medal and Michigan Notable Book award, as well as an IPPY gold medal for Best Regional Fiction.


The Historical Fiction Shelf

The Shepherd: A Bronze Age Tale
Tristan Nettles
Addison & Highsmith Publishers
c/o Histria Books
www.histriabooks.com
9781592113842, $29.99, HC, 230pp

https://www.amazon.com/Shepherd-Bronze-Age-Tale/dp/1592113842

Synopsis: A young shepherd boy living between the no mans land of civilization and beyond is taken and made slave by an invading army en route to his homeland. Led by an undefeated general with a penchant for cruelty, this unassuming adolescent careens his way into the commander's good graces through a witless charm. Finding out only all too late that the little shepherd boy was not at all what he had seemed, the unconquerable general and his army are led to their doom.

Critique: An original action/adventure novel set in antiquity, author Tristan Nettles' novel "The Shepherd: A Bronze Age Tale" is a entertaining read from start to finish. Showcasing Nettles' distinctive and narrative driven storytelling style -- making it an especially and unreservedly recommended pick for community library Historical Fiction collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Shepherd: A Bronze Age Tale" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.49).

Editorial Note: In 2015 Tristan Nettles journeyed to the far side of the world from Micronesia to Nepal to Thailand. There he became an international dark web drug dealer in order to fund his party lifestyle and pay for medical school studies in Europe. But after Ashley Oosthulzen, his twenty-one year old fiancee, was arrested and sentenced to death for an intercepted package of MDMA, he tried everything to get her released from prison. Ashley was first put on death row and later sentenced to life in prison. All proceeds from the sale of "The Shepard: A Bronze Age Tale" will go towards supporting the care and efforts to free Ashley from her imprisonment.


The Romantic Fiction Shelf

Love in Tandem
Becca Kinzer
Tyndale House Publishers
www.tyndale.com
9781496466129, $15.99, PB, 320pp

https://www.amazon.com/Love-Tandem-Becca-Kinzer/dp/1496466128

Synopsis: After a failed engagement and her mother's battle with cancer, Charlotte Carter's life is finally turning around now that she's landed a dream job teaching music. What she didn't see coming was the imminent closure of the school's music program. She's determined to save it, even if it means getting creative. There's no way she's chalking this up as just another failure in her book of recent embarrassments.

Zach Bryant is back in town just long enough to see his brother Ben get married and then he's off traveling the world again. He never imagined he'd run into Charlotte Carter, his brother's ex-fiance, or that everyone would believe he and Charlotte are an item. He certainly didn't dream he'd end up riding a tandem bicycle hundreds of miles with her in an attempt to raise funds for a defunct music program, but how can he say no when the prize money would help him out of his financial predicament too?

Charlotte is sure she can set aside her differences with Zach long enough to cross the finish line and win the giant cash prize... can't she? A few hundred miles in, she's questioning her deeply held assumptions about Zach and wondering if maybe tandem biking is only the start of their biggest adventure yet.

Critique: Especially appropriate for readers with an interest in clean and wholesome romance novels that are a fun read from start to finish, "Love in Tandem" by Becca Kinser is original, deftly crafted, charming, contemporary -- and all the more impressive when considering that it is her debut as a novelist! While especially and unreservedly recommended for personal and community library Romance Fiction collections, it should be noted that "Love in Tandem" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99) and in a Large Print edition (Thorndike Press, 9781420513899, $33.99, 581pp).

Editorial Note: Becca Kinzer (www.beccakinzer.com) lives in Springfield, Illinois where she works as a critical care nurse. She is a 2018 ACFW First Impressions Contest winner, a 2019 Genesis Contest winner, 2021 Cascade Award winner.

Heart Restoration Project
Beth Merlin & Danielle Modafferi
https://www.merlinandmod.com
Montlake
c/o Amazon Publishing
9781662522239, $16.99, PB, 303pp

https://www.amazon.com/Heart-Restoration-Project-Beth-Merlin/dp/1662522231

Synopsis: Who is the real Plum Everly? -- And wouldn't she like to know!

Raised in front of the cameras on her family's hit reality show, Plum has reluctantly ridden the wave of D-list fame for way too long. Fading under the spotlight, she's ready to ditch Hollywood forever when a new opportunity arises: a DIY in the Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur region. Chateau Mirabelle and Plum's identity. Both in need of restoration.

Bienvenue en France. The village is gracious and welcoming. Elliott Schaffer, the flirty head of production, isn't bad either. But it's Mirabelle itself (a symbol of courage reaching back to World War II) that pushes the show in a new direction. Focusing on its profound connection to history, Plum and Elliott are developing a greater appreciation for the legendary chateau and, along the way, for each other.

The best part of this makeover of the heart and soul? Plum gets to write her own ending. This time, for the first time, her life is going to be the real thing!

Critique: Brilliantly co-authored by beth Merlin and Danielle Modafferi, "Heart Restoration Project" is an original, delightful, and thoroughly fun read from start to finish. A contemporary romantic comedy, this new novel from the co-authors of "The Last Phone Booth in Manhattan" continues to demonstrate their shared, narrative driven, and distinctive storytelling style. While also available for personal reading lists in a digital book format (Kindle, $3.99), "Heart Restoration Project" is wholeheartedly recommended for personal reading lists and community library collections.

Editorial Note #1: Beth Merlin earned her BA from the George Washington University and her juris doctor from New York Law School. A lifelong New Yorker, Beth loves anything Broadway, romantic comedies, and a good maxi dress. When she isn't writing, you can find her spending time with her husband, daughter, and two cavapoos, Sophie and Scarlett, at home or at their favorite vacation spot, Kiawah Island, South Carolina.

Editorial Note #2: Danielle Modafferi, a high school English teacher and pun enthusiast, earned her MFA in writing popular fiction from Seton Hill University and, shortly after, founded Firefly Hill Press in 2016. By day, she helps her students discover the magic of language, and by night, she's a writer and publisher on a mission to unleash her creativity and help others do the same. Danielle loves making memories with friends and family, traveling to faraway (and some not-so-faraway) places, and snuggling with her two dogs, Jackson and Liam, who are also incidentally her biggest fans.

Wish You Weren't Here
Christy Schillig
Crooked Lane Books
www.crookedlanebooks.com
9781639107070, $29.99, HC, 352pp

https://www.amazon.com/Wish-You-Werent-Here-Novel/dp/163910707X

Synopsis: Ava Graham's ducks are in a row as she heads off to Italy to complete her final law school credits and fulfill a promise she made to her late mother five years ago. Ava expects her long-term boyfriend to propose before her trip, but instead of giving her a ring, he suggests they use her time abroad as a "break" before settling down.

When James Massini arrives (late) to the airport to pick up Ava as a favor to his aunt and uncle, he's surprised to find that she's not a young co-ed, but a fascinating woman approaching thirty with a serious superiority complex and a habit of underestimating him. When she's assigned to his class as a TA, he becomes determined to prove to her that there is more to life than plans and lists, no matter how hard she fights with him - or how annoyingly charming he finds their banter.

Despite the sudden disaster of her life, and with her type A personality, Ava might actually enjoy Italy -- if only annoyingly carefree James wasn't there, too. As Ava reluctantly lets James try to show her a different way of life in Italy, she begins to find beauty in the chaos. Of course, it's when things begin to make sense again that her past comes storming back.

With a humorously relatable protagonist and a rich Italian setting, "Wish You Weren't Here" is an escapist treat and a necessary reminder that life doesn't always care about the plans we've made for ourselves.

Critique: A fun read from first page to last, "Wish You Weren't Here" is all the more impressive when considering that it is author Christy Schillig's debut as a novelist. Holding a very special appeal to readers with an interest in workplace and contemporary romance novels set in Italy, "Wish You Weren't Here" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $14.99) and unreservedly recommended for both community library Romance Fiction collections and personal reading lists.

Editorial Note: Christy Schillig (www.instagram.com/christyschillig) is a middle school teacher who lives in a log cabin in suburban South Jersey with her two children, her husband/best-friend since 6th grade, and her dogs, Puppay and Sheep. Christy graduated from Villanova University with a degree in Italian Literature and Language (yes, that's a real degree) and uses that degree to commentate classroom science games in Italian and plan off the grid trips to the Italian Rivieras. On any given day, you can find her reading young adult paranormal romance beneath her desk at school.


The Mystery/Suspense Shelf

Molten Death
Leslie Karst
https://www.lesliekarstauthor.com
Severn House
www.severnhouse.com
9781448312160, $29.99, HC, 224pp

https://www.amazon.com/Molten-Death-Orchid-Isle-Mystery/dp/1448312167

Synopsis: Retired caterer Valerie Corbin and her wife Kristen have come to the Big Island of Hawai'i to treat themselves to a well-earned tropical vacation. After the recent loss of her brother, Valerie is in sore need of a distraction from her troubles and is looking forward to enjoying the delicious food and vibrant culture the state has to offer.

Early one morning, the couple and their friend (tattooed local boy, Isaac) set out to see an active lava flow, and Valerie is mesmerized by the shape-shifting mass of orange and red creeping over the field of black rock. Spying a boot in the distance, she strides off alone, pondering how it could have gotten there, only to realize to her horror that the boot is still attached to a leg - a leg which is slowly being engulfed by the hot lava.

Valerie's convinced a murder has been committed . But as she's the only witness to the now vanished corpse. Who is going to believe her?

Determined to prove what she saw, and get justice for the unknown victim, Valerie launches her own investigation. But, thrown into a Hawaiian culture far from the luaus and tiki bars of glossy tourist magazines, she soon begins to fear she may be the next one to end up entombed in shiny black rock!

Critique: All the elements of a cozy mystery are to be found in "Molten Death" by Leslie Karst. An amateur female sleuth, a puzzling murder mystery with more unexpected twists and turns than an Oklahoma tornado, all played out against an Hawaiian backdrop. An original and fun read from start to finish for dedicated cozy mystery fans, "Molten Death" is especially recommended for community library Mystery/Suspense collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Molten Death" from Severn House publishers is also readily available in a paperback edition (9781448315154, $18.99) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $18.99).

Editorial Note: The daughter of a law professor and a potter, Leslie Karst waited tables and sang in a new wave rock and roll band, before deciding she was ready for a 'real' job and ending up at Stanford Law. It was during her career as a research and appellate attorney in Santa Cruz County that she discovered a passion for food and cooking, and she once more returned to school - this time to earn a degree in culinary arts. (www.lesliekarstauthor.com)

The Noh Mask Murder
Akimitsu Takagi, author
Jesse Kirkwood, translator
Pushkin Vertigo
c/o Pushkin Press
www.pushkinpress.com
9781782279655, $16.95, PB, 320pp

https://www.amazon.com/Noh-Mask-Murder-Akimitsu-Takagi/dp/1782279652

Synopsis: In the Chizurui family mansion, a haunting presence casts a shadow over its residents. By night, an eerie figure, clad in a sinister Hannya mask is seen roaming around the house. An amateur murder mystery writer, Akimitsu Takagi, is sent to investigate - but his investigation takes a harrowing turn as tragedy strikes the Chizurui family.

Within the confines of a locked study, the head of the family is found dead, with only an ominous Hannya mask lying on the floor by his side and the lingering scent of jasmine in the air as clues to his mysterious murder.

As Takagi delves deeper into the perplexing case, he discovers a tangled web of secrets and grudges. Can he discover the link between the family and the curse of the Hannya mask? Who was the person who called the undertaker and asked for three coffins on the night of the murder? And do those three coffins mean the curse of the Hannya mask is about to strike again?

The Noh Mask Murder's legendary ending offers locked-room mystery fans the perfect coda to an ingeniously constructed mystery.

Critique: Simply stated, "The Noh Mask Murder" is an ingeniously constructed masterpiece of a murder mystery that is written by one of Japan's most celebrated crime writers and ably translated into English for the first time by Jesse Kirkwood. It is an ideal selection for locked-room mystery fans and ends with a truly breathtaking conclusion. "The Noh Mask Murder" is a compelling and fascinating read from start to finish -- making it an ideal and highly recommended pick for community library Mystery/Suspense collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Noh Mask Murder" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $12.99).

Editorial Note #1: Akimitsu Takagi was born in Japan in 1920 and went on to work as an aeronautical engineer until the end of the Second World War. He later decided to become a mystery writer on the recommendation of a fortune teller. He went on to become one of the country's most popular crime authors. "The Noh Mask Murder" won the prestigious Mystery Writers Club Award and is considered one of the great classic Japanese whodunits. It is his second novel to appear in English, following "The Tattoo Murder Case".

Editorial Note #2: Jesse Kirkwood is a literary translator working from Japanese into English. The recipient of the 2020 Harvill Secker Young Translators' Prize, his translations include "The Kamogawa Food Detectives" by Hisashi Kashiwai, "Tokyo Express" by Seicho Matsumoto and "A Perfect Day to Be Alone" by Nanae Aoyama.

The Main Character
Jaclyn Goldis
Atria / Emily Bestler Books
c/o Simon & Schuster
www.simonandschuster.com
Blackstone Audiobooks
https://www.blackstonelibrary.com
9781668013045, $27.99, HC, 336pp

https://www.amazon.com/Main-Character-Novel-Jaclyn-Goldis/dp/1668013045

Synopsis: Reclusive, mysterious author Ginevra Ex is famous for her unusual approach to crafting her big bestselling thrillers: she hires real people and conducts intensive interviews, then fictionalizes them. Her latest main character, Rory, is thrilled when Ginevra presents her with an extravagant bonus -- a lavish trip along Italy's Mediterranean coast on the famed, newly renovated Orient Express. But when Rory boards the train, she's stunned to discover that her brother, her best friend, and even her ex-fiance are passengers, as well. All invited by Ginevra -- and all hiding secrets.

With each stop, from Cinque Terre to Rome to Positano, it becomes increasingly clear that Ginevra has masterminded the ultimate real life twisty plot with Rory as her main character. And as Ginevra's deceptions mount, and the lies and machinations of Rory's travel companions pile up, Rory begins to fear that her trip will culminate like one of Ginevra's books: with a murder or two. In the opulent compartments of the iconic train, Rory must untangle the shocking reasons why Ginevra wanted them all aboard -- and to what deadly end.

Critique: "The Main Attraction" is a deftly crafted and elegant mystery by novelist Jaclyn Goldis that is on the same level of literary excellence as Agatha Christie's "Murder on the Oriental Express". An original and fun read from start to finish, "The Main Attractions" will prove to be a highly prized and appreciation addition to personal reading lists and community library Mystery/Suspense collections. It should be noted that "The Main Attraction" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $14.99) and as a complete and unabridged audio book (Blackstone Audio, 9781797178509, $44.99, CD).

Editorial Note: Jaclyn Goldis (www.jaclyngoldis.com) is a graduate of the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and NYU Law. She practiced trust and estate law at a large Chicago firm for seven years before leaving her job to travel the world and write novels.

Hart Island
Gary Zebrun
University of Wisconsin Press
www.uwpress.wisc.edu
9780299348342, $17.95, PB, 192pp

https://www.amazon.com/Hart-Island-Gary-Zebrun/dp/0299348342

Synopsis: Driven out of the Coast Guard during the days of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," Sal Cusumano hauls coffins to Hart Island with a burial crew of Rikers Island inmates and guards.

Only there can he fully leave his family troubles on Staten Island behind: Justin, his adopted brother and lover; his mother, Ida, slipping rapidly into dementia; the memory of Francesco, his father, a bookie gunned down on his stoop; and his brother Antony, a Manhattan homicide detective moonlighting with the mob. But the island ceases to be his sanctuary after Antony ensnares him (and others) in a crime that involves a nocturnal visit to the potter's field.

"Hart Island" is compelling and intricately plotted novel that moves through the shadows as its characters yearn for belonging and forgiveness. Set on the eve of the COVID pandemic, it is part love story, part crime novel, and part mystery.

Critique: Brought vividly to the attention of the general public during the height of the COVID pandemic, Hart Island has served as a potter's field for more than a century. It holds over a million indigent, unclaimed, or unknown New Yorkers' bodies -- and yet before the pandemic was little-known even among locals. A simply riveting read from start to finish, this edition of "Hart Island" from the University Press of Wisconsin is an absorbing novel in which author Gary Zebrun deftly explores overlapping connections of family, crime, sexuality, and human decency. A work of an impressive literary excellence, "Hart Island" is an extraordinary and highly commended pick for community and college/university library Literary Fiction collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Hart Island" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $17.05).

Editorial Note: Gary Zebrun (https://garyzebrun.net) is a writer who lives in Providence, Rhode Island. His first novel, Someone You Know, was a finalist for a Lambda Literary Award. He is the recipient of Yaddo, MacDowell, and Breadloaf fellowships and has published work in the New York Times, the New Republic, the Iowa Review, and elsewhere.

Star Struck
Marjorie McCown
Crooked Lane Books
www.crookedlanebooks.com
Dreamscape Media
9781639106646, $31.99, HC, 368pp

https://www.amazon.com/Struck-Hollywood-Mystery-Marjorie-McCown/dp/1639106642

Synopsis: Costumer Joey Jessop is working on a movie set in 1930s Hollywood and starring two of the world's biggest stars. The male lead is also a dedicated social activist, and the female lead, Gillian Best, is known for her lifestyle brand. After a hit-and-run near the set, Joey realizes that the car involved belongs to Gillian, and she begins to wonder if the actress has more to hide than her Botox appointments.

Her suspicions deepen when Gillian's personal assistant, Rita, vows to get revenge for Gillian replacing her and is found dead shortly after. Gillian quickly labels Rita's death a suicide, and the police seem to agree-but Joey isn't so sure.

With the police standing aside, it's up to Joey to dig up the truth -- but Hollywood stars know how to keep their secrets close, and a woman like Gillian Best won't take kindly to someone sniffing around her affairs. Joey is certain that Gillian has something to hide -- and she's determined to find out what.

Critique: Of special and particular interest to fans of mysteries that feature an amateur female sleuth and a plot that is thick with unexpected plot twists and turns (as well a being a fun read from start to finish), "Star Struck by novelist Marjorie McCown will not disappoint! A riveting entertainment set in the Hollywood of the roaring 20s, "Star Struck" will prove a popular pick for community library Cozy Mystery collections and is also available for the personal reading lists of dedicated cozy mystery fans in a digital book format (Kindle, $19.99) and as a complete and unabridged audio book (Dreamscape, 9798874749910, $45.95, CD).

Editorial Note: Marjorie McCown (https://marjoriemccown.com) has spent her entire professional life in the storytelling business, though she started out on the visual side of the craft, having spent more than twenty-five years working on costume-design teams for movies such as Forrest Gump, Apollo 13, and Hairspray. She has a BA in theater from the University of Virginia and an AAS in fashion design from the Fashion Institute of Technology. She is a member of Sisters in Crime and Mystery Writers of America.

Fondant Fumble
Jenn McKinlay
Berkley Books
c/o Penguin/Random House
https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com
Dreamscape Media
https://www.dreamscapepublishing.com
9780593549148, $9.99, PB, 272pp

https://www.amazon.com/Fondant-Fumble-Cupcake-Bakery-Mystery/dp/0593549147

Synopsis: Professional football players Keogh Graham and Tyler Matthews want to open a Fairy Tale Cupcakes franchise. They're spending the off-season in Scottsdale working in Mel's bakery, learning about the business and how to bake show-stopping cupcakes. The popular athletes bring a boom of customers to the store as football fans flock to see the friends mixing batter and piping icing.

Everyone's excited the athletes are pursuing their dream of owning a bakery -- except for those who fear the players will ditch football for fondant and retire early from professional sports. The angry naysayers include their team owner and Keogh's sports agent, along with some very vocal fans.

When the owner of their team, the Arizona Scorpions, is found dead on the floor of their new bakery following an argument with Keogh, the pros become prime suspects. As the investigation heats up, Mel and the rest of the cupcake bakery crew must step up and prove their franchise owners are innocent before it's game-over for the new bakers.

Critique: A classic cozy mystery, "Fondant Fumble" by Jenn McKinlay is a 'Cupcake Bakery Mystery' and a fun read for 'whodunnit' mystery buffs. Packed with unexpected plot twists and a roster of memorable characters, "Fondant Fumble" will prove to be a highly prized pick for personal and community library Mystery/Suspense collections. It should be noted for cozy mystery fans that "Fondant Fumble" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99) and as a complete and unabridged audio book (Dreamscape Media, 9798874752170, $39.99, CD).

Editorial Note: Jenn McKinlay (https://jennmckinlay.com) is the author of the Cupcake Bakery and Library Lover's Mystery series and has also written the Good Buy Girls and the Decoupage Mystery series under the names Josie Belle and Lucy Lawrence, respectively. She studied English literature and library science at Southern Connecticut State University and has worked previously as a librarian.

Another Day's Pain
K. C. Constantine
The Mysterious Press
www.mysteriouspress.com
c/o Penzler Publishers
https://penzlerpublishers.com
9781613164839, $26.95, HC, 252pp

https://www.amazon.com/Another-Days-Pain-Rocksburg-Novel/dp/1613164831

Synopsis: The police force of Rocksburg, Pennsylvania, doesn't see a lot of action. With jobs and industry moving away from the small city outside Pittsburgh, Detective Ruggiero "Rugs" Carlucci's greatest adversaries are his negligent vacation-prone fellow officers and an older divorcee who has a habit of dancing naked on her back porch when she stops taking her medication. Retirement is on the horizon for Rugs, and the Vietnam vet is counting the days until he can move on from the job.

But the city of Rocksburg isn't going to let Rugs drift off to retirement without a fight. Before he can neatly wrap up his career, Rugs will face a mad shooter, a vengeful city councilman, and, most perilously -- his own mother.

Critique: Of immense interest to fans of police procedurals and action packed crime thrillers, "Another Day's Pain" by K. C. Constantine features a deftly crafted supporting cast of memorable characters in a dark humor laced novel about the impact of crime and 'the damaged souls it leaves behind'. While especially and unreservedly recommended for community library Mystery/Suspense collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Another Day's Pain" from Mysterious Press is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $17.49) and as a complete and unabridged audio book (Blackstone Audio, 9798874709495, $40.40, CD).

Editorial Note: Carl Constantine Kosak (1934 - 2023) was better known by the pen name K. C. Constantine. An American mystery author. In his novels he chronicled the fictional city of Rocksburg for fifty years, delighting readers with tales of Mario Balzic and the hapless Rocksburg Police Department. "Another Day's Pain", was completed shortly before the author's death, is the final chapter in that saga.

The Back of Beyond
P. K. Norton
Stillwater River Publications
https://stillwaterpress.com
9781963296112, $15.00, PB, 246pp

https://www.amazon.com/Back-Beyond-Amy-Lynch-Investigation/dp/1963296117

Synopsis: What do long-haul truckers, Indian burial grounds, motorcycle gangs, and an insurrection have in common? -- A investigator named Amy Lynch in another spell-binding cozy mystery by novelist P. K. Norton.

"The Back of Beyond" is the riveting story of what happens to Amy in rural West Tennessee when a straight-forward life insurance claim turns as crooked as the country roads.

Critique: It is interesting to note that the cozy mystery female sleuth Amy Lynch is modeled on the author, P. K. Norton who spent thirty years as a life insurance claims investigator and has deftly infused her fiction with her real life experiences in that role. A 'must' for the legions of dedicated cozy mystery fans, "The Back of Beyond" is an impressive original, deftly crafted, exceptionally entertaining, and unreservedly recommended pick for community library Mystery/Suspense collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Back of Beyond" from Stillwater River Publications is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $5.95).

Editorial Note: Paula 'K. Norton (https://pknortonauthor.com) draws on her thirty years in the insurance business, as well as other real life experiences and passions, in her 'The Amy Lynch Investigations' mystery series which currently includes: "Deadly Diamonds"; "Direct Elimination"; "Deep Secrets"; "Dead Drop"; "Sweet Dreams, Sweet Death"; "Avenging Madonna"; and "The Back of Beyond".


The Fantasy/SciFi Shelf

The Die
Jude Berman
https://judeberman.com
SparkPress
c/o Spark Point Studio
www.gosparkpress.com
9781684632305, $17.95, PB, 336pp

https://www.amazon.com/Die-Novel-Jude-Berman/dp/1684632307

Synopsis: Darah, a tech writer living in the democratic nation of California, is dismayed to see the game she's helping develop for a Silicon Valley tech company has been tampered with. When her hacker friend Jedd investigates, he uncovers a conspiracy that could change the nation -- and the world.

With a circle of close friends, Jedd digs deeper and deeper into the darknet and exposes the unthinkable: an app is being developed that uses quantum computing and neuroscience to alter people's brains, totally unbeknownst to them. As the friends realize the devastating impact of this technology, they're presented with a dilemma: stay quiet and stay safe, or risk their lives to stand up to the international authoritarian force behind this plot?

Combining activist, techno-thriller, and metaphysical fiction elements and scaffolded on three realities (the ancient wisdom of the Mahabharata, our current sociopolitical reality, and the near future) "The Die" is a story about friendship, courage, and democracy.

Critique: A riveting, scary, and thriller of a read from start to finish, "The Die" by author Jude Berman is a techno-thriller of a dystopian science fiction novel that is an all-too-believable extrapolation and projection of current political and technological realities. While especially and unreservedly recommended for community and college/university library Science Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that this edition of "The Die" from SparkPress is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.49)

Editorial Note: Jude Berman grew up amid floor-to-ceiling shelves of books in many languages. In addition to a love of literature, her refugee parents instilled in her a deep appreciation for cultural diversity and social justice. Jude has a BA in art from Smith College and an EdD in cross-cultural communication from UMass Amherst. After a career in academic research, she built a freelance writing and editing business and ran two small independent presses. In her free time, she volunteers for progressive causes, paints with acrylic watercolors, gardens, meditates, and blogs at www.judeberman.org. Jude lives in Berkeley, California, where she continues to work with authors and write fiction.

Grand Tour: The Brass Queen II
Elizabeth Chatsworth
CamCat Books
www.camcatpublishing.com
9780744306293, $29.99, HC, 432pp

https://www.amazon.com/Grand-Tour-Brass-Queen-II/dp/0744306299

Synopsis: In a fantastical steam-powered world, eccentric aristocrat and secret arms dealer, Miss Constance Haltwhistle, has been blackmailed into stealing alien artifacts from the crown heads of Europe. Only the shady but annoyingly handsome US spy, "Liberty" Trusdale, can help her execute her perfect palace heists. As Constance creates chaos and mayhem across the Continent, monstrous creatures are plotting an interdimensional invasion of Earth. Will Constance and Trusdale stop bickering long enough to end the war of the worlds before it starts?

Critique: The sequel to science fiction and fantasy novelist Elizabeth Chatsworth "The Brass Queen" (CamCat Books, 2021), "Grand Tour" is set a fantastical steam-powered world, where eccentric aristocrat and secret arms dealer, Miss Constance Haltwhistle, has been blackmailed into stealing alien artifacts from the crown heads of Europe.

Only the shady but annoyingly handsome US spy, "Liberty" Trusdale, can help her execute her perfect palace heists. But as Constance creates chaos and mayhem across the Continent, monstrous creatures are plotting an interdimensional invasion of Earth. Will Constance and Trusdale stop bickering long enough to end the war of the worlds before it starts?

Critique: An original and fun read from start to finish, "Grand Tour" is another 'tour de force' blending of romance, science fiction and fantasy by Elizabeth Chatsworth -- a master of the genre. Written with wit and laced thoroughly with humor, "Grand Tour" is especially and unreservedly recommended for community and college/university library Science Fiction & Fantasy collections. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of dedicated scifi/fantasy fans and librarians that "Grand Tour" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $5.99) and in a large print paperback edition (9780744306262, $30.99, 592pp).

Editorial Note: Elizabeth Chatsworth (www.elizabethchatsworth.com) is a British author who writes of rogues, rebels, and renegades across time and space. From Victorian sensibilities to interstellar travel, she'll send you on a cosmic adventure filled with quirky characters and a touch of humor. Elizabeth won the IBPA Benjamin Franklin Award(TM) Gold and the Writers Of The Future Contest for Science Fiction & Fantasy.

City of the Undead
C. L. Werner
Aconyte Books
https://aconytebooks.com
Tantor Media
https://tantor.com
9781839082849, $16.95, PB, 336pp

https://www.amazon.com/City-Undead-Zombicide-Black-Plague/dp/1839082844

Synopsis: Witch Hunter Helchen mourns her dear friend, one of many heroes The Black Plague has sent to their grave as it consumes the kingdom. Yet she is determined to save what remains of humanity. Helchen and her companions travel to the labyrinthine canals of Zanice to obtain magical resources that would change the course of the zombie plague. Horrendous swaths of the undead mark their journey, and the companions are pursued relentlessly by necromantic forces of evil. When they discover a friend turned foe, Helchen must decide if all zombies are monsters... or if a new darkness is taking shape across the land.

Critique: The third novel in author C. L. Werner's 'A Zombicide Black Plague' series, "City of the Undead" is the story of a group of unlikely heroes, all of whom mean to prevent humanity's demise as the zombie apocalypse engulfs their kingdom. A riveting and fun read for all zombie apocalypse fans that is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.95) and as a complete and unabridged audio book (Tantor Audio, 9798874761509, $45.95, CD), "City of the Undead" will prove to be an immediate and enduringly popular pick for personal reading lists and community library Heroic Fantasy collections..

Editorial Note: C L Werner is the author of many novels and short stories spanning the genres of fantasy and horror. He has written for Warhammer Age of Sigmar and Old World, Warhammer 40,000, Warmachine's Iron Kingdoms, and Mantic's Kings of War. For Aconyte, he is the author of Marvel Legends of Asgard: Sword of Surtur and Three Swords, as well as the Zombicide: Black Plague trilogy, Age of the Undead and Isle of the Undead.


The Poetry Shelf

Barfly and Other Poems
Michael Lista
Biblioasis
www.biblioasis.com
9781771966115, $15.95, PB, 96pp

https://www.amazon.com/Barfly-Michael-Lista/dp/1771966114

Synopsis: With the publication of "Barfly and Other Poems, the poet comes back to haunt both himself, and his reader.

In his compelling third collection of his work (his first in a decade), poet and essayist Michael Lista once again reinvents poetry with humor, pugnacity, and a deeply singular and identifiable voice. Splicing Byronic rhymes and Auden's meters with the twenty-first century irreverence of a late-stage Twitter feed, the poems comprising "Barfly and Other Poems" are aggressive, sweet, deadly, and emotionally raw with a break-your-heart vulnerability.

Critique: With his own distinctive style of cadence, rhythm, word driven imagery, and emotional reach, the poems comprising Michael Lista's last volume of verse is an extraordinary, memorable, and unreservedly recommended addition to personal, professional, community, and college/university library Contemporary American Poetry collections and supplemental curriculum reading lists. It should be noted that "Barfly and Other Poems" is also readily available from Biblioasis is a digital book format (Kindle, $12.99).

Editorial Note: Michael Lista (https://michaellista.com) is an investigative journalist, essayist and poet. He has worked as a book columnist for the National Post and as the poetry editor of The Walrus. He is the author of four books: the poetry volumes Bloom and The Scarborough; Strike Anywhere, a collection of his writing about literature, television and culture; and The Human Scale: Murder, Mischief and Other Selected Mayhems, a book of longform journalism. His essays and investigative stories have appeared in the New Yorker, The Atlantic, Slate, The Walrus, Canadaland, and Toronto Life. He is a contributing editor at Toronto Life and Maclean's. He was the 2017 Margaret Laurence Fellow at Trent University and the winner of the 2020 National Magazine Awards for both Investigative Reporting and Long Form Feature Writing.


The Business Shelf

The Problem with Change
Ashley Goodall
Little, Brown Spark
c/o Hachette Book Group
www.hachettebookgroup.com
9780316560276, $30.00, HC, 288pp

https://www.amazon.com/Problem-Change-Essential-Nature-Performance/dp/0316560278

Synopsis: For decades, "disruption" and "change" have been seen as essential to business growth and success. "The Problem with Change: And the Essential Nature of Human Performance" is a provocative and incisive book in which leadership expert Ashley Goodall argues that what has become a sacred dogma is both wrong and harmful.

Whether it's a merger or re-org or a new office layout, change has become the ultimate easy button for leaders, who pursue it with abandon, unleashing a torrent of disruption on employees. The result is what Goodall calls "life in the blender" -- a perpetual cycle of upheaval, uncertainty, and unease.

The problem with change, Goodall argues, is that a culture where everything from people to processes to strategic priorities are constantly in flux exerts a psychological toll that undermines motivation, productivity, and performance. And yet so accustomed are we to constant churn that we have become numb to its very real consequences.

Drawing on two decades spent leading HR organizations at Deloitte and Cisco, Ashley Goodall reveals why change is not the same as improvement, and how, by prioritizing team cohesion (instead of reshuffling teams at will), by using real words (rather than corporate-speak), by sharing secrets (not mission statements), by fixing only the things that are truly broken (instead of moving fast and breaking everything in sight, and more, leaders at every level can create the stability that people need to thrive.

Critique: Informed and informative, thoughtful and thought provoking, exceptionally well written, organized and presented, "The Problem with Change: And the Essential Nature of Human Performance" is an extraordinary, iconoclastic, and unreservedly recommended reading for anyone an interest in business management, leadership, motivation, and transformation. An essential and core addition for personal, professional, community, corporate, and college/university collections, it should be noted that "The Problem with Change" is also readily available from Little Brown Spark in a digital book format (Kindle, $14.99).

Editorial Note: Ashley Goodall (https://ashleygoodall.com) is a leadership expert who has spent his career exploring large organizations from the inside, most recently as an executive at Cisco. He is the co-author of Nine Lies About Work, which was selected as the best management book of 2019 by Strategy + Business and as one of Amazon's best business and leadership books of 2019. Prior to Cisco, he spent fourteen years at Deloitte as a consultant and as the Chief Learning Officer for Leadership and Professional development.

Growing Confident Leaders
A. J. Josefowitz
River Grove Books
c/o Greenleaf Book Group Press
www.greenleafbookgroup.com
9781632997562, $18.95, PB, 178pp

https://www.amazon.com/Growing-Confident-Leaders-Powerful-Developing/dp/1632997568

Synopsis: Corporate leadership doesn't happen in a vacuum. It arises to fill a need of the leader's constituents. So often people feel they are missing the keys to effective leadership. And that can be because they lack clarity about what motivates and inspires people into action.

With the publication of "Growing Confident Leaders: A Powerful Model for Developing Skills to Motivate and Inspire", A. J. Josefowitz distills his leadership expertise into a simple, yet powerful model that anyone can use to improve their leadership skills or develop future leaders. Centered on the relationship between leaders and their constituents, the model shows how leaders can tap into the core motivators of meaning, hope, and trust to meet goals, generate creativity, and enhance accountability.

Critique: Eloquent, 'real world' practical, inspiring, and thoroughly 'reader friendly' in organization and presentation, "Growing Confident Leaders: A Powerful Model for Developing Skills to Motivate and Inspire" is an extraordinary, single volume, DIY course that is especially and unreservedly recommended reading for anyone who aspires to or is charged with leadership responsibilities in a business or corporate environment. While a solid pick for personal, professional, community, corporate, and college/university library Business Management/Leadership collections and supplemental MBA curriculum studies lists, it should be noted that "Growing Confident Leaders" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $8.99).

Editorial Note: A. J. Josefowitz (www.ajjosefowitz.com) is a leadership development consultant, coach, and trainer with a PhD in educational psychology. After decades developing leaders in the corporate arena, AJ now dedicates his time to teaching and consulting the next generation of leaders.

The Steadfast Leader
Randy Brazie, MD, SEP & Geoffrey VanderPal, DBA, CFP
McGraw Hill Professional
www.mhprofessional.com
Blackstone Audiobooks
https://www.blackstonelibrary.com
9781265524487, $28.00, HC, 256pp

https://www.amazon.com/Steadfast-Leader-Confident-Decisions-Leadership/dp/1265524483

Synopsis: As a business leader today you are face unprecedented and extraordinary challenges -- and it's not uncommon for them to make you feel simply overwhelmed by the sheer number and complexity of seemingly nonstop decision making. To further complicate matters, you may believe that some decisions require rational (brain) decision making, while others call for you to "go with your gut."

But with the publication of "The Steadfast Leader: Control Anxiety, Make Confident Decisions, and Focus Your Team Using the New Science of Leadership" by co-authors Dr. Randy Brazie and Dr. Geoffrey VanderPal you will discover that integrating the two (brain and gut) will help you become the calm, steadfast and powerful leader you want to be.

With their combined expertise in both business and medicine, VanderPal and Brazie frame the latest scientific understanding of the human nervous system, drawing on Polyvagal Theory to show how the brain and the gut (connected by the vagus nerve) make decisions together. Helping to put an end to the tension caused by "either-or," they show how using "both-and" works better in every situation.

Packed from cover to cover with eye-opening research, case studies, and relatable examples from the business world, "The Steadfast Leader" provides practical, cutting-edge neuroscientific concepts to help you stay focused and make better decisions -- for yourself, your team, and your organization.

Critique: A complete DIY course of study in effective leadership decision making, "The Steadfast Leader: Control Anxiety, Make Confident Decisions, and Focus Your Team Using the New Science of Leadership" is a welcome and unreservedly recommended addition to personal, professional, community, corporate, and college/university library Business Decision Making/Problem Solving collections and supplemental MBA curriculum studies lists. It should be noted for students, academia, corporate executives, business managers, entrepreneurs, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "The Steadfast Leader: Control Anxiety, Make Confident Decisions, and Focus Your Team Using the New Science of Leadership" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $17.99) and as a complete and unabridged audio book (Blackstone Audio, 9798874678906, $36.88, CD).

Editorial Note #1: Randy Brazie, MD, SEP(R), is a graduate of the University of Arizona College of Medicine and completed his psychiatry residency at the University of Arizona Affiliated Hospitals. He is board certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology in General Psychiatry, with extensive experience in multiple sectors, including both clinic and hospital based services as well as emergency and urgent care settings. He currently serves as the chief medical officer for Resilient Health, an Arizona nonprofit healthcare provider of innovative multi-modal services for both public and private sectors.

Editorial Note #2: Dr. Geoffrey VanderPal, DBA, CFP(R), Certified Financial Planner and Chartered Life Underwriter, has taught for various universities on four continents in the areas of finance and business. He has been published in multiple research journals and is author of Invincible Investing. He is currently a professor in the Master of Science in Finance program at Purdue University Global, teaching financial-planning related courses.

Good Judgment
Richard Davis
Harper Business
c/o HarperCollins Publishers
www.harpercollins.com
Blackstone Audiobooks
https://www.blackstonelibrary.com
9780063293670, $29.99, HC, 240pp

https://www.amazon.com/Good-Judgment-Business-Decisions-Personality/dp/0063293676

Synopsis: Psychologists widely agree that five key traits define our personalities -- intellect, emotionality, sociability, drive, and diligence. Unlike emotions, which are transitory in nature, these traits determine our behaviors, including our motivations, social inclinations, reactions to crisis or complexity, patterns of thinking, and more.

Organizational psychologist Dr. Richard Davis is an expert in assessing personalities. He has spent decades advising business leaders and evaluating executives from some of the world's biggest companies, including Amazon, Target, Best Buy, Under Armour, Meta, Starbucks, Nike, LVMH, and the NBA. Over the course of his career, he has helped numerous executives make tough, highly consequential hiring calls based on personality.

A company's board of directors might want its next CEO to be decisive, focused, and a strong communicator. Investors backing a start-up might want a leader who is not only a visionary but also a team player who doesn't retaliate when given constructive feedback. That's where he comes in. As a result of his life's work, Dr. Davis has developed not only a unique perspective on what human personality is, but an indispensable toolkit for analyzing it, and using the information effectively.

With the publication of "Good Judgment: Making Better Business Decisions with the Science of Human Personality", Dr. Davis brings his expertise to you and explains what the science of personality is and how it works, and how all of us can use it to improve our working relationships, careers, and lives. Whether you're a novice manager looking to hire your first assistant, a board member in need of the ideal CEO, an angel investor trying to choose between two different startups, or a new parent selecting a pediatrician, understanding the science of personality and how to utilize it is the key to exercising good judgment -- at work and in life.

Critique: Expertly organized and presented, "Good Judgment: Making Better Business Decisions with the Science of Human Personality" from Harper Business is a prized and unreservedly recommended pick for personal, professional, community, corporate, and college/university library Business Management collections and supplemental MBA curriculum studies lists. It should be noted that "Good Judgment" by Dr. Richard Davis is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $15.99) and as a complete and unabridged audio book (Blackstone Audio, 9798874622466, $40.46, CD).

Editorial Note: Dr. Richard Davis is an organizational psychologist and managing director at Russell Reynolds Associates. He has extensive experience advising CEOs, including those leading Fortune 100 companies or otherwise in the public eye. Clients include Under Armour, Best Buy, Target, Endeavor (WME Entertainment), the National Basketball Association, Canada Goose, Redfin, RBC, LCatterton, and Maple Leaf Sports + Entertainment. He has also assessed senior executives and board members from companies such as Microsoft, Apple, Nike, Starbucks, Amazon, General Motors, Walmart, Home Depot, United Health, and Google.

Customer-Centric Innovation in Finance
Dr. Erin B. Taylor & Dr. Annette Brolos
Kogan Page Inc.
www.koganpage.com
9781398613898, $173.00, HC, 296pp

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/customer-centric-innovation-in-finance-erin-b-taylor/1144039957

Synopsis: With the publication of "Customer-Centric Innovation in Finance: Leveraging Human Insights to Drive Product Innovation in the Digital Age", co-authors Erin B. Taylor and Anette Brolos help finance and fintech innovators to understand customers' behavioral motivations to drive effective product development.

Relying on quantitative data is not enough: numbers can be great at telling us what people are doing but they often fail to explain why people do what they do. And if a service doesn't exist yet, there is no data to tell us how people use it. Human insights, behavioural science and qualitative data add immense value to product development.

Readers will learn to innovate smarter by getting a firm understanding of why customers like their solutions and how they adapt them to suit their needs.

"Centric Innovation in Finance" presents real-life examples throughout of how customers are changing their behaviour in response to a fast-evolving financial landscape and provides practical advice on how to transform such insights into innovation. It also explores how to produce customer insights for services that don't exist yet, for instance Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs). As well as providing descriptions of hands-on tools to build new insights and apply them to innovation and of methodologies such as portable kits, personas, digital ethnography, observations and interviews.

Critique: Informatively enhanced for the reader's benefit with the inclusion of an Appendix (Life of Company Examples), a four page Glossary, and a seven page Index, "Customer-Centric Innovation in Finance: Leveraging Human Insights to Drive Product Innovation in the Digital Age" is an ideal introductory textbook on the role and function of business and human centric financial services. Informed and informative, "Customer-Centric Innovation in Finance" is especially recommended for personal, professional, corporate, and college/university library Business & Financial Management collections and supplemental MBA curriculum studies lists. It should be noted that "Customer-Centric Innovation in Finance" is also readily available in a paperback edition (9781398613874, $47.99) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $38.39.

Editorial Note #1: Erin B Taylor (https://finthropology.com) is Managing Director and Founder of Finthropology and an anthropologist based in The Hague, the Netherlands. She specialises in how people's financial behaviour is changing along with innovation in financial services. She holds a PhD from the University of Sydney, Australia, and has carried out ethnographic research in the Caribbean, South America, Africa and Europe. Other projects include carrying out research for findexable's Fintech Diversity Radar.

Editorial Note #2: Anette Brolos (https://finthropology.com) is Director and Founder of Finthropology and a fintech analyst based near Odense in Denmark. She is an experienced fintech and financial services leader working on strategic innovation, partnerships, open banking and digital transformation and an experienced speaker and facilitator. She holds an industrial PhD in collaborative innovation and has a background in economics. Brolos has extensive experience in banking and finance including consultant work on the implementation of PSD2, six years as CEO of Copenhagen FinTech Innovation and Research and prior to that, was the CFO and later Head of Development at Fionia Bank. She also sits on the Fintech Connect Advisory Board on Digital Transformation and is a co-lead of the European Women Payments Network Research network.

Internal Communication Strategy
Rachel Miller
Kogan Page Inc.
www.koganpage.com
9781398614666, $124.45, HC, 296pp

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/internal-communication-strategy-rachel-miller/1144039967

Synopsis: Written by award-winning communications professional Rachel Miller and featuring key insights from companies such as Marks & Spencer, Hilton, BBC and The Met Office, "Internal Communication Strategy: Design, Develop and Transform your Organizational Communication" covers not only how to develop and write an internal communication strategy, but also how to practically implement it throughout your organization to create a shared understanding and vision.

With workplaces constantly evolving, "Internal Communication Strategy" provides you with a solid framework to return to when you need to refresh your strategy, providing actionable guidance and inspirational insights throughout.

Drawing on the author Rachel Miller's 20 years of experience, "Internal Communication Strategy" also tackles the key topics facing communicators today including communicating with neurodivergent employees, how to influence at C-suite level, the effect of hybrid working and how to measure the impact and prove the value of internal communication.

Critique: Impressively comprehensive, exceptionally well organized and presented, "Internal Communication Strategy: Design, Develop and Transform your Organizational Communication" must be considered essential reading for anyone charged with the most out of their company's workforce with clear and effective communications systems, policies and technological advances. While an especially recommended pick for personal, professional, corporate, and college/university library Business Management, Communications, and Public Relations collections and supplemental MBA curriculum studies lists, it should be noted that "Internal Communication Strategy: Design, Develop and Transform your Organizational Communication" is also available in a paperback edition (9781398614642, $37.99) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $30.39).

Editorial Note: Rachel Miller (www.allthingsic.com) is an internationally recognized authority on Internal Communication, based in London, UK. She's a Chartered PR Practitioner and Fellow of both the Institute of Internal Communication and Chartered Institute of Public Relations. She's a keynote speaker and member of the Company of Communicators. Rachel began her career as a journalist, then spent a decade in-house, before establishing her consulting business, All Things IC, in 2013. She's listed in Inspiring Workplaces' top 101 global employee engagement influencers. In 2020, Rachel was awarded the Chartered Institute of Public Relations' President's Medal for distinguished service to PR.

ESG Mindset: Business Resilience and Sustainable Growth
Matthew Sekol
Kogan Page Inc.
www.koganpage.com
9781398614260, $131.00, HC, 296pp

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/esg-mindset-matthew-sekol/1144039919

Synopsis: Earth System Governance (ESG) is a paradigm building on notions of environmental policy and nature conservation, and within the context of human-induced transformations of the entire earth system. (Wikipedia)

But for the business community, ESG goes beyond decarbonization commitments, corporate goals and industry awards, to core business issues, stakeholders and the balance sheet. Managing these risks and opportunities requires courage, imagination and careful analysis to improve and innovate around what is and isn't working at a company.

It also requires main streaming a consistent definition of ESG so key decision-makers are empowered to act across the business and their value chains, including in daily business practices, communication with stakeholders, financial considerations, and the integration of new technologies and products.

With the publication of "ESG Mindset: Business Resilience and Sustainable Growth ", Matthew Sekol guides business leaders, ESG specialists and CSR strategists through the nuanced and most thoughtful ways to focus on these core business issues. Equipping readers with an enhanced way to think through complex business decisions and interconnected crises, "ESG Mindset" provides accessible perspectives and real-world examples from companies around the world that have implemented a meaningful approach to ESG and learned lessons along the way.

With "ESG Mindset" readers will learn how to think about pressing ESG challenges from a new perspective and build defensibility in their efforts to future-proof a business and potentially save the world as only they can.

Critique: Of particular, practical, and instructional value for readers with an interest in Environmental Economics, Sustainable Business Development, and Corporate Leadership/Motivation, "ESG Mindset: Business Resilience and Sustainable Growth" is a seminal and ground-breaking resource for business managers, corporate executives, and governmental policy makers who take environmental, social and corporate governance seriously as a means to transform their companies, industries and economies for success worldwide. Also readily available in a paperback edition (9781398614246, $39.99) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $37.99), "ESG Mindset" is a strongly recommended and essential pick for personal, professional, corporate, and college/university library Contemporary Business Management collections and supplemental MBA curriculum studies lists.

Editorial Note: Matthew Sekol (https://matt.flockofsekols.com) is an ESG and sustainability advocate at Microsoft, based between New York City, New York and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He came into ESG several years ago through working with some of the world's largest ESG data aggregators and financial services firms. Today, he guides companies across industries to new value by unpacking their ESG and sustainability challenges along the intersection with technology. In his current role, he also sits on the LP Advisory Committee of Morgan Stanley's Next Level Fund, which invests in diverse-led and founded start-ups and ventures, providing technology and ESG mentoring while advising on the portfolio. Sekol speaks and writes about ESG topics regularly and has authored and co-authored whitepapers and online articles on ESG, biodiversity, how technology is an ESG risk and more. In 2023, Onalytica named him to its "Who's Who in ESG" list.


The Needlecraft Shelf

10,000 Crocheted Hats
Emma Varnam
The GMC Group
www.gmcbooks.com
9781784946692, $29.99, Spiral Bound, 80pp

https://www.amazon.com/10-000-Crocheted-Hats-Combinations/dp/1784946699

Synopsis: "10,000 Crocheted Hats: Discover Your Own Unique Design Combinations" by Emma Varnam is a fun and clever spiral bound, flip-page instruction book for designing and building unique headwear creations.

This interactive crochet book showcases photographs of different hat brims, bodies and crowns that can be combined in a total of 10,626 ways to create unique hat patterns. With "10,000 Crocheted Hats" needlecrafters an choose their own unique design, then turn over the pages for the correct written pattern for that combination of brim, body and crown.

Of special note is the handy embellishments section to add extra features, a clear and 'user friendly' format that is suitable for all abilities, and that every pattern comes in three adult sizes.

"10,000 Crocheted Hats" is the ultimate DIY crocheted hat resource for creating stylish, unique and personal headwear.

Critique: This large format (9781784946692, 1.74 pounds) spiral bound edition of Emma Varnam's "10,000 Crocheted Hats: Discover Your Own Unique Design Combinations" from GMC Publications is a unique, effective, fun and inspiring DIY approach to creating memorable and distinctive crocheted hats for any and all occasions -- making it an ideal and unreservedly recommended addition to personal, professional, and community library Needlecraft instructional reference book collections.

Editorial Note: Emma Varnam (www.emmavarnam.co.uk) has a special talent for creating unique characters in crochet that make people smile. As well as writing a number of popular crochet books, all published by GMC Publications - Cute Crocheted Good, Crocheted Succulents, Crocheted Houseplants, Cute Crocheted Animals, Cute Crocheted Wild Animals, Cute Crocheted Woodland Creatures, How to Crochet, Granny Squares Home and Granny Squares Weekend - she has had a number of successful collaborations with the celebrated knitwear designer Debbie Bliss. Emma lives in Greater Manchester, UK and can be followed on Instagram: @emmavarnam & Twitter: @EmmaCrochetToys


The Interior Design Shelf

The Complete Color Harmony: Deluxe Edition
Tina Sutton, author
Rockport Publishers
c/o Quarto Publishing Group USA
www.quartoknows.com
9780760392577, $30.00, HC, 216pp

https://www.amazon.com/Complete-Color-Harmony-Information-Professional/dp/0760392579

Synopsis: "The Complete Color Harmony: Expert Color Information for Professional Color Results" by Tina Sutton was the first book published by the Rockport Publishers in 2004, and has since gone on to become an essential reference for generations of interior designers. This special 2024 edition of that classic reference celebrates Rockport Publisher's 40th anniversary.

Now in a deluxe edition, "The Complete Color Harmony: Expert Color Information for Professional Color Results" provides an ideal introduction to using the color wheel and discovering the key aspects of color, such as warm, cool, pale, and bright.

Readers can then delve into moods and color and see how a wide variety of palettes can come across as earthy, powerful, regal, calm, dependable, and more.

"The Complete Color Harmony" covers: Hundreds of organized color palettes that can be used for a variety of art and design projects; Why certain colors attract; How colors evoke certain moods; Advice on choosing the best colors to work with; A CMYK process color chart and color swatches to make choosing colors and palettes easy.

With all the expert information in this convenient portable guide, aspiring and practicing interior designers will feel confident in every color choice they make.

Critique: This deluxe anniversary edition of "The Complete Color Harmony: Expert Color Information for Professional Color Results" from Rockport Publishing is a basic and unreservedly recommended addition to personal, professional, community, and college/university library Decorative Arts, Illustration, Graphic Design, and Color Use collection and supplemental Decorative Arts curriculum studies lists.

Editorial Note: Tina Sutton is a veteran color, consumer trends and fashion marketing consultant for product developers, corporations and advertising agencies. She has researched, written about and lectured on the psychology of color for numerous publications, arts institutions, and television and radio programs nationwide. Sutton was also a longtime style and features writer for The Boston Globe, and the author of "The Making of Markova: Diaghilev's Baby Ballerina to Groundbreaking Icon", a highly regarded biography of legendary dancer Alicia Markova.

Never Too Small: Vol. 2
Joel Breath & Camilla Janse van Vuuren
Smith Street Books
c/o Rizzoli
www.rizzoliusa.com
9781923049079, $40.00, HC, 304pp

https://www.amazon.com/Never-Too-Small-Reinventing-Living/dp/1923049070

Synopsis: Following the success of their first book, "Never Too Small: Reinventing Small Space Living, Volume 1", this second volume of "Never Too Small: Reinventing Small Space Living" by co-authors Joel Breath & Camilla Janse van Vuuren showcases 30 new and outstanding homes from around the world that (like in Volume 1) explore small space living.

Framed by five small footprint design principles, this new second volume of "Never Too Small" features beautiful photography, detailed floor-plans, and accessible architectural commentary on each of the 30 homes.

Championing the work of award-winning architects and designers, Both volumes 1 & 2 of "Never Too Small: Reinventing Small Space Living" offers inspiring models for the future of housing -- one where sustainability and style, comfort and affordability can coexist.

Critique: This large format (8.6 x 1.18 x 10.14 inches, 1.25 pounds) hardcover edition of "Never Too Small: Reinventing Small Space Living, Volume 2" from Smith Street Books is an inspirational pleasure to simply browse through one elegant and illustrated page at a time. Exceptional in organization and presentation, this second volume of "Never Too Small: Reinventing Small Space Living" is especially appropriate as an core addition to personal, professional, community, and college/university library Interior Design & Home Decoration collections.

Editorial Note: Co-authors Joel Beath and Camilla Janse van Vuuren provide a window into the world of small footprint living, featuring award-winning designers and homes from the hugely popular Never Too Small YouTube channel (www.youtube.com/c/NEVERTOOSMALL).


The Travel Shelf

100 Things to Do in Wisconsin Dells Before You Die
Melanie Radzicki McManus
Reedy Press
www.reedypress.com
9781681064741, $17.99, PB, 160pp

https://www.amazon.com/100-Things-Wisconsin-Dells-Before/dp/168106474X

Synopsis: It is difficult to capture the essence of Wisconsin Dells, which is why it's such a fascinating place to explore. Its origins as a tourist destination began with 19th-century photographer H.H. Bennett, whose stunning photos of the area's intricately carved sandstone formations drew visitors in droves.

Over time a wide variety of attractions opened, followed by a wealth of waterparks, including the nation's largest outdoor waterpark and first indoor waterpark.

Today the Dells offers something for every taste. History buffs can explore sites like Circus World, home to the world's largest collection of authentic circus wagons. Adventurers can get their hearts racing at places like Bigfoot Zipline Tours and Jet Boat Adventures. The 1,150-mile Ice Age Trail that winds around town will beckon nature lovers, while foodies can nosh on elk sliders or avocado naan after touring Driftless Glen Distillery.

Local writer Melanie Radzicki McManus has been following the Dells' evolution since the 1990s, testing waterslides, go-karts, and roller coasters; playing numerous rounds of mini-golf; and constantly keeping an eye open for unheralded gems.

Critique: Exceptionally 'user friendly' in organization and presentation, "100 Things to Do in Wisconsin Dells Before You Die" is an inspiring pleasure to browse through and plan itineraries with whether its for a day, a weekend, a week, or an extended vacation of any length. A 'must' for the tourist and surprising for locals in its scope, "100 Things to Do in Wisconsin Dells Before You Die" is unreservedly recommended for personal reading lists and Wisconsin based community and college/university library Travel Guide collections.

Editorial Note: Melanie Radzicki McManus (www.TheThousandMiler.com) is a travel writer who has been writing about Wisconsin Dells for more than 25 years, always trying the newest waterslides and evaluating the latest trends. She's also an avid backpacker who loves to point out that the Ice Age National Scenic Trail runs right through the Dells. Melanie's writing credits include the Chicago Tribune, Minneapolis Star Tribune, and CNN. She's also the author of Thousand-Miler: Adventures Hiking the Ice Age Trail (Wisconsin Historical Society Press, 2017).

The 50 States Bucket List
Jessica Laughlin
Epic Ink
c/o Quarto Publishing Group USA
www.quartoknows.com
9780760388495, $19.99, Flexibound, 176pp

https://www.amazon.com/50-States-Bucket-List-Ultimate/dp/0760388490

Synopsis: Now even the most novice of travelers can make any road trip extraordinary and memorable with help of "The 50 States Bucket List: The Ultimate Journal for a Journey across America", a unique guide to the most exciting places across America (including Washington, DC, and Puerto Rico!).

Organized by region, you will find fast facts about each state, like the state's nickname, state bird, and state flower; write-ups on key attractions in each state, along with a list to check off your bucket list items and customizable destination plans; and beautifully illustrated state maps, giving you an overview of the best each state has to offer.

Every visit can be journaled in the prompts throughout, where you can memorialize each experience.

Exceptionally portable, take "The 50 States Bucket List" on any trip and discover fun facts about both the best-known attractions and out-of-the-way gems, including: Mount Rushmore and the old west town of Deadwood in South Dakota; The Wizard of Oz Museum in Kansas; Chicago sites like the Bean and Navy Pier, as well as Illinois' Shawnee National Forest; Fossil Cabin in Wyoming, home to 5,796 dinosaur bones -- and so much more!

Use "The 50 States Bucket List" to vacation in all 50 states, DC, and Puerto Rico, -- and don't forget to keep track of each stop with your very own bucket list! Then revisit your trips through this keepsake journal, full of family memories, amazing experiences with friends, and your favorite spots in the United States of America.

Critique: Flexibound and profusely illustrated, Jessica Laughlin's "The 50 States Bucket List: The Ultimate Journal for a Journey across America" from Epic Ink is especially and unreservedly recommended as the ultimate travel guide and memory maker.

Editorial Note: Jessica Laughlin (www.jessicalaughlindesigns.com) is an artist, graphic designer, photographer, and real estate agent. She is from Las Vegas, Nevada, where she graduated from the Las Vegas Academy of the Performing Arts. She received her bachelor's degree from California State University Monterey Bay.

The National Parks Bucket List
Linda Mohammad
Epic Ink
c/o Quarto Publishing Group USA
www.quartoknows.com
9780760386811, $19.99, Flexibound, 176pp

https://www.amazon.com/National-Parks-Bucket-List-Adventure/dp/0760386811

Synopsis: When visiting any of our country's national parks, "The National Parks Bucket List: The Ultimate Adventure Journal for all 63 Parks" by Linda Mohammad is an ideal and unique travel guide/travel journal to take with you as you take in breathtaking scenery and take on thrilling terrain that each park has to offer.

Featuring a soft, faux-leather cover and prompts throughout its pages, "The National Parks Bucket List" encourages you to detail every expedition, camping trip, hike route, and more. The journaling prompts for each park will inspire you to truly take in your time in nature and make note of the special memories you make, from your favorite trails to the most exciting flora and fauna you spot during your stay.

For each of the 63 parks, there are helpful facts on the terrain, geography, both natural and cultural history, and wildlife, as well as exclusive Bucket List Traveler tips and tricks to make the most of your time in the park.

There's something new to discover about each of these unique spots, including fun facts like: The first female park ranger worked at Yosemite National Park in 1918; Mount Rainier National Park in Washington is one of the oldest national parks, actually created prior to the start of the National Park Service; Lake Clark National Park in Alaska offers world-class opportunities to view brown bears; Carlsbad Cavern National Park in New Mexico contains some of the largest caves in North America; Nabesna Glacier, found in Wrangell-St. Elias National Park in Alaska, is the longest valley glacier in the world -- and so much more!

As you tick off each park on your bucket list, you will be creating a keepsake that will allow you to share and relive your precious national park experiences again and again. "The National Parks Bucket List: is the perfect companion for your on-site park adventures.

Critique: A welcome and thoroughly 'user friendly' combination of guide and journal, "The National Parks Bucket List: The Ultimate Adventure Journal for all 63 Parks" has the twin value of being an excellent itinerary planner for getting the most out of a visit to an American national park -- and souvenir memorial to be cherished afterwards.

Editorial Note: Linda Mohammad is a national park lover who is a self-proclaimed weekend warrior. Originally born and raised in Malaysia, she migrated to the United States to pursue her college education. Her passion for traveling stemmed from her college days when she would have to vacate her dorm room during school breaks. Fast forward to today, Linda is an engineer working in the energy industry. Known as The Bucket List Traveler, who journals her way through the parks and documents her visits, trip planning and list-making are her forte. On the weekends, she can be found exploring some of our many national parks across the country. To date, she has crossed off all of the 63 big national parks in the US as well as more than halfway through the 420+ national park units that are currently managed by the National Park Service. Her favorite national park is the Petrified Forest National Park in Arizona because geology rocks!

50 States, 1,000 Eats
Joe Yogerst
National Geographic Press
www.nationalgeographic.com
9781426222825, $27.99, PB, 336pp

https://www.amazon.com/50-States-000-Eats-Where/dp/1426222823

Synopsis: "50 States, 1,000 Eats: Where to Go, When to Go, What to Eat, What to Drink" is the beautifully illustrated sequel to the National Geographic Press bestsellers "50 States, 5,000 Ideas" and "100 Parks, 5,000 Ideas".

This new travel guide compendium offers foodies the ultimate road trip around the United States and Canada, with 1,000 of the best bites and sips from every state and province. From must-have diner breakfasts and food trucks to can't miss farm-to-table dinners and U-pick farms, "50 States, 1,000 Eats: Where to Go, When to Go, What to Eat, What to Drink" has a flavor and food experience for every type of traveler, from road trip warriors and families to foodies of the first degree.

Filled with the best dishes in every state (think crab cakes in Maryland, Chicago-style deep-dish pizza in Illinois, and wine in Oregon's Willamette Valley) you will discover the regional delicacies that make up the great tastes of the United States and Canada. Plus, you will get expert advice on where to find the top meals at local establishments, which fine-dining experiences are worth the price tag, and when to visit for the best food and drink festivals.

"50 States, 1,000 Eats: Where to Go, When to Go, What to Eat, What to Drink" features: The origins of Alabama's famous white barbecue sauce; The world's largest food festival, Taste of Chicago, held in Grant Park each summer; The ultimate whiskey distillery in the most unlikely of places: Park City, Utah; The Northeastern seaboard's finest lobster rolls; The Native American and Hispanic roots of New Mexico's most iconic dishes; The secrets of Portland, Oregon's craft brew scene; The iconic Juicy Lucy burger in Minneapolis, Minnesota -- and so much more!

Critique: Ideal for the armchair traveler and the on-site visitor alike, "50 States, 1,000 Eats: Where to Go, When to Go, What to Eat, What to Drink" is comprehensive, informative, profusely illustrated, and inspiring -- especially if you need to find your next great bite away from home. While especially and unreservedly recommended for personal, professional, community, and college/university culinary themed travel guide collections, it should be noted that "50 States, 1,000 Eats: Where to Go, When to Go, What to Eat, What to Drink" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $13.99).

Editorial Note: During three decades as an editor, writer, and photographer, Joe Yogerst (https://joeyogerst.com) has lived and worked in Asia, Africa, Europe, and North America. His writing has appeared in Conde Nast Traveler, CNN Travel, Islands magazine, the International New York Times (Paris), Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, and National Geographic Traveler. He has also written 34 National Geographic books, including the best-selling 50 States, 5,000 Ideas. Yogerst is also the host of a National Geographic/Great Courses video series on America's state parks.


The Christian Studies Shelf

Essential Eucharistic Adoration Prayers
Marie Paul Curley
Pauline Books & Media
www.pauline.org
9780819824165, $7.95, PB, 176pp

https://www.amazon.com/Essential-Eucharistic-Adoration-Prayers-Curley/dp/081982416X

Synopsis: Jesus desires a relationship with you. As a Roman Catholic, what better place to meet him than in the Eucharist -- his Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity present among us? "Essential Eucharistic Adoration Prayers" is pocket-sized (4.5 x 0.9 x 6.3 inches, 5.6 ounces) paperback collection of traditional and contemporary Eucharistic prayers draws from the Bible and the wisdom of the Church. As you encounter Jesus at Mass, Benediction, and in Eucharistic adoration, may these essential prayers give you the words you need to open your heart more fully to him.

Critique: While also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $4.99), this easily portable paperback edition of "Essential Eucharistic Adoration Prayers" from Pauline Books & Media is unreservedly recommended for personal, clergy, and seminary student Eucharist reading lists and Catholic Theology reference collections.

Editorial Note: Marie Paul Curley is a member of the Daughters of Saint Paul, a Catholic community of women religious who seek to communicate the love of God through our lives and all forms of media. (www.pauline.org/mariepaulcurley)


The Judaic Studies Shelf

Pirkei Avot: Hebrew and English Edition
Adin Steinsaltz
Koren Publishers Jerusalem Ltd.
www.korenpub.com
9789657813621, $29.95, HC, 248pp

https://www.amazon.com/Pirkei-Avot-Hebrew-English-Steinsaltz/dp/965781362X

Synopsis: Tractate Avot is unique within the Mishna and the Talmud. It does not address halakha, but is primarily a book of ethics and wisdom, guiding us in our behavior and inner attitudes.

Avot was primarily written for those of us who seek to go above and beyond our standard obligations and follow a more elevated path. It therefore constitutes our aspirations for improving our moral character by keeping its teachings front and center.

This Hebrew-English bilingual edition of "Pirkei Avot" might be the Sages' most personal work as its words of wisdom and ethics were hewn from the hearts of the Sages of Israel, and studying them illuminates the Sages' worldview and way of life.

This commentary on Pirkei Avot opens the gate to a wondrous treasure of Jewish tradition, connecting our inner experience today to the world of the Sages.

Critique: Featuring informative and insightful commentary by Rabbi Adin Even-Israel Steinsaltz, "Pirkei Avot" includes full color illustrations and will prove a welcome and enduringly appreciated addition to personal, professional, synagogue, community, and college/university library Judaic Studies collections and supplemental Talmud curriculum studies lists.

Editorial Note: Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz is internationally regarded as one of the leading scholars and rabbis of our times. Founder of the Israel Institute for Talmudic Publications, Rabbi Steinsaltz has published over 300 titles and hundreds of essays on a variety of topics, including the Talmud, Jewish mysticism, religious thought, sociology, historical biography, and philosophy. In Israel, Rabbi Steinsaltz established the Mekor Chaim network of schools in Jerusalem and the vicinity. In 1988, Rabbi Steinsaltz received the Israel Prize (the country's highest honor) for Jewish Studies. In 2012 he was one of the first recipients of the Israeli Presidential Award of Distinction for his contribution to Israel and its standing in the world.


The Buddhist Studies Shelf

Gardens of Awakening
Kazuaki Tanahash, author
Mitsue Nagase, photographer
Shambhala Publications, Inc.
www.shambhala.com
9781645472056, $26.95, HC, 184pp

https://www.amazon.com/Gardens-Awakening-Aesthetics-Spirituality-Landscapes/dp/1645472051

Synopsis: Imagine yourself in Kyoto, Japan, gazing at an ancient temple garden. How would you contextualize what you are seeing? What is the history of this centuries-old contemplative art form of Zen gardening? What are its symbols and concepts?

Richly illustrated with full-color photographs by Mitsue Nagase, "Gardens of Awakening: A Guide to the Aesthetics, History, and Spirituality of Kyoto's Zen Landscapes" guides you through a series of Zen temple gardens, most of which were created from the fourteenth through seventeenth centuries. Some are teeming with plants and flowing water, while others have only rocks and sand. All share in the Zen aesthetics of awakening.

Through essays and commentary on Mitsue Nagase's striking photographs, famed Zen artist and translator Kazuaki Tanahashi presents the gardens in terms of seven qualities that arise from Zen practice: direct, ordinary, vigorous, gleaming, pivotal, nondual, and inexhaustible. Relating these qualities to the development of Zen culture and its influence on Japanese art, "Gardens of Awakening" invites you deep into the heart of Zen.

Critique: This large format (8.34 x 0.73 x 10.31 inches, 1.94 pounds) hardcover edition of "Gardens of Awakening: A Guide to the Aesthetics, History, and Spirituality of Kyoto's Zen Landscapes" from Shambhala Publications will prove to be of very special value to readers with an interest in Zen Philosophy/Spirituality as manifested and symbolized in the Japanese garden. Beautiful, thought-provoking, and inspiring, "Gardens of Awakening" is unreservedly recommended for personal, professional, community, and college/university library Zen Buddhism collections and supplemental curriculum studies lists. It should be noted that "Gardens of Awakening" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $16.99).

Editorial Note #1: Kazuaki Tanahashi is an artist and Buddhist scholar active in the United States, originally from Japan. He has visited Zen gardens in Kyoto almost every year for the past three decades. His many publications include Penetrating Laughter: Hakuin's Zen and Art, and Sky Above. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kazuaki_Tanahashi)

Editorial Note #2: Mitsue Nagase (www.mitsuenagase.com) is a photographer, dividing her time between her native Japan, Germany, and the US. Her photography is based on her studies in Zen Buddhism and of Miksang, a contemplative approach to photography as a spiritual practice, which she also teaches.

Kadam
Mamgon Kongstrul, compiler
Artemus B. Engle, translator
Snow Lion Publications
c/o Shambhala Publications, Inc.
www.shambhala.com/snowlion
9781559395052, $54.95, HC, 1048pp

https://www.amazon.com/Kadam-Training-Essential-Teachings-Instructions/dp/1559395052

Synopsis: The Treasury of Precious Instructions by Jamgon Kongtrul Lodro Taye, one of Tibet's greatest Buddhist masters, is a shining jewel of Tibetan literature, presenting essential teachings from the entire spectrum of practice lineages that existed in Tibet. In its eighteen volumes, Kongtrul brings together some of the most important texts on key topics of Buddhist thought and practice as well as authoring significant new sections of his own.

The Kadam lineage derives from the teachings and practices taught by the Indian master Atisa and his Tibetan students. Atisa spent twelve years in Tibet and left a scholarly and devotional lineage that would be significant to all traditions of Tibetan Buddhism, but particularly the Geluk, the tradition of the Dalai Lamas, which fashioned themselves as the New Kadam tradition.

Jamgon Kongtrul's catalog to The Treasury of Precious Instructions classifies Kadam literature into five categories: treatise, instruction, esoteric practice, ancillary works, and associated works. The first two are the main topics covered in this volume: Lamrim, or Stages of the Path, and Lojong, or Mind Training. These two Kadam teachings continue to exert a significant influence on Tibetan Buddhism and therefore represent the legacy of the Kadam tradition.

The first centers around "The Lamp for the Path to Enlightenment", written by the eleventh-century Indian master Atisa who spent twelve years in Tibet, and this volume also includes stories of Atisa's life and travels. The second set of teachings consists of aphorisms known as the Seven-Point Mind Training, meant to be used as contemplative practices to develop compassion and transform the mind. These selections show not only the foundational texts of the Kadam tradition but also the widespread impact these teachings continued to have across traditions.

Critique: Ably translated into English for an American readership, "Kadam: Stages of the Path, Mind Training, and Esoteric Practice, Part One: Essential Teachings of the Eight Practice Lineages of Tibet, Volume 3" is a comprehensive volume that is especially and unreservedly recommended for personal, professional, community, and college/university library Buddhism collections and supplemental curriculum studies lists. A massive volume, it should be noted for students, academia, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that this edition of "Kadam" from Snow Lion Publications is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $33.99).

Editorial Note: Jamagon Kongtrul Lodrotaye (1813-1900) was a versatile and prolific Buddhist scholar and one of the most outstanding writers and teachers of his time in Tibet. He was a pivotal figure in eastern Tibet's nonsectarian movement and made major contributions to education, politics, and medicine.

Editorial Note #2: Artemus B. Engle studied Buddhism with the late Sera Mey Khensur Lobsang Tharchin Rinpoche for more than thirty years. Over much of the past decade, he has continued his studies as a student of Gyume Khensur Lobsang Jampa Rinpoche. In 1983 he earned a doctorate in Buddhist Studies from the University of Wisconsin and is currently a fellow with the Tsadra Foundation.


The Music Shelf

Cool and Strange Music! Magazine
Dana Countryman
BearManor Media
www.bearmanormedia.com
9798887714578, $62.00, PB, 328pp

https://www.amazon.com/Cool-Strange-Music-Magazine-Collection/dp/B0D1YL7XRN

Synopsis: Between the years 1996-2003, Cool and Strange Music! Magazine became a beloved publication that music lovers of the unusual could count on for information about the latest "cool and strange" music releases, exclusive interviews with legendary artists, and in-depth articles that could not be found anywhere else.

With the publication of "Cool and Strange Music! Magazine - The Complete Collection, Vol. 1, Issues 1-7" and for the first time, every issue of this legendary magazine has been collected in a four-volume compendium, preserving every single page of each of the 28 issues, including the original ads and illustrations.

For many years, collectors have been asking for the magazine to be printed in book form, and finally that day has come. This publication of this book set has been personally supervised by Dana Countryman, the magazine's founder and editor.

Critique: This profusely illustrated, large format (8.5 x 0.74 x 11 inches, 2.27 pounds) paperback edition of "Cool and Strange Music! Magazine - The Complete Collection, Vol. 1, Issues 1-7" from BearManor Press will be of very special interest to fans of American pop-culture music. Solidly recommended for personal, professional, community, and college/university library 20th Century American Music History collections "Cool and Strange Music Magazine, Volume 1" is also available in a paperback edition (9798887714578, $62.00) -- will leave its readers looking eagerly toward the next three volumes in this unique series!

Editorial Note: Dana Countryman (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dana_Countryman) is an American electronic music composer, songwriter and performer notable for his sustained presence in the Seattle Pop scene as well as his collaborations with French electropop artist Jean-Jacques Perrey. He is also well known as songwriter and performer for The Amazing Pink Things (1985-1991). as well as the publisher for Cool and Strange Music Magazine (1996-2003). Countryman is currently composing, performing and releasing original albums of retro vocal pop.


The Theatre/Cinema Shelf

Cube: Inside the Making of a Cult Film Classic
A. S. Berman
BearManor Media
www.bearmanormedia.com
9781629332925, $39.00, PB, 354pp

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/cube-a-s-berman/1128143541

Synopsis: With the publication of "Cube: Inside the Making of a Cult Film Classic", A. S. Berman welcome you to what exploded onto the international film scene with 1997's Cube, a sci-fi /horror film about six people trapped in a maze of death. Its cult film repercussions are still being felt cinematically today.

"Cube: Inside the Making of a Cult Film Classic" reveals the complete story of how these childhood friends brought a convincing, futuristic vision of hell to the big screen for less than $1 million in Canada, far from the Hollywood studio system.

From the first spark of inspiration to the development of the script and its shooting, the reader will follow the filmmakers through the triumphs, mathematics, mutinies and elations they experienced along the way.

Also inside this detailed 'making of a film' expose, director VincinzoNatali opens up his Cube archives to share: Storyboards; Character sketches; Behind the scenes photos; Unused Cube traps; Early script excerpts -- and so much more!

Critique: An absolute 'must' for the legions of cult movie buffs in general, and fans of "Cube" in particular, "Cube: Inside the Making of a Cult Film Classic" is a unique and highly recommended pick for personal, professional, community, and college/university library Cinematic History collections and supplemental curriculum studies lists. It should be noted that "Cube: Inside the Making of a Cult Film Classic" is also available from BearManor Books in a paperback edition (9781629332918, $27.00).

Editorial Note: A. S. Berman is a former writer and editor for USA Today, and now writes for several national publications and is currently at work on several books about television and film.
He is the author of "The Gilmore Girls Companion," "Soap: The Inside Story of the Sitcom that Broke all the Rules," and the forthcoming book "So Beautiful it Hurts: The Making of My So-Called Life." and a novel, "Wolves Lie Dreaming".


The Graphic Novel Shelf

Status Royale 1
Ruxu
Viz Originals
www.viz.com
9781974727995, $16.99 pbk / $10.99 Kindle

https://www.amazon.com/Status-Royale-Vol-1/dp/1974727998

Synopsis: Choose your teammates carefully and rank up fast because in the world of esports, anyone can snatch the crown!

Status Royale is THE game to master if you want to join the rank of elite players in the competitive world of VR esports. Vell is just having fun as a casual gamer with her best friend and teammate Jun teaching her the tips and tricks... until he shuts her down and skips town! Vell's competitive spirit is unlocked and she vows to challenge her former best friend with her own team of amateur Status Royale players and beat Jun at his own game, but does she really know who she's competing against?

Critique: Intended for both teen and adult readers, Status Royale 1 is the first volume of a Viz Originals black-and-white graphic novel series featuring manga-style art, set in a modern-day world where the virtual reality game "Status Royale" is a phenomenally popular e-sport. Vell is a young women who enjoys playing games casually. Her best friend Jun shows her tips and tricks - until one day he abruptly leaves town! Vell realizes that she truly enjoys intense competition, and vows to challenge her former best friend with her own team of amateur Status Royale players! A fascinating glimpse into the competitive human psyche and the drive for self-improvement, Status Royale is highly recommended for graphic novel connoisseurs and public library collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that Status Royale 1 is also available in a Kindle edition ($10.99).

Magilumiere: Magical Girls Inc. 1
Sekka Iwata, story
Yu Aoki, artist
Viz
www.viz.com
9781974743551, $14.99 pbk / $9.99 Kindle

https://www.amazon.com/Magilumiere-Magical-Girls-Inc-Vol/dp/1974743551

Synopsis: Are you looking for something new? Something challenging? Something very highly paid? Exterminating monsters is an exciting, fast-paced field that will get you out from behind a desk and into the action. With over 500 magical girl companies now in operation, you're sure to find a position - and a uniform - that fits. Start your career as a magical girl today!

Kana Sakuragi is an excellent candidate for the job. Any job! She's motivated and organized, and has a fantastic memory. So why has she interviewed at over 15 companies without receiving a single offer? She's trying to keep a positive attitude, but it seems like her bad luck is only getting worse when a monster crashes her latest interview. As havoc ensues, she finds herself helping the magical girl who comes to their rescue and ends up with more than just her life in return. Meet the newest magical girl at Magilumiere Magical Girls Inc.!

Critique: Intended for both teen and adult readers, Magilumiere: Magical Girls Inc. 1 is the first volume of a black-and-white manga (Japanese comics) series set in a world where young women can pursue being a "magical girl" as a career! "Magical girls" harness the power of advanced technology to combat mysterious, amorphous monsters that ordinary people can't fight. (Although men can wield the "magical" technology, they are incapable of doing so without releasing vast amounts of power and causing inadvertent destruction.) Over 500 competing corporations develop and refine this technology to deploy their own "magical girls", with "transformations" engineered by experts and "wands" that have pre-programmed executable "spells". Kana Sakuragi is a young woman interested in pursuing a career as a Magical Girl, but her job-seeking interviews never seem to go well - until an unexpected monster attack gives her the chance to demonstrate her full potential! An action-packed story with and underlying theme about dangers of reckless abuse of power, Magilumiere: Magical Girls Inc. 1 offers a sci-fi take on the "magical girl" genre and is highly recommended especially for manga and Japanese pop culture connoisseurs. It should be noted for personal reading lists that Magilumiere 1 is also available in a Kindle edition ($9.99).


The Music CD Shelf

Love Songs for Good Machines
Natasha Blackwood
natashablackwood.com
Privately Published
$TBA CD / $9.49 MP3

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0CVFD438N

Love Songs for Good Machines is a jazz album featuring original compositions by Newfoundland vocalist and saxophonist Natasha Blackwood; two songs are co-created with Jenelle Duval. Natasha's consummate vocals, tenor saxophone, and piano performance is supported by multiple talented musicians on backup vocals, trumpet, baritone saxophone, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, nylon string guitar, upright bass, drums, vibraphone, and more. The title of Love Songs for Good Machines refers to the term "good machine", which in Newfoundland means something that lasts a long time. The working class are all too often treated as "good machines", and only celebrated once they finally wear out. Love Songs for Good Machines features songs about the grinding reality of working day in, day out, and never getting ahead; the bonds of love and family; and the need to have one's hard work appreciated. Emotional and heartfelt, Love Songs for Good Machines is highly recommended. The tracks are Who Is It For?, Home to Me, Pleading Guilty, The Doctor, Good Machines (N. Blackwood and Jenelle Duval), Melita, Happy Anniversary, Like Me Now (N. Blackwood and Jenelle Duval), How Long, and Women's Lullaby.

Darkness is a Bright Sound
Jeremy Ferrara
American Standard Time Records
c/o Free Dirt Records (distribution)
https://freedirt.net
$12.00 CD / $7.00 digital / $25.00 vinyl

https://jeremyferrara.bandcamp.com/album/darkness-is-a-bright-sound

Darkness is a Bright Sound is a folk album of songs composed by Jeremy Ferrara. The performances feature Jeremy Ferrara on vocals, acoustic guitar, and electric guitar; Luke Temple on bass, synth, electric guitar, and vocals; Andrew Maguire on drums and percussion; Erik Clampitt on pedal steel; and Erisy Watt on vocals. The open-minded songs draw inspiration from nature's beauty and resonate with the understanding that no definition is complete or perfect in and of itself. Haunting and emotional, Darkness is a Bright Sound is a captivating journey of the senses and highly recommended. The tracks are Darkness is a Bright Sound; Come and Go; Paint Me Blue; Different Way; Reason; Morning Light; Like the Fog, Like the Shore; and Wild/Unknown/Free.

Interdwell
Dark Sky Alliance
Spotted Peccary Music
www.SpottedPeccary.com
$16.00 CD / $10.00 digital

https://dark-sky-alliance.bandcamp.com/album/interdwell

Interdwell is the debut, ambient electronic album of Dark Sky Alliance, which consists of percussionist Jerry Marotta, keyboardist Rupert Greenall, soundscaping synthesist Eric Taylor, and guitarist David Helpling. All of the Interdwell's songs are original compositions, which craft evocative scenes that beckon the listener's imagination to soar. Ideal for relaxation, meditation, or inspiration creative writing and art, Interdwell is a treasure for connoisseurs of the genre. Highly recommended! The tracks are Search, Fortunate One, Warm Inlet, The Desert Mind, Latch, Interdwell, The Far Cry, Marotta Swamp, Tre Pur, The Slow Train Home, Linear, and Bring Myself To Say It.

I Was Here
Andy Ezrin
andyezrinmusic.com
Privately Published
$TBA CD / $9.49 MP3

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0CXQ6BC3H

Jazz pianist Andy Ezrin presents I Was Here, an album Ezrin's original compositions featuring Andy Ezrin on piano, Randy Brecker on trumpet, Donny McCaslin on tenor sax, John Patitucci on bass, Marcus Gilmore on drums, and Ari Hoenig on drums. Imaginative, uplifting, and playfully testing the boundaries between musical genres, I Was Here is an audiophile's treat and highly recommended for both personal and public library music collections. The tracks are Grapes, This Is What It Is, Greenwoman, Luna, Siren Song, Snowfall, Ain't That Some Shit, If I Don't See You, Wiggle Room, Never Enough, I'm Runnin' Outta Time, Lost Days, and Cascades.

Beatin' the Odds
Leigh Pilzer's Seven Pointed Star
leighpilzer.com
Strange Woman Records
strangewomanrecords.com
$TBA CD / $9.00 digital

https://leighpilzer.bandcamp.com/album/beatin-the-odds

Baritone saxophone specialist, composer, arranger, and educator Leigh Pilzer presents Beatin' the Odds, a jazz album of original creations performed by Pilzer and an array of talented musicians on alto saxophone, trombone, piano, drums, trumpet, percussion, and more. Written over the course of 2017 to 2023, Beatin' the Odds includes songs that reflect life-changing events ranging from personal (a cancer diagnosis) to universal (the COVID-19) pandemic. A powerful, emotional album steeped in the feelings of turbulent times, Beatin' the Odds is a welcome addition to personal and public library jazz music collections, highly recommended. The tracks are SKCC; Lin; Waterkress; The Platinum Taxi; Beatin' the Odds; And Then It Stopped; Last Year, Lost Year; How Much Longer; and Where Will We Go?.

Green Lights
Troy Roberts, Paul Bollenback, John Patitucci, and Jimmy MacBride
troyroberts.com
Toy Robot Music
$20.00 CD / $15.00 digital

https://troyroberts.bandcamp.com/album/green-lights

Two-time Grammy nominated saxophonist Troy Roberts presents Green Lights, an album of Roberts' original compositions performed by Roberts on tenor saxophone along with Paul Bollenback on guitar, John Patitucci on acoustic bass, and Jimmy MacBride on drums. A jazz album that freely incorporates elements of multiple other modern genres, Green Lights is about the creative process, including the journey to improve at one's craft and cultivate artistic vision. Inspired and inspiring, Green Lights is an excellent selection for connoisseurs of balanced jazz quartet performances, highly recommended. The tracks are Green Lights, The Question, By Your Side, Solar Panels, harry Brown, Jive Dumpling, Up To No Good, The Scotsman's Ballad, Stretch Armstrong, and Soundcheckin'.

Windows Through Time
Mariah Parker
mariahparkermusic.com
Ancient-Future.com Records
$20.00 CD / $20.00 digital

https://mariahparker.bandcamp.com/album/windows-through-time

Windows Through Time is an original Indo-Latin jazz album by composer and pianist Mariah Parker. Mariah Parker showcases her mastery of the piano with enrichment from an array of talented music artists on sax, guitar, bass, drums, cymbals, and more. The songs embody themes of human memory, love, life experience, and perception, inviting the listener to reflect and expand their psychological horizons. Windows Through Time is an extraordinary audio journey, highly recommended. The tracks are The Very Wings, Windows Through Time, Sol de Barcelona, Espiritu Samba, True North, Duende, and Rendezvous.

Exuberance
Christopher Zuar Orchestra
christopherzuar.com
Privately Published
$20.00 CD / $10.00 digital

https://christopherzuar.bandcamp.com/album/exuberance

Bandleader and composer Christopher Zuar presents Exuberance, a big band album featuring a grand ensemble of talented musicians on guitar, piano, bass, drums, Brazilian percussion, horns, special guests on violin and vocals, and much more. Every track is highlighted with top-notch performances from versatile soloists! Exuberance is a celebration of life and love, drawing inspiration from Zuar's relationship with filmmaker Anne Beal, who is now his wife. A wondrous, enchanting, and multifaceted musical journey, Exuberance is a choice pick for connoisseurs of big band music and highly recommended. The tracks are In Winter Blooms, Moments in Between, Communion, Simple Machines, Before Dawn, Certainty, and Exuberance.

Ancestral Numbers I
Jason Robinson
jasonrobinson.com
Playscape Recordings
www.playscape-recordings.com
$14.95 CD / $8.00 digital

https://jasonrobinson.bandcamp.com/album/ancestral-numbers-i

Saxophonist and composer Jason Robinson presents Ancestral Numbers I, the first of a planned two-album set (Ancestral Numbers II is intended for an October 8, 2024 release). The original compositions of Ancestral Numbers I are inspired Robinson's own family history and reflections on ancestry. Robinson combines his saxophone talents with trombonist Michael Dessen, pianist Joshua White, bassist Drew Gress and drummer Ches Smith, in this extraordinary exploration of past and present connections with family. Inspired and inspiring, Ancestral Numbers I draws the listener into its multifaceted soundscape, and is highly recommended. The tracks are Second House, Malachi, Potentiality, Remembering Water, Roots and Routes, Wattensaw, Vestibule, and Ancestral Numbers (alt).


The DVD Shelf

No Way Up
RLJE Films
c/o RLJ Entertainment
www.us.RLJEntertainment.com
DVD, $14.99, 1,198IMDb, 4.6, 1hour 30 minutes, 2024

https://www.amazon.com/No-Way-Up-Phyllis-Logan/dp/B0CKF8VFGN

Synopsis: When a plane crashes in the Pacific Ocean and comes to rest on the edge of an underwater ravine, the survivors face a race against time to escape the airlocked galley they are trapped in.

Critique: A riveting suspense drama where great acting is ably supported with special effects, "No Way Up" will hold a special appeal and interest for fans of JAWS and survivor themed films. "No Way Up" is a highly recommended pick for personal and community library Film/Movie DVD collections.


The Art Shelf

Make Art or Die Trying
Stuart Semple
Rockport Publishers
c/o Quarto Publishing Group USA
www.quartoknows.com
9780760387030, $30.00, HC, 224pp

https://www.amazon.com/Make-Art-Die-Trying-Changes/dp/0760387036

Synopsis: Multidisciplinary artist, entrepreneur, and activist Stuart Semple believes that art is for everyone, and that everyone is an artist. Every single human has an inner spark of creativity that can make the world a better place. Art can change people, places, attitudes, and communities, healing and communicating when words aren't enough.

With the publication of "Make Art or Die Trying: The Only Art Book You'll Ever Need If You Want to Make Art That Changes the World", Semple empowers you to understand and connect with big art ideas and embrace your creative potential, no matter where you're starting from. Stunning, informative, and inspiring, "Make Art or Die Tryting demystifies influential art concepts of the 20th and 21st centuries, including happenings, performance art, Bauhaus, and Fluxus, making them super-approachable and inviting you to learn, make art, and make change.

"Make Art or Die Trying": Explains a transformative art concept in a simple, straightforward, jargon-free way; Shares examples by amazing and innovative artists; Offers DIY ideas and exercises that encourage you to explore the concept yourself and ultimately develop your own unique conversation with the wider world; Includes a QR code that allows access to an exclusive video by Stuart that takes the conversation to a deeper level.

"Let Make Art or Die Trying" is the ideal instructional guide to harnessing the power of creative ideas to create art and change in your life and community.

Critique: This large format (8.8 x 0.85 x 10.3 inches, 2.25 pounds) hardcover edition of "Make Art or Die Trying: The Only Art Book You'll Ever Need If You Want to Make Art That Changes the World" from Rockport Publishing is profusely illustrated throughout, exceptionally well organized, and thoroughly 'reader friendly' in presentation. Of particular relevance for readers with an interest in pop culture art and artistic creativity, "Make Art or Die Trying" is particularly recommended for personal, professional, community, and college/university library collections. It should be noted that Stuart Semple's "Make Art or Die Trying" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $26.50).

Editorial Note: Stuart Semple (www.stuartsemple.com) is a world-renowned contemporary artist, curator, and activist. His multidisciplinary approach spans painting, printmaking, video, technology, sculpture, happenings, and performances. His works have been exhibited at the ICA (Institute of Contemporary Arts)/UK, Denver Art Museum, Dulwich Picture Gallery, the Barbican, the Whitworth, and several other museums and institutions. Stuart has written for The Guardian, VogueSpain, and Art of England magazine, and has presented for the BBC, including the BBC Radio Documentary "Hostile Design," which was nominated for an ARIA (an "Academy Award" for radio).

Start Here: Draw
Moira Clinch
Quarry Books
c/o Quarto Publishing Group USA
www.quartous.com
9780760390252, $22.99, PB, 192pp

https://www.amazon.com/Start-Here-Artist-Without-Trying/dp/0760390258

Synopsis: With the publication of "Start Here: Draw: 50 Ways To Be an Artist Without Trying", artist Moira Clinch gives you exciting prompts for kickstarting an artistic practice centered on drawing. By exploring how simple motifs, such as lines or circles, can be repeated to draw more intricate images and patterns, "Start Here: Draw" builds up your understanding of shape, color, and technique without the usual intimidating jargon or theory.

"Start Here: Draw" features: Daily mark-making ideas, from the simplest single line to turning curves, dots, and scribbles into cute motifs designed to be drawn in 30 minutes to an hour; Guidance on how you can get the most out of your sketchbook and inspiration to help you keep it up; Using these prompts as an inspiring starting point, have fun experimenting with different techniques and developing your own style; Patternmaking with stylized motifs to more realistic sketches (this section helps you develop your own creative approach by interpreting the prompts in your own way or by copying them using a different medium); A few essential pieces of equipment you will need, or what you could add to your kit.

Of special note is the inclusion of plenty of ideas of what to do with your finished work, from making T-shirts and mugs to curating your own "pin it" library of pieces you're proud of.

Critique: As instructive as it is inspiring, "Start Here: Draw: 50 Ways To Be an Artist Without Trying" is an extraordinary and impressive 'user friendly' DIY how-to guide to drawing that is an ideal introduction for the novice and beginner, as well as an excellence reference resource for the more experienced artist. Exceptional in organization and presentation, "Start Here: Draw" from Quarry Books is especially and unreservedly recommended for personal, professional, community, art school, and college/university library Art Instruction collections and supplemental curriculum studies lists.

Editorial Note: Moira Clinch is a watercolor artist and urban sketcher. The author of the companion art titles Start Here: Draw and Start Here: Paint, she is also the author of two books on watercolor painting, including The Watercolor Painter's Pocket Palette, which sold more than half a million copies. She has worked as a creative director in the publishing industry for more than 25 years, and her own artwork has been exhibited in the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition and featured in several books. Currently residing in London, there is an extensive listing of her books at https://www.goodreads.com/author/list/58957.Moira_Clinch


The Psychology Shelf

The Kramer Method of Art Therapy
David R. Henley
Charles C. Thomas, Publisher
https://www.ccthomas.com
9780398094324, $39.95, PB, 252pp

https://www.ccthomas.com/details.cfm?P_ISBN13=9780398094324

Synopsis: Although "The Kramer Method of Art Therapy: Exploring the Third Hand" by David R. Heley is a clinical text, it is also more a conversation than a traditional textbook. It is a means of sharing the work of artists, most of whom have varying degrees of special needs. It also emphasizes that handicapping conditions do not constitute a barrier for creating therapeutically meaningful art.

The precepts of Edith Kramer focus on subtly suggesting media, content, or techniques, all without interfering with the artist's preferences. This intervention came to be known as the 'Third Hand' where the artist in therapy is free to accept, reject or ignore the therapist's suggestions. The case vignettes describe how aesthetic richness is also illustrative of the uniqueness of clients' clinical stories, with the artists' emotional or behavioral challenges overcoming and even benefitting by their conditions.

The work of early pioneers who influenced Kramer's illustrate how her own analytical methods later shaped her approach. The format of "The Kramer Method of Art Therapy: Exploring the Third Hand" also questions the author as being the ultimate authority, by posing questions to the reader, says a kind of dialogue that emphasizes there are no absolutes in art, behavioral science or therapy.

While espousing Kramer's and his own ideas, Henley also includes those of other art therapists who contribute their own expertise, in the hope that the analyses will be enriched from multiple perspectives. Dr. Henley describes how Karamer's therapeutic interventions were debated during their many years of collegial interaction. By describing Kramer's early influences and personal art history, he describes how Kramer's interventions helped innumerable clients and trained hundreds of student therapists. These facets will hopefully enable creative arts therapists to implement her patented artist-centered interventions.

The processes and artistic outcomes will lead the way, guiding the reader toward the uses of the Third Hand and hopefully bring alive the uniqueness of these special artists' stories.

Critique: This large format (11 x 1 x 8.5 inches, 1.78 pounds) paperback edition of "The Kramer Method of Art Therapy: Exploring the Third Hand" from Charles C. Thomas Publisher is informatively enhanced for the reader's benefit with the inclusion of a Foreword by Judith A. Rubin, an Epilogue (Nepal), a four page listing of References, a two page Name Index, and a four page Subject Index. Occasionally illustrated with b/w images, "The Kramer Method of Art Therapy: Exploring the Third Hand" by David R. Henley will have a particular relevance and recommendation for personal, professional, and college/university Popular Psychology collections and supplemental curriculum studies lists.

Editorial Note: David R. Henley, PhD, ATR, is a nationally recognized authority on child art therapy, a professor and the former chair of the creative arts therapy programs at the Art Institute of Chicago and Long Island University. He is also the author of Exceptional Children, Exceptional Art and Clayworks in Art Therapy. During his career as an art therapist and educator, he has lectured, taught and written extensively on many aspects of art therapy. David is also a ceramicist and a mixed-media artist.


The Relationship Shelf

The Joy of Imperfect Love
Carla Marie Manly
Familius
www.familius.com
9781641709057, $21.99, PB, 392pp

https://www.amazon.com/Joy-Imperfect-Love-Creating-Relationships/dp/1641709057

Synopsis: Stuck in unhealthy relationship dynamics? Yearning to find (or be) that perfect someone? Can you accept someone while also wanting them to grow? The key to healthy relationships is accepting that real love is messy, imperfect, and a work in progress!

With the publication of "The Joy of Imperfect Love: The Art of Creating Healthy, Securely Attached Relationships", clinical psychologist Dr. Carla Marie Manly guides readers on a transformative journey of compassionate, healthy love.

With research-backed insights, captivating case studies, and empowering exercises, readers explore how attachment issues and unresolved personal issues negatively impact both self-love and the quality of our relationships. Dr. Manly offers sound solutions for creating the awareness and healthy habits that promote lasting love.

Her readers will breathe a sigh of deep relief as they discover the doable, real-life secrets to creating joy-filled relationships and genuine, imperfect love.

Critique: Thoroughly 'reader friendly' in organization and presentation, "The Joy of Imperfect Love: The Art of Creating Healthy, Securely Attached Relationships" by Dr. Carla Marie Manly is a life changing, life enriching, life expanding read from start to finish. Authentic, inspired and inspiring, "The Joy of Imperfect Love" is critically important and of immense interest to readers concerned with love, romance, and marriage. Simply stated, "The Joy of Imperfect Love" is a specifically recommended pick for personal, professional, community, and college/university library Self-Help/Self-Improvement collections and supplemental Popular Psychology curriculum studies lists. It should be noted that "The Joy of Imperfect Love" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $12.63).

Editorial Note: Dr. Carla Marie Manly (www.drcarlamanly.com) is a clinical psychologist, author, and speaker who makes her home in Sonoma County, California. With a refreshing mindfulness-based approach, Dr. Manly focuses on supporting others in their journeys of personal transformation and the creation of deeply fulfilling relationships.


The Self-Help Shelf

You Don't Have to Change to Change Everything
Beth Kurland
Health Communications, Inc.
https://hcibooks.com
9780757325021, $18.95, PB, 336pp

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/you-dont-have-to-change-to-change-everything-beth-kurland/1143902863

Synopsis: One of the most significant sources of suffering comes from our human tendency to avoid difficult emotions. We are not taught how to face these unpleasant, often daily inner experiences (mind-body energies) and so we tend to push them away, ignore them, or become unwittingly overwhelmed by them.

Yet how we meet and greet these difficult emotions has everything to do with our well-being, resilience, and ability to connect with ourselves and others. Instinctually, we fight against our uncomfortable emotions; in doing so, we reinforce messages of "not good enough" or "something is wrong with me that I am feeling this way."

With the publication of "You Don't Have to Change to Change Everything: Six Ways to Shift Your Vantage Point, Stop Striving for Happy, and Find True Well-Being" by clinical psychologist Dr. Beth Kurland, readers learn that instead of forcing themselves to feel "happy" and pushing away what is unpleasant, or instead of getting hooked by intense emotions, another path can lead to more profound well-being.

Rather than trying to change one's inner experiences, "You Don't Have to Change Everything" offers six specific ways to shift one's vantage point when difficult emotions arise. Being aware from each of these six vantage points allows readers to cultivate inner stability, willingness to turn toward rather than away from themselves, greater perspective, internal strengths and inner resources, self-compassion, connection with the "Whole Self" versus identification with "hole self," and interconnection with the world around them.

Critique: Informatively enhanced for the reader's benefit with eight pages of Notes, "You Don't Have to Change to Change Everything: Six Ways to Shift Your Vantage Point, Stop Striving for Happy, and Find True Well-Being" is extraordinarily instructive, impressively insightful, exceptionally 'real world practical', and thoroughly 'reader friendly' in organization and presentation. Life-changing, life-enriching, life-celebrating, "You Don't Have to Change to Change Everything is an inspiring and unreservedly recommended pick for personal, professional, community, and college/university popular psychology collections. It should be noted that "You Don't Have to Change to Change Everything" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $13.99) and as a complete and unabridged audio book (HighBridge Audio, 9798874760199, $45.95, CD).

Editorial Note: Beth Kurland (www.BethKurland.com) is a clinical psychologist practicing in the field for nearly 30 years. Dr. Kurland is a mind-body wellness coach and creator of the online program The Well-Being Toolkit Program. She is also the author of "Dancing on the Tightrope: Transcending the Habits of Your Mind and Awakening to Your Fullest Life" (Wellbridge Books, 2018); "The Transformative Power of Ten Minutes: An Eight Week Guide to Reducing Stress and Cultivating Well Being" (Wellbridge Books, 2017); and :Gifts of the Rain Puddle: Poems, Meditations and Reflections for the Mindful Soul" (Wellbridge Books, 2017).


The Metaphysical Studies Shelf

Norse Mysticism
Disa Forvitin
Wellfleet Press
c/o Quarto Publishing Group USA
www.quartoknows.com
9781577154266, $19.99, HC, 144pp

https://www.amazon.com/Norse-Mysticism-Exploration-Traditions-Practices/dp/1577154266

Synopsis: The gods and goddesses of the Norse pantheon are larger-than-life beings who practice and wield magic like no other pantheon of deities. With the publication of "Norse Mysticism: An Exploration of Viking Traditions and Magical Practices", Disa Forvitin introduces you to these deities and the customs and traditions that surround them, including:

An exploration of Oral Traditions and mythic gods and goddesses
Guides to runes and vocal magic
Techniques for spellcasting and divination
Histories behind Nordic teachings and customs
Records of ancient prose works and poems

With this guidebook for both newcomers and experts in Nordic metaphysics alike, can experience the magical and beautiful spirituality of the Vikings and foster a deeper connection to themselves and the world as a whole.

Critique: Nicely illustrated with Nordic symbols and images "Norse Mysticism: An Exploration of Viking Traditions and Magical Practices" is thoroughly 'reader friendly' in organization and presentation making it an ideal introduction to Nordic mythology and spiritual practices. While wholeheartedly recommended for personal, professional, community, and college/university library Metaphysical Studies collections and supplemental curriculum lists, it should be noted that "Norse Mysticism" by Disa Forvitin is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

Editorial Note #1: Disa Forvitin is a lifelong practitioner of mystical traditions and is passionate about Norse history and culture. A pagan through and through, she casts runes and leaves offerings to the nature spirits in the suburbs of the Twin Cities area of Minnesota, where she lives with her partner and an unhealthy number of books.

Editorial Note #2: The Mystic Traditions series from Wellfleet Press explores mystical and spiritual traditions and magical practices from around the world from a modern perspective. These guides offer concise introductions to the origins of mystical practices; explain key concepts, figures, and legends in these traditions; and give straightforward and engaging instruction on how to connect directly with these practices through rituals, spells, and more. Also available in the Mystic Traditions series is: Native American Spiritualism, Zen Buddhism, Celtic Mysticism, and Indian Spirituality.

Celtic Druidry
Ellen Evert Hopman
Destiny Books
c/o Inner Traditions International, Ltd.
www.innertraditions.com
9781644118603, $19.99, PB, 256pp

https://www.amazon.com/Celtic-Druidry-Rituals-Techniques-Practices/dp/1644118602

Synopsis: "Celtic Druidry: Rituals, Techniques, and Magical Practices" is an authentic handbook for the Celtic Druid path. In it, Druid priestess and practitioner Ellen Evert Hopman shares lessons, rituals, and magical techniques drawn from the ancient wisdom teachings of the Celts as well as a modern Druid Order created by the leading minds of twentieth-century Celtic Reconstructionism.

Hopman begins by exploring what we know about the original ancient Druids, citing Druid-contemporary sources such as Caesar and Diodorus Siculus as well as transcriptions of Druid oral teachings.

Then she explains the basic tools and clothing of a Celtic Druid, including instructions for making the essential tools of the craft, such as the crane bag and the apple branch, the tool used to open a Druid rite.

She also explores meditation techniques based on ancient texts and discusses the Goddesses and Gods of the Celtic pantheon, Druidic cosmology, and the Druidic festivals that occur throughout the turning of the year. She shares invocations for connecting with specific deities and elements and also outlines the basics of Druidic liturgy, enabling you to create Druid rituals for seasonal rites.

Hopman shares charms and incantations for abundance, protection, and healing as well as plant spells for performing magic with herbs. She discusses many forms of Druidic divination, including interpreting omens and divining with the ancient Ogham alphabet. Exploring the special connection between humans and Nature, a core component of Druidic practice, the author explains how to bond with Nature and the Sacred Land and the important connection between Druids and trees.

Critique: Informatively enhanced for the reader's benefit with an explanation of why Ellen Hopman wrote "Celtic Druidry", and included a three page listing of Resources & Suggested Reading, a four page Glossary, a three page Bibliography, and a seven page Index, "Celtic Druidry: Rituals, Techniques, and Magical Practices" is a fascinating and enlightening read from start to finish. Exceptionally well organized and presented, this Druid Handbook is especially recommended for personal, professional, community, and college/university library collections. It should be noted that "Celtic Druidry: Rituals, Techniques, and Magical Practices" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $13.99).

Editorial Note: Ellen Evert Hopman (https://elleneverthopman.com) is a master herbalist and lay homeopath, who has been a Druidic initiate since 1984. She is a founding member of the Order of the White Oak and its former co-Chief, the Archdruidess emerita and founder of Tribe of the Oak, a former professor at the Grey School of Wizardry, and a member of the Grey Council of Mages and Sages. She is the author of Celtic herbals and Druid novels, including A Druid's Herbal for the Sacred Earth Year, Secret Medicine from Your Garden, The Sacred Herbs of Samhain, The Sacred Herbs of Yule and Christmas, and Once Around the Sun.


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