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How to Swim Like a Mermaid
Aileen Cunningham Swartz
9798407632863, $29.99, HC, 77pp
Synopsis: Impressively illustrated with watercolor artwork throughout, "How to Swim Like a Mermaid: Creative Ways to
Raise a Strong Swimmer!" is the story of Waverly, a mermaid who befriends a young girl named Callie. Callie is sad
because she is a poor swimmer. Waverly promises to teach her mermaid games and secrets to strengthen her abilities!
Any parent can now can improve their child's swim skills with the fresh, imaginative approach taken in "How to Swim Like
a Mermaid: Creative Ways to Raise a Strong Swimmer!" by Aileen Cunningham Swartz. In this story, a girl befriends a
mermaid and discovers real secrets to great swimming! Your child will discover mermaid magic and the joy of swimming in
this tale of two unexpected friends.
Of special note is that following the imaginative and entertaining story, there are pool games listed in great detail to
encourage and empower young swimmers. Parents are also given a list of technical points to increase their child's swimming
Critique: Exceptionally well written, organized and presented, "How to Swim Like a Mermaid: Creative Ways to Raise a
Strong Swimmer!" is an ideal and 'real world practical' combination of instructional guide and 'how to' manual for parents to
interest their children in the art, practice, and fun of swimming. Original, unique, and thoroughly parent friendly, "How to
Swim Like a Mermaid: Creative Ways to Raise a Strong Swimmer!" is especially and unreservedly recommended for family
and community library collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "How to Swim Like a Mermaid:
Creative Ways to Raise a Strong Swimmer!" is also readily available in a paperback edition (979-8504004785, $12.99) and
in a digital book format (Kindle, $5.99).
The Parenting Shelf
Growing Compassionate Children
Sonja Lange Wendt
9781734246384, $9.95, PB, 112pp
Synopsis: The world needs more compassion and where else to start than with raising compassionate children. "Growing
Compassionate Children" by Sonja Wendt is a very special DIY parenting book that includes twelve steps of "growing"
compassionate children in the form of a Grower's Guide.
"Growing Compassionate Children" follows the steps needed to grow a healthy plant, starting with preparing the soil, where
a plant can be deeply rooted in solid nutritious ground, like a child growing within a strong foundation made up of positive
values and principles. There are stories and topics addressing the impacts of societal issues such as the use of social media,
mental health, misdirected anger, and violence to focusing on acts of kindness, inclusion, and acceptance.
The topics addressed in "Growing Compassionate Children" are diverse and include math and science concepts as they
apply to plants and growing compassionate children. "Growing Compassionate Children" also talks about the importance of
knowing, understanding, and preserving our roots, where this knowledge and increased understanding leads to a more
Critique: Exceptionally well written, impressively organized and presented, "Growing Compassionate Children" is
especially useful and 'user friendly' for the parents of children ages 2-12 who want to instill the values of empathy,
sympathy, tolerance, acceptance, and compassion into the character of their sons and daughters. Highly appropriate for a
baby reveal or baby shower gift, "Growing Compassionate Children" is especially and unreservedly recommended for
personal, professional, and community library Parenting instructional reference collections. It should be noted that
"Growing Compassionate Children" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $5.92).
Editorial Note: Sonja Wendt is an award-winning author for her children's book series Cultivating Compassion in Children.
She is also the creator of Reading & Seeding which is an intergenerational program for communities to bring senior living
center residents and daycare children together to listen to her book readings, participate in a craft, and to mingle & munch.
Sonja published 4 books in her series in 2020.
Your Whole Body
Lizzie DeYoung Charbonneau, author
Misha Iver, illustrator
Arctic Flower Publishing
1955619004, $17.99, HC, 46pp
Synopsis: "Your Whole Body" by author Lizzie DeYoung Charbonneau, and illustrator Misha Iver, will help parents teach
their children the names for their genitals in a comfortable and natural way by seamlessly weaving in the explanations and
illustrations for private parts as the book explores our amazing human bodies from head to toes!
"Your Whole Body" will: Helps parents who aren't sure how to start the conversation, or don't know if they're doing it right;
Teach children the names of their genitals in an approachable way;
Teache the purpose of body parts in an inclusive way that helps all kids see themselves in the pages; Encourage a view of
genitals as just another body part your child can discuss openly with you; Helps give your child the confidence to talk about
potentially uncomfortable or inappropriate situations they may encounter in the future; Includes interesting facts that some
adults may not even know!
Critique: Especially appropriate for parents and caregivers of children ages 2-6, "Your Whole Body" is beautifully and
thoughtfully illustrated throughout. With it thoroughly parent/child friendly text "Your Whole Body" is an ideal book on a
sensitive subject that all families with young children needing. Simply stated, "Your Whole Body" is highly recommended
for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library Human Sexuality & Hygiene collections for
young children. It should also be noted for personal reading lists that "Your Whole Body" is also readily available in a
paperback edition (9781955619028, $14.99) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $7.99).
Editorial Note: Lizzie DeYoung Charbonneau believes it is important for young children to know the names of all of their
body parts. To help teach her son about his body, Lizzie looked for a toddler book that discussed genitals the same way as
other body parts. She wasn't able to find one, so she decided to write it, consulting with parents, child safety experts,
pediatricians, gender specialists, and educators. The result is Your Whole Body, an inclusive book for preschoolers about
the entire body.
The Business Shelf
A One-Legged Stool
Best Friend Brands, LLC
9798985448702, $12.95 pbk / $7.99 Kindle 270pp
Synopsis: Have you ever wondered if business needs to be so...unbalanced? Is putting shareholders above everyone else the
only way for private enterprise to be successful? Is that "just the way it is?"
The short answer is "no."
Before "shareholder primacy" took hold in the 1970s, investors weren't more important than other stakeholders. Companies
balanced the interests of all the legs of the corporate stool (customers, employees, communities, and shareholders) and
everyone's life got better.
So, what happened? How did we get to today, where "maximizing shareholder value" is seen as the panacea for all the
world's ills? And, more importantly, what's the path forward that allows business to profit by applying its significant
resources to solving society's problems, rather than making them worse?
We all rely on the stool of business to elevate our lives. The publication of "A One-Legged Stool: How Shareholder Primacy
Has Broken Business (And What We Can Do About It)" by Ed Chambliss is a clarion call to fix the problem it before it
collapses our country.
Critique: What may well be viewed as an iconoclastic approach to repairing the damage inflicted over the last four decades
to our corporate driven economy, "A One-Legged Stool: How Shareholder Primacy Has Broken Business (And What We
Can Do About It)" is an inherently fascinating read that is as informative as it is inspirationally motivating. Offering 'real
world practical' solutions and approaches bringing back an economically essential balance to our corporation based
management decisions for the good of the company and the good of the community, "A One-Legged Stool" is highly
recommended and an essential addition to professional, community, corporate, college, and university library Contemporary
Business & Economics collections and supplemental MBA curriculum studies lists. It should be noted for MBA students,
academia, corporate executives, economists, governmental policy makers, and non-specialist general readers with an interest
in the subject that "A One-Legged Stool" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $7.99).
Editorial Note: Ed Chambliss has spent over 35 years in marketing, watching his otherwise smart clients make increasingly
poor decisions that damage their companies -- just so that they could extract more money for their shareholders. In 2018, he
walked away from being a CEO to figure out why business was on such a destructive path and what could be done to change
it. The result of his research is the foundation for "A One-Legged Stool".
The General Fiction Shelf
Asterisk: A Wildcard Character
9781639857968 $32.95 hc / $8.49 Kindle
Synopsis: In January of 1983, fourteen-year-old Cindy found out that she was pregnant. Her faith-filled mother was crushed.
She ended up giving birth and naming the baby Matthew. Cindy ended up calling Matthew her little asterisk. As Cindy tells
us the story of her life, Matthew seems to be a footnote to everything that happens. But Matthew is not just an asterisk in his
mother's story. Family members and friends also share their stories, and Matthew seems to be an asterisk in all of them.
Who is Matthew? Who is his father? Just how important is Matthew to everyone he encounters as he grows up? Read
stories that are raw and emotional. Sometimes funny, often sad, but always compelling. Enjoy this unconventional look at
someone's life through the eyes of many different people, including Matthew himself.
Critique: Set in Michigan, Asterisk: A Wildcard Character is an original novel about the challenges a struggling family. In
1983, Matthew is born to a fourteen-year-old mother Cindy, who refuses to identify his father. Cindy ends up calling
Matthew her "little asterisk" as she raises him, with help from family members and friends. The narrative perspective shifts
between Cindy, her family, her friends, and Matthew himself, but Matthew always seems to be an "asterisk" in everyone's
point of view. Matthew can't exist as an "asterisk" forever - his need to find the truth and determine his path in life is a core
theme of this sometimes quirky, sometimes heartbreaking, and thoroughly fascinating saga. Highly recommended! It should
be noted for personal reading lists that Asterisk: A Wildcard Character is also available in a Kindle edition ($8.49).
Truth and Other Lies
9781645382621, $18.99 pbk / $9.49 Kindle 360pp
Synopsis: Megan Barnes' life is in free fall. After losing both her job as a reporter and her boyfriend in the same day, she
retreats to Chicago and moves in with Helen, her over-protective mother. Before long, the two are clashing over everything
from pro-choice to #MeToo, not to mention Helen's run for U.S. Congress, which puts Megan's career on hold until after the
Desperate to reboot her life, Megan gets her chance when an altercation at a campus rally brings her face-to-face with
Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Jocelyn Jones, who offers her a job on her PR team. Before long, Megan is pulled into the
heady world of fame and glamour her charismatic new mentor represents.
Until an anonymous tweet brings it all crashing down. To salvage Jocelyn's reputation, Megan must locate the online troll
and expose the lies. But when the trail leads to blackmail, and circles back to her own mother, Megan realizes if she pulls
any harder on this thread, what should have been the scoop of her career could unravel into a tabloid nightmare.
Critique: All the more impressive when considering that "Truth and Other Lies" is author Maggie Smith's debut as a
novelist, is an impressively original, inherently engaging, fully entertaining, and truly memorable read from first page to
last. Having a special appeal to readers with an interest in political fiction from a female perspective, "Truth and Other Lies"
is an especially and unreservedly recommended addition to community library Contemporary Women's Fiction and General
Fiction collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Truth and Other Lies" is also readily available in a
digital book format (Kindle, $9.49).
Editorial Note: Maggie Smith's writing centers on women and the challenges they face in dealing with what life throws their
way. She's the host of the weekly podcast Hear Us Roar, where she interviews debut novelists for the Women's Fiction
Writers Association. She also pens a monthly blog for Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers and serves as managing editor for
The Write City Magazine, a literary publication of The Chicago Writer's Association. She maintains a website at http:
//www.maggiesmithwriter.com and can be followed on Instagram where she posts as @maggiesmithwrites
The Road to Resilience: Velma's Story
G. L. Gooding
9781734022889, $15.99, PB, 356pp
Synopsis: An inherently interesting novel that is based on the life of author G. L. Gooding's mother, Velma Steele, "The
Road to Resilience" is the sequel to, and continues the saga that was introduced in author Garry Gooding's first novel,
"Where Courage Began" -- where readers first met five-year-old Velma, her young siblings, and her suddenly widowed
Now, with the publication of "The Road to Resilience" we find that it is Christmas Day 1924 and young Velma is still
breathless from the dramatic events of the previous night. She remembers with joy participating along with many of her
community in rallying around an isolated family in a moment of great need.
As years pass, Velma continues working hard at school and putting in endless hours helping her widowed mother and older
sister. Together they support the family during the economic hardships in rural America that foreshadowed the Great
Depression of the 1930's. Uprooted yet again by this national tragedy, the family's indomitable spirit and endless spunk help
sustain them. Along the way, Velma begins to envision a brighter future in spite of continuing hardship.
Then, as a young woman, Velma meets handsome Jack Gooding and in the briefest of time, realizes she has found her one
true love. Now equipped with hard earned life skills, she feels confident in facing the vagaries of life with Jack at her side.
Together they begin pursuit of shared dreams amid a turbulent world. All too soon, however, her resilience and courage
must endure the greatest challenge yet.
A lasting fictional tribute to life in Dallas County, Iowa, "The Road to Resilience" continues a heartwarming literary series
that mirrors the struggles of a generation, shining a special light on the Midwestern love for God, the land, hard work,
family, and friendship.
Critique: Exceptionally well written by an author with a genuine and memorable flair for the kind of 'feel good' narrative
fiction that wins literary prizes, "The Road to Resilience" is a fully entertaining, engaging, and memorable novel that is
highly recommended, especially for community library Historical & Literary Fiction collections. It should be noted for
personal reading lists that "The Road to Resilience" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $3.99).
The Historical Fiction Shelf
Big City Press
9781949751246, $15.95, PB, 342pp
Synopsis: Mick leaves for the Himalayas while Troy heads to Vietnam with the Marines. Daisy starts her PhD in brain
research, and Tara battles heroin as her rock band reaches stardom.
Troy is soon caught up in mind-numbing combat in Vietnam, while Mick returns to the States to lead the antiwar effort.
Tara's band signs a Motown contract amid the Detroit riots. At Stanford, Daisy expands her study of the human brain under
LSD and other mind-altering drugs. Troy falls in love with a Vietnamese teacher and is slowly losing faith in the War.
"Freedom" concludes with the night before the Tet uprising in Vietnam that will change the War, and trap Troy and his
beloved in the fires of hell.
From the war-shattered jungles of Vietnam to America's burning cities, near-death in Tibet, peace marches, the battle of Hue
and the battle of the Pentagon, wild drugs, rock concerts, free love, CIA coups in Indonesia and Greece, the Six Days' War,
and Bobby Kennedy's last campaign, "Freedom", although a work of fiction by novelist Mike Bond, puts the readers firmly
and vividly back in the Sixties.
Critique: A simply riveting and deftly crafted read from an author with a genuine flair for narrative driven storytelling and
an impressive attention to historical detail, "Freedom" by Mike Bond will prove to be a welcome addition to community
library General Fiction & Literary Fiction collections. It should be noted for the personal reading lists that "Freedom" is also
readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $2.99).
Editorial Note: Mike Bond is an acclaimed novelist, noted war and human rights journalist, and dedicated environmental
activist. He has covered guerrilla wars, death squads, and military dictatorships in Latin America and Africa, Islamic
terrorism in the Middle East, and ivory poaching and other environmental battles in East Africa and Asia.
The Stone World
9781612199542, $27.99, HC, 240pp
Synopsis: "The Stone World" by Joel Agee begins in a house with a large garden in an unnamed Mexican town in the late
1940s, where six-and-a-half-year-old Peter reads, dreams, and plays with his friends. He is a nascent explorer, artist,
philosopher, mystic, and scientist. His world is still new, not yet papered over with received knowledge.
And the actual world around him is a unique one in history: a community of leftist emigres who have found refuge in
Mexico from the Nazi and fascist regimes of Europe, rubbing shoulders with Mexican labor activists and leftists such as
But many of the emigres long for home -- including Peter's step-father, who wants to return to his native Germany. Going
back to Europe may not be safe for any of them yet, however, which gives rise to anguished arguments among Peter's
parents and their tight group of friends.
And slowly, Peter begins to comprehend that his world may be turned upside down -- that he might be forced to take leave
of everyone he knows: his best friend, Aron; his father's friend Sandor, who talks about revolution and performs magic
tricks; and Zita, the family's live-in-maid, who has taught him the consoling mysteries of prayer.
Steeped in the magic and myths of childhood (yet haunted by a harsh adult world bedeviled by instability and political
turmoil) Joel Agee's "The Stone World" offers an unforgettable portrait of a troubled family in a troubled community during
a troubled time.
Critique: Eloquent, original, deftly scripted, complex, compelling, thought-provoking, and entertaining read from beginning
to end, "The Stone World" is an extraordinary novel that is unreservedly recommended for community, college, and
university library Literary Fiction collections. It should be noted for the personal lists of readers with an interest in Family
Life and Coming of Age novels that "The Stone World" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $12.99).
Editorial Note: Joel Agee is a writer and translator. He has won numerous awards for his translation work, including the
Berlin Prize of the American Academy in Berlin; the Helen and Kurt Wolff Prize; and the ALTA National Translation
Award, as well as fellowships form the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. His essays have
appeared in Harper's, The New Yorker, The Yale Review, and other magazines, and he is the author of two acclaimed
memoirs: "Twelve Years: An American Boyhood in East Germany" and "In the House of My Fear".
Ready, Set, Oh
9781736403341, $18.00, PB, 368pp
Synopsis: Providence, Rhode Island, 1967, Tino Battuta returns home from medical school in disgrace and without his draft
deferment to attend his grandfather's funeral and to spend time with the love of his life, Primrose Tirocchi. Primrose, an art
student, has an abusive home life and serious mental health challenges. But Primrose has plans: she is writing The Book of
Love with her best friend while dreaming about living in New York and showing her art in galleries. Tino has a dream as
well: to escape the war.
Complicating matters, Primrose is soon carrying Tino's baby. Tino isn't giving her the ring she wants, but Primrose isn't so
sure about their relationship either. Soon Primrose falls for Lupo Light, a budding astronomer with a deferment, who is
caught up in a popular movement to link political liberation to a wave of UFO sightings.
While Tino and his best friend work on a boat that could be their ticket to Canada, Primrose joins the Students for a
Democratic Society while trying to keep a grasp on her tenuous mental health.
Together, Primrose and Tino discover the limits of their finite possibilities as well as the fragility of their resilience.
Ultimately, they must confront the question: how much choice do we really have in the paths our lives take?
Critique: "Ready, Set, Oh" by Diane Josefowicz is set against the upheavals of the Sixties and chronicles the struggles of a
man who has just lost his draft deferment, a young pregnant woman with fragile mental health, and a UFO-chasing
astronomer, each hostages in their own way to their families and to history. A compelling and especially engaging story
from first page to last, "Ready, Set, Oh" is all the more impressive when considering that it is author Diane Josefowicz's
debut as a novelist! Showing a genuine flair for originality and an exceptional gift for narrative driven storytelling, "Ready,
Set, Oh" is unreservedly recommended for community library Contemporary Fiction collections. It should be noted for
personal reading lists that "Ready, Set, Oh" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).
Editorial Note: Diane Josefowicz's fiction and essays have appeared in Conjunctions, Fence, Dame, LA Review of Books,
and elsewhere. As a historian, she is the author, with Jed Z. Buchwald, of two histories of Egyptology, The Riddle of the
Rosetta (2020) and The Zodiac of Paris (2010), both from Princeton University Press; and a novella, L'Air du Temps
(1985), forthcoming from Regal House. She also serves as reviews editor at Necessary Fiction and director of
communications for Swing Left Rhode Island, a progressive political organization focused on electoral work, voter
protection, and voting rights.
The Literary Fiction Shelf
Proof of Me and Other Stories
Erica Plouffe Lazure
New American Press
9781941561270, $17.00, PB, 216pp
Synopsis: Comprised of twenty-one short stories by Erica Plouffe Lazure, "Proof of Me" is a compendium of delicately
interconnected tales set in a small town in eastern North Carolina. From the rambunctious antics of an erstwhile Shad Queen
to the guilt-throttled grief of a secret affair gone wrong, from one story to the next, "Proof of Me" stitches together the lives
and adventures of each of its characters, in unexpected and peculiar ways.
Critique: Vivid, eloquent, inherently compelling, distinctly memorable, the short stories comprising "Proof of Me"
showcases author Erica Plouffe Lazure's genuine flair for originality, the crafting of indelible characters, and the kind of
narrative driven storytelling that holds and keeps the attention of the reader from cover to cover. "Proof of Me" is an
especially and unreservedly recommended addition to personal, community, college, and university library Contemporary
Literary Fiction and Short Stories collection.
Editorial Note: Erica Plouffe Lazure is the author of three chapbooks: Sugar Mountain (Ad Hoc Press, 2020), Heard Around
Town (Arcadia, 2015), and Dry Dock (Arcadia, 2015). Her debut story collection, Proof of Me and Other Stories (New
American Press, 2022), received the New American Fiction Prize. She is a former newspaper reporter who now writes,
teaches English, and draws in Exeter, New Hampshire. She maintains a website at www.ericaplouffelazure.com
The Romantic Fiction Shelf
Josh and Gemma Make a Baby
W. W. Crown
9781954007222, $24.99, HC, 318pp
Synopsis: In Sarah Ready's new novel, "Josh and Gemma Make a Baby" we are introduced to Gemma Jacobs. She's driven,
energetic, and a positive thinker. She has a great career working for famed self-help guru Ian Fortune, she lives in a cute
studio apartment in Manhattan, and her family is supportive and loving (albeit a little kooky). Her life is perfect. Absolutely
Except for one tiny little thing.
After a decade of disastrous relationships and an infertility diagnosis, Gemma doesn't want a Mr. Right (or even a Mr. Right
Now), she just wants a baby. And all she needs is an egg, some sperm, and IVF. So Gemma makes a New Year's resolution:
have a baby.
Josh Lewenthal is a laid back, relaxed, find-the-humor-in-life kind of guy. The polar opposite of Gemma. He's also her
brother's best friend. For the past twenty years Josh has attended every Jacobs' family birthday, holiday, and event - he's
Gemma knows him. He's nice (enough), he's funny (-ish), he's healthy (she thinks) and he didn't burn any ants with a
magnifying glass as a kid. Which, in Gemma's mind, makes him the perfect option for a sperm donor.
So Gemma wants to make a deal. An unemotional, businesslike arrangement. No commitments, just a baby. To Gemma's
surprise, Josh agrees. They have nothing in common, except their agreement to make a baby and their desire to keep things
But the thing about baby-making -- it's hard to keep it businesslike, and it is nearly impossible to keep it unemotional, plus
it's definitely impossible to keep your heart out of the mix. Because when you're making a baby together, things have a way
of starting to feel like you're making other things too -- like a life, and a family, and love. And when the baby-making ends,
you wish that everything else didn't have to end too.
Critique: A lively, entertaining, romantic comedy by an author and novelist with a genuine flair for originality, humor, and
narrative driven storytelling, "Josh and Gemma Make a Baby" by Sarah Ready is an especially and unreservedly
recommended addition to community library Women's Fiction, Romance Fiction, and General Fiction collections. It should
be noted for personal reading lists that "Josh and Gemma Make a Baby" is also readily available in a paperback edition
(9781954007192, $15.99) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $5.99).
Editorial Note: Sarah Ready writes contemporary romance and romantic comedy. Her debut novel The Fall in Love
Checklist was hailed as the unicorn read of 2020. She maintains a website at www.sarahready.com
The Mystery/Suspense Shelf
The Hanger-On Drops In
9798548047472, $6.99, PB, 116pp
Synopsis: What caused Rolly to plummet 40 feet to his death in mid-celebration? He was young, in love, and had just
received funding for his musical version of "The Creature from the Black Lagoon." Why did he fall? Who made it happen?
Was it the manipulative narrator? Was it the deranged and embittered salesman? Was it the saleswoman with a secret? Was
it an accident caused by his adoring girlfriend? Who will solve this mystery set in a department store? And what will be the
Critique: Original, fun, and a gem of a whodunnit style mystery, "The Hanger-On Drops In" by Birke Duncan showcases the
author's genuine flair for the kind of narrative driven, unexpected plot twisting, and deftly crafted storytelling that will be an
especially popular read for dedicated mystery buffs and a welcome addition to community library Contemporary
The Fantasy/SciFi Shelf
The Hidden Saint
Level Best Books
9781685120504, $17.95, PB, 312pp
Synopsis: With the publication of "The Hidden Saint" by Mark Levenson, the historical horrors of eighteenth-century
Eastern Europe are deftly interwoven with fantastic creatures drawn from 3,500 years of Jewish myth and magic. For the
first time, "The Hidden Saint" conjures up a very human origin story for one of the greatest superheroes of Jewish folklore:
Rabbi Adam, famous for battling wizards, witches, and demons.
The story opens on a long-awaited family wedding, which turns to horror as Rabbi Adam's children are abducted by an
ancient supernatural evil. To save them, the rabbi is joined by a golem, a man of clay pained by the burden of living among,
but always apart from, humans. He's goaded and mentored by an elderly, wisecracking housekeeper who is secretly one of
the thirty-six hidden saints, or Lamed-Vavniks, upon whom the fate of the world depends.
As he is both blessed and challenged by his wife, Sarah, who leads him to a garden named Eden, and as tidal waves and
fires ravage the earth and the very stars above begin to disappear, can Rabbi Adam and his companions succeed in
Critique: Inherently fascinating, deftly written, elegantly absorbing, and always entertaining, "The Hidden Saint" is a unique
masterpiece of Jewish fantasy and will prove to be a welcome addition to personal, community, college, and university
library Jewish Historical Fantasy collections. It should also be noted that "The Hidden Saint" is also readily available in a
digital book formt (Kindle, $5.99).
Editorial Note: Mark Levenson is an award-winning dramatist, screenwriter, and short-story writer, as well as a longtime
journalist. His Jewish-themed fantasy writing has won honors from The National Foundation for Jewish Culture and the
American Jewish University, as well as a Union Internationale de la Marionnette-USA Citation of Excellence. Levenson has
also written The Return of the Golem and The Wise Men of Chelm for the stage, and adapted S. Ansky's The Dybbuk for
actors and puppets. His Jewish-themed short fiction credits include Mystery Weekly Magazine, Kindle Kzine, and Ami
Magazine. He also blogs about Jewish fantasy for The Times of Israel.
The Cool Thing: A Dark Comedy - Or Not
9780578348193, $22.95, HC, 350pp
Synopsis: A love besotted crook and his street girl acquire a device taken from a long buried UFO. They think it's a
medieval breastplate. But it's not! It's part of a spacesuit that can nullify distance, allowing access to a house above the
wreck. Which is a site with a terrifying history of failed species-splicing.
Not all of the failures die. Occasionally one escapes, vastly invigorating the human staff. Especially those who get eaten.
The girl accidentally activates the device and is snatched. Death would be an improvement on her fate. The lovesick crook
blindly charges to the rescue, running in circles on banana peels -- and the feces hits the proverbial fan!
Critique: Original, compulsively entertaining, exceptionally well written, "The Cool Thing: A Dark Comedy - Or Not" will
have a very special and enduring appeal to dedicated fans of genetic story based science fiction with threads of horror and
humor throughout. Showcasing author Robert Rife's impressive flair for narrative driven and memorable storytelling, "The
Cool Thing: A Dark Comedy - Or Not" is an especially and unreservedly recommended addition to community library
Science Fiction & Fantasy collections. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of dedicated science fiction fans that
"The Cool Thing: A Dark Comedy - Or Not" is also readily available in a paperback edition (9780578660875, $16.95) and
in a digital book format (Kindle, $2.99).
The Sports Shelf
ARA's Untold Story
Dorrance Publishing Company
585 Alpha Drive, Suite 103, Pittsburgh, PA 15238
9781639372973, $130.00, HC, 560pp
Synopsis: Skateboarding is an action sport originating in the United States that involves riding and performing tricks using a
skateboard, as well as a recreational activity, an art form, an entertainment industry job, and a method of transportation.
Skateboarding has been shaped and influenced by many skateboarders throughout the years. A 2009 report found that the
skateboarding market is worth an estimated $4.8 billion in annual revenue, with 11.08 million active skateboarders in the
world. In 2016, it was announced that skateboarding will be represented at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, for both
male and female teams. However, skateboarding has also become controversial in areas in which the activity had been made
illegal, has damaged curbs, stoneworks, steps, benches, plazas, and parks. (Wikipedia)
But like every other human endeavor, skateboarding had its start with one or more individuals daring to do something
extreme, something they feel is worth personal sacrifice even if it means being the object of derision, even hostility. This is
the way skateboarding began in the heart of Colorado's Rocky Mountains back in 1975-1976.
Critique: "ARA's Untold Story: Skateboard Racing in the Rockies: Colorado 1975-1978" is a definitive and unique history
of regional skateboarding that could well be utilized as a template for similar studies in other regions of the country.
Illustrated throughout, comprehensive, and impressively well researched, written, organization and presented, "ARA's
Untold Story: Skateboard Racing in the Rockies: Colorado 1975-1978" is especially and unreservedly recommended for
community, college, and university library American 20th Century Sports History collections in general, and Skateboarding
Histories in particular. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of dedicated skateboarding enthusiasts and fans that
"ARA's Untold Story: Skateboard Racing in the Rockies: Colorado 1975-1978" is also readily available in a digital book
format (Kindle, $20.00).
The Psychology Shelf
The Shyness Workbook
9781472144706, $24.99, PB, 256pp
Synopsis: Shyness has evolved as an emotion over thousands of years and can be helpful in some circumstances. However,
it can become a problem when it interferes with life goals, develops into social anxiety disorder, or leads to 'learned
pessimism', mild depression and even 'learned helplessness'. In this way, shyness and shame often hold us back from
realizing our potential and from engaging with others wholeheartedly.
"The Shyness Workbook: Take Control of Social Anxiety Using Your Compassionate Mind" by psychologist and
academician Lynne Henderson is a practical self-help workbook that sets out the background to shyness including its
evolutionary functions and why it becomes chronic in some people, as well as teaching skills and exercises to help in the
overcoming of problematic shyness.
Using this workbook, readers will learn how to: Cope with shy feelings and debunk anxious thoughts; Develop
self-compassion; Practice new, confident behaviors. An informative compendium of fresh insights and exercises, "The
Shyness Workbook: will fully support a journey into developing social self-confidence.
Critique: Exceptionally well written, organized and presented, "The Shyness Workbook: Take Control of Social Anxiety
Using Your Compassionate Mind" is an especially recommended tool for DIY self-help/self-improvement studies in
general, and having to deal with moderate to severe shyness in particular. It should be noted for personal use by non-
specialist general readers or as a counseling resource for counseling professionals that "The Shyness Workbook: Take
Control of Social Anxiety Using Your Compassionate Mind" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle,
Editorial Note: Lynne Henderson is a licensed clinical psychologist with over forty years of experience. She founded the
Social Fitness Center, and is founder and Co-Director, with Philip Zimbardo, of the Shyness Institute. She was a visiting
scholar in the Psychology Department at Stanford University for thirteen years, a lecturer for five years, and a faculty
member in Continuing Studies. Dr Henderson also served as a Consulting Associate Professor in Counseling Psychology for
ten years. She directed the Shyness Clinic in Palo Alto for twenty-five years and conducted research and shyness groups at
the Stanford Counseling Center. Her research interests include translating the results of social psychology and personality
theory into clinical work, specifically, the negative stereotyping of shyness, the influence of personality variables and
cultural influences on interpersonal perception and motivation, the leadership styles of shy leaders, and compassionate
The Self-Help Shelf
The Still Point: The Simplicity of Spiritual Enlightenment
Kevin Krenitsky, MD
9781954968820, $22.95, HC, 224pp
Synopsis: Many people live lives riddled with outright anxiety, pervasive fears, and quite desperation. Instead of happiness
and ease being the normal state of existence, most experience happiness as only brief moments of joy, when some desire has
been temporarily fulfilled. But it does not have to be this way; happiness can be recognized as our natural state of
According to author, medical doctor and modern-day philosopher Kevin Krenitsky, we are in the midst of the biggest wave
of awakening or self-realization this planet has ever seen. Our unconscious living has not only created stress, anxiety, wars,
and famine; our choices have brought us to the edge of mass destruction. The earth has suffered greatly from our collective
In "The Still Point: The Simplicity of Spiritual Enlightenment ", Dr. Krenitsky shows us a better way. He shows us how to
discover and live our lives in alignment with our true self. More than just a mental concept, the Still Point is a felt
experience of recognizing our own self-aware being. When the Still Point becomes obscured by giving exclusive focus to
the noise of the outside world, we lose our feelings of peace and happiness.
Critique: Exceptionally well written, organized and presented, "The Still Point: The Simplicity of Spiritual Enlightenment"
can be viewed as a kind of intensely personal but ultimately rewarding journey of self-discovery that ultimately leads to (in
Dr. Kevin Krenitsky's words) the recognition that our self-aware nature is happiness and peace itself. A life changing, life
enhancing read, "The Still Point: The Simplicity of Spiritual Enlightenment" is highly recommended for personal,
professional, community, college, and university library Self-Help/Self-Improvement collections.
Editorial Note: Kevin Krenitsky has been, at times, a professional rock musician, a medical doctor, and a business
executive. Despite leading a life deemed outwardly "successful," he lived with a deep background of anxiety, fear, and stress
that waxed and waned since early childhood. At the age of forty, in the midst of decades of suppressing tremendous inner
and outer conflict, he reasoned there must be another way. This "willingness" led to a decade of studying non-duality by way
of A Course in Miracles. Later, at the height of a successful business career, he turned away into relative isolation and soon
found the direct path to the recognition of our true nature. One day in meditation, a thought came that a book called The Still
Point would be written. Five years later, the first words arrived.
James A. Cox
Midwest Book Review
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