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Small Press Bookwatch

Volume 20, Number 1 January 2021 Home | SPBW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice Parenting Shelf American History Shelf
Political Science Shelf General Fiction Shelf Literary Fiction Shelf
Mystery/Suspense Shelf Biography Shelf Self-Help Shelf
Business Shelf Military Shelf Pets/Wildlife Shelf


Reviewer's Choice

The Immigrant
William M. Pistrui
iUniverse, Inc.
c/o Author House
1663 Liberty Dr. Suite #300, Bloomington, IN 47403
www.iuniverse.com
9781532092695, $42.73, HC, 186pp

https://www.amazon.com/Immigrant-William-M-Pistrui/dp/1532092695

Synopsis: "The Immigrant" by William M. Pistrui covers the life of a young Balkan peasant boy, Traian, who came to America in 1909 with his mother, younger sister, and aunt. His father came a year before. After a year in America, Traian's father saved enough money to bring the rest of his family over. They arrived several years following a Romanian peasant revolt.

The narrative covers Traian's journey to America on the Carpathia, vetting at Ellis Island, assimilation, his courtship with a young girl who was born in the same Romanian village, raising his family during the Great Depression, and seeking to live out the American Dream.

To bring the reader directly into the narrative, the biographical story is laced together with historical facts, visual scene descriptions, dialogue, and the challenges of building a new life in America. Readers will get a rich picture of what American life was like in the early 1900s and a deeper appreciation for the immigrant experience with this detailed account.

Critique: Exceptionally well written, organized and presented,"The Immigrant" is an inherently interesting, as well as especially and unreservedly recommended addition to community, college, and university library American Biography collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Immigrant" is also readily available in a paperback edition (9781532092688, $33.99) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $3.99).


The Parenting Shelf

How To Keep Your Daughter From Slamming the Door
Deborah Ann Davis
D&D Universe
9781942009092, $19.99, PB, 302pp

https://www.amazon.com/Keep-Your-Daughter-Slamming-Door/dp/1942009097

Synopsis: The mother-daughter relationship is the most complex, beautiful, and important female bond in your lives. But how do you foster a happy, healthy relationship when her closed door feels like an insurmountable barrier?

It can seem impossible to communicate with her. She trusts the advice of friends more than Mom. And she knows exactly what to say to trigger your emotions as you struggle to relate to your teenage girl and her world.

Stop reacting to inevitable situations with your teen and start planning for them. In "How To Keep Your Daughter From Slamming the Door: An Awesome Mom Handbook", educator and parenting coach Deborah Davis drills down three decades of accumulated experience with kids and teens into easy-to-follow strategies and reflexive exercises to help you reclaim your role as an awesome, decision-making mother!

"How To Keep Your Daughter From Slamming the Door: An Awesome Mom Handbook" presents: Ten conversation starters to talk about touchy subjects with a moody middle-schooler (like puberty, boys or girls, and peer pressure); Effective tactics to tame button pushing, envelope stretching, and adolescent attitude; The simple strategy to foster communication, find common ground, and avoid teenager tirades; How to repair trust for an emotionally satisfying relationship with your daughter -- without being intrusive; Three major motherhood myths to debunk so you can better handle your own emotions.

Your daughter is depending on you to cultivate and maintain the relationship you both want. Navigate the tough teen years with love, compassion, and fun while building a closer bond to cherish far beyond her teenage years.

Critique: Although essential reading for the mothers of daughters (of any age), "How To Keep Your Daughter From Slamming the Door: An Awesome Mom Handbook" is so well written and informative that fathers of daughters should also give it a good reading -- especially those fathers raising girls when the mother is no longer in the picture. While very highly recommended for family and community library Effective Parenting collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "How To Keep Your Daughter From Slamming the Door: An Awesome Mom Handbook" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).


The American History Shelf

Somersett
Phillip Goodrich
www.philgoodrichauthor.com
Independently Published
9781734911701, $15.95, PB, 374pp

https://www.amazon.com/Somersett-Benjamin-Franklin-Orchestrated-Revolution/dp/1734911700

Synopsis: While everyone is familiar with the Revolutionary War, few know the true story of Benjamin Franklin's secret plan to turn the northern and southern colonies against their oppressors, and how the freeing of one slave, Somersett, was the catalyst for the colonies to come together against the crown.

In 1757, Benjamin Franklin cared most about the security and prosperity of his beloved adopted home of Philadelphia. Threatened by the French during King George's War and with little help from the proprietor of Pennsylvania, the Penn family, Franklin sought assistance in London to force Thomas Penn's hand. However, at every turn he found no encouragement, leading Franklin to develop a secret plan to free Pennsylvania and ultimately all thirteen colonies.

Launching this secret plan required politically motivating all the colonies, each with vastly different individual interests. Ultimately, it was two very different historical events that provided the motivation and the eventual success of Franklin's plan.

Meticulously detailed and with supporting notes, "Somersett: Or Why and How Benjamin Franklin Orchestrated the American Revolution" by Phillip Goodrich tells the real and heretofore obscure story behind the origins of the Revolutionary War and explains how several well-known but random events during the war culminated in the creation of the United States of America.

Critique: Exceptionally well written, organized and presented, "Somersett: Or Why and How Benjamin Franklin Orchestrated the American Revolution" is an extraordinary and welcome contribution to community, college, and university library American Revolutionary War histories in general, and Benjamin Franklin supplemental curriculum studies lists in particular. It should be noted for students, academia, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "Somersett: Or Why and How Benjamin Franklin Orchestrated the American Revolution" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

Editorial Note: An American history buff, Phillip Goodrich has developed a fascination with the lesser-told stories behind the characters during America's founding years. His interest has led him to extensive research into the personal and political lives of American greats such as Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, and Thomas Jefferson. Through his unique insights and knowledge, Phillip shares his findings in his first foray into the realm of narrative American history with the publication of "Somersett: Or Why and How Benjamin Franklin Orchestrated the American Revolution".


The Political Science Shelf

The Decline of Nations
Joseph F. Johnston, Jr.
Republic Book Publishers
www.ipgbook.com/republic-book-publishers-publisher-RBP.php
9781645720072, $30.00, 385pp

https://www.amazon.com/Decline-Nations-Joseph-Johnston-Jr/dp/1645720071

Synopsis: "The Decline of Nations: Lessons for Strengthening America at Home and in the World" by Joseph F. Johnston Jr. takes an in-depth look at the condition of the contemporary United States and shows why Americans should be deeply concerned. It tackles controversial subjects such as immigration, political correctness, morality, religion and the rise of a new elite class.

Joseph Johnston provides many historical examples of empires declining, including the Roman and British empires, detailing their trajectory from dominance to failure, and, in the case of Britain, subsequent re-emergence as modern day nation. Johnston also delivers riveting lessons on the U.S. government viewed through the lens of excessive centralization and deterioration of the rule of law.

Johnston demonstrates the results of weak policies including the surging Progressive movement and the expanding Welfare state. In The Decline of Nations, Johnston asks important questions about diminished military capacity, a broken educational system, and the decline of American arts and culture. He questions the sustainability of the nation's vast global commitments and shows how those commitments are threatening America's strength and prosperity.

There is no historical guarantee that the United States can sustain its economic and political dominance in the world scene. But by knowing the historic patterns of the great nations and empires, there is much to be learned about America's own destiny.

Critique: By blending a history of civilization and culture with a history and theory of politics, "The Decline of Nations: Lessons for Strengthening America at Home and in the World" offers an invaluable series of insights into the requirements of a nation state like America to continue to lead the nations of the free world and protect American democracy from those autocrats and authoritarian states hostile to it. Exceptionally well written, organized and presented, "The Decline of Nations: Lessons for Strengthening America at Home and in the World" is highly recommended for community, college, and university library in United States History and Contemporary Political Science collections and supplemental curriculum studies lists. It should be noted for students, academia, political activists, politicians, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "The Decline of Nations: Lessons for Strengthening America at Home and in the World" is readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $11.99).

Editorial Note: Joseph F. Johnston, Jr., is a graduate of Princeton University and received a master's degree in history and a law degree from Harvard University. He practiced law in New York City and Washington, D.C., was a visiting lecturer at the University of Virginia law school and is a member of the American Law Institute. He is the author of The Limits of Government, published by Regnery Gateway.


The General Fiction Shelf

Conclave
Tom Davis
CreateSpace
4900 LaCross Rd., North Charleston, SC 29406
www.createspace.com
9781534706613, $18.99, PB, 458pp

https://www.amazon.com/Conclave-Tom-Davis/dp/1534706615

Synopsis: When the pope dies of an apparent heart attack, the United States and Soviet Union go on high alert. The United States might be able to loosen communism's stranglehold on Eastern Europe if a non-Italian successor is chosen to lead the Catholic Church. But the Soviets are determined to keep an Italian in the papacy. CIA and KGB agents infiltrate the Vatican as the two countries try to win this dangerous game.

Back stateside, army officer Carter Caldwell is sent to persuade American cardinals to wield their influence in the conclave. On his assignment, he meets beautiful CIA analyst Katherine O'Connor. Carter can't get her out of his mind, although plenty of problems demand his attention.

Before the conclave is over, the Sistine Chapel will be bugged, a spy in the Vatican's kitchen will be murdered, and CIA and KGB operatives will exchange gunfire. As the most important figure in the Catholic world is finally chosen, one question remains: Will he survive long enough to become pope?

Critique: Taking his inspiration from the sudden passing of Pope John Paul I and the hastily arranged conclave to elect his successor, with "Conclave", author Tom Davis has deftly woven an inherently compelling novel in which Catholic theology and Cold War politics collide. Of special note is the author's genuine flair for the kind of narrative storytelling style that keeps his reader's rapt attention with many an unexpected plot twist and turn. Certain to be a welcome and enduringly popular addition to community library Contemporary Political Thriller collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Conclave" is readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $3.99).

1871: Rivers on Fire
Paul Buchheit
Independently Published
9781087911335, $25.00, HC, 374pp

https://www.amazon.com/1871-Rivers-Fire-Paul-Buchheit/dp/1087911338

Synopsis: In the pages of "1871: Rivers on Fire", author Paul Buchheit commemorates the sesquicentennial of the deadliest fire in the recorded history of the world -- which occurred on the same night as one of the most infamous destructions of a city by means of fire.

With great attention to the accuracy of its background detail, "1871: Rivers on Fire" is part historical novel, and part a love story with interweavings of triumph, treachery, and heartbreak. It also addresses our nation's long-held sense of exceptionalism, our treatment of minority groups, and issues related to the environment.

"1871: Rivers on Fire" contemplates the enigmatic workings of the brain in its ability to create language -- and, finally, it reflects upon the mysteries of the spiritual and materialistic components of life.

Critique: An inherently absorbing, deftly crafted, and impressively original novel, "1871: Rivers on Fire" is one of those books that will linger in the mind and memory long after it has been finished and set back upon the shelf. While especially and unreservedly recommended for community library Historical Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "1871: Rivers on Fire" is also readily available in a paperback edition (9798693038462, $9.95) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $2.99).


The Literary Fiction Shelf

The Home Stretch
Wayne M. Johnston
Black Heron Press
https://blackheronpress.com
c/o Independent Publishers Group (dist.)
https://www.ipgbook.com
9781936364343, $14.99, PB, 208pp

https://www.amazon.com/Home-Stretch-Wayne-M-Johnston/dp/1936364344

Synopsis: For Bill, the end has always been in view. His life has seen a series of unlikely extensions. When he was young, he hated his father and contemplated suicide. Later in his life he was diagnosed with leukemia and expected to die within months.

Bill's childhood was spent on a communal evangelical mission, but eventually Bill began to question his parents' strict religious beliefs. His father reacted with violence and Bill felt trapped between the dishonesty of trying to conform to his parents' beliefs and the conviction that he was doomed to hell for questioning them. Eventually he provokes his father into a confrontation that leads to an outcome that redefines their relationship and alters the course of both of their lives.

By midlife, Bill has been married for twenty years and has his own family. The challenges he has faced at sea as chief engineer on tugboats have helped him heal. His thoughts of suicide have faded. His father's recent descent into Alzheimer's Disease has created an avenue for the reconciliation the two have worked on for years.

Then, unexpectedly, a story emerges about his father, involving his sister, and Bill is confronted once again with the dark side of his father's personality.

Critique: An inherently fascinating and deftly crafted read from first page to last, "The Home Stretch" showcases author Wayne Johnson's genuine flair for originality and the kind of erudite, narrative storytelling style as a novelist that will fully engage his reader's rapt attention and linger in their mind and memory long after the book itself has been finished and set back upon the shelf. While especially and unreservedly recommended for community, college, and university library Contemporary Literary Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Home Stretch" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $14.24).

Editorial Note: Wayne M. Johnston taught English, Creative Writing, and Publications at La Conner High School for nineteen years. Prior to that, for twenty-two years he worked on tugboats, usually as chief engineer, towing freight barges between Canadian and West Coast American ports. In 2011 he won the Soundings Review First Publication Award for his essay, "Sailing," and has published other essays since. "The Home Stretch" started as one of these essays, with the working title, "Vietnam and Forgiveness."

The Steep Side of the Marble
Jones Deady
https://www.jonesdeady.com
Rand-Smith LLC
www.Rand-Smith.com
9781950544202, $22.00, PB, 338pp

https://www.amazon.com/Steep-Side-Marble-Jones-Deady/dp/1950544206

Synopsis: Families are a cumulative thing. The structure is the same for all. Like a marble. Round, slick, fragile, and a long way to fall wherever one stands. Beneath the curve of glass is a force that keeps one bound to the surface. From birth, the swirling colors hold our gaze, own all the peculiarities of our love and commitment and the sands of angst and happiness with all other members. Some families are complex, their swirls built mightily against their history.

"The Steep Side of the Marble" is the compelling story of a southern family who, ignited by tragedy, find the layers of their familial legacy burning down layer by layer -- until their greatest family secret is lays fully exposed and can no longer be denied or suppressed.

Critique: All the more impressive when considering that "The Steep Side of the Marble" is author Jones Deady's debut as a novelist, this deftly crafted and inherently compelling read is a masterpiece of the storyteller's art and will prove to be an enduringly popular addition to community, college, and university library Contemporary American Literary Fiction collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Steep Side of the Marble" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.49).

Boy
James W. Haddad
Commonwealth Books
www.commonwealthbooksinc.com
9781892986160, $17.99, PB, 171pp

https://www.amazon.com/Boy-James-W-Haddad/dp/1892986167

Synopsis: An eleven-year-old boy struggles to survive the shocking death of his father. After three long years of misery and torment, the grieving boy senses happiness within his grasp and passionately reaches for it. But his mentally-deranged mother has other plans. She wants her son to wallow in misery with her and unleashes her worst mental and verbal attacks she can conjure up to keep him down. But the boy is too smart for her. He knows his mother is a nutcase and easily overcomes her devious plot. After his mother realizes she has failed to subdue her son, she begins to devise ways to get rid of him. The boy's bad dreams turn into his worst nightmare. Then the implacable struggle for survival begins!

Critique: "Boy" by James W. Haddad is an eloquent and emotionally compelling read from first page to last. An impressively crafted work of literary fiction by an author with a genuine flair for originality and the kind of narrative driven storytelling that creates memorable characters and an inherently fascinating read from beginning to end, "Boy" is especially recommended for personal reading lists, as well as community, college, and university library Literary Fiction collections.

Editorial Note: James Haddad is a former journalist for the St. Croix Avis Newspaper. He has done extensive research on child abuse and neglect and worked as a volunteer for the Department of Children and Families, and is a qualified expert in his field. He is also the author of the novel "Eyes of a Child".


The Mystery/Suspense Shelf

Spanish Moss + Further
Eddy Cook
Bronzeville Books
http://www.bronzevillebooks.com
9781952427114, $12.99, PB, 228pp

https://www.amazon.com/Spanish-Moss-Further-Eddy-Cook/dp/1952427118

Synopsis: "Spanish Moss + Further" by Eddy Cook is the extended two part story of Calvin, a fifteen-year-old Minnesota boy who escapes an abusive father and hitchhikes through the South until, in attempt to flee a sexual predator, he causes a car crash that lands him in a Louisiana swamp.

Rescued by a Cajun family, he becomes part of their small clan. On his eighteenth birthday, he repays their kindness by heading to New Orleans to hunt down the never-found killer who murdered their matriarch, becoming enmeshed in a complex mystery that leads Calvin (now known as Vin) through the barrooms, newsrooms, back alleys and police stations of The Big Easy as the drama barrels forward to a breathtaking conclusion.

Then six years after Vin crashed through the guardrail that led him to the Robineux family, he has settled into both New Orleans and adulthood, supporting himself by tracking down criminals, particularly pedophiles. As his reputation grows through the underground network, he receives a request that takes him back to his roots: Kids have gone missing in Minnesota and a vigilante tribe attempting to - find them needs his help.

As Vin works to break up a ring of predators, he must face the darkness of his own past if he is to help the children and find a future for himself.

Critique: Exceptionally well written, organized and presented in the form of two back-to-back novellas, "Spanish Moss + Further" showcases author Eddy Cook's genuine flair for the kind of gritty and narrative driven storytelling style that engages the reader's full and rapt attention from first page to last. One of those literary works that will linger in the mind and memory long after the book itself has been finished and set back upon the shelf, "Spanish Moss + Further" is unreservedly recommended for community, college, and university library Contemporary American Literary collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Spanish Moss + Further" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $7.99).

Mortal Conspiracy
Noel Scidmore
https://www.noelscidmore.com
Independently Published
9781732611801, $18.99, PB, 356pp

https://www.amazon.com/Mortal-Conspiracy-Noel-Scidmore-M-D/dp/1732611807

Synopsis: Butch Kennedy, beloved husband and father, has just suffered his second (and this time fatal) heart attack. This came as more than the usual shock to his distraught family since after his first heart attack he seemed to have made a good recovery and had almost completely returned to his old life.

To get answers, they request an autopsy, the responsibility for which falls to twenty-nine-year old pathology resident Dr. Brad Pierson. Nothing out of the ordinary -- or so he thinks until weeks later he happens upon his file again, only to find serious discrepancies with his original report. Puzzled, he reports the matter to his superiors, not knowing that in doing so he had stumbled onto a dark conspiracy involving a greedy health insurance giant, a corrupt network of physicians, and the highest levels of government power, all aimed at enriching themselves at the expense of patients' health, and even their lives.

And to protect this conspiracy, as Brad all too quickly discovers, they will stop at nothing up to and including murder. Can this honest young physician stand against such powerful forces and expose their machinations before they can silence him forever?

Critique: An exceptionally well written suspense thriller of a novel that is remarkable for the author's attention to background detail, "Mortal Conspiracy" by Noel Scidmore (who also holds a medical degree) is an inherently riveting read replete with many an unexpected plot twist and turn. While especially and unreservedly recommended for community library Mystery/Suspense collections, it should be noted for the personal reading lists of dedicated suspense/thriller fiction fans that "Mortal Conspiracy" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.49).

Fool's Errand
Jeffrey S. Stephens
Post Hill Press
https://posthillpress.com
9781642937381, $28.00, HC, 256pp

https://www.amazon.com/Fools-Errand-Jeffrey-S-Stephens/dp/164293738X

Synopsis: It's been six years since the untimely death of Blackie (a charming rogue who endlessly pursued "The Big Deal") when his son discovers an enigmatic letter telling of a cache of stolen money. Feeling no choice but to pursue his father's dream, he embarks on a search that leads from New York, to the Strip in Las Vegas, and ultimately to the south of France. Along this life-altering journey, he is confronted by the dangers of his father's past as he unravels a decades-old mystery, while revealing other long-buried secrets as well.

Critique: As an author, Jeffrey S. Stephens deftly weaves poignant, entertaining, humorous, romantic, and mysterious elements into his narrative driven suspense thriller of a novel, "Fool's Errand". The result is an entertaining and memorable read from first page to last. While certain to be a welcome and enduringly appreciated addition to community library Mystery/Suspense collections, it should be noted for the personal reading lists of all dedicated mystery buffs that "Fool's Errand" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).


The Biography Shelf

The Parables Of Sunlight
Margaret Dulaney
Listen Well
9780998602356, $34.00, HC, 250pp

https://www.amazon.com/Parables-Sunlight-Margaret-Dulaney/dp/0998602353

Synopsis: A deftly crafted work of 'creative nonfiction', "The Parables Of Sunlight" by Margaret Dulaney is a compelling and inherently interesting spiritual memoir that also involves a neglected farm, an abandoned and injured horse, and the prevailing resilience of hope.

Critique: An ultimately spiritually uplifting account of special note is the inclusion of a link to a spoken word website exploring open faith ideas through story and metaphor. A memorable, entertaining, thoughtful and thought-provoking read, "The Parables Of Sunlight" is an especially and unreservedly recommended addition to community library American Biography collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Parables Of Sunlight" is also readily available in a paperback edition (9780998602332, $16.99) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $0.99).

Reading Between the Lines: A Memoir
Janis Paige
Golden Age Press
9781734444711, $31.95, HC, 516pp

https://www.amazon.com/Reading-Between-Lines-Janis-Paige/dp/1734444711

Synopsis: "Reading Between the Lines" is a personal memoir that represents the lifelong journey (both personal and professional) of the legendary actress Janis Paige (born Donna Mae Tjaden; September 16, 1922). It is also a deeply personal work featuring stories of luminaries from the past while chronicling such adventures as the her journeys to the battlefields of Vietnam and Korea -- as well as one unforgettable trip to South Africa.

From the Golden Age of Motion Pictures in the 1940s to vaudeville, Broadway, nightclubs, television and soaps, Janis Paige has known it all. She and her insatiable curiosity about life bring the reader into her relationships with Frank Sinatra, Bob Hope, Bette Davis, Joan Crawford, David Niven, Henry Fonda, Clark Gable, Lucille Ball, Sammy Davis Jr. - and finally, through therapy, the one she found with herself.

Blessed with an acutely intact memory, Paige takes her readers on an unforgettable journey throughout the world. Her USO Christmas tours with Hope transport us from Castro and Cuba to the Far East and numerous places in-between.

When her songwriter husband, Ray Gilbert (an Oscar winner for the tune "Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah") died suddenly in 1976, Paige's life made a 180-degree turn from the one she had previously known. She moved past her bereavement to protect his legacy, and has now crafted a showbiz memoir like no other.

Critique: An inherently fascinating, exceptionally well written, thoroughly 'reader friendly' in organization and presentation, as well as an impressively informative read from beginning to end, "Reading Between the Lines: A Memoir" is an absolute 'must read' for the legions of Janis Page fans and dedicated movie buffs -- making it an unreservedly recommended addition to community, college, and university library Contemporary American Biography collections, and Hollywood Film History supplemental curriculum studies lists.

With Tangra Against the Wind
Captain Nikolay Djambazov
Xlibris Corporation
1663 South Liberty Drive, Bloomington, IN 47403-5161
www.xlibris.com
9781984579119, $29.99, HC, 376pp

https://www.amazon.com/Tangra-Against-Captain-Nikolay-Djambazov/dp/1984579118

Synopsis: Nikolay Djambazov, born on March 2, 1943 in Sofia, Bulgaria, and is a certified sea captain of highest degree. He has numerous inventions and has built 40 small boats and 7 yachts. In 1980 he participated successfully in OSTAR 80. In 1983-1984 without government or private funding he circumnavigated the earth via Cape Horn with a boat made by him. Since then he has trained hundreds of young people in sailing and published three books. He has been awarded many prestigious medals and prizes. He is a citizen of honor of Sofia and Burgas.

Nikolay believed in his and his boat abilities to compete in the renowned OSTAR 80 race and his ability as a seaman and navigator to sail around Cape Horn in a one stop circumnavigation with a boat made by him even in the face of constant attempts of the government to prevent him from fulfilling his childhood dream. Capsized twice, chased by pirates along the Moroccan coast, betrayed by trusted friends, imprisoned in Turkey and still, this salty sailor never gave up.

"With Tangra Against the Wind" is a detailed account of a man with extraordinary strength of will power who is able to stand strong against high seas and achieve a milestone in maritime history. Nikolay is an epitome of the romantic out at sea, overcoming life's tolls to make his childhood dream come true.

Critique: "With Tangra Against the Wind" by Captain Nikolay Djambazov is a unique, true life story of a Bulgarian singlehanded circumnavigator. An inherently fascinating account from first page to last, "With Tangra Against the Wind" will prove to be a welcome addition to community library Maritime Biography collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "With Tangra Against the Wind" is also readily available in a paperback edition (9781984579102, $19.99) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $3.99).

Naked Grace
Lucas Kitchen
Independently Published
9781661761110, $12.99, PB, 305pp

https://www.amazon.com/Naked-Grace-Quest-Clarity-Confusion/dp/1661761119

Synopsis: The Christian faith's most important question, "What do I have to do to be saved?", should have a simple answer, though no one in the piney woods seemed to agree what that simple answer should be. Despite growing up in the buckle of the Bible belt, confusion about the Christian faith plagued every step of Lucas' journey.

In his memoir, "Naked Grace", Lucas Kitchen uses wit, humor, and visual storytelling to invite the reader to join his life-long quest for answers. This multi-decade pursuit took Lucas to some laugh-out-loud places. When the stakes were as high as they could be, the simple answer came.

The true life story in revealed in "Naked Grace" explores the confusion that many Christians quietly experience on a weekly basis. As the author Lucas Kitchen ably demonstrates: just because someone is quiet doesn't mean they understand. This self-deprecating tale will resonate with anyone who has wrestled with unanswered questions and is dying to know the truth.

Critique: Impressively well written, organized and presented, "Naked Grace" is an extraordinary Christian memoir and unreservedly recommended reading for all members of the Christian community regardless of denominational affiliations. While highly recommended for community library Contemporary American Biography collections it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Naked Grace" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $2.99).

Editorial Note: Lucas is an Amazon best selling author with over twenty books to his credit. His writing has been seen and heard by millions, through a handful of viral video projects. Lucas' books have covered a range of genres, such as sci-fi, urban fantasy, memoir, biography, children's literature, Christian theology, and more. In addition to his writing career, Lucas is a filmmaker, pastor, and international speaker. He can also be heard weekdays on the syndicated radio show Grace in Focus. He holds a bachelor's degree in interdisciplinary studies in Bible, psychology, and history/political science from Letourneau University. He has a master's of theology from Liberty University.


The Self-Help Shelf

Feeling Great
David Burns, MD.
PESI Publishing & Media
https://publishing.pesi.com
9781683732884, $26.99, HC, 454pp

https://www.amazon.com/Feeling-Great-Revolutionary-Treatment-Depression/dp/168373288X

Synopsis: "Feeling Great: The Revolutionary New Treatment for Depression and Anxiety" is based on Dr. David Burns' 40 years of research and more than 40,000 hours treating individuals with severe mood problems. The goal of "Feeling Great" is not just a rapid and complete elimination of negative feelings but the development of joy and enlightenment.

In "Feeling Great", Dr. Burns also reveals that our negative moods do not result from what's wrong with us, but rather -- what's right with us. And when you listen and suddenly hear what your negative thoughts and feelings are trying to tell you, suddenly you won't need them anymore, and recovery will be just a stone's throw away.

In the pages of "Feeling Great" Dr. Burns provides inspiring and mind-blowing case studies along with more than 50 amazing tools to crush the negative thoughts that rob people of happiness and self-esteem.

Critique: A combination of instruction guide and workbook manual, "Feeling Great: The Revolutionary New Treatment for Depression and Anxiety" is particularly appropriate for the non-specialist general reader. Exceptionally well written and thoroughly 'user friendly' in organization and presentation, "Feeling Great: The Revolutionary New Treatment for Depression and Anxiety" is unreservedly recommended for community, college, and university library Self-Help/Self-Improvement collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Feeling Great: The Revolutionary New Treatment for Depression and Anxiety" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $13.49).

Editorial Note: David D. Burns, MD, is a renowned psychiatrist, researcher, and author of the phenomenally successful Feeling Good and Feeling Good Handbook. More than 50,000 American and Canadian mental health professionals have attended his popular training programs, and his weekly Feeling Good podcast are approaching 3 million downloads. Dr. Burns was a pioneer in the development of cognitive therapy, and is the founder and creator of the new TEAM-CBT, which makes ultra-rapid recovery from depression and anxiety possible. He has served as Acting Chief of Psychiatry at the Presbyterian / University of Pennsylvania Medical Center (1988) and Visiting Scholar at the Harvard Medical School (1998), and is certified by the National Board of Psychiatry and Neurology. Dr. Burns is currently Adjunct Clinical Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the Stanford University School of Medicine, where he is involved in research and teaching.

Power Currency
Fred Lehr
Rand-Smith Publishing
www.Rand-Smith.com
9781950544240, $16.00, PB, 150pp

https://www.amazon.com/Power-Currency-Fred-Lehr/dp/1950544249

Synopsis: The concepts comprising "Power Currency" by Fred Lehr go beyond most traditional self-help guides by first encouraging you to identify what you actually want, beyond the material things that we are programmed to crave. After that, you need to understand the value of your own personal power - your mental, emotional, and spiritual portfolio - which needs to be managed properly to grow. Then, your accumulated "power" can be spent on the important things in life. However, you have to be careful not to deplete your account because then there's nothing left for time of emergency! "Power Currency" is the ultimate resource for learning how to maintain effective interpersonal relationships in today's busy world and regain your own power and independence.

Critique: Exceptionally 'reader friendly' in organization and presentation, impressively informative and motivationally inspiring in tone and content, "Power Currency" is a life-changing, life-enhancing read that is especially and unreservedly recommended for community library Self-Help/Self-Improvement collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Power Currency" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $8.49).

The Joychiever Journey
Tracy Lalonde
James House Media
9780578748375, $15.99, PB, 158pp

https://www.amazon.com/Joychiever-Journey-Burnout-Out-Happy-Everyone/dp/0578748371

Synopsis: Sometimes the hardest goal to achieve is a rich, happy life. Finding the balance between the nonstop parade of accomplishments and a joy-filled life can feel like a finish line that can never be crossed.

Tracy LaLonde was a stressed overachiever -- until she took those skills and unapologetically aimed for happiness. In "The Joychiever Journey: Evade Burnout, Surpass Your Goals and Out-Happy Everyone", Tracy shares her comprehensive roadmap to uncovering your True Self and living a joyful life that is expressly yours.

"The Joychiever Journey" explores the 7 True Self Stops that include: Simple ways to channel your strengths to invite more joy into your 9 to 5 workday; Less stress, better sleep, and more effective exercise to boost your daily happiness; The secret to healthy aging, reducing anxiety, and healing after adversity; Guilt-free ways to prioritize "me-time" every day to help you replenish, recharge, and thrive: How to retrain your brain towards positivity and transform from an overachiever to a Joychiever.

The underlying message of "The Joychiever Journey" is to change your life and make joy a regular mandate rather than a reward after finishing everything on your to-do list. "The Joychiever Journey" is a practical guide to dealing with stress, discovering what makes us happy, and striving for both joy and success -- and enjoying the journey along the way.

Critique: Thoroughly 'reader friendly' in commentary, tone, organization and presentation, "The Joychiever Journey: Evade Burnout, Surpass Your Goals and Out-Happy Everyone" is a life-changing, life-enhancing, life-celebrating read from first page to last. While especially and unreservedly recommended for community, college, and university library Self-Help/Self-Improvement collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Joychiever Journey" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

Editorial Note: Tracy LaLonde is an overachiever, business development coach, and professional speaker. After 20 years in the legal industry-a field with extreme rates of burnout-she witnessed her successful peers deal with high levels of anxiety, worry, and stress. At the peak of her career, Tracy stepped away from her business to embark on her own Joy Journey. Tracy founded Joychiever to help other overachievers define their unique joy journey and apply their ambition to achieve a balanced, happy life. Tracy maintains an informative website at www.joychiever.com.


The Business Shelf

Personal Brand Clarity
Suzanne Tulien
Brand Ascension
www.BrandAscension.com
9780981827520, $23.95, HC, 202pp

https://www.amazon.com/Personal-Brand-Clarity-Identify-Define/dp/0981827527

Synopsis: Whether growing a new business or an experienced solo-professional, "Personal Brand Clarity: Identify, Define, & Align to What You Want to be Known For" is Suzanne Tulien's step-by-step guide to the personal brand-defining process. Realize a unique value position and getting a competitive advantage to grow a business that is a signature of the dedicated entrepreneur's identity, story, and passion. Better brand development can assign more powerful meaning to a unique value position in every facet of a business oriented life!

Suzanne Tulien's Personal Brand Presence DNA methodologies provide tools to dig deep to define, align, and leverage the distinguishing attributes of a personal brand and clarifies: What benefit does a personal brand "own" in the mind of the entreneur's markets; The core values that consistently guide services, products, and content; What are the entrepreneur's unique differentiators that create and leverage brand advantage; The unique point of view that a personal brand stands for; How to inspire prospects and customers to embrace a personal brand to increase sales?

The compelling message of "Personal Brand Clarity: Identify, Define, & Align to What You Want to be Known For" is not to waste money and time advertising a brand not yet fully identified, defined, and aligned to the entrepreneur's authentic self and to stop marketing and start branding with Personal Brand Clarity-and watch a personal alignment transform both business and life!

Critique: An invaluable instructional guide and manual that should be required reading for anyone seeking a career in business or who aspires to be their own boss with what ever enterprise they which to launch, "Personal Brand Clarity: Identify, Define, & Align to What You Want to be Known For" is a compendium of practical advice, insight and encouragement. While especially and unreservedly recommended for corporate, community, college, and university library Business Management collections, it should be noted for the personal reading lists of business students, academia, entrepreneurs, corporate managers and small business owners that "Personal Brand Clarity: Identify, Define, & Align to What You Want to be Known For" is also readily available in a paperback edition (9780981827513, $18.95) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

Editorial Note: Suzanne Tulien is a Brand Clarity Expert, author and speaker, specializing in identifying, defining and aligning her clients to their distinctive brand value positioning through her proprietary process, to achieve extreme clarity on her clients' differentiation, master consistencies to build trust, and create 'on-brand' actions and behaviors from the inside out. She is author of three books; Brand DNA, Personal Brand Clarity, and The 6 Myths of Small Business Branding. She speaks, trains and consults internationally -- and maintains an informative website at www.BrandAscension.com


The Military Shelf

To The Last Cartridge
Colonel Robert Barr Smith
Cable Publishing Inc
9781934980590, $18.95, PB, 181pp

Synopsis: History is laden with examples of heroic acts of valor, stories of men who put honor and duty above personal safety to survive dramatically against overwhelming odds. From the Crusades to the Battle of Evesham in 13th-century England to the Civil War and the Battle of Ia Drang in Vietnam, "To The Last Cartridge" by Col. (Ret.) Robert Bar Smith describes courage in action at its finest and most self-sacrificing.

Critique: An inherently fascinating and impressively informative read from beginning to end, "To The Last Cartridge" has been brought back into print by Cable Publishing for the edification of a new general of military history buffs and is an especially and unreservedly recommended addition to community, college, and university library World War II history and memoir collections.

Editorial Note: Robert Barr Smith is a Professor of Law at the University of Oklahoma Law Center. He entered the U. S. Army as a private in 1958 and was commissioned in the following year. He served in Vietnam with 4th Infantry Division, twice in Germany (a total of more than seven years) and with troop units and on posts throughout the United States. He is a Senior Parachutist and holds the Legion of Merit (two awards), the Bronze Star, and other decorations. He retired from military service as a colonel.


The Pets/Wildlife Shelf

Forever Dogs
Tricia Spencer
Lilac Bloom Press
www.foreverdogs.net
9780971509818, $22.95, PB, 304pp

https://www.amazon.com/Forever-Dogs-Wisdom-Wagging-Telling/dp/0971509816

Synopsis: Immortalized in vintage photos that span more than a century, long-ago tail-waggers tickle humankind with a laugh, a smile, or a heartstring tug, as they share their innermost thoughts in the pages of "Forever Dogs: Wit and Wisdom from the Great Canine Beyond - Wagging Tails Telling Tales" by Tricia Spencer.

Playful pups do most of the talking, via captions, poetry, ads, short stories, pup advice, newsworthy tidbits, and dog connections to iconic organizations, but a few human voices share dog tales, too.

Flush with pictorial slices of days gone by, as well as unusual Doggone Smart associations between dogs and enduring pillars of American life, this book is a fiction/nonfiction rainbow created for all the dog-loving humans left behind when life's memorable pooches became Forever Dogs!

Critique: A wonderfully entertaining read from first page to last, "Forever Dogs: Wit and Wisdom from the Great Canine Beyond - Wagging Tails Telling Tales" will prove to be a welcome addition to the personal reading lists of anyone with their own canine companion, as well as an enduringly popular addition to community library Pets/Wildlife collections.


James A. Cox
Editor-in-Chief
Midwest Book Review
278 Orchard Drive
Oregon, WI 53575-1129
phone: 1-608-835-7937
e-mail: mbr@execpc.com
e-mail: mwbookrevw@aol.com
http://www.midwestbookreview.com


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