Return to home
page Book Reviews, Book Lover Resources, Advice for Writers and Publishers
Home / Small Press Bookwatch

Small Press Bookwatch

Volume 17, Number 3 March 2018 Home | SPBW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice Education Shelf Business Shelf
Fishing Shelf Self-Help Shelf Gaming Shelf
Fantasy/SciFi Shelf Cookbook Shelf Mystery/Suspense Shelf
Health/Medicine Shelf Fiction Shelf Christian Studies Shelf
Gardening Shelf Pets/Wildlife Shelf Theatre/Cinema/TV Shelf
Biography Shelf Military Shelf Criminology Shelf


Reviewer's Choice

The King in Yellow
Robert W. Chambers
Pushkin Press
www.pushkinpress.com
9781782273769 $18.95 hc / $0.99 Kindle amazon.com

Synopsis: A beautiful gift edition of this cult classic of supernatural fiction. The weird tales in this slim volume are all linked by a play, the second act of which reveals truths so terrible and beautiful that it drives all who read it to despair: The King in Yellow.

These four macabre, uncanny and unsettling stories are some of the most thrilling ever written in the field of weird fiction, and since their first publication in 1895 have become a cult classic, influencing many writers from the renowned master of cosmic horror H.P. Lovecraft to the creators of HBO's True Detective.

Critique: Originally published in 1895, The King in Yellow remains a cult classic of horror literature, especially known for its influence upon the mind-shattering mythos crafted by H.P. Lovecraft. Four dread-inspiring stories are present in this deluxe hardcover edition: "The Repairer of Reputations", "The Mask", "In the Court of the Dragon", and "The Yellow Sign". The King in Yellow is a "must-read" for connoisseurs of the genre, highly recommended. It should be noted for personal reading lists that The King in Yellow is also available in a Kindle edition ($0.99).


The Education Shelf

Outsourcing Student Success
Joseph H. Wycoff
Historical Research Press
1245 S. Michigan Avenue, #160, Chicago, IL 60605
www.historiaresearch.com
9780999678817, $22.95, PB, 230pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Colleges and universities have engaged in a bewildering succession of reform efforts to improve institutional performance and student success in higher education since the 1960s, with little success. After more than fifty years of seeking solutions internally, institutions are turning more and more to outside, for-profit firms to do it for them -- raising important questions about the mission and the future of higher education.

The history of the institutional research profession provides an important perspective on the inability of higher education executives to deliver fully on the promise of data based decision-making at American colleges and universities. Since its inception in the early twentieth century, the institutional research profession has sought to advance modern management techniques, data analytics, and knowledge about what works in college student success. The profession's struggle to spur reform has contributed to the ongoing crisis in US higher education and the recent turn to outsourcing student success solutions to private sector vendors of data science.

An independent and critical analysis of the history of institutional research in higher education administration, "Outsourcing Student Success: The History of Institutional Research and the Future of Higher Education" by Joseph H. Wycoff (who is a researcher and educational consultant who has worked in academic, market, and institutional research) explores the history of the profession from the early twentieth century to the present and the culture of non-accountability that rose in opposition to forestall research on higher education. The narrative delivers a cautionary tale for those carrying forward the mantle of higher education reform and reveals to policy makers, administrators, faculty, students and families the reasons why the data that institutions collect, analyze, and publicize have not advanced college student success.

Critique: Exceptionally well written, deftly organized, accessibly presented, impressively informed and informative, "Outsourcing Student Success: The History of Institutional Research and the Future of Higher Education" is a unique, extraordinary and insightful study that should be a part of every college and university library Contemporary Education collection and supplemental studies lists.


The Business Shelf

The Bankruptcy Alternative
Bruce Bowler
Bowler Enterprises, Inc.
http://brucebowler.com
9780998632803, $27.85, HC, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Businesses, large and small, old and startup, are failing all around us. When financial disaster looms in front of the owner / entrepreneur, the first of two very important and difficult decisions that must be made is: Is it time to close my business down?

If that answer is "Yes," the second decision that must be made is: "Do I declare bankruptcy, or is there some other viable alternative I can choose to settle everything?"

Decisive action is a must. "The Bankruptcy Alternative: Close Your Business Your Way, Without Bankruptcy. Save Time, Save Money, Save Your Sanity!" by author, multi-business owner, family man and musician Bruce Bowler is a study of the decisions one business owner made, and the detailed history of how he made it through the maze with a self-managed liquidation.

The underlying messages of "The Bankruptcy Alternative are that: Closing your failing business is not about quitting: It is about knowing when it is time to close it down, and having the guts to do it!; Grasping the "S" Curve of Business is a must for any would-be entrepreneur; When dealing with credit card debt, the key is understanding this: "It's a game and you can learn how to play that game successfully;

A careful reading of "The Bankruptcy Alternative" reveals how you can: Make Walt Disney's Storyboarding system become your most valuable business management tool; Become aware of how vital embracing the concept "the market IS the market" is to your business and personal planning.

Critique: Impressively informative, 'real world practical', exceptionally well written, organized and presented, "The Bankruptcy Alternative: Close Your Business Your Way, Without Bankruptcy. Save Time, Save Money, Save Your Sanity!" will prove to be an enduringly valued and appreciated addition to community and academic library Business Management collections and supplementary studies lists. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of entrepreneurs, business owners, MBA students, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "The Bankruptcy Alternative" is also available in a paperback edition (9780998632810, $16.85) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $7.50).

Violent Leadership
Wesley Middleton
ForbesBooks
www.forbesbooks.com
9781946633187, $24.95, HC, 138pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: violent leadership, n. - a style of leadership identified by a passionate, innovative, active, and disruptive pursuit of success

The phrase "Violent Leadership" is not something you would expect to see in the business world, yet it refers to a distinctive type of leadership that is passionate, innovative, and disruptive and above all takes things by force. It does not refer to fighting, anger, or brutality. It is a positive and energetic pursuit of purpose and success.

In "Violent Leadership: Be A Force For Change: Disrupt. Innovate. Energize.", author Wesley Middleton presents his philosophy on leading teams with passion, strength, and force. He provides real-life examples from his own experience, so you can learn from his successes and failures, and he explains strategies you can use to unite your team behind a common objective.

You will also discover how to: Create a workplace culture that fosters loyalty and high performance; Know your strengths and delegate tasks when necessary; Harness the power of the millennial generation; Get out of your own way; Set the tone in your own business; Achieve your goals more passionately and more forcefully than anyone around you;

Critique: Offering a unique perspective and 'real world' insights, "Violent Leadership: Be A Force For Change: Disrupt. Innovate. Energize." is an extraordinary and thoroughly 'user friendly' instructional guide to success for any entrepreneurial activity or business enterprise. While very highly recommended, especially for corporate, community, and academic library Business Management collections, it should be noted for the personal reading lists of MBA students, business managers, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "Violent Leadership" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $8.99).

99 Creative WOWs - Words of Wisdom for Business
Randi Brill
Randiland Press
http://www.99WOWs.com
9780985403515, $18.95, PB, 112pp, www.amazon.com

"99 Creative Wows - Words of Wisdom for Business" is a motivational quick-read business book that is specifically designed to help recent MBA graduates, young professionals, newly minted entrepreneurs, business owners and creative thinkers succeed faster. Quickly apply these 99 sound bites of business, personal and creative wisdom from this successful, proven, creative entrepreneur. This easy-to-digest, self motivation business book provides 99 words of wisdom quotes for business, money, motivation and success plus powerful advice from the author's own experiences.

Critique: Especially and unreservedly recommended, "99 Creative Wows - Words of Wisdom for Business" offers inspiring insights, brings clarity, challenges thinking and fuels creative business expertise. Certain to be an enduringly popular addition to corporate, community, and academic library Business Management collections, it should be noted for the personal reading lists of students, entrepreneurs, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "99 Creative WOWs - Words of Wisdom for Business" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $12.95).

Beyond Threat
Nelisha Wickremasinghe
Triarchy Press Ltd
c/o International Specialized Book Services
920 Northeast 58th Avenue, Suite 300, Portland, OR 97213
www.isbs.com
9781911193340, $20.00, PB, 250pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Unless we are in physical danger few of us think we are living 'under threat'. Yet our brains believe we are at risk many times a day. Nowhere is this more true than at work, where our response to deadlines, budget cuts, abrasive managers, competitive colleagues and dissatisfied customers is too often controlled by a part of our brain that's better suited to detecting, devouring or running away from predators. This is our threat brain, and on its own it is little help in dealing with the complex challenges of organizational life.

In "Beyond Threat", business psychologist and international management consultant Dr. Nelisha Wickremasinghe takes us beyond the threat brain and describes the workings of our evolved Trimotive Brain which can respond with intelligence and compassion to unwanted, unexpected and unpleasant life experiences - if we learn how to manage it.

"Beyond Threat" is an invitation to: discover how our biological heritage (nature) and individual experience (nurture) combine to create who we are-and why that matters in organisational life; learn to notice and re-direct the hidden motives that control most of our behaviour-especially those arising from our threat brain; and find out, in three detailed case studies, how executives working in different corporate environments identified and overcame the problem habits arising from their overactive threat brain.

Critique: An extraordinarily informative and exceptionally well organized and presented study, "Beyond Threat" will prove to be of immense and practical value for anyone having business management responsibilities. Thoroughly accessible for both academia, corporate executives, non-specialist general readers, "Beyond Threat" is a critically important and unreservedly recommended addition to personal, corporate, community, and academic library Business & Management, Organizational Change, Business Psychology, and Organization Development instructional reference collections and supplemental studies reading lists. It should be noted that "Beyond Threat" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $15.00).


The Fishing Shelf

Eye to Eye with Big Bass
Robert Earl Woodard
AuthorHouse
1663 Liberty Drive, Suite 200, Bloomington, IN 47403-5161
www.authorhouse.com
9781546213062, $33.99, PB, 82pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: "Eye to Eye with Big Bass: "Let Her Go! She Is Just Another Big Fish!" by fishing expert Robert Earl Woodard is about how to catch and grow big bass!

Dedicated anglers will learn about techniques and knowledge that can be helpful when fishing for big bass as Woodard draws upon his more than fifty years of experience and expertise fishing for trophy bass to discuss and showcase the factors that determine movements, behavior, and feeding patterns of bass.

Featuring practical tips on building and managing a trophy lake are also covered in detail by a man who has been successful in catching big bass in many lakes all over Alabama -- and growing several trophy bass in his own lake.

Some of his exciting fishing adventures and stories about his famous pet bass make "Eye to Eye with Big Bass" a simply enjoyable read for the armchair angler.

Critique: Featuring full color photography, "Eye to Eye with Big Bass: "Let Her Go! She Is Just Another Big Fish!" is an impressively informed and informative that is an especially 'user friendly' and unreservedly recommended instruction manual and guide for anyone aspiring to acquire their own trophy bass. While unreservedly recommended for community and academic library Hunting/Fishing instructional reference collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Eye to Eye with Big Bass" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $3.99).


The Self-Help Shelf

Rediscovering Love
Roy C. Rawers
Xlibris Corporation
1663 South Liberty Drive, Bloomington, IN 47403-5161
www.xlibris.com
9781543441260, $29.99, HC, 308pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Roy C. Rawers is a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist with a Southern California private practice focused on working with individuals and couples longing for more satisfying relationships. Specializing in the treatment of Intimacy Disorders (Sex Addiction, Sexual Anorexia, Love Avoidance, and Love Addiction). Mr. Rawers has been trained and certified as a Sex Addiction Therapist by (IITAP) the International Institute of Trauma and Addiction Professionals.

In "Rediscovering Love: An Intimacy Restoration and Growth Journey Guide" he draws upon his experience and expertise to write an instructive guide for those people who refuse to accept the idea that the best days of their relationship are behind them and who have the courage and willingness to try and repair or strengthen their partner relationship.

Learning why relationships deteriorate and helping the reader take a hard, interpersonal look at ways they may be sabotaging their relationships creates a pathway toward new levels of communication and tools for improving the quality of an existing or new relationship.

Critique: Thoroughly 'reader friendly' in tone, commentary, organization and presentation, "Rediscovering Love: An Intimacy Restoration and Growth Journey Guide" is a 'real world practical' and ultimately inspiring read from beginning to end. A life-changing, life-affirming, read from cover to cover, "Rediscovering Love" is especially and unreservedly recommended for community library Self-Help/Self-Improvement instructional reference collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Rediscovering Love" is also available in a paperback edition (9781543441277, $19.99) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $3.99).

Joy! Joy! Joy!
Ellen Wood
CreateSpace
4900 LaCross Rd., North Charleston, SC 29406
www.createspace.com
9781976424366, $14.99, PB, 200pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: There is no denying that we all presently live in stressful and depressing times. "Joy! Joy! Joy!: 7 Mind Body Spirit Self-Help Practices to Relieve Stress and Anxiety, Reverse Memory Loss and Live Happy - You Too Can Bust the Blues" by Ellen Wood is the first detailed self-help guide to living happy -- and is seasoned throughout with fascinating stories of how seven easy Mind Body Spirit habits dramatically and permanently transformed Ellen's life, including reversing memory loss, conquering breast cancer and busting the blues.

"Joy! Joy! Joy!" is not about stopping anti-depressants. It's about ending habitual emotional patterns that abuse your body and scar your soul; creating new life-affirming habits, like EFT tapping, Power Poses, dry brushing your skin, meditation and affirmations; providing quick, easy steps on how to relieve stress and have peace of mind; dissolving that lingering depression malaise: the blahs, the blues; and being filled with quiet joy for no reason.

Critique: Thoroughly 'reader friendly' in tone, commentary, organization and presentation, "Joy! Joy! Joy!: 7 Mind Body Spirit Self-Help Practices to Relieve Stress and Anxiety, Reverse Memory Loss and Live Happy - You Too Can Bust the Blues" is an extraordinary life-enhancing, life-affirming, life-embracing instructional guide and manual that is especially and unreservedly recommended for community and academic library Self-Help/Self-Improvement collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Joy! Joy! Joy!" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $4.99).


The Gaming Shelf

Football Betting Made Easy
John D. Rothschild
Savio Republic
c/o Post Hill Press
http://posthillpress.com
9781682614440, $15.99, PB, 224pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Profession football handicapper John Rothschild starts you on your profitable journey with wild gambling stories that are hard to believe, but true. You'll discover enlightening angles that will show you how to often win over 75% of the time. You really can make money wagering, and have fun doing it!

"Football Betting Made Easy: Secrets of a Professional Handicapper" covers: Why most professional handicappers can't win half of their games; Wagering advice your parents should have taught you; The nine biggest betting blunders most people make; Some of Rothschild's own comical "big mistakes" that eventually helped him become so successful; How to think differently than everyone else.

John Rothschild's easy-to-understand approach will help both seasoned professionals and novices. You won't need to learn complicated theories -- just how to use clear-cut, proven strategies.

Critique: Impressively informative, exceptionally well written, organized and presented, thoroughly 'reader friendly' style in tone and commentary, "Football Betting Made Easy: Secrets of a Professional Handicapper" is a practical, insightful, and unreservedly recommended instructional guide and manual that is especially appropriate for both community and academic library Gaming collections in general, and football betting in particular. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Football Betting Made Easy: Secrets of a Professional Handicapper" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).


The Fantasy/SciFi Shelf

Peril in the Old Country
Sam Hooker
Black Spot Books
www.BlackSpotBooks.com
9780999742303, $13.99, PB, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: According to the good folk of the Old Country, you have got to have rules because they are all that's holding the dismal tide at bay. Start playing fast and loose with the rules, and it all comes tumbling down.

First comes the goblins. Nothing entices them quite like minor breaches of etiquette. Cut in a line, say a swear word, or speak the proper name of the Old Country aloud, and your house will be infested with them before you know it.

No one in the Old Country follows the rules half as well as Sloot Peril, who has never so much as given alms to a beggar without getting a certified receipt. He had his entire life planned out to the end and was so looking forward to making as faint a mark on the world as possible. Then he was asked to correct the worst financial report ever written.

Had they called upon a lesser accountant, that report might have gone on to topple financial markets, drive honest people to utter ruin, or quite possibly acquire a taste for human blood and start terrorizing the countryside in bestial form.

Sloot's corrections prevented that annihilation from coming to pass; however, if he'd known what he was setting in motion instead, he might have heard annihilation out.

Sloot will have to set aside his affinity for the rules and go up against underworld kingpins, secret societies, the undead, bloodthirsty cannibals from Carpathia, and even the ruthless Vlad the Invader! If that weren't enough, the steely gaze of Mrs. Knife follows him wherever he goes. Does she really want to murder him, or does she just have one of those faces?

At least Sloot's misadventures bring the lovely Myrtle into his life. She has the sort of smile that makes him want to stand up straighter and invest in some cologne. He's not even bothered by the fact that she's possessed by the laziest philosopher ever to have died.

Will the events put in motion by the ghastly financial report end in Sloot's grisly death?

Critique: A unique, deftly crafted, inherently fascinating, entertainingly riveting fantasy, "Peril in the Old Country" showcases author Sam Hooker's impressive gift for narrative driven storytelling -- the kind that will linger in the mind and memory of the reader long after the book itself has been finished and set back upon the shelf. Certain to be an enduringly popular addition to community library Fantasy Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Peril in the Old Country" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $8.79).

Metamorphosis of Power
Creig Alexander
Xlibris Corporation
1663 South Liberty Drive, Bloomington, IN 47403-5161
www.xlibris.com
9781543400274, $14.19, PB, 136pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Damien lives a life most people would dream of with money, looks and ability. He has also been through a lot, having never known his biological relatives and recently losing his foster family. He pushes forward though and lives a fulfilling life that he is in control of.

Suddenly he is dragged into a world within the one that he has always known, where mystical ability is wielded by everyone and is part of everyday life. It is quickly identified that he is not just any wielder of this mystical power, but apparently is the fulfilment of a prophecy and is destined to lead his entire organization back into its position as ultimate arbiters of the balance of power.

How will he lead his people to stand against the threat from the enemy organizations? Can he face the consequences of his actions and choices on those he comes to care for? Will he be able to deal with the fact that fulfilling the prophecy comes at great personal sacrifice, the loss of his humanity? Damien's finds that he musts walk a path that will result in a complete and total metamorphosis of power.

Critique: Original, entertaining, narrative driven, "Metamorphosis of Power" is an extraordinary novel from cover to cover, and one that fully showcases author Creig Alexander's genuine flair as a compelling storyteller. While especially and unreservedly recommended for community library Fantasy Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Metamorphosis of Power" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $4.99).

Lavenders Blue
Janet Tyers
Xlibris Corporation
1663 South Liberty Drive, Bloomington, IN 47403-5161
www.xlibris.com
9781493193912, $39.92, HC, 194pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Jean Ward was an American and alive in the twentieth century. Janette was a French sixteenth century ghost haunting an old manor house, protecting a hidden secret, but to this she needed help of the living, Jean.

Knowing that Jean had seen her, Lord Terrington and Jean's fiance, Stuart, could see what was happening but could do nothing to prevent it. Willingly or not, Jean is transfixed, caught in the whirlwind that propels Jeanette to her purpose-to release her from her purgatory.

The only means of detecting Jeanette was the smell of lavender, which accompanies her through the rooms.

Critique: A deftly crafted and singularly entertaining novel from beginning to end, "Lavenders Blue" by Janet Tyers is especially recommended and certain to be an enduringly popular addition to community library Fantasy Fiction collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Lavenders Blue" is also available in a paperback edition (978-1493193899, $23.28) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $4.99).

The Nephilim Virus
John T. Prather
Deep River Books
PO Box 310, Sisters, Oregon, 97759
www.deepriverbooks.com
9781632694553, $15.99, PB, 384pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Nick Reese wakes from a three-year coma to find the world he once knew is gone. An ancient virus has infected two-thirds of the world's population, turning humans into either incredibly intelligent super-humans or large and indestructible animalistic creatures. For the survivors, there is no government, no antidote, and no safety. With the help of a beautiful hematologist named Faith and a man they call the Commander, Nick must survive long enough to discover the origin of the virus and learn how his blood could hold the key to a cure. But he has to do it while being hunted by the infected. And failure means the extinction of the human race. Author and Hollywood actor John Prather deftly intertwines history and science to create a plausible post-apocalyptic tale.

Critique: An intense and exceptionally well crafted thriller implementing spiritual ideas, "The Nephilim Virus" is an inherently fascinating and truly riveting read from beginning to end. While especially and unreservedly recommended for community library Science Fiction collections, it should be noted for the personal reading lists of dedicated apocalyptic dystopian SciFi fans that "The Nephilim Virus" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).


The Cookbook Shelf

The Land of Five Waters
Deborah Sanwal
www.deborahsanwal.com
Chin Music Press
http://www.chinmusicpress.com
9781634050043, $25.00, PB, 250pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Deborah Sanwal is an avid cook whose cooking videos can be found on The Land of Five Waters YouTube channel.

She spent a year in Punjab preparing for her wedding and learning the secrets of the Indian kitchen from her mother-in-law. "The Land of Five Waters" is a combination of personal memoir and cookbook recipes in which she chronicles that year in text and photos that provide an intimate portrait of one Indian family.

All of the recipes will have special appeal for fans of Indian food, but who have never tried to cook the cuisine at home.

The inside look at Indian family life and easy-to-follow recipes will result in the reader wanting to learn more about life in India's Punjab region.

Profusely and beautifully illustrated throughout, the showcased dishes range from Boondi Raita (Yogurt Sauce with Fried Chickpea Balls); Gaajar Aloo (Carrots and Potatoes); Paalak Paneer (Spinach and Cheese); and Kadhi (Yogurt Curry with Fried Fritters); to Maa Rajma (Black Beans and Kidney Beans); Mahni (Tamarind Sauce); Sada Pratha (Plain Pan-Fried Flatbread); and Poori (Deep-Fried Bread).

Critique: An inherently fascinating and unfailingly informative read from cover to cover, "The Land of Five Waters: Traditional Recipes from My Mother-in-law's Punjabi Kitchen" is a unique, extraordinary, and unreservedly recommended addition to personal, family, and community library cookbook collections.

Six Basic Cooking Techniques
Jennifer Clair
HCNY Press
https://homecookingny.com
9780998979205, $19.95, PB, 112pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: "Six Basic Cooking Techniques: Culinary Essentials for the Home Cook" is a vividly photographed culinary instruction manual drawing from instructor Jennifer Clair's cooking class, where just six cooking techniques lay the groundwork for a solid culinary foundation.

Aspiring family cooks will learn the proper way to handle a chef's knife, cook meat to perfection, create impressive pan sauces, and prepare restaurant-worthy vegetable dishes. Plus, they will discover which ingredients truly make a difference in a home kitchen (kosher salt, extra-virgin olive oil, and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, to start).

Each technique chapter includes a collection of flavorful recipes, so even the most novice student cook can practice their newfound skills while cooking delicious meals.

Of special note is that throughout "Six Basic Cooking Techniques", myth-busting 'Students Ask and Chefs Say' columns feature pearls of indispensable kitchen wisdom (such as why you should never mince basil, mint, or sage; why blanching vegetables is better than steaming; what are the three key flavors that make all food taste better; and more).

Confidence is what makes a great cook, and "Six Basic Cooking Techniques" is a practical culinary guide that is filled from cover to cover with the instructions needed to gain control of a family kitchen.

Critique: Profusely illustrated and exceptionally well written, thoroughly 'user friendly' in organization and presentation, "Six Basic Cooking Techniques: Culinary Essentials for the Home Cook" will prove to be an ideal choice for a highschool cooking curriculum, and would prove to be an enduringly popular addition to personal and community library cooking and cookbook collections.


The Mystery/Suspense Shelf

This Property Is Condemned
Max Elliot Anderson
Elk Lake Publishing
https://www.elklakepublishinginc.com
9781944430306, $5.95, PB, 168pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: A sign outside the old Remmington Mansion read, "This Property is Condemned." Sam Cooper couldn't figure out exactly what that meant. Even after his father explained it, he became more puzzled than ever. So, along with his friends, Tony and Tyler, he set out to solve the mystery.

Sam thought the old place was abandoned. But, when the boys went to investigate, a curtain moved, and they discovered old Mrs. Remmington still lived in the crumbling house.

Sam was the kind of person who would try to right any wrong or help anyone who was in trouble. And Mrs. Remmington was in a lot of it.

So, he organized the whole town to go out and fix the place up like new. But that's when his problems really began.
Why did those men try to scare the old woman into moving? And, why were they threatening Sam and his friends?

No matter what it took, Sam was determined to find out.

Critique: The fourth novel in Max Elliot Anderson's simply outstanding mystery/suspense 'Sam Cooper Adventure' series, "This Property Is Condemned" is another compelling and flawlessly entertaining read from cover to cover. While very highly recommended for personal reading lists and community library collections, it should be noted that "This Property Is Condemned" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $2.99).


The Health/Medicine Shelf

Eat What You Want! Stop When You Want!
Sora Vernikoff
Green Mind Press
www.nodieting.net
9780692850237 $24.58, PB, 182pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: For most people, diets are a kind of do-it-to-yourself perpetual roller coaster ride with their weight forever going up and down and up again. That's primarily because no standard diet or weight-loss program lets them eat the foods that they really want and therefore always subject to (and ultimately failing) to manage their food cravings.

But now weight watching men and women have Sora Vernikoff's "Eat What You Want! Stop When You Want! A No-Diet, Weight-Loss Program" in the form of a workbook that teaches how to use two simple 'eat and stop yourself' techniques so that now anyone can become forever thin and healthy.

These two techniques are called The "Green" Technique and The "Red" Technique.

The way that The "Green" Technique works is that it lets you have the food that you want but before you eat that food, you have to ask yourself, "How much is enough?" and "How much is too much?" Then once you've decided "How much is enough?" and How much is too much?", you have to set aside the amount that you decided was "too" much called your "Too" Much Marker. Then you can eat the amount that you decided was enough and by Program definition (as long as you can see your "Too" Much Marker) you will know that you have eaten and stopped yourself.

The "Red" Technique works in a similar way to also let you eat and stop yourself but is different in the way that the actual technique works with the actual food.

So that by now using The "Green" Technique and/or The "Red" Technique anyone will always be able to eat what they want, stop when they want and become forever thin and -- all without having to diet in the traditional sense of the word!

Additionally, Sora's program also teaches how to use three exciting no diet, weight-loss "management" strategies. These three additional no diet, weight-loss "management" strategies help to support reaching a no dieted, weight-loss goal in the very shortest amount of time possible!

Critique: Effective, practical, and thoroughly 'user friendly' in organization and presentation, "Eat What You Want! Stop When You Want! A No-Diet, Weight-Loss Program" is a quality of life enhancing and ideally laid out workbook approach to acquiring the skill and discipline that weight control requires to lose weight -- and keep that lost weight lost! While very highly recommended for anyone of any age seeking to be able to efficiently acquire the knowledge and ability to enjoy what they eat and still drop down to, or maintain, their ideal weight, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Eat What You Want! Stop When You Want! A No-Diet, Weight-Loss Program" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $3.99).


The Fiction Shelf

The Go-Backer
Peter R. Decker
Western Slope Press
http://westernslopepress.com
9780999369203, $11.99, PB, 202pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: After the Civil War, thousands of Americans and Europeans trekked west to secure a new home and farm under the provisions of the Homestead Act of 1862. But as historians have discovered, only three out of ten of these adventurers succeeded in achieving their dream. The other 70 percent (popularly called the "go-backers") either turned back toward home after one or two years, or if they "proved up" on their 160-acre homestead, they quickly "starved out". It took courage and determination to survive on the western frontier. Homesteaders endured diseases and injuries without medical attention, Indian attacks, catastrophic natural disasters, lack of roads, and lonely isolation. "The Go-Backer" by Peter R. Decker is the story of what happens when the Marlow family (after a time struggling as homesteaders) reluctantly join the growing ranks of "go-backers".

Critique: With an impressive attention and adherence to accuracy with respect to historical detail, "The Go-Backer" is a thoroughly entertaining read from cover to cover and will have a very special appeal to western history buffs and western fiction fans. In addition to being unreservedly recommended for community library fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Go-Backer" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $2.99).

When Darkness Comes
John Anthony Miller
Taylor and Seale Publishers
http://www.taylorandseale.com
9781943789603, $18.95, PB, 352pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Set in 1942 Nazi-occupied Paris, three lives are intertwined: Paul, a brooding banker whose family was killed by the Gestapo; Rachel, a teenage Jew who leads her family's escape from the Germans; and Claire, a demure bookstore owner who finds courage and conviction. When Paul, Rachel, and Claire find themselves confronted by an infamous Nazi collaborator they hide thousands of Jewish refugees in the sprawling network of catacombs underneath the Left Bank of Paris, and giving them new identities and leading them to safety. Together they move forward, outsmarting a ruthless enemy, overcoming obstacles, defying danger, moving farther and faster, almost invincible-until an innocent bystander notices something amiss and their entire world collapses around them.

Critique: A riveting and thoroughly entertaining read from cover to cover, "When Darkness Comes" showcases author John Anthony Miller and his genuine flair for narrative driven storytelling. While highly and unreservedly recommended, especially for community library General Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "When Darkness Comes" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $4.99).

Malthus Revisited
Lin Wilder
Wilder Books
https://www.linwilder.com
9781948018067, $15.75, PB, 294pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Eighteen-year-old Morgan Gardner did not seem like someone who could save the world -- unless you took the time to notice her eyes. And most people didn't.

Morgan's exceptional gifts were known only to her and to the animals she could understand better than people. For a long time, she told no one about her nightmares. Embarrassed and afraid that no one would believe her, Morgan waited until it was almost too late. Then she confided in her mom's best friend, Dr. Lindsey McCall.

Lindsey and her husband Rich had worked hard to reestablish their lives and careers after their last harrowing escapade. Relocated in a beautiful California home and newly reunited with Lindsey's biological daughter LJ, all seemed to be going smoothly -- until an enemy from their past returned with as deadly a plan as they could imagine.

Critique: The fourth novel in author Lin Wilder's popular Lindsey McCall series, "Malthus Revisited combines the innovative medical research with a new and terrifying threat to the world's population that is a biological time bomb. "Malthus Revisited" adds a dystopian element to the evolving Lindsey McCall mystery series. With an underlying premise and theme that could be plucked from tomorrow's newspaper headlines, "Malthus Revisited" is a superbly crafted and reader riveting read from cover to cover. While especially and unreservedly recommended for community library Contemporary Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Malthus Revisited" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $7.99).

Buying Brazil
Arthur J. Rawl
CreateSpace
4900 LaCross Rd., North Charleston, SC 29406
www.createspace.com
9781979020633, $19.99, PB, 538pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: With this first volume in Arthur J. Rawls' "Buying Brazil" trilogy, he provides first hand insight into the tumultuous period immediately after Brazil's Military Dictatorship re-democratized the country's governing institutions. The Dictatorship wrote a new Constitution through which it would shape the future Brazilian way of life according to its own definition.

This fact-based novel is deftly told through the lives and love of two young people caught in this period of near paralyzing uncertainty. Their struggle tears away the murky shadows and shows us the creature that survived the myth of re-democratization to threaten normality. The story builds creating an accurate portrayal of the complexity that was reality in Brazil near the end of the last century and is in many ways in today's Brazil. A clear picture emerges exposing the roles of the military not only in Brazil but across South America since the end of World War II.

First, a heavy hand to bring order to society and second, a visible but unofficial, yet still frightening, guardian of societies' future. Sao Paulo's churning energy will lure the reader into a story that draws upon Brazil's history, ever-changing politics and the strengths and weaknesses driving its complex mix of people to new heights only to fall prey, as many do, to their own fears.

Recognizing Brazil is different in so many ways "Buying Brazil" becomes layered and dangerous as it draws the reader in deeper while remaining as real as today's headlines filled with hopes, the fear of failure and even violent death.

Critique: Richly layered with complex characters embedded in a complicated and narrative driven storyline, "Buying Brazil" is an inherently fascinating and unfailingly entertaining novel that will leave the reader looking eagerly toward the next volume in what promises to be a simply outstanding trilogy. While especially and unreservedly recommended for community library Contemporary General Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Buying Brazil" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $3.49).

Roll the Dice
Wayne Avrashow
Fiery Seas Publishing, LLC
https://www.fieryseaspublishing.com
9781946143327, $18.99, PB, 312pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: "Roll the Dice" by Wayne Avrashow is about what happens when one of America's biggest rock stars leaves the Las Vegas stage to run for the United State Senate.

The ultimate celebrity candidate, Tyler Sloan is no stranger to politics -- his estranged father was a California governor who narrowly lost a Presidential campaign. He runs as a political independent, refuses campaign contributions, and dismisses special interests and lobbyists.

Sloan is caught in a political campaign fraught with; sexual scandal, corruption and conflicting loyalties. Will he be able to navigate through political turbulence and his own past to win the race?

Critique: An impressively entertaining and carefully crafted novel from cover to cover, "Roll the Dice" is an extraordinarily and unreservedly recommended addition to community library Contemporary General Fiction collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Roll the Dice" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $7.19).

The Imam of Time
F. W. Burleigh
Zenga Books
9780996046992 $6.99 pbk
ASIN: B079DHWXFF, $6.99, Kindle, 354pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: "The Imam of Time" by F. W. Burleigh is a powerful work of magical realism in which an Iranian sickened by the injustices he sees all around him wishes he could experience the true Islam of Muhammad and Ali. He is given his wish and is sent back in time to 7th century Arabia, first as a slave and then as Muhammad's scribe. After witnessing Islam's founder commit a series of horrific atrocities, he loses his faith and becomes a warner of what is to come out of Arabia. He is about to be beheaded when he returns to present day Iran in such a way that shows he is the Mahdi -- the long-awaited Imam of Time. But what he has to say to his contemporaries brings the rage of of contemporary Iran's clerical rules down on him a personal martyrdom that results in an unexpected triumph.

Critique: A unique fantasy that combines an Islamic take on 'magical realism' with a compelling, multilayered story that includes romance, adventure, and the introduction to a series of truly memorable characters - some historical but obscure for western readers. A deftly crafted and inherently fascinating novel that reveals author F. W. Burleigh's genuine flair for narrative driven and elegantly presented storytelling, "The Imam of Time" is very highly recommended and truly memorable reading.

Where Triples Go to Die
Phil Hutcheon
Inkwater Press
6750 SW Franklin St. Portland, OR 97223
www.inkwaterpress.com
9781629015149, $19.95, PB, 406pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis, Black superstar Juke Jackson and white counselor Malcolm Wade, each facing relationship crises at home, forge a bond at school as Wade guides Jackson's quest to join the legion of African Americans who transformed our national pastime.

An array of intervening campus issues including date rape, unplanned pregnancy, revenge porn, academic integrity violations, and the aftershocks of war, will keep even readers unfamiliar with The Infield Fly Rule turning the pages to find out what happens next.

Critique: "Where Triples Go to Die" by Phil Hutcheon illuminates the messy intersection of sports, race, and romance in contemporary college life. A deftly written and inherently compelling novel by an author with a genuine flair for crafting memorably irreverent characters embedded in a narrative driven story of humor and pathos from first page to last, "Where Triples Go to Die" will linger in the mind and memory of the reader long after the book itself has been finished and set back upon the shelf. Unreservedly recommended for community library Contemporary Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Where Triples Go to Die" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $4.99).


The Christian Studies Shelf

Is Jesus Serious: A Garro Guide for Christians
Barbara Garro
Cambridge Books
9781613864135, $19.95, PB, 290pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Is Jesus serious about our salvation? After the sacrifice He made to offer us Grace, how can there be any possible doubt? Yet as otherwise dedicated Christians continue to struggle with some of the behaviors Jesus asks of His followers -- and with St. Paul's telling us we are all called to be saints, "Is Jesus Serious: A Garro Guide for Christians " by author, artist, technical writing coach, and corporate executive Barbara Garro provides as a guide to help Christians of all denominational affiliations to find answers to the question of "Is Jesus Serious?" with respect to his Gospel stated expectations of his followers. "Is Jesus Serious: A Garro Guide for Christians " is an impressively well written and presented guide that speaks to personal struggles as Christians, when they work to find a way to meet Jesus's and Paul's expectations.

Critique: As informed and informative as it is inspired and inspiring, "Is Jesus Serious: A Garro Guide for Christians " is unreservedly recommended for personal reading lists, as well as church, seminary, and academic library Christian Studies collections.

CPR for the Soul
Tom Stella
Wood Lake Publishing
www.woodlake.com
9781773430393, $19.95, PB, 248pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Tom Stella has been sharing his spiritual wisdom with the world for years. His previous books include The God Instinct (Sorin Books), A Faith Worth Believing (HarperSanFransico), and Finding God Beyond Religions (SkylightPaths).

Before resigning from the Congregation of Holy Cross in 2009, he ministered to thousands of people in parishes and on campuses for 30 years. He is the co-founder and director of Soul Link Inc., a spiritual director, retreat facilitator, hospice chaplain, and corporate chaplain for Centum Health, a Catholic and Adventist health system headquartered in Denver, Colorado. Stella holds an MDiv degree from the University of Notre Dame, an MA in counseling from the University of Michigan, and an STM in spirituality from the Jesuit School of Theology in Berkeley.

In "CPR for the Soul: Reviving a Sense of the Sacred in Everyday Life" he draws upon his many years of experience and studies to share 'the deep, eternal wisdom that knows the lines separating the sacred and the secular, time and eternity, humanity an divinity' as are commonly held by most people are either blurred or simply false.

Critique: Deftly divided into thirteen sections, "CPR for the Soul" is as thoughtful and thought-provoking as it is inspired and inspiring. An inherently absorbing and potentially life-changing read from cover to cover. While very highly recommended for seminary, community, and academic library Religion/Spirituality collections, and Christian Studies lists in particular, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "CPR for the Soul" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $7.85).


The Gardening Shelf

Don't Repot That Plant!
Will Creed
Button Street Press
www.buttonstreetpress.com
9781939767165, $24.95, PB, 274pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Will Creed has worked professionally caring for plants in the real world of homes and offices in New York City for over 35 years. In the pages of "Don't Repot That Plant!: And Other Indoor Plant Care Mistakes" he draws upon his years of experience and expertise to answer indoor plant care questions that are not answered anywhere else. Simply stated, Creed provides real answers to real questions non-professionals have about caring for their plants.

Included in "Don't Repot That Plant!" are specific care requirements for dozens of the most popular house and office plants. Even the most novice of non-gardeners can learn to care for their home or office plants properly, from buying the right plant for the right place, to preventing or treating disease.

Repotting is rarely necessary. A plant may seem rootbound -- but it loves its pot just the size it is. It is healthy, it is thriving. Contrary to conventional wisdom, repotting a plant isn't always the answer. Instead, Get the light right by making sure to have the right light intensity available for the particular plant species; Learn how much each plant species needs to dry out; Learn to prune; Learn to identify plant pests and treat them early; Don't bother about humidity and fertilizer/plant food.

"Don't Repot That Plant!" will explain it all with step-by-step instructions.

Critique: Thoroughly 'user friendly' in tone, commentary, organization, and presentation, "Don't Repot That Plant!: And Other Indoor Plant Care Mistakes" is unreservedly recommended and will prove to be an immediate and enduringly popular instructional resource for anyone who likes to have plants in their homes and/or offices. "Don't Repot That Plant!: And Other Indoor Plant Care Mistakes" is a unique and essential addition to personal, professional, community, and academic library Gardening/Horticulture instructional reference collections and supplemental studies reading lists.


The Pets/Wildlife Shelf

Sloths: Life in the Slow Lane
Rebecca Cliffe, author
Suzi Eszterhas, photographer
The Sloth Conservation Foundation
9780692864364, $25.00, HC, 144pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Sloth expert Dr. Rebecca Cliffe has teamed up with world renowned wildlife photographer Suzi Eszterhas to produce "Sloths: Life in the Slow Lane", a truly stunning coffee-table formatted study which takes readers on an immersive journey through the jungles of South America to reveal the secret lives of sloths. "Sloths: Life in the Slow Lane" is illustrated through spectacular imagery capturing some of the most intimate and rarely seen moments, while the narrative reveals some of the latest scientific discoveries and provides fascinating insights into the previously unknown habits of these unusual animals. A portion of all proceeds from the sale of "Sloths: Life in the Slow Lane" go towards supporting the work of the Sloth Conservation Foundation.

Critique: Sloths are arboreal mammals noted for slowness of movement and for spending most of their lives hanging upside down in the trees of the tropical rainforests of South America and Central America. A unique, impressively informative, beautifully illustrated, and inherently fascinating read from cover to cover, "Sloths: Life in the Slow Lane" is especially and unreservedly recommended for personal reading lists, as well as community and academic library Wildlife collections in general, and Sloth supplemental studies reading lists in particular.


The Theatre/Cinema/TV Shelf

Mr. Novak: An Acclaimed Television Series
Chuck Harter
BearManor Media
PO Box 71426, Albany, GA 31708-1426
www.bearmanormedia.com
9781629331645, $40.00, HC, 376pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Aired on NBC for two seasons, from 1963 to 1965, the Mr. Novak television series was a landmark in the development of dramatic television. It starred James Franciscus with Dean Jagger and featured cutting-edge scripts, first-class production values and exceptional acting. It was the first television program to portray teachers and students realistically.

Profusely illustrated throughout, "Mr. Novak: An Acclaimed Television Series" by author, musician and popular culture consultant Chuck Harter contains: Comprehensive coverage of the original filming and airdates; An episode guide with vintage reviews and fresh perspectives; Interviews with over 35 actors who appeared on the show including Walter Koenig, Martin Landau, Beau Bridges, Tony Dow, Ed Asner, June Lockhart, and Sherry Jackson; Archival interviews with the series' stars and producers; A complete list of the many awards the series received, and much more.

Critique: Providing a complete profile of what is arguably one of the most groundbreaking and realistic TV series that ever aired, "Mr. Novak: An Acclaimed Television Series" is an impressively informative, exceptionally well written, deftly organized and presented history that is especially and unreservedly recommended for personal, professional, community, and academic library American Television History collections and supplemental studies reading lists.


The Biography Shelf

Clear the Prop!
Elmer Wisherd, author
Nan Wisherd, contributor
Cable Publishing Inc.
www.cablepublishing.com
9780979949470, $18.95, 266pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Many people say that flying in combat is hours and hours of boredom followed by moments of sheer terror. That was certainly true, many times, while Elmer Wisherd served during World War II, because sometimes he flew his military aircraft for 11 hours straight without ever touching the ground.

And there certainly were moments of sheer terror as Elmer flew through skies filled with flak and flying bullets, with other planes exploding all around him or crashing in flaming infernos.

After World War II, aviation became Elmer's life-long career. The personal stories showcased in the pages of "Clear the Prop!" include forced landings, miracle landings, foreigners landing illegally, and planes flying upside down. They show that life was anything but dull at a rural Wisconsin airport during the heyday of private aviation.

Critique: An absolute 'must read' by any and all aviation enthusiasts and World War II military history buffs, "Clear the Prop!" is an extraordinarily entertaining and informative read from cover to cover. Exceptionally well written with the assistance of Nan Wisherd, "Clear the Prop!" is especially and unreservedly recommended for both community and academic library Contemporary American Biography collections in general, and Wisconsin Aviation History supplemental studies reading lists in particular.


The Military Shelf

Keeping the Big Guns Firing
Patrick Goodrow
History Publishing Company LLC
http://historypublishingco.com
9781940773445 $TBA pbk / $8.99 Kindle amazon.com

Synopsis: This is a well written story of one man's experience with the U.S. Marine Corps during two tours in Vietnam during the latter part of the 1960's. The man is a staff sergeant with an Ordinance Maintenance Company charged with keeping the artillery - the big guns, firing. Not an easy thing to do, nor a safe one. The enemy was always quick to dispatch a Marine at his work; a heavy weapon quick to dispatch an unfamiliar technician, and an occasional officer quick to dispatch a subordinate's career to better his own. This is an honest book about men at war doing an unglamourous but dangerous job during a war without clear definition.

Critique: Keeping the Big Guns Firing: The Vietnam Story You Do Not Know is the true-life testimony of an artillery repairman and U.S. Marine Corps sergeant who served in Vietnam in 1965-66, and again in 1969-70. An invaluable glimpse into the workings (and dysfunctions!) of America's war effort, Keeping the Big Guns Firing touches upon topics ranging from the ever-present threat of the Viet Cong, to a narrow brush with death related to a fragging incident ("fragging" is when one soldier kills or attempts to kill another), to divisive racial tensions within the military, and more. Keeping the Big Guns Firing is riveting from cover to cover, and a welcome addition to public and college library military history or Vietnam War collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that Keeping the Big Guns Firing is also available in a Kindle edition ($8.99).


The Criminology Shelf

I, a Squealer
Richard Bruns
Twin Feather Publishing
www.twinfeatherpublishing.com
9780983166559, $17.95, PB, 154pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: It was 1965 and the Beatles, Elvis Presley, and The Righteous Brothers filled the airwaves. Television shows like "The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet" and "The Andy Griffith Show" mirrored the innocence of life in the dusty city of Tucson, Az.

But the sunbaked desert surrounding Tucson was hiding a sinister secret. A psychopath names Charles Schmid, later nicknamed the "Pied Piper of Tucson" by Life Magazine, would steal that innocence away, along with the lives of three beautiful teenage girls.

"I, a Squealer: The Insider's Account of the Pied Piper of Tucson Murders" by Richard Burns is firsthand account written in 1967, that shares the evolution of Burns' friendship with Schmid, the details of getting involved way in over his head, and how he finally summoned the courage to blow the whistle to end the deadly rampage that shocked the nation and changed the city of Tucson forever.

Critique: Written with an impressive candor, "I, a Squealer: The Insider's Account of the Pied Piper of Tucson Murders" is a unique, insightful, and impressively informative account of an authentic serial killer that is unreservedly recommended for both community and academic library Criminology Studies collections, as well as the personal reading lists of non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject.


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


Copyright ©2001

Site design by Williams Writing, Editing & Design