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Love and Valor, updated edition
Charles F. Larimer
9781098339593, $41.99, HC, 668pp
Synopsis: Compiled and deftly edited by Charles F. Larimer, "Love and Valor: Intimate Civil War Letters Between Captain Jacob and Emeline Ritner" is a tremendously moving American story told through actual Civil War letters between Captain Jacob and Emeline Ritner. Their letters tell the story of a Union captain from Iowa and his wife, who maintained a family and farm during the war. The devotion they shared to each other, patriotism, loneliness, and anguish shines through with each word in this heart wrenching correspondence.
Critique: Originally published in 2000, this updated edition includes additional stories and many pictures that Charles Larimer (Jacob and Emeline's great great grandson) has collected since the initial publication some twenty years ago. An invaluable, informative, and welcome addition to community, college, and university library 19th Century American History collections in general, and American Civil War supplemental studies curriculums in particular, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Love and Valor: Intimate Civil War Letters Between Captain Jacob and Emeline Ritner" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).
Editorial Note: Charles F. Larimer has also edited the book "Tales of Dunichity: The Stories of Willie MacQueen" based on tales collected from a distant uncle in Scotland, and The Love and Valor Cemeteries of Henry County, Iowa.
The Health/Medicine Shelf
Dr Maya: Protecting You Protecting Us
Dr. Kadiyali M Srivatsa
9781524629694, $44.86, HC, 396pp
Synopsis: The current COVID-19 pandemic illustrates and documents that all of humanity is now facing mortal enemies that surpasses our intelligence in the form of a tiny microscopic virus that has ripped apart families, bankrupting nations and brought us to our knees.
As the death toll mounts, our greed, over enthusiastic urge to encourage consultations, perform tests, procedures, hospitalization and addiction to antibiotics escalate at an alarming rate. More than 95% of patients with symptoms of COVID-19, were prescribed antibiotics resulting in Superbug Pandemic in tandem, that can kill 10 million people every year by 2050.
Kadiyali M Srivatsa has written "Dr Maya: Protecting You Protecting Us" to share information with the non-specialist general reader about common symptoms and provide information to reduce anxiety, wasted consultation, cross infections in hospital or clinics.
Delay in consultation due to fear of infections, cost, and false assurance offered by family, friends, nurses, and chemist often result in a devastating complication and death. Dr Maya App will teach his readers how to use three symptom combination to help differentiate well from unwell, make informed decision to go to hospital, speak, consult a doctor nurse or chemist only when necessary. The content of this instructional guide provides general information about common medical symptoms and signs.
It should be noted that Dr. Maya is fully updating information in his Dr Maya App. His readers are invited to download this App, register and thereby empower themselves to protect their family, friends and themselves. But a warning -- do not treat this book or the App as a substitute for medical advice offered by your doctor.
Critique: Timely and timeless, informed and informative, thoroughly 'reader friendly' in organization and presentation, given the global COVID-19 pandemic, "Dr Maya: Protecting You Protecting Us" must be considered as essential and core addition to community, college and university library Contemporary Health & Medicine collections. Medical professionals and non-specialist general readers alike should note that "Dr Maya: Protecting You Protecting Us" is also readily available in a paperback edition (9781524629717, $24.95) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $4.99).
Editorial Note: Doctor, inventor and publisher who worked in acute and intensive pediatric care in internationally respected hospitals in UK. In 1996, he published a letter criticizing the use of preprinted questioners, clinical algorithms and managing patients using protocols. In 2003, he started working as a doctor in family practice, teaching nurses to diagnose common illness and prescribe antibiotics. He was assessing nurse prescribers in a pilot nurse-led practice. Here he identified numerous problem and raised concern about the quality of care offered by nurse prescribers and practitioners. Health secretary in UK ignored such warnings and smashed the demarcation barrier between doctors and nurses in 2006. He collected and compiled a list of symptoms that make people anxious and rush to hospital or a clinic. Using the data, he created a simple tool that will reduce access, educate people to share responsibility and reduce the culture of dependency. He integrated his innovation and created "Dr Maya" to initially identify infected individual and isolate them to protect healthcare workers and people. He believes these Apps will break the barrier created by healthcare providers, ease doctor patient communication and systemize healthcare.
What Was I Thinking? Toxic Shock Syndrome
Dr. Patrick M. Schlievert
Dorrance Publishing Company
585 Alpha Drive, Suite 103, Pittsburgh, PA 15238
9781648042461, $15.00, PB, 190pp
Synopsis: Dr. Patrick M Schlievert was in his first year as an assistant professor of Microbiology and Immunology and had spent two years trying to get the medical and scientific communities to recognize that there was a disease called toxic shock syndrome. Because he could not get even the Federal Government to recognize this disease, he started a national news media blitz that became second only to the Iran hostage crisis in 1980. Dr. Schlievert took this chance at great risk to his career because he grew up poor and had to take risks even to stay alive, and because his allegiance was to the American public and not to the biomedical science community.
In "What Was I Thinking? Toxic Shock Syndrome", Dr. Schlievert describes the events in chronological order, including science, a lot of pseudoscience and opinion, and a lot of the incredible politics behind toxic shock syndrome. He also describes the many forms of toxic shock syndrome in order of appearance, including the tampon associated disease and why it happened, non-menstrual toxic shock syndrome, and the flesh-eating streptococcal disease. The book is designed to tell Americans that many parts of their federal healthcare system are broken, including various aspects of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and National Institutes of Health. It is Dr. Schlievert's ultimate hope that Americans will read this book because it is written for them. It will help them take partial responsibility for their own health, and hopefully, they can help reorient the United States healthcare system to do its job, namely help them.
The National Institutes of Health claims that Dr. Schlievert and his colleagues' interest in new diseases and their causes is not sufficient grounds to have funding, to which he would ask everyone: If this is not the number one goal of the National Institutes of Health, what should be? And furthermore, why should this federal bureaucracy exist if that is not the goal? Dr. Schlievert entered the toxic shock syndrome field at its beginning, and he remains here near its end. He wishes he could say the diseases are at an end, but they are not.
Critique: A clarion call to the country about the need to address a major (and sometimes fatal) women's health issue, "What Was I Thinking? Toxic Shock Syndrome" is an extraordinary and unreservedly recommended addition to personal, professional, community, medical school, college and university library Immunology & General Women's Health collections, as well as the personal reading lists of health care providers, government health policy makers, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject of Toxic Shock Syndrome.
The Biography Shelf
The Hotel on St. James Place
9780935437577, $15.95, PB, 186pp
Synopsis: By the early 1970s Atlantic City, New Jersey had seen better days. Its heyday was decades in the past, and the uncertain promise of casinos had not yet become a reality. Shabby, rundown and even seedy were often terms used to describe the once attractive seaside resort city.
Atlantic City was not without its charms, however. The ocean and the steady sea breeze is always hard to resist. The famous Boardwalk with its shops and the Steel Pier still drew visitors. It remained a destination for mostly bargain vacationers. Once in town, travelers mixed with the drug dealers, runaways, pimps, con artists and others to create a strange tapestry.
It was vastly different than the small shtetl in Poland where Holocaust survivors Harry and Sonia Golubcow once lived. That world had been totally destroyed. When they became the proprietors of the Seacrest Hotel on St. James Place, a small walk up hotel situated less than a block from the Boardwalk, they brought their memories with them and maintained their old world ways.
Harry would often say, "Hitler was a strange matchmaker" describing his new life. Indeed, the hotel's colorful clientele became a sort of family, with the couple demonstrating their incredible capacity to interact with strange and quirky quests with empathy and understanding-- adapting to lifestyles so foreign and opposite to their strict Jewish upbringing and alien compared to the horrors that they experienced. Along the way, they became friends, substitute parents, teachers, and in some cases, saviors to those who came to the Seacrest.
Observing all of this is Harry and Sonia's young teenage daughter, Molly. The comings and goings of the Seacrest's unforgettable characters unfold before her like a bizarre soap opera. Each person that passes by Harry's front desk begins a new tale about a Seacrest Hotel guest who made an impression on Molly. Some are sad and others dangerous, but they all have a story to tell. And they lead Molly (and us) into a darker, misfit world of Atlantic City in those days.
Critique: A simply fascinating and deftly crafted blend of memoir and local municipal history, "The Hotel on St. James Place: Growing up in Atlantic City between the Boardwalk and the Holocaust" is an especially and unreservedly recommended addition to community, college and university library American Biography collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Hotel on St. James Place: Growing up in Atlantic City between the Boardwalk and the Holocaust" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $4.99).
The Short Life of Hughie McLoon
9781989555217, $22.95, HC, 220pp
Synopsis: "The Short Life of Hughie McLoon: A True Story of Baseball, Magic and Murder" is set in a time of Prohibition, jazz, and gangland murder. It was also baseball's age of magic, when even Hall of Fame players believed that rubbing the hump of a hunchback guaranteed a hit.
Broken and deformed by a childhood fall from a seesaw, Hughie McLoon never grew taller than forty-nine inches but he made himself one of the lucky ones. He was chosen as the batboy and mascot of the Philadelphia Athletics. Although the team finished last in each of the three seasons that the A's rubbed his hump and Hughie tended their bats, he became a local celebrity. He loved the crowds and they loved him back.
Graduating from batboy to boxing manager, and running his own speakeasy while serving as a secret agent for the Chief of Police, Hughie was the toast of Philly until one summer night in 1928 he was caught in a murderous crossfire outside his tavern. Twenty-six years old, he bled to death on Cuthbert Street. The next day, 15,000 admirers lined up to see his four-foot corpse. The age of magic was now over.
"The Short Life of Hughie McLoon" is author Allen Abel's haunting and stylish biography of the most remarkable and beloved of the baseball mascots, and a new chapter in the complicated mythology of the American dream.
Critique: Exceptionally well written, organized and presented, "The Short Life of Hughie McLoon: A True Story of Baseball, Magic and Murder" is an inherently fascinating biography and one which will prove to be an immediately welcome and enduringly popular addition to community, college and university library 20th Century American Biography collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Short Life of Hughie McLoon: A True Story of Baseball, Magic and Murder" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $8.99).
Editorial Note: Allen Abel has reported from more than 100 countries as an award-winning newspaper columnist and magazine journalist. His work has appeared in Sports Illustrated, Smithsonian, and the Globe & Mail. He has written, produced, and hosted broadcasts and documentaries for HBO, the Discovery Channel, and the CBC, earning an Emmy nomination. He is also the author of "Flatbush Odyssey: A Journey Through the Heart of Brooklyn".
The Old U(VA) and I: 1961-1965
Dorrance Publishing Company
585 Alpha Drive, Suite 103, Pittsburgh, PA 15238
9781649133724, $27.00, HC, 332pp
Synopsis: In his memoir, "The Old U(VA) and I: 1961-1965", Frank Briggs writes an informative and engaging account of his own life as a student during the last years of the "Old U" -- a period that came to a natural end.
His account is rich in details, including the names, dates, and places that will be familiar to anyone who was a student in those days. And he is strikingly candid with respect to his stories of party weekends and road trips and life in the Beta house. These tales ring true because while they are so convincingly his stories, by extrapolation they are also our own stories.
His tales of coming of age, of the courses almost (and not quite) failed, friendships that endured, successes and failures that tied him to the place, and of the love affair that defines his entry into adult life come in powerfully honest forms. Frank shares with every reader his memories while also without arguing the past was better than what came after. That's a rare quality in a tale of growing up, and a good reason to read and follow Frank through the process.
Critique; Exceptionally well written, impressively organized, and thoroughly 'reader friendly' in presentation, "The Old U(VA) and I: 1961-1965" is both a timely and timeless account of a life lived out in an interesting place during an interesting era. While especially and unreservedly recommended for community, college and university library Contemporary American Biography collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Old U(VA) and I: 1961-1965" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).
Raheem 'Mega Ran' Jarbo
1663 Liberty Drive, Suite 200, Bloomington, IN 47403-5161
978166550993, $26.99, HC, 258pp
Synopsis: "Dream Master: From the Stoop to the Stage to the Stars" is a candidly informative memoir in which Raheem "Mega Ran" Jarbo presents his personal and spectacular journey from his humble beginnings in Philadelphia, to college and the classroom, and then how a focus on video games and hip-hop encouraged a complete career shift and propelled him to all the way to stages across the world and ultimately to a Guinness World Record.
Critique: Exceptionally well written, organized and presented, "Dream Master: From the Stoop to the Stage to the Stars" is an inherently fascinating life story and a 'must' for all of Raheem's fans and well-wishers. While especially and unreservedly recommended for community library Contemporary American Biography collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Dream Master: From the Stoop to the Stage to the Stars" is also readily available in a paperback edition (9781665509954, $13.99) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $2.99).
Editorial Note: Raheem "Mega Ran" Jarbo is a Penn State University graduate, a former special education teacher, and a 6X Billboard -Charting Artist with over 10 commercial releases, millions of YouTube views and a Guinness World Record for the most songs to reference a video game franchise.
The General Fiction Shelf
Mountain Lake Press
9798728505952, $21.95, HC, 336pp
Synopsis: Brooke Roper is a beautiful American woman who contemplatively gazes from her apartment balcony at the Italian sky above and the bustling street of Milan below. But her calmness disguises her severe inner turmoil. Brooke feels a growing panic about her station in life and her marriage to Bolton ("Tony") Roper, ostensibly an American businessman who is actually an undercover CIA operative. It is the summer of 1988, and the Cold War is winding down. But Milan remains a hotbed of Soviet agents, and Tony seems deeply involved in an increasingly dangerous situation.
"Bolton Roper" by Jessie Thorpe unfolds via Brooke's recollections of that incident, of her interactions with her two visiting sisters (the oblivious Christina, with whom she shares several adventures in the villages and towns along the Amalfi Coast, in Naples, and in Pompeii; and the imperious Fleur, who startles Brooke into revealing the deepest secret of her marriage) and of her fierce, almost obsessive devotion to her husband, that led her to the two most fateful and drastic decisions of her life.
The unforgettable story of the wife of a spy, "Bolton Roper" is an intensely romantic, deeply haunting journey, both physical and emotional, amid the unique people and lush locations of Italy, within the banal suburbs of Washington, D.C., and at the family home within the bucolic landscape of a small Michigan town.
Critique: A deftly crafted novel by an author with a genuine flair for originality and the kind of narrative driven storytelling style that will keep the reader's fully engaged attention from first page to last, "Bolton Roper" is an extraordinary and unreservedly recommended addition to community library General Fiction collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Bolton Roper" is also readily available in a paperback edition (9798675695744, $16.95) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $4.99).
I Thought You Said This Would Work
Lake Union Publishing
9781542022330, $14.95, PB, 301pp
Synopsis: Widowed Samantha Arias hasn't spoken to Holly Dunfee in forever. It's for the best. Samantha prefers to avoid conflict. The blisteringly honest Holly craves it. What they still have in common puts them both back on speed dial: a mutual love for Katie, their best friend of twenty-five years, now hospitalized with cancer and needing one little errand from her old college roomies.
It's simple: travel cross-country together, steal her loathsome ex-husband's VW camper, find Katie's diabetic Great Pyrenees at a Utah rescue, and drive him back home to Wisconsin. If it'll make Katie happy, no favor is too big (one hundred pounds), too daunting (two thousand miles), or too illegal (ish), even when a boho D-list celebrity hitches a ride and drives the road trip in fresh directions.
Samantha and Holly are following every new turn (toward second chances, unexpected romance, and self-discovery) and finally blowing the dust off the secret that broke their friendship. On the open road, they'll try to put it back together -- for themselves, and especially, for the love of Katie.
Critique: A superbly crafted novel of divorce, friendship and family, "I Thought You Said This Would Work" by Ann Garvin is a truly memorable, original, and unreservedly recommended addition to community library Contemporary General Fiction collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "I Thought You Said This Would Work" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $4.99) and as a complete and unabridged audio book (Brilliance Audio, 9781713560302, $14.99, MP3-CD).
Goodbye, Lark Lovejoy
c/o Spark Point Studio
9781684630738, $16.95, PB, 376pp
Synopsis: Lark is a woman who has lost her husband, and the expiration date has come and gone on her fake-it-till-you-make-it "Happy Mommy Show." Healing her broken family requires drastic measures -- like returning to her hometown in the Texas Hill Country. But she's going to need more than clean air and a pastoral landscape to rebuild a life for her and her young sons.
After years of putting off her dream of becoming a winemaker, Lark puts every cent into a failing vineyard, determined to work through her grief and make a brighter future for her children. The last thing she expects is to fall in love again. Especially not with Wyatt Gifford, an injured Army vet with a past of his own to conquer.
Coming home may not be the reset Lark imagined, but it does take her on a journey filled with humor and reconciliation -- one that prepares her for a courageous comeback.
Critique: With the publication of her new novel, "Goodbye, Lark Lovejoy", author Kris Clink has launched her 'The Enchanted Rock' series (the second title, "Sissie Klein Is Perfectly Normal" scheduled to be published in September, 2021). With its reader engaging themes of Friendship, Divorce, Small Town and Rural Life, "Goodbye, Lark Lovejoy" is a deftly crafted, inherently absorbing, and unfailingly entertaining read from cover to cover. While very highly recommended, especially for community library Contemporary General Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Goodbye, Lark Lovejoy" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.49).
She Made It Matter
9781734823707, $13.95, PB, 258pp
Synopsis: Thirty-six-year-old Amanda Reynolds has it all. She has a loving, successful husband, two beautiful daughters and a perfect, manicured home in a quaint suburb of Chicago. But demons hide where no one looks and Amanda's past is full of them because she is addicted to alcohol and the reasons for her addiction have been buried for years.
One horrifying day, suppressed memories resurface and Amanda drinks herself into a stupor in front of her daughters. Waking up in the hospital, the realization is clear: get clean or lose everything. So Amanda sets off on a daring journey taking her across the US in an attempt to vanquish the demons that have plagued her life.
Will Amanda defeat her alcohol addiction? Will her family forgive her? Can she break away from her past, find her self-worth, and restart again? Can she herself forgive her own past and make her life right again for herself and her family?
Critique: An inherently entertaining and deftly crafted novel from first page to last, "She Made It Matter" showcases author Chiara Talluto's genuine flair for originality, memorable characters, and a thoroughly reader engaging story with an ultimate message of hope and redemption. While especially and unreservedly recommended for community library Contemporary General Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "She Made It Matter" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $4.99).
Bilan's Journey of Hope
Book Baby Publishers
9781792355103, $15.00, PB, 100pp
Synopsis: During a violent uprising, a teenage girl named Bilan is forced to flee her country with her family, leaving everything behind. Afraid and armed with nothing but faith, Bilan struggles to protect her loved ones and find a safe place in the mist of chaos. Based on a true story during the 1991 Somali Civil War, 'Bilan's Journey of Hope' is an story of survival, love for God and family, and hope.
Critique: An inherently riveting read from cover to cover, and all the more impressive when considering it to be the author's debut as a novelist, "Bilan's Journey of Hope" showcases Craig Biorn's genuine flair for the kind of narrative storytelling that immediately engages and entertains with the kind of impact that will linger in the mind and memory long after the novel itself has been finished and set back upon the shelf -- making it an especially and unreservedly recommended addition to community library General Fiction collections.
Don't Make Me Turn This Life Around
Lake Union Publishing
9781542026468, $24.95, HC, 254pp
Synopsis: It's been thirteen years since doctors declared Libby Ross-Velasquez a goner. Yet here all these years later she is cancer free. So why doesn't she feel more alive?
Sure, Libby's husband, Shiloh, has been distant. One of their daughters has a serious health condition. And her father's death hovers over Libby like a rain cloud. Still, this eternal optimist knows she's the winner of the existential lottery.
But when her forced cheer isn't enough to keep her family from catching her blahs, she decides to fly them all to Vieques. The Puerto Rican island is where she and Shiloh fell in love -- and where she decided to fight for her life after her cancer diagnosis. Where better to put their problems into perspective?
Then a tropical storm strikes. Libby pretends everything's fine, even as she fears she's doomed her family. What she can't see is that the worst disaster they've faced may be the best thing that ever happened to them. But first, they have to get through it.
Critique: An impressively crafted and deftly written novel, "Don't Make Me Turn This Life Around" by author Camille Pagan is an inherently compelling read from first page to last. With having a special appeal to readers who appreciate humor and family dynamics, "Don't Make Me Turn This Life Around" is an original and extraordinary addition to community library Contemporary General Fiction collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Don't Make Me Turn This Life Around" is also readily available in a paperback edition (9781542026475, $14.95), in a digital book format (Kindle, $4.99), and as a complete and unabridged audio book (Brilliance Audio, 9781713580898, $24.99, MP3-CD).
Fig Tree Books
9781941493281, $19.95, HC, 352pp
Synopsis: On the occasion of the 15th anniversary of a transformative event in Jacobo's life (the day he was sent to jail) he writes about what happened behind the scenes of the Free Speech Movement which provides the backdrop for a riveting story centered on his emergence into a world he never could have imagined. His recording of those earlier events is the proximate cause of his being arrested. Jacobo is allowed to leave jail under the condition of being drafted, engages in gruesome fighting in Vietnam, and returns to continue his work of chronicling America in the throes of significant societal changes.
"Jacobo's Rainbow" is a story of triumph over adversity (hypocrisy, loss, lies, murder, concealment, prejudice) that is told with vivid descriptions, perceptive insights, humor and sensitivity, which enables the reader to identify with the characters who come to life in a realistic fashion to illustrate who we are, how we behave, and what causes us to change.
Critique: A deftly crafted and inherently fascinating read from first page to last, "Jacobo's Rainbow" by David Hirshberg is an impressively scripted historical and literary novel that is set primarily in the nineteen sixties during the convulsive period of the student protest movements and the Vietnam War. The focus of "Jacobo's Rainbow" is on the issue of being an outsider the 'other' an altogether common circumstance that resonates with readers in today's America. Written from a Jewish perspective, it speaks to universal truths that affect us all.
It can be read on three levels: (1) The story of what it was like to have lived through and been a participant in the Free Speech Movement and the Vietnam War ('The Sixties'); (2) A metaphor for what is going on college campuses today, in terms of the shutting down of speech and the rise of anti-Semitism; and (3) What life is like for the 'outsider.'
While especially and unreservedly recommended for community, college and university library Historical Fiction and Literary Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Jacobo's Rainbow" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).
Laboratory Books LLC
9781946053145, $24.95, HC, 224pp
Synopsis: Enhanced with the inclusion of more than 100 full-color illustrations, "Autograph Album" by Theodore Dawes is a work of social history presenting meticulously researched biographies of everyone who signed an autograph album belonging to the author's great-grandmother in 1890s Boston. In fact, the autograph album is real (a stranger's, purchased on eBay), but the biographies are entirely fictional.
"Autograph Album" is structured around a near-facsimile reproduction of the autograph album of one Annie McFarlane, a young girl who lived between Boston and Vanceboro, Maine, in the late nineteenth century. Autograph albums (a distinct class of artifact long since superseded by school yearbooks) were small keepsake volumes in which young people collected the signatures and well wishes (often expressed in trite sentimental verse) of their classmates, friends, and family. Like most examples, Annie McFarlane's autograph album reveals a suggestive range of inscriptions, from the crude scrawl of Colin A. Chishom (folio 4r) to the florid swirls of Annie Reardon (22v) and the stiff, correct hand of Eva Dockham (27r).
For each of these names and signatures, Dawes has imagined a life story, which appears beneath the corresponding facsimile page. Read together, the fictional biographies reveal the character and family history of an unreliable scholar-narrator (Dawes's alter ego) and offer a darkly humorous view of New England history and culture.
The brilliance and perversity of this literary hoax are underscored by its fine production values: it is printed in full color throughout. "Autograph Album" will appeal to readers who enjoy an inventive wit, and those stamped or scarred by the city of Henry Adams and Albert DeSalvo.
Critique: Exceptional, unusual, engaging, entertaining, unique, engaging, "Autograph Album" is an extraordinarily creative work of exceptional fiction and will prove to be an inherently fascinating read from cover to cover -- making it an unreservedly recommended addition to personal reading lists and community library General Fiction collections.
The Oar of Odysseus
Richard M. Bank
Addison & Highsmith
c/o Histria Books
9781592110889, $29.99, HC, 200pp
Synopsis: Penelope Bauer sips on a margarita, celebrating her acceptance into the graduate Classics program at Boston University, unaware that she will soon become the central player in a bold scheme to save Western Civilization from itself. Of course, like any intelligent young woman in the dark days of 2018, she sees the symptoms of decay all around her, and the waning of the original values of ancient Greece.
The good life for most Americans has become synonymous with the individual drive for wealth and status, acquisitiveness displacing the quest for the classical virtues of wisdom, courage, justice, and the like. Indeed, the small liberal arts college from which she will graduate in a week, has fallen victim to the money grubbing paws of a shady for-profit educational corporation.
Penny's decision to pursue the Classics reflects her growing realization that liberal education may be human kind's last best hope. She and her fellow students at the College of St. Francis had the opportunity to experience, many for the first time, the pleasures of a genuinely good life, a moral or ethical life, liberated from the need to acquire the material symbols of success. Her passionate commitment to live such a life made her the unwitting subject of an ancient prophecy.
She has been watched, studied without her knowledge. Fate has groomed her to participate in a grand adventure, a wild ride of Homeric proportions, with help along the way from an Irish Setter mix named Sappho, and a bevy of strong, intelligent women - Black and brown, Irish and Greek, gay and straight. And like her ancient namesake, the wife of Odysseus, she will have to depend on an abiding love and her courage, the courage of a woman warrior, to see her through the perils of her own Odyssey.
Critique: An inherently fascinating, exceptionally well crafted, and impressively original novel by an author that deftly weaves in elements of magical realism with unexpected and fully reader engaging plot twists and turns with a distinctive and effective narrative storyteller style, "The Oar of Odysseus" by Richard M. Bank (who is a retired Professor of Politics and has taught everything from mathematics to music to ancient Greek, and all manner of political science courses) will prove to be an immediate and enduringly popular addition to personal reading lists, as well as community, college and university library Contemporary Literary Fiction collections.
9780578873657, $9.99, PB, 217pp
Synopsis: Noki is a young man with autism and who is cared for by his elderly father. Noki wants to become a professional boxer -- but given his autism should he be allowed to?
"Noki" by Douglas Farrago is a compelling story about a young man with autism who chooses to put his life on the line and become a professional boxer. Life's circumstances have dictated the reason for him doing this but the lawless world of boxing also has its reasons for embracing Noki as well. And they are not good ones. What few know is that Noki is a savant and can imitate and transform himself into any legendary boxer he wants.
Critique: A deftly written, inherently engaging, thought-provoking, and unique one-of-kind novel, "Noki" by Douglas Farrago will spark a discussion about the limits society places on people with special needs. Knowingly or not. At what point can you allow a person with autism to make major decisions in his life? Maybe it depends on the severeness of his autism or maybe it depends on the risk he is taking? While especially and unreservedly recommended addition to community library Contemporary General Fiction collections, it should be noted that "Noki" is also readily available for personal reading lists in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99). Of special note is author Douglas Farrato's website at www.letnokibox.com
The Historical Fiction Shelf
I Am a Feather
Dorrance Publishing Company
585 Alpha Drive, Suite 103, Pittsburgh, PA 15238
9781649570888, $15.00, PB, 180pp
Synopsis: The world as you know it has gone. Destroyed by a virus so virulent people died where they fell, and skeletons are simply scattered across the ground. Now strangers have arrived and decided to build their home where yours once stood. You must choose; help or force them to leave. Your decision will change the future irrevocably.
America, as we know it today, came precariously close to not existing; the tipping point was the arrival of one man, the much-travelled Native American known as Squanto, who became the fragile link between a group of starving English refugees, Shakespeare's London and the native population.
Nearly 400 years later, Sir Ian McKellen is giving a lecture on Shakespeare in America, when a member of the audience shows him a signature that piques his interest. A few words on old parchment take him on a voyage back in time, that completely overturns everything he thought he knew about the origins of Thanksgiving.
A visually spectacular story, massive in scope that revisits the debate about refugees, not only from a historical perspective but around the very issues that confront us today. The decisions our ancestors made were not just a reaction to what they were confronted with in the here and now but of what they wanted to happen tomorrow. The Pilgrims had a very particular vision of the new world they wanted to create, and the clashes between the vastly different perspectives of natives and refugees had an enormous long-term impact.
Critique: An impressively crafted historical novel, "I Am A Feather" by Lorna Dickinson is based on detailed research and all the historical characters from 1620 are real people. An inherently compelling read from cover to cover, this thoughtful and thought-provoking novel simply asks questions about Squanto's travels and how several hundred years of interaction between America and Europe prior to 1620 would have influenced the fate of the Pilgrim refugees. "I Am A Feather" is especially and unreservedly recommended for community, college and university library Historical Fiction collections.
The Literary Fiction Shelf
Rising and Other Stories
9781952427183, $28.00, HC, 142pp
Synopsis: "Rising and Other Stories" is comprised of a number of short stories in which author Gale Massey illustrates the moments that shape and alter destiny. Bringing each to life through interconnected themes of moving water and a sense of loss, Massey shares with us an unvarnished narrative of a world that objectifies women and the strength and resourcefulness required to attempt to overcome those limitations.
From the panicked mother in Racine who escapes to the ocean and a young girl's last fishing expedition with a dying father in Glass to the inevitable end in Marked and the gamble in Not so Fast, these stories show how simple twists of fate can change a person forever.
Ivy Waters and Long Time Coming both explore the loss of a father in very different ways, and how the identities of the daughters are rooted in those losses. And Elise's life in Rising is told in contrasts as she develops the use of her volition to pull her toward the life she deserves.
Massey's protagonists are everyday folk depicted in stories that explore the scars of redemption (Lucky Girl), despair (Differences), daring (The Train Runner) and longing (Swimaway and Freedom's Just Another Word), a visceral sense of fate (Low Tide), and, most of all, each character's desires and will to live.
These stories will transform you and deepen our view of the world, as Massey helps us discern societal constructs and their acute burdens, and the many ways that people (particularly women and girls) attempt to rise above them.
Critique: Original, deftly crafted, and as entertaining as they are thought-provoking, "Rising and Other Stories" will linger in the mind and memory of the reader long after the last story is read and the book set back upon the shelf. While especially and unreservedly recommended for community, college and university library Contemporary Literary Fiction and LGBTQ Literary collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Rising and Other Stories" is also readily available in a paperback edition (9781952427190, $17.99) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $7.99).
Editorial Note: Gale Massey is also the author of the novel, "The Girl From Blind River" (July, 2018; Crooked Lane Books). Her work has appeared in Lambda Literary, CutBank, CrimeReads, Sabai, the Tampa Bay Times, SawPalm and Tampa Bay Noir. Gale was a Tennessee Williams Scholar at the Sewanee Writers Conference and a fellow at Writers in Paradise, and has served as a panel judge for the Lambda Literary Awards. She has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize in both fiction and nonfiction. She also maintains an informative website at: www.galemassey.com
Destiny Love Jones
N. R. White
Library and Archives Canada
9781777553111, $21.95, PB, 519pp
Synopsis: Uniquely Canadian, "Destiny Love Jones" by Nicole R. White is profound coming-of-age novel that begins in the 1940s and '50s in the rural, coastal town of Cliff Harbour, Nova Scotia. Pearl, Augustine, and Holly are black teens forced to live in the reality of war, segregation, classism, and patriarchy; however, their faith in sisterhood and bond of friendship strengthens and unites them.
As they expand their independence as young women, forging their own paths and finding intimate relationships, the predicaments with the men in their lives only seem to exacerbate their situation, and the strength of their friendship and all things they hold sacred is tested to the cusp of utter devastation.
With an impish twist of irony, forward forty years later in the late '90s, and as fate had once aligned Pearl, Augustine, and Holly's sisterly bond, so it does with Destiny and her friends Olivia and Tiffany. Although society has progressed since the '50s, being a black teen girl in modern times continues to present its unique challenges.
If the pressures of their fractured home lives and the politics of high school aren't stressful enough, the trio's troubles only heighten as they strive to discover themselves, find love, and gain acceptance by those who surround them. Boys of all kinds in the mix only seem to intensify matters as their delicate friendship is continuously challenged beyond their wildest imaginations.
Will their sisterly bond be fortified among adversity, or will they be pulled apart like the women of two generations before them?
Critique: A deftly crafted, multi-layered, memorably thoughtful and thought-provoking novel that clearly showcases author Nicole White's impressively effective narrative storytelling skills, "Destiny Love Jones" is an inherently fascinating and compelling read from cover to cover. While especially and unreservedly recommended for community, college and university library Contemporary Literary Fiction, Black & African American Urban Fiction, and Contemporary Women's Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Destiny Love Jones" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).
Editorial Note: Nicole R. White is a Canadian author who expresses her passion for writing in various forms. Her zeal for books and the art of storytelling emerged at an early age, and she was swept away in the infinite world of imagination and creativity in storybooks. She has written various plays and directed and produced several theatrical productions.
The Last Green Valley
Lake Union Publishing
9781503958760, $27.95, HC, 458pp
Synopsis: In late March 1944, as Stalin's forces push into Ukraine, young Emil and Adeline Martel must make a terrible decision: Do they wait for the Soviet bear's intrusion and risk being sent to Siberia? Or do they reluctantly follow the wolves -- those murderous Nazi officers who have pledged to protect "pure-blood" Germans?
The Martels are one of many families of German heritage whose ancestors have farmed in Ukraine for more than a century. But after already living under Stalin's horrifying regime, Emil and Adeline decide they must run in retreat from their land with the wolves they despise to escape the Soviets and go in search of freedom.
Caught between two warring forces and overcoming horrific trials to pursue their hope of immigrating to the West, the Martels' story is a brutal, complex, and ultimately triumphant tale that illuminates the extraordinary power of love, faith, and one family's incredible will to survive and see their dreams realized.
Critique: A simply riveting read from cover to cover, "The Last Green Valley" is a deftly crafted novel that showcases experienced author Mark Sullivan's exceptional narrative storytelling skills combined with exceptional originality. While especially and unreservedly recommended for community library Biographical/Historical/Literary Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Last Green Valley" is also readily available in a paperback edition (9781503958746, $15.95), in a digital book format (Kindle, $5.99), and as a complete and unabridged audio book (Brilliance Audio, 9781978637627, $19.99, CD).
The Romantic Fiction Shelf
Jean Joachim & Michael Magness
9781950244263, $10.99, PB, 268pp
Synopsis: Abigail Chesney has it all; a husband more loving than she could have dreamt, three healthy children, and a house on thriving farmland. She's happy in her little world until it crashes down around her. Losing almost everything tests Abby in ways she never expected. Can she learn to accept what she can't change and trust those she loves? Relying on help from the people of Fitch's Eddy, a tiny Catskill logging town, Abby discovers her own strength. Will Fate's cruel blows crush her? Or will love give her a new reason to go on?
Critique: Set in the Colonial America of 1786, and co-authored by the writing team of Jean Joachim and Michael Magness, "Abigail's Journey" is a genuinely original, deftly crafted, impressively authentic, and exceptionally entertaining historical romance. While especially and unreservedly recommended for community library Romance Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Abigail's Journey" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $4.99).
The Seat Filler
9781542025713, $12.95, PB, 319pp
Synopsis: The meet-cute award goes to dog groomer Juliet Nolan. It's one of Hollywood's biggest nights when she volunteers as a seat filler and winds up next to movie heartthrob Noah freaking Douglas. Tongue tied and toes curling in her pink Converse, she pretends that she doesn't have a clue who he is. It's the only way to keep from swooning.
She's pretty and unpretentious, loves his dog, and is not a worshiping fan. No way Noah's giving up on her, even if his affectionate pursuit comes with a bump: Juliet has a pathological fear of kissing and the disappointments that follow. What odds does romance have without that momentous, stupendous, once-in-a-lifetime first smooch? Patient, empathetic, and carrying personal burdens of his own, Noah suggests a remedy: they rehearse.
The lessons begin. The guards come down. But there's another hitch they weren't betting on. As for that cue-the-orchestra-and-roll-credits happy ending? It might take more than practice to make it perfect!
Critique: An emotionally satisfying romance novel by an author with a genuine flair for combining originality with a particularly effective style of narrative storytelling, "The Seat Filler" by Sariah Wilson is an extraordinary and unreservedly recommended addition to community library Contemporary Romance Fiction collections. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of all dedicated romance fans that "The Seat Filler" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $4.99) and as a complete and unabridged audio book (Brilliance Audio, 9781713551614, $14.99, MP3-CD).
The Mystery/Suspense Shelf
Lies We Bury
Thomas & Mercer
9781542026192, $15.95, PB, 303pp
Synopsis: Two decades ago Marissa Mo escaped a basement prison -- the only home she'd ever known. At twenty-seven, Marissa has moved beyond the trauma and is working under a new name as a freelance photographer. But when she accepts a job covering a string of macabre murders in Portland, it's impossible for Marissa not to remember.
Everything is eerily familiar. The same underground lairs. Sad trinkets and toys left behind, identical to those Marissa had as a child. And then there is the note meant just for her that freezes Marissa's blood: See you soon, Missy.
To determine the killer's next move, Marissa must retrieve her long-forgotten memories and return to a past she's hidden away. But she won't be facing her fears alone. Someone is waiting for her in the dark.
Critique: All the more impressive when considering that "Lie We Bury" is author Elle Mar's debut as a novelist, this is an inherently fascinating and compulsive page turner of a read with many a chilling and thrilling plot twist. While highly recommended for community library Mystery/Suspense/Thriller collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Lies We Bury" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $4.99) and as a complete and unabridged audio book (Brilliance Audio, 9781713523635, $14.99, MP3-CD).
9781647346560, $17.00, PB, 302pp
Synopsis: It's two in the morning when a domestic disturbance brings Finn O'Brien to an artists' colony on the frayed edges of the City of Angels. Housed in an abandoned brewery, the concrete fortress looms like a dystopian portal to hell. Inside the detective finds a bizarre gathering of Los Angeles elites, a man in a rage, and a young woman beaten to death, her face obliterated. As he hunts a killer, Finn finds himself in a surreal world where art and science create strange bedfellows, money and desire birth shameful descendants, and the deadliest relationships of all are the most intimate.
Critique: A carefully crafted crime thriller of a novel involving politics and conspiracy, "Intimate Relations" by Rebecca Forster is an inherently riveting and compulsive page turner of a read from cover to cover. While especially and unreservedly recommended for community library Contemporary Mystery/Suspense collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Intimate Relations" is also readily available in an inexpensive digital book format (Kindle, $0.99).
9781950948406, $26.99, HC, 412pp
Synopsis: In the shadows of New York City lies forbidden North Brother Island, where the remains of a shuttered hospital hide the haunting memories of century-old quarantines and human experiments. The ruins conceal the scarred and beautiful Cora, imprisoned by contagions and the doctors who torment her.
When Finn, a young urban explorer, arrives on the island and glimpses the enigmatic woman through the foliage, intrigue turns to obsession as he seeks to uncover her past--and his own family's dark secrets. By unraveling these mysteries, will he be able to save Cora? Will Cora meet the same tragic ending as the thousands who've already perished on the island?
"The Vines" deftly intertwines North Brother Island's horrific and elusive history with a captivating tale of love, betrayal, survival, and loss.
Critique: Fully showcasing author Shelley Nolden's impressive and narrative driven storytelling talents as a novelist, "The Vines" is a masterpiece of historical and medical themed fiction and an inherently engaging read from cover to cover. While especially and unreservedly recommended for community library General Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Vines" is also readily available for personal reading lists in a digital book format (Kindle, $12.99).
9781734516043, $13.99, PB, 336pp
Synopsis: Kate Medina had been working as a forensic psychologist and loving every minute until a violent attack left her shaken to the core. Retreating to her hometown where it's safe, she accepts a job where the prospect of violence is slim to none. As a high school psychologist, Kate tends to the emotional needs of the students. It's not the career she envisioned for herself.
Five years later, a student disappears, leaving the school in crisis and Kate at the helm of another traumatic event. Roman Aguilar, the lead detective, reaches out to Kate for assistance. Kate's position at the school and her training make her an ideal ally, but her complicated relationship with Roman puts them at odds.
When the girl's body is found, changing the focus of the investigation to homicide, Kate finds herself in the middle of a situation she never anticipated. What started as her desire to help puts Kate directly in the crosshairs of an enemy who remains largely in shadows. As her past and present collide, Kate is dragged into the middle of a dangerous game where only one thing is clear-no one can be trusted.
Critique: A deftly crafted psychological thriller of a read from first page to last, "Complicit" by author Amy Rivers is an impressively original and extraordinarily recommended addition to community library Contemporary Mystery/Suspense collections. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of dedicated suspense fiction fans that "Complicit" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $3.99).
9781732478923, $16.95, PB, 243pp
Synopsis: Urbane, vain Nick Montaigne has a taste for Porsches, fifties jazz, and cinnamon chewing gum. When a beautiful Georgia coed is brutally murdered on the Appalachian Trail, detective Montaigne and his lovable but awkward partner Vern Wister are pulled into terra incognita. Montaigne not only has to hobnob with tennis studs at an elite university, and match wits with an arrogant attorney while bedding the man's ex-wife, he also has to keep trail dirt out of his Italian shoes, all while solving a murder and disappearance.
Critique: A deftly crafted mystery novel replete with suspense and unexpected cliff-hanger style plot twists, "Black Jacknife" by Peter Kurtz showcases an author with an impressive flair for humor, originality, and the kind of narrative driven storytelling style that makes for a truly entertaining and memorable read from first page to last. While especially and unreservedly recommended for community library Contemporary Mystery/Suspense collections, it should be noted for the personal reading lists of all dedicated mystery buffs that "Black Jacknife" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $4.99).
The Business Shelf
9781989603925, $24.95, HC, 272pp
Synopsis: In today's pandemic impacted economy, marketers need a new strategy to earn trust, act with transparency, and help consumers and citizens make confident decisions. But undermining confidence is cynicism: it erodes trust in the media, government, public institutions, and consumer brands. To regain the trust of consumers and citizens, marketers talk about empathy and authenticity. But how do you get beyond those buzzwords? Give more control to your audience -- and they'll put more trust in you.
It might be a scary proposition, but trading control for confidence fuels a surprising range of high-performing organizations. Airbnb, Zoom, the FBI, TED, the United Kingdom Government Digital Service, The New York Times, America's Test Kitchen, local election commissions, and other organizations have all embraced strategies of content and design that transform their audiences into empowered decision-makers. Smart organizations teach their audiences to evaluate product options, engage in continuous self-education, and make more informed choices.
Examining what works among these teams of all stripes and sizes, content strategy expert Margot Bloomstein casts a broad net to capture the experiences of copywriters, designers, creative directors, and CMOs (people who work to build trust through imagery, editorial style, storytelling, and retail design) in the pages of "Trustworthy: How the Smartest Brands Beat Cynicism and Bridge the Trust Gap".
In an actionable framework focused on voice, volume, and vulnerability, "Trustworthy" will teach you how to employ concrete tactics to help your brand regain trust, respect, and customer loyalty. Lead your organization and audience from cynicism toward something far more productive -- hope.
Critique: Expertly written, deftly organized, thoroughly 'reader friendly' in presentation, impressively informative, and a thoroughly comprehensive "DIY" instruction guide, "Trustworthy: How the Smartest Brands Beat Cynicism and Bridge the Trust Gap" is an especially and unreservedly recommended addition to professional, corporate, community, college and university library Business Management collections and supplemental studies curriculum lists. It should be noted for MBA students, academia, corporate executives, entrepreneurs, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "Trustworthy: How the Smartest Brands Beat Cynicism and Bridge the Trust Gap" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.95).
Editorial Note: Margot Bloomstein is the author of Content Strategy at Work: Real-World Stories to Strengthen Every Interactive Project and the principal of Appropriate, Inc., a brand and content strategy consultancy based in Boston. For more than twenty years, Bloomstein has led workshops, keynoted conferences, and advised marketing teams around the world. She developed the popular message architecture-driven approach to content strategy and created BrandSort, a tool embraced by consultancies to help their clients clarify their communication goals. She also advises Women Talk Design, a platform for speakers in design, and teaches in the graduate program at FH Joanneum University in Graz, Austria. She maintains an informative website at www.appropriateinc.com
9781631611025, $19.99, PB, 116pp
Synopsis: Using the principles comprising "Profit Wise: How to Make More Money in Business by Doing the Right Thing", author and entrepreneur Jeff Morrill (who built businesses from scratch in automotive retail, real estate, telecommunications, and insurance that generate over $100,000,000 in annual revenue) reveals the secrets to building highly profitable businesses including how to create systems and procedures that produce profits automatically by focusing on doing the right thing every time.
The message laid out in "Profit Wise" is the you really can outsell your competitors without selling out your integrity. Contrary to popular belief, taking the high road really is the straightest path to the bottom line. You'll learn how to earn more profits consistently in business while staying true to your values. "Profit Wise" offers a wealth of insights you can apply immediately to improve your business, have more fun, and serve others.
Of special note is that "Profit Wise" comes with free online access to bonus chapters for beginners who want to start a successful, ethical business the right way. You also get dozens of free worksheets, checklists, and templates you can use in your business to create better systems and better results starting today.
Critique: An inherently absorbing, thoughtful and thought-provoking read from cover to cover, "Profit Wise: How to Make More Money in Business by Doing the Right Thing" is an extraordinary combination of DIY instruction manual and inspiring motivational encouragement, making an especially and unreservedly recommended addition to community, corporate, college and university library Business Management & Public Relations collections. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of entrepreneurs, business managers, corporate executives, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "Profit Wise: How to Make More Money in Business by Doing the Right Thing" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $4.99).
The Christian Studies Shelf
Rory Groves, author
Front Porch Republic Books
9781725274150, $40.00, HC, 318pp
Synopsis: With over thirty thousand occupations currently in existence, workers today face a bewildering array of careers from which to choose, and upon which to center their lives. But there is more at stake than just a paycheck!
For too long, work has driven a wedge between families, dividing husband from wife, father from son, mother from daughter, and family from home. Building something that will last requires a radically different approach than is common or encouraged today.
In the pages of "Durable Trades: Family-Centered Economics That Have Stood The Test Of Time", Rory Groves (author and technology consultant, and the founder of multiple software businesses) uncovers family-centered professions that have endured the worst upheavals in history (including the Industrial Revolution) and continue to thrive today. Through careful research and thoughtful commentary, Groves offers another way forward to those looking for a more durable future.
Critique: From a uniquely Christian perspective, impressively informative, exceptionally well written, thoughtful and thought-provoking, "Durable Trades: Family-Centered Economics That Have Stood The Test Of Time" is an especially and unreservedly recommended addition to community, church, college and university library Home Based Small Business, Professional Growth, and Christian Ethics collections and supplemental studies curriculums. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of seminary students, clergy, academia, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "Durable Trades: Family-Centered Economics That Have Stood The Test Of Time" is also readily available in a paperback edition (9781725274143, $25.00) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).
You Can TRUST Him
Joan E. Murray
2301 Lucien Way, Suite 415, Maitland, FL 32751
9781632216182, $16.49, PB, 256pp
Synopsis: Do you have difficulty trusting some people? How about God? Can you really trust Him? Have you ever asked yourself why it is so hard to TRUST? There are many of us who struggle with trusting others. One of the reasons for this is that often, the people we trusted to watch over and care for us; failed us. Their abandonment left deep wounds and scars in our souls. As a result, some of us believe that just like these people, God cannot be trusted.
"You Can TRUST Him: Anchoring Your Hope in God During Difficult Times" by Joan E. Murray is an in-depth journey into inspirational, personal, and Biblical stories that will help you find trust truths in the midst of pain, difficulties, or hardships. You will discover that God is with you, and you can trust Him in the storms.
In the pages of "You Can TRUST Him", you will find answers to help you navigate through the painful seasons of life. Using these powerful stories, Joan reveals deep truths about God's love, compassion, and care for each of His children. Through these inspirational, personal, and Biblical stories, Joan takes you deep into the lives of many people who were unsure they could survive their painful struggles. They learned to trust God, and were victorious. You will be too.
These stories will inspire and encourage you as you make the decision to trust God completely, because He can be TRUSTED.
Critique: Inspired and inspiring, "You Can TRUST Him: Anchoring Your Hope in God During Difficult Times" is especially and unreservedly recommended, not only to all members of the Christian community regardless of denominational affiliations, but to anyone struggling with the concept of a loving God when surveying the current condition of the world in general, and their own lives in particular. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "You Can TRUST Him: Anchoring Your Hope in God During Difficult Times" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $8.99).
Editorial Note: Joan E. Murray is the Founder and CEO of Joan Murray Ministries and Seeds of Hope Worldwide Missions. She is an international Bible teacher, pastor, author, and missionary. She has traveled extensively around the world to minister and serve those in need.
The Metaphysical Studies Shelf
Vivien Singer Schapera
FourWinds Academy Press
9780970980922, $24.95, HC, 272pp
Synopsis: The underlying message throughout "Everyday Magic" by Vivien Singer Schapera is that every day, Magic is within our reach and we should simply allow it to happen. Everyday Magic will strike us in a sweet spot we probably did not even know we had.
An elegant memoir, Vivien relates how the spirit world guided her, through growing up in the Apartheid South Africa of 1960 1990, with an LGBTQ brother, through coming to the USA, and founding FourWinds Academy, a school for training healers.
"Everyday Magic" is an informative guide that takes readers on a journey of spiritual discovery which will yield fresh insights into their own lives. Drawing upon her studies of Psychology and utilizing the Alexander Technique as her launch pad, Vivien shares her spirit-inspired exploration of holistic lifestyles, psychotherapy, bodywork, martial arts, healing, crystals, intuition and shamanism, learning from celebrated teachers such as Melody, Michael Harner and Brian Weiss.
Vivien also shows how all roads lead to empowerment; and her message is uplifting: magic is within your reach and mine, every day. Allow it to happen.
Critique: A deftly written, exceptionally well presented, impressively informed and informative blending of personal memoir and an insightful study of the role of metaphysics (magic) in our daily lives, "Everyday Magic" by Vivien Schapera is an extraordinary and welcome addition to personal, professional, community, college and university library Metaphysical Studies collections and supplemental studies curriculum lists.
Editorial Note: Vivien Singer Schapera is certified in Psychology, Alexander Technique, Crystal Healing, Past-Life Regression, Medical Intuition and is a Third Degree Black Belt. She shares this knowledge through her private practice as a teacher and healer, and by training others as Alexander teachers, healers and martial arts instructors.
The Psychology Shelf
Sarah Zabel Enterprises
9781735845401, $28.85, HC, 432pp
Synopsis: A depressed patient rides his bicycle through the night, returning the next day without his depression. Researchers testing a new anti-tuberculosis drug note that their test subjects
(although they are dying) are inexplicably happy. A PhD student investigating the source of noise in an imaging signal realizes he is seeing a high-level organization of brain function.
In the pages of "Fighting Chance: How Unexpected Observations and Unintended Outcomes Shape the Science and Treatment of Depression" Sarah Zabel takes the reader inside the circuitous search for the causes and cures for depression, the leading cause of ill health and disability world-wide. A surprisingly human tale of failed experiments and unanticipated victories, "Fighting Chance" reveals many of the people and experiences behind the modern approach to understanding and treating depression.
The story begins with the serendipitous discovery of antidepressant medications, an unexpected advance that encouraged psychiatrists to reconceive major depression as an illness rather than an emotional state. The discoveries pile on, showing depression's relationship with stress, inflammation, circadian rhythms, and more. As scientists work to make sense of these observations and advance the biology of depression, they are also learning about vulnerability and resistance, and the process of recovery.
From its underpinnings in cellular neuroscience to current research efforts, "Fighting Chance" is a scientific journey inside depression. Incorporating the voices of researchers making fundamental discoveries about depression, physicians fighting to bring the most advanced treatment options to their patients, and ordinary people struggling for relief from their illness.
Critique: An inherently fascinating and impressively informative medical history of treating chronic depression, schizophrenia, biopolar disorder, and related psychological ailments, "Fighting Chance: How Unexpected Observations and Unintended Outcomes Shape the Science and Treatment of Depression" is a truly seminal study that is exceptionally well written, organized and presented. While especially and unreservedly recommended for community, college and university library History of Psychology and History of Medicine collections, it should be noted for the personal reading lists of students, academia, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "Fighting Chance" is also readily available in a paperback edition (9781735845432, $16.50) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).
The Self-Help Shelf
9798553733766, $9.99, PB, 194pp
Synopsis: In the pages of "Feeling Forwards: How to become the person who has the life you want", Elizabeth Gould reveals how the secrets of quantum science can be used to harness the incredible power of your emotions to overcome any obstacle and bid farewell your negative habits, release painful beliefs and tune into the power of your infinite potential.
Elizabeth's writing showcases her incredible understanding of the human spirit through decades of interviewing and coaching successful entrepreneurs, reviewing the original research in hundreds of scientific experiments and combining this knowledge with her own real-life stories of thriving through several life-threatening events and dramatic personal upheavals.
Illuminating and adventurous, refreshing and real, "Feeling Forwards" is the ultimate guide to help you create the life you want to live instead of being stuck in a life you are not enjoying, unable to reach your full potential. "Feeling Forwards" also teaches you how to become the person who has the life you want today, because as Elizabeth reveals, "Today is the past of your future."
Critique: Thoroughly 'user friendly' in commentary style, organization and presentation, "Feeling Forwards: How to become the person who has the life you want" is an ideal DIY instruction guide and manual that will be an immediately appreciated and enduringly valued addition to personal, professional, and community library Self-Help/Self-Improvement collections. It should be noted that "Feeling Forwards: How to become the person who has the life you want" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $6.99).
Editorial Note: Elizabeth Gould can be followed on Facebook - @ElizabethGouldOfficial and on
James A. Cox
Midwest Book Review
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