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Heroes Of Annapolis
Northampton House Press
9781937997861, $17.95, PB, 304pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: David Poyer is a Naval Academy graduate, retired naval officer, and Distinguished Visiting Writer at USNA. His novels have been required reading in the Literature of the Sea course there, along with those of Joseph Conrad and Herman Melville.
Poyer has spent thousands of hours researching articles for Shipmate, the U.S. Naval Academy's magazine, of which he is the contributing editor. Extensively footnoted, these extraordinary stories of adventure and courage span American history from the Civil War to the War on Terror.
"Heroes Of Annapolis: The True Stories of Fourteen Graduates of the U.S. Naval Academy, from the Civil War to the War on Terror" sheds light on corners of history that still affect us today. For example, our huge prison population can be traced to Richmond P. Hobson, the force behind today's draconian drug sentences. Merian C. Cooper was both an air ace in World War One and the direction of the iconic KING KONG. Philo McGiffin, a prankster at the Academy, became a high-ranking officer in the Imperial Chinese Navy, surveying many of the islands China claims today.
Other graduates held bridges under fire, sacrificed their lives to save shipmates, shot down snipers with pistols, rescued fellow aviators on enemy territory, advised presidents, led Iraqi militias, and much, much more. But Poyer tries not to engage in hero worship. Some of his subjects weren't good fathers, sons, or family men. Others didn't always act as nobly later in life as they once had.
Still, for at least one shining moment, each of the men and women profiled stood on the mountaintop, and made the difficult choice: To risk it all, for flag, country, honor, and those they led into battle.
Critique: A simply fascinating series of succinct and informative biographical sketches that collectively provide insight into the history and impact of Annapolis upon fourteen of its graduates and, in turn, their impact upon the lives of others, "Heroes Of Annapolis: The True Stories of Fourteen Graduates of the U.S. Naval Academy, from the Civil War to the War on Terror" is an extraordinary, unique, and unreservedly recommended addition to community, college, and university library collections. Of special note is the Introduction written by J. William Middendorf II who was a former Secretary of the Navy. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Heroes of Annapolis" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $7.99).
Editorial Note: David Poyer graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1971. He wrote as an active duty naval officer and a naval reserve captain; his service included duty in the Atlantic, Arctic, Pacific, Caribbean, and Persian Gulf area prior to his retirement from the Navy in July 2001. Poyer began writing in 1976 and as of 2011 had published more than thirty novels. (Wikipedia)
Little House on the Wasteland
9781733865500 $6.99 Kindle amazon.com
Synopsis: Once, there was a little girl named Laura who lived in an abandoned cabin deep in the big woods of what was once Wisconsin. Laura was born many years after the Great Bust. Elsewhere, war and hunger and disease still linger. But Laura and her family live safe in their little house in the wilderness, growing their own food, making their own tools, and scavving their own Supplies. Then, one winter, as refugees from the east begin pouring into the nearby market town, Laura and her family are forced to migrate westward towards the dry, unpopulated flatlands known as the Wastes.
On their journey, Laura encounters the marvelous ruins left over from Lectric Times and meets the diverse peoples who inhabit the former domains of the Old Merican Empire. But there are dangers as well on the long road between the Big Woods and the Wastes, for the wild country in which Laura grew up was one still plagued by warlords, cannibals, and a terrible sickness that turns men into monsters...
Critique: Inspired by the classic novel "Little House on the Prairie" yet infused with a touch of darkness, Little House on the Wastleland is set in a post-apocalyptic land that was once America. Laura and her family are accustomed to living off the land, but an influx of refugees drives them to migrate to the Wastes. In addition to natural hazards, Laura and her family must contend with warlords, cannibals, and a horrifying disease that twists humans into monsters! A vivid, dystopian portrayal of not only the struggles of survival, but also the close bonds of family, Little House on the Wasteland is thoroughly captivating from cover to cover. Highly recommended.
The Cookbook Shelf
The Healing Soup Cookbook
Cara Harbstreet & Julie Harrington
9781641526906, $16.99, PB, 200pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: Collaboratively compiled by Cara Harbstreet (who is a registered dietitian the
owner/operator of Street Smart Nutrition www.streetsmartnutrition.com, which provides nutrition coaching and counseling to clients in Kansas City and beyond) and Julie Harrington (who is a registered dietitian and chef. She is the creator and owner of Julie Harrington Consulting LLC julieharringtonrd.com where she shares nutrition expertise and showcases simple and delicious recipes), "The Healing Soup Cookbook: Hearty Recipes to Boost Immunity and Restore Health" includes: 90+ soup recipes ranging from tomato soup to chili and Asian noodle bowls, the tasty one-pot dishes in this soup cookbook are sure to satisfy your cravings -- as well as help you heal with anti-inflammatory ingredients.
Whether you want to make your own or just pick some up at the grocery store, this soup cookbook has all the information you need to make sure you're using the right broth.
Featuring information at a glance, with "The Healing Soup Cookbook", anyone can now pick the perfect soup for themselves along with complete nutrition information and helpful labels that tell whether a soup is vegetarian, gluten-free, freezer-friendly, and more!
Critique: A thoroughly 'kitchen cook friendly' compendium of palate pleasing, appetite satisfying, nutritionally impressive soup recipes, "The Healing Soup Cookbook: Hearty Recipes to Boost Immunity and Restore Health" is unreservedly endorsed and recommended addition to personal, family, professional, and community library cookbook collections. It should be noted that "The Healing Soup Cookbook" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $6.99).
The Pets/Wildlife Shelf
Hunting Laika Breeds of Russia
c/o Dorrance Publishing Company
585 Alpha Drive, Suite 103, Pittsburgh, PA 15238
9781644266960, $40.00, HC, 198pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: All hunting Laika breeds originated out of primitive aboriginal dogs of the peoples of northeastern Europe and Siberia. In "Hunting Laika Breeds of Russia", Vladimir Beregovoy proposes a concept of primitive aboriginal dogs (www.laikabreeds.com).
In modern times, any aboriginal dog of the Old World, once adopted by a kennel club, becomes subject to change by "tender loving care," restricted freedom, and breeding in isolation to standards invented by experts from dog shows. General trends Beregovoy notices are reduction of natural variation, enhancing "trademarks" of the breed, and exaggeration of certain features perceived as beautiful. Behavior and traits needed in hunting, such as agility, stamina, and physiology, are never seen by dog judges.
Maria G. Dmitrieva-Sulima, the first expert in Russian Laikas, lived and worked during the dawn of dog shows in Russia (late nineteenth to the early twentieth century). She was very skeptical on the value of showing without testing at hunting. Now, over 100 years later, Beregovoy's opinion on this matter is the same.
Critique: Impressively informed and informative, "Hunting Laika Breeds of Russia" is exceptionally well written, expertly organized and accessibly presented, making it unreservedly recommended for professional, community, and academic library collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Hunting Laika Breeds of Russia" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $39.00).
The Biography Shelf
By Way of Canarsie
9780578527123, $17.95, PB, 272pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: While growing up in the Canarsie section of Brooklyn, New York during the '70s and '80s, Robert Cuccurullo and his siblings had to endure their father's violent temper. Robert's brother Warren found solace in music, first joining Frank Zappa's band, then co-founding the group Missing Persons, and eventually becoming the lead guitarist for Duran Duran.
Following an encounter with a violent sociopath and witnessing a mob murder, Robert became a heavy drug user by the age of sixteen. By his twenties, with his cocaine use spiraling out of control, he got involved with associates of the Lucchese Crime Family and found himself the target of a corrupt police detective.
Desperately seeking to escape the neighborhood, Robert volunteered to serve in Operation Desert Storm, where he witnessed death and destruction on an unimaginable scale. Suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress, his drug woes continued as he experienced one life-changing event after another. Following a felony arrest and facing eight years in prison, Robert was forced to confront his demons.
Critique: "By Way of Canarsie" is an inherently compelling, impressively candid, and innately personal memoir that dramatically reflects the human condition and a persevering struggle to overcome incredible odds. Exceptionally well written, organized and presented, "By Way of Canarsie" is unreservedly recommended for both community and academic library Contemporary American Biography collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "By Way of Carnarsie" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $4.99).
From the Streets of Brooklyn to Trainer to the Stars
Hit The Mark Books
9781733520409, $19.95, PB, 237pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: An accomplished trainer of Thoroughbred racehorses, John Parisella grew up on the streets of post-Depression, post-war Brooklyn. The son of a bookmaker and shylock, he began playing the horses at Aqueduct and Belmont while in high school. He became the protege of fellow New Yorker and Hall of Fame trainer, John Campo. Parisella ran horses at thirty-eight tracks and half the Thoroughbreds he sent to the post finished in the money. His most famous horse, Simply Majestic, once ran faster than the great Secretariat.
Parisella also enjoyed over five decades of adventures with the biggest names in sports and entertainment. In the early 1970s he appeared twice on "The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson," and on his second appearance was proclaimed the "Trainer to the Stars" by actor Jack Klugman because, at that time, Parisella was training horses for a stable of movie stars that included Klugman, Caan and Telly Savalas. He went drinking with Mantle; cajoled Steinbrenner into helping Joe Pepitone and lived with James Caan at the height of Caan's fame; became Pitino's close friend and was the intermediary with the New York Knicks as he orchestrated Pitino's move to become head basketball coach at the University of Kentucky; and, as Bethenny Frankel's stepfather, was the father-figure in the future Reality TV star's life as she was growing up.
The long list of notable figures with whom Parisella was connected includes "Broadway Joe" Namath, Presidential candidate Barry Goldwater, iconic actor James Stewart, lead singer Bono of the mega-group U2, former Kentucky Gov. Brereton Jones, and New York City shock jock Howard Stern as they, too, are among the many stars within Parisella's almost-unimaginable orbit. He was even befriended by John A. Gotti, son of the man called The Teflon Don, mob boss John J. Gotti.
John Parisella lived faster than his horses ran, burning through millions of dollars as a result of his generosity and profligate spending. Diagnosed with bipolar disorder, he endured addictive behaviors associated with the condition, including drug abuse and compulsive gambling.
Critique: An inherently fascinating and colorful life story, "From the Streets of Brooklyn to Trainer to the Stars: John Parisella's Lifetime of Celebrity Connections" will prove to be an immediate and enduringly popular addition to both community and academic library Contemporary American Biography collections. Exceptionally well written, organized and presented, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "From the Streets of Brooklyn to Trainer to the Stars" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).
I Can't Believe I Lived the Whole Thing
9790692081227, $19.95, PB, 299pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: His famous Alka Seltzer TV commercials had the whole world saying, "I can't believe I ate the whole thing" and "Try it, you'll like it."
"I Can't Believe I Lived the Whole Thing: A Memoir From the Golden Age of Advertising" is a fun, fast-paced, and often hilarious memoir in which Howie Cohen gives us a front row seat to those amazing revolutionary times: how pot and the pill opened the doors (and everything else) to sexual and creative freedom; the creative takeover by mensch-y Jewish copywriters and macho Italian art directors; the disruption of ad campaigns like "the dumb shoe" and "the exploding clown"; the madness of Hollywood movie moguls; the sacrifices, the struggles, the wins and the losses.
"I Can't Believe I Lived the Whole Thing" chronicles Howie's personal journey from The Bronx to the Clio Hall of Fame in an era that changed the look and the language of American pop culture.
Critique: A deftly written and candidly personal life story that blends humor and insight with an inherently fascinating insider's account of the advertising industry and its impact upon American popular culture, "I Can't Believe I Lived the Whole Thing: A Memoir From the Golden Age of Advertising" is unreservedly recommended for both community and academic library Contemporary American Biography collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "I Can't Believe I Lived the Whole Thing" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $7.99).
13 Pieces of Unmatched Luggage ...And My Poodle
William Charles Publisher
9781733742726, $29.95, HC, 208pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: Bernardo Puccio is one of California's foremost interior designers, with an acclaimed and illustrious career that spans more than 50 years. He lives with his lifetime partner of 32 years and husband of 11 years, Orin Kennedy, on the Wilshire Corridor in Los Angeles, and the pair are the subjects of the award-winning documentary, "An Ordinary Couple".
All the more impressive when considering that "13 Pieces of Unmatched Luggage ...And My Poodle: A Story of Survival" is Bernardo's debut as an author. The quality and candor of his inherently fascinating memoir showcase powerful stories of courage, faith, gay marriage, and battling liver disease -- along with some gossip-worthy interactions with Hollywood celebrities that include Rock Hudson and Lana Turner.
Bernardo's work, charity events, and socializing allowed him to interact with Danny Thomas, Tony Curtis, Burt Reynolds, Phil Donahue, Whoopi Goldberg, Carol Burnett, Shirley MacLaine, Rod Stewart, others. His favorite was Elizabeth Taylor, whom he said he was privileged to meet and work side by side with on a humanitarian cause.
Critique: Exceptionally well written and showcasing a genuine flair for narrative driven storytelling, "13 Pieces of Unmatched Luggage ...And My Poodle: A Story of Survival" is very highly recommended for personal reading lists, and will prove to be an immediate and enduringly popular addition to both community and academic library Contemporary American Biography collections.
On The Air
Christopher L. Knauer
Dorrance Publishing Company
585 Alpha Drive, Suite 103, Pittsburgh, PA 15238
9781480994133, $40.00, HC, 168pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: Christopher L. Knauer (a.k.a Chris O'Brian) grew up as a shy Midwestern boy who was born in Eastern Iowa and grew up in a small Northwestern town in Illinois. He loves sports and music (but maybe not in that order). Even though many radio and TV fans have assumed he has a special kind of personality and must enjoy living in the limelight, Chris prefers to just quietly do his best without a lot of hype or fanfare.
"On the Air: My Life & 41+ Years in Small Market Radio" is his biography in which he details his adventures as he discovered his talent for radio broadcasting. This candid memoir includes his small town upbringing, his college and military life, his struggles behind the microphone, and his successes in both radio and television.
Along the way the reader will learn much of what goes on behind the scenes in small market radio as reflected in Christopher's personal journey.
Critique: An inherently fascinating, impressively informative, and deftly scripted autobiography, "On the Air: My Life & 41+ Years in Small Market Radio" is an extraordinary and highly recommended addition to both community and academic library Contemporary American Biography collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "On the Air" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $35.00).
Becoming Whole: A Memoir
Et Cetera Books
9780578510316, $12.95, PB, 185pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: In 2004, Mindy Tsai began to hear a voice in her head, someone she calls "Joe," and sees signs everywhere that hold mysterious clues only for her. What she doesn't know at the time is that she is experiencing her first schizophrenic episode.
For the next decade, she oscillates between two worlds -- a normal life and a secret voice-filled one -- until she begins the journey of merging her two worlds back into one. "Becoming Whole: A Memoir" documents her onset of schizophrenia and the subsequent years spent learning about it and how to live with it. It is her journey to find solace.
Although 75 million worldwide and 3.2 million in the United States suffer from schizophrenia, Mindy's story uniquely shows how, contrary to popular opinion, not everyone with schizophrenia stops living independently. "Becoming Whole" speaks to those suffering from the illness, those who are isolated by any mental illness, or anyone who has felt caught between two worlds.
"Becoming Whole" is a powerful memoir about one brave woman's determination to understand an incomprehensible illness, and how love and friendship have no regard for stigma.
Critique: Impressively candid and exceptionally well written for the benefit of the non-specialist reader with an interest in the subject of schizophrenia, "Becoming Whole: A Memoir" is an extraordinary and unreservedly recommended addition to community, college, and university library Contemporary American Biography collections in general, and Schizophrenia supplemental studies reading lists in particular. It should be noted for students, academia, and readers with an interest in the subject that "Becoming Whole: A Memoir" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).
Passionate for Justice
Catherine Meeks & Nibs Stroupe
Church Publishing Inc.
9781640651609, $18.95, PB, 160pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: Ida B. Wells (July 16, 1862 - March 25, 1931) was a powerful churchwoman and witness for justice and equity from 1878 to her death in 1931. Born enslaved, her witness flowed through the struggles for justice in her lifetime, especially in the intersections of African Americans, women, and those who were poor. Her life is a profound witness for faith-based work of visionary power, resistance, and resilience for today's world, when the forces of injustice stand in opposition to progress.
These are exciting and dangerous times. Boundaries that previously seemed impenetrable are now being crossed. "Passionate for Justice: Ida B. Wells As Prophet for Our Time" is a guide for the current state of affairs in American culture, enlivened by the historical perspective of Wells' search for justice.
The authors, Catherine Meeks and Nibs Stroupe, are an African-American woman and a child of white supremacy. Both have dedicated themselves to working, writing, and developing ministries oriented toward justice, equity, and mercy. "Passionate for Justice" can be used in all settings, but most especially in churches (pastors and other church leaders, study groups), seminaries, and universities.
Critique: Impressively informative and an inherently inspiring read, "Passionate for Justice: Ida B. Wells As Prophet for Our Time" is unreservedly recommended for community and academic library American Biography collections. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of all members of the Christian community, as well as social justice and equal rights political activists, that "Passionate for Justice" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).
The American History Shelf
Tracks West - New Mexico
9781075252358, $12.99, PB, 377pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: Mid-nineteenth century America was an expanding nation, beset by trade and slavery issues that quickly descended into civil war. Unprepared for the onslaught, southern New Mexico was easy prey for Confederate Texans. Rebels attacked and occupied the southern territory for ten months before reinforcements were supplied.
The personal story begins with the letter of an Indian agent and Treasury officer in Santa Fe to his friend, an Apache agent on the southern border. He affects humor to lighten the gravity of his warning to return to Santa Fe. Although brief, the letter's contents reflect nearly every concern of the entire story. The Territory must connect to national trade for economic survival, hence the title: Tracks West.
The action begins with the untold account of the second phase of New Mexico's Civil War: the war with Apache and Navajo Indians. These Indians resisted the encroachment of Union forces on their gold fields and easterners on their buffalo herds. The Union solicited the aid of private enterprise to mine the gold fields and support eastern soldiers.
The nation was desperate for income. Corporations were formed to join the mining companies with mainstream eastern businessmen. Following the war, the two-million-acre Maxwell Land Grant in New Mexico and the half-million-acre Costilla Estate in Colorado were sold abroad. Arizona officials arrived in Santa Fe in November and December 1863 to establish the new territory.
A mystery begins when one arrival is accidentally identified as a Union spy, the error awkwardly covered. A conflict is set in motion when the Army escort leader, Colonel J. F. Chaves, takes offense for the questioning of his request. He asks for a wagon master to furnish his donkey teams for a crossing of the flooding Rio Grande. Martial law is in effect. The youngest Arizona party member, Steve Elkins, opts to remain in New Mexico. His cunning and quick mastery of Spanish soon has him elected to the legislature.
Adventures in law and politics continue throughout the account. The focus is on Elkins who confronts many challenges. As an official and attorney he must deal with peonage, a feudal form of slavery practiced in the Territory, assassination of a Supreme Court judge, and many other outrageous incidents which mark a harrowing account of a chaotic culture clash.
Critique: An impressive and profusely documented history, "Tracks West - New Mexico: The True Cost of Civil War" is a unique, extraordinary, and inherently fascinating read from cover to cover. While unreservedly recommended for community library collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Tracks West - New Mexico" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $4.00).
Editorial Note: Beth Roger's research into New Mexico's frontier history was triggered by an interest in the background of Stephen B. Elkins, a noted political figure of the post-Civil War period. Her own father, born in Cuba, was Spanish speaking like Elkins. She worked for LIVING magazine and was a parent activist in public education in West Virginia. Her active writing began when her analysis of a new school program was published in Charleston newspapers. She has written two unpublished novels, taught middle school for three years, sold real estate in North Carolina, and served as a clerk and courtroom deputy for the U. S. Court of Appeals, 4th Circuit in Richmond, Virginia where she resides.
In the Company of Rebels
New Village Press
9781613320952, $24.95, PB, 288pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: American social change movements dominated the 1960s and 1970s, an era brought about and influenced not by a handful of celebrity activists but by people who cared. These history makers together transformed the political and spiritual landscape of America and laid the foundation for many of the social movements that exist today.
Through a series of 43 vignettes, the form of succinct biographical sketches of the characters and intimate memories of her personal encounters with them, "In the Company of Rebels" by Chellis Glendinning creates a collective portrait of the rebels, artists, radicals, and thinkers who through word and action raised many of the issues of justice, the environment, feminism, and colonialism that we are now familiar with.
From Berkeley to Bolivia, from New York to New Mexico, a complex, multi-layered radical history unfolds through the stories and lives of the characters. From Marty Schiffenhauer, who fought through the first rent-control law in the United States, to Ponderosa Pine, who started the All-Species Parade and never wore shoes, to Dan and Patricia Ellsberg, who released the Pentagon Papers and became life-long anti-war and antinuclear activists, the portraits bring out some of the vibrant, irreverent energy, the unswerving commitment, and the passion for life of these generations of activists.
In our present moment, as many people find themselves in the streets protesting for the first time in their lives, "In the Company of Rebels" makes the connection to this relatively recent rebellious era.
As the Chellis Glendinning comments today on her own twenty-year old self back then, sitting at the counter of Cody's Books in Berkeley in the early 1970s, thrilled about the times but oblivious of the work that came before: "I didn't know anything about this courageous and colorful past. But now I know."
Critique: An inherently fascinating a read as it is exceptionally informative, "In the Company of Rebels: A Generational Memoir of Bohemians, Deep Heads, and History Makers" is a unique and unreservedly recommended addition to community, college, and university library 20th Century American History, Political Science, and American Biography collections and supplemental studies lists. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of students, academia, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "In the Company of Rebels" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $18.95).
Editorial Note: Chellis Glendinning is a writer and activist for social change. She is a noted contributor to the field of eco-psychology, and has a strong interest in bioregionalism, feminism, and indigenous rights. Her eight books include Off the Map: An Expedition Deep into Empire and the Global Economy, and Chiva: A Village Takes on the Global Heroin Trade, both winners of National Federation of Press Women book awards. Her website address is www.chellisglendinning.org
The General Fiction Shelf
Money, Blood & Conscience
Free Planet Publishing
9780578525853, $14.95, PB, 262pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: In 1993, a prince and princess from Ethiopia's 2,500-year-old Solomonic Dynasty reached out to an international revolutionary who'd played a behind-the-scenes role in the overthrow of Haiti's notorious "Baby Doc" Duvalier. Could he help free Ethiopia's most famous political prisoner and liberate its people from a reign of terror?
Now that revolutionary, David Steinman, has drawn on his extraordinary, real-life adventure to write a novel about Ethiopia's present-day struggle for freedom. Part investigative journalism and part parable, "Money, Blood and Conscience" depicts the cover-up of a holocaust and raises questions about the ends and means of Western policy in shadowy places.
"Money, Blood and Conscience" dramatically and superbly portrays the fight by the world's poorest for food and justice, drawing the reader into a magnificent, heartbreaking crusade for human dignity.
Critique: A deftly crafted and inherently riveting read from cover to cover, "Money, Blood & Conscience" is an extraordinarily unique and unreservedly recommended addition to community library Contemporary General Fiction collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Money, Blood & Conscience" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $5.99).
The Essence of Shade
Deborah Jean Miller
Opal Stone Press
9780998048901, $14.99, PB, 378pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: Shade Doe believes her prayers are answered when she meets an older Christian man who offers her marriage and a name for her newborn child. Despite his overbearing nature, Shade delights in her new role as wife and mother. When her husband suddenly dies years later, she uncovers secrets from his past -- secrets so profound they derail the lives of both her and her daughter.
After tragedy strikes, thirty-six-year-old Shade gains custody of her young grandson, Tyler, and moves to a small Michigan beach town where she becomes the owner of a successful bakery and cafe. Shade meets and falls in love with Tyler's baseball coach, but their love for one another is doomed. Shade's internal struggle to honor her vow to God, while denying her own desires, throws her on a path of painful redemption.
Critique: All the more impressive when considering that "The Essence of Shade" is author Deborah Jean Miller's debut as a novelist, this deftly crafted story showcases her distinctive and entertaining narrative style that will hold her reader's fully engaged attention from first page to last. While fully endorsed and unreservedly recommended for community library Contemporary General Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Essence of Shade" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $3.99).
9781794062993, $14.00, PB, 363pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: "Tatiana's War" is the final volume in author Perry Cockerell's the Private War trilogy and explores the hearts and minds of the journalists following their return from World War II.
All of the beloved characters from the previous novels return. Andre uncovers the possible existence of the Deep State, and Betty is back directing the eccentric play, "Fake News." Tatiana learns she must go to war to end the Deep State, while she also investigates the deadly fire of Andre's childhood home and discovers the secret of the universe.
A novel that could well have been torn from today's newspaper headlines, "Tatiana's War" reflects issues of religion, fake news, politics, media, and music. The novel concludes with an explosive ending where dreams and reality finally merge.
Critique: A simply riveting read from cover to cover, "Tatiana's War" continues to showcase author Perry Cockerell's impressive flair for a kind of narrative storytelling style that engages his readers full attention from first page to last. While unconditionally recommended, especially for community library Contemporary General Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Tatiana's War" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $3.99).
Woman in the Pin-Striped Suit
1663 Liberty Drive, Bloomington, IN 47403-5161
9781480872417, $30.99, HC, 310pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: A chemist mysteriously drowns in an Iowa resort lake. Months later, his lawyer daughter is shot in a Kansas City hotel. These could be coincidences -- or maybe not. It's all part of a power play, a race to acquire a certain formula that will yield the biggest fortune in the coming years. The chemist's secret is a prize, and greedy money men and a powerful politician want it more.
The call for justice is answered by a tightly knit group of battle-seasoned veterans under the unlikely leadership of Cable Wheeler. He's unlikely considering he knows nothing about police work or investigating crimes. He's a former Wall Street accountant and coast guard rescue swimmer, but he's now embroiled in a patent battle that ended in murder.
Despite his inexperience, Cable proves worthy time and time again in this bloody business. To save lives, he takes three of the dead chemist's remaining children on a whirlwind cross-country game of hide-and-seek, dodging villains as they go while trying to put a stop to those who would do anything for money. Cable is just trying to do the right thing, but it could get him killed!
Critique: A superbly crafted suspense thriller of a novel from cover to cover, "Woman in the Pin-Striped Suit" clearly documents novelist Al Butkus as a master of the genre. While unreservedly recommended, especially for community library collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Woman in the Pin-Striped Suit" is also available in a paperback edition (9781480872400, $14.99) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $2.99).
One for the Blackbird, One for the Crow
Lake Union Publishing
9781542006910, $24.95, HC, 479pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: For as long as they have lived on the frontier, the Bemis and Webber families have relied on each other. With no other settlers for miles, it is a matter of survival. But when Ernest Bemis finds his wife, Cora, in a compromising situation with their neighbor, he doesn't think of survival. In one impulsive moment, a man is dead, Ernest is off to prison, and the women left behind are divided by rage and remorse.
Losing her husband to Cora's indiscretion is another hardship for stoic Nettie Mae. But as a brutal Wyoming winter bears down, Cora and Nettie Mae have no choice but to come together as one family -- to share the duties of working the land and raising their children. There's Nettie Mae's son, Clyde (no longer a boy, but not yet a man) who must navigate the road to adulthood without a father to guide him, and Cora's daughter, Beulah, who is as wild and untamable as her prairie home.
Bound by the uncommon threads in their lives and the challenges that lie ahead, Cora and Nettie Mae begin to forge an unexpected sisterhood. But when a love blossoms between Clyde and Beulah, bonds are once again tested, and these two resilient women must finally decide whether they can learn to trust each other -- or else risk losing everything they hold dear.
Critique: Set in 1876 Wyoming, "One for the Blackbird, One for the Crow" is a deftly crafted historical novel that fully captures hardscrabble life on the American frontier. An absorbing read from first page to last, and highly recommended for community library collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "One for the Blackbird, One for the Crow" is also available in a paperback edition (9781542091145, $14.95) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $4.99).
9781097991792, $16.99, PB, 318pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: Numerous early storms have dumped the much sought after dry Western powder on the runs of the Silver City Ski Resort enthralling skiers. However, two avalanches have come down and Ben Castle, head of the avalanche control team, is growing increasingly worried. Director of the resort Marshall Feinman, with his eye on the bottom line, has refused to close dangerous runs and Ben wonders if there could be too much snow.
Critique: An avalanche is an event that occurs when a cohesive slab of snow lying upon a weaker layer of snow fractures and slides down a steep slope. Avalanches are typically triggered in a starting zone from a mechanical failure in the snowpack when the forces of the snow exceed its strength but sometimes only with gradual widening. After initiation, avalanches usually accelerate rapidly and grow in mass and volume as they entrain more snow. If the avalanche moves fast enough, some of the snow may mix with the air forming a powder snow avalanche, which is a type of gravity current. Every year avalanches are a cause the loss of human life.
In her novel, Ms. Carter Dreyfuss has quite evidently and effectively researched the avalanche phenomena and has been thereby able to insert a very special note of realism in her story -- one that is written by an author with a genuine flair for originality and a distinctively reader engaging, narrative driven story telling style. Hitting the reader with all the impact of an avalanche roaring down a mountain side, the novel, "Avalanche", is a deftly crafted and unreservedly recommended addition to both personal reading lists and community library Contemporary General Fiction collections.
Wire Rim Books
9781935236726, $15.99, PB, 340pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: Charles Fasail was born to be a student on the island nation of Alp, a colony of scholars on an illiterate world -- the terraformed Luna. For seven years he survived as an indentured dockworker after his home was destroyed in a cataclysmic firestorm.
Earning his way out of servitude and joining a wagon train into the interior lands to find a place of his own should have been his bright, new beginning. All that was lost to an attack by the forest dwelling Kimmer and the betrayal by his older brother.
It left him on a solitary path, struggling to be the Alpine scholar he was born to be. He had to wander a fascinating world similar to Far Earth in the sky above, but shaped by the lighter gravity, the 48-hour days, and the oxygen-rich atmosphere created by its transformation. All he had was his early training and, hidden in his backpack, his father's impulse gun, a relic from the ancient days of lost technology.
Critique: Henry Melton has been crafting the Project history line since the 70s, building an alternate history of mankind that stretches from the current day to a new destiny among the stars. Centuries after the Plague, as detailed in Henry Melton's novel "Humanicide" (9781935236634, $14.99 PB, $4.99 Kindle), humanity lives on. Now his latest novel "Alpine Duty" is the first book of the Lunar Alpine trilogy. A riveting read from cover to cover, "Alpine Duty" continues to reveal and showcase Henry Melton's genuine knack for originality and his special flair for a thoroughly reader engaging narrative storytelling style. While unreservedly recommended for community library Science Fiction collections, it should be noted for the personal reading lists of all dedicated SciFi fans that "Alpine Duty" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $4.99).
Rough Way to the High Way
Kelly Mack McCoy
9780310103738, $34.99, HC, 268pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: Pastor turned long-haul trucker, Mack, struggles with grief and perceived failures as a minister while he is confronted with a mysterious hitchhiker, smugglers, and a determined killer. After an unbearable tragedy strikes his life, he sells everything he owns and buys a new Peterbilt truck, returning to the trade he learned decades earlier.
Hoping for some windshield therapy and peace of mind behind the wheel of his new rig, Mack gets neither after God nudges him to pick up a hitchhiker near the Jordan State Prison outside Mack's childhood home of Pampa, Texas.
When his world is ripped apart, he seeks to run away from it all, going as far as to cut off communication with all but a handful of people. But he is pursued by God, who will not let him go. Unbeknownst to Mack, God is equipping His servant with tools to handle events his past education and experience could never have prepared him for.
The story unfolds as the hitchhiker enters Mack's Peterbilt. The man reminds Mack of his father, a hard living, hard drinking oilfield roughneck who died in prison. God begins to do a work in Mack's heart while Mack seeks to minister to his new passenger. But Mack soon rues the day he let the hitchhiker into his truck.
His old life in ruins now, Mack learns he has angered a new enemy who threatens to destroy his life on the road as well. Mack suspects he is being followed and is in the sights of a killer who plots a revenge no one could have seen coming.
Critique: A compulsive page-turner of a read from cover to cover, "Rough Way to the High Way" is an extraordinary novel -- one that will linger in the mind and memory long after the book has been finished and set back upon the shelf. While unreservedly recommended for community library Contemporary General Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that 'Rough Way to the High Way" is also available in a paperback edition (9780310103721, $14.99) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $2.99).
A Killing Sin
K. H. Irvine
9781912666447, $14.95, PB, 320pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: Amala Hackeem is a lapsed Muslim tech entrepreneur and controversial comedian, dons a burqa and heads to the women's group at the Tower Hamlets sharia community. What is she doing there?
Ella Russell is a struggling journalist who leaves home in pursuit of the story of her life. Desperate for the truth, she is about to learn the true cost of the war on terror.
Millie Stephenson is a university professor and expert in radicalization and arrives at Downing Street to brief the Prime Minister and home secretary. Nervous and excited she finds herself at the centre of a nation taken hostage.
And then things for these three individuals gets personal. Friends since university, by the end of the day the lives of all three women are changed forever. They will discover if friendship truly can survive secrets and fear.
Critique: All the more impressive when considering that "A Killing Sin" is author K. H. Irvine's debut as a novelist (and featuring a deftly scripted, narrative driven, reader engaging storytelling style) "A Killing Sin" is unreservedly recommended and certain to be an enduringly popular addition to community library Contemporary General Fiction collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "A Killing Sin" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $3.99).
The Romantic Fiction Shelf
The Year I Left
9781944109905, $17.95, PB, 284pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: Carin Frost doesn't understand what's happening to her. A confident businesswoman, wife, and mother, she begins to resent everything about her life. Nothing makes sense. Nothing makes her feel. Maybe it's the recent loss of her mother in a tragic accident. Or maybe she's just losing her mind.
Enter Matias Torres. As their new business partnership thrives, so does their friendship -- and his interest in her. Carin is determined to keep her distance, until a work assignment sends them to Southeast Asia where a storm is brewing on the island.
In the midst of the chaos, Matias asks her to do something unimaginable, exhilarating, bold. Carin knows the consequences could be dire, but it may be the only way to save herself.
An honest look at love and marriage and the frailties of the human heart, "The Year I Left" is a story of a woman's loss of self and purpose and the journey she takes to find her way back.
Critique: A skillfully crafted and inherently compelling read from cover to cover, "The Year I Left" by Christine Brae is a truly extraordinary novel -- one of those 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. While unreservedly recommended, especially for community library Contemporary Romance Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Year I Left" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $4.99).
The Mystery/Suspense Shelf
Thomas & Mercer
9781542041348, $15.95, PB, 363pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: Ever since Lucy was two, she's been on the run alongside her mother. She's never understood the reason for a lifetime of paranoia, aliases, and lies. All she understands are the rules: never lock eyes with strangers, never let down your guard, and always be ready to move on.
Finally, after thirteen years and eleven states, their next hideaway seems perfect. An isolated, fortress like place in the New Hampshire woods is the new home they share with its owner, a gentlemanly pianist, and his lonely daughter, Gretchen. She's Lucy's age and soon becomes Lucy's first real friend.
But Gretchen and her father have secrets of their own -- and an obsession with puzzles that draws Lucy into a terrifying new game of hide-and-seek. Lucy's dark past is about to come calling. And this time, for her and her mother in the house on the hill, it might be too late to run.
Critique: A deftly crafted suspense thriller of a novel, "Gretchen" is a truly compelling page-turner of a read from beginning to end. While especially recommended for community library collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Gretchen" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $3.99) and as a complete and unabridged audio book (Brilliance Audio, 9781721334063, $14.99, MP3 CD).
Thomas & Mercer
9781542042918, $24.95, HC, 314pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: Special Agent Lisa Tanchik is the best at taking down cybercriminals. So when the FBI discovers a multibillion-dollar black market online, she's tasked with finding the creator and bringing him to justice. Donning one of her many digital disguises, Tanchik goes undercover into the network.
Brilliant college student Nate Fallon started his site as an idealistic experiment. But his platform has made illegal trade not only more efficient -- but also more dangerous. Now the FBI aren't the only ones out to get him. As profits soar, a criminal organization casts its monstrous gaze on Fallon, and danger leaps from cyberspace into reality.
Feeling pressure from both sides of the law, Fallon is forced to make a decision with shattering consequences. Can Agent Tanchik find Fallon before his dangerous infrastructure falls into the wrong hands?
Critique: "Black Nowhere" showcases author Reece Hirsch's mastery of the suspense thriller genre with this FBI procedural novel that will hold the reader's rapt attention from cover to cover. Certain to be an immediate and enduringly popular addition to community library collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Black Nowhere" is also available in a paperback edition (9781542042895, $15.95) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $4.99).
The Fog Ladies
The Wild Rose Press
9781509227006, $17.99, PB, 332pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis; Young, overworked medical intern Sarah James has no time for sleuthing. Her elderly neighbors, the spunky Fog Ladies, have nothing but time. When, one by one, old ladies die in their elegant apartment building in San Francisco, Sarah assumes the deaths are the natural consequence of growing old.
The Fog Ladies assume murder.
Mrs. Bridge falls off a stool cleaning bugs out of her kitchen light. Mrs. Talwin slips on bubbles in the bath and drowns. Suddenly, the Pacific Heights building is turning over tenants faster than the fog rolls in on a cool San Francisco evening.
Sarah resists the Fog Ladies' perseverations. But when one of them falls down the stairs and tells Sarah she was pushed, even Sarah believes evil lurks in their building. Can they find the killer before they fall victim themselves?
Critique: A very specially crafted 'whodunnit' style mystery by an author with an impressive flair for originality and a distinctive narrative storytelling style all her own, "Susan McCormick's "The Fog Ladies" is an especially and unreservedly recommended addition to community library Contemporary Mystery/Suspense collections. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of all dedicated mystery buffs who appreciate a storyline with more twists and turns than a Cony Island roller coaster, that "The Fog Ladies" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $4.99).
The Murder of Harriet Monckton
9781912408047, $16.95, PB, 448pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: "The Murder of Harriet Monckton" is a novel by Elizabeth Haynes that is based on an unsolved true crime.
On 7th November 1843, 23 year-old Harriet Monckton is found murdered in the privy behind the dissenting chapel she regularly attended in Bromley, Kent. The townsfolk are appalled by her death, apparently as a result of swallowing a fatal dose of prussic acid, and even more so when the autopsy reveals that Harriet was almost six months pregnant.
Drawing on the original coroner's reports and witness testimonies, Haynes builds a compelling picture of Harriet Monckton's final days through the eyes of those closest to her: her fellow teacher and companion, her would-be fiance, her seducer, and her former landlord and lover. All are suspects. Each one of which had a reason to want her dead.
Critique: A simply riveting read from cover to cover, "The Murder of Harriet Monckton" is a superlatively crafted mystery by a master of the genre. While unreservedly recommended for community library Mystery/Suspense collections, it should be noted for the personal reading lists of all dedicated crime fiction fans that Elizabeth Haynes' "The Murder of Harriet Monckton" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $7.99).
9781732976313, $18.99, PB, 429pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: Power-broker Hollywood talent manager Lyndon Fox's wife Deirdre hires epileptic LA private detective Scott Brody after a previous private detective she assigned to keep tabs on her husband's suspected infidelity is killed in Cabo San Lucas when she and her husband vacation there. An unknown assailant stalks her after she returns home.
A secretive FBI agent named Peltz tells Brody that Lyndon Fox is involved with a cabal burrowed inside the FBI who, with the help of the deep state, are conspiring to take down the president of the United States. Peltz wants Brody to help him obtain evidence to expose Fox, as assailants ramp up their terrorism of the Fox family.
As Deirdre's world collapses around her, she must find out the truth about who is responsible before she loses everything -- including her life.
Critique: A deftly crafted roller coaster of a ride for the reader, Bryan Cassiday's novel, "Bolt", is a truly riveting read from cover to cover, While unreservedly recommended for community library Contemporary Suspense/Thriller Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Bolt" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $4.99).
The Fantasy/SciFi Shelf
Legacy Book Publishing
1883 Lee Road Winterpark, FL 32789
9781947718432, $19.95, PB, 180pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: First introduced in "Journey" (9781937952075, $19.95 PB, $9.99 Kindle), Gary Roen's first collection of science fiction, "Slotski's World" is a collection of enthralling new tales of Slotski, the beloved alien in the shape of an oversized stuffed bear with claws and fangs.
Once again Slotski embarks on fantastical missions to help strangers in need who cross his path, relying on his unearthly powers and telepathy to aide him. "Slotski's World" dives into serious territory in confronting issues such as rapidly expanding technology, especially with unethical governmental use. This second sci-fi collection further highlights author Gary Roen's skill for original and imaginative narrative driven storytelling.
Critique: Also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99) "Slotski's World" is unreservedly recommended for the personal reading lists of all dedicated science fiction fans, as well as certain to be an immediate and enduringly popular addition to community library Science Fiction collections.
Bursts of Fire
Laksa Media Group
9781988140117, $28.00, HC, 394pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: The Falkyn sisters bear a burden and a legacy. Their mother, the imperial magiel of the kingdom of Orumon, protects her people from the horrors of the afterlife by calling upon the Gods with a precious Prayer Stone. But war among the kingdoms has brought fire and destruction to their sheltered world. When a mad king's desire to destroy the Prayer Stones shatters their family, the three girls are scattered to the wilderness, relying on their wits and powers they don't yet master.
Assassin. Battle tactician. Magic wielder. Driven by different ambitions, Meg, Janat, and Rennika are destined to become all these and more. To reclaim their birth right, they must overcome doubtful loyalties within a rising rebellion; more, they must challenge a dogma-driven chancellor's influence on the prince raised to inherit his father's war: a prince struggling to unravel the mystery of his brother's addiction to Heaven. -- Their goal is to survive, to fight, to restore balance.
Critique: With the publication of "Bursts of Fire", novelist Susan Forest reveals and showcases an impressively flair for originality, narrative driven storytelling, and a genuine master of the fantasy action/adventure genre. While unreservedly and especially recommended for community library Science Fiction & Fantasy collections, it should be noted for the personal reading lists of all dedicated fantasy action/adventure fans that "Bursts of Fire" is also available in a paperback edition (9781988140100, $18.95) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $7.99).
The Christian Studies Shelf
A Challenge to Live
9781489719171, $14.99, PB, 190pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: "A Challenge to Live" by Carl Luepnitz is comprised of riveting experiences from both the US Army and as a missionary which all played out upon an international stage in the thirty countries where he has lived or visited.
Carl's life is an open book about big decisions. Decisions that led to blessing and disaster. Yet whether he was in Iran or along the communist border of East Germany, one thing never failed: the merciful, loving, kind, and all-powerful presence of God was always there for Carl.
In the pages of is candid memoir, Carl will convince his readers that even though life is a challenge to live, God is way bigger and they really can do all things he calls them to do through Christ who strengthens the prayerful Christian.
Critique: A spiritually uplifting and inspirational read from beginning to end, "A Challenge to Live" is unreservedly recommended for the personal reading lists of every member of the Christian community regardless of denominational affiliations. Indeed, it should be noted for seminary students, clergy, lay members, and non-specialist general readers that "A Challenge to Live" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $3.99).
The Law, Then and Now: What About Grace
John B. Metzger
Grace Acres Press
9781602650565, $24.95, PB, 434pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: John B. Metzger was raised in a Christian home and came to faith at age 14 through the ministry of the Christian Youth Crusade, then held at Riverdale Baptist Church in Riverdale, MD. He surrendered his life to the Lord at age 16 at the National Teen Convention of Youth For Christ held that year in Washington, D.C. He met his wife, Sharon, at Washington Bible College, was married in 1968. John's education includes a B.A. from Washington Bible College in Lanham, MD in 1970. He spent twenty summers at Ariel Ministries Camp Shoshanah in upstate New York.
In the spring of 1998, he took a five-week study tour in Israel under the direction of Dr. Arnold Fruchtenbaum. In May of 2004 he completed his M.A. in Bible (Old Testament Studies) from Lancaster Bible College Graduate School in Lancaster, PA. He has taken on additional Old Testament courses for 30 Credit hours from Tyndale Theological Seminary.
He is currently working for Ariel Ministries on the Ariel Jewish Study Bible. His past ministries include the following: Child Evangelism Fellowship, the pastorate, and director of an American Indian Bible Institute. He has spent the last 23 years in Jewish Ministries.
Many struggle with knowing how, or if, the Law of Moses fits into modern day Christianity. Observance of the Torah, or law keeping, can be controversial. But Metzger's analysis shows that while these laws are complementary rather than contradictory, only one is in force today.
With a detailing of the purposes and provisions of both the Law of Moses and the Law of Christ, the clear message of grace emerges providing hope and help for all. Moving from the conditional Mosaic Covenant to the unconditional New Covenant of Jesus is important to experience the Spirit-filled life of the believer.
Critique: Well grounded in scripture and Judeo/Christian tradition, "The Law, Then and Now: What About Grace" is an absorbingly thoughtful and thought-provoking read that is enhanced for the theology student with the inclusion of a nine page Bibliography and fourteen pages of End Notes. While unreservedly recommended for church, seminary, and academic library collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Law, Then and Now: What About Grace" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $4.99).
The Metaphysical Studies Shelf
The Calling of My Soul
The Wholeistic Healer
c/o Hay House, Inc.
PO Box 5100, Carlsbad, CA 92018-5100
9781982222949, $37.95, HC, 332pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: The Wholeistic Healer trusts her inner voice, which has made all the difference in her life. There were times she could have lost her faith, but she never gave up. Throughout her journey, heavenly helpers guided her each step of the way. But the truth of who she was and where she came from was kept from her as a child.
With the help of her strong and unwavering spirit and a little (sometimes a lot) of help from heaven, she rose above the darkness. In "The Calling of My Soul: True Confessions of a Blue Ray-Empath/HSP", she shares real memories and events that shaped and molded her into being the talented medium and healer she is today.
Even though everyone around her could not see or hear the things she was experiencing, she always found a way communicate with heaven. There is a great awakening going on where, for the first time in the history of humanity, people are waking up and realizing that they have not always been told the truth of who and what they are.
Critique: A kind of metaphysical self help instructional guide, "The Calling of My Soul: True Confessions of a Blue Ray-Empath/HSP" is an extraordinary, thought-provoking, and inspiring read from first page to last. An inherently fascinating and candidly personal story, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Calling of My Soul" is also available in a paperback edition (9781982222925, $20.99) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $8.99).
The Humor Shelf
Have I Got a Cartoon for You!
Bob Mankoff, editor
9781942134596, $19.95, PB, 112pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: In this new compendium of Jewish humor from, "Have I Got a Cartoon for You!: The Moment Magazine Book of Jewish Cartoons", successful cartoonist, speaker and author Bob Mankoff has compiled and showcased his favorite Jewish cartoons.
In his informative foreword to this entertaining collection, Mankoff shows how his Jewish heritage helped him to become a successful cartoonist, examines the place of cartoons in the vibrant history of Jewish humor, and plumbs Jewish thought, wisdom and shtik for humorous insights.
Critique: A pleasant and entertaining browse from first page to last, this collection of Jewish themed cartoons drawn from some of the very best humorists is unreservedly and especially recommended for personal, community, and academic library Contemporary Humor collections.
The Poetry Shelf
H. J. Koch
Lulu Publishing Services
3101 Hillsborough Street, Raleigh, NC 27607-5436
9781483496047, $29.95, HC, 108pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: In a compilation of historical verse divided into four parts, in "Thayer's Return", H. J. Koch intertwines his love of poetry with family experiences to provide a unique perspective on the early history of West Point.
In "Thayer's Return" the man known as the 'father' of West Point, Sylvanus Thayer, has returned from the mist of history in the form of a ghost to seek an update of the academy from a cadet. As the two men converse over a number of nights, they lyrically explore the early history of West Point from its founding in 1802 until World War One.
"Thayer's Return" shares historical verse that lyrically explores the fascinating early history of West Point: 'From slumber waked a drowsy mind, and sound Within the room could hear, and motion round The chamber one could feel. A phantom stood Midst cadet's abode, empty, smocked in hood. Forth from his leering visage, coldness sprung. With voice well raspy, he this question flung: Ye with frightful countenance, sheepish youth, Awake! Many questions have I in truth.'
Critique: A unique, deftly crafted, and impressively entertaining story aptly told in the form of narrative poetry, "Thayer's Return: Early History of West Point in Verse" is an extraordinary and unreservedly recommended addition to both community and academic library Contemporary Poetry collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Thayer's Return" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $8.99).
The Self-Help Shelf
Rochelle Y. Melander
Write Now! Coach
9781950515035, $14.99, PB, 258pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: In "Level Up: Quests to Master Mindset, Overcome Procrastination, and Increase Productivity", Michelle Melander reveals how to effectively tackle specific issues and problems and thereby helping to discover ideal work rhythms, design a life that supports personal and professional productivity, and overcome any obstacle having to be faced and resolved.
Instead of playing someone else's game, the reader will get to design the game, create a personal and personalized playbook, define anticipated rewards, and reap them all! The reader will also adopt a secret identity, recruit allies, identify villains, and celebrate inevitable epic wins.
Because the reader will be using a gameful approach to shaping a creative life, taking on these quests, issues and problems won't be a chore as the reader will relish and enjoy investigating their life and playing with possibilities that are afforded them.
Critique: Offering deftly presented solutions for those who are seeking to silence their inner critic; stop their procrastination; overcome their self-doubt and fear; ditch distractions; and to find time to write and create, "Level Up: Quests to Master Mindset, Overcome Procrastination, and Increase Productivity" is an especially recommended addition to personal, professional, community, and academic library Self-Help/Self-Improvement collections. It should be noted that "Level Up" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $8.99).
Editorial Note: Rochelle Melander, the Write Now! Coach, is the author of 10 books, a certified professional coach, and a popular speaker. Melander teaches professionals how to write fast, get published, establish credibility, and navigate the new world of social media. In 2006, Rochelle founded Dream Keepers Creative Writing Workshop, a program that teaches writing to at-risk tweens and teens in the inner city. Rochelle Melander is a member of the International Coach Federation and the American Society for Journalists and Authors
Become an Accelerator Leader
9781642375060, $25.95, HC, 286pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: Fighter pilots experience the fastest acceleration on earth. However, during training, the expression, "that pilot is all thrust and no vector", can be heard. It describes a pilot who is going nowhere fast. That concept holds true in our lives and especially in business.
We live in an age of instant information, where everything moves at the speed of light. Do you ever feel that you are going fast but getting nowhere? Accelerator Leaders learn how to focus and act so that their acceleration results in real impact. In the pages of ""Become an Accelerator Leader: Accelerate Yourself, Others, and Your Organization to Maximize Impact" the readers will discover how to accelerate themselves, those around them, and their organization.
Critique: Exceptionally well written, organized and presented, "Become an Accelerator Leader: Accelerate Yourself, Others, and Your Organization to Maximize Impact" is a potentially life changing read and is unreservedly endorsed and recommended for community, corporate, college, and university library Self-Help/Self-Improvement collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Become an Accelerator Leader" is also available in a paperback edition (9781642375053, $15.95) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $6.95).
Editorial Note: As Chief Accelerator Dr. Rohrs brings innovative solutions to market through his high level global connections. Innovations he has introduced to the market are in the areas of cybersecurity, environmental sustainability, corporate finance and insurance. As President & CEO of Enactus for more than thirty years, Dr. Alvin Rohrs took a small regional nonprofit with 18 participating universities in the US and grew it into an international force for sustainable social entrepreneurship with 70,000 active students at 1700 universities in 36 countries. Working alongside the Enactus board of directors, comprising leaders from some of the world's most successful companies including Walmart Stores, The Hershey Company, Campbell Soup Company, KPMG, The Coca-Cola Company and Rich Products Corporation, he guided the organization to develop a coordinated approach to building sustainable Enactus programs throughout the world. Under his leadership, annual revenue increased from $100,000 to $20 million.
James A. Cox
Midwest Book Review
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