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Small Press Bookwatch

Volume 19, Number 10 October 2020 Home | SPBW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice Education Shelf Photography Shelf
Economic Studies Shelf Biography Shelf General Fiction Shelf
Literary Fiction Shelf Historical Fiction Shelf Romantic Fiction Shelf
Mystery/Suspense Shelf Fantasy/SciFi Shelf Business Shelf
Self-Help Shelf Christian Studies Shelf Political Science Shelf


Reviewer's Choice

Through the Eyes of a Young American
Jett James Pruitt
Vanderbilt Publishing, LLC
9780996565295, $14.95, PB, 196pp

https://www.amazon.com/Through-Eyes-Young-American-Perspective/dp/0996565299

Synopsis: Born in 2005, Jett James Pruitt is an award-winning speaker, student, author, political strategist, and founder/editor-in-chief of the political blog, TheGenZPost.com

Raised by a single Hispanic/Native American mother in New York City, Jett was diagnosed with "moderate to severe autism" at the age of two and was completely non-verbal until the age of four. After numerous early-intervention programs and holistic treatments, Jett shocked the medical community with his recovery and formally lost his Autism diagnosis by the age of six.

Jett's unique interest in politics began at the age of nine, blossoming with the 2016 presidential election. At the age of 14, he founded the political news website The Gen Z Post and became one of the U.S. Press Association's youngest members in history.

His first book, "Through the Eyes of a Young American: A Teenager's Perspective on Government, Politics and Solving Our Country's Biggest Problems", is a powerful commentary on today's political landscape, and offers ways to resolve our nation's biggest challenges with health care, taxation, social security, trade, tariffs, protectionism, automation, climate change, education, debt forgiveness, wealth inequality, labor, welfare, wages, military spending, border security, universal basic income, capitalism, entrepreneurship, abortion, gun violence, child sex trafficking, racism, and the COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic.

It is interesting to learn that "Through the Eyes of a Young American: A Teenager's Perspective on Government, Politics and Solving Our Country's Biggest Problems" was written while Jett was fourteen-years-old and attending middle school as an eighth grader.

Critique: An extraordinarily insightful descriptive analysis of American politics as we have it in 2020, "Through the Eyes of a Young American: A Teenager's Perspective on Government, Politics and Solving Our Country's Biggest Problems" is an inherently fascinating contribution to contemporary political science and one that deserves as wide a readership as possible. While especially and unreservedly recommended for highschool, community, and college/university library Contemporary Political Science collections, it should be noted for the personal reading lists of political science students, academia, political activists, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "Through the Eyes of a Young American: A Teenager's Perspective on Government, Politics and Solving Our Country's Biggest Problems" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).


The Education Shelf

From STEM To STEW
Maria Weiss
CreateSpace
4900 LaCross Rd., North Charleston, SC 29406
www.createspace.com
9781977803283, $23.95, HC, 422pp

https://www.amazon.com/STEM-STEW-Finally-Education-Turning/dp/1977803288

Synopsis: "From STEM To STEW: Finally Fixing Math Education By Turning It Upside Down" by Maria Weiss presents a detailed plan to replace weak with great math education. The "fix" is found at the intersection of noted psychology, modern technology, and rigorous mathematics.

However, before readers can understand and appreciate the proposal, they need an extensive foundation because they are typically only familiar with their own math education or that of their children. "From STEM To STEW" covers over a century of such background from hundreds of references (recognized experts and published reports) showing in many instances that little has changed as ideas have recycled.

The topics covered include the importance of quality math for societal wellness and national security, the national test (NAEP), the international tests (TIMSS and PISA), work done by numerous U.S. Presidents, prior reform attempts such as New Math and Common Core, fifty obstacles to finding the "fix", the use of technology in math education, learning theories for mathematics, and the features of an ideal math curriculum.

Critique: Expertly written, deftly organized, and thoroughly 'user friendly' in presentation, "From STEM To STEW: Finally Fixing Math Education By Turning It Upside Down" will prove to be an inherently interesting, thoughtful and thought-provoking read by both aspiring and practicing math teachers, making it unreservedly recommended for personal reading lists, as well as school district, college, and university library Teacher Education collections and supplemental curriculum reading lists.

Editorial Note: Marla Weiss is a mathematics educator and writer with four degrees: BA Mathematics, MA Applied Mathematics, ME Applied Mathematics, and PhD Mathematics Education. She has done classroom teaching, school consulting, test preparation, individual tutoring, curriculum design, teacher workshops, math-team coaching, materials development, student evaluations, and math-series analysis. She has taught in various settings including Duke University's Talent Identification Program and her own education center. Through her business MAVA Books and Education Company, she has written MAVA Math workbooks that offer individualized pacing, plentiful practice, clutter-free pages, and customized sequencing. At the elementary and middle school levels, these workbooks feature number sense (mental math), cumulative review, problem solving, and in-depth topics. The material in her workbooks is ideal not only to supplement classroom learning but also to prepare math competitors. In addition to her math workbooks, Dr. Weiss has published two novels (debut and sequel) about a passionate math teacher, a Logo computer programming text and its solution book, and a nonfiction book about fixing the problems with math education. More books are forthcoming.

Literature: the Book, the Place and the Pen
Andrea Louise Ambler, author
Jerald Eugene Klocek, author
Christine J. Coates, illustrator
Ambler Publishing Company
9781734045604, $19.99, PB, 186pp

https://www.amazon.com/Literature-Book-Place-Teaching-Resource/dp/1734045604

"Literature: the Book, the Place and the Pen" is a teaching resource book that is specifically designed and intended to educate students about good literature both in the classroom and at home.

The instructive information comprising "Literature: the Book, the Place and the Pen is applicable to all grade levels. There are multiple exciting activities that engage students in reading literature and also writing about what they have learned.

"Literature: the Book, the Place and the Pen" meets national language arts standards through all twelve chapters, each one being centered on a different genre of literature. There are unique writing tasks in each chapter, interesting background information about each genre, and practical and inspirational assignments for the students.

"Literature: the Book, the Place and the Pen" encourages students to become prolific, life-long readers of all types of literature ranging from short stories, novels, and non-fiction, to drama and poetry, to instill in students a love of reading, so they can strive to become insightful thinkers and competent writers of literature in its many varied forms because it is through literature, that students learn to explore life and to consider the various options for themselves.

Critique: An ideal DIY curriculum textbook for both the classroom teacher and the home schooling parent, "Literature: the Book, the Place and the Pen" will prove to be an invaluable and appreciated acquisition. While highly recommended for community, school district, and college/university library Teacher Education collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Literature: the Book, the Place and the Pen" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

Editorial Note: Andrea Louise Ambler has taught at the elementary through university levels with the Los Angeles and Beverly Hills Unified School Districts, and the Department of Defense in Germany. Her teaching included English, science and history for many years. She also served as University Mentor for the Department of Teacher Education, Azusa Pacific University. Andrea was awarded "Teacher of the Year" by the Beverly Hills Educational Foundation, received "Outstanding Teacher Awards" from the Beverly Hills School District and Chamber of Commerce, and was honored with the "Johns Hopkins University Teacher Recognition Award."


The Photography Shelf

The Vibrant Landscape
Gary Paul Levinson
Kimiye Press
9780578536750, $39.99, HC, 132pp

https://www.amazon.com/Vibrant-Landscape-Margaretta-K-Mitchell/dp/0578536757

Synopsis: "The Vibrant Landscape" is comprised of 98 incredibly visual full color landscape images taken by Gary Paul Levinson. Of special note is an informative introduction by Robert Zuckerman, renowned Hollywood set photographer and the inclusion of an essay by Margaretta K. Mitchell, photography historian and educator.

Critique: Published in a coffee-table style format (9 x 12 inches), "The Vibrant Landscape" showcases photographer Gary Paul Levinson's artist eye with a series of remarkable and memorable images drawn from the Joshua Tree, Yosemite, and Zion National Park systems. An armchair traveler's delight, and a template for other photographers to aspire to, "The Vibrant Landscape" is highly recommended for personal and professional photography collections, and would be an especially recommended "Memorial Fund" acquisition for both community and college/university library collections.


The Economic Studies Shelf

Our Future
Steven Shafarman
RealClear Publishing
c/o Amplify Publishing
https://www.realclearpolitics.com/realclearpublishing
9781645432166, $28.00, HC, 248pp

https://www.amazon.com/Our-Future-Justice-Democracy-Personal/dp/1645432165

Synopsis: In "Our Future: The Basic Income Plan for Peace, Justice, Liberty, Democracy, and Personal Dignity", author Steven Shafarman invites us, unique individuals, to think about what we want for ourselves, our families, and our communities. And he presents a viable plan to unite us, We the People, for real progress toward solving our problems and achieving the country we deserve.

The key is basic income, also called Universal Basic Income or UBI. Shafarman is a leading proponent, and has been talking and writing about it since the mid 1980s.

Our Future shows us that basic income is more than money. With any amount, version, or variation, everyone will have monthly reminders that we - each of us, all of us - are equal citizens, with a direct personal stake in working together to make our government trustworthy, effective, and accountable.

We, individuals and our country, have been trapped for decades in the dysfunctional politics of left versus right, liberals versus conservatives, Democrats versus Republicans. Our Future presents a powerful alternative: We the People versus special interests and the status quo.

We can end hunger, homelessness, and extreme poverty. We can succeed at reforming healthcare, immigration, education, etc., and can slow then stop global warming. We can have a government of, by, and for the people, with liberty and justice for all.

"Our Future: The Basic Income Plan for Peace, Justice, Liberty, Democracy, and Personal Dignity" offers an effective plan, complete with strategies and tactics for a more economically equalitarian future.

Critique: Thoughtful and thought-provoking, and made more attractive when read against the current background of a pandemic driven economic depression that has seen the implementation of a $600 enhancement of unemployment insurance that, until it ran out, succeeded in moderating the soaring rates of the unemployed and the bankruptcies of small businesses, "Our Future: The Basic Income Plan for Peace, Justice, Liberty, Democracy, and Personal Dignity" is highly recommended reading for everyone concerned with confirming our American Democracy with a national economic plan and policy that would ensure financial stability and economic growth. While highly recommended for community and college/university library economic and political science collections and supplemental curriculum studies lists. "Our Future: The Basic Income Plan for Peace, Justice, Liberty, Democracy, and Personal Dignity" is also available for personal reading lists in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

Editorial Note: Currently residing in Washington D.C., Steven Shafarman has been talking and writing about basic income since the mid 1980s, and published his first book about it in 1998 while enrolled in a doctoral program in human development. He's been active with the U.S. Basic Income Guarantee Network, usbig.net, since 2000, soon after it was founded. A life member of the Basic Income Earth Network (basicincome.org) he presented talks at their meetings in Geneva in 2002, Dublin in 2008, and Montreal in 2014.


The Biography Shelf

A Player's Tale
A Young Don Juan
iUniverse, Inc.
c/o Author House
1663 Liberty Dr. Suite #300, Bloomington, IN 47403
www.iuniverse.com
9781532085482, $26.99, HC, 214pp

https://www.amazon.com/Player%C2%92s-Tale-Lust-Loss-Continent/dp/1532085486

Synopsis: Written under a pseudonym, "A Player's Tale" is an autobiography that recounts the adventures and misadventures of a young man who was born into the purple glow of "Hollywood Royalty."

He tells of his first childhood glimpses of the nude female form, his loss of virginity with a prostitute, and his most excessive exploits in a culture of selfie-fueled libido, before finally discovering the peace of love. He speaks frankly about sex in the modern age-from insecurity at sleepovers to the problems of fidelity, from sex tapes to chakra openings, from ayahuasca trips to bedding sisters, from threesomes to attempted suicide, from ego death to alchemical transformation.

"A Player's Tale" is a coming-of-age narrative not just for the anonymous author, but for the world, as it deals with sexuality and spirituality at the dawn of the twenty-first century.

Reflective and humorous, this memoir of a man's eternal quest for love led him to countless women, exotic lands, and the ultimate awakening to his soul.

Critique: An inherently fascinating read that should carry a warning label of 'for mature audiences only', "A Player's Tale" is a controversial but recommended addition to both community and college/university library Contemporary American Biography collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "A Player's Tale" is also readily available in a paperback edition (9781532085468, $13.99) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $3.99).

Editorial Note: A Young Don Juan wished to remain anonymous in the hope that the integrity of the content and the reputation of all parties mentioned in his impressively candid and detailed memoir would remain with their reputations and professional lives unscathed.

SARGE!
John A. DiMaggio
Crossroad Press
https://crossroadpress.com
9781949914740, $16.99, PB, 370pp

https://www.amazon.com/SARGE-Chicago-Police-Detective-Sergeant/dp/1949914747

Synopsis: "SARGE!: Cases of a Chicago Police Detective Sergeant in the 1960s, '70s, and '80s" is the fascinating memoir by the late Chicago Police Detective Sergeant John A. DiMaggio, one of the most decorated officers on the force during a career that spanned the years 1957 to 1991.

Among his awards are two Superintendent's Awards of Valor, Mayor Richard J. Daley's Praiseworthy Acknowledgment Plaque for Exceptional Act of Bravery Involving Risk of Life, a Presidential Citation of Appreciation, the Illinois Police Association Award of Valor, and many more.

Upon his retirement in 1991, DiMaggio wrote a fascinating account of his work as a cop. The manuscript languished among his personal effects until after his death in 2008, after which his family decided to resurrect it, spruce it up, and submit it for publication. It turns out that he was an excellent word craftsman and storyteller; in fact, he was no stranger to writing -- and for many years he wrote the "Ask Sarge" column for the Mystery Writers of America Midwest Chapter newsletter.

Told in a conversational, "regular guy" voice in episodic fashion, "SARGE!" reveals to the reader what it was really like to be a cop. The manuscript in many ways takes the form of a prose treatment of a weekly television police drama and features a large selection of photos.

DiMaggio takes the reader back to the decades such as the turbulent 1960s, when the police department was making a painful transition from "old school" to modernization. He describes firsthand the legendary riots that occurred in Chicago after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. He illustrates the integration of minorities into the department and how that played out.

He also goes into famous cases of corruption and the politics of navigating such a large department. One of the "set pieces" of the book is the story of how DiMaggio, as part of the "Three Musketeers" (a trio that included two detectives who were close friends) investigated a series terrifying slasher attacks on women that occurred in the city in the mid-70s. The case became one of the police department's most memorable.

Among the other cases detailed in the book include how DiMaggio found himself entering the home of a crazed young man holding hostages with a shotgun; the investigation of the discovery of a headless corpse; the take-down of the Chicago "Mad Bomber"; how an anonymous audio tape provided clues to the identities of armed robbers; and the manhunt for a cop killer.

Critique: An inherently fascinating and riveting read from beginning to end, "SARGE!: Cases of a Chicago Police Detective Sergeant in the 1960s, '70s, and '80s" offers an extraordinary 'insider' perspective on three decades of law enforcement in Chicago, Illinois. While especially and unreservedly recommended for community and college/university American Biography and Law Enforcement collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "SARGE!" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $4.99).

Editorial Note: A portion of all proceeds will be donated to The Chicago Police Memorial Foundation and The Chicago Police Foundation.


The General Fiction Shelf

The Naughty List
Thomas Conway
Skylands Publishing House
9781734123401, $9.99, PB, 332pp

https://www.amazon.com/Naughty-List-Thomas-Conway/dp/1734123400

Synopsis: "The Naughty List" by Thomas Conway is a modern take on several favorite Christmas traditions and takes the reader on a worldwide adventure to save the most popular holiday in the world when something dire happens resulting in Santa Claus not showing up for the annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade!

The North Pole is thrown into chaos. The elves were not made for this type of treachery, so they turn to the Naughty List. Starting with number one; a team of children are recruited to devise a plan to rescue Santa and save Christmas. They will utilize traditional Christmas magic and set sail for adventure and redemption.

Readers of all ages will enjoy following these intrepid youngsters as they unite the world in their desperate attempt while proving that their naughty actions do not define their nature.

Critique: Showcasing author Thomas Conway's genuine flair for originality and the kind of narrative storytelling that will keep the reader's fully entertaining and compulsive page turning engagement from beginning to end, "The Naughty List" will prove to be an immediately welcome and enduringly popular addition to the ever growing body of Christmas themed literature. While especially and unreservedly recommended for community library Holiday Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Naughty List" is also readily available in an inexpensive digital book format (Kindle, $0.99).

Sanctuary
Karen East
Archway Publishing
1663 Liberty Drive, Bloomington, IN 47403-5161
www.archwaypublishing.com
9781480884786, $21.99, PB, 352pp

https://www.amazon.com/Sanctuary-Karen-East/dp/1480884782

Synopsis: In the middle of the twenty-first century, the War on Terror has been going on for decades. Major corporations control both the government and the economy, and the resulting relaxation of environmental laws has caused pollution to go unchecked. All borders of the United States have been closed, and travel outside one's neighborhood is often viewed with suspicion. The Department of Homeland Security controls the media, written history, education, and individual freedoms.

Thirty-year-old Janet Ryan works as a reporter for the Minneapolis Herald, where she writes stories that have been prepared for her by Homeland Security. Her parents reach the age for mandatory placement in a nursing home, and they escape the country to avoid the confinement. Then Janet runs into a childhood friend who introduces her to a group of people skeptical about the government's restrictions and the loss of freedom. Janet has the chance to travel to northern Wisconsin to meet with an elderly woman who sought asylum on an Ojibwe reservation. There she encounters people who live happily without technology or competition. But what will happen when her visits-which are illegal-are discovered?

Critique: "Sanctuary" by Karen East is one of those chilling dystopian novels that can be easily believed in by simply projecting the current economic and political reality of 1% of the American populace owning more than 70% of the country's wealth -- a condition supported and defended by the best politicians that corporate money can buy. Set in a future where a powerful corporate government strictly controls personal freedoms, "Sanctuary" is an inherently fascinating novel and one that deserves as wide a readership as possible. While unreservedly recommended for community library Contemporary General Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Sanctuary" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $2.99).

Volunteer: A Vietnam War Odyssey
Bob Stockton
Gatekeeper Press
https://gatekeeperpress.com
https://navypublishing.com/books.htm
9781662901560, $16.99, PB, 446pp

https://www.amazon.com/Volunteer-Vietnam-Odyssey-Bob-Stockton/dp/1662901569

Synopsis: Eighteen-year old Zack Martin is determined to leave his Lubbock home where he has endured ridicule and scorn from his abusive father. His mother's recent death has given Zack the push to join the Navy where he is certain that he will find adventure -- and test his courage by volunteering to serve in ships that will be sent into harm's way in the emerging Vietnam conflict.

Author Bob Stockton has revised and consolidated his three earlier Vietnam War novellas - Mediterranean Suicide, Friendly Fire and The Third Tour into "Volunteer," a re-written and re-formatted hard-hitting, fast-paced novel that places the reader directly in the heart of the battlefield action.

Critique: Deftly redeveloped into a full length novel by a writer with a genuine flair for originality and the kind of narrative storytelling style that keeps the reader's total and compulsive page turning attention from beginning to end, "Volunteer: A Vietnam War Odyssey" is a fully entertaining and unreservedly recommended addition to community library military fiction collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Volunteer: A Vietnam War Odyssey" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $4.99).

Editorial Note: Leaving school in his junior year, Bob Stockton began a Navy career in 1957 where he served in destroyers, submarines, Vietnam gunboats and aviation reconnaissance squadrons, attaining the rank of Chief Petty Officer. Following Navy retirement in 1977 Bob has earned undergraduate and graduate degrees, worked as a shipyard welder's helper, university adjunct graduate instructor, epidemiologist, pharmaceutical trainer, radio host, and author.

The Songwriter
Chris Regez
Book Baby Publishers
www.the-songwriter.com
9781098311438, $17.40, PB, 368pp

https://www.amazon.com/Songwriter-Following-sound-love/dp/1098311434

Synopsis: Girlfriend gone. Job gone. Everything gone. Joe Baker has reached the lowest point of his life. But he has a dream. He leaves San Diego, his hometown, to try his luck as a songwriter in Nashville. Joe arrives in Music City, USA on a warm, autumn day with just a guitar, a notebook, and the address of a female singer. Will Joe Baker break out of his negative spiral and make his dreams come true?

His new life in Nashville starts with the rental of a Ford Mustang. Every day brings new surprises: Love, eroticism, fraud, new songs, disappointment, hope, intrigues, jealousy and crime.

Critique: A unique and deftly crafted and Nashville music industry informed novel "The Songwriter" by author and musician Chris Regez is an inherently fascinating and a fully entertaining read from cover to cover. Having a special attraction for anyone who has ever thought of music career for themselves, this fictional account reverberates with real life implications and experiences. While especially and unreservedly recommended for community library Contemporary General Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Songwriter" is available in a digital book format (Kindle, $1.99).

Temple Dancer
Amy Weintraub
Independently Published
9780974738062, $16.95, PB, 285pp

https://www.amazon.com/TEMPLE-DANCER-novel-Amy-Weintraub/dp/0974738069

Synopsis: On a crowded train in southern India, a mysterious encounter between two women (one an older elegant Indian, the other a young American artist) leads to the exchange of a dusty red book, and an appeal: You must show the world how we danced with God!

Years later, on reading the lost diary, Wendy is transported on an unforgettable journey into the ancient and erotic world of the revered devadasi, a world of dance and devotion, music and mysticism, restraint and release, shame and disgrace.

The diary opens a connection across time and space between two parallel lives that include affairs of the spirit and the flesh manifest through sacred practices, through the making of art, the making of love, and most of all through love itself.

Author Amy Weintraub takes her readers on a richly atmospheric journey deep into the history and magic of female sacred sexuality and spiritual transcendence. The tragic yet triumphant stories of both women are enriched by the foundations of yoga philosophy and the divine enigma that entwines the lives of two unlikely souls.

Critique: An inherently fascinating and compelling read from first page to last, "Temple Dancer" is an original and extraordinary literary experience and one that effectively showcases Amy Weintraub's impressive flair for the kind of narrative driven storytelling that the reader will find thoroughly entertaining and engaging from beginning to end. While especially and unreservedly recommended for community library General Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Temple Dancer" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $2.99).


The Literary Fiction Shelf

Somebody Else's Troubles
J. A. English
Zimbell House Publishing
9781643901145, $32.99, HC, 398pp

https://www.amazon.com/Somebody-Elses-Troubles-J-English/dp/1643901141

Synopsis: Travers Landeman, a businessman from Ohio, has his own set of troubles. Not to mention his teenage nephew, Matthew, who has been abused by his parish priest. Matthew reaches out to Travers for help, but Travers turns away. With an unhappy life, Travers fakes his death on the Caribbean island of Mabuhay and unwittingly sets off a series of events.

The years pass and tt appears that Travers has gotten away with it. He settles into a new life with a new family. But then Albert McNab is hired by the Atlantis Fidelity Insurance Company to bring Travers back to Ohio and he is hot on Travers' trail.

Chicago bookseller Joe Rogers leads a group of amateur archeologists to Mabuhay. At the dig site, he discovers an ancient treasure, a jeweled mask dating to the Arawak period. Will Joe, who has his own axe to grind with Atlantis Fidelity Insurance, leave the sidelines and get back in the game?

Esmerelda McNab, United Nations Ambassador of its newest member nation, the Commonwealth of Mabuhay, has her own set of troubles Columbia University protesters who denounce her part in the sale of the mask that Joe Rogers discovered as "cultural genocide."

Can love, redemption, and peace be found on Mabuhay? Or are somebody else's troubles, just that?

Critique: With chapters deftly organized into four major sections (Escape; Discovery; Loss; Rebirth), "Somebody Else's Troubles" by J. A. English is an original, unusual and deftly scripted novel that will engage and hold the readers rapt attention from beginning to end. While especially and unreservedly recommended for community and college/university library Contemporary Literary Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Somebody Else's Troubles" is also readily available in a paperback edition (9781643901152, $19.99) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $6.99).

Mother Mother
Jessica O'Dwyer
Apprentice House Press
https://www.apprenticehouse.com
9781627203142, $28.99, HC, 306pp

https://www.amazon.com/Mother-Jessica-ODwyer/dp/1627203141

Synopsis: Contemporary art museum curator Julie Cowan achieves her dream of motherhood through adoption, but her life is far from perfect. Her pathologist husband, Mark, is distracted at work, while her hotshot new museum director boss doubts Julie's curatorial chops. And Julie's young son, Juan, may never recover from trauma inflicted by early life spent in a Guatemalan orphanage.

At the same time, Juan's birth mother, an indigenous Ixil Maya, navigates her own tumultuous path, beginning with surviving a horrific massacre.

"Mother Mother" is gripping tale told from alternating perspectives as both mothers must draw on fierce inner strength to reckon with their life circumstances, and life choices.

Critique: An impressively original and deftly crafted novel by an author with an genuine flair for the kind of narrative storytelling style that fully engages the reader's total attention from first page to last, "Mother Mother" will prove to be an immediately welcome and enduringly appreciated addition to both community and college/university library Contemporary Hispanic Literary Fiction collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Mother Mother" is also readily available in a paperback edition (9781627203159, $19.95) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $6.49).

Everyone Dies Famous
Len Joy
BQB Publishing
https://bqbpublishing.com
9781945448720, $16.95, PB, 280pp

https://www.amazon.com/Everyone-Dies-Famous-Len-Joy/dp/1945448725

Synopsis: It's July 2003 and the small town of Maple Springs, Missouri is suffering through a month-long drought. Dancer Stonemason, a long-forgotten hometown hero, is still grieving over the death of his oldest son and has moved into town to live with his more dependable younger son. He hires Wayne Mesirow, an Iraq war veteran, to help him liquidate his late son's business.

As a tornado threatens their town, this stubborn old man who has lost his son teams up with a troubled young soldier to deliver a jukebox to the wealthy developer having an affair with the soldier's wife.

The heat wave breaks and the skies darken. Dancer tries to settle an old score while Wayne discovers the true cost of his wife's indifference and turns his thoughts to revenge. When the tornado hits Maple Springs, only one of the men will make it out alive.

Critique: The kind of novel that will linger in the mind and memory long after it has been finished and set back upon the shelf, "Everyone Dies Famous" is an impressively original story featuring the human condition of a select group of interacting and ordinary people in terms of the choices they make, how they live their lives, -- and how they die. While especially and unreservedly recommended for both community and college/university library Contemporary Literary Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Everyone Dies Famous" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $7.49).


The Historical Fiction Shelf

Dawn Empress: A Novel of Imperial Rome
Faith L. Justice
Raggedy Moon Books
www.raggedymoonbooks.com
9780917053238, $22.00, HC, 356pp

https://www.amazon.com/Dawn-Empress-Novel-Imperial-Theodosian/dp/0917053230

Synopsis: As Ancient Rome reels under barbarian assaults, a young girl must step up! After the Emperor's unexpected death, ambitious men eye the Eastern Roman throne occupied by seven-year-old Theodosius II. His older sister Princess Pulcheria faces a stark choice: she must find allies and take control of the Eastern court or doom the imperial children to a life of obscurity -- or worse!

Beloved by the people and respected by the Church, Pulcheria forges her own path to power. Can her piety and steely will protect her brother from military assassins, heretic bishops, scheming eunuchs and (most insidious of all) a beautiful, intelligent bride? Or will she lose all in the trying?

"Dawn Empress" tells Pulcheria's little-known and remarkable story. Her accomplishments rival those of Elizabeth I and Catherine the Great as she sets the stage for the dawn of the Byzantine Empire.

Critique: A deftly written and impressively entertaining historical novel in which the author pays due attention to detail while ably crafting memorable characters and riveting plot twists and turns, "Dawn Empress" is the second title in author Faith Justice's remarkable 'Theodosian Women' trilogy. While especially recommended for community library Historical Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Dawn Empress" is also readily available in a paperback edition (9780917053269, $12.99) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $4.99).

Editorial Note: Faith L. Justice writings have appeared in Salon.com, Writer's Digest, The Copperfield Review, the Circles in the Hair anthology, and many more. She is Chair of the New York City chapter of the Historical Novel Society, and Associate Editor for Space & Time Magazine. She co-founded a writer's workshop many more years ago than she likes to admit!


The Romantic Fiction Shelf

Roommaid
Sariah Wilson
Montlake
www.brillianceaudio.com
9781542023801, $12.95, PB, 303pp

https://www.amazon.com/Roommaid-Sariah-Wilson/dp/1542023807

Synopsis: Madison Huntington is determined to live her dreams. That means getting out from under her family's wealth and influence by saying no to the family business, her allowance, and her home. But on a teacher's salary, the real world comes as a rude awakening -- especially when she wakes up every morning on a colleague's couch. To get a place of her own (without cockroaches, mold, or crime scene tape), Madison accepts a position as a roommaid. In exchange for free room and board, all she needs to do is keep her busy roommate's penthouse clean and his dog company. So what if she's never washed a dish in her life. She can figure this out, right?

Madison is pretty confident she can fake it well enough that Tyler Roth will never know the difference. The finance whiz is rich and privileged and navigates the same social circles as her parents -- but to him she's just a teacher in need of an apartment. He's everything Madison has run from, but his kindhearted nature, stomach-fluttering smile, and unexpected insecurities only make her want to get closer. And Tyler is warming to the move.

Rewarding job. Perfect guy. Great future. With everything so right, what could go wrong? Madison is about to find out!

Critique: A deftly crafted and splendidly entertaining read that is especially and unreservedly recommended to the attention of all dedicated romance fans, "Roommaid" by Sariah Wilson will prove to be a welcome and enduringly popular addition to community library Contemporary Romance Fiction collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Roomaid" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $4.99) and as a complete and unabridged audio book (Brilliance Audio, 9781713506270, $12.99, MP3 CD).


The Mystery/Suspense Shelf

For the Best
Vanessa Lillie
Thomas & Mercer
www.brillianceaudio.com
9781542005876, $15.95, PB, 319pp

https://www.amazon.com/Best-Vanessa-Lillie/dp/1542005876

Synopsis: When Jules Worthington-Smith's wallet is found next to a dead man, she becomes the prime suspect in his murder. After struggling for years to build the perfect family and career, she's dangerously close to losing everything.

Sure of her innocence, Jules is desperate to clear her name. But there's one big problem: she was blackout drunk when the murder took place and can't remember what happened.

Unsatisfied with the police's handling of the case, Jules embarks on her own gin-fueled murder investigation. As she uncovers fresh clues, she starts a true-crime vlog that becomes a viral sensation, pushing her into the public eye. It's not long before the ordeal forces Jules to confront her demons, including her turbulent childhood and excessive drinking.

The deeper Jules digs, the more dirt she uncovers about the murder and herself. Unexpected truths pile up until she's buried so deep even finding the killer might not be enough to set her free.

Critique: A genuinely fun 'whodunnit' novel of mystery and suspense from first page to last, "For the Best" by author Vanessa Lillie will prove to be an immediately welcome and enduringly appreciated addition to community library collections and the personal reading lists of all dedicated mystery buffs. It should be noted that "For the Best" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $4.99) and as a complete and unabridged audio book (Brilliance Audio, 9781799738626, $14.99, CD).

Murder at the Art Fair Raises the Stakes
Carol Baum
Archway Publishing
1663 Liberty Drive, Bloomington, IN 47403-5161
www.archwaypublishing.com
9781480886322, $35.52, HC, 236pp

https://www.amazon.com/Murder-Art-Fair-Raises-Stakes/dp/1480886327

Synopsis: When Dr. Jessica Shepard travels to Miami to attend an international art fair, she makes friends with a precocious child, Jonathan, and his family, as she looks to purchase some paintings. She's also reacquainted with Alain Raynaud, Canadian narcotics detective, who has been asked to evaluate security at the art fair due to his prior work at art museums in Paris.

After Jonathan's grandfather recognizes a painting left behind in Germany when his family fled before World War II, an unexpected death occurs. Jessica is drawn into the mystery, wondering if the death was suicide or murder. No one can be trusted as gallery owners, a lawyer, an elderly woman and even her caretaker are questioned.

It will take an art curator, a former gang member, a mathematician turned magician, as well as a good game of poker to help Jessica crack the case. She must use her analytical reasoning skills to help Raynaud and the authorities prove a murder has been committed and how it is connected to a questionable piece of art.

Critique: A mystery lover's delight, "Murder at the Art Fair Raises the Stakes" by Carol Baum is an impressive and deftly written murder mystery with more twists and turns than a Disneyland roller coaster -- and just as fun! Showcasing Baum's total master of the genre, "Murder at the Art Fair Raises the Stakes" is an especially recommended addition to all community library Contemporary Mystery/Suspense collections. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of all dedicated mystery buffs that "Murder at the Art Fair Raises the Stakes" is also readily available in a paperback edition (9781480886315, $16.99) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.85).


The Fantasy/SciFi Shelf

Rocket Randy
Cody Turner
Draft2Digital
9781386313359, $13.99, PB, 292pp

https://www.amazon.com/Rocket-Randy-Mr-Cody-Turner/dp/1386313351

Synopsis: "Rocket Randy" by Cody Turner is the story of a boy who becomes a man that, based on the reader's point of view, may or may not have underwent a transformation that saw him become a rocket ship. It is a groundbreaking book that is sure to revolutionize the world in many ways.

The young and exceptional rocket ship (or man, based on your point of view, of course) carries himself with such a natural charisma and is such a talented and smooth operator, it's impossible not to fall in love with him. Even moons and planets seem to not be exempt from his singular charm. Through his mastery of small talk and gestures, he befriends everyone he meets, and effortlessly commands his environment.

Using his very unique mind, he thoroughly and respectfully watches the television and gains information few could ever dream of absorbing, much less retaining. The government notices his special qualities and contacts the young rocket ship (or man) and is intent on training him for space travel.

He eventually finds himself rocketing toward Ganymede. Upon arrival, he leads nine professional, and sometimes eccentric, astronauts on a highly successful mission and even ends up directly communicating with Ganymede herself, who seems to have an intense fondness for our hero.

Critique: A unique and inherently fascinating novel by an author with an impressive flair for originality and the kind of entertaining narrative storytelling style that keeps his readers total and rapt attention from beginning to end, "Rocket Randy" is especially and unreservedly recommended for community library Contemporary Science Fiction collections. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of all dedicated science fiction fans that "Rocket Randy" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.97).

KIMBER
L. K. Hingey
Independently Published
9798647754424, $9.99, PB, 339pp

https://www.amazon.com/KIMBER-Book-One-Elyrian-Chronicles/dp/B089CXDQSL

Synopsis: Twenty years ago, a solar storm ravaged the Earth's ozone layer. Of the 11 billion people on the planet, only 200 managed to seek refuge from the radiation by disappearing underground. With the bonds of oxygen obliterated, the damage to the ozone was irreversible. Every living thing exposed wilted and died, leading to global extinction. The year is now 2209, and what's left of humanity is trying to rebuild in Inanna, a cave city that is harboring Mankind's last hope.

The designers of Inanna knew that human body would be too fragile to ever compete with the piercing gamma rays on the surface and were secretly contracted by the American government to preserve life at ANY cost. So began the sanctioned grafting of human DNA with the genomes of Earth's most radiation-resistant animal species. The lines of morality are blurred in a chaotic race against time, a race to build an Ark for the salvation of life itself.

Kimber is one of 23. She, her brothers, and her sisters are the first of their kind, a brand-new subspecies of humans called Auroras. Named for the colorful magnetic phenomenon of the heavens, the Auroreans come of age in a city where they are forced to answer a life-changing question: Are they Inannian citizens or are they slaves?

Critique: A superbly crafted dystopian science fiction novel by a novelist with a genuine flair for originality and the kind of entertaining narrative storytelling style that keeps and holds the reader's total attention from first page to last, "KIMBER" is the first volume of author L. K. Hingey's new "The Elryian Chronicles' series and will leave appreciative readers looking eagerly toward the next installment of what promises to be a block-buster of a science fiction saga. While especially and unreservedly recommended for community library Science Fiction collections, it should be noted for the personal reading lists of all dedicated SciFi fans that "KIMBER" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $0.99).

Unfettered Journey
Gary F. Bengier
Chiliagon Press
https://chiliagonpress.com
9781648860188, $32.99, HC, 568pp

https://www.amazon.com/Unfettered-Journey-Gary-F-Bengier/dp/1648860184

Synopsis: Set in a richly envisioned future world, "Unfettered Journey" by Gary Bengier is the story of an AI scientist who seeks to create robot consciousness and discovers the resilience of the human spirit. He travels to a small college to progress his quest, but instead finds love, a secret plot by unjust forces, and the answers to his fundamental questions-the nature of the conscious mind and free will.

"Unfettered Journey" is a profound, many-layered journey that deftly combines a love story and an adventure. "Unfettered Journey" deftly traces struggle and resilience in an imperfect world. It is also a deep philosophical exploration that leads to the intersection of science and religion, and challenging the reader to begin their own journey to a purposeful life.

Critique: Showcasing the author's genuine flair for originality and the kind of narrative storytelling style that fully engages the imagination of the reader from first page to last, "Unfettered Journey" is an extraordinary, memorable, entertaining, and enduringly appreciated addition to community and college/university library Science Fiction collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Unfettered Journey" is also readily available in a paperback edition (9781648860140, $15.99) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

Editorial Note: Gary F. Bengier is a writer, philosopher, and technologist. After a career in Silicon Valley, Gary pursued passion projects, studying astrophysics and philosophy. He's spent the last two decades thinking about how to live a balanced, meaningful life in a rapidly evolving technological world. This self-reflective journey infuses his novel with insights about our future and the challenges we will face in finding purpose. Before turning to writing speculative fiction, Gary worked in a variety of Silicon Valley tech companies. He was eBay's Chief Financial Officer, and led the company's initial and secondary public offerings. Gary has an MBA from Harvard Business School, and an MA in philosophy from San Francisco State University.

Blood Moon
Sarah Kage
Independently Published
9780578594095, $18.00, PB, 488pp

https://www.amazon.com/Blood-Moon-Sarah-Kage/dp/0578594099

Synopsis: A journalist for The Daily News, Sara attacks her work with a Warrior-Princess attitude, her fiery, red hair, the hint of a dominant personality. Alex, her sidekick photographer, always speaks her mind and keeps Sara on the straight and narrow.

The Fortress stands outside the Village nestled against the mountain, away from the busy city metropolis. Its secrets of Alien Vampires, ancient wolf-like creatures called Wolfen, Shapeshifters, and a resident wizard, pepper the stories told by the Village Elders.

Fate dictates that the journalist duo has a shared destiny to save the world from the 'Blood Moon' and 'The Feast of Souls', prepared by Luna the Evil One. Jarrid the Village Councilman, and his family are immersed in the fate of the Redheaded One. They are waiting for her to come into her power, seize the medallion, and save the world -- all with the help of her Fairy Grandmother, Lucinda!

Critique: Impressively original, deftly clever, inherently fascinating. satisfyingly entertaining, "Blood Moon" by Sarah Kage is an especially and unreservedly recommended vampire novel that will prove to be an immediate and enduringly popular addition to community library Fantasy Fiction collections. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of the legions of vampire novel fans that "Blood Moon" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $3.99).


The Business Shelf

Uncharted: How to Navigate the Future
Margaret Heffernan
Avid Reader Press
9781982112622, $30.00, HC, 320pp

https://www.amazon.com/Uncharted-Navigate-Future-Margaret-Heffernan/dp/198211262X

Synopsis: Entrepreneurs, business managers, corporate executives, and their investors are addicted to prediction, desperate for certainty about the future. But the complexity of modern life won't provide that; experts in forecasting are reluctant to look more than 400 days out. History doesn't repeat itself and even genetics won't tell you everything you want to know. Tomorrow remains uncharted territory, but in the pages of "Uncharted: How to Navigate the Future", Margaret Heffernan demonstrates how we can forge ahead with agility.

Drawing on a wide array of people and places, "Uncharted" traces long-term projects that shrewdly evolved over generations to meet the unpredictable challenges of every new age. Heffernan also looks at radical exercises and experiments that redefined standard practices by embracing different perspectives and testing fresh approaches. Preparing to confront a variable future provides the antidote to passivity and prediction.

Ranging freely through history and from business to science, government to friendships, "Uncharted" offers refreshing challenges for us to mine our own creativity and humanity for the capacity to create the futures we want and can believe in.

Critique: Thoughtful and thought-provoking, "Uncharted: How to Navigate the Future" is an extraordinarily informative and ultimately inspiring read that is especially recommended in these currently trying times of pandemic and economic distress. While especially and unreservedly recommended for corporate, community and college/university library "Business Planning & Economic Conditions Forecasting collections in general and Business Decision Making studies in particular. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of MBA students, academia, economists, business executives, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "Uncharted: How to Navigate the Future" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $14.99) and as a complete and unabridged audio book (Blackstone Audio, 9781797113265, $39.99, CD).

The Corporate Social Mind
Derrick Feldmann & Michael Alberg-Seberich
Fast Company Press
https://www.fastcompanypress.com
c/o Greenleaf Book Group Press
PO Box 91869, Austin, TX 78709
www.greenleafbookgroup.com
9781734324808, $24.95, HC, 232pp

https://www.amazon.com/Corporate-Social-Mind-Companies-Change/dp/1734324805

Synopsis: In "The Corporate Social Mind: How Companies Lead Social Change from the Inside Out", authors Derrick Feldmann and Michael Alberg-Seberich introduce a new cultural and strategic approach to social issue engagement by companies. It takes a lot more than just a good corporate social responsibility; environmental, social, and governance; or corporate citizenship/philanthropy strategy to support social change. Marketing and communications teams can play a crucial role in enhancing the work a business does to impact society, activating the public and consumers towards social issue action, and changing perceptions, attitudes, and strongly-held beliefs.

"The Corporate Social Mind" is about bringing together those who work on social issues from both the corporate social responsibility and the marketing and communications sides and showing them how to engage in the kind of work that leads to stronger campaigns, moments, and initiatives that positively change the world.

"The Corporate Social Mind" also helps corporate impact and marketing teams understand how to collaborate and innovate, moving beyond their own ways of thinking and operating and coming together to address social issues through a mindset that embeds key traits into the daily work of their companies. Business as a whole, from research and innovation to marketing, can drive positive social change in society when it is integrated into the way we do the actual work.

Critique: Offering an impressive array of commercial and corporate insights that will prove to be of immense value for corporate executives and managers seeking to maximize effective in-house communications for decision making and business environment adaptations. Enhanced for academia with the inclusion of a twelve page Index and eight pages of Notes, "The Corporate Social Mind: How Companies Lead Social Change from the Inside Out" is an especially and unreservedly recommended addition to community, corporate, and college/university library Contemporary Business Management collections. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of MBA students, corporate executives, business managers, entrepreneurs, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "The Corporate Social Mind: How Companies Lead Social Change from the Inside Out" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

Editorial Note: Derrick Feldmann is a sought-after speaker, researcher, and advisor for causes and companies on social movements and issue engagement. He regularly speaks at events and organizations around the world on how causes and companies can drive public interest in social change. He is the author of two books, Social Movements for Good: How Companies and Causes Create Viral Change and Cause for Change: The Why and How of Nonprofit Millennial Engagement. Feldmann is also the managing director of movement design studio INFLUENCE SG where he advises companies and causes through research on social issue engagement. He also serves as managing director of Ad Council Edge, the strategic consulting division of the Ad Council. Feldmann is a guest lecturer for the Indiana University O'Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs and on the board of visitors for the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at Indiana University.

Michael Alberg-Seberich is a passionate author, speaker and consultant. His areas of interest lie on the intersection of business and social innovation, Corporate Social Responsibility and the manifold varieties of philanthropy. Michael is a regular contributor to industry publications and blogs. Together with the Wider Sense team, he curates and hosts the Wider Sense podcast from the field. He also lectures on a variety of topics in the sector. Michael has been one of the editors of the 2007 book Strategy of Politics and the 2004 book International Perspectives in Human Rights Education. Michael has contributed articles to various peer-reviewed publications. The book The Corporate Social Mind is collaboration with Derrick Feldmann and brings together the two authors experiences with working with companies on their social engagement and purpose driven efforts. As managing director of Wider Sense, based in Berlin, Michael leads the advisory work of Wider Sense concerning philanthropy, CSR, and impact investing. In addition to his consulting activities, Michael works as an organizational developer, facilitator, mediator, and coach.

Yes Is More
Howard L. Brown
An Inc Original
www.anincoriginal.com
c/o Greenleaf Book Group Press
PO Box 91869, Austin, TX 78709
www.greenleafbookgroup.com
9781733478120, $23.95, HC, 176pp

https://www.amazon.com/Yes-More-Tangible-Differentiate-Competitors/dp/1733478124

Synopsis: What makes customers want to do business with you when your products may be virtually the same as anyone else's in your industry?

Saying yes instead of no (and being ready to show the customer you re prepared to go the extra mile) is businessman Howard Brown's answer in "Yes Is More: Tangible and Timeless Ways to Differentiate Yourself from Your Competitors".

Brown should know. He built and sold three thriving office supply businesses, going up against big-time competition and winning every time. In a friendly, matter-of-fact style, the author provides classic personal wisdom that never goes out of style in the pursuit of outstanding profit and success. Some of his points include: You can never have enough good people; When you find good people, take care of them so they will stay; Whatever you put into relationships will benefit you in the end; Lead by example; Know every aspect of your business, and make sure you can do everyone's job; Don't ask people to do anything you are not prepared to do yourself.

In the end, and in good times and bad, loyalty to your employees, your manufacturers, and your customers (along with that unique something special) will always lead your company to a place at the top.

In "Yes Is More" Brown makes a point of showing how you can create that unique added value for customers that will make your business stand out, and how you can give customers something special, regardless of what you are selling. Entrepreneurs of all stripes will take away insights and value from "Yes Is More", and they'll thank Brown for the time he put into this very individual book about saying yes and making it big!

Critique: Expertly written, exceptional in organization and presentation, as informed and informative as it is thoughtful and thought-provoking, "Yes Is More: Tangible and Timeless Ways to Differentiate Yourself from Your Competitors" offers a wealth of insights that every entrepreneur, business manager and corporate executive can profit by. While especially appropriate and recommended for community, corporate, and college/university library Contemporary Business Management instructional reference collections, it should be noted for the personal reading lists of anyone engaged in Customer Relations, Human Resource, Personnel Development that "Yes Is More: Tangible and Timeless Ways to Differentiate Yourself from Your Competitors" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

Editorial Note: Howard L. Brown purchased Summit Office Supply in 1972 -- a $300,000-office product company, which he expanded both through internal growth and acquisitions in the New York/ New Jersey/Long Island/Westchester metropolitan area. In 1987, he sold Summit to Dutch company Buhrmann-Tetterode (BT) with company sales of $55 million. He remained with the company until 1996, increasing their footprint in the Northeast to over $500 million. In September of 1998, Brown and investors purchased ten office product companies in one day, including the main spoke, Allied Office Products in Hasbrouck Heights, NJ. Combined total sales of the companies were approximately $110 million. In 2006, the group of companies known as Allied Office Products was doing sales of $375 million, and Brown once again made an impressive sale--this time to Office Depot. In 2007 and 2008, Brown, his son, employees, and most of the same investors purchased Rentacrate, followed by ShredX. His restricted covenant for the office product industry ended in May of 2010 and HiTouch Business Services Inc. became the parent company of Rentacrate and ShredX. In October of 2010, HiTouch Business Services, Inc. purchased My Office Products, Inc. (doing approximately $120 million in sales), and giving HiTouch a nationwide distribution. His team successfully grew HiTouch as he had done with his previous companies, and in 2018, Brown again sold his company, this time to Staples.


The Self-Help Shelf

You Got This!
Linda Bjork
Independently Published
http://www.bjorkbusiness.com
9798643592846, $12.95, PB, 299pp

https://www.amazon.com/You-Got-This-action-anxiety/dp/B089M1FJHT

Synopsis: An action plan to calm worry, fear, anxiety, and stress, "You Got This!" by Linda Bjork is a thoroughly researched, easy-to-read, well-designed action plan with a variety of effective cognitive behavioral therapy tips and tricks that will empower you to you decrease stressors; increase coping skills; increase confidence; increase resilience; increase feelings of calmness, safety, and peace; and find solutions to your problems.

Feelings of fear, anxiety, worry, and stress can negatively affect your performance at work, your relationships, our health, our happiness, and your well-being. Chronic stress can cause numerous health problems including: anxiety disorders and panic attacks, depression, headaches, high blood pressure, heart disease, cardiovascular problems, memory and concentration problems, problems with digestion, trouble sleeping, weight gain, weakening of the immune system (making you more likely to have colds or other infections), and increased blood sugar levels. But there are ways to calm fear, anxiety, worry, and stress.

"You Got This" shows how to calm down and get back to the top of your game by broadening your vision and tapping into your own creative problem solving skills.

Critique: Comprised of personal stories and illustrative examples, "You Got This!" is a a thoroughly 'reader friendly and instructive guide for dealing with feelings of being overwhelmed by what life throws at you -- especially in these dark days of pandemic, economic collapse, and civil strife. While especially and unreservedly recommended for both community and college/university library Self-Help/Self-Improvement collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "You Got This" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $6.99).

Editorial Note: Linda Bjork is the founder and executive director of the non-profit charity organization Hope for Healing, and owner of Innovate Joy LLC).


The Christian Studies Shelf

Hallelujah: Memoirs of a Singing Priest
Father Ray Kelly
Columba Books
https://columbabooks.com
9781782183686, $18.99, HC, 300pp

https://www.amazon.com/Hallelujah-Fr-Ray-Kelly/dp/178218368X

Synopsis: Father Ray Kelly, popularly known as "the singing priest", became a worldwide internet sensation when a video of him singing Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" at a wedding in 2014 went viral. The emotional video and his wonderful voice captured hearts globally and garnered him millions of views.

In 2018, he auditioned for Britain's Got Talent, singing "Everybody Hurts" by R.E.M., where he made it to the semi-finals of the show, demonstrating his astonishing ability to connect with people through his singing.

"Hallelujah: Memoirs of a Singing Priest" is his personal story, describing his fascinating journey from parish priest to fame, and following his experience of sharing his exceptional talent with the world. Filled with stories of how music has always been a huge part of his world, from singing with his family as a child, to performing "Danny Boy" for Pope John Paul II in the Vatican and forming a boy band in seminary school.

Charting his childhood in Tyrrellspass, Ireland, his call to the seminary, and his subsequent work as a priest, "Hallelujah: Memoirs of a Singing Priest" culminates in Father Kelly being catapulted into the limelight because of his extraordinary talent, and combining his passion for singing with his dedicated work as a priest.

Critique: A deftly written and inherently fascinating story, "Hallelujah: Memoirs of a Singing Priest" is a remarkable and highly recommended addition to community and academic library contemporary biography collections, and will be of special interest to all members of the Catholic community.


The Political Science Shelf

The Liberal Record: How Liberals Changed the World
Marcelo Brazzi
Xlibris Corporation
1663 South Liberty Drive, Bloomington, IN 47403-5161
www.xlibris.com
9781796035155, $29.99, HC, 202pp

https://www.amazon.com/Liberal-Record-Everything-Need-Know/dp/1796035157

Synopsis: Over the past few decades the country has become highly divided politically. In the course of reporting current events, the concepts of conservative and liberal have become grossly distorted. At the top of a political agenda is the demonization of the opposition party. The true accomplishments and values have been suppressed. If this is not corrected, government will continue towards an abyss of dysfunction, disunity, and dissension. It is paramount that the US electorate is accurately and fully informed regarding the record of liberals and conservatives.

That's why Marcelo Brazzi has written and published "The Liberal Record: How Liberals Changed the World".

Critique: A timely contribution to our current national discussion with some seeking to restore civility to political dialogues, while others continue to promote acrimonious division as part of a 'divide and conquer' electoral strategy to achieve, expand and hold onto power, "The Liberal Record: How Liberals Changed the World" deserves as wide a readership as possible. While especially and unreservedly recommended for both community and college/university library Contemporary Political Science collections, it should be noted for the personal reading lists of political science students, academia, political activists, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "The Liberal Record: How Liberals Changed the World" is also readily available in a paperback edition (9781796035148, $19.99) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $3.99).

Editorial Note: Marcelo Brazzi was a Spacecraft Engineer on NASA's Apollo program and a Computer Science instructor at California State University. He holds a Master's degree in Systems Engineering from the University of California and has traveled extensively through Europe, Asia, Africa, and South America. Among his accomplishments, are ascending Mt. Kilimanjaro, Mt. Everest, and photographing total solar eclipses around the world. Living on the beach in Southern California, he is involved in managing his real estate investments, writing, and spending time with his grown children and his grandsons.


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


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