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

Small Press Bookwatch

Volume 22, Number 9 September 2023 Home | SPBW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice Education Shelf Health/Medicine Shelf
Biography Shelf General Fiction Shelf Historical Fiction Shelf
Literary Fiction Shelf Romantic Fiction Shelf Mystery/Suspense Shelf
Fantasy/SciFi Shelf Poetry Shelf Native American Studies Shelf
Christian Studies Shelf Travel Shelf Computer Shelf
Literary Studies Shelf Self-Help Shelf  

Reviewer's Choice

E.A.T.: An Unconventional Decade In The Life Of A Cancer Patient
Kathy Mydlach Bero
9781986609289, $14.95, PB, 274pp

Synopsis: "E.A.T. An Unconventional Decade In The Life Of A Cancer Patient" by Kathy Mydlach Bero is drawn from her personal journal and is an entirely transparent, honest and relatable accounting of battling cancer through the prism of healing.

Her medical memoire describes how she EVOLVED into her own best ADVOCATE to TRANSFORM her life. "E.A.T.: An Unconventional Decade In The Life Of A Cancer Patient" is not a typical self-help book in that it does not lay out a specific plan or diet, but it does include the list of foods she used as medicine along with a summary of why keeping your microbiome diverse and healthy matters.

Her recovery was not just about using food as medicine, but it also included stress releasing modalities. Bero would like her readers to know that she does not present her story for others to do exactly as she did. Instead, she hopes her readers will find motivation and strength to use an integrative approach to healing. In addition, it was her desire to demonstrate the horrible things cancer patients endure in our current system of care in hopes we can do better moving forward and grow the current protocol box.

Bero's genuine optimism and passion for life is contagious in this candid, honest, and deeply human story that speaks straight to the heart and provides insight into her self-designed healing protocol to overcome stage IV inflammatory breast cancer and a high-grade tumor in her head and neck. In 2005, Bero's life expectancy was 21 months, a mere sliver of time compared to the nearly 17 years she's logged since.

Her story is exactly how it was in real life. Not every moment was full of hope nor every day packed with unfailing support. Bero does not hold back nor does she sugar coat anything. Her insights are a perspective rarely heard and provide critical benefits to patients and health care providers alike. She is brutally honest about the good, the bad and the l can't believe they actually did that, demonstrating that triumph over a disease that feeds from a damaged mind, body and spirit is possible.

Today, her case is being studied as part of Harvard University's People Powered Network of Enigmatic Exceptional Responders looking at individuals with unexpected success battling cancer.

Critique: Candid, detailed, engaging, compelling, memorable, well written, and offering something very precious and timely for readers facing similar life-threatening medical conditions, "E.A.T.: An Unconventional Decade In The Life Of A Cancer Patient" is especially, unconditionally, and unreservedly recommended for personal, professional, community, and academic library Contemporary American Biography/Memoir collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "E.A.T.: An Unconventional Decade In The Life Of A Cancer Patient" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $4.99).

Editorial Note: Kathy Mydlach Bero ( experienced a remarkable recovery from two rare and aggressive forms of cancer. She then took her previous advocacy work into a whole new arena. She is a speaker, reiki master and integrative health and cancer coach, working to change the way we look at chronic disease. Prior to her cancer diagnosis, Bero's work ranged widely to include advocacy, facilitation, and consultation along with leadership development in the U.S. and abroad. Bero has been recognized nationally for her significant contributions in environmental advocacy and education, and has executive produced the two-time Emmy award winning documentary "Worth Fighting For'.

The Education Shelf

The Kid Across the Hall
Reid Saaris
Redwood Press
c/o Stanford University Press
9781503615274, $28.00, HC, 352pp

Synopsis: Growing up, Reid Saaris was confused and disturbed by the radically different opportunities his best friend Jamie received. After a childhood spent together, Jamie and Reid found themselves on opposite sides of a high school hallway that separated kids based on a misunderstanding of their supposed "potential". The gap between the two friends widened as Reid's classes enabled him to pursue an elite college degree across the country studying educational opportunity and teaching.

Then, Reid became a teacher at an under-resourced South Carolina high school where efforts to serve the incredible students were stymied by internal segregation and administrative ambivalence. He was disabused of the Hollywood myth that a good teacher could simply save the day, when each false start with his students forced him to reckon with how much he didn't know. After Reid assigned students a project to create a positive change, they pushed him to figure out how he, too, could make a bigger difference.

While an individual's efforts are no match against entrenched systems, Reid learned firsthand that a community of people powered by data can effect change. This lesson motivated him to found Equal Opportunity Schools (EOS), a nationwide nonprofit dedicated to finding the students who were overlooked, discouraged, or otherwise missing from higher-level classes.

As EOS became more successful, partnering with major philanthropies, universities, and even the White House, Reid grappled with his role as a leader. Only through the efforts of, first, his students in South Carolina, and later his team at EOS, would he come to understand, and begin to overcome, the limitations of his vision.

Informed by extensive new data on educational opportunity in America, The Kid Across the Hall is a powerful story of learning and unlearning; of leading and learning to follow.

Critique: A brilliant and effective blending of personal memoir with educational reformation experience "The Kid Across the Hall: The Fight for Opportunity in Our Schools" by educator Reid Saaris will have immense value for readers with an interest in the educational ramification of income inequality and the role that nonprofit organizations and collective 'front line' leadership can accomplish. While also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $14.99), "The Kid Across the Hall: The Fight for Opportunity in Our Schools" is especially and unreservedly recommended for personal, professional, community, school district, college, and university library Contemporary American Biography/Memoir collections and supplemental Teacher Education curriculum studies lists.

Editorial Note: Reid Saaris ( is the founder of Equal Opportunity Schools, a nonprofit dedicated to ensuring that students of all backgrounds have opportunities to succeed at the highest levels. He is an Echoing Green, a Draper Richards Kaplan, and a Stanford Social Innovation Fellow, and has advised federal, state, and local leaders, teachers, philanthropies, companies, and universities on topics like justice, impact, data analysis, communications, and learning. His most challenging and meaningful professional experiences have been as a classroom teacher.

The Health/Medicine Shelf

Defying Death: Medicine's Journey Toward Immortality
Bruno Leone, author
Michael A. Leone, author
Referencepoint Press Inc
9781678205140, $25.95, HC, 144pp

Synopsis: "Defying Death: Medicine's Journey Toward Immortality" by co-authors Bruno and Michael Leone is an attempt to outline where medicine has traversed in the past and to chart where it may be heading in the future. More specifically, this work endeavors to illustrate how advances in modern medical technology often leave in their wake increases in human life expectancy.

Will every new century or millennium fashion its own singular contribution to the additional number of years each human's body and mind can expect to survive? And will this continue indefinitely? Or does the story of humanity reach a chapter in which the body will no longer by heeded. Could it be that the collective consciousness of humanity will reside and hopefully even flourish on the hard-drive of a computer, creating an almost endless future -- one that several distinguished scientists, scholars, and transhumanists believe is humanity's ultimate fate?

Medical efforts to make life better and longer have progressed to the point where some see immortality as the ultimate possibility.

Critique: Inherently fascinating, thoughtful and thought-provoking, "Defying Death: Medicine's Journey Toward Immortality" is an exceptionally informative study that will be of particular and special interest to anti-aging believers and skeptics alike will appreciated this compendium of relevant information provided in a thoroughly 'reader friendly' organization and presentation. While especially and unreservedly recommended for personal, professional, community, and academic library Health/Medical collections and supplemental Medical Anti-Aging curriculum studies lists, it should be noted for medical students, academia, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "Defying Death: Medicine's Journey Toward Immortality" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $14.95)

Editorial Note #1: Michael A. Leone is a medical student at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, class of 2024. He received a BS in molecular and cell biology with a concentration in neurobiology from the University of California, Berkeley, where he graduated with high distinction. He has been involved in research projects in the areas of neurogenetics as well as congenital cardiomyopathies. He founded the Aerospace Medicine Student and Resident Organization chapter at Albert Einstein College of Medicine and was nominated and inducted into the National Society of Leadership and Success.

Editorial Note #2: Bruno Leone earned undergraduate and graduate degrees in history from the Arizona State University and The University of Minnesota, respectively. He was a lecturer at the University of Minnesota and assistant professor of history at St. Francis University, Joliet, Illinois. Recipient of a Woodrow Wilson Graduate Fellowship, a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship and two National Science Foundation Grants, he has authored numerous books, articles and anthologies including, Origin: The Story of Charles Darwin and Disease in History. He is currently adjunct professor of humanities at California State University, San Marcos where he lectures for the Osher Foundation.

The Biography Shelf

The Tafts
George W. Liebmann
Twelve Tables Press
9781946074409, $28.95, HC, 432pp

Synopsis: With the publication of "The Tafts", biographer George W. Liebmann covers five generations of the Taft family -- America's longest-lived political dynasty but one that, unlike four generations of Adamses, three of Rockefellers and Kennedys, and two each of Oyster Bay and Hyde Park Roosevelts, has not captured the public's imagination.

Yet the impact of the Tafts on the present shape of American society may well be greater than that of any of the other political families. The Tafts' impact is unappreciated because, thanks to their unsympathetic biographers, William Howard Taft is thought of as a 'standpatter' and fat plutocrat and his son Robert A. Taft as a blind isolationist and opponent of domestic reform.

This long-overdue reconsideration of the Tafts shows them to be far-sighted, fair-minded, and in many ways good guides in dealing with today's concerns.

William Howard Taft served in more significant and varied public offices than any other American and, in his words, he always had his plate up when offices were being handed out. He was a collector of internal revenue, a state prosecutor, a state court trial judge, Solicitor General of the United States, a federal circuit judge, Governor General of the Philippines, Secretary of War, President of the United States, co-chairman of the War Labor Board under President Wilson, and Chief Justice of the United States.

His son Senator Robert A. Taft was a realist, not an isolationist, in foreign policy. He was the leader in repealing the embargo legislation and in allowing Britain to buy arms in the United States during the first two years of World War II. His Taft-Hartley Act still governs American labor law and is the only important modern statute passed over a presidential veto. He was also a champion of civil liberties, and was the only official in all three branches of government to publicly oppose internment of Japanese-Americans.

Senator Robert Taft Jr. was the first prominent politician to propose curbing "bracket creep" in the tax code to curb increases in the size of government.

Ohio Governor Robert Taft III made himself unpopular with both parties in the Reagan era by fostering fiscal responsibility; he also has a continuing interest in science education.

Public knowledge of the Taft family centers on the lives of President and Chief Justice William Howard Taft and Senate Republican leader Robert A. Taft. In the age of Twitter and the tweet, where most politicians are "foolish, tawdy moths who fly into publicity's consuming fire", in American jurist Learned Hand's memorable phrase, it is useful to be reminded of a series of men who shunned personal publicity and glamour and who exerted great influence based on their breadth of knowledge and perceived good character -- The Tafts.
Read less

Critique: Admirably rescuing from an undeserved and underappreciated obscurity, "The Tafts" by George W. Liebmann is a masterpiece of seminal and original scholarship. This biographic study of the Taft dynasty is further and informatively enhanced for the reader with the inclusion of a sixteen page Bibliography, a four page listing of Dramatis Personae, and a nine page Index. While especially and unreservedly recommended addition to personal, professional, community, college, and university library American Political Biography collections and supplemental curriculum studies lists, it should be noted for students, academia, historians, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "The Tafts" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $16.00).

Editorial Note: George W. Liebmann is a Baltimore lawyer, and has been a Visiting Fellow at the University of Manchester and Wolfson College, Cambridge. He is the author of "The Little Platoons: Sub-Local Governments in Modern History) (Westport, CT: Praeger, 1995) and "The Gallows in the Grove" (Westport). (

The General Fiction Shelf

My Life as a Cactus
Diane Asitimbay
Culturelink Press
9780975927618, $16.99, PB, 236pp

Synopsis: With the publication of "My Life as a Cactus: Tales of a Rookie Reporter in Mexico", Diane Asitimbay presents a comic account of her misadventures and cultural clashes in Mexico.

Heartbroken, Sara quits her dead-end job in Queens and decamps in Mexico, a country where nobody ever dies, they just take long naps until the next year's Day of the Dead.

With no money and a little Spanish, she knows she's ready for her new career in a new country because of the rolls of smashed toilet paper busting out of her suitcase.

After all, how different can life in Mexico be? -- It turns out, very different!

Critique: Although a work of fiction, Diane Asitimbay's debut novel "My Life as a Cactus :Tales of a Rookie Reporter in Mexico" was inspired by her actual work as a reporter for a Mexican newspaper in Mexico City. She went to live in Mexico with no magic beans and the result was this novel based on her misadventures!

"My Life as a Cactus: Tales of a Rookie Reporter in Mexico" is a compelling, deftly crafted, and strikingly memorable story of friendship, of healing, and of self-discovery. An original and fully entertaining novel, "My Life as a Cactus" is an especially and unreservedly recommended pick for community and academic library Contemporary Fiction collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "My Life as a Cactus" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

Editorial Note: Diane Asitimbay ( has been a guest columnist and writer for numerous magazines and newspapers, and her humorous writing and cultural insights have appeared in Hispanic, Business Mexico, and the San Diego Union-Tribune. Her previous award-winning books include the non-fiction guide, What's Up, America? and a book of poetry, No Perfect People, Please! She also teaches English to international students at the University of California-San Diego.

She Calls Her Mom
Kana Wu
Bellwind Books
9781735767666, $8.99, PB, 108pp

Synopsis: Zoey Matthew is excited to celebrate her upcoming 21st birthday and begin building the life she's always wanted. However, her dreams are shattered when her sister and brother-in-law die in a seemingly hit-and-run accident, leaving their baby, Ella, in her care.

Suddenly she has to learn how to take care of an infant and juggle her new career while grieving the loss of her sister, who had been like a mom to her after their own mother abandoned them. And losing her dad at a young age right before her mom left without a word has Zoey feeling lost and less than adequate for the job of becoming a mother to Ella.

Encountering frequent challenges, Zoey gives up her career to care for her niece and throws in the towel on ever having a love life since she believes no man will be interested in her -- a woman with a baby. Feeling alone and vulnerable, she finds hope and joy in the presence of new friends: a kind-hearted Claudia and a charming-baby whisperer, Derek.

Zoey realizes that her life can never truly be at peace until her sister's murderer is brought to justice and she finds out who is behind the mysterious weekly grocery deliveries. Will she uncover the truth and find closure, or will the disclosures shatter her world even further?

Critique: A deftly crafted novella by Kana Wu, "She Calls Her Mom" will be of particular interest to readers who enjoy compelling stories that include family dynamics, grief, love, loss, self-discovery, and navigating challenging circumstances. Solidly recommended for fans of women's friendship and single mother stories, "She Calls Her Mom" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $2.99) and is especially and unreservedly recommended for personal reading lists and community library Contemporary Fiction collections.

Editorial Note: Kana Wu ( is a bilingual author who writes her novels in English as her second language. Her debut novel, No Romance Allowed, won 1st Place in the Romance category in the 2020 TCK Publishing Readers' Choice Awards Contest. the Romance category for the 2020 TCK Publishing Readers' Choice Awards Contest. Her second novel, No Secrets Allowed, earned a 1st Place Blue Ribbon for the Chatelaine Book Awards for Romantic Fiction, a division of the 2021 Chanticleer International Book Awards. Fans can keep up with Kana's latest news and updates by visiting her website or following her on social media. and https: //

A Thousand Flying Things
Kathryn Brown Ramsperger
Touchwood Press
9781956851649, $16.99, PB, 308pp

Synopsis: An idealistic humanitarian worker with a decade of field experience arrives in 1991 Southern Sudan hoping to save the world, but will the love of a child and the return of a love from the past end up saving and healing her instead?

Qasim, charming and cosmopolitan, trying to save his homeland, Lebanon.

Dianna, brilliant and beautiful, trying to save children in Southern Sudan.

The two old flames bump into one another in Nairobi and fall in love again. But they must choose between their work and their love. Can Dianna trust Qasim? Only if she trusts herself.

In the face of cultural barriers, their commitment to family and career, and ongoing war, can they find the strength to stand up for both love and a lasting peace?

Critique: A carefully crafted and original work of literary excellence and eloquence, "A Thousand Flying Things" by the gifted and talented author Kathryn Brown Ramsperger is an extraordinary and memorable novel from cover to cover. One of those deftly written stories 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, "A Thousand Flying Things" is especially and unreservedly recommended for community, college, and university library Literary Fiction collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "A Thousand Flying Things" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $8.99).

Editorial Note: Kathryn Ramsperger (https: // is rooted in the Southern tradition of storytelling and is informed by her world travels. She began her career writing for The Roanoke Times, The National Geographic Society, and Kiplinger publications and later managed publications for the Red Cross and Red Crescent in Geneva, Switzerland. Writing from a global perspective, her themes are universal yet intensely personal and authentic. A graduate of Hollins University (Roanoke, Va.), Kathryn studied under several esteemed authors. She received another degree in Publications Management as a post-graduate at George Washington University. Winner of the Hollins University Fiction Award, Kathryn is also a finalist in the Faulkner-Wisdom literary competition.

The Persistent Road
Tim Bishop
Open Road Press
9798986012506, $17.99,PB, 368pp

Synopsis: After losing all he once cherished, Doug Zimmer follows his wife's parting bread crumbs and rides up the Pacific coast -- on a bicycle. Armed with a revolver and only a vague plan to get through the months ahead, he aims to end his depression one way or the other.

As spiritual forces wrangle for his soul, he pedals eastward across America. He meets Lauren Baumgartner (a younger adventurer with a vibrant spirit) and a band of zealots who confront his aversion to religion. Accompanying Doug are not only sunny days and the beauty of nature but also the perils of the road, fellow travelers with their own stories, and the hollow silence of solitary campsites playing host to unseen creatures of the night.

A jarring episode on a climb through a treacherous pass brings Doug face-to-face with life and death. Will Doug's adventure deliver him from loneliness and lament -- or hurtle him to an abrupt end?

Critique: Original, eloquent, memorable, replete with deftly crafted characters and many an entertaining plot twist, "The Persistent Road" showcases author Tim Bishop's genuine flair for the kind of narrative driven storytelling that keeps the readers fully involved from start to finish. While highly recommended for community library General Fiction collections, it should be noted for the personal reading lists for fans of contemporary Christian fiction that "The Persistent Road" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

Editorial Note: Tim Bishop ( has bicycled many of the roads that the fictional Doug Zimmer traveled in "The Persistent Road". And having coached people struggling with similar issues, Tim is quite familiar with his protagonist's problems. Tim and his wife, Debbie, are co-authors of the award-winning Wheels of Wisdom.

Donald Altman
Roundfire Books
c/o Collective Ink Books
9781803410944, $15.95, PB, 248pp

Synopsis: In author Donald Altman's metaphysical novel, "Travelers", we are introduced to a mysterious traveler, a sentient canine, a psychotic patient, and a grieving psychiatrist.

Psychiatrist Ben Banks can't find a way to heal from loss. But when a mystifying, miraculous and mind-bending trio arrive at the psych ward, Ben is forced to confront his deepest fears and beliefs about the nature of consciousness and reality -- even death. With his marriage, career and life hanging by a thread, he faces demons both real and imagined, all the while being transformed forever in an inspiring story of hope, healing and renewal.

Critique: An original, expertly crafted, surreal and memorable novel, "Travelers" by Donald Altman will have a special resonance with readers interest in magical realism, metaphysics, and psychology drama. While highly recommended for community library Contemporary Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Travelers" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.49).

Editorial Note: Donald Altman ( is a psychotherapist, international mindfulness expert, and award-winning author of over 15 books translated worldwide. Featured as an expert in The Mindfulness Movie and profiled in the Living Spiritual Teachers Project, he currently writes Psychology Today's Practical Mindfulness Blog.

The Bus Stop Series
Annmarie Topel
Independently Published

Three outstanding novels comprise author Annmarie Topel's 'The Bus Stop Series':

"My Name Is Edward" (9798985366099, $10.99 PB, $3.99 Kindle, 248pp) In a chance meeting, a powerful businesswoman named Ann and a troubled homeless man named Edward take a journey together that is as heart wrenching as it is heartwarming. While Edward battles his inner demons and struggles to stay alive on the streets, Ann relentlessly works to gain his trust and find him a home to call his own. As she fights to save the man she barely knows, she's forced to confront the wounds from her own past. Through the twists and turns of this unlikely friendship, we're taken on an emotional ride that touches the heart and opens the eyes.

"They Call Him Skinny" (9798985366068, $11.99 PB, $4.99 Kindle, 292pp) A young man named Jimmy searches for love and acceptance in a world that seems to do nothing but reject him. The harder he tries to find it, the further from reach it becomes. His own parents dismiss him, holding back their love and hiding the truth and the very reason why they can't give him what he deserves. A few wrong turns and bad decisions end up sending him to the streets. Throughout his journey, Jimmy battles with his conscience and struggles to discern good from evil, friends from enemies, and right from wrong. Then one day, he stumbles into a junkyard and meets a wise old man who accepts him for who he is, setting him on a new course. While the possibility of finding real love and having a promising future touch the horizon and seem within his reach, a dark secret surfaces that threatens everything.

"You Can Call Me Rip" (9798985366020, $11.99 PB, $4.99, 304pp) Meet Rip, a crusty old widower living in a junkyard in a ramshackle house with a family of stray cats, one ancient television, a cupboard full of whiskey and a ton of regret. The pain of losing his beloved wife, Eleanor, and best friend, Charlie, along with the guilt he can't shake for being unable to save them, sends him into a place of deep depression that even a tough veteran like him struggles to manage. As Rip reaches the darkest depths of despair, he meets a special woman who attempts to show him that everyone deserves happiness. Even him.

Critique: Each of these three carefully crafted and impressively original novels will have a very special appeal for readers with an interest in Contemporary Literary Fiction. Entertaining, thought-provoking, memorable, "My Name Is Edward", "They Call Him Skinny", and "You Can Call Me Rip" are especially and unreservedly recommended for personal, community, college, and university library Contemporary American Literary Fiction collections and supplemental curriculum studies lists.

Editorial Note: Annmarie Topel ( grew up in a turbulent environment and in her novels draws upon her childhood experiences to craft engaging stories of colorful characters. Like her own life, they are ripe with intensity from hope to loss, pain to triumph. Through her writing, she hopes to draw attention to and grow support of homeless people and animals.

The Historical Fiction Shelf

The Keys to Corfe Castle
Linda Sindt
Mystic Publishers Inc.
9781948266437, $26.95, PB, 358pp

Synopsis: In an age of knights and castles the starring warrior is a "lady"! This very real Lady was Mary Hawtrey Bankes, a woman who inspired a war-weary nation, including even her foes when she dared to oppose the Parliamentary forces in fierce face-to-face combat with her young daughters by her side.

Not exactly a socially acceptable role for "proper" ladies of that era, but who could blame them? The enemy (their neighbors) not only wanted to destroy their castle but to abolish Christmas!

Lady Mary's story is one of tender romance in an era of arranged marriages. It celebrates family at a time of paramount fear and despair.

Critique: Lady Mary Bankes (c. 1598 - 11 April 1661) was a Royalist who defended Corfe Castle from a three-year siege during the English Civil War from 1643 to 1645. She was married to Sir John Bankes, Lord Chief Justice of the Common Pleas and Attorney-General of King Charles I. Although a work of fiction, "The Keys to Corfe Castle" by Linda Sindt is solidly based on a real 17th Century historical person and her impressive accomplishments in factually portrayal of heartbreaking loss and betrayal as well as fervent love and hope. Exceptionally well written, thoroughly researched, and a fun and engaging read from first page to last, "The Keys to Corfe Castle" will hold a very special appeal to fans of historical fiction and biography alike. While highly recommended for community library collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Keys to Corfe Castle" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $8.99).

Editorial Note #1: There is an informative Wikipedia page devoted to Lady Mary Bankes at

Editorial Note #2: Linda Sindt ( is a retired United States Air Force Colonel. "The Keys to Corfe Castle" is Linda's first novel. 10% of the author's royalties will go to the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network in memory of her husband to promote pancreatic cancer research. Anyone facing this dreadful disease can check out their website (https:// for help and support - and opportunities to create a world in which all pancreatic cancer patients will thrive. The Military Women's Memorial in Arlington, VA, https:// will also share 10 % of the author's royalties in special tribute to the inspiring military exploits of Lady Mary Hawtrey Bankes.

The Literary Fiction Shelf

Ogden's Proverb
John McClusky
New Plains Press
9781734571974, $19.99, PB, 188pp

Synopsis: During the years of The Great Depression, Ogden Skully's father, despite their being of modest means has high hopes for him to enroll in the elite Hamden Academy. But even though he seems accepted by his fellow classmates, Ogden (as a former public school student), doesn't feel like he fits in -- and then there is his troubled home life as an additional factor.

The there is Ogden's his first girlfriend, Chloe, a young lady from a wealthy oil family and the wannabe rebel Adam who considers Ogden to be a kindred spirit. As the two boys become friends, tragedy strikes the Hamden community, testing the last threads of Ogden's innocence.

Critique: In his novel, "Ogden's Proverb", novelist John McClusky skillfully creates an inherently eloquent and original 'coming of age' story that reflects how moments of the past can affect our views concerning our future anticipations. A deftly scripted and truly memorable read from start to finish, "Ogden's Proverb" is especially and unreservedly recommended for community library Literary Fiction collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Ogden's Proverb" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.49).

Editorial Note: John McCluskey ( is now retired and devotes full time to writing and photography. He writes mostly about family dynamics. An interview with him is available at:

The Romantic Fiction Shelf

Madly Deeply Wildly
Katherine Turner
Josha Publishing
9781955735117, $17.99, PB, 378pp

Synopsis: Renata is a writer. Or... she was. After finding the courage to leave her abusive fiance, Damien, and move back to her hometown, Renata realizes she has lost not only her words but herself. She navigates life with a caution she never knew before and doesn't let anyone too close.

Inspired to honor her promise to her late father to always follow her heart, she takes a job at a local cafe and sets her sights on reviving her love of writing. With the cafe's friendly owner, Fern, and upbeat barista Caroline, Renata discovers much about life, friendship, and love. Renata's life is looking up, and when she hits it off with handsome baker Chad, she believes she may finally find her happy ending.

But her relationship with Chad triggers wounds from her past, which she hides from him while grappling alone with the resultant fear, trauma, and shame. Chad may not forgive Renata once he discovers she's been lying to him, and after a dangerous appearance from Damien further jeopardizes their relationship, the decisions she makes will determine the course of their relationship. Can Renata escape Damien for good and learn to trust again? Or will echoes of her past destroy their future?

Critique: A deftly crafted contemporary romance laced with drama, "Madly Deeply Wildly" by novelist Katherine Turner will have a very special appeal and interest to fans of contemporary romance. While especially and unreservedly recommended for community library romance fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Madly Deeply Wildly" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $5.99).

Editorial Note: Katherine Turner ( is an award-winning author, and a life-long reader and writer who grew up in foster care from the age of eight and is passionate about improving the world through literature, empathy, and understanding. In addition to writing books, Katherine blogs about mental health, trauma, and the need for compassion on her website She can be follow on Facebook/Twitter/Instagram: @kturnerwrites

The Mystery/Suspense Shelf

Operation Bethlehem
Yariv Inbar, author
Amon Jackont, editor
Dalit Shmueli, translator
Genera Ventures Ltd
9789659310616, $19.99, HC, 336pp

Synopsis: Daniel, an Israeli intelligence operative, has a tempestuous personality which has led him to lose everything. Now, years later, in complete secrecy, Daniel sets out on a private operation to restore meaning in his life.

Daniel infiltrates hostile territory and tries to locate a national treasure which is seemingly hidden on the site of a psychiatric hospital. He pieces together the clues, delving ever deeper undercover. So determined is he to uncover his personal and national identity that he suddenly finds himself in grave danger, risking not just himself but a mission far greater than even he is aware. Beyond the thrills of Daniel's operation, "Operation Bethlehem" explores the existential questions and tough decisions faced by those responsible for Israel's security, probing the moral complexities of espionage and national defense.

Critique: With many an unexpected plot twist and the deft creation of memorable characters, readers with an interest in espionage fiction will be presented with a rare and fascinating introduction to the secret, life and death world of Mossad spies and terrorists in "Operation Bethlehem" by Israeli novelist Yariv Inbar. Expertly edited by Amon Jackont and ably translated into English by Dalit Shmueli, "Operation Bethlehem" is a strongly recommended pick for community library Suspense/Thriller Fiction collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Operation Bethlehem" is also available in a paperback edition (9789659310616, $12.99) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $4.99).

Editorial Note: Yariv Inbar ( is the pseudonym of an Israeli novelist whose real identity has been banned from publication by the Israeli authorities. His novels must pass a rigid vetting process, including the approval of a special Governmental Ministers' Committee. With a wealth of experience from many years of serving in sensitive positions within the Israeli intelligence community, Yariv brings a unique authenticity to his writing about Middle Eastern spycraft. His novels were initially published in Hebrew, earned bestseller status in Israel, and received high praise from critics and readers alike.

What Never Happened
Rachel Howzell Hall
Thomas & Mercer
Brilliance Audio
9781662504150, $28.99, HC, 428pp

Synopsis: Colette "Coco" Weber has relocated to her Catalina Island home, where, twenty years before, she was the sole survivor of a deadly home invasion. All Coco wants is to see her aunt Gwen, get as far away from her ex as possible, and get back to her craft -- writing obituaries.

Thankfully, her college best friend, Maddy, owns the local paper and has a job sure to keep Coco busy, considering the number of elderly folks who are dying on the island.

But as Coco learns more about these deaths, she quickly realizes that the circumstances surrounding them are remarkably similar -- and not natural. Then Coco receives a sinister threat in the mail: her own obituary.

As Coco begins to draw connections between a serial killer's crimes and her own family tragedy, she fears that the secrets on Catalina Island might be too deep to survive. Because whoever is watching her is hell-bent on finally putting her past to rest.

Critique: Original, compelling, memorable, "What Never Happened" by novelist Rachel Howzell Hall will have a very special interest for fans of crime fiction in general, and deftly crafted murder mysteries in particular. While also available for personal reading lists in a digital book format (Kindle, $4.99, in a paperback edition (9781662504136, $16.99), and as a complete and unabridged audio book (Brilliance Audio, 9798400100093, $29.99, MP3-CD), "What Never Happened" is a solid pick for community library Crime Fiction and Mystery/Suspense collections.

Editorial Note: Rachel Howzell Hall ( is the author of We Lie Here; These Toxic Things; And Now She's Gone; and They All Fall Down; and, with James Patterson, The Good Sister, which was included in Patterson's collection The Family Lawyer. A Los Angeles Times Book Prize finalist as well as an Anthony, International Thriller Writers, and Lefty Award nominee, Rachel is also the author of Land of Shadows, Skies of Ash, Trail of Echoes, and City of Saviors in the Detective Elouise Norton series. A past member of the board of directors for Mystery Writers of America, Rachel has been a featured writer on NPR's acclaimed Crime in the City series and the National Endowment for the Arts weekly podcast; she has also served as a mentor in Pitch Wars and the Association of Writers & Writing Programs.

Black Camelot's Skeletons & Secrets
Darius Myers
Independently Published
9798850241148, $17.95, PB, 339pp

Synopsis: "Skeletons & Secrets" is the fifth installment in the dramatic and thrilling Black Camelot series by Darius Myers. The saga picks up after the funeral of the city's future Hall of Fame sports star and mayor hopeful, Phaethon Malone. His savage death has turned eyes to Donald Alexander, to run for Mayor against the feckless, Delbert Tenny.

Violence from the ever-present kill squads that remain on the hunt has forced the Black Camelots and their friends out of Gotham.

For Alexander, running for Mayor is a decision that cannot be rushed--- if he chooses politics, several dark family skeletons and secrets will be revealed. Kwame Mills' wife also has a secret talent and has used it to commit an act that jeopardizes her freedom.

Senator Bivens faces even tougher choices. She refuses to sign off on the most evil deeds by family and friends, and learns that her family patriarch is as ruthless as her corrupt political foe. The patriarch has already used his immense power in ways that she would never, and expects her to take part in his dark world activities.

There's also a burgeoning dalliance that can't be repressed. It fuels an assassination attempt by incompetents and is catastrophic.

"Skeletons & Secrets" ends painfully. Choices are made that wrench hearts. A moment of revenge may change the tide to darkness forever.

Critique: While helpful to have read the previous four volumes of author Darius Myers' outstanding 'Black Camelot' series, "Skeletons & Secrets" is an exceptionally well written, stand-alone novel that will have immense appeal to readers with an interest in action/adventure murder/suspense thrillers. While highly recommended for community library Mystery/Suspense collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Skeletons & Secrets" is also available in digital book format (Kindle, $9.99). Librarians should also note that there is a large print hardcover edition of Skeletons & Screts" available (Fero Scitus, 9781088197516, $28.95, 340pp).

Editorial Note: Darius Myers ( is a New York City-based fiction writer. In an earlier life he was a senior marketing and media industry executive. He has held roles at leading media companies that include Time Warner (Fortune and Sports Illustrated), Gannett (USA Today) and the CBS Magazine Group (now Hachette Magazines).

The Fantasy/SciFi Shelf

Beyond The Shore
Stephanie J. Cress
Mystic Publishers
9781948266093, $16.95, PB, 262pp

Synopsis: "Beyond The Shore" by science fiction and fantasy author Stpehanie J. Cress is the story of Sunfolk healer Gilwin who travels to the coastal country ofCarrow on a mysterious journey. He finds himself caught up in Carrow's fight for independence, and alongside a half-breed mercenary, Adarran, and a pair of diplomat daughters, Sialla and Rilyn, they search for, Teryx, the rebels' notorious leader.

When the rebellion strikes Gilwin and his companions must decide if war is the only answer. If it is, does it mean that all of Carrow will burn?

Critique: An inherently fascinating and fun read that will have a very special appeal to readers with an interest in carefully crafted science fiction novels that are as original as they are memorable, "Beyond The Shore" is a simply riveting read from first page to last. While certain to be an immediate and enduringly popular addition to community library Science Fiction & Fantasy collections, it should be noted for the personal reading lists of dedicated SciFi buffs that "Beyond The Shore" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $6.99).

Editorial Note: Stephanie J. Cress is a gifted and imaginative high fantasy storyteller who has a personal/professional website at

Extinguishing Shadows
Heather Beal
Black Rose Writing
9781685132828, $22.95, PB, 312pp

Synopsis: Vampires and Viajante have tolerated each other's existence for centuries, but not without exceptions. When Mara was six, her Viajante family was murdered by vampires without provocation. Not only did her future change, so did she, a secret hidden even from her own people.

No longer a child, and no longer confined to Sanctuary, Mara's headed into vampire territory in search of answers behind the attack, and to the mysterious prophesy she's been linked to. She expected danger, and quite possibly getting her butt kicked a time or two before avenging her family. The last thing she expected: an alliance with a powerful and sexy vampire bent on making her his own.

Can Mara and her new family unravel the mystery and bring the truth to light, or will those responsible for the death of her family, and the attempts to silence her, remain forever in shadow?

Critique: Original, eloquent, entertaining, laced through with dark romance and memorable characters, "Extinguishing Shadows" by novelist Heather Beal is a unique and reader compelling paranormal fantasy that provides a beautifully scripted story offering an engaging web of magic layered with intrigue and surprise. Of special interest to the legions of vampire novel fans, "Extinguishing Shadows" is especially and unreservedly recommended for community library collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Extinguishing Shadows" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $6.99).

Editorial Note: Heather Beal ( best prefers delving into the worlds of fantasy and the supernatural. The "what if" is what fascinates her most. Still searching for her own super powers, she delights in the imaginary friends that whisper their stories into her ear, hoping their words will one day be read by others.

The Poetry Shelf

Butterflies: Reflections, Tales, and Verse
Herman Hesse, author
Jakob Hubner, illustrator
Volker Michels, editor
Elisabeth Lauffer, translator
Kales Press
9798985955859, $30.00, HC, 136pp

Synopsis: This edition from Kales Press of "Butterflies: Reflections, Tales, and Verse" by author Hermann Hesse and illustrator Jakob Hubner showcases an impressive collection of his most alluring stories, recollections, contemplations and poems on butterflies by Herman Hesse.

Quoting the words of Hermann Hesse from a letter in 1926 -- "I have always had a connection with butterflies and other fleeting and ephemeral beauties, while I have never succeeded in maintaining permanent, committed and so-called solid relationships."

This preference, occasionally resembling an elective affinity, for "flowers and butterflies, that are of everlasting things, a fleeting allegory" as he says in one of his poems, has left its mark on Hesse's entire oeuvre.

Critique: Deftly edited by Volker Michels, ably translated into English for an American readership by Elisabeth Lauffer, "Butterflies: Reflections, Tales, and Verse" by Hermann Hesse holds a very special attraction to readers with an interest in poetry, butterflies and peaceful meditation and is further enhanced with the inclusion of 110 full-color engraved-copper illustrations by Jakob Hubner. While especially and unreservedly recommended for personal, professional, community, and academic library collections, as well as Hermann Hess it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Butterflies: Reflections, Tales, and Verse" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $19.99).

Editorial Note #1: Hermann Hesse was born in 1877 in Calw, Germany. He grew to become a celebrated author and the recipient of the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1946. As the son of missionaries, he developed a fascination with self-discovery and spiritual explorations, an interest also likely due in part to his lifelong struggle with depression, which led him to study Sigmund Freud and, later, to undergo psychoanalysis with Carl Jung. In 1912 he moved to Switzerland, where he wrote his best-known books, including the classic Siddhartha; composed poetry; and painted landscapes. He passed away in 1962 in Montagnola, Switzerland. Hesse is one of the most widely translated authors of the twentieth century; his work continues to have influence worldwide.

Editorial Note #2: Jakob Hubner (1761-1826) was an Augsburger painter and textiles designer acclaimed for his colorful copper engravings, known as chalcographies, illustrating insects, flowers, and other natural wonders. This technique was among Hermann Hesse's favorites as he thought it to be much more precise and beautiful than modern reproductions

Editorial Note #3: Volker Michels edited the first complete edition of Hermann. Hesse's writings, consisting of approximately fifteen thousand pages in twenty volumes. He is the world's foremost authority on Hesse's work and also manages the Nobel laureate's literary and artistic estate.

Editorial Note #4: Elisabeth Lauffer is the translator of more than twenty books from German. She is the recipient of numerous honors including the Gutekunst Prize and KulturKontakt Artist-in-Residency, as well as holding a master's degree from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Inland Sea
Lynn Domina
Kelsay Books
9781639803668, $20.00, PB, 94pp

Synopsis: Eloquent, elegant, expressive, articulate, memorable, the poetry by Lynn Domina that comprises "Inland Sea" is a veritable paean of verse celebrating the elements and history of Lake Superior, along with such disparate themes as 'Illustrated Cookbook' and 'One Dragonfly Hovers'. This is a compendium of verse to be savored like a fine wine one poem at a time.

Critique: Finely fashions poetry revealing an emotional and reflective celebration of life in general, and Lake Superior in particular, "Inland Sea" showcases Lynn Domina as a gifted wordsmith and is unreservedly recommended for personal reading lists, as well as community and academic library Contemporary American Poetry collections.

Editorial Note: Lynn Domina ( is the author of three collections of poetry, Corporal Works which won the Intro Series Prize from Four Way Books, and Framed in Silence published as part of the Editor's Select Poetry Series from Main Street Rag, and Inland Sea recently published by Kelsay Books. She is also the editor of a collection of essays, Poets on the Psalms. Her poetry appears in many periodicals, including The Southern Review, The Gettysburg Review, Prairie Schooner, Christianity & Literature, The Louisville Review, New Letters, and others. She has published creative nonfiction in the St. Katherine's Review, Bending Genres, the museum of americana, and other magazines.

The Native American Studies Shelf

Indians and Other Misnomers of the Upper Great Lakes
Phil Bellfy
Ziibi Press
c/o Loving Healing Press
9781615997435, $42.95, HC, 162pp

Synopsis: No less than 27 out of the 50 states' names in the USA are based in Native American languages. Additionally, six out of 13 of Canada's provinces and territories have names with indigenous origins, and, of course, Canada itself is derived from an indigenous source.

Shakespeare once quipped, "What's in a name?" A lot, it turns out, because states like California and Florida reflect their Spanish history; here, in the Great Lakes, that history is indigenous. If you have an understanding of the name of a place, its history may reveal itself. And that history will, most likely, enrich your own life and your place in it.

With the publication of "Indians and Other Misnomers of the Upper Great Lakes: The True Indigenous Origins of Geographic Place Names", Professor Emeritus and Native American Phil Bellfy invites the reader on a geographical Native American place named journey through Michigan, Pennsylvania, Ontario, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, and Minnesota as we alphabetically traverse indigenous place names in each locale.

Alternately, the reader can peruse an alphabetical concordance of every place name. In the appendices will be found details of US and Canadian treaties with indigenous people, and many that are still under dispute today -- including the Anishinaabek, Ottawa, Chippewa, Potawatomi, Miami, Kickapoo, Sauk, Sioux, Ojibway, Mississauga, Mohawk, Algonquin, Iroquois, Huron, and related First Nations bands in Ontario.

Critique: A unique, fascinating, and impressively informative approach to American and Native American history, "Indians and Other Misnomers of the Upper Great Lakes: The True Indigenous Origins of Geographic Place Names" is an especially recommended addition to personal, professional, community, college, and university library American History and Native American history collections and supplemental Indigenous People curriculum studies lists. It should be noted for students, academia, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "Indians and Other Misnomers of the Upper Great Lakes: The True Indigenous Origins of Geographic Place Names" is also available in a paperback edition (9781615997428, $25.95) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.95).

Editorial Note: Phil Bellfy is an enrolled member of the White Earth Band of Minnesota Chippewa, and Professor Emeritus of American Indian Studies, Michigan State University. He resides in Michigan's Eastern Upper Peninsula near Sault Ste. Marie. Dr. Bellfy is also the Founder and a Co-Director of Center for the Study of Indigenous Border Issues (CSIBI) and serves as the Editor and Publisher of its education imprint, the Ziibi Press. His works include: UP Colony: A Brief History of Resource Exploitation in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, with a Focus on Sault Manufacturing. Ziibi Press, 2021. Three Fires Unity: The Anishnaabeg of the Lake Huron Borderlands. Indians and Other Misnomers: a Cross-referenced Dictionary of the People, Persons, and Places of Native North America. First Americans Engagement Calendar (co-authored with Judith Dupre).

The Christian Studies Shelf

An Afternoon's Dictation
Steen Greenebaum
MSI Press
9781957354248, $19.95, PB, 162pp

Synopsis: In 1999 Steven Greenebaum felt he'd hit the wall. Fifty years old, he could not make sense of his life or the world around him. For several months he angrily demanded answers from God, if God were there. One afternoon, an inner voice told him to get a pen and paper and write. Steven then took dictation resulting in three pages, not of commandments but guidance for leading a meaningful life.

"An Afternoon's Dictation: Inclusive Revelations for the Twenty-First Century" grapples with, organizes, and deeply explores the revelations Steven received and then studied for over ten years. His sharing is NOT offered as the only possible way to understand it the dictation. It is offered, rather, as a start.

The book's sections include deep explorations into "The Call to Interfaith," "The Call to Love One Another," "The Call to Justice," and "The Call to Community." These explorations
are rooted in a crucial part of the dictation that directs us to "Seek truth in the commonality of religions - which are but the languages of speaking to Me."

Thus, "An Afternoon's Dictation" builds on what unites our diverse spiritual traditions, not what divides us. It shows us a path to respecting our differences while embracing unity of the great callings of our spiritual traditions. "An Afternoon's Dictation" provides caring guidance forward in these hugely challenging times -- if we, as Christians, are open to it.

Critique: Fascinating, inspiring, articulate, engaging, thoughtful and thought-provoking, "An Afternoon's Dictation" is an extraordinary and welcome series of observation, commentary, and insights for all members of the Christian community, as well as students of philosophy and metaphysical studies. While also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $7.99), "An Afternoon's Dictation" is highly recommended for personal reading lists and community, academic, and seminary library collections.

Editorial Note: Steven Greenebaum ( is the author of The Interfaith Alternative, Practical Interfaith, One Family: Indivisible, and Seeking Balance in an Unbalanced Time. An Interfaith minister and founder of the Living Interfaith Church, Steven holds Master's Degrees in Mythology, Music, and Pastoral Studies. He has dedicated his life to the oneness of humanity, working for social and environmental justice through a multitude of forums, including work with Common Cause, marching at Standing Rock, and acting as Founder/Executive Director of Citizens for Environmental Responsibility.

The Day GOD Rested
Philip L. Arnold
Clay Bridges Press
9781684880751, $26.99, HC, 204pp

Synopsis: Many of us grew up hearing about The Ten Commandments in scripture. Some of us were even taught to live by them. But very few people have ever been able to agree on the meaning of one of those Ten Commandments. And that is to "remember The Sabbath Day to keep it Holy."

Many traditions and opinions surround the modern interpretation of this Commandment today. In fact, there are so many opinions that it is becoming more and more necessary to try to see through all of them just to find the answer to one simple question: What does GOD say about HIS Sabbath? That's where "The Day GOD Rested" by Philip Arnold comes in.

"The Day GOD Rested" is an impressively exhaustive biblical study on the subject of The Sabbath and how it should be observed according to scripture. Arnold breaks down the topic into manageable lessons in such a way that anyone can understand the key concepts. Each and every chapter explains a different facet of The Sabbath based upon scripture. That includes everything from the simple, straightforward application, to the deep, Prophetic implications of what GOD is trying to teach us through this Holy Day.

"The Day GOD Rested" reveals the incredible blessings in this Holy Day that GOD has set aside just for those who seek to live their lives according to HIS commandments.

Critique: Eloquent, erudite, inspired and inspiring, "The Day GOD Rested" will have a very special appeal to readers with an interest in a Christian perspective on the Sabbath that is based upon canonical scripture. While especially and unreservedly recommended for church, seminary, community, and academic library Biblical Studies/Christian Theology collections, it should be noted for clergy, seminary students, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "The Day GOD Rested" is also available in a paperback edition (9781684880539, $19.99) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

The Travel Shelf

Tent for Seven
Mary Ohlhaut, author
Grace Ly, author
Sandra Jonas Publishing House
9781954861114, $15.95, PB, 250pp

Synopsis: Marty Ohlhaut loved the great outdoors, and he loved his family, but this time, the combination proved disastrous.

Cooped up inside due to long work hours, Marty was excited about taking off with his wife and five children for the beautiful Canadian Rockies. Aware that this could be their last camping trip together, he wanted to make it extra memorable.

Little did he know just how memorable it would be. From a massive heat wave and tainted water to encounters with aggressive red ants and formidable bears, they experienced one problem after another. Then tragedy struck, forcing Marty to face the terrifying possibility of losing a loved one. With the help of mysterious strangers in one of the world's most awe-inspiring locations, he fought to keep his family alive and his sanity intact.

Now, three decades later, he joins forces with his daughter Grace Ly to recount the gripping tale of that ill-fated vacation. Written with candor and wit reminiscent of Bill Bryson, Tent for Seven vividly captures both the grandeur and the dangers of the wilderness as Marty learned just how much his wife and children meant to him -- and how fragile life could be.

Critique: Part memoir and part travelogue, "Tent for Seven: A Camping Adventure Gone South Out West" by the father and daughter team of Marty Ohlhaut and Grace Ly, "Tent for Seven: A Camping Adventure Gone South Out West" is an inherently fascinating and riveting read about venturing out into the British Columbia wilderness and that will have a very special appeal to readers who have an interest in camping, hiking, and the great outdoors. While especially and unreservedly recommended for community library Biography/Memoir and Outdoors Adventures collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Tent for Seven: A Camping Adventure Gone South Out West" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $6.99).

Editorial Note #1: Marty Ohlhaut worked for thirty-two years as a risk management partner with IBM and then spent the next twelve years teaching strategic execution courses around the world. He has traveled to forty-four countries and visited all fifty states, making him an encyclopedia of amazing stories and anecdotes. He lives with his wife, Joeline.

Editorial Note #2: Grace Ly ( worked for the White House and as an undercover officer for the Central Intelligence Agency. While living abroad in South Korea and Germany, she traveled the world extensively, visiting more than thirty countries. Grace has written numerous articles and feature stories for the US military, the American Red Cross, the White House, and the CIA. She lives in Charlotte, North Carolina, with her British husband, young son, and Friesian horse.

The Computer Shelf

React Programming
Loren Klingman, author
Ashley Parker, author
Big Nerd Ranch
9780137901760, $49.99, PB, 420pp

Synopsis: React is currently the most popular open-source JavaScript library for front-end web application development. "React Programming: The Big Nerd Ranch Guide" by the team of co-authors Loren Klingman and Ashley Parker helps programmers with experience in HTML, CSS, and JavaScript master React through hands-on examples.

Based on Big Nerd Ranch's popular React Essentials bootcamp, this DIY guide illuminates key concepts with realistic code, guiding you step by step through building a starter app and a complete, production-ready app, both crafted to help you quickly leverage React's remarkable power.

Use React to write reliable, declarative code, create carts and other e-commerce features, optimize performance, and gain experience with component and end-to-end testing. Along the way, you will learn to use tools like Create React App, functional components, hooks, ESLint, React Router, websockets, the React Testing Library, and Cypress.

Critique: Of special and practical value to students and programers with in interest in JavaScript Programming and Computer Programming Languages, "React Programming: The Big Nerd Ranch Guide" is comprehensive and thoroughly 'user friendly' in both organization and presentation. While also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $28.99), "React Programming" is especially and unreservedly recommended for personal, professional, community, college, and university library Computer Programming collections and supplemental curriculum studies lists.

Editorial Note #1: Loren Klingman ( is a full-stack web developer and instructor at Big Nerd Ranch. He has over 15 years of experience across a variety of technologies. When he's not at work, he can be found playing tabletop games.

Editorial Note #2: Ashley Parker ( is an engineering team manager and instructor at Big Nerd Ranch, where she loves to learn new things. She specializes in front-end web development, with a focus on React and React Native. When she's not in front of a computer, you can find her reading, traveling, or doing mom things.

The Literary Studies Shelf

Appreciating Shakespeare
Gideon Rappaport
Independently Published
c/o D.G. Wills Books
9798218127107, $22.99, PB, 532pp

Synopsis: With the publication of "Appreciating Shakespeare", Gideon Rappaport makes easily available the essential literary tools for understanding and enjoying Shakespeare's plays and poems -- which means experiencing the deep and thrilling meanings of his works.

"Appreciating Shakespeare" is divided into two major sections.

Part 1 offers the background knowledge (about Shakespeare's life, language, poetic and dramatic techniques, theatrical context, and historical and cultural background) that help you to appreciate Shakespeare's works.

Part 2 offers short essays on twenty-two plays, pointing readers to the universally meaningful heart of each and illuminating themes often hidden or misrepresented in many stage and screen productions and critical writings.

There is also a chapter dedicated to analysis of a selection of Shakespeare's sonnets.

Critique: A brilliantly presented introduction to the literary excellence of Shakespeare in a format that will appeal to both students, academia, and non-specialist general readers alike, "Appreciating Shakespeare" by Professor Gideon Rappaport is especially and unreservedly recommended for personal, professional, community, highschool, college, and university library Shakespeare collections and supplemental Drama/Poetry Literary Criticism curriculum studies lists.

Editorial Note: Gideon Rappaport has an honors B.A. in English Literature and Art History from Cowell College, University of California at Santa Cruz, and an M.A and Ph.D. in English and American Literature from Brandeis University. He has taught Shakespeare, British Literature, and Humanities at Hamilton College, SUNY Cortland, Concordia University, and the University of New Hampshire, and at The Bishop's School in La Jolla, California. He now teaches English at La Jolla Country Day School. His publications include "Measuring Measure for Measure" in Renascence, "Hamlet: Revenge and Readiness" in The Upstart Crow, Dusk and Dawn: Poems and Prose of Philip Thompson (One Mind Good Press, 2005), and various reviews and articles for the San Diego Union-Tribune and the San Diego Reader.

The Self-Help Shelf

The Good News File: Hope for a Modern World
D. Lynn Mickleson, MD
Independently Published
9781737870302, $19.99, PB, 388pp

Synopsis: Life has its problems and there are a lot of unhappy people in the world. Every day we face challenges in our jobs, home, family, and personal life.

While there may be bad things happening, there are also good things that happen on a regular basis. Every day we have a choice about what we think about, be it good or bad. If we focus our thoughts on the good, we will lead successful and healthy mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual lives. If we focus only on the bad we end up depressed and unhappy.

"The Good News File: Hope for a Modern World" by Dr. Lynn Mickleson is about hope. It is a compendium of inspirational stories and quotes that have helped him through the tough times and will hopefully help you as well. It will also show you the power of the human mind and positive thinking, where whatever you focus on can become a physical reality.

Critique: With a very special relevance to readers with an interest in personal transformation, motivating inspiration, and appreciative spirituality, "The Good News File: Hope for a Modern World" is especially and unreservedly recommended for personal, professional, and community library Self-Help/Self-Improvement collections. It should be noted that "The Good News File" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $8.99).

Editorial Note: Dr. D. Lynn Mickleson ( learned the power of positive thinking from such luminaries as Norman Vincent Peale, Dale Carnegie, Napoleon Hill and Reverend Robert Schuller. He realized that both good and bad things happen to all of us on a regular basis. When something good happens we feel happy for a short while then our minds drift back to the more painful problems in our lives. He then realized he needed to write these good things down or he would forget them. Thus was born the concept of the Good News File. Over the past 50 years he has collected thousands of inspirational quotes and stories from many sources.

James A. Cox
Midwest Book Review
278 Orchard Drive
Oregon, WI 53575-1129
phone: 1-608-835-7937

Copyright ©2001

Site design by Williams Writing, Editing & Design