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Wisconsin Bookwatch

Volume 18, Number 4 April 2023 Home | WBW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice Health/Medicine Shelf Cookbook Shelf
World History Shelf Biography Shelf Money/Finance Shelf
Business Shelf General Fiction Shelf Historical Fiction Shelf
LGBT Fiction Shelf Literary Fiction Shelf Romantic Fiction Shelf
Mystery/Suspense Shelf Fantasy/SciFi Shelf Political Science Shelf
Christian Studies Shelf Metaphysical Studies Shelf Architecture Shelf
Interior Design Shelf Music Shelf Photography Shelf
Travel Shelf Native American Studies Shelf Art Shelf
Wine/Beer/Spirits Shelf Audiobook Shelf Music CD Shelf
DVD Shelf Woodworking Shelf Automotive Shelf

Reviewer's Choice

100 Things to Do in Wisconsin Before You Die
Dannelle Gay
Reedy Press
PO Box 5131, St. Louis, MO 63139
9781681064192, $22.50, PB, 192pp

Synopsis: Known as the Dairy State, Wisconsin is world famous for its cheese, beer, brats, and so much more. With the publication of "100 Things to Do in Wisconsin Before You Die", Wisconsin author Dannelle Gay has produced a comprehensive guide to all the must-see, must-taste, and must-do activities with suggestions and ideas for the whole family.

Readers are encouraged to don their foam cheese hat and feel the thrill of a whole state full of die-hard sports fans and Go Packers! Experience breathtaking nature along miles of sandy beaches and take in the fresh air while hiking or biking through one of Wisconsin's 66 state parks. Enjoy a leisurely dinner at a supper club -- a true and distinctive Wisconsin experience.

Moreover, they can eat farm to fork in a state that boasts an amazing and diverse agricultural history that covers everything from cranberries to goats. Sleep on a submarine or ride the only Zephyr shovel nose steamer train available in the world. Learn about experimental aircraft in OshKosh or check out one of the dozens of living history museums like Old World Wisconsin or Heritage Hill in Green Bay.

From outdoor activities to family fun, there's something for everyone in Wisconsin in a DIY guidebook filled with insider's tips and itineraries for every season.

Critique: Exceptionally well organized and presented, "100 Things to Do in Wisconsin Before You Die" is an excellent and recommended resource for planning day trips, weekend adventures, and holiday itineraries for both the native born and the tourist visitor alike! Enhanced for the reader with the inclusion of a section of full color photography, "100 Things to Do in Wisconsin Before You Die" is an ideal and essential addition to personal, professional, community, and academic library Wisconsin Travel Guide collections.

Editorial Note: Dannelle Gay ( is a Wisconsin native who has been writing about travel for over a decade under the moniker The Traveling Cheesehead. As a professional chef who had her own restaurant, she loves discovering different locations through their unique food. She helps others live a champagne life on a beer budget and thinks travel should be a huge part of that. She hopes that "100 Things to Do in Wisconsin Before You Die" for Wisconsin residents and visitors is a useful guide that helps them do just that.

The Health/Medicine Shelf

Deep Fitness
Philip Shepherd, author
Andrei Yakovenico, author
North Atlantic Books
2526 Martin Luther King Jr. Way, Berkeley, CA 94704-2607
9781623176679, $19.95, PB, 224pp

Synopsis: Clinical research shows that we lose muscle mass as we age, and that preventing muscle loss through strength training (more than cardio, stretching, or flexibility) is the key to staying active, healthy, and well.

With the publication of "Deep Fitness: The Mindful, Science-Based Strength-Training Method to Transform Your Well-Being in Just 30 Minutes a Week", co-authors Philip Shepherd and Andrei Yankovenko introduce a proven, new approach to building strength and whole-body health: Mindful Strength Training to Failure (MSTF). This science-based method reverses muscle loss and improves overall strength in just one or two 30-minute sessions a week.

MSTF exercises are simple and effective, and can be done at home with resistance bands and bodyweight, or with the machines at your local gym. Using slow reps, MSTF marries mindful body awareness with proven strength-training techniques to help you become stronger at any age.

With more than 30 full-color exercises, "Deep Fitness: explains the science behind MSTF. It shows how the program boosts longevity and healthspan; aids weight loss and fat reduction; increases overall wellness and mental health; and can improve or reverse symptoms of: Prediabetes and diabetes; Cardiovascular disease; Metabolic syndrome; Alzheimer's and dementia; Chronic inflammation; Osteoporosis and other chronic illnesses.

Appropriate for people of all ages and activity levels, the exercises and techniques in "Deep Fitness" are effective, straightforward, and sustainable, helping men and women of all ages to enjoy the vibrant, fit, whole-body health they deserve.

Critique: Impressively effective and throughout 'user friendly' in organization and presentation, "Deep Fitness: The Mindful, Science-Based Strength-Training Method to Transform Your Well-Being in Just 30 Minutes a Week" is especially and unreservedly recommended for personal, professional, and community library Health & Exercise collections. It should be noted that this DIY exercise instruction manual is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $12.99).

Editorial Note #1: Philip Shepherd is recognized as a leader in the global embodiment movement. He is the creator of The Embodied Present Process (TEPP), a modality that uniquely combines the two resources necessary for embodiment: effective practices (TEPP has over a hundred), and a deep understanding of our culture's blind spots, which tend to keep us in our heads. TEPP is based on Shepherd's two books - Radical Wholeness and New Self, New World - and his forty years' experience teaching embodiment techniques. He currently travels the world sharing workshops, and running year-long Facilitators Trainings with his co-director and wife Allyson Woodrooffe. (

Editorial Note #2: Andrei Yakovenko ( is the founder of New Element Training and the creator of the NET Method training, which took him years of practical experience and multidisciplinary exploration of various scientific fields to develop. The NET method is the foundation of the book. Yakovenko holds an Honors B.Sc. degree from University of Toronto.

The Cookbook Shelf

Recipes to Reconnect
Anna Boglione
Kyle Books
c/o Octopus Publishing
236 Park Avenue, New York NY 10017
9780857839961, $39.99, HC, 272pp

Synopsis: Inspired by her upbringing at famed British restaurant -- Petersham Nurseries, Beautifully illustrated with full color photos of finished dishes, "Recipes to Reconnect" is comprised of more than 60 recipes from the Petersham team and other great chefs, alongside Anna's own home cooking.

Split into seasons these are delicious, simple dishes, created in response to wide-ranging conversations with farmers, conservationists and nutritionists around themes such as re-wilding, community, sleep and fasting. Interviewees and chefs featured include Isabella Tree, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, Bruce Parry, Jeremy Lee of Quo Vadis, Skye Gyngell of Spring, and Simon Rogan of L'Enclume, The dishes celebrate natural ingredients and encourage you to enjoy your food all the more having considered its origin.

Anna sees food as a way to create conversation, to bring people together and to experience the joy of nature. With the publication of "Recipes to Reconnect", she creates a deeper consideration of nature's place in our modern lives and brings it, quite literally, to the table.

Critique: A beautiful book to simple browse through, and ideal for planning menus with, not only will the meals be memorable, but they will provide values opportunities for food based conversations to re-establish the relationship between nature, food and self among those seated at the dining table. A culinary treasure, "Recipes to Reconnect" has the highest recommendation possible for personal, professional, and community library cookbook collections. It should be noted that "Recipes to Reconnect" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $12.99).

Editorial Note #1: Anna Boglione spent her childhood exploring the Italian alps and within London's Petersham Nurseries, her family's restaurant, farm and garden centre. Having grown up in such organic surroundings, Anna struggled once exposed to the food she ate outside of the home. She developed digestion issues which affected her weight, cognitive function and later in her her spine. Anna found relief and comfort in plants and nature and launched The Gut.

Editorial Note #2: Petersham Nurseries, Richmond ( is situated along the Thames, adjacent to a cow field. Awarded a Green Michelin star, the seasons are reflected in the food, flowers find their way into the dishes and the colours of each season are intertwined within the ambiance.

Taste of Home Cooking School Cookbook
Taste of Home, editor
Trusted Media Brand
9781621458890, $26.99, HC, 320pp

Synopsis: No matter your kitchen expertise, you'll cook with confidence with Taste of Home Cooking School Cookbook at your fingertips! Discover the step-by-step techniques every home cook needs to set delicious, hearty, memorable meals on the table. Dozens of how-to photos, tips and hints turn you into the chef and baker you always knew you could be, and 40 QR Codes offer up free online tutorials for even more direction. From roasting a chicken and stuffing a turkey to grilling like a pro and baking up golden yeast breads, you'll discover all the secrets today's cooks rely on most... taught by the pros from the Taste of Home Test Kitchen. Whip up sumptuous holiday menus with all of the trimmings and impress the gang with beautiful cakes, luscious pies and fudgy brownies too good to be true. It's easy! Let Taste of Home Cooking School Cookbook show you how!

Critique: Profusely illustrated throughout with full color photos of finished dishes, and an ideal culinary instruction guide and 'how-to' manual, "Taste of Home Cooking School Cookbook: Step-by-Step Instructions, How-to Photos and the Recipes Today's Home Cooks Rely on Most" is an ideal DIY textbook for highschool and community college cooking classes, and will prove to be a prized addition to personal, professional, and community library cookbook collections. Covering everything from knife skills and kitchen equipment to kitchen cook friendly recipes for menu planning that will transform ordinary meals into memorable dining occasions, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Taste of Home Cooking School Cookbook" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $14.99).

Editorial Note: Taste of Home ( is the leading multi-platform producer of information on food, cooking, baking and entertaining, serving home cooks engaging media that capture the joy and comfort received from food made with love. The Taste of Home magazine has a circulation of 1.5 million and publishes top-selling cookbooks and newsstand specials.

Taste of Home What Can I Bring?
Taste of Home, editor
Trusted Media Brand
9781621458913, $19.99, PB, 320pp

Synopsis: When invited to a community, church, or family gathering and food is to be served our first response almost automatically ask the question "What Can I Bring?" All great parties, holidays, anniversaries, and communal gatherings aspire to include tasty dishes to share, munchable snacks and impressive desserts to offer brought together by those who will be attending and participating in the celebratory event.

Showcasing more than 360 'kitchen cook friendly' dishes suitable for parties, picnics and potlucks, "Taste of Home What Can I Bring? is a new cookbook specifically designed to find the perfect contribution to cocktail parties, tailgates, backyard barbecues, bridal and baby showers, Christmas buffets and other events. Each individual recipe serves a crowd, travels well and offers the no-fuss ease today's home cooks need most. In addition to more than 360+ make-and-take dishes, there are invaluable and 'real world practical' packing and traveling tips, suggestions for the ideal foods to bring to specific get-togethers, and other culinary tricks for answering that ever popular and inevitable question, "What can I bring?".

Critique: Beautifully and profusely illustrated throughout with full color photos of finished dishes that will inspire and delight for any and every communal dining occasion, "Taste of Home What Can I Bring?: 360+ Dishes for Parties, Picnics & Potlucks" is confidently recommended for personal, professional, family, and community library cookbook collections. It should be noted that "Taste of Home What Can I Bring?" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $11.99).

Editorial Note: Taste of Home ( is the leading multi-platform producer of information on food, cooking, baking and entertaining, serving home cooks engaging media that capture the joy and comfort received from food made with love. The Taste of Home magazine has a circulation of 1.5 million and publishes top-selling cookbooks and newsstand specials.

Vietnam: Morning to Midnight
Jerry Mai
Smith Street Books
c/o Rizzoli
300 Park Avenue South, 3rd floor, New York, NY 10010
9781922754288, $29.95, HC, 192pp

Synopsis: With the publication of "Vietnam: Morning to Midnight", kitchen cooks can readily join chef and author Jerry Mai as she shares the iconic dishes and street-food eats that are enjoyed throughout Vietnam, from morning to midnight.

As the sun rises, mornings start early in Vietnam: locals perch on plastic stools, slurping large bowls of beef pho, while others grab a crispy pork banh mi for breakfast on the go. Lunch might include delicious grilled meats piled high onto rice, or a cold noodle salad to help stay cool in the midday heat.

Weaving through the bustling streets, snacks are all around: rice paper rolls, savoury pancakes, sweet treats, drinks and more. At the end of the day, grilled or barbecued savoury snacks are the perfect foil for freshly brewed beer and are the best prelude to dinner -- a communal feast of shared dishes.

Critique: Enhanced for the kitchen cook with the inclusion of full color, full page photographs of finished dishes, "Vietnam: Morning to Midnight" showcases authentic Vietnamese cuisine. A culinary foodie's delight in browsing through the page of, and planning memorable menus with, "Vietnam: Morning to Midnight" is unreservedly recommended for personal, professional, and community library Ethnic & Asian cookbook collections.

Editorial Note: Jerry Mai ( is a Vietnamese - Australian chef living and working in Melbourne, Australia. She has spent over twenty years working in some of Melbourne's greatest kitchens including Longrain, Gingerboy, and Seamstress. Jerry now owns and runs two restaurants offering different Vietnamese food experiences -- the cool, casual street-food of Pho Nom, and Annam, Jerry's pimped-up Vietnamese restaurant showcasing her mother's recipes, all intertwined with her own unique food experiences.

The Official Disney Parks Cookbook
Pam Brandon
Disney Editions
c/o Disney Book Group
9781368090292, $19.99, HC, 208pp

Synopsis: For more than twenty-five years, Pam Brandon has worked closely with the Disney chefs to thoughtfully take the best dishes from Disney theme parks and resorts and serve up official recipes that are just right for prepping on a smaller scale in home kitchens and tested by real home chefs. Now comfy classics, festival favorites, and international cuisines are whisked together and presented in "The Official Disney Parks Cookbook", a profusely illustrated collection of memorable dishes from the Disney recipe vault.

Of special note is the inclusion of personalized notes from the chefs who created and enhanced a particular dish, inspiring food photos, helpful hints for easy preparation, and a little of that Disney culinary magic, showcasing 101 tried-and-true recipes.

"The Official Disney Parks Cookbook" is an impressive and 'kitchen cook friendly' assortment of appetizers, main courses, sides, desserts, and even joyful libations that have come from fine-dining and quick-service establishments and have wowed guests of the Disneyland Resort; Walt Disney World Resort; Disney Cruise Line ships; and Disney Vacation Club resorts,

Critique: A unique and impressive Disney themed cookbook whose 101 showcased recipes range from a Dagobah Slug Slinger, Chef Mickey's Breakfast Pizza, and Flame Tree Barbecue Sauce, to Micky Mouse Beignets, Rainbow Sprinkle Woopie Pies, Caramel Hawaiian Sweet Bread, "The Official Disney Parks Cookbook" will prove an enduringly popular addition to personal, family, professional, and community library cookbook collections.

Editorial Note: Pam Brandon ( is the author of 20 Disney cookbooks, including the "2017 Disney Festivals Coast to Coast," on bookshelves in August, and "Delicious Disney" with recipes from Disneyland Park, Walt Disney World Resort, Disney Cruise Line and Aulani, on bookshelves in late 2018. Brandon also is a food writer for the Disney Parks Blog. She began her career as a senior publicist for Walt Disney World Resort in 1987 and has worked on public relations' food & beverage projects for Disney parks around the globe for the last 20 years, including the opening of Shanghai Disney. She also was a contributing editor to the Disney Birnbaum guidebooks for more than 10 years. She also is managing editor of Edible Orlando magazine.

When You Fast... Recipes For Lenten Seasons
Catharine Mandell
SVS Press
575 Scarsdale Road, Yonkers, NY 10707
9780881412628, $32.00, PB, 256pp

Synopsis: With the publication of "When You Fast... Recipes For Lenten Seasons" Catharine Mandell offers a compendium of balanced and helpful seasonal recipes for Lent. It was born out of Catharine's nearly decade-long quest to attain a rule of fasting for her family in accordance with the traditional Orthodox Christian discipline. Her goal was not only abstention from meat during lenten seasons, but also abstention from dairy products, and from oils on the strictest of fast days.

The resultant of her culinary labors is "When You Fast... Recipes For Lenten Seasons" showcasing 200 recipes, each of which will provide a variety of easy, nourishing, and appealing meals. Sprinkled among the delicious recipes are sayings from the Mothers and Fathers of the early Church regarding how the body and soul are affected by eating habits-pithy illuminations to accompany the appetizing recipes.

Critique: An inspirational pleasure to browse through and plan menus with, "When You Fast... Recipes For Lenten Seasons" is a unique and very special addition recommended for personal, community, and church library cookbook collections.

The Official Cookbook of the Chile Pepper Institute
Paul W. Bosland, author
Wendy V. Hamilton, author
Carolyn Graham, photographer
University of New Mexico Press
1 University of New Mexico, Albuquerque NM 87131-0001
9780826364555, $24.95, PB, 200pp

Synopsis: The world-famous Chile Pepper Institute ( is the only organization devoted to the study, cultivation, and enjoyment of the world's favorite fiery fruit, and "The Official Cookbook of the Chile Pepper Institute" is the ideal DIY guide to cooking with and enjoying chile peppers in all their magnificent, flavorful varieties. With over eighty recipes celebrating the world's diversity of chile peppers and more than a hundred photos of chile peppers in the field, at the market, and on your plate, this unique and specialized cookbook is like taking a tour through the Institute's famous Teaching Garden.

Critique: "The Official Cookbook of the Chile Pepper Institute" by co-authors Paul W. Bosland and Wendy V. Hamilton is specifically organized to include almost every chile pepper variety worldwide. Each individual chile includes a description of its history, where it originated and where it is grown now, and its flavor profile, heat index, and common uses. And, of course, recipes! For those who like the flavor enhancement of chilies in the dishes they serve, "The Official Cookbook of the Chile Pepper Institute" is unreservedly recommended for personal, professional, and community library cookbook collections. It should be noted by kitchen cooks that "The Official Cookbook of the Chile Pepper Institute" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $24.95).

Editorial Note #1: Paul W. Bosland ( is the Regents Professor of Horticulture emeritus, a Distinguished Achievement Professor, and the former director of the Chile Pepper Institute at New Mexico State University. He is popularly known as the "Chileman." He led the chile breeding and genetics research program at New Mexico State University and is recognized internationally as the foremost expert on chile peppers. Bosland has published more than 150 scientific papers and coauthored five books, including Peppers of the World: An Identification Guide with Dave DeWitt.

Editorial Note #2: Wendy V. Hamilton is a professor emeritus at New Mexico State University and the former department head for the New Mexico Cooperative Extension Service's Program Development and Accountability Department. She also served as Extension's statewide program evaluation and grant development specialist until retiring in 2020.

Editorial Note #3: Carolyn Graham ( has worked for more than twenty-five years in the publishing industry, most recently as the CEO of New Mexico Magazine. She is the author of New Mexico Food Trails: A Road Tripper's Guide to Hot Chile, Cold Brews, and Classic Dishes from the Land of Enchantment (UNM Press).

The World History Shelf

The Ship Beneath the Ice
Mensun Bound
Mariner Books
c/o HarperCollins Publishers
Blackstone Audiobooks
9780063297401, $35.00, HC, 416pp

Synopsis: On November 21, 1914, after sailing more than ten thousand miles from Norway to the Antarctic Ocean, the Endurance finally succumbed to the surrounding ice. Ernest Shackleton and his crew had navigated the 144-foot, three-masted wooden vessel to Antarctica to become the first to cross the barren continent, but early season pack ice trapped them in place offshore. They watched in silence as the ship's stern rose twenty feet in the air and disappeared into the frigid sea, then spent six harrowing months marooned on the ice in its wake. Seal meat was their only sustenance as Shackleton's expedition to push the limits of human strength took a new form: one of survival against the odds.

As this legendary story entered the annals of polar exploration, it inspired a new global race to find the wrecked Endurance, by all accounts "the world's most unreachable shipwreck." Several missions failed, thwarted, as Shackleton was, by the unpredictable Weddell Sea. Finally, a century to the day after Shackleton's death, renowned marine archeologist Mensun Bound and an elite team of explorers discovered the lost shipwreck. Nearly ten thousand feet below the ice lay a remarkably preserved Endurance, its name still emblazoned on the ship's stern.

With the publication of "The Ship Beneath the Ice", Mensun Bound chronicles two dramatic expeditions to what Shackleton called "the most hostile sea on Earth". Bound experienced failure and despair in his attempts to locate the wreck, and, like Shackleton before him, very nearly found his vessel frozen in ice.

Enhanced for the reader with the inclusion of captivating photos from the 1914 expedition and of the wreck as Bound and his team found it, this inspiring modern-day adventure narrative captures the intrepid spirit that joins two mariners across the centuries -- both of whom accomplished the impossible!

Critique: An inherently fascinating and fully documented read from cover to cover, "The Ship Beneath the Ice" will be of particular appeal to readers with an interest in Arctic/Antarctica Exploratory Expeditionary and Maritime Histories, and is unreservedly recommended for community and academic library Travel/Explorer collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Ship Beneath the Ice" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $15.99) and as a complete and unabridged audio book (Blackstone Audio, 9798212201308, $41.99, CD).

The Biography Shelf

Memoirs of an Ordinary Guy
Daniel Stuart Olmes
Post Hill Press
9781637587317, $17.99, PB, 272pp

Synopsis: By most measures, Daniel Olmes is an ordinary guy -- but he's learned how to live an extraordinary life. With the publication of "Memoirs of an Ordinary Guy: The Everyday Experiences that Changed My Life", Daniel asserts that we are all capable of being extraordinary and redefines what it means to be just another ordinary person. He is living proof that extraordinary is there for all of us.

It doesn't mean being rich or famous. It doesn't even mean to be better than others. To Daniel, "extraordinary" means grateful, honest, happy, loving, fearless, and faithful. Doing extraordinary things is not what makes us extraordinary. Being extraordinary is having an extraordinary perspective on our lives and the things that happen to us. Daniel's narrative will inspire everyone to view their lives differently, remind us of the stories that we all share, and spark a renewed curiosity about a world that's anything but ordinary.

Critique: With a very special and valued appeal to readers with an interest in Spiritual Self-Help, this extraordinary life story of Daniel Stuart Olmes is an exceptionally well written and inherently fascinating memoir that is particularly recommended for community library American Biography/Memoir collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Memoirs of an Ordinary Guy: The Everyday Experiences that Changed My Life" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

Editorial Note: Daniel Stuart Olmes is a husband, father of twins, entrepreneur, and Aerospace and Defense executive residing outside of Washington, D.C., in the Northern Virginia suburbs. He is currently the president and chief operating officer of a mid-sized government contractor and is an avid reader, runner, and volunteer, spending most of his time on the baseball field as a Little League coach. He has founded two companies: Middleburg Capital being a commercial real estate investment firm, and Hellen Systems, a technology company focused on a national security initiative to create a ground-based back-up for the Global Positioning System (GPS).

Everything That Rises: A Climate Change Memoir
Brianna Craft
Lawrence Hill Press
c/o Chicago Review Press
814 North Franklin Street, Chicago, IL 60610
9781641608602, $28.99, HC, 288pp

Synopsis: Nineteen-year-old Brianna Craft is having a panic attack. A professor's matter-of-fact explanation of the phenomenon known as "climate change" has her white-knuckling the table in her first environmental studies lecture.

This moment changed everything for Brianna. For her first internship, she jumped at the chance to assist the Least Developed Countries Group at the United Nations' negotiations meant to produce a new climate treaty. While working for those most ignored yet most impacted by the climate crisis, she grappled with the negligent indifference of those who hold the most power. This dynamic painfully reminded her of growing up in a house where the loudest voice always won and violence silenced those in need.

Four years later, Brianna witnessed the adoption of the first universal climate treaty, the Paris Agreement. With the publication of "Everything That Rises: A Climate Change Memoir", Brianna deftly blends the political with the personal as she relates from her life experiences just what it means to advocate for the future, and for the people and places you love, all while ensuring your own voice doesn't get lost in the process.

Critique: A fascinating, engaging, and impressively presented life story, "Everything That Rises: A Climate Change Memoir" will have a very special appeal to readers with an interest in the subjects of Climate Change and Environmental Science. While "Everything That Rises" is unreservedly recommended for community and academic library Contemporary American Biography/Memoir collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that it is also readily available for personal reading lists in a digital book format (Kindle, $11.49).

Editorial Note: Brianna Craft ( is a senior researcher at the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED). Craft works to further equity in the United Nations' climate change negotiations for the world's poorest countries, which have done the least to cause the climate crisis but are the most vulnerable to its impacts. Based in London, she researches climate diplomacy, taking specific interest in the Paris Agreement and provisions to develop and transfer technology. Craft holds a master's degree in environmental studies from Brown University in addition to a bachelor's degree in architectural studies and minors in urban design and planning, and environmental studies from the University of Washington.

Harvard, Hollywood, Hitmen, and Holy Men
Paul W. Williams
The University Press of Kentucky
663 South Limestone Street, Lexington, KY 40508-4008
9780813196671, $27.95, HC, 312pp

Synopsis: Paul Williams [] is an American director, writer, producer, and actor whose true life experiences form a unique and often wild constellation of encounters with star power, political power, and spiritual power -- a life cycle that led to fame and fortune and to integrity and anonymity.

In a mad childhood created by an autocratic English teacher father and an infantilizing mother, he develops a precocious visual acuity to avoid wallops and a writing ability that mollified his father. This skill set wins him a scholarship to Harvard, where he needs to learn how the Wisemen think. He seeks out tutors who reveal themselves: Kissinger, Skinner, Galbraith, Erikson, Alpert, Leary, the Hubleys and Jean Renoir. Howard Gardner is his roommate and Michael Crichton is an editor friend on the college daily, The Crimson. After months, his lover reveals she is the heiress of a great American fortune.

A member of the inner circle of the "Movie Brats" who led the charge of American New Wave cinema in the 1970s, Williams' idiosyncrasies make him a darling of the era. His stories about his pals (Scorsese, Voight, Christie, DePalma, Coppola, Dreyfuss, Spielberg, De Niro, Lucas) shed new light on a world bursting with creativity and possibility. He helps Terrence Malick make his first film, tries to adjust to the tyranny of the fabulously wealthy, and turns down the offer to direct the smash hits Animal House and Stepford Wives, and to partner on a new Parisian restaurant -- The Hard Rock Cafe; and turns down Lorne Michaels' offer to help him create Saturday Night Live.

With amazing honesty, Williams also recounts the unexpected details of making his own seminal cult classics, Out of It (1969), The Revolutionary (1970) and Dealing (1972). And his adventures with Black Panther Eldridge Cleaver in Algiers, Fidel Castro in Havana, Huey P. Newton in Oakland, and Pope John Paul II in Vatican City.

A seemingly larger than life, experimental, fearlessly audacious and ultimately self-knowing life story,"Harvard, Hollywood, Hitmen, and Holy Men: A Memoir" is the extraordinary account of a genuine odyssey. Through his anecdotes, shocking and delightful in their humor and authenticity, Williams takes readers on his unique journey to answer life's big questions -- with aides Mescalito (the Peyote guide), Ichazo (the Gurdjieffian Sufi master), and Dilgo Khyentse (the current Dalai Lama's principal teacher), and finally, Vivian (a transcendent love).

Critique: An inherently fascinating, impressively informative, exceptionally well written, and amazingly candid memoir that will have a very special appeal to readers with an interest in Cinematic History/Criticism and Movie Director/Actor Biographies/Memoirs, "Harvard, Hollywood, Hitmen, and Holy Men: A Memoir" is a welcome and unreservedly recommended addition to personal, professional, community, and academic library American Biography and American Cinematic History collections and supplemental curriculum studies lists. It should be noted that "Harvard, Hollywood, Hitmen, and Holy Men: A Memoir" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $20.99) from the University of Kentucky Press.

The Money/Finance Shelf

What Should I Do with My Money?
Bryan M. Kuderna
McGraw Hill Professional
1221 Avenue of the Americas, 45th Floor, New York, NY 10020
9781264857937, $25.00, PB, 272pp

Synopsis: Bryan M. Kuderna, is a Certified Financial Planner and nationally recognized financial advisor, who knows first-hand that the key to wise financial decisions is a deep understanding of economics. When his clients ask him, "What should I do with my money?" Kuderna has found the conversation quickly turns from one of personal finance to a 360-degree view of economics, illustrating why and how issues on the global stage and the kitchen table are directly connected.

With the publication of "What Should I Do with My Money?: Economic Insights to Build Wealth Amid Chaos", Kuderna explains how economies and markets are affected by the way people live, learn, love, work, play, and pray -- for it is these behaviors that determine how groups, corporations, and nations make money or lose money.

Using history, storytelling, and sage insights, Kuderna takes you on a panoramic tour of the nine most important domains impacting your wealth: Population (a rapidly growing and shifting balance of givers and takers); Entitlements (the past, present, and future of Social Security, Medicare/Medicaid, pensions, and stimulus programs); Education (costs and benefits of college and student loans); Economic Philosophy (political and monetary beliefs that govern our world); Environment (the sustainability of our planet amid global warming, plastics, and finite natural resources); Tech (opportunities and threats from the fastest-growing sector of the stock market); War (the use of proxy wars, civil military fusion, cyber, and economic attacks); Religion (how faith has steered economies from the stone age to the space age); Personal Finance (a plan to attain the Three I's: Impact, Independence, and Income).

Each chapter includes special features explaining the "macro" problem and what it means to your personal "micro" world -- helping you connect the dots of global issues to your own financial plan. Now more than ever you might feel overwhelmed, the victim of existing economic structures, but wait and see how there has been no better time for you to take control and build wealth.

Critique: In an age of governmental instability, rapid technological changes, global disaster disruptions in the form of wars and pandemics, criminal manipulations of the marketplace ranging from Ponzi schemes to insider trading, there is a minefield of potential problems that can and will have a detrimental (and potentiality disastrous) impact on the fortunes and finances of unwary and inexperienced investors. "What Should I Do with My Money?: Economic Insights to Build Wealth Amid Chaos" by investment expert Bryan M. Kuderna should be considered essential reading for anyone wanting to effectively and profitably create personal wealth through investment, be it in stocks, bonds, or entrepreneurial start-ups. Exceptionally well written, organized and presented, "What Should I Do with My Money" is unreservedly recommended for personal, professional, community, and academic library Wealth Management & Investing collections. It should be noted that "What Should I Do with My Money" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $22.72).

Editorial Note: Bryan M. Kuderna ( the founder of Kuderna Financial Team and was named one of New Jersey's Top 10 Financial Professionals of 2021 by NJBIZ. He hosts the popular finance and business podcast, "The Kuderna Podcast" and is a regular contributor to CNBC, Newsmax, Financial Planning Magazine, and other media. His first book "Millennial Millionaire: A Guide to Become a Millionaire by 30" launched Kuderna as a national speaker at colleges, hospitals, and financial institutions.

The Business Shelf

The Decisive Manager
Barbara Mitchell, author
Cornelia Gamlem, author
Career Press Inc.
c/o Red Wheel/Weiser
65 Parker Street, Suite 7, Newburyport, MA 01950
9781632652010, $19.95, PB, 224pp

Synopsis: With respect to 'people issues' in the workplace, they often seem to arise out of nowhere and just don't go away. It's critical that business managers handle them right.

As a manager, you need to know so many things about managing people, but you don't even know what to ask! That's where "The Decisive Manager: Get Results, Build Morale, and Be the Boss Your People Deserve" by co-authors Barbara Mitchell and Cornelia Gamlem can help.

With examples of typical situations that managers encounter and advice on how to handle them, "The Decisive Manager" is an easy-to-use guide for people managers and has information on hiring to firing, and everything in between. It covers: Finding and Hiring the Best Talent (recruiting, interviewing, job posting, job offers, onboarding, and more); Creating a Positive Employee Experience (employee engagement, retention, and employee motivation); Paying and Rewarding Employees (compensation transparency, employee wellness and mental health, and rewards and recognition); Helping Employees Grow and Develop (creating a learning culture, strategies for doing so, and the manager's role in employee development); Understanding Policies and Practices (the role of policies, applying them to specific situations, harassment and office romance); Ensuring Graceful Endings (layoffs, terminations for cause, exit interviews and more).

The important issues surrounding remote and hybrid work are also addressed, including how to best support your staff, onboarding from afar, and keeping accountability yet flexibility for all.

Concerned about navigating the changing workplace and avoiding legal pitfalls? There are questions and essential answers about these issues, too. Managing people correctly is critical to every manager's success. "The Decisive Manager" will help with those unexpected challenges that arise too often.

Critique: For both novice and experienced mangers alike, "The Decisive Manager: Get Results, Build Morale, and Be the Boss Your People Deserve" is an essential and indispensable instructional guide and 'how-to' resource that will prove to be enduringly valued. While also available for personal reading lists in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99). "The Decisive Manager" is especially and unreservedly recommended for professional, community, corporate, and academic library Business Management collections and MBA supplemental curriculum Human Resources & Personnel Management studies lists.

Editorial Note #1: Barbara Mitchell and Cornelia Gamlem are authors, speakers, and consultants. They bring a wealth of business and human resources experience to their writing. Both held positions at major corporations before starting their individual consulting practices, where each worked with a variety of organizations. Together, they wrote The Big Book of HR, The Essential Workplace Conflict Handbook, The Conflict Resolution Handbook, the award-winning Manager's Answer Book, and They Did What? Barbara is also the coauthor of The Essential HR Handbook.

Forward: Leading Your Team Through Change
Elizabeth Moran
Business Books
c/o John Hunt Publishing
9781782792895, $19.95, PB, 200pp

Synopsis: Every week thousands of leaders have to guide their teams through a change that they didn't initiate. They do what they can, but too often they feel unprepared and pressed for time. Needing to quickly get the word out, they announce the change through an email and hope for the best. If there's resistance, they increase the frequency and pressure in their messages. Not surprisingly, this rarely works.

Dr. Elizabeth Moran is a self-described "change nerd" who guides some of the most successful companies in the world, and with the publication of "Forward: Leading Your Team Through Change" outlines her practical, communication-based approach, offering proven advice, actions, and tools to help team leaders navigate their own transformation challenges.

Grounded in neuroscience and written with humor, "Forward" is the playbook business leaders need, complete with beginning-to-end action steps, team and individual conversation guides, and a clear approach to measuring success. Of special note are the specific chapters helping readers tackle some of the toughest and yet most common transformation challenges happening today in the business community, like changes that involve job loss, and how to build long-term resilience.

Critique: Timely relevant, informative, thought-provoking, insightful, needed, "Forward: Leading Your Team Through Change" should be considered essential reading for anyone tasked with business management responsibilities. While unreservedly recommended for personal, professional, corporate, community, and academic library Business Decision Making and Conflict Resolution/Mediation collections, it should be noted for the personal reading lists of MBA students, academia, corporate executives, entrepreneurs, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "Forward: Leading Your Team Through Change" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $11.99).

Editorial Note: Elizabeth Moran ( is passionate about helping leaders, teams, and organizations navigate and evolve through constant change. She is a consultant and executive coach, and holds masters and doctoral degrees in clinical psychology from the California Institute of Integral Studies.

Rising Together
Sally Helgesen
Hachette Go
c/o Hachette Book Group
Blackstone Audiobooks
9780306828300, $30.00, HC, 240pp

Synopsis: Participants at leadership conferences often tell Sally Helgesen, "Please don't spend your time telling us why developing and retaining a diverse workforce is important. We get it. The problem is, we don't know how to do it."

With the publication of "Rising Together: How We Can Bridge Divides and Create a More Inclusive Workplace", Sally provides that missing 'how' in full detail by identifying both what holds us back and specific tactics that can help us move forward.

First, Sally identifies the eight common triggers most likely to undermine our ability to collaborate across divides -- not only of gender, but also of age, ethnicity, race, sexuality, and life experience. These triggers are widespread, yet rarely acknowledged. They include differences in how people from different backgrounds view ambition, competence, perceptions, fairness, communication, networks, attraction, and humor.

Second, Sally then offers specific practices designed to address these triggers: simple behavioral tweaks that we can use on a daily basis; a method for informally enlisting allies to hold us to account; and a means for cultivating and disseminating the dynamic power of we.

"Rising Together" is relevant for readers at every stage and level in their careers who recognize that building a broad range of relationships is essential to their advancement, now and in the future. It also serves as an indispensable guide for HR, diversity, and leadership professionals tasked with addressing the misunderstandings, resentments, and derailments caused by the eight triggers. Sally's focus on behaviors (how we act and how we think) promises to redirect the inclusion conversation in a grounded, real-world way that brings us together.

Critique: Exceptionally well written, organized and presented, "Rising Together: How We Can Bridge Divides and Create a More Inclusive Workplace" will be of particular and practical value to readers with an interest in workplace culture. While unreservedly recommended as a core addition to personal, professional, community, corporate, and academic library Business Management/Human Resources collections and supplemental MBA curriculum studies lists, "Rising Together" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $15.99) and as a complete and unabridged audio book (Blackstone Audio, 9781668629888, $45.00, CD) for MBA students, academia, corporate executives, Human Resource staff members, and non- specialist general readers with an interest in the subject.

Editorial Note: Sally Helgesen ( is an internationally acclaimed author, speaker, and leadership development consultant. Her latest book, The Female Vision: Women's Real Power at Work, explores the strategic dimension of women's leadership. Her other books include The Female Advantage: Women's Ways of Leadership, hailed as "the classic work" on women's leadership style, translated into 12 languages and continually in print for twenty years, and The Web of Inclusion: A New Architecture for Building Great Organizations, cited in The Wall Street Journal as one of the best books on leadership of all time.

Inclusion Uncomplicated
Dr. Nika White
Forbes Books
18 Broad Street, Suite 300, Charleston, SC 29401
9781955884150, $27.99

At a moment in history when institutions are collapsing, violence and injustice are skyrocketing, and the outcomes of systemic oppression go viral on a daily basis, Dr. Nika White's, Inclusion Uncomplicated has arrived at the perfect time.

This book is the guide you have been waiting for: one that unravels the complexity of diversity, equity, and inclusion, teases out root causes of systemic oppression, and delivers simple, actionable tools for real change. Right now. When it's needed the most. The wisdom contained within these pages comes from Dr. Nika's twenty-plus years of helping companies across the globe create more inclusive, equitable, and sustainable cultures. Dr. Nika's philosophy is simple - DEI is a responsibility we all share. It's going to take each one of us moving from passivity to impact within our unique spheres of influence.

That's why this book is written in a straight-forward, conversational style that speaks to the leader in all of us. From real-life, workplace scenarios, to the latest research on what works and what doesn't, to strategies for untangling the gnarled threads of bias - readers will find everything they need to become DEI allies, changemakers, and inclusive leaders, no matter where they are on the DEI journey.

From Marginal to Mainstream
Helen Edwards
Kogan Page Inc.
8 W 38th Street, Ste 902, New York, NY 10018
9781398604339, $84.00, HC, 256pp

Synopsis: Mainstream brands are besieged when it comes to being innovative, developing new products and taking new services or goods to market. Legacy brands seek out small and comfortable advantages within their market sectors and while this may produce a small market share uplift, it will never bring about sensational brand growth.

With the publication of "From Marginal to Mainstream: Why Tomorrow's Brand Growth Will Come from the Fringes - and How to Get There First", Helen Edwards shows why businesses, marketers and product development teams need to break through mainstream inhibition and turn their attention to those brands that are currently in the margins -- to confront, evaluate and embrace the strangeness of brand strategies, behaviours, ideas, marketing and the way of life at the fringes.

This may be an unpromising, untested, weird and even sometimes frightening place, yet studying the behavior of marginal brands (what they get right, how they engage with customers, how they develop products) can point the way to new innovation, new routes to market and exciting new category creation.

As Helen Edwards points out -- Today's margins are tomorrow's pot of gold - if you know where and how to look!

Critique: Of special value and extraordinary relevance to readers with an interest in the subject of business marketing in today's ever evolving and competitive market place, "From Marginal to Mainstream: Why Tomorrow's Brand Growth Will Come from the Fringes - and How to Get There First" is deftly organized into three main sections: The Margins and Why They Matter; How to Read the Margins; A Strategy for Growth. Informatively enhanced for the reader with the inclusion an informative Introduction, twenty-two pages of Notes, and a five page Index, "From Marginal to Mainstream" is especially appropriate and recommended for professional, community, corporate, and academic library Business Management/Marketing collections. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of entrepreneurs, corporate executives, brand development marketers, MBA students, and non-specialists with an interest in the subject that "From Marginal to Mainstream" is also available in a paperback edition (9781398604315, $29.99) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $22.39).

Editorial Note: Helen Edwards ( is a branding consultant, based in London, UK, and an award-winning columnist at Marketing Week, focusing on brand positioning and brand strategy. She is the director of Passionbrand, a Teaching Fellow in Marketing at London Business School and is the author of Creating Passion Brands. She founded Passionbrand in 2005 - a boutique brand consultancy based in London, combining strategic and creative skills. Clients include Johnson & Johnson, 3M, Avon, Tesco, MetLife, Nationwide, EDF Energy, BBC Worldwide, Smith & Nephew, The World Economic Forum.

Breaking Through
Sally Susman
Harvard Business Review Press
60 Harvard Way, Boston, MA 02163
9781647823955, $30.00, HC, 240pp

Synopsis: A global pandemic. A roller-coaster economy. Political tensions ready to ignite, and common civility at an all-time low. For business and political leaders alike, the pressures and the stakes could not be higher. And in such a stormy, often dangerous world, communications can no longer be considered a soft skill. The ability to reach people and drive public conversation is a rock-hard competency.

With the publication of "Breaking Through: Communicating to Open Minds, Move Hearts, and Change the World", Sally Susman (the renowned head of corporate affairs at global biopharmaceutical giant Pfizer), tells the fascinating story of how the company managed the massive communications challenge that came with Covid-19 and the race to produce an effective vaccine.

Just as crucial as creating the vaccine itself was the task of winning people's hearts and minds, and Susman highlights the principles that enabled her to break through, connect, and help move people forward, not only at Pfizer but over a long and stellar career. She shows how clarifying and channeling your intention is an essential first step: What are you trying to say?

She also illustrates how leaders need to muster the courage to be candid in order to be effective and how, in order to connect, they must both disarm with humility and delight with humor. As a gay, married woman, she talks forthrightly about the challenges and opportunities of embracing who you are, both at home and in the workplace.

Susman's stories will draw you in with their warmth and humanity, and enlighten and motivate you with their insight and passion.

Critique: Essential reading for any business leader, corporate executive, or politician who faces the daunting challenge of communicating in our noisy, turbulent world, "Breaking Through: Communicating to Open Minds, Move Hearts, and Change the World" is exceptionally well written and thoroughly 'reader friendly' in organization and presentation. While readily available for personal reading lists in a digital book format (Kindle, $14.99), "Breaking Through" is a critically important, timely, and unreservedly recommended addition to personal, professional, community, corporate, and community library Public Relations, Communication Skills, and Leadership/Motivation collections and MBA supplemental curriculum studies lists.

Editorial Note: Sally Susman ( is Executive Vice President and Chief Corporate Affairs Officer at Pfizer. She is also Vice Chair of the Pfizer Foundation. She leads engagement with all of Pfizer's external stakeholders, overseeing communications, corporate responsibility, global policy, government relations, investor relations, and patient advocacy. Before joining Pfizer in 2007, she held several senior communications and government relations roles at The Estee Lauder Companies and American Express. Earlier in her career, she spent eight years in government service, focused on international trade issues.

The General Fiction Shelf

Saturday Night at the Lakeside Supper Club
J. Ryan Stradal
Pamela Dorman Books
c/o Penguin Group (USA)
9781984881076, $28.00, HC, 352pp

Synopsis: Mariel Prager needs a break. Her husband Ned is having an identity crisis, her spunky, beloved restaurant is bleeding money by the day, and her mother Florence is stubbornly refusing to leave the church where she's been holed up for more than a week. The Lakeside Supper Club has been in her family for decades, and while Mariel's grandmother embraced the business, seeing it as a saving grace, Florence never took to it. When Mariel inherited the restaurant, skipping Florence, it created a rift between mother and daughter that never quite healed.

Ned is also an heir (to a chain of home-style diners) and while he doesn't have a head for business, he knows his family's chain could provide a better future than his wife's fading restaurant. In the aftermath of a devastating tragedy, Ned and Mariel lose almost everything they hold dear, and the hard-won victories of each family hang in the balance. With their dreams dashed, can one fractured family find a way to rebuild despite their losses, and will the Lakeside Supper Club be their salvation?

Critique: Original, entertaining, and with a very special appeal to readers with an interest in family fiction and the slow disappearance of the iconic midwestern supper club and the 'colorful, vanishing world of relish trays and brandy Old Fashioneds', with the publication of "Saturday Night at the Lakeside Supper Club", novelist J. Ryan Stradal has created a memorable novel populated by honest, lovable yet fallible Midwestern characters as they come to terms with love, loss, marriage, and legacy. While unreservedly recommended for community library Contemporary General Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Saturday Night at the Lakeside Supper Club" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $14.99).

Editorial Note: J. Ryan Stradal ( is the author of "Kitchens of the Great Midwest" and "The Lager Queen of Minnesota". His writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Guardian, Granta, The Rumpus, and the Los Angeles Review of Books.

The Visibility of Things Long Submerged
George Looney
BOA Editions, Ltd.
250 N. Goodman St., Suite 306, Rochester, NY 14607
9781950774944, $17.00, PB, 184pp

Synopsis: With the publication of "The Visibility of Things Long Submerged", Boa Editions presents a new short story collection of short story fiction from poet George Looney featuring explorations of the essential nature of faith while plumbing the gritty secrets of the human heart.

With swamps, alligators, revival tents, faith healers, sex, death, guilt, sin and snakes, Looney leads us through a dark landscape brimming with the miraculous and the peculiar alike. A man from a fire shows up on someone's doorstep, covered in ash and barely alive. One man's actions make an entire town question its own violence. A healer is bitten in half by an alligator as a crowd looks on.

Comprised of nine short stories fairly dripping with Southern gothic, "The Visibility of Things Long Submerged" gazes at the obscure and obscene. These are stories that are densely populated with characters that know intimately the trials of life and the restorative powers of love. These are stories are filled with a deep longing for something beyond the restless disquiet.

Critique: Each of the nine impressively crafted short stories anthologized in "The Visibility of Things Long Submerged" is a literary gem and showcases author George Looney's extraordinary storytelling skills. While especially and unreservedly recommended for both community and academic library Contemporary Literary Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Visibility of Things Long Submerged" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

Editorial Note: George Looney ( is the author of three previous collections of fiction that have won the Leapfrog Press Fiction Award, The Elixir Press Fiction Award, and the Elixir Press Fiction Chapbook Award. He has also published thirteen collections of poetry, including books that won The Bluestem Award, The White Pine Press Poetry Prize, and The Red Mountain Press Poetry Prize. He is Distinguished Professor of Literature and Creative Writing at Penn State Erie, The Behrend College, where he founded the BFA in Creative Writing Program and is editor of Lake Effect and translation editor of Mid-American Review (where he began the ongoing Translation Chapbook Series in 1983). With Phil Terman, he was co-founder of the original Chautauqua Writers' Festival.

The Promise of a Normal Life
Rebecca Kaiser Gibson
Arcade Publishing
c/o Skyhorse Publishing, Inc.
307 West 36th Street, 11th Floor, New York, NY 10018
9781956763331, $26.99, HC, 288pp

Synopsis: "The Promise of a Normal Life" is a poet Rebecca Kaiser Gibson's debut as a novelist in a literary work that is so evocative of life as lived that it transports her readers to a time and place they can practically see, touch, and feel.

The unnamed narrator is a fiercely observant, introverted Jewish-American girl who seems to exist in a private and separate realm. She's the child of a first-generation doctor and lawyer (whose own stories have the loud grandeur of family legend) in an America where Jews are excluded from the country club across the street. Her expectations for adulthood are often contradictory. In the changing landscape of the 1960s, she attempts to find her way through the rituals of life, her geography expanding across the country, across the ocean, and into multiple nations.

Along the way, she meets a glamorous hairdresser on a cruise ship to Israel, along with a cast of loopy tarot-card-reading passengers, and Alice-in-Wonderland lawyers in Haifa. Then there is a blue-eyed all-American college boyfriend, a mystified tourist agent in the Lofoten Islands, a handsome eligible rabbi in LA, a righteous and self-absorbed MIT professor, and a clandestine, calculating lover in Boston. Eventually, she finds her own compass, but only after being swept to several distant shores by many winds.

Critique: Fun, fascinating, exceptional, and original, "The Promise of a Normal Life" by Rebecca Kaiser Gibson is one of those works of storytelling literature that will linger in the mind and memory of the reader long after the book is finished and set back upon the shelf. While especially and unreservedly recommended for community, college, and university library Contemporary Literary Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Promise of a Normal Life" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $17.99).

Editorial Note: Rebecca Kaiser Gibson ( is the author of the poetry collections Girl as Birch and Opinel. Her work has appeared in Slate, Agni, the Los Angeles Review of Books, Northwest Review, the Massachusetts Review, Tupelo Quarterly, Harvard Review, Green Mountain Review, Pleiades, and many other magazines. She taught creative writing at Tufts University for twenty-three years and has received writing fellowships from MacDowell, Vermont Studio Center, the Virginia Center for Creative Arts, and the Massachusetts Cultural Council.

The Historical Fiction Shelf

Jamie MacGillivray: The Renegade's Journey
John Sayles
Melville House
46 John Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201
9781612199887, $32.00, HC, 704pp

Synopsis: "Jamie MacGillivray: The Renegade's Journey" by John Sayles begins in the highlands of Scotland in 1746, at the Battle of Culloden, the last desperate stand of the Stuart 'pretender' to the throne of the Three Kingdoms, Bonnie Prince Charlie, and his rabidly loyal supporters.

Vanquished with his comrades by the forces of the Hanoverian (and Protestant) British crown, the novel's eponymous hero, Jamie MacGillivray, narrowly escapes a roadside execution only to be recaptured by the victors and shipped to Marshalsea Prison (central to Charles Dickens's Hard Times) where he cheats the hangman a second time before being sentenced to transportation and indentured servitude in colonial America "for the term of his natural life." His travels are paralleled by those of Jenny Ferguson, a poor, village girl swept up on false charges by the English and also sent in chains to the New World.

"Jamie MacGillivray: The Renegade's Journey" follows Jamie and Jenny through servitude, revolt, escape, and romantic entanglements as they strive to escape being pawns in a deadly game. The two continue to cross paths with each other and with some of the leading figures of the era- the devious Lord Lovat, future novelist Henry Fielding, the artist William Hogarth, a young and ambitious George Washington, the doomed General James Wolfe, and the Lenape chief feared throughout the Ohio Valley as Shingas the Terrible.

Critique: A veritable saga of a novel, "Jamie MacGillivray: The Renegade's Journey" by author John Sayles will have an extraordinary appeal to readers with an interest in action/adventure stories replete with memorable characters, suspenseful and unexpected plot twists and turns, and a deftly crafted historical background and context. While especially and unreservedly recommended community and academic library Historical Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Jamie MacGillivray: The Renegade's Journey" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $14.99.

Editorial Note: John Sayles ( is an American independent film director, screenwriter, actor, and novelist. He has twice been nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay, for Passion Fish (1992) and Lone Star (1996). He has written seven novels, the most recent being Yellow Earth (2020) and A Moment in the Sun (2011).

High Bridge
Michael Miller
Koehler Books
3705 Shore Drive, Virginia Beach, VA 23455
9781646638130, $32.95, HC, 384pp

Synopsis: Upstate New York in the mid-19th century was a cauldron bubbling with the lure of fast fortunes, religious zealotry, and battles for civil liberties. This fervor centers on the Erie Canal, which successfully supports scores of villages brimming with opportunity. One such village, Fayetteville, shapes the lives of two future American leaders.

"High Bridge" by novelist Michael Miller tells the stories of a young newlywed, the only child of freethinking abolitionists, and a prankster lad who grows up in the large family of an austere reverend. Despite their different childhoods and worldviews, they form an unlikely friendship. Can they combine their skills to solve a mystery and vindicate a Black man accused of murder?

Critique: A deftly crafted and inherently absorbing read from first page to last, "High Bridge" will have a very special appeal to readers with an interest in historical fiction and race relations in 19th Century American history. Entertaining and thought-provoking, original and memorable, "High Bridge" is a welcome and unreservedly recommended addition to community library American Historical Fiction collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "High Bridge" is also available in a paperback edition (9781646638116, $22.95) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $7.49).

Editorial Note: Michael Miller ( was born in a small town in New Jersey similar to Fayetteville, NY. He played baseball, delivered the daily newspaper, and tramped through the woods. Through small town life, he learned to respect people regardless of their backgrounds and appreciate the gifts each person brought to the world.

The LGBT Fiction Shelf

Tell the Rest
Lucy Jane Bledsoe
Akashic Books
232 Third Street, #A115, Brooklyn, NY 11215
9781636140797, $28.95, HC, 336pp

Synopsis: Delia Barnes and Ernest Wrangham met as teens at Celebration Camp, a church supported conversion therapy program based on the dubious, unscientific, Christian practice meant to change a person's sexuality. After witnessing a devastating tragedy, they escaped in the night, only to take separate roads to their distant homes.

They have no idea how each has fared through the years. Delia is a college basketball coach who prides herself on being an empowering and self-possessed role model for her players. But when she gets fired from her elite East Coast college, she's forced to return to her hometown of Rockside, Oregon, to coach at her high school alma mater.

Ernest, meanwhile, is a renowned poet with a temporary teaching job in Portland, Oregon. His work has always been boundary-pushing, fearless. But the poem he's most wanted to write about (his dangerous escape from Celebration Camp) remains stubbornly out of reach.

Both persist in the mission to overcome the consequences and inhumane costs of conversion therapy. As events find them hurtling toward each other once again, they both grapple with the necessity of remaining steadfast in one's truth, no matter how slippery that can be. Tell the Rest is a powerful novel about coming to terms, with family, history, violence, loss, sexuality, and ultimately, with love.

Critique: With a very special and intense appeal to readers with an interest in LGBTQ fiction, "Tell The Rest" is an extraordinary and compelling read from cover to cover. One of those riveting novels that will linger in the mind and memory long after it has been finished and set back upon the shelf, "Tell The Rest" is unreservedly recommended for both community and academic Contemporary Literary Fiction and LGBTQ Fiction collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Tell The Rest" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $14.99).

Editorial Note: Lucy Jane Bledsoe ( is the author of several works of fiction, including A Thin Bright Line, which was a Lambda Literary Award and Ferro-Grumley Award finalist. She is the winner of an American Library Association Stonewall Award, a Yaddo Fellowship, a California Arts Council Fellowship in Literature, two National Science Foundation Artists & Writers Fellowships, and a finalist for the Northern California Independent Booksellers Association Fiction Award.

Jinwoo Chong
Melville House
46 John Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201
9781685890346, $28.99, HC, 352pp

Synopsis: "Flux" by Jinwoo Chong is a impressively original and stylish debut novel about a young man whose reality unravels when he suspects his mysterious employers have inadvertently discovered time travel -- and are using it to cover up a string of violent crimes...

Four days before Christmas, 8-year-old Bo loses his mother in a tragic accident, 28-year-old Brandon loses his job after a hostile takeover of his big-media employer, and 48-year-old Blue, a key witness in a criminal trial against an infamous now-defunct tech startup, struggles to reconnect with his family.

So begins Jinwoo Chong's dazzling, time-bending debut that blends elements of neo-noir and speculative fiction as the lives of Bo, Brandon, and Blue begin to intersect, uncovering a vast network of secrets and an experimental technology that threatens to upend life itself. Intertwined with them is the saga of an iconic '80s detective show, Raider, whose star actor has imploded spectacularly after revelations of long-term, concealed abuse.

"Flux" is a haunting and sometimes shocking exploration of the cyclical nature of grief, of moving past trauma, and of the pervasive nature of whiteness within the development of Asian identity in America.

Critique: Original, carefully crafted, inherently fascinating and truly memorable, "Flux" is even more impressive when considering that it is author Jinwoo Chong's debut as a novelist. While available for personal reading lists in a digital book format (Kindle, $13.99), "Flux" is especially and unreservedly recommended as a new addition to community and academic library Contemporary LGBTQ Literary Fiction collections.

Editorial Note: Jinwoo Chong ( received an MFA from Columbia University. His short stories have appeared in The Southern Review, Chicago Quarterly Review, and Salamander.

The Literary Fiction Shelf

Don't Go
Abraham Aamidor
Stephen F. Austin University Press
9781622889297, $18.00, PB, 188pp

Synopsis: With the publication of "Don't Go", journalist and author Abraham Aamidor showcases his extraordinary literary storytelling skills and mastery of the short story form. "Don't Go" features speculative and realistic fiction together, creating a balanced body of original stories.

In "John Gardner's Last Ride," the day famous writer John Gardner died in a motorcycle accident in 1982 is chronicled. "Siddhartha," inspired by the Hermann Hesse classic, this quest for meaning begins in a trailer park with a pimply-faced young man. In "My Stupid Life Dot Com," a computer "nerd" tries to get a date with the beautiful daughter of his landlord. In "Sacrificing Isaac," a religious boy protests the Biblical story; why would Isaac have even submitted to his own prescribed death?

In "Best Jewtown Hot Dogs," a wisecracking Jewish newspaper reporter in Chicago knows the Windy City better than he knows himself. A Palestinian and a former Kibbutz volunteer meet at college in America and learn to see each other with new eyes. In "Nietzsche's Dog," an earnest young man searches for truth and is disappointed; his hoped-for mentor may not even be real, and he knows he must fall back on his own resources. "In the Graveyard of Past Experience" documents an imperious psychiatrist and his failed career.

Critique: Comprised of eleven original and deftly crafted short stories and one Novella Aamidor's new anthology "Don't Go" is a truly memorable literary experience and is an especially and unreservedly recommended addition to personal reading lists and community/academic library Contemporary American Literary Fiction collections.

Editorial Note: Abraham 'Abe' Aamidor is an award winning feature writer at The Indianapolis Star and the author of several books, including a biography of basketball shoe legend Chuck Taylor and a history of the British motorcycle industry.

The Romantic Fiction Shelf

Letters of Trust
Wanda E. Brunstetter
Barbour Publishing
P.O. Box 719, 1810 Barbour Drive, Uhrichsville, OH 44683
9781636093345, $16.99, PB, 320pp

Synopsis: Life is good on their Pennsylvania Amish farm for newlyweds Vic and Eleanor Lapp -- until the day Vic's youngest brother drowns in their pond and Vic turns to alcohol to numb the pain. Things get so bad that Vic loses his job and their marriage is coming apart. Eleanor is desperate to help her husband and writes letters to her friend, Doretta, living in Indiana for advice. The trust Eleanor places in her friend and the gentle words she receives in return are a balm for even darker days to come .

Critique: Another memorable and carefully crafted romance novel, "Letters of Trust"in this first book of The Friendship Letters, a new series by Wanda E. Brunstetter. Of special appeal to readers with an interest in Amish and Mennonite romance novels, "Letters of Trust" is unreservedly recommended for community library Contemporary Romance Fiction collections. It should be noted for the legions of Wanda Brunstetter fans that "Letters of Trust" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99) and as a complete an unabridged audio book (Oasis Audio, 9781685923440, $36.88, CD). Librarians should note that there is also a Library Binding large print edition (Thorndike Press Large Print, 9798885788465, $35.99) available.

Editorial Note: Wanda E. Brunstetter ( is one of the founders of the Amish fiction genre. She has written more than 100 books translated in four languages. With over 12 million copies sold, Wanda's stories consistently earn spots on the nation's most prestigious bestseller lists and have received numerous awards.

Match in the Making
Jen Turano
Bethany House Publishers
c/o Baker Publishing Group
6030 East Fulton Road, Ada, MI 49301
9780764241345, $26.99, HC, 358pp

Synopsis: Miss Gwendolyn Brinley accepted a temporary paid companion position for the Newport summer season, believing it would be a lark to spend the summer in America's most exclusive town. She suddenly finds her summer turning anything but amusing when her employer expects her to take over responsibilities as an assistant matchmaker. Tasked with the daunting prospect of attaining advantageous matches for her clients, Gwendolyn soon finds herself in the employ of Mr. Walter Townsend, the catch of the Season, but a gentleman Gwendolyn finds beyond irritating.

Walter Townsend is reluctantly in search of a wife for the sake of his unruly motherless children who cannot keep a governess for long. What he wasn't expecting was Miss Brinley, an amateur matchmaker who turns his quest for a new wife into a complete and utter debacle. Constantly besieged by society ladies on a mission to win his affection, Walter must find a way to overcome their inundating attention -- and his unexpected attraction toward Gwendolyn.

The more time they spend together throughout the Newport Season, the harder it is for Gwendolyn to find Walter a wife when she realizes his perfect match might be her!

Critique: A fun read from cover to cover, "A Match in the Making" by novelist Jen Turano is a delightfully original romance that is the stuff of which Hallmark Channel movies are made. While "A Match in the Making" is very highly recommended as a clean, popular and worthy addition to community library Historical Romance, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "A Match in the Making" is also readily available in a paperback edition (9780764240201, $16.99) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

Editorial Note: Jen Turano ( is known for penning quirky historical romances set in the Gilded Age. Her books have earned Publishers Weekly and Booklist starred reviews, top picks from RT Book Reviews, and praise from Library Journal. She's been a finalist twice for the RT Reviewers' Choice Awards and had two of her books listed in the top 100 romances of the past decade from Booklist. Readers can find her on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Yours Truly, The Duke
Amelia Grey
St. Martin's Press
9781250850416, $8.99, PB, 368pp

Synopsis: Fredericka Hale needs a husband, and fast. She's been caring for her deceased sister's three young children, and now a childless cousin has petitioned the court for custody. Fredericka is powerless to stop her, but having a husband might sway the ruling. The last thing Fredericka wants is a hurried-up marriage to a man she doesn't know -- much less love, but she'll do it for the children. So when the handsome Duke of Wyatthaven shows up with a proposal, she accepts. He'll help her, and in return, they'll lead separate lives. But distance cannot keep them from their powerful attraction.

At the top of his game in London, the Duke of Wyatthaven has no interest in marriage. However, if Wyatt doesn't marry by week's end, he'll lose a sizable inheritance from his grandmother. When Wyatt's solicitor finds Miss Fredericka Hale, Wyatt considers this little hiccup solved. Miss Hale is lovely, and intelligent. Most importantly, she prefers country life to London, so he's free to continue his life as usual. But when circumstances force Fredericka and the children to show up at the duke's door, Wyatt can't deny he's always been under her spell. Will the duke give up his bachelor lifestyle and give into the fiery passion growing between them?

Critique: A fun read from first page to last, "Yours Truly, The Duke" by Amelia Grey is a Regency Romance fans pure delight. Original, absorbing, "Yours Truly, The Duke" is unreservedly recommended for community library Romance Fiction collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Yours Truly, The Duke" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $8.99).

Editorial Note: Amelia Grey ( is the author of over twenty-five books, including the Heirs' Club trilogy and the Rakes of St. James series. Her awards also include the Booksellers Best, Aspen Gold, and the Golden Quill. Writing as Gloria Dale Skinner, she won the coveted Romantic Times Award for Love and Laughter and the prestigious Maggie Award. Several of her books have also been featured in Doubleday and Rhapsody Book Clubs.

Best Served Hot
Amanda Elliot
Berkley Books
c/o Penguin Group (USA)
9780593335734, $16.99, PB, 368pp

Synopsis: By day, Julie Zimmerman works as an executive assistant. After hours, she's @JulieZeeEatsNYC, a social media restaurant reviewer with over fifty thousand followers. As much as she loves her self-employed side gig, what Julie really wants is to be a critic at a major newspaper, like the New York Scroll. The only thing worse than the Scroll's rejection of her application is the fact that smarmy, social-media-averse society boy Bennett Richard Macalester Wright snagged her dream job.

While at the Central Park Food Festival, Julie confronts the annoyingly handsome Bennett about his outdated opinions on social media and posts the resulting video footage. Julie's follower count soars -- and so does the Scroll's. Julie and Bennett grudgingly agree to partner up for a few reviews to further their buzz. Online buzz, obviously.

Over tapas, burgers, and more, Julie and Bennett connect over their shared love of food. But when the competitive fire between them turns extra spicy, they'll have to decide how much heat their relationship can take.

Critique: With a very special appeal to fans of romance comedy, "Best Served Hot" by Amanda Elliot is a delightfully original and thoroughly fun read from cover to cover. Clearly novelist Amanda Elliot has a full and complete mastery of the genre and "Best Served Hot" will prove to be an immediately popular and enduringly appreciated addition to community library Contemporary Romance Fiction collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Best Served Hot" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $10.99).

Editorial Note: Amanda Elliot lives with her husband in New York City, where she collects way too many cookbooks for her tiny kitchen, runs in Central Park, and writes for teens and kids as Amanda Panitch. (

Forged in Love
Mary Connealy
Bethany House Publishers
c/o Baker Publishing Group
6030 East Fulton Road, Ada, MI 49301
9780764241390, $29.99, HC, 304pp

Synopsis: In 1870, Mariah Stover is left for dead and with no memory when the Deadeye Gang robs the stagecoach she's on, killing her father and brother. As she takes over her father's blacksmith business and attempts to move forward, the old-fashioned townspeople meet her new occupation with disdain.

Handsome and polished Clint Roberts escaped to Western Wyoming from the painful memories he left back east. In the hope of a new life, he opens a diner where he creates fine dishes, but is met with a harsh welcome from the townsfolk who prefer to stick to their old ways.

Clint and Mariah are drawn together by the similar trials they face in a new town, and Clint is determined to protect Mariah at all costs when danger descends upon her home. As threats pursue them from every side, will they survive to build a life forged in love?

Critique: Another finely crafted and enjoyable historic romance from the pen of Mary Connealy, "Forged in Love" is especially recommended to the attention of readers with an interest in Christian historical fiction and western romance novels. While unreservedly recommended for community library Romance Fiction collections, it should be noted for the personal reading lists of the growing legion of Mary Connealy fans that "Forged in Love" is also available in a paperback edition (9780764241130, $16.99) and in digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

Editorial Note: Mary Connealy ( writes "romantic comedies with cowboys" and is celebrated for her fun, zany, action-packed style. She has sold more than 1.5 million books. She is the author of the popular series Brothers in Arms, Brides of Hope Mountain, High Sierra Sweethearts, The Kincaid Brides, Trouble in Texas, Lassoed in Texas, Sophie's Daughters, and many other books. Mary lives on a ranch in eastern Nebraska with her very own romantic cowboy hero.

The Mystery/Suspense Shelf

Diamondback Revenge
Cindy Keen Reynders
Camel Press
9781684920556, $16.95, PB, 254pp

Synopsis: It's a sweltering Wyoming summer and the typically clear blue skies are clogged with smoke drifting from encroaching wildfires. Life goes on, however, and private investigator Reese Golden remains dedicated to resolving crimes in her hometown of Meadowlark Valley.

Currently, she seeks a local shop owner's stolen rattlesnake taxidermy display. During her investigation, fraught with twists and turns, she exposes intrigue involving local artist Bella Northwood's drowning, and the brutal assault of the shop owner, who happens to be Bella's father.

Danger complicates Reese's objectives as she and Police detective Jeremy Savage team up to retrieve the stolen display and to document the events leading up to Bella's accident.

Nothing is as it seems, nevertheless, Reese is determined to uncover the facts. It is important to her to see that justice is served, and she refuses to allow any guilty parties to go free.

After interviewing residents and availing herself of local resources, Reese's intuition kicks in, which leads her one of Wyoming's wilderness areas with its panoramic mountain views as she encounters intrigue and danger complicating her objectives as she and police detective Jeremy Savage pursue justice.

Critique: The second title in novelist Cindy Keen Reynders 'Reese Golden Mysterious' series, "Diamondback Revenge" is another deftly crafted story that will have immense appeal for fans of the cozy mystery genre. With an original and entertaining plot with more twists and turns than a Disneyland roller-coaster, "Diamondback Revenge" is unreservedly recommended for personal and community library Mystery/Suspense collections. It should be noted that "Diamondback Revenge" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $5.99).

Editorial Note: Cindy ( is the author of The Saucy Lucy Murders, Paws-itively Guilty and A Killer Slice. Solstice Publishing recently released her paranormal romance The Seven-Year Witch, A Witch at Midnight and Witch Tease. She has a blog and can be followed on Facebook.

Her Sister's Death
K. L.Murphy
CamCat Books
9780744307399, $25.99, HC, 352pp

Synopsis: When her sister is found dead in a Baltimore hotel room, reporter Val Ritter's world is turned upside down. An empty pill bottle at the scene leads the police to believe the cause of death is suicide. With little more than her own conviction, Val teams up with Terry Martin, a retired detective who has his own personal interest in the case, to prove that something more sinister is possible.

In 1921, Bridget Wallace, a guest on the brink of womanhood, is getting ready to marry an eligible older man. But what seems like a comfortable match soon takes a dark turn. Does the illustrious history of the stately Franklin hotel hide another, lesser known history of death?

Critique: An original and deftly crafted novel that will have a special appeal to readers with an interest in historical and supernatural mysteries starring an intrepid, amateur, and determined female sleuth, "Her Sister's Death" by K. L. Murphy is an extraordinary and unreservedly recommended addition to community library Mystery/Suspense collections. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of dedicated mystery buffs that "Her Sister's Death" is also available in a paperback edition (9780744307405, $15.99) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $4.99).

Editorial Note: K. L. Murphy ( is the author of the Detective Cancini Mystery Series: A Guilty Mind, Stay of Execution, and The Last Sin. Her short stories are featured in the anthologies Deadly Southern Charm ("Burn") and Murder by the Glass ("EverUs"). She is a member of Mystery Writers of America, International Thriller Writers, Sisters in Crime, James River Writers, and Historical Writers of America.

No Life for a Lady
Hannah Dolby
Head of Zeus
9781804544365, $27.99, HC, 400pp

At 28, Violet's father is beginning to worry she will never find a husband. But every suitor he presents, Violet finds a new and inventive means of rebuffing. Because Violet does not want to marry! She wants to work, and make her own way in the world. But more than anything, she wants to find her mother Lily, who disappeared from Hastings Pier 10 years earlier.

Finding the missing is no job for a lady, but when Violet hires a seaside detective to help, she sets off a chain of events that will put more than just her reputation at risk. Can Violet solve the mystery of Lily Hamilton's vanishing before it's too late?

Critique: Set in 1896, novelist Hannah Dolby's "No Life for a Lady" has everything a cozy mystery fan could want -- humor, a 'whodunit' to solve, and an amateur woman sleuth to do the solving. With many a quick and unexpected plot twist and turn, "No Life for a Lady" is a fun read from cover to cover. While unreservedly recommended for community library Mystery/Suspense collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "No Life for a Lady" is also readily available in a paperback edition (9781804544372, $19.99) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $6.99).

Editorial Note: Hannah Dolby trained as a journalist in Hastings and has worked in PR for many years, promoting museums, galleries, palaces, gardens and even Dolly the sheep. She completed the Curtis Brown selective three-month novel writing course, and she won runner-up in the Comedy Women in Print Awards for this novel with the prize of a place on an MA in Comedy Writing at the University of Falmouth. You can follow her on Twitter @LadyDolby (

Dead Man Inside
Vincent Starrett
American Mystery Classics
c/o Penzler Publishers
9781613163917, $25.95, HC, 288pp

Synopsis: A strange sight greets Chicago haberdashery clerk Rufus Ker as he prepares to begin his workday by unlocking the door to Bluefield, Inc. A sign is attached to the glass. It reads: DEAD MAN INSIDE! I AM DEAD. THIS STORE WILL NOT OPEN TO-DAY.

Once inside, Rufus is relieved to discover the shop is still in one piece and assumes the sign to be a prank. But no one is laughing when Rufus realizes the dummy in the window is no dummy at all. It's the body of his boss, Amos Bluefield, and unfortunately this is only the beginning...

Scientist, explorer, and former intelligence officer Walter Ghost has come to Chicago to research some history, but after a stint in the hospital due to appendicitis, he quickly finds himself investigating a string of puzzling murders. Ghost is certainly no stranger to playing detective, but if he's not careful, he's about to get more familiar with the hospital.

Critique: Originally published in 1931 and brought back into print as a treasured time-lost classic for the appreciative benefit of a new generation of cozy mystery fans, Of special note is an informative background introduction by Otto Penzler. "Dead Man Inside" by the late author and journalist Vincent Starrett will prove an immediately welcome and enduringly popular addition to community library Mystery/Suspense collections. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of time-lost mystery fans that "Dead Man Inside" is also available in a paperback edition (9781613163948, $16.95) and in a digital book format ($1.99).

Editorial Note #1: Vincent Starrett (October 26, 1886 - January 5, 1974) was a Chicago journalist who became one of the world's foremost experts on Sherlock Holmes. A books columnist for the Chicago Tribune, he also wrote biographies of authors such as Robert Louis Stevenson and Ambrose Bierce, various books on books and book collecting, plus Sherlockian pastiches and numerous short stories and novels. A founding member of the Baker Street Irregulars, he is perhaps known best today for The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes, an imaginative biography of the great detective. (

Editorial Note #2: Otto Penzler ( is the creator of American Mystery Classics as well as the founder of the Mysterious Press (1975); Mysterious (2011), an electronic-book publishing company; and New York City's Mysterious Bookshop (1979). He has won a Raven, the Ellery Queen Award, two Edgars (for the Encyclopedia of Mystery and Detection, 1977, and The Lineup, 2010), and lifetime achievement awards from Noircon and The Strand Magazine. He has edited more than 70 anthologies and written extensively about mystery fiction.

The Red Widow Murders
John Dickson Carr
American Mystery Classics
c/o Penzler Publishers
9781613163900, $25.95, HC, 288pp

Synopsis: They say that Lord Mantling's mansion is haunted -- at least, one room of it is. Known as the Red Widow's Chamber, the now-sealed quarters once housed the wife of a guillotine operator in the French Revolution, and, since her passing, have been host to a century of unsolved horrors, including the death of a man in 1802, the death of a child in 1895, and a number of mysterious mortalities in the years in between.

Now, in 1935, eight men and women join at the manor for a sinister experiment to determine the truth behind the haunting once and for all: they each draw a card, and whoever pulls the Ace of Spades must spend a night in that terrifying room. But the challenge turns fatal when the man selected for the task is found poisoned the next morning when the doors are opened. The locked room was guarded all night, so nobody could have entered or escaped; what's more, the deadly toxin could only have entered through a break in the skin, but no wounds were discovered on the body.

Is this evidence, at last, of a nefarious spirit at work, or of a diabolical and ingenious killer? Only Sir Henry Merrivale, called in to take note of the night's proceedings, will be able to examine the clues and deduce the truth.

Critique: A classic 'locked room' mystery by the legendary mystery writer John Dickson Carr, "The Red Widow" (originally published in 1935) has been brought back as a time lost classic for the benefit of a whole new generation of appreciated mystery fans. While enhanced for the reader with an informative introduction by Tom Mead, and an unreservedly recommended pick for community library Mystery/Suspense collections, it should be noted for the personal reading lists of all dedicated mystery buffs that "The Red Widow" is also available in a paperback edition (9781613163955, $15.95) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $11.99).

Editorial Note #1: John Dickson Carr (November 30, 1906 - February 27, 1977) was one of the greatest writers of the American Golden Age mystery, and one of the only American authors to be included in England's legendary Detection Club. Though he was born and died in the United States, Carr began his writing career while living in England, where he remained for nearly twenty years. Under his own name and various pseudonyms, he wrote more than seventy novels and numerous short stories, and is best known today for his locked-room mysteries. His beloved series character, Dr. Gideon Fell, was based on author G. K. Chesterton and appeared in twenty-four novels. (

Editorial Note #2: Tom Mead ( is a UK-based author specializing in crime fiction. His stories have appeared in Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine, Litro Online, Flash: The International Short-Short Story Magazine, Lighthouse, Mystery Scene and Mystery Weekly (among others). Several of his pieces have also been anthologized, most recently "Heatwave" in The Best Mystery Stories of the Year 2021 (ed. Lee Child).

Just One More
Annette Lyon
Scarlet / Penzler Publishers
9781613163757, $26.95, HC, 312pp

Synopsis: Becca's life is turned upside down when she finds Jenn dead in the bathtub. Soon she begins to unspool the secrets Jenn kept in life, including a troubled marriage to Rick and two dead wives in his past. The more Becca learns, the more determined she becomes to get justice for Jenn, even if the clues surrounding her death aren't quite adding up.

Over a year before her death, Jenn had begun to notice her husband acting strangely. Using her skills as a librarian, she dug down into Rick's past -- and falls down a rabbit hole far deeper and darker than she bargained for. She's already beaten the odds by living longer than his other dead wives. But now she fears her time is up.

Critique: Original, compelling, deftly scripted, and with more unexpected plot twists and turns than a Coney Island roller- coaster, "Just One More" is author Annette Lyon's impressive debut as a mystery writer. While unreservedly recommended for community library Mystery/Suspense collections, it should be noted for the personal reading lists of anyone with an interest in a riveting suspense thriller of a read that includes marriage, friendship, and motherhood, along with classic 'whodunnit' elements that "Just One More" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $17.49).

Editorial Note: Annette Lyon ( is the author of dozens of titles ranging from historical women's fiction to nonfiction to romance. Her fiction has won nine Best of State medals in Utah, a Whitney Award, and others.

48 Clues into the Disappearance of My Sister
Joyce Carol Oates
Mysterious Press
c/o Penzler Publishers
9781613163818, $26.95, HC, 288pp

Synopsis: Marguerite, a beautiful woman, has disappeared from her small town in Upstate New York. But is foul play involved? Or did she merely take an opportunity to get away for fun, or finally make the decision to leave behind her claustrophobic life of limited opportunities?

Her younger sister Gigi wonders if the flimsy silk Dior dress, so casually abandoned on the floor, is a clue to Marguerite's having seemingly vanished. The police examine the footprints made by her Ferragamo boots leaving the house, ending abruptly, and puzzle over how that can help lead to her. Gigi, not so pretty as her sister, slowly reveals her hatred for the perfect, much-loved, Marguerite.

Bit by bit, like ripping the petals off a flower blossom, revelations about both sisters are uncovered. Subtly, but with the unbearable suspense at which Joyce Carol Oates excels, clues mount up to bring to light the fate of the missing beauty.

Critique: Masquerading as a cozy mystery, "48 Clues into the Disappearance of My Sister" is yet another literary masterpiece by famed author Joyce Carol Oates. A deftly crafted suspense thriller of a read, "48 Clues into the Disappearance of My Sister" will have a very special appeal to those who have an interest in amateur sleuths caught up in 'whodunnit' murder mysteries. While highly recommended, especially for community library Mystery/Suspense collections, it should be noted for the legions of Joyce Carol Oates fans that "48 Clues into the Disappearance of My Sister" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $16.99).

Editorial Note: Joyce Carol Oates ( is the author of more than 70 books, including novels, short story collections, poetry volumes, plays, essays, and criticism, including the national bestsellers We Were the Mulvaneys and Blonde. Among her many honors are the PEN/Malamud Award for Excellence in Short Fiction and the National Book Award. Oates is the Roger S. Berlind Distinguished Professor of the Humanities at Princeton University, and has been a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters since 1978.

The Alarm of the Black Cat
Dolores Kitchens
American Mystery Classics
c/o Penzler Publishers
9781613163924, $15.95, PB, 288pp

Synopsis: A strange encounter with a little girl named Claudia and a dead toad sparks elderly detective fiction fan Rachel Murdock's obsessive curiosity, and she winds up renting the house next door just to see how things play out. But soon after she and her cat Samantha move in, Rachel realizes they've landed right in the middle of a deadly love triangle that's created animosity among the three families who now surround her.

When Rachel finds Claudia's great-grandmother dead in her basement, she reaches out to a friend in the LAPD to solve the crime. They soon learn the three households have been torn apart by one husband's infidelity and a complicated will that could lead to a fortune. In a house plagued by forbidden love, regret, and greed, Rachel will have to trust her intuition, as well as Samantha's instincts, to survive -- and keep Claudia out of the hands of a killer whose work has just begun!

Critique: Originally published in 1942, "The Alarm of the Black Cat" by Dolores Kitchens (December 25, 1907 - August 1, 1973) is an early form of what is know today as a 'Cosy Mystery' featuring an amateur female sleuth and a 'whodunnit' mystery. A 'time lost' treasure of a read, and now brought back into print for a new generation of appreciative and dedicated detective mystery fans, "The Alarm of the Black Cat" is highly recommended for personal reading lists and community library Mystery/Suspense collections.

Editorial Note: Dolores Hitchens ( was an American mystery novelist who wrote prolifically from 1938 until her death in 1973. She also wrote as D. B. Olsen (a version of her first married name) and under the pseudonyms Dolan Birkley and Noel Burke.

Philanthropists: Inspector Mislan and the Executioners
Rozlan Mohd Noor
Arcade Crime
c/o Arcade Publishing
c/o Skyhorse Publishing, Inc.
307 West 36th Street, 11th Floor, New York, NY 10018
9781956763355, $26.99, HC, 264pp

Synopsis: Eight months after the assassination attempt that nearly ended his life, Inspector Mislan Latif is back on twenty-four-hour duty with his assistant, Detective Sergeant Johan Kamaruddin, when the call comes in: double murder in a house in the police district of Sentul.

The two dark-skinned men were killed identically, execution-style. In the master bedroom of the rental, in plain sight on the bed, is almost three pounds of drugs, while no identifying documents, wallets, phones, and the like are to be found. No shots were heard, or the neighbors won't admit to hearing them, but someone called the killings in to notify the police. In the area, drugs are rampant and also foreign nationals, legal and illegal. If the vics were foreign, without papers, where do they start?

Just as Mislan and Jo begin to dig into the case, they face an unprecedented hurdle. COVID-19 is spreading in the country at an alarming rate, prompting a nationwide Movement Control Order. Pursuing their leads in spite of the new restrictions, the investigators come into contact with members of the underworld and the refugee community, before realizing that the real culprits may be closer than they think.

Critique: Of special appeal to readers with an interest in Police Procedural and International Murder Mysteries, "Philanthropist" (the fifth title in novelist Rozlan Mohd Noor's 'Inspector Mislan and the Executioners' series, is an original and deftly crafted thriller of a read from beginning to end, and an unreservedly recommended addition to community library Mystery/Suspense collections. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of dedicated crime novel enthusiasts that "Philanthropist" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $17.99).

Editorial Note: Rozlan Mohd Noor served for eleven years as a crime investigator in the CID of the Royal Malaysia Police and a court prosecutor before joining the private sector. 21 Immortals, his first Inspector Mislan novel, was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writer's Best First Book Award and longlisted for the International DUBLIN Literary Award. He has published four more Inspector Mislan novels. (

Robert McCaw
Oceanview Publishing
1620 Main Street, Suite 11, Sarasota, FL 34236
9781608095568, $27.95, HC, 336pp

Synopsis: In the back alley of a bar on Hawaii Island, a young man is found stabbed to death. When Hilo Chief Detective Koa Kane begins investigating the crime, the murder weapon is recovered only a few feet away from the body. Crime scene technicians find fingerprints on the knife -- and they are a perfect match for Koa's younger brother, Ikaika.

As the brothers scramble to prove Ikaika's innocence, another crime sends shockwaves through the Hilo police force. A sniper tries to take out Makanui, Koa's closest colleague. As Koa tries to figure out whether these crimes are linked, the sinister force continues their killing spree, threatening Koa and his loved ones at every turn.

Could Koa be the real target? If so, who is behind this trail of retribution? With his own secret criminal past, Koa confronts an all-out offensive against those closest to him and his police force to which he has devoted his life. As the bodies pile up, Koa finds himself the ultimate target of a ruthless adversary and must risk it all to survive.

Critique:"Retribution" (the fifth novel in author Robert McCaw's 'Koa Kane Hawaiian Mystery' series) will have a very special appeal to fans of police procedurals and contemporary murder mysteries set in the Hawaiian Islands. Along with the previous four volumes (Death of a Messenger; Off the Grid; Fire and Vengeance; Treachery Times Two), "Retribution" can be read as a 'stand alone' murder mystery without reference to the other superbly crafted titles in this simply outstanding series from Oceanview Publishing. While unreservedly recommended for community library Mystery/Suspense collections, it should be noted for the personal reading lists of dedicated murder mystery enthusiasts that "Retribution" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $11.49).

Editorial Note: Robert McCaw ( grew up in a military family, traveling the world. He is a graduate of Georgetown University, served as a U.S. Army lieutenant, and earned a law degree from the University of Virginia. Having lived on the Big Island of Hawaii, McCaw's writing is imbued by his more than 20-year love affair with this Pacific paradise.

An American in Scotland
Lucy Connelly
Crooked Lane Books
2 Park Avenue, 10th floor, New York, NY 10016
Dreamscape Media
9781639103508, $26.99, HC, 304pp

Synopsis: Sea Isle was supposed to be the fresh start Dr. Emilia McRoy dreamed of. Far from the busy emergency room across the Atlantic in Seattle, she hoped to settle down and begin this new chapter as a small-town doctor to the quirky residents who immediately welcomed her. When she stumbles across a dead body, she starts to think that she may not be as Scot free of the drama and intrigue as she initially thought.

Emilia soon learns she has bigger issues at hand. It starts with realizing she'll work closely with the less than helpful local constable, Laird Ewan Campbell. Her luck continues when she discovers that part of her new responsibilities includes being the coroner for the very body she found. Finally, when the body goes missing before she can even begin the autopsy, Emilia must convince the townspeople that a crime did, in fact, occur.

The deeper she digs into the picturesque town, the more suspicious she becomes. And then there are her sleep issues. It may be due to the ever-growing list of suspects, a number of threatening letters, or the surprise visitor who breaks into her house at night. But she's never backed down before, and she doesn't intend to start now.

Someone doesn't want this doctor to treat the ailments of Sea Isle, but Emilia McRoy is determined to find the murderer before they kilt again.

Critique: "An American in Scotland" by Lucy Connelly is a cozy mystery lover's delight from first page to last. An original and fun 'whodunnit', "An American in Scotland" is a certain and unreservedly recommended addition to community library Mystery/Suspense collections. It should be noted for the legions of cozy mystery fans that "An American in Scotland" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $13.99) and as a complete and unabridged audio book (Dreamscape Media, 9781666630268, $22.99, CD).

Editorial Note: Lucy Connelly ( travels around the world, usually with her bossy dog in tow. She is always up for adventure and is constantly on the lookout for killer inspiration -- as in who will be the next killer in her books? She has a master's degree in humanities and enjoys learning all the things.

A Wealth of Deception
Trish Esden
Crooked Lane Books
2 Park Avenue, 10th floor, New York, NY 10016
Dreamscape Media
9781639102549, $29.99, HC, 336pp

Synopsis: When Vermont antique and art dealer Edie Brown discovers an unsettlingly dark collage by the famed reclusive "outsider" artist known only as Vespa, she opens a Pandora's Box of deception and danger.

Edie teams up with Uncle Tuck and Kala to investigate the background of the collage but only uncover secrets that are more disturbing than the artwork itself. As Edie tracks down the validity of the piece, she stumbles into an art underground where some people are willing to kill to keep their schemes a secret.

Critique: An amateur sleuth, a small town, a 'whodunnit' murder to solve, "A Wealth of Deception" by Trish Esden has all the elements that make an expertly crafted Cosy Mystery -- including a population of memorable characters, and a plot with more unexpected twists and turns that a Disneyland roller-coaster. Very strongly recommended for community library Mystery/Suspense collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "A Wealth of Deception" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $13.99) and as a complete and unabridged audio book (Dreamscape Media, 9781666630633, $22.99, CD).

Editorial Note: Trish Esden ( loves museums, gardens, wilderness, dogs and birds, in various order depending on the day. She lives in Northern Vermont where she deals antiques with her husband, a profession she's been involved with since her teens. Don't ask what her favorite type of antique is. She loves hunting down old bottles and rusty barn junk as much as she enjoys fine art and furnishings.

You Should Have Known
Rebecca A. Keller
Crooked Lane Books
2 Park Avenue, 10th floor, New York, NY 10016
9781639102600, $29.99, HC, 320pp

Synopsis: When retired nurse Frannie Greene moves into a senior living apartment, she finds a compelling friendship with her new neighbor Katherine, only to discover that Katherine is married to the judge who Frannie believes is implicated in the death of her beloved granddaughter.

Observing the medication cart sparks Frannie's darkest imagination, and her desire for revenge combines with her medical expertise. In one dreadful, impulsive moment, she tampers with the medicine. However, the next day, someone is dead, and Frannie realizes the gravity of what she's done.

The police get involved, and suspicions gather around someone Frannie knows to be innocent. Wracked with remorse, Frannie's anxiety becomes unbearable. As she works to make it right, Frannie discovers that things are more complicated than they seem.

She's spent years aching for accountability from people in power. Is she the one who now needs to be held culpable? What really happened that night?

Critique: All the more impressive when considering that "You Should Have Known" is author Rebecca A. Keller's debut as a novelist, this deftly crafted thriller of a read that will have a very special appeal to fans riveting psychological suspense fiction. While highly recommended, especially for community library Crime Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "You Should Have Known Better" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $13.99).

Editorial Note: Rebecca A. Keller ( is an award-winning writer, an internationally exhibited artist, a college professor, a Fulbright Artist/Scholar, and recipient of grants from National Endowment for the Arts, Illinois Arts Council, and College Art Association.

A Most Intriguing Lady
Sarah Ferguson
Avon Books
c/o HarperCollins Publishers
Blackstone Audiobooks
9780063216822, $30.00, HC, 368pp

Synopsis: Victorian London was notorious for its pickpockets. While in the country houses of the English elite, gentleman burglars, art thieves and con men preyed on the rich and titled. Wealthy victims (with their pride and reputation at stake) would never go to the police. What they needed was a society insider, one of their own, a person of discretion and finely tuned powers of observation, adept at navigating intrigue.

That person was Lady Mary Montagu Douglas Scott, the youngest child of Queen Victoria's close friends the Duke and Duchess of Buccleuch. Bookish, fiercely intelligent, and a keen observer, Mary has deliberately cultivated a mousey persona that allows her to remain overlooked and significantly underestimated by all. It's the perfect cover for a sleuth, a role she stumbles into when trying to assist a close friend during a house party hosted by her parents at their stately Scottish home, Drumlanrig Castle.

It is at this party where Lady Mary also meets Colonel Walter Trefusis, a distinguished and extremely handsome war veteran. Tortured by memories of combat, Walter, like Mary, lives a double life, with a desk job in Whitehall providing a front for his role in the British Intelligence Service. The two form an unlikely alliance to solve a series of audacious crimes - - and indulge in a highly charged on-off romance!

Critique: The stuff of which BBC movies and television series are made, "A Most Intriguing Lady" by Sarah Ferguson (the Duchess of York) is a fun read from start to finish. An original historical mystery featuring one remarkable woman's ability to be both the perfect lady and a perfectly talented detective (all while finding love as well), "A Most Intriguing Lady" will have a very special appeal for readers with an interest in Victorian Era female sleuths. While especially and unreservedly recommended for community library Mystery/Suspense collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "A Most Intriguing Lady" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $14.99) and as a complete and unabridged audio book (Blackstone Audio, 9798200974849, $41.99).

Editorial Note: Sarah Ferguson (,_Duchess_of_York) is the Duchess of York, and former daughter-in-law of Queen Elizabeth II. She is also a bestselling memoirist and children's book author, film producer, and has been a spokeswoman for Weight Watchers and Wedgewood china. These days she campaigns for her Children in Crisis international charity and works on historical documentaries and films that draw on her deep interest in Victorian history. The proud mother of two daughters, Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie, and grandmother of two beautiful grandchildren, she lives in Windsor with nine frisky Norfolk terriers.

Vanishing at Castle Moreau
Jaime Jo Wright
Bethany House Publishers
c/o Baker Publishing Group
6030 East Fulton Road, Ada, MI 49301
9780764241291, $29.99, HC, 352pp

Synopsis: In 1865, orphaned Daisy Francois takes a position as housemaid at a midwestern Wisconsin castle and finds that the reclusive and eccentric Gothic authoress inside hides more than the harrowing tales in her novels. With women disappearing from the area and a legend that seems to parallel these eerie circumstances, Daisy is thrust into a web that may threaten to steal her sanity, if not her life.

In the present day, Cleo Clemmons is hired by the grandson of American aristocratic family the Tremblays to help his matriarchal grandmother face her hoarding in the dilapidated Castle Moreau. But when Cleo uncovers more than just the woman's stashes of collectibles, a century-old mystery of disappearance, insanity, and the dust of the old castle's curse threaten to rise again, and this time, leave no one alive to tell the sordid tale.

Critique: With her latest novel, "The Vanishing at Castle Moreau", author Jaime Jo Wright draws her readers into a seamlessly woven dual-time tale of suspense, mystery, romance, and redemption. A unique and inherently fascinating read from first page to last, "The Vanishing at Castle Moreau" will have a particular appeal for readers who enjoy 'family friendly' stories of suspense, romance and mystery. While especially recommended for community library Mystery/Suspense collections it should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Vanishing at Castle Moreau" is also available in a paperback edition (9780764238345, $16.99) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $16.99).

Editorial Note: Jaime Jo Wright ( is the author of seven novels, including Christy Award winner The House on Foster Hill and Carol Award winner The Reckoning at Gossamer Pond. She's also the Publishers Weekly and ECPA bestselling author of two novellas.

Death of a Traitor
M. C. Beaton
Grand Central Publishing
c/o Hachette Book Group
1290 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10104
9781538746769, $27.00, HC, 240pp

Synopsis: Kate Hibbert is all too eager to lend a hand to her neighbors. Although she has been a resident of the sleepy village of Lochdubh for only a year, in that time Kate has alienated one too many of its residents with her interfering (and not entirely well-intentioned) ways. When Kate's neighbor sees her lugging a heavy suitcase to the bus stop, he hopes that the prying woman is leaving for good. But two weeks later, Kate's cousin arrives in town with the news that Kate has gone missing -- and she demands that the local police step in.

Sergeant Hamish Macbeth is called in to investigate the disappearance, and soon he is befuddled by a storm of lies, intrigue, scandal, and the sneaking suspicion that Kate was someone much more sinister than she claimed. Torn between loyalty to Lochdubh and his job, Hamish begins threading his way through a maze of deceit, quickly finding himself on the trail of a ruthless, treacherous murderer. If he catches the killer, peace can return to the village. If he fails, he will lose everything: his job, his home, and the life he so loves in Lochdubh.

Critique: The 35th novel in the late author M. C. Beaton's 'Hamish MacBeth Murder Mystery' series, "Death of a Traitor" has everything a mystery buff could hopeful -- a fun read populated with interesting characters, more plot twists and turns than a Disneyland roller-coaster ride, and a very clever finale. Along with an informative Foreword by R. W. Green, this is M. C. Beaton at her best! While highly recommended for community library Mystery/Suspense collections, it should be noted for the legions of M. C. Beaton fans that "Death of a Traitor" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $13.99) and as a complete and unabridged audio book (Grand Central Publishing, 9781549116124, $40.00, CD).

Editorial Note: M. C. Beaton (10 June 1936 - 30/31 December 2019), hailed as the "Queen of Crime" by the Globe and Mail, was the author of the New York Times and USA Today bestselling Agatha Raisin novels - the basis for the hit series on Acorn TV and public television - as well as the Hamish Macbeth series. Born in Scotland, Beaton started her career writing historical romances under several pseudonyms as well as her maiden name, Marion Chesney. Her books have sold more than twenty-two million copies worldwide.

Editorial Note #2: R. W. Green ( is a long-time friend of M. C. Beaton, and has written numerous works of fiction and non-fiction.

Not the Ones Dead
Dana Stabenow
Head of Zeus
9781804540169, $29.99, HC, 336pp

Synopsis: A mid-air collision in the Alaskan wilderness between two small aircraft leaves ten people dead. Was it a bird strike, pilot error... or premeditated murder?

Then an eleventh body is found in the wreckage: a man shot gangland style, twice in the chest and once in the head.

In an investigation that reaches to the highest levels of government, justice may not be served, but Kate Shugak is determined that the truth will out, even at the risk of her life and the lives of those she loves most.

Critique: Of special and particular appeal to readers with an interest in Private Investigator murder mysteries featuring women sleuths, "Not the Ones Dead" is a fun and fascinating read with more plot twists and turns than a Disneyland roller- coaster. While unreservedly recommended for inclusion to community library Mystery/Suspense collections it should be noted for the personal reading lists of all dedicated mystery buffs that "Not the Ones Dead" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $8.99).

Editorial Note: Dana Stabenow ( is the author of the successful Kate Shugak series, with her novel "A Cold Day for Murder", received an Edgar Award from the Mystery Writers of America.

Good Dog, Bad Cop
David Rosenfelt
Minotaur Books
c/o St. Martin's Publishing Group
Macmillan Audio
9781250828965, $27.99, HC, 288pp

Synopsis: The K Team enjoys investigating cold cases for the Paterson Police Department. Corey Douglas, his K-9 partner Simon Garfunkel, Laurie Collins, and Marcus Clark even get to choose which cases they'd like to pursue. When Corey sees the latest list of possibilities, there's no question which one to look into next.

Corey's former mentor, Jimmy Dietrich, had his whole identity wrapped up in being a cop. When Jimmy retired three years ago, his marriage quickly deteriorated and he tried (and failed) to get back on the force. Jimmy was left to try to adjust to life as a civilian.

Not long after, two bodies were pulled from the Passaic River. A local woman, Susan Avery, and Jimmy Dietrich. With no true evidence available, the deaths went unsolved and the case declared cold. This didn't stop the whispers: an affair gone wrong -- of a murder-suicide committed by Jimmy.

Corey never believed it. With this case, the K Team has the opportunity to find the real murderer, and clear Jimmy's name. Bestselling author David Rosenfelt returns in Good Dog, Bad Cop, where there's little to go on, but that won't stop Paterson, New Jersey's favorite private investigators from sniffing out the truth.

Critique: Another finely fashioned novel by David Rosenfelt, "Good Dog, Bad Cop" will be of particular interest to fans of Cozy Animal 'whodunnit' murder mysteries. While unreservedly recommended as a high priority addition to community library Contemporary Mystery/Suspense collections, it should be noted for the personal reading lists of dedicated Private Investigator fiction fans that "Good Dog, Bad Cop" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $14.99) and as a complete and unabridged audio book (Macmillan Audio, 9781250880895, $29.99, CD).

Editorial Note: David Rosenfelt ( is the Edgar-nominated and Shamus Award-winning author of more than twenty Andy Carpenter novels, including One Dog Night, Collared, and Deck the Hounds; its spinoff series, The K-Team; the Doug Brock thriller series, which starts with Fade to Black; and stand-alone thrillers including Heart of a Killer and On Borrowed Time.

The Last Remains
Elly Griffiths
Mariner Books
c/o HarperCollins Publishers
Blackstone Audiobooks
9780358726487, $30.00, HC, 368pp

Synopsis: When builders discover a human skeleton during a renovation of a cafe, they call in archeologist Dr. Ruth Galloway, who is preoccupied with the threatened closure of her department and by her ever-complicated relationship with DCI Nelson. The bones turn out to be modern -- the remains of Emily Pickering, a young archaeology student who went missing in 2002. Suspicion soon falls on Emily's Cambridge tutor and also on another archeology enthusiast who was part of the group gathered the weekend before she disappeared -- Ruth's friend Cathbad.

As they investigate, Nelson and his team uncover a tangled web of relationships within the archeology group and look for a link between them and the cafe where Emily's bones were found. Then, just when the team seem to be making progress, Cathbad disappears. The trail leads Ruth a to the Neolithic flint mines in Grimes Graves. The race is on, first to find Cathbad and then to exonerate him, but will Ruth and Nelson uncover the truth in time to save their friend?

Critique: With the publication of "The Last Remains", novelist Elly Griffiths includes everything a cozy mystery fan requires -- a woman sleuth and a deftly crafted 'whodunnit' murder mystery to solve. Of special appeal to readers with an interest in polic procedurals and international crime, "The Last Remains" is highly recommended as a popular addition to community library Mystery/Suspense collections and is readily available for personal reading lists in a digital book format ($15.99) and as a complete and unabridged audio book (Blackstone Audio, 9798212217187, $41.99, CD). Librarians should note for their collections that there is also a large print edition of "The Last Remains" (9780063297678, $34.00, 448pp).

Editorial Note: Elly Griffiths ( is the author of the Ruth Galloway and Brighton mystery series, as well as the standalone novels The Stranger Diaries, winner of the Edgar Award for Best Novel, and The Postscript Murders. She is the recipient of the CWA Dagger in the Library Award and the Mary Higgins Clark Award.

The Fantasy/SciFi Shelf

Karma of the Sun
Brandon Yin Kit Boey
CamCat Books
9780744307603, $25.99, HC, 352pp

Synopsis: In the isolation of the Himalayas, the snows still fall, but they are tinged with the ash of a nuclear winter; the winds still blow, but they wail with the cries of ghosts. The seventh and final blast is near. As the world heaves its final breaths, the people of the Tibetan plateau (civilization's final survivors) are haunted by spirits and terrorized by warlords. Though the last of the seven prophesied cataclysms is at hand, young Karma searches for his father who had disappeared ten years earlier and was now presumed dead.

Driven by a yearning to see his father again before the end, and called by an eerie horn unheard by anyone else, Karma forges into the Himalayas and discovers that his father's disappearance may be linked to a mystical mountain said to connect the physical world with the spirit lands -- and a possible way to save their doomed future.

Critique: An inherently fascinating read from cover to cover, "Karma of the Sun" by Brandon Ying Kit Boey is a 'must read' selection for all dedicated science fiction fans with an appreciation for deftly scripted a post-apocalypse action/adventure with more unexpected plot twists and turns than a roller-coaster. While available for personal reading lists in a paperback edition (9780744307627, $19.99) and a digital book format (Kindle, $6.49), "Karma of the Sun" will prove to be a prized and enduringly popular addition to community library Science Fiction collections.

Editorial Note: Brandon Ying Kit Boey ( writes speculative fiction and poetry. His work has been described as literary and atmospheric, often drawing from Asian cosmology and fantasy. His poems have been published in literary journals and anthologies, and he is also a writer of plays and short stories. He can be followed at: IG @boeybooks, and on Twitter @BrandonYKBoey

Claw Heart Mountain
David Oppegaard
CamCat Books
9780744307504, $25.99, HC, 320pp

Synopsis: Imagine you are on the way to a remote mountain cabin with your friends. Upon arrival, you discover an abandoned armored van with fifteen million dollars on board. Would you take the money?

Nova and her friends answer with a resounding yes. Perhaps their answer would have been different had they known that a professional killer was already tracking down the money. Or that a legendary creature known as the Wraith roams the mountain, ravenous with hunger.

Thinking they're safe and anonymous, Nova and her friends divvy up the stolen cash, unaware who or what is after them, unaware that soon they will be fighting for their lives.

Critique: With a special appeal to fans of dark fantasy, horror fantasy, and the stuff of which scary movies are made, "Claw Heart Mountain" by David Oppegaard is an original, memorable, deftly crafted, and a bone deep chill of a novel from beginning to end. While highly recommended as an addition to community library collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Claw Heart Mountain" is also available in a paperback edition (9780744307528, $19.99) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $3.49).

Editorial Note: David Oppegaard ( is the author of The Town Built on Sorrow, The Firebug of Balrog County, The Suicide Collectors, And the Hills Opened Up, and Wormwood, Nevada. He is also the author of the novella Breakneck Cove. David's work is a blend of horror, literary fiction, science fiction, and dark fantasy. He has been named a finalist for a Bram Stoker Award and a Minnesota Book Award

Robbie MacNiven
Aconyte Books
9781839082108, $16.95, PB, 352pp

Synopsis: Waiqar, Lord of the Mistlands, is a necromancer of supreme power, arrogance, and skill. Driven by his hunger for absolute dominion, he has the whole of Terrinoth in his sights. But before he can raise his undead armies and march on the Baronies, his hold on the Mistlands must be complete. Waiqar's court is rife with scheming and deception, from corrupt vampires with plans to usurp him, to an apprentice harboring dark ambition of his own. As his enemies vie for power, Waiqar's own plans come to fruition. For power is hard won but easily lost, and the great necromancer has more to lose than anyone.

Critique: Another riveting fantasy novel in the Aconyte Books 'Decent: Legends of the Dark' series, "Waiqar" by Robbie MacNiven is highly recommended to the attention of all action/adventure heroic fantasy fans and a welcome and enduringly popular addition to community library Science Fiction & Fantasy collections.

Editorial Note: Robbie MacNiven is an author and freelance journalist living in the Highlands of Scotland and currently enrolled as a student at the University of Edinburgh, studying History.

After They Came
Dan Harary
Genius Book Publishing
9781958727027, $22.95, PB, 340pp

Synopsis: Jonathan Tuckerman, a Los Angeles man down on his luck and truly alone in life, decides to mark his 70th birthday by drowning himself in the Pacific Ocean. Instead, he inadvertently becomes the world's "Wonder Man" after a pair of extra-terrestrial visitors from the Pleiades interdimensional star system appear in a giant spacecraft, pluck him from the sea, and present him to the media and the world as their sole "Ambassador to Mankind".

Jonathan's life is dramatically transformed for the better as he works closely with the magnificent Tall White aliens Jorthon and Kalyssa to solve man's long-insurmountable problems.

Jorthon and Kalyssa aren't the only aliens visiting Earth, however. The Draconians, a long-hidden race of ancient (and sinister) extra-terrestrials, make their presence on Earth known, livid that Jonathan and the Tall Whites have received global accolades for their remarkable achievements. The Draconians and their heinous leader blame the Tall Whites (and God himself) for their miserable existence, as they decide to seek recognition, retribution, and revenge.

"After They Came" author Dan Harary takes the reader - indeed, the entire human race - on a wild ride through real UFO research and lore, global politics, climate change, religion, true love, a family reunion, and "the meaning of life itself," all set against the backdrop of unprecedented extra-terrestrial intervention and presenting unlimited possibilities for achieving global peace and prosperity -- dreams heretofore unattainable by man.

Critique: With a special appeal to science fiction fans interested in stories featuring UFOs, First Contact, and Alien Invasion themes, "After They Came", as an original, narrative driven, and memorable story of 'loneliness reversed, despair erased, and one man's wholly remarkable destiny fulfilled' is an especially and unreservedly recommended addition to community library Science Fiction collections. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of dedicated science fiction enthusiasts that "After They Came" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $7.99).

Editorial Note: Dan Harary ( is best known for his 40-plus years of work in Hollywood as an Entertainment Industry Publicist and owner of the boutique Asbury PR Agency in Beverly Hills ( Dan is also the author of three other books: "Flirting with Fame", "Carrots", "My Paranormal Life: Supernational Stories from a Hollywood Insider". Dan is a longtime UFO Researcher and experienced three UFO sightings during his life, the first, with his father in 1970, remaining highly memorable. He is a longtime member of the MUFON/Los Angeles organization.

Quantum Radio
A. G. Riddle
Head of Zeus
9781803281698, $24.95, HC, 416pp

Synopsis: At CERN, a scientist has just made an incredible discovery - a breakthrough that may answer the deepest questions about human existence. But what he's found is far more dangerous than he ever imagined!

Dr. Tyson Klein is a quantum physicist who has dedicated his entire life to his research. At CERN, he analyses data generated by the Large Hadron Collider, the world's biggest and most powerful particle accelerator. Now, Ty believes he's found a pattern in its output. It looks like an organised data stream, being broadcast over what he calls a quantum radio.

Could it be a signal from another universe? A message sent from the future? Or something else entirely?

As Ty peels back the layers of his discovery, he learns that what he's found isn't what he thought it was. The encoded message is far more profound. It may alter our understanding of human existence and the universe.

But Ty is not the only one looking for it. Someone has been following his research for a long time. And they'll do anything to prevent him from unraveling what is being broadcast by the quantum radio. Because the first one to discover the truth may well control the future!

Critique: Having a special appeal to fans of traditional, hard core science fiction and time travel adventure enthusiasts, "Quantum Radio" by novelist A. G. Riddle is original, entertaining, deftly crafted, and inherently fascinating read from first page to last. While strongly recommended, especially for community library Science Fiction collections, it should be noted for the personal reading lists of dedicated science fiction fans that "Quantum Radio" is also available in a paperback edition (9781803281704, $22.28) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $6.15).

Editorial Note: A.G. Riddle ( spent ten years starting and running internet companies before retiring to focus on his true passion: writing fiction. He is now an Amazon and Wall Street Journal bestselling author with nearly five million copies sold worldwide in twenty languages.

The Political Science Shelf

The Low Point of Labor Resistance is Behind Us
Jack Barnes, author
Steve Clark, author
Mary-Alice Waters, author/editor
Pathfinder Press
9781604881455, $10.00, PB, 148pp

Synopsis: A decades-long retreat by the working class and unions has come to an end, as owners of capital and their parties shift the burden of their crisis onto working people's backs. More and more workers (of all ages, skin colors, and both sexes) are saying, "Enough is enough!" They have begun to wield the collective power of the exploited producers in response.

With the publication of "The Low Point of Labor Resistance is Behind Us: The Socialist Workers Party Looks Forward", the team of Jack Barnes, Steve Clark, and Mary-Alice Waters draw from the trade union and broad political work of members and followers of the Socialist Workers Party to highlight the opportunities ahead for class-conscious workers.

"The Low Point of Labor Resistance is Behind Us" sets the course of action needed to forge a labor party built on unions that can and will fight for their members. And a mass proletarian vanguard able to lead the struggle to end capitalist rule, opening a future for humanity. The global order imposed by victors of the inter-imperialist slaughter of World War II is shattering, with explosive ramifications for workers and farmers worldwide.

Critique: Informatively analytical, thoughtful, thought-provoking, and politically inspiring, "The Low Point of Labor Resistance is Behind Us: The Socialist Workers Party Looks Forward" is especially and unreservedly recommended for community and academic library Political Science collections and for the personal reading lists of anyone with an interest in communism, socialism, class sociology, and the evolution of political parties.

Editorial Note #1: Jack Barnes ( is the national secretary of the Socialist Workers Party. He joined the SWP in May 1961 and has been a member of the party's National Committee since 1963 and a national officer since 1968.

Editorial Note #2: Mary-Alice Waters is a member of the Socialist Workers Party National Committee since 1967, is president of Pathfinder Press and editor of New International magazine. (

Editorial Note #3: Steve Clark ( is a member of the Socialist Workers Party National Committee since 1977, and editorial director of Pathfinder Press, as well as the managing editor of New International magazine.

The Christian Studies Shelf

Why Did God Give My Kids Free Will?
Ken Swarner
David C. Cook
c/o Cook Communications
4050 Lee Vance Dr., Colorado Springs, CO 80918
9780830784196, $17.00, PB, 240pp

Synopsis: As a parent, do you sometimes wonder about God's plan -- specifically why He gave our children free will to do the things they do? More thoughtful and holy thinkers have tackled the question.

It's a mystery, mostly, but in its raw form, parental mishaps help us get closer to God. Consider:
Learning patience while spitwads land in your drink; Embracing the absurdity of teens wearing shorts in the winter; Practicing gentleness as you explain (again) why it is important to restock the toilet paper.

Regret, humiliation, control -- as a parent you can let go of these when you laugh and make peace with the idea that God may just have a sense of humor after all.

With anecdotes, prayers, devotionals, and reflections, with the publication of "Why Did God Give My Kids Free Will?", parent and author Ken Swarner shows his readers the hilarious, spiritual journey of life with kids sure to inspire and unite Christian parents.

Critique: Written with wit, wisdom, experience, and a sense of humor, "Why Did God Give My Kids Free Will?" is a fun, informative, and thought-provoking read that can be unreservedly recommended for personal and community library Parenting collections. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of anyone with an interest in a Christian perspective on parenting that "Why Did God Give My Kids Free Will?" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $15.04).

Editorial Note: Ken Swarner ( is the author of Whose Kids Are These Anyway? He has been married to his high school sweetheart for thirty-three years and counting while raising four children and three pets. While on the front lines of child rearing (once constructing a homework jail), Ken has served as a school board member, PTA president, Cub Master, and soccer coach. He is also in the Civilian Hall of Fame at Joint Base Lewis-McChord and one day aspires to complete a full sentence at the family dinner table.

Grief: The Beacon of Love
Carolyn Begley Daley
Westbow Press
c/o Thomas Nelson Publishers
PO Box 141000, Nashville, TN 37214
9781664271784, $9.95, PB, 80pp

Synopsis: With the publication of "Grief: The Beacon of Love", Carolyn Begley Daley reveals that grief has been her teacher for many years in a life replete with both sorrows and joys. Carolun expounds on the way of love which leads us to the cross and God's great love for us. She would often wonder what her life was all about with its occasions of grief born tears?

If grief is our teacher, what do we need to learn? Her message is that grief is a journey of love that each of us has to walk alone. While our tears drip, drop and flow, they contain our healing as well as we, each of us, walk along our individual pilgrimages of grief that ultimately leads us to finding joy through the love of God.

Critique: Compassionate, insightful, absorbing, inspired and inspiring, "Grief: The Beacon of Love" has won Literary Titan Silver Award and received an Honorable Mention at the New England Book Festival. While also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $3.99), "Grief: The Beacon of Love" will have a special appeal and value for readers with an interest on a life changing, life enhancing, Christian perspective with Personal & Spiritual Growth.

Editorial Note: Carolyn Begley Daley ( was born in Hyden, Kentucky. She holds a BS in chemistry and biology from Eastern Kentucky University and a MEd in education from the University of Louisville. She has served on the boards of several charitable organizations and has served in leadership roles in those organizations. She and her husband, Gil have taught Bible study and Sunday school for several years while living in Dallas and Lexington, Kentucky.

The Church's Mission in a Polarized World
Aaron Wessman
New City Press
202 Cardinal Road, Hyde Park, NY 12538
9781565485495, $24.95, PB, 240pp

Synopsis: The Roman Catholic Church has been riven with assaults on the integrity of its leadership in recent years with everything from child abuse to changes in liturgy/ritual, the role of nuns, the celibacy of priests, and its role and performance in geopolitical issues abroad and the toxic political realities her at home.

With the publication of "The Church's Mission in a Polarized World", Fr. Robert Aaron Wessman seeks to provide perspective and faith-based inspiration for all members of the Catholic community to understand this current age from a long-range Catholic history and contemporary application of Christian values to heal toxic polarizations that threaten to corrupt the social fabric and unleash the forces of persecution, hatred, and discrimination upon (and within) the Catholic community. Highly recommended as essential reading, it should be noted for clergy, seminary students, and all members of Catholic Church that "The Church's Mission in a Polarized World" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $18.95).

Editorial Note: Fr. Robert Aaron Wessman is vicar general and director of formation of the Glenmary Home Missioners. He has a PhD from the Catholic University of Louvain (Belgium) in Systematic Theology (2019). He serves as an at-large board member for the Conference of Major Superiors of Men Religious (CMSM) and is a guest lecturer at St. Meinrad Seminary and School of Theology. Glenmary, the religious congregation he belongs to, is a missionary society of apostolic life of the Catholic Church. Glenmary conducts mission in rural, poor, and non-Catholic areas of the United States, primarily in the southeast and Appalachia. Visit for more information.

Jesus for Living: Daily Prayers, Wisdom, and Guidance
Mark Lanier
1845 Books
c/o Baylor University Press
One Bear Place, #97363, Waco, TX 76798-7363
9781481318808, $39.99, HC, 383pp

Synopsis: A trial lawyer by trade, a Christian by heart -- author and attorney Mark Lanier has trained in biblical languages and devoted his life to studying and living the Bible. Facing daily the tension between the demands of his career and the desire for a godly life, Lanier recognizes the importance and challenge of finding daily time to spend in God's Word. His meditations on the Gospels reveal the need for daily devotion from the teachings of Jesus.

With the publication of "Jesus for Living: Daily Prayers, Wisdom, and Guidance", Lanier shares a year's worth of meditations centered around the church calendar. Unlike his other devotionals, "Jesus for Living" is meant to be read according to the rhythms of the liturgical seasons: Advent, Christmas, Lent, Easter, and Ordinary Time.

In the pages of "Jesus for Living, Lanier reflects on the actions and teachings of Jesus, offering insight on how our lives might imitate Jesus, and concludes each reading with a prayer of encouragement.

Critique: Inspired and inspiring, thoughtful and thought-provoking, "Jesus for Living: Daily Prayers, Wisdom, and Guidance" will be of very special interest and value to readers with an interest in Jesus as recorded in the New Testament Gospels and Book of Acts, in Christian Meditation and Worship, and Christian Devotionals. While unreservedly recommended for church, community, and academic library Christian Studies collections, it should be noted for the personal reading lists of clergy, seminary students, and all members of the Christian community regardless of denominational affiliations that "Jesus for Living" is also readily available in a paperback edition (9781481318815, $24.99).

Editorial Note: Mark Lanier is a nationally renowned trial lawyer; founder of the Lanier Theological Library and the Christian Trial Lawyers Association; and author of Psalms for Living: Daily Prayers, Wisdom, and Guidance, Torah for Living: Daily Prayers, Wisdom, and Guidance, and Christianity on Trial: A Lawyer Examines the Christian Faith.

From Prodigal to Priest
Fr. Goyo Hidalgo
Ave Maria Press
PO Box 428, Notre Dame, IN 46556
9781646802128, $14.95, PB, 218pp

Synopsis: Goyo Hidalgo's struggle with excess, pain, and fear plagued him for ten years. The gritty story of his unexpected redemption started after a hard night of partying in Los Angeles and a life-changing message coming from his television.

He woke up that April morning to the broadcast of Pope John Paul II's funeral Mass. A reflection on the now-saint's message of "Be not afraid" awakened a deep longing in Hidalgo's soul -- a yearning that led him back to the Catholic faith of his youth and ultimately into the priesthood.

"From Prodigal to Priest: A Journey Home to Family, Faith, and the Father's Embrace " is a memoir that takes you on Hidalgo's journey of reconciliation with his faith and his family. He offers compassionate encouragement to those who believe themselves unforgivable and reminds them that Jesus is always there to welcome them home to the Church. Hidalgo's conversion story affirms the power of God's mercy and the deep transformation his grace can bring.

Hidalgo grew up in a devout Catholic family in a small town in Spain. He went to a minor seminary as a youth to begin studies to become a priest, but left after about five years. Once he went to college, he fell away from the faith -- and repeatedly lied to his mother about it. Hidalgo's dream was to travel the world and teach, leaving poverty behind.

With Jesus's parable of the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-32) as a companion, "From Prodigal to Priest" will have you walking along with Hidalgo through both the joy and the difficulties he experienced as he came home to the Catholic faith of his childhood -- confessing to his mother, relearning how to pray, going to Confession, telling his friends about his reversion, and his call to the priesthood. And you will learn that it's important to pray, discern, trust, and be thankful to God, regardless of the outcome.

Of special note is that each individual chapter includes prayers for both prodigal sons and daughters and those who accompany them.

Critique: Inspired and inspiring, "From Prodigal to Priest: A Journey Home to Family, Faith, and the Father's Embrace" is unreservedly recommended reading for all members of the Roman Catholic community. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of clergy, seminary students, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "From Prodigal to Priest" is also available in a digital book format ($11.49) from Ave Maria Press.

Editorial Note: Fr. Goyo Hidalgo is a priest in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, a singer-songwriter, and a social media evangelist. A native of La Villa de Don Fadrique, a small town near Toledo, Spain, he attended minor seminary as a youth to become a priest, but left after six years. He earned master's degrees in English and Spanish linguistics from Complutense University of Madrid in 1996, after which he traveled to other countries to teach Spanish and English. He eventually became a middle and high school teacher in the Los Angeles, California, area and released two albums of Catholic music in Spanish and English. Hidalgo underwent a radical reversion to the faith of his youth after watching the funeral of Pope John Paul II in 2005 and hearing his famous words: "Do not be afraid." Hidalgo earned a master of divinity degree from St. John's seminary in Camarillo, California, and was ordained to the priesthood in 2016.

Never Cast Out
Jasmine L. Holmes
B&H Publishing Group
1 LifeWay Plaza, Nashville, TN 37234
9781087747163, $17.99, PB, 224pp

Synopsis: Body shaming. Marriage shaming. Single shaming. Mom shaming. Lifestyle shaming. Religious shaming. It seems no matter which direction women today turn, they find themselves unable to shake the shame that is constantly piled on top of them.

Author and podcaster Jasmine L. Holmes knows this struggle all too well. Though shame has been a constant companion (and even a snare) throughout her life, God has broken the chains of shame in Jasmine's life through the power of the gospel.

"Never Cast Out: How the Gospel Puts an End to the Story of Shame" is a Christ-centered and empowering book in which Jasmine covers: The story of shame (where it comes from, what it is, what makes it different from guilt or conviction, and why it's so pervasive); The problem with shame (why the typical methods of throwing off shame don't actually work); The end of shame (how Jesus puts an end to shame by offering a better covering, a better image, and a better message than the world can); The way to fight shame (how to use practical and powerful ways to fight shame in daily life, breaking its chains in the power of the gospel and resting in the One who has taken all your shame away for good).

The story of shame is a powerful one. But even stronger are the arms of the One who carried your shame and will never cast you out.

Critique: "Never Cast Out: How the Gospel Puts an End to the Story of Shame" is especially commended to the attention of all women members of the Christian community who are ready to experience what Jesus has to offer them -- and finally be free of unwarranted and spiritually debilitating shames imposed by our secular society. Exceptionally well written, organized and presented, "Never Cast Out" is recommended for readers with an interest in a Christian perspective on women's social and spiritual issues. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Never Cast Out" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $14.95).

Editorial Note: Jasmine L. Holmes ( has written for The Gospel Coalition, Desiring God, Fathom Mag, Christianity Today, and The Witness. She is also a contributing author for Identity Theft: Reclaiming the Truth of Our Identity in Christ and His Testimonies, My Heritage: Women of Color on the Word of God. She teaches humanities in a classical Christian school in Jackson, Mississippi, where she and her husband, Phillip, are parenting two young sons. They are members of Redeemer Church, PCA.

The Metaphysical Studies Shelf

Spirit Speaker: A Medium's Guide to Death and Dying
Destiny Books
c/o Inner Traditions International, Ltd.
One Park Street, Rochester, VT 05767
9781644117286, $16.99, PB, 128pp

Synopsis: We are all curious about the mystery of death. Whether facing our own, assisting a loved one in their last days, or grieving the loss of someone dear to us, we all have questions about dying and what happens to our soul after we depart physical form.

With the publication of "Spirit Speaker: A Medium's Guide to Death and Dying", psychic medium Salicrow provides a compassionate and straightforward guide to the spiritual process of dying and what happens after death as she answers the most common questions asked by her clients over her decades of work as a spirit speaker.

Seeking to normalize the spiritual aspects of end-of-life care, Salicrow explains how active dying exists outside of normal reality, in a state in which the dying person and their caregivers often experience a heightened state of consciousness. Describing how the spirit is separate from the body and continues to exist after death, she shares thought-provoking stories of spirit contact and synchronicities that occurred for those actively involved in the dying process.

Salicrow also reveals how these encounters are common and act as guideposts along the journey into death, helping to ease the transition. She offers simple techniques for helping loved ones who are stuck or struggling to cross over and shares practices designed to help honor our beloved dead and develop living relationships with our ancestral spirits.

Presenting an outline of what may be experienced during the dying process and beyond, Salicrow explores the time when a soul is actively dying or recently departed. She explains the multiple ways spirits reach out to communicate with us and provides a deep understanding of the signs, symbols, and sensations that spirits use to contact us as well as ways to strengthen that connection. She also explores challenging situations such as suicide, murder, and healing unresolved issues with the dead.

Crafted through years of spirit communication sessions, this guide details how the spirit world works while revealing the beauty, healing, and love that exist in death.

Critique: A fascinating, informative, and thought-provoking read, "Spirit Speaker: A Medium's Guide to Death and Dying" is an extraordinary metaphysical treatise on the sensitive subject of death and dying from the perspective of a an experienced psychic medium. Exceptionally well written, organized and presented, "Spirit Speaker" is unreservedly recommended for personal, professional, community, and academic library Metaphysical Studies collections. It should be noted that "Spirit Speaker" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $11.99).

Editorial Note: Salicrow ( is a natural psychic medium who weaves the traditions of her Irish Traveler and Blackfoot heritage with modern magical techniques. For more than 30 years she has worked as a spirit channel, seer, and intuitive healer, offering readings and teaching workshops throughout the United States and internationally. She is also the author of The Path of Elemental Witchcraft.

Crystals: An In Focus Workbook
Regina M. Bresler
Wellfleet Press
c/o Quarto Publishing Group USA
100 Cummings Center, Suite 265D, Beverly, MA 01915
9781577153528, $16.99, PB, 160pp

Synopsis: To metaphysical students and practitioners, crystals are tangible energy stores that can help you navigate and master your body, mind, and spirit. For beginners to wielding crystal energies, "Crystals: An In Focus Workbook: A Personal Guide to the Power of Crystals" is hands-on workbook comprising a collection of accessible and enriching exercises that will teach you the basics of crystals and crystal healing.

This instruction manual explores: The meaning of colors; The basics of energy and spiritual healing; Tools for crystal healing, including meditation and chakra work; Methods for crystal grids and rituals.

With easy-to-follow exercises and meditations, journaling prompts, and activities, all accompanied by calming full-color illustrations, "Crystals: An In Focus Workbook" is an uplifting and inspiring introduction to energy healing.

Critique: An ideal DIY combination of instruction guide and 'how-to' manual this large (8.35 x 0.7 x 11 inches) paperback edition of "Regina Bresler's Crystals: An In Focus Workbook: A Personal Guide to the Power of Crystals" from Wellfleet Press is thoroughly 'user friendly' in organization and presentation -- making it an invaluable and highly recommended acquisition for both the novice crystal users and the non-professional 'crystal curious'.

Editorial Note #1: Regina M. Bresler is a writer and researcher, lifelong Brooklynite, and firm believer that, if you look hard enough, you can find magic in anything. An early interest in beading and jewelry has kept her carpets seeded in crystal chips and her curiosity for the elements alive and well.

Editorial Note #2: The In Focus Workbooks series from Wellfleet Press presents hands-on introductions to a wide range of mystical topics. The exercises in each book offer enlightening activities, guided journal prompts, and opportunities to practice newfound skills in disciplines such as tarot reading and chakra healing in the real world. With full-color interiors and beautiful illustrations, the In Focus Workbooks are attractive, practical, and fun guides for newcomers to the mystical arts.

Crystal Basics Pocket Encyclopedia
Nicholas Pearson
Destiny Books
c/o Inner Traditions International, Ltd.
One Park Street, Rochester, VT 05767
9781644115039, $19.99, PB, 288pp

Synopsis: With the publication of "Crystal Basics Pocket Encyclopedia: The Energetic, Healing, and Spiritual Power of 450 Gemstones", Nicholas Pearson offers a quick-start guide for working with crystals as well as a full-color A-to-Z compendium of the healing properties of 450 crystals, rocks, minerals, and fossils.

Covering the basics of crystal healing, Pearson explores why crystals work, how to select stones, safe and effective cleansing methods, and hands-on techniques and practices to harness the power of rocks and gems to transform your life. He also looks at how to charge crystals and program them for specific purposes, and he examines crystal correspondences with planetary, astrological, and elemental energies.

This encyclopedia of crystals includes familiar ones like agate, calcite, rose quartz, and hematite as well as rarer and more unusual crystals, such as phenakite, cavansite, and yooperlite -- as well as some of which have never before appeared before in print. Each entry features a beautiful color photo of the stone and defines its physical, psychological, and spiritual healing properties and its corresponding chakra, element, planet, and zodiac sign.

Pearson also looks at the geological nature of each stone, such as its hardness and crystal structure, enabling you to explore the connections between mineral science and the metaphysics of crystal healing.

Critique: Exceptionally well written, organized, and presented, "Crystal Basics Pocket Encyclopedia: The Energetic, Healing, and Spiritual Power of 450 Gemstones" by crystal and gemstone expert Nicholas Pearson is profusely illustrated and enhanced with a full color photo and an informative commentary for each one of 450 different gemstones/crystals. The highly portable size (4.5 x 0.7 x 5.25 inches, 8.6 ounces) makes the "Crystal Basics Pocket Encyclopedia" from Destiny Books an especially useful and unreservedly recommended addition to personal, professional, community, and academic library Metaphysical Studies and Crystal Divination collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists and use that "Crystal Basics Pocket Encyclopedia" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $13.99).

Editorial Note: Nicholas Pearson ( has been immersed in all aspects of the mineral kingdom for nearly 30 years. As one of the leading voices in crystal healing today, he offers a unique blend of science and spirituality alongside a grounded, practical approach to working with crystals.

Meister Eckhart's Book of Darkness & Light
Meister Eckhart, author
Jon M. Sweeney, author
Marks S. Burrows, author
Hampton Roads Publishing Company
65 Parker St., Ste. 7, Newburyport, MA 01950
9781642970456, $16.95, PB, 240pp

Synopsis: Meister Eckhart (1260 - 1328) was a priest, a mystic, and nearly a heretic (he died before the Church court's verdict). In recent centuries, the Roman Catholic establishment has rehabilitated him, and the late John Paul II spoke of his work with fondness.

Meister Eckhart has been a huge figure in spirituality for more than eight hundred years. Many spiritual leaders such as Eckhart Tolle, Richard Rohr, and Matthew Fox have credited Eckhart as being an important influence on their thought.

"Meister Eckhart's Book of Darkness & Light: Meditations on the Path of the Wayless Way" is comprised of Meister Eckhart meditations and especially commended to the attention of people seeking the "wayless way".

It is not for those looking for a simple path. These fresh, stunning renderings of Eckhart's writings in poetic form bring life to one of the great spiritual voices of any age. They reveal what it means to love God and find meaning in darkness. Not darkness in general, but your darkness, because it is the one thing you know something about -- without facing your darkness, you'll never know what it means to desire the light. Only when you are in the darkness, Meister says, do you have even the possibility of seeing the light.

Critique: Thanks to co-authors Jon M. Sweeney and Mark S. Burrows, "Meister Eckhart's Book of Darkness & Light: Meditations on the Path of the Wayless Way" will prove to be of particular appeal to readers with an interest in Mysticism, Christian Theology, and Religious Poetry. While also readily available for personal reading lists in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99), "Meister Eckhart's Book of Darkness & Light: Meditations on the Path of the Wayless Way" is an outstanding and unreservedly recommended addition to personal, professional, community, and academic library Metaphysical Studies collections.

Editorial Note #1: Jon M. Sweeney ( is an independent scholar, critic, and writer. Several of his books have become History Book Club, BOMC, and QPB selections. His book, The Pope Who Quit, was optioned by HBO. He served as an editor at Jewish Lights and Paraclete Press and is currently editor-at-large at Orbis Books. He lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Editorial Note #2: Mark S. Burrows ( is a poet, translator, and professor of religion and literature at the Protestant University of Applied Sciences in Bochum, Germany. His poetry has appeared in Poetry, The Cortland Review, Southern Quarterly, Weavings, and a number of other periodicals.

Water Alchemy Oracle: A 40-Card Deck and Guidebook
Alexandra Wenman, author
Aveliya Savina, illustrator
Findhorn Press
c/o Inner Traditions International, Ltd.
One Park Street, Rochester, VT 05767
9781644117309, $25.00, Card Deck, 144pp,

Synopsis: Water is the most sacred element on our planet. It is everywhere, within us and around us, and without it there can be no life. As a spiritual element, water is closely linked with our emotional world and the powers of intuition as well as being aligned with divine feminine wisdom. By working with the energies of water, we can discover healing, transformation, guidance, miracles, and the manifestation of our dreams.

With the publication of the 40-card deck and guide divinatory oracle book, "Water Alchemy Oracle: A 40-Card Deck and Guidebook" Alexandra Wenman takes you on an alchemical journey to work with the healing wisdom of water to enhance your intuition, bring more fluidity and flexibility into your daily life, and offer personal healing energies to the polluted and damaged waterways of our world.

The 40 high-vibration full-color cards by artist/illustrator Aveliya Savina focus on water elements from nature, such as waterfalls, lakes, mist, ice, and sacred water sites, each beautifully illustrated with a water scene featuring magical beings, such as nymphs, mermaids, undines, goddesses, devas, and other deities.

The accompanying guidebook offers a detailed interpretation of each card, explaining the healing and cleansing properties of each sacred body of water along with a channeled message and guidance from the water beings, Guardians, Angels, and Councils of Light.

"Water Alchemy Oracle" also provides engaging exercises, practical rituals, and manifesting techniques to explore the powerful practice of Sacred Water Alchemy, a spiritual process to help you understand the depth and range of your emotions, purify your lower self, reunite with your divine self, reveal your spiritual gifts, and create miracles.

Critique: Of special appeal to anyone with an interest in New Age Channeling, personal transformation, and angel/spirit guides, "Water Alchemy Oracle" is a unique, beautifully designed, thoroughly 'user friendly', effective, and unreservedly recommended addition to personal and professional Metaphysical Studies and Oracle Card collections.

Editorial Note #1: Alexandra Wenman ( is a gifted angel communicator, spiritual alchemist, channel, healer, poet, and presenter. The author of Archangel Fire Oracle and Archangel Alchemy Healing, she is the creator of The Alexandra Wenman Show on YouTube. Alexandra lives in London.

Editorial Note #2: Aveliya Savina is an artist and illustrator whose inspiring graphic design compositions range from cartoons to realism. She lives in Santiago, Chile.

The Architecture Shelf

An Architect's Address Book
Robert Lemon
ORO Editions
31 Commerical Blvd., Suite F, Novato, CA 94949
9781954081963, $45.00, HC, 300pp

Synopsis: "An Architect's Address Book" by Robert Lemon (an award-winning Canadian architect with a special interest in historic buildings) is a memoir in 18 chapters of the places Robert Lemon has lived, studied, and worked over the past six decades.

Some are of places that he has visited many times and are important to his career. Studying architecture and conservation, Lemon has lived in Ottawa, Paris, London, Rome, and York. My work has involved projects in Vancouver, Los Angeles, Dorset, the High Arctic, and Xi'an. Other stories are about visiting the buildings of Andrea Palladio and Carlo Scarpa in the Veneto, Arne Jacobsen and Kay Fisker in Denmark, and five iconic 20th-century houses in France, in company of colleagues.

Most of the chapters focus on someone influential to Lemon's career; and his vast interest in food is a thread through most stories.

Critique: A fascinating and unusual approach to writing an autobiography or memoir, "An Architect's Address Book: The Places That Shaped A Career" by Robert Lemon is an extraordinary, informative, and interesting life story that will have particular appeal to readers with an interest in residential architecture, architectural project planning, and the business aspects of architecture. "An Architect's Address Book" will prove to be a welcome and unique addition to personal, professional, community, and academic library American Biography collections and supplemental curriculum Architecture studies lists.

The Interior Design Shelf

Create: At Home with Old & New
Ali Heath
Mitchell Beazley
c/o Octopus Books
236 Park Avenue, New York NY 10017
9781784728557, $40.00, HC, 224pp

Synopsis: Some of the most exciting interiors around are those that combine vintage and antique finds with select contemporary pieces. With the publication of "Create: At Home with Old & New", interior stylist and journalist Ali Heath encourages you to think imaginatively about how to use old and new at home - introducing individuality and interest, while incorporating the need to decorate more sustainably.

"Create: At Home with Old & New" is a visual feast divided into four engaging and informative chapters. Establishing Your Style will fire your imagination, while Adding the Magic considers ten decorating elements, including pattern and texture, display, lighting, and color. In Creative Spaces the homes of a maverick group of 12 antique dealers and interior designers are shared, and the book closes with Inspirations - advice on where to buy period items and how to buy online and at auction.

With glorious photography, original drawings and break-out ideas pages, "Create: At Home with Old & New" will give you the confidence to nurture a home you love - one that celebrates the past while embracing the present and future.

Critique: "Create: At Home with Old & New" is a coffee-table style (8.85 x 1.1 x 11.35 inches, 2.78 pounds) volume that is a simply and inspirational pleasure to simply browse through one fascinating page at a time. With a profusion of illustrations supporting an informative commentary, "Create: At Home with Old & New" will have a very special appeal to readers with an interest in interior design and home decorating. While with the highest recommendation for personal, professional, community, and academic library Contemporary Interior Design collections, it should be noted that "Create: At Home with Old & New" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $14.99).

Editorial Note: Ali Heath ( ) is a UK-based interiors journalist, stylist, creative consultant and author and has over 17 years freelance experience, working with prestigious interior magazines, newspapers and private clients. Her work is featured regularly in many titles that include Country Living, Elle Decoration, Elle Decoration Country, Homes and Gardens, House & Garden, Livingetc, Modern Rustic, Red, the Telegraph and YOU Magazine. Ali collaborates with many leading photographers and her work is represented internationally by Living Inside agency, in Milan.

The Music Shelf

Only Wanna Be with You
Tim Sommer
University of South Carolina Press
718 Devine Street, Columbia, SC 29208
Tantor Media
9781643362755, $26.99, HC, 296pp

Synopsis: In 1985, Mark Bryan heard Darius Rucker singing in a dorm shower at the University of South Carolina and asked him to form a band. For the next eight years, Hootie & the Blowfish (completed with the addition of bassist Dean Felber and drummer Soni Sonefeld) played every frat house, roadhouse, and rock club in the mid-Atlantic and Southeast, becoming one of the biggest independent acts in the region.

With the publication of "Only Wanna Be with You: The Inside Story of Hootie & the Blowfish", Tim Sommer (the ultimate insider who signed Hootie to Atlantic Records), pulls back the curtain on a band that defied record-industry odds to break into the mainstream by playing hacky sack music in the age of grunge.

Sommer chronicles the band's indie days; the chart-topping success (and near-cancelation) of their major-label debut, cracked rear view; the year of Hootie (1995) when the album reached no. 1, the "Only Wanna Be with You" music video collaboration with ESPN's SportsCenter became a sensation, and the band inspired a plotline on the TV show Friends; the lean years from the late 1990s through the early 2000s; Darius Rucker's history-making rise in country music; and one of the most remarkable comeback stories of the century. Of special note is the inclusion of extensive new interviews with the band members, some of their most famous fans, and stories from the recording studio, tour bus, and golf course.

Critique:, Exceptionally well written, organized and presented, "Only Wanna Be with You: The Inside Story of Hootie & the Blowfish" is must be considered essential reading for the legions of Hootie fans and rock music buffs. While especially and unreservedly recommended for professional, community, and academic library American Music History collections. It should be noted personal reading lists that "Only Wanna Be with You" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $20.49) and as a complete and unabridged audio book (Tantor Audio, 9798212170031, $41.99, CD).

Editorial Note: Tim Sommer (, is a widely published music journalist, and has enjoyed stints as an Atlantic Records A&R representative and an MTV and VH1 news VJ and producer.

Outlaw Music in Russia: The Rise of an Unlikely Genre
Anastasia Gordienko
University of Wisconsin Press
728 State Street, Suite 443, Madison, WI 53706-1418
9780299340100, $89.95, HC, 336pp

Synopsis: Russian chanson is a neologism for a musical genre covering a range of Russian songs, including city romance songs, author song performed by singer-songwriters, and blatnaya pesnya or "criminals' songs" that are based on the themes of the urban underclass and the criminal underworld. (Wikipedia)

The Russian shanson can be heard across the country today, on radio and television shows, at mass events like political rallies, and even at the Kremlin. Yet despite its ubiquity, it has attracted almost no scholarly attention.

With the publication of "Outlaw Music in Russia: The Rise of an Unlikely Genre", Anastasia Gordienko (an Assistant Professor of Russian and Slavic Studies at the University of Arizona) provides the first full history of the shanson, from its tenuous ties to early modern criminals' and robbers' folk songs, through its immediate generic predecessors in the Soviet Union, to its current incarnation as the soundtrack for daily life in Russia.

It is difficult to firmly define the shanson or its family of song genres, but they all have some connection, whether explicit or implicit, to the criminal underworld or to groups or activities otherwise considered subversive. Traditionally produced by and popular among criminals and other marginalized groups, and often marked by characters and themes valorizing illegal activities, the songs have undergone censorship since the early nineteenth century. Technically legal only since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the shanson is today not only broadly popular but also legitimized by Vladimir Putin's open endorsement of the genre.

With careful research and incisive analysis, Professor Gordienko deftly details the shanson's history, development, and social meanings. Attempts by imperial rulers, and later by Soviet leaders, to repress the songs and the lifestyles they romanticized not only did little to discourage their popularity but occasionally helped the genre flourish. Criminals and liberal intelligentsia mingled in the Gulag system, for instance, and this contact introduced censored songs to an educated, disaffected populace that inscribed its own interpretations and became a major point of wider dissemination after the Gulag camps were closed.

Professor Gordienko also investigates the shanson as it exists in popular culture today: not divorced from its criminal undertones (or overtones) but celebrated for them. She argues that the shanson expresses fundamental themes of Russian culture, allowing for the articulation of anxieties, hopes, and dissatisfactions that are discouraged or explicitly forbidden otherwise.

Critique: A seminal work of simply outstanding scholarship, "Outlaw Music in Russia: The Rise of an Unlikely Genre" will have a special value to readers with an interest in Russian popular culture and history as expressed in its underclass oriented music and musical heritage. Informatively enhanced for the reader with the inclusion of Illustrations, 'A Note on Translation and Transliteration', a two page Glossary, sixty-eight pages of Notes, a thirty page Bibliography, and a twenty-six page Index, "Outlaw Music in Russia: The Rise of an Unlikely Genre" is a unique and highly recommended addition to personal, professional, community, and academic library Ethnomusicology collections and supplemental curriculum Russian Studies lists.

The Photography Shelf

Greg Williams Photo Breakdowns
Greg Williams
Cider Mill Press
c/o HarperCollins Focus
9781951511500, $65.00, HC, 224pp

Synopsis: Have you ever wondered about the stories behind memorable photographs of some of the most famous people in the world? Why does Joaquin Phoenix look so relaxed eating a sandwich right after winning an Academy Award? Why was Cate Blanchett's daughter running through her legs in a hotel at Cannes?

With the publication of "Greg Williams Photo Breakdowns: The Stories Behind 100 Portraits", one of today's most in-demand photographers, Greg Williams, brings you behind the scenes stories for over 100 intimate and revealing images he has shot.

Readers will learn the techniques of the master and draw on key tactics and skills Williams has accumulated throughout his extensive career. Whether describing how to frame a shot, leverage the lighting, or understand exposure, Williams emphasizes the importance of using photography as a means to tell stories, especially the stories that you want to tell. With a focus on authenticity, believability, and imperfection, Williams also illuminates how he achieves these staggering shots.

As the official photographer for the Oscars and a regular contributor to magazines such as Vanity Fair, Williams has unprecedented access to international celebrities, ranging from Brad Pitt and Daniel Craig to Beyonce, Charlize Theron, and Adam Driver. And, more importantly, his rapport with his subjects results in singular photographs. "Photo Breakdowns" focuses on some of his favorite moments and how he captured these incredible moments in memorable photographs.

Critique: Published in a large coffee-table style volume (10 x 2 x 13 inches, 1.48 pounds) "Greg Williams Photo Breakdowns: The Stories Behind 100 Portraits" will have a very special appeal to readers with an interest in celebrity portrait photography. This elegant and informative compendium of Greg Williams work is particularly and unreservedly recommended for personal, professional, community, and academic library Contemporary Photography collections.

Editorial Note: Greg Williams ( is arguably one of the most trusted and acclaimed photographers in entertainment -- his name and candid portraiture are synonymous with authentic glamour. Williams established his reportage style as a photojournalist in the '90s covering war zones in Burma, Chechnya, and Sierra Leone. An assignment for the Sunday Times Magazine gave Williams his first access to the film industry and he has now shot "specials" on over 200 movies, including four poster campaigns for the Bond franchise. He has also enjoyed exclusive access to BAFTA, the Golden Globes, and the Oscars and is a regular contributor to Vanity Fair and British Vogue.

Bighorn Visions: The Photography of Jessamine Spear Johnson
Tempe Javitz
South Dakota Historical Society Press
900 Governors Drive, Pierre, SC 57501-2217
9781941813447, $29.95, HC, 160pp

Synopsis: Born in 1886 to pioneer parents on the eastern front of the Bighorn Mountains, Jessamine Spear Johnson would grow up to document many of the dramatic changes that this region would see over the next century.

After first picking up a camera at the age of eleven, Johnson developed into a uniquely gifted artist, all while helping manage the family ranch. Through her photography, Johnson captured the rapid advancements occurring around her, especially from the 1910s through 1940s.

During these years, a burgeoning dude ranch industry brought new visitors to this remote area and technological changes reshaped the nature of work. At the same time, the Crows and Cheyennes in the region struggled with being confined to reservations as they sought new livelihoods to support their families, all while maintaining old traditions and establishing new ones.

As "Bighorn Visions" shows, Johnson's camera captured not only the day-to-day nuances of ranch life but also changing gender norms, transformations on the reservation, and the abundant natural wonders of northeastern Wyoming and southeastern Montana. Featuring over one hundred of Jessamine Spear Johnson's photographs, this volume is the first publication to showcase her work in detail.

Essays and captions by granddaughter Tempe Javitz, along with an intro by historian Mary Murphy, situate Johnson's life and career in relation to broader shifts in ranching, tourism, and photography.

Critique: With a very special appeal to readers with an interest in Native American History and Women's Biographies, "Bighorn Visions: The Photography of Jessamine Spear Johnson" is an inherently fascinating and unreservedly recommended addition to personal, professional, community, and a academic library American Photography collections.

Editorial Note: Tempe Javitz ( is Jessamine Spear Johnson's granddaughter and with "Bighorn Visions" has compiled over one hundred of Jessamine's photographs, in the first publication to showcase her grandmother's work is such detail.

The Travel Shelf

Always Ireland: An Insider's Tour of the Emerald Isle
Jack Kavanagh
National Geographic Press
101 West 104th Street, Suite 8, New York, NY 10025
9781426222160, $35.00, HC, 336pp

Synopsis: From the emerald green coastal cliffs to centuries-old castles, hole-in-the-wall pubs to world-renowned distilleries, this richly illustrated narrative showcases Ireland's best sights, bites, and experiences. Written by Jack Kavanagh (a renowned expert in all things Eire), "Always Ireland: An Insider's Tour of the Emerald Isle" celebrates the multilayered beauty of the landscape, shines a light on the country's innovative traditions, and reveals the robust nightlife across a variety of picturesque cities.

Featuring more than 300 glorious National Geographic images, along with recommended itineraries, practical tips, and insightful histories, populate these informative and inspiring pages, "Always Ireland" is organized by region and allows you to map your way through the country's well-known places and hidden treasures alike, featuring must-do experiences, scenic destinations, and expert advice on where to stay, what to eat, and what to do. Each individual section offers in-the-know secrets and off-the-beaten path recommendations, featuring art galleries, hiking trails, national parks, fishing villages, and more. Of special note is the discovery of favorites from Irish luminaries who know their country best, as well as recipes (from soda bread to Irish stew) that will bring the tastes of Ireland into your home kitchen.

Critique: Informed and informative, exceptionally well organized and presented, "Always Ireland: An Insider's Tour of the Emerald Isle" is one-of-a-kind guided trip through Ireland that is especially recommended to the attention of on-site visitors and armchair travelers alike. While also available for personal reading lists in a digital book format (Kindle, $15.99), "Always Ireland: An Insider's Tour of the Emerald Isle" is a welcome and unreservedly recommended addition to community and academic library Ireland travel guide collections.

Editorial Note: Justin "Jack" Kavanagh ( grew up in County Wicklow, the "Garden of Ireland," where youthful weekends were spent hiking on the Wicklow Way or cycling to the ancient monastic site of Glendalough. He studied English literature and philosophy at University College Dublin before leaving his homeland to work in London, Tokyo, Philadelphia, New York City, and Washington D.C. He began his career in journalism at the Irish Press in Dublin and has gone on to write widely on travel, culture, current affairs, and sports for National Geographic Traveler, The Globalist, The Independent, and In Dublin magazine. He is currently the leader of National Geographic Expeditions' Ireland: Tales and Treasures of the Emerald Isle tour.

The Native American Studies Shelf

In Defense of Sovereignty
Rebecca M. Webster
University of Wisconsin Press
728 State Street, Suite 443, Madison, WI 53706-1418
9780299340605, $27.95, HC, 208pp

Synopsis: With the publication of "In Defense of Sovereignty: Protecting the Oneida Nation's Inherent Right to Self-Determination" Professor Rebecca M. Webster informative recounts the history of the Oneida Nation and its struggles for self-determination.

Since the nation's removal from New York in the 1820s to what would become the state of Wisconsin, it has been engaged in legal conflicts with US actors to retain its sovereignty and its lands. A legal scholar and former Oneida Nation senior staff attorney, Professor Webster traces this history, including the nation's treaties with the US but focusing especially on its relationship with the village of Hobart, Wisconsin. Since 2003 there have been six disputes that have led to litigation between the local government and the nation. Central to these disputes are the local government's attempts to regulate the nation and relegate its government to the position of a common landowner, subject to municipal authority.

As in so many conflicts between Indigenous nations and local municipalities, the media narrative about the Oneida Nation's battle for sovereignty has been dominated by the local government's standpoint. "In Defense of Sovereignty" offers another perspective, that of Native Americans directly involved in the litigation, augmented by contributions from historians, attorneys, and a retired nation employee. This seminal history makes an important contribution to public debates about the inherent right of Indigenous nations to continue to exist and exercise self-governance within their territories without being challenged at every turn.

Critique: An extraordinary and seminal work of impeccable scholarship, "In Defense of Sovereignty: Protecting the Oneida Nation's Inherent Right to Self-Determination" is informative enhanced for the reader with the inclusion of a number of Illustrations, a four page Glossary, and a thirteen page Index. An absolutely essential and unreservedly recommended addition to personal, professional, community, college, and university library Native American Studies collections and supplemental curriculum studies lists, it should be noted for students, academicians, Native American political activists, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "In Defense of Sovereignty: Protecting the Oneida Nation's Inherent Right to Self-Determination" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $26.55).

Editorial Note: Rebecca M. Webster ( is an Assistant Professor in the American Indian studies department at the University of Minnesota Duluth. she was also former senior staff attorney for the Oneida Nation. She is the co-editor of Tribal Administration and Governance Handbook, and her articles can be found in American Indian Quarterly, Planning Theory and Practice, Wisconsin Lawyer, Ethnohistory, and the Journal of American Indian Education.

The Art Shelf

Kawaii Doggies
Olive Yong
Rock Point
c/o Quarto Publishing Group USA
100 Cummings Center, Suite 265D, Beverly, MA 01915
9780760379851, $21.99, PB, 144pp

Synopsis: With the publication of "Kawaii Doggies: Learn to Draw over 100 Adorable Pups in All their Glory", artist and illustrator Olive Yong shows how to draw all kinds of cute dogs doing all sorts of silly things through 75 step-by-step tutorials.

Whether you are "team dog" or "team cat", dogs have idiosyncrasies that we all find entertaining! In "Kawaii Doggies" is the follow-up and perfect companion to "Kawaii Kitties: Learn How to Draw 75 Cats in All Their Glory " (9781631067396, $21.99, PB, 144pp).

Popular Instagram artist Olive Yong perfectly captures these moments, including playing, sleeping, eating, digging, chasing their tails, being good buddies, wearing cute costumes, and more, along with how to draw your favorite breeds and puppies.

In addition to the easy-to-follow tutorials, Olive shares: An introduction to the kawaii art aesthetic; Suggestions for drawing tools; Tips and tricks for drawing and coloring your dogs; A facial expression directory; Coloring pages swarming with pups for you to decorate.

Critique: Fun, inspiring, and thoroughly 'user friendly' for aspiring artists and illustrators in both organization and presentation, "Kawaii Doggies: Learn to Draw over 100 Adorable Pups in All their Glory" is a perfect DIY instructional guide. It should be noted for personal use that "Kawaii Doggies: Learn to Draw over 100 Adorable Pups in All their Glory" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

Editorial Note: Olive Yong is a self-taught artist from Malaysia and the creator of the popular Instagram @bichi.mao. Drawing has always been her passion, and she is focusing on building the bichi.mao brand. Olive enjoys creating funny and relatable short comics, quotation series, animations, and illustrations about cats. Part of the charm of her artwork is in its simplicity, making learning to draw in her style easy and fun for all ages.

Color in Reverse: Watercolor Florals
Heinke Nied
Walter Foster Publishing
c/o Quarto Publishing Group USA
100 Cummings Center, Suite 265D, Beverly, MA 01915
9780760383278, $14.99, PB, 96pp

Synopsis: :Color in Reverse: Watercolor Florals" by Heinke Nied (a one-line artist and illustrator who considers it her mission to make art accessible to everyone through simple instruction and approachable one-line drawings) offers helpful and illustrated instructions that will enable even the most novice of beginning watercoloring artists draw their own lines over her artwork. It's satisfying, relaxing, and fun -- and packed from cover to cover with inspiring artwork featuring flowers, plants, abstract designs, and more.

Color in Reverse: Watercolor Florals features: Sturdy paper and one-sided pages to cut out and display; Pen and watercolor tips and techniques; Short primers on tools and color theory; Patterns, tracings, and designs that you may want to use in your own artwork within the book.

Simply find relaxation and creative inspiration as you draw over the watercolor artwork with the drawing tool of your choice, or cut out the pages and use them as gifts, home decor, cards for loved ones, and more. With colorful watercolor designs to spark your creativity, your own creations will flow with ease and joy.

Critique: Offering a complete course of step-by-step instruction in the use of watercolor as a medium, "Color in Reverse: Watercolor Florals" is thoroughly 'user friendly' in organization and presentation. Offering hours of DIY watercolor painting fun, "Color in Reverse: Watercolor Florals" by Heinke Nied is especially recommended for personal and professional 'how- to' instructional painting collections and as a supplemental art curriculum studies textbook on the subject of watercolor designs.

Editorial Note: Heinke Nied ( is a one-line artist, an illustrator, an author, and a lecturer. Since 2017, she has taught courses and workshops on writing, drawing, and painting. In 2020, she discovered her great passion of one-line art. Since then, she draws everything with one continuous line and especially likes to combine her motifs with watercolor or lettering. Heinke considers it her mission to make this art form accessible to all people through simple instructions. She also creates digital illustrations for clients, as well as portraits using digital and watercolor tools. Heinke is also the author of "15-Minute Drawing: One-Line Drawing" (Walter Foster Publishing).

Matthew Krishanu
Matthew Krishamu, et al.
Anomie Publishing
c/o Casemate Publishers
1940 Lawrence Road, Havertown, PA 19083
9781910221334, $40.00, HC, 192pp

Synopsis: Matthew Krishanu's paintings explore topics including childhood, race, religion, art history, family, grief, and love. His subjects (frequently non-white people, especially children) are realized with a shallow pictorial depth, delicate washes of color, and with a sense of interior life. Through this, Krishanu questions the positions of his painterly subjects and depictions of landscapes in relation to the legacy of European colonialism and the art historical canon. Krishanu's practice is heavily informed by his early childhood spent in Dhaka where his parents moved in order to work for the Church of Bangladesh.

"Matthew Krishanu", is the artist's first trade monograph and presents a number of series of Krishanu's works: Another Country, Expatriates, Mission, House of God, Religious Workers and In Sickness and In Health. The paintings included have been made in oil and/or acrylic on canvas, linen or board, with the earliest produced in 2007 and most recent completed in 2022.

The publication also features informative essays by Mark Rappolt and Dorothy Price, alongside an interview with the artist by Ben Luke. Rappolt, Editor-in-Chief at ArtReview magazine, details the various worlds present within Krishanu's paintings. He draws out key themes within Krishanu's oeuvre such as power, religion, identity, and memory, while highlighting its distance from didacticism, and at times, its carefully constructed ambivalence, through examination of key works such as Mission School (2017), Mountain Tent (Two Boys) (2020) and Playground (2020). Price, Professor of Modern and Contemporary Art and Visual Culture at The Courtauld, writes sensitively about solitude, memory, and emotion which are palpable within Krishanu's work. In particular, is the series In Sickness and In Health, which traces a life path of Uschi Gatward, the artist's late wife, over sixteen years to her untimely death from cancer in late 2021.

The series is foregrounded as a significant and intimate body of work that subtly shifts over the time period it depicts. In a new interview with Luke, a critic and editor at The Art Newspaper, Krishanu discusses his practice in relation to ideas of religion, race, global art history, photography, health, and personal experiences. Krishanu's work explores, in the artist's own words, 'the puzzle of painting'.

The publication has been deftly edited by Georgia Griffiths and Matt Price. It has been designed by Joe Gilmore, printed and bound by EBS, Verona, and produced by Anomie Publishing and Niru Ratnam, London. The publication has been supported by Guy Halamish; Jhaveri Contemporary, Mumbai; Niru Ratnam, London; Taimur Hassan; and Tanya Leighton, Berlin and Los Angeles.

Critique: Showcasing the artwork of Matthew Krishanu, this large, hardcover, coffee-table style volume (290 x 245 mm) is an ideal and informative introduction that is especially and unreservedly recommended for personal, professional, community, and academic library Contemporary Art collections.

Editorial Note: Matthew Krishanu ( is based in London. He completed an MA in Fine Art at Central Saint Martins in 2009. Recent solo exhibitions include 'Playground', Niru Ratnam (2022), 'Undercurrents', LGDR, New York (2022), 'Picture Plane', Niru Ratnam, London (2020), 'Arrow and Pulpit', Tanya Leighton, Berlin (2021), 'Corvus', Iniva, London (2019), 'A Murder of Crows', Ikon Gallery, Birmingham (2019), and 'The Sun Never Sets', Midlands Arts Centre, Birmingham, (2019). He has recently been in the group exhibitions 'The Kingfisher's Wing', GRIMM, New York (2022), 'Prophecy', Mead Gallery, Warwick Arts Centre (2022), 'Mixing It Up: Painting Today', Hayward Gallery, London (2021), 'Coventry Biennial', Leamington Spa Art Gallery & Museum, Leamington Spa and Herbert Art Gallery & Museum (2021), 'John Moores Painting Prize', Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool (2021), 'Everyday Heroes', Hayward Gallery/Southbank Centre (2020) and 'A Rich Tapestry', Lahore Biennale (2020).

The Wine/Beer/Spirits Shelf

Making Bourbon
Karl Raitz
The University Press of Kentucky
663 South Limestone Street, Lexington, KY 40508-4008
9780813197012, $40.00, PB, 656pp

Synopsis: While other industries chase after the new and improved, dedicated bourbon makers celebrate traditions that hearken back to an authentic frontier craft. Distillers enshrine local history in their branding and time-tested recipes, and rightfully so. Kentucky's unique geography shaped the whiskeys its settlers produced, and for more than two centuries, distilling bourbon fundamentally altered every aspect of Kentucky's landscape and culture.

With the publication of "Making Bourbon: A Geographical History of Distilling in Nineteenth-Century Kentucky", Professor Karl Raitz illuminates how the specific geography, culture, and ecology of the Bluegrass converged and gave birth to Kentucky's favorite barrel-aged whiskey.

Expanding on his fall 2019 release "Bourbon's Backroads", with the publication of "Making Bourbon: A Geographical History of Distilling in Nineteenth-Century Kentucky", Professor Raitz delivers a more nuanced discussion of bourbon's evolution by contrasting the fates of two distilleries in Scott and Nelson Counties. In the nineteenth century, distilling changed from an artisanal craft practiced by farmers and millers to a large-scale mechanized industry. The resulting infrastructure (farms, mills, turnpikes, railroads, steamboats, lumberyards, and cooperage shops) left its permanent mark on the land and traditions of the commonwealth. Today, multinational brands emphasize and even construct this local heritage.

"Making Bourbon: A Geographical History of Distilling in Nineteenth-Century Kentucky" is a unique interdisciplinary study that deftly uncovers the complex history poured into every glass of bourbon.

Critique: Informed and informative, comprehensive and detailed, and an absolute 'must read' choice for the legions of dedicated Kentucky bourbon enthusiasts, "Making Bourbon: A Geographical History of Distilling in Nineteenth-Century Kentucky" is a significant and comprehensive history that is unreservedly recommended for personal, professional, community, college, and university library collections. Originally published in hardcover (University Press of Kentucky, 2020), this new paperback edition is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $11.99).

Editorial Note: Karl Raitz ( is Professor Emeritus of Geography at the University of Kentucky and the author of :Bourbon's Backroads: A Journey through Kentucky's Distilling Landscape". He is also co-editor of "The Great Valley Road of Virginia: Shenandoah Landscapes from Prehistory to the Present" and co-author of "Rock Fences of the Bluegrass".

The Audiobook Shelf

A Hard Day for a Hangover
Darynda Jones, author
Lorelei King, narrator
Macmillan Audio
9781250851987, $39.99, CD (10.5 Hours)

Synopsis: Some people greet the day with open arms. Sheriff Sunshine Vicram would rather give it a hearty shove and get back into bed, because there's just too much going on right now. There's a series of women going missing, and Sunny feels powerless to stop it.

Then there is also her persistent and awesomely-rebellious daughter Auri, who's out to singlehandedly become Del Sol's youngest and fiercest investigator.

And then there's drama with Levi Ravinder -- the guy she's loved and lusted after for years. The guy who might just be her one and only. The guy who comes from a family of disingenuous vipers looking to oust him (and Sunshine) for good. -- The new day can take a hike.

Critique: Darynda Jones fans are invited to spend a fun time listening to gifted narrator Lorelei King's complete and unabridged audio book production of "A Hard Day for a Hangover" (the finale of the three-arc trilogy comprising the Sunshine Victam series. Especially of interest to fans of cozy mysteries and police procedurals, "A Hard Day for a Hangover" is strongly recommended as an enduringly appreciated addition to community library Mystery/Suspense audio book collections.

Editorial Note #1: Darynda Jones ( has won numerous awards for her work, including a prestigious RITA, a Golden Heart, and a Daphne du Maurier, and her books have been translated into 17 languages. She also penned the Charley Davidson series.

Editorial Note #2: Lorelei King ( has recorded over 200 audiobooks, including several titles from Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum series and Darynda Jones's Charley Davidson series. Her many awards include the 2008 Audie Award for Female Solo Narration for Tallgrass by Sandra Dallas, the Radio Times performer of the Year for The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood, and AudioFile Earphones Awards for Eleven on Top and Twelve Sharp, both by Janet Evanovich. AudioFile also deemed her one of the "Best Voices of 2008."

Legacy: A Novel
Nora Roberts, author
January LaVoy, narrator
Macmillan Audio
9781250802354, $44.99, CD, (8 Hours)

Synopsis: Adrian Rizzo was seven when she met her father for the first time. That was the day he nearly killed her -- before her mother, Lina, stepped in.

Soon after, Adrian was dropped off at her grandparents' house in Maryland, where she spent a long summer drinking lemonade, playing with dogs, making a new best friend - and developing the stirrings of a crush on her friend's ten-year-old brother. Lina, meanwhile, traveled the country promoting her fitness brand and turning it into a billion-dollar business. There was no point in dwelling on the past.

A decade later, Adrian has created her own line of yoga and workout videos, following in Lina's footsteps but intent on maintaining creative control. And she's just as cool-headed and ambitious as her mother. They aren't close, but they're cordial -- as long as neither crosses the other.

But while Lina dismisses the death threats that Adrian starts getting as a routine part of her daughter's growing celebrity, Adrian can't help but find the vicious rhymes unsettling. Year after year, they keep arriving - the postmarks changing, but the menacing tone the same. They continue after she returns to Maryland and becomes reacquainted with Raylan, her childhood crush, all grown up and as gorgeously green-eyed as ever.

Sometimes it even seems like the terrifying messages are indeed routine, like nothing will come of them. Until the murders start, and the escalation begins!

Critique: A 'must' for the legions of Nora Roberts fans, this complete and unabridged audio book edition of "Legacy" is brilliantly narrated by by the vocal storytelling talents of January LaVoy. The result is a welcome, enduringly, and highly recommended addition to personal and community library Romance audio book collections and acquisition lists.

Editorial Note #1: Nora Roberts ( is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of more than 200 novels, including Shelter in Place, Year One, Come Sundown, and many more. She is also the author of the bestselling In Death series written under the pen name J.D. Robb. There are more than five hundred million copies of her books in print.

Editorial Note #2: January LaVoy ( is an American actress and audiobook narrator who (as an audiobook narrator), received five Audie Awards and been a finalist for nineteen. In 2013, she won Publishers Weekly's Listen Up Award for Audiobook Narrator of the Year. In 2019, AudioFile named her a Golden Voice narrator.

A World of Curiosities
Louise Penny, author
Robert Bathurst, narrator
Macmillan Audio
9781250887382, $39.99, CD (13.5 Hours)

Synopsis: It's spring and Three Pines is reemerging after the harsh winter. But not everything buried should come alive again. Not everything lying dormant should reemerge. -- But something has!

As the villagers prepare for a special celebration, Armand Gamache and Jean-Guy Beauvoir find themselves increasingly worried. A young man and woman have reappeared in the S–rete du Quebec investigators' lives after many years. The two were young children when their troubled mother was murdered, leaving them damaged, shattered. Now they've arrived in the village of Three Pines. -- But to what end?

Gamache and Beauvoir's memories of that tragic case, the one that first brought them together, come rushing back. Did their mother's murder hurt them beyond repair? Have those terrible wounds, buried for decades, festered and are now about to erupt?

As Chief Inspector Gamache works to uncover answers, his alarm grows when a letter written by a long dead stone mason is discovered. In it the man describes his terror when bricking up an attic room somewhere in the village. Every word of the 160-year-old letter is filled with dread. When the room is found, the villagers decide to open it up.

As the bricks are removed, Gamache, Beauvoir and the villagers discover a world of curiosities. But the head of homicide soon realizes there's more in that room than meets the eye. There are puzzles within puzzles, and hidden messages warning of mayhem and revenge.

In unsealing that room, an old enemy is released into their world. Into their lives. And into the very heart of Armand Gamache's home.

Critique: Robert Bathurst's impressive vocal talents and in full sway with the Macmillan audio book production of novelist Louise Penny's "A World of Curiosities". This complete and unabridged audio book experience offers the listener Providing several hours of an inherently compelling suspense thriller that is an especially and unreservedly recommended addition to personal and community library Mystery/Suspense audio book collections.

Editorial Note #1: Louise Penny ( is the author of the Chief Inspector Armand Gamache novels. She has won numerous awards, including a CWA Dagger and the Agatha Award (five times) and was a finalist for the Edgar Award for Best Novel.

Editorial Note #2: Robert Bathurst has an informative interview about his work with novelist Louise Penny at

The Villa
Rachel Hawkins, author
Shiromi Arserio, Julia Whelan, and Kimberly Wetherell, narrators
Macmillan Audio
9781250878977, $39.99, CD (7 Hours, 57 Minutes)

Synopsis: As kids, Emily and Chess were inseparable. But by their 30s, their bond has been strained by the demands of their adult lives. So when Chess suggests a girls trip to Italy, Emily jumps at the chance to reconnect with her best friend.

Villa Aestas in Orvieto is a high-end holiday home now, but in 1974, it was known as Villa Rosato, and rented for the summer by a notorious rock star, Noel Gordon. In an attempt to reignite his creative spark, Noel invites up-and-coming musician, Pierce Sheldon to join him, as well as Pierce's girlfriend, Mari, and her stepsister, Lara. But he also sets in motion a chain of events that leads to Mari writing one of the greatest horror novels of all time, Lara composing a platinum album - - and ends in Pierce's brutal murder.

As Emily digs into the villa's complicated history, she begins to think there might be more to the story of that fateful summer in 1974. That perhaps Pierce's murder wasn't just a tale of sex, drugs, and rock & roll gone wrong, but that something more sinister might have occurred - - and that there might be clues hidden in the now-iconic works that Mari and Lara left behind.

Yet the closer that Emily gets to the truth, the more tension she feels developing between her and Chess. As secrets from the past come to light, equally dangerous betrayals from the present also emerge -- and it begins to look like the villa will claim another victim before the summer ends.

Critique: This complete and unabridged audio book edition of Rachel Hawkins' novel, "The Villa" is deftly narrated by the impressive storytelling talents of a team of truly gifted vocal actors -- Shiromi Arserio, Julia Whelan, and Kimberly M. Wetherell. This Macmillan Audio edition of "The Villa" is a strongly recommended addition to both personal and community library Mystery/Suspense audio book collections.

Editorial Note #1: Rachel Hawkins ( is the author of The Wife Upstairs and Reckless Girls, as well as multiple books for young readers. Her work has been translated in over a dozen countries. She studied gender and sexuality in Victorian literature at Auburn University.

Editorial Note #2: Shiromi Arserio ( has worked as a voice actor. As an audiobook narrator she has narrated over 200 titles for major publishers. She is an Audie Finalist and recently won an Earphones Award for The Last Garden in England which she co-narrated. She has a knack for accents and love Science Fiction & Fantasy, as well as YA and Romance and is a member of SAG-AFTRA.

Editorial Note #3: Julia Whelan ( Has narrated over 400 audiobooks in all genres, She has been repeatedly featured on Audiofile Magazine's annual Best-Of Lists. She was named Audible's Narrator of the Year in 2014 and is a Grammy-nominated audiobook director. She has acquired multiple Audies and SOVAS (Society of Voice Arts) Awards, including for the performance of her own novel, My Oxford Year. She has won dozens of Earphone Awards, The Audie Award for Best Female Narrator of 2019, and was presented with Audiofile Magazine's Lifetime Achievement Golden Voice Award in 2020.

Editorial Note #4: Kimberly M. Wetherrell ( is an award-winning SAG-AFTRA audiobook narrator and director who has worked with Penguin Random House, Macmillan, HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster, and audiobook producers including Blackstone, Dreamscape, Deyan Audio, and Orange Sky Audio, among others.

What Rose Forgot
Nevada Barr, author
Kate Burton, narrator
Macmillan Audio
9781250240965, $39.99, CD

Synopsis: Rose Dennis wakes up in a hospital gown, her brain in a fog, only to discover that she's been committed to an Alzheimer's Unit in a nursing home. With no memory of how she ended up in this position, Rose is sure that something is very wrong. When she overhears one of the administrators saying about her that she's "not making it through the week," Rose is convinced that if she's to survive, she has to get out of the nursing home. She avoids taking her medication, putting on a show for the aides, then stages her escape.

The only problem is -- how does she convince anyone that she's not actually demented? Her relatives were the ones to commit her, all the legal papers were drawn up, the authorities are on the side of the nursing home, and even she isn't sure she sounds completely sane. But any lingering doubt Rose herself might have had is erased when a would-be killer shows up in her house in the middle of the night. Now Rose knows that someone is determined to get rid of her.

With the help of her computer hacker/recluse sister Marion, thirteen-year old granddaughter Mel, and Mel's friend Royal, Rose begins to gather her strength and fight back - to find out who is after her and take back control of her own life. But someone out there is still determined to kill Rose, and they're holding all the cards!

Critique: Author Nevada Barr's psychological thriller of a novel is vividly brought to life by the narrative storytelling styles of vocal acting professional Kate Burton. This complete and unabridged audio book edition from Macmillan Audio is a 'must' for the legions of Nevada Barr fans and an unreservedly recommended addition to community library audio book collections.

Editorial Note #1: Nevada Barr ( received a BA in speech and drama and her MFA in Acting. For eighteen years she worked on stage, in commercials, industrial training films and did voice-overs for radio. Nevada also wrote and presented campfire stories, taught storytelling and was a travel writer and restaurant critic. Her first novel, Bittersweet was published in 1983.

Editorial Note #2: Katherine Burton ( is a British/Swiss actress, the daughter of Welsh actors Richard Burton and Sybil Christopher. On television, Burton received critical acclaim as Ellis Grey in the Shonda Rhimes drama series Grey's Anatomy, and as Vice President Sally Langston on Scandal. She has been nominated for three Primetime Emmy Awards and three Tony Awards.

The Music CD Shelf

The Toronto Project
The Composers Collective Big Band
Privately Published

The Composers Collective Big Band presents their new album The Toronto Project, for which Toronto's top jazz composers were commissioned to write about neighborhoods and aspects of Toronto that inspire them the most. The eight even- numbered tracks are songs from various music artists celebrating life in Toronto, and the eight odd-numbered tracks are field recordings from around Toronto. The Toronto Project encapsulates inspiration and local character in an unforgettable expression of contemporary jazz, highly recommended especially for connoisseurs of the genre. The even-numbered tracks are West Toronto Ode, Non-Sequitur, Spadina (Christian Overton), Finding Home, Inside the Toy Factory, Interweave, The Commuter, and Transit.

Cannon & Sparrow
Emily Braden
Privately Published
$TBA CD / $9.49 MP3

Vocalist, songwriter, and lyricist Emily Braden blends jazz and soul in Cannon & Sparrow, a music album consisting of both original compositions and reimagined favorites. Supporting Emily Braden's memorable voice are Tatum Greenblatt on trumpet, Freddie Bryant on guitar, Misha Piatigorsky on piano and keyboards, Danton Boller on upright bass and electric bass, and Rudy Royston on drums. Cannon & Sparrow provides a strong, forward-looking message of hope, compassion, and resilience in troubled times. Highly recommended! The tracks are Beautiful Friendship, Swell, Sweet Little Dream, Superhero, On a Clear Day, How Will I Know, Everytime, Sister Sadie, Strength of Love, and Aphelion.

Redline Trio
Chronograph Records
$TBA CD / $41.80 vinyl / $6.99 MP3

Underdog is an instrumental music album by Redline trio - Mark DeJong on tenor saxophone, Steve Shepard on bass, and Jeff Sulima on drums. Additional contributions from Brad Turner on trumpet and Steve Hudson on piano enrich this original collection of adventurous jazz. Captivating and flavorful, Underdog is a choice pick for connoisseurs seeking to experience a fresh take on the genre, highly recommended. The tracks are No Limes for Jeffery, The Waltz, Veluwe, Douglas Firs, Galactic Diamonds, and Underdog. 40 min.

Greenhouse Ensemble
Privately Published
$15.00 CD / $10.00 digital (in CAD)

Rez-de-chaussee (meaning "ground floor") is the debut EP music album by Canadian jazz performers Greenhouse Ensemble. Seven Quebec artists combine their talents: Camille Brousseau on violin, William Lussier on trumpet, Roxane Reddy on vocals, Louis-Martin Ruest on guitar, Christophe Magnan-Bosse on piano, Benjamin Lavoie-Doyon on bass, and Simon Desrosiers on drums. Listening to their extraordinary collaboration is like exploring a grand, beautifully historic house for the first time. Expressive and inviting, Rez-de-chaussee is a joy for connoisseurs of the genre and highly recommended. The tracks are Introduction, Beyond Me, The Cost of Lies, Medina, Toupet carre, and Lucioles.

Eric Lilley Trio
Twin Goat Music
$TBA CD / $8.91 MP3

Three is an original, instrumental album of songs composed by Eric Lilley and performed by the Eric Lilley Trio - Mark Diamond on bass, Tony Black on drums, and Eric Lilley on piano (Jose Espino contributes percussion to "Goats" and "Visiting Hours"). The tracks vary in nature from solo piano, to swing, to introspective calm. Three is a spry and captivating collection ideal for sparking inspirational creativity in the listener; highly recommended. The tracks are Goats, Jereices' Step, Kendras' Waltz, Bill Evans, May Day, About Face, Few and Far Between, Any Day Now, and Visiting Hours.

The DVD Shelf

Aftertaste: Season 2
Acorn Media
c/o RLJ Entertainment
AMP-2974, $34.99, DVD

Synopsis: Satirical comedy at its best, Season 2 of "Aftertaste" is a DVD that comprises all six episodes of the second season of this simply outstanding Australian television sitcom masterpiece that is a continuation of the adventures (and misadventures) of chef Easton West (Erik Thomson) who had fled back to his Australian hometown after scandal for the purpose of reinventing himself through an unlikely partnership with his 19-year-old pastry wunderkind niece (Natalie Abbott).

For those new to "Aftertaste", Series 1 is also readily available at:

Critique: "Aftertaste: Series 1 & 2" is an Australian sitcom distinguished by culinary flair and savory wit! Certain to be an immediately welcome and enduringly popular addition to personal and community library DVD collections, "Aftertaste: Series 1 & 2" is wonderfully cozy and highly recommended.

The Woodworking Shelf

Bookcases, Built-Ins & Cabinets
Fine Homebuilding & Fine Woodworking
The Taunton Press
63 South Main Street, Newtown, CT 06470
9781641551878, $24.99, PB, 224pp

Synopsis: Everyone needs more storage -- whether for household items and kitchenwares, books and other media, or just plain stuff. That's why building bookcases, built-ins, and cabinets is so popular among carpenters and woodworkers, whether the project is a simple shelved built-in or a high-style bookcase. Although building a basic box is fairly easy, constructing one that will hold a heavy load and has style takes some design savvy. Originally published in 2012, this new edition of "Bookcases, Built-Ins & Cabinets" from Taunton Press is an invaluable collection of articles from Fine Homebuilding and Fine Woodworking magazines, featuring some of America's most accomplished carpenters and woodworkers who contribute their DIY advice on building sturdy bookcases, built-ins, and cabinets.

Critique: Beautifully and informative illustrated throughout, and an essential, core addition to personal, professional, and community library woodworking collections, "Bookcases, Built-Ins & Cabinets" is an ideal DIY instructional guide and 'how-to' manual that is especially appropriate for the woodworking hobbiest and homeowner.

Editorial Note: Fine Homebuilding ( has been providing information and inspiration to those passionate about quality home improvement, renovation, and construction since 1981. Fine Woodworking ( has been publishing the best woodworking information for small shop woodworkers since 1975.

The Automotive Shelf

The Van Conversion Bible
Charlie Low, author
Dale Comley, author
Hardie Grant Books
9781784886042, $40.00, HC, 336pp

Synopsis: With the publication of "The Van Conversion Bible", co-authors Charlie Low and Dale Comely provide the ultimate DIY guide to planning, designing, and converting a campervan.

Charlie Low and Dale Comley provide definitive answers to your questions (even the ones you haven't thought of yet!) and will be instrumental in helping you build the campervan of your dreams.

From detailed gas, water, and electrical system diagrams to a step-by-step build guide, you will find that "The Van Conversion Bibles includes everything you need to know in order to start your own journey and hit the open road.

Critique: Exceptionally well written, organized and presented, "The Van Conversion Bible: The Ultimate Guide to Converting a Campervan" truly lives up to its title. Profusely and informatively illustrated throughout, "The Van Conversion Bible" is the ideal DIY instructive 'how-to' manual and an unreservedly recommended addition to personal, professional, and community library Automotive Customization collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Van Conversion Bible" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

Editorial Note: Co-authors Charlie Low and Dale Comley (aka are two climbers with a passion for design and DIY, currently living full-time in their self-built campervan. In 2019, they converted "Ringo", an ex-DHL delivery van into their home on wheels, however when the time came to give up their 9 - 5 office jobs for life on the road, COVID hit. And so, with their travel plans scuppered, they decided to use their backgrounds in science and engineering to write a book about how to convert a campervan. Since April 2021, the couple have been traveling around Europe, searching out the best climbing spots, and working remotely with the mountains as their backdrop.

James A. Cox, Editor-in-Chief
Diane C. Donovan, Editor
Midwest Book Review
278 Orchard Drive
Oregon, WI 53575-1129
phone: 1-608-835-7937

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