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Wisconsin Bookwatch

Volume 14, Number 8 August 2019 Home | WBW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice Education Shelf Cookbook Shelf
Parenting Shelf Biography Shelf General Fiction Shelf
Romantic Fiction Shelf Mystery/Suspense Shelf Fantasy/SciFi Shelf
Christian Studies Shelf Judaic Studies Shelf Buddhist Studies Shelf
Religion/Spirituality Shelf Psychology Shelf Graphic Novel Shelf
Audiobook Shelf Music CD Shelf Health/Medicine Shelf
Metaphysical Studies Shelf Political Science Shelf Computer Shelf
Travel Shelf Self-Help Shelf Philosophy Shelf
Railroading Shelf Needlecraft Shelf Fishing Shelf
Automotive Shelf Fashion Shelf Crafts Shelf
Photography Shelf Woodworking Shelf  


Reviewer's Choice


All We Knew But Couldn't Say
Joanne Vannicola
joannevannicola.com
Dundurn
dundurn.com
9781459744226 $19.99 pbk / $7.99 Kindle amazon.com

Synopsis: Joanne Vannicola grew up in a violent home with a physically abusive father and a mother who had no sexual boundaries.

After being pressured to leave home at fourteen, and after fifteen years of estrangement, Joanne learns that her mother is dying. Compelled to reconnect, she visits with her, unearthing a trove of devastating secrets.

Joanne relates her journey from child performer to Emmy Award - winning actor, from hiding in the closet to embracing her own sexuality, from conflicted daughter and sibling to independent woman. All We Knew But Couldn't Say is a testament to survival, love, and the belief that it is possible to love the broken, and to love fully, even with a broken heart.

Critique: All We Knew But Couldn't Say is the candid, at times heartbreaking memoir of Emmy Award-winning actress and LGBTQ2+ rights activist Joanne Vannicola. It is a harrowing true story of childhood abuse. Vannicola and her siblings suffered violence from their father, and Vannicola was sexually abused by her mother - a circumstance that made it difficult for her to seek support. Vannicola speaks openly of being forced to leave home at age fourteen, of her struggles with depression and eating disorders, of the pressures in the entertainment industry and 80's gender stereotypes, and much more. All We Knew But Couldn't Say is a harrowing true story of not only survival, but learning to understand and forgive the unforgivable. Highly recommended, especially for personal and public library collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that all We Knew But Couldn't Say is also available in a Kindle edition ($7.99).

Woodstock: 3 Days of Peace & Music
Michael Lang
Reel Art Press
c/o Distributed Art Publishers
155 Sixth Avenue, 2nd floor, New York, NY 10013-1507
www.artbook.com
9781909526624, $59.95, HC, 288pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: "Woodstock: 3 Days of Peace & Music" is the official 50th-anniversary celebration of Woodstock by the festival's creator and founder, Michael Lang. A large illustrated edition, it includes hundreds of photographs and documents accompanied by Lang's fascinating memories and insights into the most famous and influential festival of all time, with images of Jimi Hendrix, The Who, Crosby, Stills Nash & Young, Richie Havens, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Santana, Janis Joplin, Joan Baez, Country Joe McDonald and the Grateful Dead.

The ephemera from Lang's largely unseen archive include the original designs and plans for the event, correspondence, set-lists, information on artists' fees and much more. This wealth of information is accompanied by the best photographs of the event by famous and unknown photographers such as Ralph Ackerman, John Dominis, Bill Eppridge, Dan Garson, Barry Z. Levine, Elliott Landy, Lee Marshall and Baron Wolman, and notably featuring the archive of Henry Diltz.

Diltz was the only official photographer at Woodstock and was there for two weeks, from an empty field of cows to first construction, crowds arriving and the aftermath. He also captured onstage performances and behind-the-scenes moments with the many artists involved. Woodstock is an exuberant volume that conveys the vision, hard work and elusive magic that made up "three days of peace and music".

Critique: A coffee table style volume that is a pure nostalgia experience for those members of the baby boomer generation who were there, and offering insightfully visual and informational insights to those who were not, "Woodstock: 3 Days of Peace & Music" is guaranteed to be an immediate and enduringly popular addition to personal, community, and academic library collections.

Tiny Hot Dogs
Mary Giuliani
Running Press
c/o Perseus Book Group
250 W. 57th St., Suite 1500, New York, NY 10107
www.runningpress.com
9780762465569, $24.00, HC, 256pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Mary Giuliani is an author, party and lifestyle expert, and founder and CEO of Mary Giuliani Catering and Events. Mary has appeared on The Barefoot Contessa, The Chew, The Today Show, Good Morning America, Moltissimo with Jimmy Fallon, and is a regularly featured guest on The Rachael Ray Show. Mary's first book, The Cocktail Party (Eat, Drink, Play, Recover) came out in 2015. A graduate of Georgetown University, Mary resides in New York's Chelsea neighborhood and Woodstock, New York with her husband Ryan, and daughter Gala.

"Tiny Hot Dogs: A Memoir in Small Bites" is the story of Mary's utterly unremarkable childhood was everything she didn't want: hailing from a deeply loving yet overprotective Italian family in an all-Jewish enclave on Long Island. All she wanted was to fit in (be Jewish) and become famous (specifically a cast member on Saturday Night Live).

With an easy, natural storytelling sensibility, Mary shares her journey from a cosseted childhood home to the stage and finally to the party, accidentally landing what she now refers to as "the breakthrough role of a lifetime" catering to a glittery list of stars she once hoped to be part of herself.

Fresh, personal, and full of Mary's humorous, self-deprecating, and can-do attitude against all odds, you'll want to see where each shiny silver tray of hors d'oeuvres takes her next. You never know when the humble hot dog will be a crucial ingredient in the recipe for success, in building a business or simply making life more delicious!

Critique: An inherently fascinating and entertaining read from cover to cover, "Tiny Hot Dogs: A Memoir in Small Bites" is an extraordinary personal story and will prove to be an enduringly popular addition to both community and academic library Contemporary American Biography collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Tiny Hot Dogs: A Memoir in Small Bites" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $12.99).


The Education Shelf

The Complete Book of Colleges, 2020 Edition
The Princeton Review Staff
The Princeton Review
c/o Random House Inc.
1745 Broadway, New York NY 10019
www.PrincetonReview.com
9780525568117, $29.99, PB, 1152pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: No one knows colleges better than staff of The Princeton Review! "The Complete Book of Colleges, 2020 Edition" is a reliable compendium of meticulously researched information that will help students and their families to narrow their search for the best college for their needs and aspirations.

Each of the 1,359 user-friendly profiles answers such questions as: How much are tuition and other student fees and costs?; What types of financial aid are available, and when are the applications due?; What do admissions officers look for most in test scores and recommendations?; Which majors are the most popular and have the highest enrollment?; What is housing like, and how accessible is technology on campus?; What are the key campus organizations, athletics, and student activities?; How selective is the school?; Plus Indexes based on cost, selectivity, and size that will help you narrow the search for the thematically perfect school.

Critique: Thoroughly 'user friendly' in organization and presentation, this 2020 Edition of "The Complete Book of Colleges" should be a part of every highschool guidance counselors office in the country, and is a core addition to community library Contemporary Education Information Resource collections.

Flip This School
John F. Eller & Sheila A. Eller
Marketing Department
Solution Tree Press
555 North Morton Street, Bloomington, IN 47404
www.solution-tree.com
9781936765447, $34.95, PB, 216pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: With "Flip This School: How to Lead the Turnaround Process" teachers, school administrators and school boards can set the foundation for a successful, sustainable school turnaround. "Flip This School" deftly presents a framework for planning school improvement to revitalize underperforming and turnaround schools. Throughout the resource, authors John F. Eller and Sheila A. Eller detail practical strategies for planning school improvement efforts and collaborating with the schools existing staff and faculty to initiate a complete school transformation.

"Flip This School" will guide educational leadership in planning successful school turnaround by enabling them to: Identify the unique needs of their school, and learn how to develop a school improvement plan with the best methods to address present conditions; Understand the skill set needed for effectively leading school turnaround efforts; Gain strategies for developing a data-gathering plan, and recognize the ways in which data is helpful for successful turnaround schools; Examine the role of districts in school improvement planning and the school reform and turnaround process; Consider how their school improvement plan can include strategies to improve school culture and provide opportunities for professional growth for teachers; Learn how to effectively manage change as well as understand how teacher leadership teams contribute to school improvement planning and the turnaround process.

Critique: Exceptionally well written, organized and presented, "Flip This School: How to Lead the Turnaround Process" is a compendium of thoroughly 'real world practical' commentary, insights, ideas, strategies and tactics. While especially recommended for school district, college, and university library Education Administration instructional reference collections and supplemental curriculum studies lists, it should be noted for teachers, administrators, school policy makers, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "Flip This School" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $30.67).

The Expert Teacher
Darren Mead, author
Phil Beadle, editor
Independent Thinking
c/o Crown House Publishing
81 Brook Hills Circle, White Plains, NY 10605
www.crownhousepublishing.com
9781781353110, $29.95, PB, 336pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Darren Mead is an experienced science teacher who has been described as the Jimi Hendrix of teaching and perhaps the most intellectually engaged of all British teachers . Based in the north-east of England, he shares his classroom-based interpretations of research through his highly respected blog, Sharing Pedagogical Purposes.

In "The Expert Teacher: Using Pedagogical Content Knowledge to Plan Superb Lessons" he lays bare the concept of pedagogical content knowledge and eloquently explains how to utilise it to overcome student misconceptions, create contexts and connections in learning and teach difficult and important content empowering educators to transform their sub-ject knowledge into multiple means of representing it in teachable ways.

The intention of "The Expert Teacher" is to help classroom teachers to reflect on what and how they plan, how they teach and how to improvise around these plans, and to pave the way for deep professional thinking about best practice. It is split into two parts entitled How is Your Subject Learned? and Expert Teaching and Learning and provides educators with a variety of practical tools, illuminating examples and flexible frameworks geared to help them underpin and reinforce the very ampersand in expert teaching & learning.

"The Expert Teacher" is not for teachers seeking quick fixes or superficial tricks, rather it is designed for educators who are eager to experience the excitement of knowing and teaching their subject masterfully.

Critique: Thoughtful and thought-provoking, exceptionally insightful and 'real world practical', thoroughly 'user friendly' in organization and presentation, "The Expert Teacher: Using Pedagogical Content Knowledge to Plan Superb Lessons" is a unique and unreservedly recommended addition to school district, college, and community library Teacher Education & Classroom Management instructional resource collections. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of student teachers, classroom educators, school administrators, academia, and non- specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "The Expert Teacher" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $23.49).


The Cookbook Shelf

Tailgating Done Right Cookbook
Anne Schaeffer
Fox Chapel Publishing Company
1970 Broad Street N., East Petersburg, PA 17520
www.FoxChapelPublishing.com
9781565239890, $19.99, PB, 176pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Tailgate celebrations have become a welcome, fun tradition for people attending any kind of stadium sport event. The perfect gift for sports fans who love great food, the "Tailgating Done Right Cookbook" by Anne Schaeffer is comprised of 150 tailgate-ready recipes ranging from kick-off appetizers to victory-dance desserts!

Tailgating and viewing parties are events in and of themselves, and "Tailgating Done Right Cookbook" is ideal for menu planning and prepping ahead of time so that the food can be served up fast and easy to hungry sports fans.

With recipes like Double-Play Chicken Skewers, Bases Loaded Potato Salad, High Octane Chili, Show-Your-Colors Fruit Salad, Pit Crew Brownies, and so much more, it's all the classic game-day fare that, taken to the next level, are sure to be winners!

Critique: Beautifully and profusely illustrated thorough out, each individual recipe from Beer Tub Brats to Game Day Itallian Burgers is presented with serving numbers, ingredient lists, and cooking instructions. Certain to be an immediate and enduringly popular addition to personal and community library cookbook collections, "Tailgating Done Right Cookbook" is a delight to browse through and plan cookout menus with!

Asian Paleo
ChihYu Smith
The Countryman Press
c/o W. W. Norton & Company
500 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10110
www.countrymanpress.com
9781682682616, $24.95, HC, 208pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: ChihYu Smith is the creator of the blog I Heart Umami, where she shares Asian-inspired Paleo, Whole30, and Keto recipes, and the creator of Cook Once Eat All Week, a Paleo meal planning program. She is a Whole30 Certified Coach and has been named International Paleo Blogger of the Year by the UK Paleo Awards. Her recipes have been featured by Huffington Post, Good Housekeeping, Country Living, Chowhound, and Greatist, and two of her recipes appear in The Whole30 Fast and Easy Cookbook.

In "Asian Paleo: Easy, Fresh Recipes to Make Ahead or Enjoy Right Now from I Heart Umami" she celebrates her Chinese and Taiwanese heritage and turns favorite Asian recipes into healthy, flavorful Paleo meals in a beautifully illustrated compendium showcasing 75 fresh, bold recipes inspired by her favorite dishes from China, Japan, Thailand, Vietnam, and beyond.

Critique: With a meal prep section with shopping lists and make-ahead instructions, clever tips and tricks, and vibrant photographs for every recipe, and featuring dishes that range from Lion's Head Meatballs; Tumeric-Ginger Kabocha Squash Soup; and Cumin Lamb Stir-Fry; to Low- Carb Scallion Pancakes; Cold Ramen Noodles, and Paleo Chicken Katsu, "Asian Paleo" will prove to be an immediate and enduringly popular addition to personal, family, professional, and community library cookbook collections. It should be noted that "Asian Paleo" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

The Hot Book Of Chilies
David Floyd
CompanionHouse Books
c/o Fox Chapel Publishing Company
1970 Broad Street N., East Petersburg, PA 17520
www.FoxChapelPublishing.com
9781620083765, $16.99, PB, 160pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Now in a new edition, "The Hot Book Of Chilies" by David Floyd is a beautifully and profusely illustrated compendium of 51 recipes and showcasing 97 varieties of chilies that range from mild to super spicy. Of special note is the background information provided on the history and science of the chili plant, as well as instructions for smoking chilies, making chili powder, and even pickling chilies! The recipes themselves range from Hot Juan's BBQ Rub; Mole Poblano; and Sichuan Fiery Beef; to Chili Corn Bread; Gyoza Dumplings; and Chili Chocolate Shotes.

Critique: Thoroughly 'kitchen cook friendly' in organization and presentation, "The Hot Book Of Chilies" is a delight to browse through and inspiring to plan memorable menus with, making it an ideal and highly recommended addition to personal, professional, family, and community library cookbook collections.

Firefly: The Big Damn Cookbook
Chelsea Monroe-Cassel
Titan Books
https://titanbooks.com
9781789092417, $34.95, HC, 160pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Compiled by Chelsea Monroe-Cassel, "Firefly: The Big Damn Cookbook" showcases 70 recipes inspired by the cult television show and illustrated with gorgeous full-color photography. Featuring step-by-step recipes ranging from Simon's protein birthday cake, to River's problematic ice planet, "Firefly: The Big Damn Cookbook" also features such culinary delights as: Mudder's Milk; Zoe's 'Wife Soup'; Fresh Bao; Southdown Abbey Couscous; Gunpowder Gimlet; Fruity Oaty Bars; Mama Reynold's Shoofly Pie; and so much more!

Critique: Throughout 'kitchen cook friendly' in organization and presentation, "Firefly: The Big Damn Cookbook" is a delight to browse through and inspiring to plan menus with -- making it an ideal and unreservedly recommended addition to personal, family, and community library cookbook collections!


The Parenting Shelf

Mindfulness for Mums and Dads
Dr. Diana Korevaar
Murdoch Books
www.murdochbooks.co.uk
9781743369142, $22.99, PB, 240pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: As a parent, it can be all too easy to live life on automatic pilot -- fulfilling one demand after another while missing out on much of the journey. And though you can't control every situation, you can influence the outcome by learning to change how you react.

Dr Diana Korevaar, a practicing perinatal psychiatrist, uses mindfulness practice as a powerful tool to help parents calm down, connect and reframe the challenges they face in order to experience life more positively. Grounded in science, "Mindfulness for Mums and Dads: Proven Strategies for Calming Down and Connecting" features dozens of case studies, as well as simple mindfulness practices that can be carried out anywhere.

This compendium of practical tools are specifically for any parent seeking to actively engage in their own recovery from anxiety or depression, or for those no longer content to 'just exist' in life, hoping that things will get better in the future. In as little as three minutes a day, it is possible to take control of your life, become calmer and more compassionate, and be fully present for the small moments in life that create true and lasting happiness.

Critique: Exceptionally well written, organized and presented, "Mindfulness for Mums and Dads: Proven Strategies for Calming Down and Connecting" is a 'real world practical' as it is thoroughly 'user friendly' in tone and commentary. While unreservedly recommended for professional, community, and academic library Parenting instructional reference collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Mindfulness for Mums and Dads" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $6.50)

Editorial Note: Dr Diana Korevaar is a consultant psychiatrist specializing in women's health, pregnancy and perinatal psychiatric disorders. She has had extensive training in mindfulness-based treatment approaches, and has employed these techniques not only in her work, but also in her personal life. In the course of her work, Dr. Korevaar has observed how men and women from all walks of life have benefitted from this approach. She co-wrote the Mind the Bump mindfulness and meditation app developed by Beyond Blue and Smiling Mind in 2014.


The Biography Shelf

Voice Lessons
Rob Paulsen with Michael Fleeman
Viva Editions
101 Hudson St. 37th Floor, Suite 3705, Jersey City, NJ 07302
http://vivaeditions.com
9781632280664, $18.95, PB, 264pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Rob Paulsen is one of Hollywood's busiest, most talented, and most passionate performers. If you don't know him by name, you will know him by the many characters he has brought to life: Pinky from Pinky and the Brain and Yakko from Animaniacs, the tough, but loveable, Raphael from the original animated Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and many more.

So, you can imagine how terrifying it must have been when Rob was diagnosed with throat cancer, putting his entire livelihood in jeopardy and threatening to rob the world of all his loveable characters that filled our youth and adulthood with humor and delight.

"Voice Lessons: How a Couple of Ninja Turtles, Pinky, and an Animaniac Saved My Life" Paulsen (with the assistance of Michael Fleeman) tells the heartwarming and life-affirming story of his experience with an aggressive cancer treatment and recovery regimen, which luckily led to a full recovery. Rob quickly returned to doing what he loves most, but with a much deeper appreciation of what he came so close to losing. His new lease on life inspired him to rededicate himself to his fans, particularly the new friends he made along the way: hundreds of sick children and their families.

Rob said it best himself: "I can not only continue to make a living, but make a difference, and I can't wait to use that on the biggest scale that I can."

Critique: An impressively informative and inherently interesting memoir that will hold and entertain the reader's rapt attention from first page to last, "Voice Lessons: How a Couple of Ninja Turtles, Pinky, and an Animaniac Saved My Life" will prove to be an immediate and enduringly popular addition to community library Contemporary American Biography collections. It should be noted for the legions of Rob Paulsen fans that "Voice Lessons" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $13.99).

The Latin Hit Maker
Rudy Perez & Robert Noland
Zondervan Publishing House
5300 Patterson Avenue, S.E., Grand Rapids, MI 49530
www.zondervan.com
9780310351702, $24.99, HC, 224pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Rudy Perez is a multi Grammy-Award winning international songwriter, producer, arranger, entrepreneur and philanthropist. He has composed over a thousand songs with hundreds of them becoming #1's or top ten hits. He has written and produced songs for world artists including Beyonce, Julio Iglesias, Christina Aguilera, IL Divo, Natalie Cole, Michael Bolton, Marc Anthony, Jose Feliciano, Cyndi Lauper, Arturo Sandoval, Andrea Bocelli and many more.

Rudy is the only Latin record Producer to be named Billboards Producer of the Decade. He sits on the Board of ASCAP and has won Songwriter of the year at least five times. He's the founder of the Latin Grammys and the Latin Songwriters Hall of Fame. He and his wife Betsy live in Miami.

Critique: "The Latin Hit Maker: My Journey from Cuban Refugee to World-Renowned Record Producer and Songwriter" is his personal and informative memoir -- making it a 'must read' selection for his legions of fans. While unreservedly recommended for community library Contemporary Biography collections and Latin Music History supplemental studies lists, it should be noted for fans and academia alike that "The Latin Hit Maker" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99) and as a complete and unabridged audio book (Brilliance Audio, 9781978678101, $29.99, CD).

Darkness to Light: A Memoir
Lamar Odom
BenBella Books
10300 N. Central Expressway, Ste 400, Dallas, TX 75204
www.benbellabooks.com
9781948836081, $24.95, HC, 240pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Lamar Odom is a two-time NBA champion and 13-year veteran. He was a regular cast member on E!'s worldwide sensation Keeping Up with the Kardashians, the highest rated reality show in history. He also starred in the wildly popular spinoff Khloe & Lamar, which documented one of the most covered marriages in recent Hollywood memory.

While his fans have long praised his accessibility and genuine everyman quality, Lamar is a blinding talent who has suffered a series of heartaches, setback, and loss. But until now, his most candid moments have remained behind closed doors -- sometimes face-down on the floor.

In "Darkness to Light", Lamar gives his fans an intimate look into his life like never before. His exclusive and revealing memoir recounts the highs and lows of fame and his struggle with his demons along the way to self-discovery and redemption. From the pain of his unraveled marriage to Khloe Kardashian to the harmful vices he used to cope (and the near-death experience that made him rethink everything about his life) this is Lamar as his fans have never before seen him.

Lamar brings basketball fans directly into the action of a game during the Lakers championship years. He shares his personal account of the lifelong passion that started as one shining light in a childhood marked by loss and led to his international fame as one of the most extraordinary athletes of all time. In this profoundly honest book, Lamar invites the reader to walk with him through the good times and bad, while looking ahead to a brighter future.

Critique: Written with the professional assistance of longtime sportswriter Chris Palmer, "Darkness to Light: A Memoir" is an inherently fascinating read from cover to cover and a 'must' for the legions of Lamar Odom fans. While unreservedly recommended for community library Contemporary American Biography collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Darkness to Light" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $13.99) and as a complete and unabridged audio book (Brilliance Audio, 9781978678903, $24.99, CD).


The General Fiction Shelf

Queen Bee: A Novel
Dorothea Benton Frank
William Morrow & Company
c/o HarperCollins Publishers
195 Broadway New York, New York 10007
www.harpercollins.com
9780062861214 $27.99 hc / $12.99 Kindle amazon.com

Synopsis: Beekeeper Holly McNee Jensen quietly lives in a world of her own on Sullivans Island, tending her hives and working at the local island library. Holly calls her mother The Queen Bee because she's a demanding hulk of a woman. Her mother, a devoted hypochondriac, might be unaware that she's quite ill but that doesn't stop her from tormenting Holly. To escape the drama, Holly's sister Leslie married and moved away, wanting little to do with island life. Holly's escape is to submerge herself in the lives of the two young boys next door and their widowed father, Archie.

Her world is upended when the more flamboyant Leslie returns and both sisters, polar opposites, fixate on what's happening in their neighbor's home. Is Archie really in love with that awful ice queen of a woman? If Archie marries her, what will become of his little boys? Restless Leslie is desperate for validation after her imploded marriage, squandering her favors on any and all takers. Their mother ups her game in an uproarious and theatrical downward spiral. Scandalized Holly is talking to her honey bees a mile a minute, as though they'll give her a solution to all the chaos. Maybe they will.

Queen Bee is a classic Lowcountry Tale - warm, wise and hilarious, it roars with humanity and a dropperful of whodunit added for good measure by an unseen hand. In her twentieth novel, Dorothea Benton Frank brings us back to her beloved island with an unforgettable story where the Lowcountry magic of the natural world collides with the beat of the human heart.

Critique: Queen Bee is a wry novel about an isolated island community, and two sisters who could not be more different. Alternately witty, sexy, and a thoughtful reflection on the human condition, Queen Bee is a welcome contribution to personal and public library General Fiction collections, highly recommended. It should be noted for personal reading lists that Queen Bee is also available in a Kindle edition ($12.99).

The Philosopher's War
Tom Miller
Simon and Schuster
1230 Avenue of the Americas, 14th fl., New York, NY 10020
www.simonandschuster.com
9781476778181, $26.99, HC, 416pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Thanks to a stunning flying performance and a harrowing shootout in the streets of Boston, Robert Canderelli Weekes's lifelong dream has come true: he's the first male allowed to join the US Sigilry Corps's Rescue and Evacuation service, an elite, all-woman team of flying medics.

But as he deploys to France during the waning days of the Great War, Sigilwoman Third-Class Canderelli learns that carrying the injured from the front lines to the field hospital is not the grand adventure he imagined. His division, full of misfits and renegades, is stretched the breaking point and has no patience for a man striving to prove himself. Slowly, Robert wins their trust and discovers his comrades are plotting to end the Great War by outlawed philosophical means.

Robert becomes caught up in their conspiracy, running raids in enemy territory and uncovering vital intelligence. Friends old and new will need his help with a dangerous scheme that just might win the war overnight and save a few million lives. But the German smokecarvers have plans of their own: a devastating all-out attack that threatens to destroy the Corps and France itself.
Naturally, Robert is trapped right in the thick of it!

Critique: The sequel to author Tom Miller's earlier novel "The Philosopher's Flight", once again readers are treated to an immediately engaging and deftly scripted story with a good many unexpected plot twists and turns. A riveting good read from first page to last, "The Philosopher's War" is unreservedly recommended, especially for community library General Fiction collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Philosopher's War" is also available in a paperback edition (9781476778167, $17.00) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $12.99).

Phoebe: A Story
Paula Gooder
IVP Academic
c/o InterVarsity Press
PO Box 1400, Downers Grove, IL 60515-1426
www.ivpress.com
9780830852451, $22.00, PB, 316pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Sometime around 56 AD, the apostle Paul wrote to the church in Rome. He entrusted this letter to Phoebe, whom he describes as the deacon of the church at Cenchreae and a patron of many. But who was this remarkable woman?

Biblical scholar and popular author and speaker Paula Gooder imagines Phoebe's story (who she was, the life she lived, and her first-century faith) and in doing so opens up Paul's world, giving a sense of the cultural and historical pressures that shaped his thinking and the faith of the early church.

Critique: Rigorously researched and deftly scripted from first page to last, "Phoebe: A Story" is a fully engaging, thought-provoking, and entertaining New Testament era novel for anyone who wants to engage more deeply and imaginatively with Paul's theology and the times he lived in. While very highly recommended for community library collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Phoebe: A Story" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $12.99).

Whose Waves These Are
Amanda Dykes
Bethany House Publishers
c/o Baker Publishing Group
6030 East Fulton Road, Ada, MI 49301
www.bethanyhouse.com
9780764234132, $29.99, HC, 368pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: In the wake of World War II, a grieving fisherman submits a poem to a local newspaper asking readers to send rocks in honor of loved ones to create something life-giving. But the building halts when tragedy strikes. Decades later, Annie returns to the coastal Maine town where stone ruins spark her curiosity and her search for answers faces a battle against time.

Critique: A deftly penned and thoroughly entertaining novel that showcase author Amanda Dykes' genuinely impressive and reader engaging narrative storytelling style, "Whose Waves These Are" is an original and page turner of a read from cover to cover. While especially recommended for community library Contemporary General Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Whose Waves These Are" is also available in a paperback edition (9780764232664, $14.99) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

Editorial Note: Amanda Dykes is the author of "Bespoke: A Tiny Christmas Tale", the critically-acclaimed bicycle story that invited readers together to fund bicycles for missionaries in Asia. A former English teacher, she has a soft spot for classic literature and happy endings. She is a drinker of tea, a dweller of Truth, and a spinner of hope-filled tales, grateful for the grace of a God who loves extravagantly.

Devotion
Madeline Stevens
Ecco
c/o HarperCollins Publishers
10 East 53rd Street, New York, NY 10022-5299
www.eccobooks.com
9780062883223, $26.99, HC, 304pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Ella is flat broke: wasting away on bodega coffee, barely making rent, seducing the occasional strange man who might buy her dinner. Unexpectedly, an Upper East Side couple named Lonnie and James rescue her from her empty bank account, offering her a job as a nanny and ushering her into their moneyed world. Ella's days are now spent tending to the baby in their elegant brownstone or on extravagant excursions with the family. Both women are just 26 -- but unlike Ella, Lonnie has a doting husband and son, unmistakable artistic talent, and old family money.

Ella is mesmerized by Lonnie's girlish affection and disregard for the normal boundaries of friendship and marriage. Convinced there must be a secret behind Lonnie's seemingly effortless life, Ella begins sifting through her belongings, meticulously cataloguing lipstick tubes and baby teeth and scraps of writing. All the while, Ella's resentment grows, but so does an inexplicable and dizzying attraction. Soon Ella will be immersed so deeply in her cravings for Lonnie's lifestyle, her attention, her lovers -- so much so that she may never come up for air!

Critique: A deftly crafted and compulsive page-turner of a first novel by an author with a natural flair for originality, detail, and a thoroughly reader engaging narrative storytelling style, "Devotion" by Madeline Stevens is an especially and unreservedly recommended addition to community library Contemporary General Fiction collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Devotion" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $12.99) and as a complete and unabridged audio book (Blackstone Audio, 9781982663230, $39.99, CD).

Only Pretty Damned
Niall Howell
NeWest Press
#201, 8540-109 Street, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada T6G 1E6
www.newestpress.com
9781988732534, $19.95, PB, 253pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: When Toby, former trapeze artist turned disgruntled clown, begins seeing Gloria, a young and beautiful dancer longing for a bigger role under the spotlight, his hard boiled past resurfaces. Can he live without Genevieve, his ex-trapeze partner and lover? What ruthless actions will he take to regain his position as the headlining act? And will Toby's past repeat itself as he tries to untangle the ropes that bind him and take a leap to roaring applause?

"Only Pretty Damned" is a taut noir novel that takes the reader behind the big top, revealing rough and tumble characters, murderous plots, and crooked schemes designed to keep Rowland's World Class Circus afloat for another season.

Critique: All the more impressive when considering that "Only Pretty Damned" is author Niall Howell's debut as a novelist, this deftly scripted and thoroughly reader engaging story showcases the writer's genuine flair for originality, memorable characters, and more plot twists and turns than a carnival roller coaster. While very highly recommended, especially for community library collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Only Pretty Damned" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $11.99).

Little Lovely Things
Maureen Joyce Connolly
Sourcebooks Landmark
c/o Sourcebooks Inc.
1935 Brookdale Road, #139, Naperville, IL 60563
www.sourcebooks.com
9781492672494, $15.99, PB, 304pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: It is the wrong time to get sick. Speeding down the highway on the way to work, her two little girls sleeping in the back seat, medical resident Claire Rawlings doesn't have time for the nausea overtaking her. But as the world tilts sideways, she pulls into a gas station, runs to the bathroom, and passes out. When she wakes up minutes later, her car (and her daughters) are gone!

The police have no leads, and the weight of guilt presses down on Claire as each hour passes with no trace of her girls. All she has to hold on to are her strained marriage, a potentially unreliable witness who emerges days later, and the desperate but unquenchable belief that her daughters are out there somewhere.

As hopeful and uplifting as it is devastating, "Little Lovely Things" is the story of a family shattered by unthinkable tragedy, and the unexpected intersection of heartbreak and hope.

Critique: A deftly crafted and inherently reader engaging story that is all the more impressive when considering that "Little Lovely Things" is author Maureen Joyce Connolly's debut as a novelist, "Little Lovely Things" is an especially recommended addition to community library Contemporary General Fiction collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Little Lovely Things" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $10.07). There is also a large print edition appropriate for community libraries (Center Point Pub., 9781643582511, $37.95, HC, 500pp).

The Chelsea Girls
Fiona Davis
Dutton
c/o Penguin Group USA
375 Hudson Street, 3rd floor, New York, NY 10014-3657
www.us.penguingroup.com
9781524744588, $27.00, HC, 368pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: From the dramatic redbrick facade to the sweeping staircase dripping with art, the Chelsea Hotel has long been New York City's creative oasis for the many artists, writers, musicians, actors, filmmakers, and poets who have called it home -- a scene playwright Hazel Riley and actress Maxine Mead are determined to use to their advantage.

Yet they soon discover that the greatest obstacle to putting up a show on Broadway has nothing to do with their art, and everything to do with politics. A Red scare is sweeping across America, and Senator Joseph McCarthy has started a witch hunt for Communists, with those in the entertainment industry in the crosshairs. As the pressure builds to name names, it is more than Hazel and Maxine's Broadway dreams that may suffer as they grapple with the terrible consequences, but also their livelihood, their friendship, and even their freedom.

Spanning from the 1940s to the 1960s, "The Chelsea Girls" deftly pulls back the curtain on the desperate political pressures of McCarthyism, the complicated bonds of female friendship, and the siren call of the uninhibited Chelsea Hotel.

Critique: A completely absorbing page turner of a read from cover to cover, "The Chelsea Girls" showcases author Fiona Davis' natural talent as a narrative driven storyteller who pays meticulous attention to historical background elements while expertly crafting truly memorable characters and an original, entertaining, and thought-provoking story. While unreservedly recommended for community library Contemporary General Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Chelsea Girls" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $12.99), while librarians should note that there is also a large print edition of "The Chelsea Girls" (Random House Large Print, 9780593104248, $29.00, 480pp).

Moments We Forget
Beth K. Vogt
Tyndale House Publishers
351 Executive Drive, Carol Stream, IL 60188
www.tyndale.com
9781496427281. $24.99, HC, 448pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Jillian Thatcher has spent most of her life playing the family peacemaker, caught in the middle between her driven, talented older sister and her younger, spotlight-stealing twin sisters. Then on the night of her engagement party, a cancer diagnosis threatens to once again steal her chance to shine.

Now, Jillian's on the road to recovery after finally finishing chemo and radiation, but residual effects of the treatment keep her from reclaiming her life as she'd hoped. And just when her dreams might be falling into place, a life-altering revelation from her husband sends her reeling again.

Will Jillian ever achieve her own dreams, or will she always be "just Jillian" -- the less-than Thatcher sister? Can she count on her sisters as she tries to step into a stronger place, or are they stuck in their childhood roles forever?

Critique: A deftly penned and thoroughly reader engaging read from first page to last, Beth Vogt's "Moments We Forget" is a richly textured and unforgettable novel by an author with an impressive flair for narrative storytelling of the first order. While unreservedly recommended for community library Contemporary General Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Moments We Forget" is also available in a paperback edition (9781496427298, $15.99) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $1.99).

Valencia and Valentine
Suzy Krause
www.suzykrause.com
Lake Union Publishing
9781542092968, $24.95, HC, 254pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Valencia, a timid debt collector with crippling OCD, is afraid of many things, but the two that scare her most are flying and turning thirty-five. To confront those fears, Valencia's therapist suggests that she fly somewhere, anywhere, before her upcoming birthday. And as Valencia begins a telephone romance with a man from New York, she suddenly has a destination in mind. There's only one problem -- he might not actually exist.

Mrs. Valentine is an eccentric old woman desperate for company, be it from neighbors, telemarketers, or even the funeral director (when you're her age, you go to a lot of funerals). So she's thrilled when the new cleaning girl provides a listening ear for her life's story -- a tale of storybook love and incredible adventures around the world with her husband before his mysterious and sudden disappearance.

The stories of Valencia and Mrs. Valentine may at first appear to have nothing in common -- but then again, nothing in life is as straightforward as it seems!

Critique: A singularly unique, superbly scripted, and inherently entertaining novel by an author with a distinctively reader engaging narrative storytelling style, "Valencia and Valentine" will prove to be an immediate and enduringly popular addition to community library Contemporary General Fiction collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Valencia and Valentine" is also available in a paperback edition (9781542040396, $14.95) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $4.99).

This Wicked Tongue
Elise Levine
Biblioasis
www.biblioasis.com
9781771962797, $14.95, PB, 172pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: In moments of exile and self-exile, exodus and return, "This Wicked Tongue" is a compendium of twelve of author Elise Levine's uncanny short stories that collectively lay bare the secret grammar of their characters' psyches.

An ill-tempered divinity-school candidate refuses to minister to a dying man's wife; a couple fails to connect as they tour an ersatz cave in the south of France; holy women grieve in medieval England, and a pregnant runaway hitches a ride with a Church leader of dubious intentions. Propelled by their longing for pasts that no longer exist, these reluctant Adams and contemporary Eves confront the unspoken, the maligned, the abject aspects of their inner geographies, mining them for gems that glint and scatter in the light. Each of these unique and deftly crafted stories is a literary gem.

Uncompromising and honest, lyrical and wry, "This Wicked Tongue" dares to tell the truth about the places we have come from and the new ones we might find.

Critique: Expertly crafted, impressively original, inherently riveting, each individual story showcases author Elise Levine's distinctive and reader engaging narrative storytelling style. While very highly recommended for both community and academic library Contemporary Literary Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Wicked Tongue" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $11.95).

Without Her
Rosalind Brackenbury
Delphinium Books
PO Box 803, Encino, CA 91436
http://www.delphiniumbooks.com
9781883285791, $25.95, HC, 225pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: When her old friend Hannah doesn't show up at her house in the south of France, everyone assumes that Claudia, who has known Hannah since their shared years at boarding school, will know where she is, and what has happened. But as Claudia travels from the USA to France to help Hannah's husband and children conduct their search, she is forced to deal with her old jealousy of Hannah, as well as her own relationship in the present with her French lover, Alexandre.

As events unfold, Claudia begins to wonder if Hannah and Alexandre may have had an affair and if that has had something to do with Hannah's mysterious disappearance. The question of whether or not Hannah will come back becomes urgent and bewildering. And if she doesn't come back, what will the lives of her friends and family be without her?

Critique: A deftly crafted novel by an author with a genuine flair for originality and a compelling narrative driven storytelling style, "Without Her" by Rosalind Brackenbury is an extraordinary read from cover to cover and one that will prove to be an immediate and enduringly popular addition to community library Contemporary General Fiction collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Without Her" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $17.99).

Editorial Note: A former writer-in-residence at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, Rosalind Brackenbury has also served as poet laureate of Key West, teaching poetry workshops. She has attended the yearly Key West Literary Seminar as both panelist and moderator. Her 2016 novel, The Third Swimmer was a 2016 INDIES Silver Winner in adult General Fiction. Her latest poetry collection, "Invisible Horses" now available from Hanging Loose Press. Rosalind Brackenbury is also the author of Becoming George Sand, Paris Still Life, The Third Swimmer, and The Lost Love Letters of Henri Fournier.

The Song of the Sea
Jenn Alexander
Bywater Books
P.O. Box 3671, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48106-3671
www.bywaterbooks.com
9781612941516, $16.95, PB, 250pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: The ocean has always been a place of freedom for Lisa Whelan, and after her newborn son passes away, she returns to her family home by the sea to seek freedom from her grief. She's not expecting to meet anyone, and is caught off guard by the attraction she feels for Rachel, the part-owner of a local restaurant. That initial spark is dampened, however, when Lisa realizes that Rachel has a child.

Rachel Murray has worked hard to build a life for herself and her son but raising Declan has not been without its challenges. Each day when Rachel picks him up from school, she says a silent prayer that he will be waiting for her in his classroom, and not in the principal's office. Again. Her son's behavior has grown increasingly disruptive, and Rachel is at a loss at how to help him.

Despite her grief, Lisa finds herself drawn to both Rachel and Declan. She thinks she can keep her emotions at bay -- keep from drowning in grief and keep from falling in love -- but she finds both to be a tidal wave, washing over her, sweeping her off her feet. Lisa never intended on falling in love with anyone, and she certainly cannot allow herself to fall for someone whose son is a constant reminder of the child she lost. Or can she?

Critique: A deftly written and emotionally poignant read from cover to cover, "The Song of the Sea" is all the more impressive when considering that it is author Jenn Alexander's debut as a novelist and showcases here natural flair for originality, memorable characters, and a thoroughly effective and distinctive reader engaging narrative storytelling style. While very highly recommended, especially for community library Contemporary General Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Song of the Sea" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $8.69).

Cornelius Sky
Timothy Brandoff
Akashic Books
232 Third Street, #A115, Brooklyn, NY 11215
www.akashicbooks.com
9781617757082, $15.95, PB, 216pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Cornelius 'Connie' Sky is a doorman in a posh Fifth Avenue apartment building that houses New York City's elite, including a former First Lady whose husband was assassinated while in office.

It is 1974 and New York City is heading toward a financial crisis. At work, Connie prides himself on his ability to buff a marble floor better than anyone, a talent that so far has kept him from being fired for his drinking. He pushes the boundaries of his duties, partying and playing board games with the former First Lady's lonely thirteen-year-old son in the service stairwell -- the only place where the boy is not spied upon mercilessly by the tabloid press and his Secret Service detail.

Connie believes he is the only one who can offer true solace and companionship to this fatherless boy, but his constant neglect of his own sons and their mother reaches a boiling point. His wife changes the locks on his own door, and he finds himself wandering the mean streets of the city in his uniform, where unlikely angels offer him a path toward redemption.

Critique: A deftly written and inherently fascinating read from first page to last, "Cornelius Sky" showcases author Timothy Brandoff's uniquely entertaining narrative storytelling style that offers a unique and original story set against the backdrop of an American metropolis teetering on the brink of ruin and in the hope of an economic, cultural, social, and political recovery. While unreservedly recommended for both community and academic library Contemporary Literary Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Cornelius Sky" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $15.15).

Nina & Tom
Tom Kummer
Rare Bird Books
453 S. Spring Street, Suite 302, Los Angels, CA 90013
www.rarebirdbooks.com
9781947856929, $18.00, PB, 256pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Tom has never seen anyone like Nina. She looks like a thirteen-year-old boy and has the stare of a hardened gangster. She's stubborn, bitchy and self-confident. She's also aimless, and much more sensitive than she wants to admit.

He falls in love with her at first sight, and doesn't budge from her side until she takes pity on him and they drive from Barcelona to snowy Berlin in an old Mercedes. There they live in an unheated factory, experimenting with pop, drugs, and sex.

By now Tom works as an international reporter, while Nina stands in front of the mirror and chain-smokes. Then the Berlin Wall comes down and the restless couple move on to LA, among the rich and the beautiful. Years later they have two sons and find out that cancer is ravaging Nina's body.

Critique: Set in the Barcelona of 1983 and then onto Berlin, and concluding in Los Angeles, Tom Kummer's "Nina & Tom" is a unique style of 'reality romance' by an novelist that has a genuine flair for a style of narrative storytelling with all manner of unexpected twists and turns that holds the reader's rapt attention from first page to last. While unreservedly recommended for community library collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Nina & Tom" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $14.99).

Never Have I Ever
Joshilyn Jackson
William Morrow & Company
c/o HarperCollins Publishers
195 Broadway New York, New York 10007
www.harpercollins.com
9780062855312, $26.99, HC, 352pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Amy Whey is proud of her ordinary life and the simple pleasures that come with it, including the teaching of diving lessons, baking cookies for new neighbors, helping her best friend, Charlotte, run their local book club. Her greatest joy is her family: her devoted professor husband, her spirited fifteen-year-old stepdaughter, her adorable infant son. And, of course, the steadfast and supportive Charlotte. But Amy's sweet, uncomplicated life begins to unravel when the mysterious and alluring Angelica Roux arrives on her doorstep one book club night.

Sultry and magnetic, Roux beguiles the group with her feral charm. She keeps the wine flowing and lures them into a game of spilling secrets. Everyone thinks it's naughty, harmless fun. Only Amy knows better. Something wicked has come her way -- a she-devil in a pricey red sports car who seems to know the terrible truth about who she is and what she once did.

When they're alone, Roux tells her that if she doesn't give her what she asks for, what she deserves, she's going to make Amy pay for her sins. One way or another.

To protect herself and her family and save the life she's built, Amy must beat the devil at her own clever game, matching wits with Roux in an escalating war of hidden pasts and unearthed secrets. Amy knows the consequences if she can't beat Roux. What terrifies her is everything she could lose if she wins.

Critique: Deftly combining dark humor with a natural flair for original and narrative storytelling, Joshilyn Jackson's "Never Have I Ever" has more unexpected plot twists and turns than a Disney Land roller coaster. An inherently riveting novel of dangerous betrayal and deadly obsession, "Never Have I Ever" is unreservedly recommended for community library Contemporary General Fiction collections. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of all Joshilyn Jackson fans that "Never Have I Ever" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $12.99).


The Romantic Fiction Shelf

Once Upon A Bad Boy
Melonie Johnson
St. Martin's Press
175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010
www.stmartins.com
9781250193070, $7.99, PB, 337pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Sadie Gold is ready to take her career to the next level with the role of a lifetime. Finally, she can shake her reputation as a pretty face with more wealth and connections than talent. But Sadie is not prepared for the wild turn her own life is about to take. The man in charge of training Sadie for her most demanding role yet is none other than her first real boyfriend -- the one who took her heart and ran away.

Bo Ibarra is as good-looking and irresistible as ever. Maybe even more so, now that everything once worked against them -- Sadie's pampered and privileged upbringing and Bo's childhood in a family struggling to make ends meet is in the past. But the future is still unwritten...and getting there, together, means coming clean about painful secrets and slashing through nasty tabloid rumors while trying to control the attraction that crackles between them. Maybe it's finally time for them to walk off into the sunset and into a true and lasting love?

Critique: Another deftly scripted romance novel by Melonie Johnson, "Once Upon A Bad Boy" is a true and compulsive page turner of a read from cover to cover. While unreservedly recommended for community library Contemporary Romance Fiction collections, it should be noted for the personal reading lists of all dedicated romance fans that "Once Upon A Bad Boy" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $7.99).

Jackson
Emily March
St. Martin's Press
175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010
www.stmartins.com
9781250314918, $7.99, PB, 320pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Caroline Carruthers thinks she buried her dreams along with the love of her life -- until a stranger named Celeste dares her to chase a dream all on her own. Moving to Redemption, Texas, is chapter one in Caroline's new life story. Opening a bookstore is the next. Finding love is the last thing on her mind as she settles into this new place called home. But when she meets a handsome, soulful man who's also starting over, all bets are off.

Jackson McBride came to Redemption looking only to find himself, not someone to love. Ever since his marriage ended, he's been bitter. Sure, he used to believe in love (he even has the old song lyrics to prove it) but the Jackson of today is all business. That is, until a beautiful young widow who's moved to town inspires a change of heart. Could it be that the myth of Redemption's healing magic is true -- and can Jackson and Caroline find a second chance at a happy ending after all?

Critique: A riveting great romance of a read from first page to last, Emily March's new novel "Jackson" (part of the Eternity Springs series) is a compelling story with plenty of unexpected twists and turns until true love can hope to win out. While very highly recommended, especially for community library Contemporary Romance Fiction collections, it should be noted for the personal reading lists of author Emily March's legions of fans that "Jackson" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $7.99).

Window on the Bay
Debbie Macomber
Random House
c/o The Random House Publishing Group
1745 Broadway, 17th floor, New York, NY 10019
www.randomhouse.com
9780399181337, $27.00, HC, 336pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Jenna Boltz's life is at a crossroads. After a messy divorce from her surgeon husband nearly twenty years ago, she raised her two children on her own, juggling motherhood with her beloved job as a Seattle intensive-care nurse. Now that Paul and Allie have gone to college and moved out, Jenna can't help but wonder what her future holds.

Her best friend, Maureen, is excited for Jenna's newfound independence. Now is the perfect time to finally book the trip to Paris they've been dreaming of since their college days. But when it comes to life's other great adventure - dating - Jenna still isn't sure she's ready to let love in . . . until an unexpected encounter begins to change her mind.

When Jenna's elderly mother breaks her hip, Dr. Rowan Lancaster saves the day. Despite his silent, stoic exterior, Rowan is immediately smitten with Jenna. And even though Jenna is hesitant about becoming involved with another surgeon, she has to admit that she's more than a little intrigued. But when Jenna's children approach her with shocking news, she realizes that she needs to have faith in love and embrace the unexpected -- before the life she has always dreamed of passes her by!

Critique: Another deftly penned and thoroughly entertaining novel by a master storyteller, Debbie Macomber's "Window on the Bay" is guaranteed to be an immediate and enduringly popular addition to all community library Contemporary Romantic Fiction collections. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of Macomber's legions of fans that "Window on the Bay" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $13.99), while librarians should be aware that there is a large print paperback edition (9781984890658, $29.00) as well.


The Mystery/Suspense Shelf

Gumshoe Rock
Rob Leininger
Oceanview Publishing
1620 Main Street, Suite 11, Sarasota, FL 34236
www.oceanviewpub.com
9781608093304, $26.95, HC, 368pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Early in July, northern Nevada's senior Internal Revenue Service agent, Ronald Soranden (who is disliked by every agent in the Reno IRS office) vanishes without a trace. In September, he makes a dramatic reappearance, of sorts. His skull (stripped clean and white) is dropped through the slashed top of a Mustang convertible.

The vehicle belongs to Lucy Landry, PI Mortimer Angel's gorgeous young assistant now working with him on a seemingly unrelated embezzlement case. But Mort is a former IRS field agent in Reno. He'd done his time during the tyrannical reign of Soranden, quitting, he says, "when I discovered I have a soul." Now that his former boss's head has appeared, he and Lucy find them themselves under the annoying surveillance of a pair of IRS enforcement agents.

When the FBI are brought in to investigate the murder, Mort and Lucy realize shocking details about their own case -- primarily Soranden's involvement. It becomes evident that events and suspects of the embezzlement case and Soranden's murder are heavily entangled with those enmeshed in an ugly case of blackmail. Mort and Lucy are roped tighter and tighter into the Soranden investigation while they grapple with the deadliest situation of their PI careers. Mortimer Angel has been in harrowing, lethal situations before and has suffered incalculable losses, but none more horrifying than the trap embedded in Gumshoe Rock.

Critique: A perfectly scripted suspense thriller of a story, Rob Leininger's "Gumshoe Rock" is another inherently riveting read by skilled novelist with a genuine mastery of the genre. While especially and unreservedly recommended for community library Mystery/Suspense collections, it should be noted for personal reading list that "Gumshoe Rock" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $14.95).

Death in a Budapest Butterfly
Julia Buckley
Berkley Books
c/o Penguin Group (USA)
375 Hudson Street, 4th floor, New York, NY 10014
www.penguin.com
9781984804822, $7.99, PB, 304pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Hana Keller and her family run Maggie's Tea House, an establishment heavily influenced by the family's Hungarian heritage and specializing in a European-style traditional tea service. But one of the shop's largest draws is Hana's eccentric grandmother, Juliana, renowned for her ability to read the future in the leaves at the bottom of customers' cups. Lately, however, her readings have become alarmingly ominous and seemingly related to old Hungarian legends...

When a guest is poisoned at a tea event, Juliana's dire predictions appear to have come true. Things are brought to a boil when Hana's beloved Anna Weatherley butterfly teacup becomes the center of the murder investigation as it carried the poisoned tea. The cup is claimed as evidence by a handsome police detective, and the pretty Tea House is suddenly endangered. Hana and her family must catch the killer to save their business and bring the beautiful Budapest Butterfly back home where it belongs.

Critique: Julia Buckley is the author of the Undercover Dish mysteries and the Writer's Apprentice mysteries. She is a member of Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, and the Chicago Writer's Association. So it's no accident that she has penned still another original and inherently riveting mystery novel with "Death in a Budapest Butterfly". While unreservedly and emphatically recommended for all community library Mystery/Suspense collections, it should be noted for her legions of fans that "Death in a Budapest Butterfly" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $7.99). Librarians should also note that there is a large print hardcover edition of "Death in a Budapest Butterfly" as well (Thorndike Press, 9781432866457, $30.99).

A Shattered Lens
Layton Green
Seventh Street Books
c/o Prometheus Books
59 John Glenn Drive, Amherst, NY 14228
www.prometheusbooks.com
9781633885387, $15.99, PB, 344pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Annalise Stephens Blue has plans to become a world-famous filmmaker. As she begins filming an expose of her small town called Night Lives, she uncovers more than she bargained for: on the very first night of filming, she stumbles upon a murder in the woods, and flees the scene steps ahead of the killer.

Detective Joe "Preach" Everson is called to investigate. The victim, David Stratton, is the town's golden boy and high school quarterback. A modern version of what Preach used to be. Not only that, the boy's mother is Claire Lourdis, a beautiful divorcee who Preach fell for in high school -- as well as the main suspect in her son's murder.

As Preach delves into the secrets lurking beneath the surface of the town and searches for the missing girl who may have witnessed the crime, he must put his own feelings aside and pursue the answer to a terrible question: is a mother capable of murdering her own child?

Critique: Another original and superbly crafted mystery by an author who is a master of the genre, "A Shattered Lens" by Layton Green offers the dedicated mystery buff with a truly page- turner of a read from beginning to end. While unreservedly recommended for all community library Mystery/Suspense collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "A Shattered Lens" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

Killer in the Carriage House
Sheila Connolly
Minotaur Books
c/o St. Martin's Publishing Group
175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010
www.minotaurbooks.com
9781250135889, $16.99, HC, 288pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: After fifteen years away, Kate Hamilton never expected to end up back in her hometown of Asheboro, Maryland full time. And she definitely didn't expect to be leading the charge of recreating the town as a Victorian village and tourist attraction. But as unexpected as the circumstances are, Kate is ready to tackle them.

The town, on the other hand, is going to take some convincing. Ever since Henry Barton's shovel factory closed down, it's started to seem like there are more tumbleweeds than tourists rolling down Main Street. Kate's ideas are good, but ambitious -- and her friends and neighbors are worried that finding the money for them would push the town even further into debt.

Luckily, Kate and the handsome historian Joshua Wainwright are two very determined people who may have come up with a solution. The Barton mansion, meant to be the centerpiece of the Victorian village, has proven to be a veritable goldmine of documents about the town's nineteenth-century history, and Kate is convinced the papers hide something of value.

When a dead body turns up in the town library (mere hours before the documents were meant to arrive there themselves) Kate begins to worry that the papers spell danger instead of dollars. It seems that someone doesn't want these forgotten secrets coming to light, and they'll do whatever it takes to keep Kate quiet!

Critique: Another deftly penned mystery by a master of the genre, "Killer in the Carriage House" is the latest novel in Sheila Connoly's Victorian Mystery Village series and will prove to be an immediate and enduringly popular addition to community library Mystery/Suspense collections. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of dedicated mystery buffs and the legions of Sheila Connolly fans that "Killer in the Carriage House" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $13.99) and as a complete and unabridged audio book (Tantor Audio, 9781541465589, $29.99, CD).

Beijing Payback
Daniel Nieh
Ecco
c/o HarperCollins Publishers
10 East 53rd Street, New York, NY 10022-5299
www.eccobooks.com
9780062886644, $26.99, HC, 320pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Victor Li is devastated by his father's murder, and shocked by a confessional letter he finds among his father's things. In it, his father admits that he was never just a restaurateur -- in fact he was part of a vast international crime syndicate that formed during China's leanest communist years.

Victor travels to Beijing, where he navigates his father's secret criminal life, confronting decades-old grudges, violent spats, and a shocking new enterprise that the organization wants to undertake. Standing up against it is likely what got his father killed, but Victor remains undeterred. He enlists his growing network of allies and friends to finish what his father started, no matter the costs.

Critique: A deftly penned novel with more plot twists and turns than a Coney Island roller coaster, "Beijing Payback" by Daniel Nieh is an inherently engaging page turner of a read from beginning to end. While very highly recommended for community library Contemporary Suspense/Thriller collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Beijing Payback" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $12.99) and as a complete and unabridged audio book (Blackstone Audio, 9781982659219, $34.99, CD).

A Shot of Murder
J. A. Kazimer
www.JAKazimer.com
Midnight Ink
2143 Wooddale Drive, Woodbury, MN 55125-2989
www.midnightinkbooks.com
9780738760070, $15.99, PB, 312pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Ten years after leaving the small town of Gett, Florida, for Hollywood stardom, Charlotte "Charms" Lucky, who has never quite lived up to her surname, returns home to run the Lucky Whiskey distillery while her grandfather recovers from a heart attack.

Making whiskey is harder than Charlotte imagined, especially with longtime rivals and resentful townsfolk interfering at every turn. She'll need more than a lucky charm to keep the family afloat, after she discovers her former high school boyfriend's pickled corpse in a Lucky Whiskey cask, and her grandfather is arrested for the murder.

Charlotte has just one shot to clear his name and save the family business, and that is to find the real killer among a town full of suspects!

Critique: Blending romance, suspense, and a murder mystery with more plot twists and turns than a carnival roller coaster, "A Shot of Murder" is an inherently fascinating and impressively crafted read from cover to cover. While very highly recommended, especially for community library Mystery/Suspense collections, it should be noted for the personal reading lists of all dedicated mystery buffs that "A Shot of Murder" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $11.99).

Death in the Covenant
D. A. Bartley
Crooked Lane Books
2 Park Avenue, 10th floor, New York, NY 10016
www.crookedlanebooks.com
9781643851198, $26.99, HC, 320pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: In "Death in the Covenant", Detective Abish "Abbie" Taylor has returned to the mountain town of Pleasant View, Utah, hoping for a quiet life. But that hope dissipates when she wakes to an unsettling phone call. Arriving at the scene of a fatal car accident, she discovers that the victim was one of the most beloved leaders of the Church -- and an old family friend.

Abbie is skeptical when her father insists the death was not an accident, but in an attempt to patch up their relationship, she takes a few days off from her job as the sole detective in the police department, and heads to Colonia Juarez, a former LDS colony in Mexico. There, she uncovers a plan hearkening back to the Church's history of polygamy. But Abbie knows too well that bringing secrets to light can be deadly.

Abbie realizes with a jolt that her investigation could cost her father his job and possibly get him excommunicated. Time is running out for Abbie to save her father's position (and her own life) as dark forces close in, and the outlook for Pleasant View turns decidedly unpleasant.

Critique: Another superbly crafted addition to author D. A. Bartley's 'Abish Taylor Mystery Series', "Death in the Covenant" is an inherently compelling read that is certain to be an immediate and enduringly popular addition to community library Mystery/Suspense collections. An intense thriller that draws upon the author's own personal experience growing up Mormon in Utah, Death in the Covenant will keep the reader's rapt attention to the very end. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of all dedicated mystery buffs that "Death in the Covenant" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $10.99) and as a complete and unabridged audio book (Dreamscape Media, 9781974981915, $19.99, CD).

The Paper Lawyer
Carlos Cisneros
Arte Publico Press
University of Houston
4902 Gulf Freeway, Bldg 19, Rm 100, Houston, TX 77204-2004
www.artepublicopress.com
9781558858497, $19.95, PB, 365pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Disgraced real-estate attorney Camila Harrison loses both her lucrative job as a partner in a well-known Austin law firm and her fiance, a Texas Supreme Court Justice, when emails she sent to a client expressing her racist views are released to the media. She lands in Houston, practicing social security disability law and seeking criminal appointments in federal court.

All too soon she's working her first federal criminal case, which involves an undocumented Mexican accused of money laundering. Harrison has no sympathy for illegal aliens and just wants to secure a plea deal quickly. The situation becomes more complicated when she gets to know the defendant, Vicente Aldama, and realizes he came to the US to work and pay for the life-saving surgery his young daughter desperately needs. When her private investigator discovers possible improprieties related to Aldama's arrest, Harrison begins to seriously consider taking the case to trial despite the advice of colleagues and her complete lack of experience in defending high-stakes federal prosecutions.

Critique: Gripping, suspenseful and deeply moving, Carols Cisneros' novel, "The Paper Lawyer" uniquely original legal thriller that asks questions about race, prejudice and the corruption that pervades American society, even as it proclaims to be the most advanced nation in the world with the best judicial system. If ever there were a novel for our times, it is "The Paper Lawyer" is a substantive and unreservedly recommended addition to personal reading lists, as well as community and academic library Contemporary General Fiction collections.

Chai Another Day
Leslie Budewitz
Seventh Street Books
c/o Prometheus Books
59 John Glenn Drive, Amherst, NY 14228
www.prometheusbooks.com
9781633885363, $25.95, PB, 240pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: As owner of the Spice Shop in Seattle's famed Pike Place Market, Pepper Reece is always on the go. Between conjuring up new spice blends and serving iced spice tea to customers looking to beat the summer heat, she finally takes a break for a massage. But the Zen moment is shattered when she overhears an argument in her friend Aimee's vintage home decor shop that ends in murder. Wracked by guilt over her failure to intervene, Pepper investigates, only to discover a web of deadly connections that could ensnare a friend - and Pepper herself!

Critique: A mystery lovers' delight, "Chai Another Day" by Leslie Budewitz will prove to be an immediate and enduringly popular addition to community library Mystery/Suspense collections. A deftly scripted little masterpiece with more twists and turns than a carnival roller coaster, "Chai Another Day" is a 'must' for all dedicated mystery buffs and is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99) and as a complete and unabridged audio book (Tantor Audio, 9781630155452, $39.99, CD).


The Fantasy/SciFi Shelf

Bewitched and Betrothed
Juliet Blackwell
Berkley Prime Crime
c/o Penguin Group (USA)
375 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014
www.penguin.com
9780451490612, $7.99, PB, 352pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: When Lily Ivory stumbles on the uniform of a former prisoner from Alcatraz and SFPD inspector Carlos Romero's cousin is kidnapped, she suspects something dangerous has been unleashed on the ghost-ridden island of Alcatraz. She'll have to sleuth out the culprit -- when she's not busy entertaining her visiting relatives and resolving romantic conflicts as her wedding date approaches.

Could recent omens be pointing to the magical threat in her adopted city? If so, she'll have to line up her allies to change the fate of the Bay Area. Because no matter what, Lily's determined to celebrate her marriage with her friends by her side -- even if it means battling a demonic foe before she can make it to the altar.

Critique: Part of author Juliet Blackwell's superbly entertaining Witchcraft Mystery series, "Bewitched and Betrothed" is an extraordinary page-turner of a read from beginning to end. While very highly recommended for community library Mystery/Suspense collections, it should be noted for the personal reading lists of all dedicated mystery buffs that "Bewitched and Betrothed" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $7.99) and as a complete and unabridged audio book (Tantor Audio, 9781515943259, $24.99, CD).

The Heartwood Crown
Matt Mikalatos
Tyndale House Publishers
351 Executive Drive, Carol Stream, IL 60188
www.tyndale.com
9781496431752, $24.99, HC, 416pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: After destroying the Crescent Stone, Madeline returns home, bringing Shula and Yenil with her. As her health continues to deteriorate, Madeline feels the Sunlit Lands calling her back. Meanwhile, Jason, Darius, and the rest of the inhabitants of the Sunlit Lands fight for survival and freedom. The magic that fuels the land is failing, threatening to destroy them all. Will Madeline's return save the land and its people?

Critique: The latest installment of author Matt Mikalatos' 'The Sunlit Lands Series', "The Heartwood Crown" showcases Matt's signature humor and epic storytelling. A novel that can be a stand-alone read or as the next installment in an original and impressively entertaining series, "The Heartwood Crown" is unreservedly recommended for community library Fantasy Fiction collections. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of dedicated fantasy saga fans that "The Heartwood Crown" is also available in a paperback edition (978-1496431769, $15.99), in a digital book format (Kindle, $15.99), and as a complete and unabridged audio book (Oasis Audio, 9781640913073, $15.99, CD).

Medusa in the Graveyard
Emily Devenport
Tor Books
c/o Tor/Forge Books
120 Broadway, 22nd Floor, New York, NY 10271
9781250169365, $18.99, PB, 304pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Oichi Angelis, former Worm, along with her fellow insurgents on the generation starship Olympia, head deeper into the Charon System for the planet called Graveyard.

Ancient, sentient, alien starships wait for them -- three colossi so powerful they remain aware even in self-imposed sleep. The race that made the Three are dead, but Oichi's people were engineered with this ancient DNA.

A delegation from Olympia must journey to the heart of Graveyard and be judged by the Three. Before they're done, they will discover that weapons are the least of what the ships have to offer.

Critique: "Medusa in the Graveyard" is second volume of author Emily Devenport's original science fiction saga 'The Medusa Cycle'. Although the sequel to Devenport's "Medusa Unloaded", it can also stand alone as a singularly entertaining and deftly scripted read from cover to cover. While unreservedly recommended for community library Science Fiction collections, it should be noted for the personal reading lists of dedicated SciFi fans that "Medusa in the Graveyard" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

River of Night
John Ringo & Mike Massa
Baen Books
PO Box 1188, Wake Forest NC 27588
www.baen.com
9781481484213, $25.00, HC, 384pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Tom Smith used to be somebody. Now he's just another refugee, fleeing the smoking ruins of civilization. -- Well, maybe not just another refugee.

Late of the Bank of the Americas where he used to be the global managing director for Security, Tom and his fellow survivors watched New York City burn. His plan to the save New York long enough to find a cure for the zombie virus hadn't survived the bloody scrimmage between angry cops, cunning gangsters, and rapacious City officials. Now only millions of infected humans, driven mad by the high infectious tailored rabies virus, inhabited the city.

But Tom and some trusted allies were able to stay one step ahead and escaped offshore. Now they're holed up in a safe house in coastal Virginia and it's time to breakout. Between him and his objective, one of the bank's prepared evacuation camps in the Cumberland Valley, are hundreds of miles of clogged roads, burnt-out towns and howling mobs of infected humans who know only hunger. He must corral his motley team, complete with middle-schoolers, to navigate the treacherous landscape. And yet he feels his odds are good.

But there's always someone smarter. And they like things just the way they are. Without a fat checkbook and the team of hired spec-ops mercenaries it used to bring, how will Tom Smith fend off entrepreneurial marauders, a brilliant sociopath or two and a kill-count hungry member of the E-4 mafia? And if he pulls it off, no one is sure how they will they re-start civilization.

But Tom Smith has the spark of an idea!

Critique: The seventh title in John Ringo's 'Black Tide Rising zombie apocalypse series, "River of Night" is another deftly penned novel that will hold the riveting attention of fiction fans from cover to cover and will prove to be an immediate and enduringly popular addition to community library Science Fiction & Fantasy collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "River of Night" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $7.99).

Mulgara: The Necromancer's Will
David Rose
Rare Bird Books
453 S. Spring Street, Suite 302, Los Angels, CA 90013
www.rarebirdbooks.com
9781947856882, $17.95, PB, 288pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: When Maecidion dies, the reading of the will is an outrage. Irion, the dead necromancer's kin, watches as coveted heirlooms are given to his enemies. Himself no stranger to black magic, Irion soon embarks on a bitter skirmish to retrieve what should rightfully be his.

"Mulgara: The Necromancer's Will" is a composite novel: Tinged with traces of horror and humor, erotica and satire, the world of Mulgara plays host to an ensemble of dark characters. Not only necromancers, but grave robbers, thieves, and a bubbly witch, all caught in a web of friend or foe, and through their tales, Maecidion's plan is ultimately revealed.

Critique: An inherently fascinating, macabre work of perfectly executed fantasy fiction, "Mulgara: The Necromancer's Will" is a simply riveting novel from first page to last. Showcasing an author with a genuine flair for spine chilling originality, David Rose's "Mulgara: The Necromancer's Will" is also available for personal and community library Contemporary Fantasy Fiction collections in a digital book format (Kindle, $10.49) and as a complete and unabridged audio book (HighBridge Audio, 9781684572243, $29.99, CD).

The Lady in the Coppergate Tower
Nancy Campbell Allen
Shadow Mountain Publishing
P.O. Box 30178, Salt Lake City, Utah 84130-0178
www.shadowmountain.com
9781629725543, $15.99, PB, 368pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Hazel Hughes has spent her life believing she is a Medium -- someone who can talk to ghosts. But as of yet, that skill has remained frustratingly elusive. She is also suffering from a reoccurring childhood dream of someone who looks almost exactly like Hazel, but this dream version of herself is slowly going mad.

Sam MacInnes is a talented surgeon who runs in the highest social circles thanks to his family's position and history. When Sam hires Hazel to assist him with his medical practice, he is immediately drawn to her intelligence, wit, and beauty. Their potential relationship is derailed one evening when a mysterious count arrives in London and reveals to Hazel the truth about her past: she was abducted at birth and her twin sister has fallen dangerously ill.

Hazel agrees to travel to Romania with Count Petrescu in order to save her sister, and Sam insists on accompanying her. The count has secrets, though, and the journey grows more sinister with every mile that draws Hazel closer to her homeland. Even as her feelings for Sam become deeper and more complicated, she fears she might not survive the quest to save her sister with her heart intact, not to mention her life. She must learn to draw on gifts she doesn't know she has if they are going to ever return home again.

Hazel and Sam must fight their way past dark magic, clockwork beasts, and their own insecurities as they try to reach her sister in the impenetrable Coppergate Tower before time runs out.

Critique: A deftly scripted steampunk romantic action/adventure fiction retelling of Rapunzel that is set in Victorian England then moves on to the haunted lands of Romania, Nancy Campbell Allen's "The Lady in the Coppergate Tower" is an extraordinary and entertaining read from beginning to end. While very highly recommended, especially for community library collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Lady in the Coppergate Tower" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $11.21).


The Christian Studies Shelf

The God Who Fights for You
Rick Lawrence
Harvest House Publishers
2975 Chad Drive, Eugene, Oregon 97408
www.harvesthousepublishers.com
9780736977043, $15.99, PB, 224pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Rick Lawrence is an award-winning author, journalist, cultural researcher, ministry leader, and national speaker. He is the executive editor of GROUP Magazine and the creator and host of the Paying Ridiculous Attention to Jesus podcast. He has written "The God Who Fights for You: How He Shows Up in Your Suffering" specifically for members of the Christian community who are facing a major loss, a difficult diagnosis, or the constant stress of everyday life, and asking God that eternal question 'Why me?;.

In "The God Who Fights for You" Lawrence examines the trials that weigh on us all in terms of why God allows them, and what he wants to reveal through them. With "The God Who Fights for You" readers will: Discover hope and encouragement they can cling to in the middle of their challenges; Learn about the gracious God who allows their trials and is always working to help them to work through them to the other side; Transform the way they think about suffering as they develop a richer understanding of the Savior's love for them.

Critique: Articulately inspired and inspiring, thoroughly 'reader friendly' in organization and presentation, "The God Who Fights for You: How He Shows Up in Your Suffering" is an extraordinary and unreservedly recommended addition to the personal reading lists of all members of the Christian community regardless of denominational affiliations. It should be noted that "The God Who Fights for You" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $12.34).

Master Discipleship Today
Don Hawkins
Kregel Publications
2450 Oak Industrial Drive, NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49505
www.kregel.com
9780825446344, $17.99, PB, 208pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Don Hawkins, producer and host of the Encouragement Today radio broadcast, is also former co-host of Back to the Bible and Life Perspectives. Don has authored and coauthored a number of best-selling books, including Never Give Up and The Roots of Inner Peace.

In "Master Discipleship Today: Jesus's Prayer and Plan for Every Believer" he uses six essential statements by Jesus in the Upper Room Discourse of John 17 to trace the key principles of disciple-making to their most basic source -- the concepts and practices of Jesus himself.

The pattern laid down by Christ is a practical, workable one. This is not simply another list of vital topics for the growing Christian. Rather, it is a divinely inspired, Christ-centered outline actually modeled by Jesus. "Master Discipleship Today" is a practical "how-to" tool for pastors, group leaders, and individual Christians who want to further their own growth in the faith and lead others to a deeper level of discipleship.

This is a revised and expanded edition of the book formerly titled "Master Discipleship" and is updated to include the Christian Life Coaching model of discipleship.

Critique: Inspired and inspiring, "Master Discipleship Today: Jesus's Prayer and Plan for Every Believer" is strongly recommended for seminary and church library collections. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of clergy, seminarians, and other members of the Christian community with an interest in the subject that "Master Discipleship Today" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $17.09).

Reading Romans Backwards
Scot McKnight
Baylor University Press
One Bear Place, #97363, Waco, TX 76798-7363
www.baylorpress.com
9781481308779, $29.95, HC, 236pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Scot McKnight is Professor of New Testament at Northern Seminary, where he directs both a master's and doctor of ministry program in using context to interpret the New Testament. He is the author of more than seventy books, including commentaries on Colossians and Philemon and a book on Paul as Pastor.

In "Reading Romans Backwards: A Gospel of Peace in the Midst of Empire", Professor McKnight begins with Romans 12 - 16, foregrounding the problems that beleaguered the house churches in Rome. Beginning with the end places readers right in the middle of a community deeply divided between the strong and the weak, each side dug in on their position. The strong assert social power and privilege, while the weak claim an elected advantage in Israel's history.

Continuing to work in reverse, Professor McKnight then unpacks the big themes of Romans 9 - 11 (God's unfailing, but always surprising, purposes and the future of Israel) to reveal Paul's specific and pastoral message for both the weak and the strong in Rome.

Finally, Professor McKnight shows how the widely regarded "universal" sinfulness of Romans 1 - 4, which is so often read as simply an abstract soteriological scheme, applies to a particular rhetorical character's sinfulness and has a polemical challenge. Romans 5 - 8 equally levels the ground with the assertion that both groups, once trapped in a world controlled by sin, flesh, and systemic evil, can now live a life in the Spirit. In Paul's letter, no one gets off the hook but everyone is offered God's grace.

"Reading Romans Backwards" places lived theology in the front room of every Roman house church. It focuses all of Romans including Paul's apostleship, God's faithfulness, and Christ's transformation of humanity, as well as on achieving grace and peace among all people, both strong and weak. Professor McKnight shows that Paul's letter to the Romans offers a sustained lesson on peace, teaching applicable to all divided churches, ancient or modern.

Critique: A superbly presented work of New Testament scholarship, "Reading Romans Backwards: A Gospel of Peace in the Midst of Empire" is an extraordinary and unreservedly recommended addition to church, seminary, community, college, and university library New Testament Studies collections. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of seminary students, clergy, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "Reading Romans Backwards" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $29.95).

The Winding Path of Transformation
Jeffrey Tacklind
InterVarsity Press
PO Box 1400, Downers Grove, IL 60515-1426
www.ivpress.com
9780830846504, $17.00, PB, 192pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Jeff Tacklind is lead pastor of Church by the Sea, which is a quirky and diverse congregation in Laguna Beach, California. He is a spiritual director and has a master's degree in philosophy and a doctorate in semiotics and future studies.

In "The Winding Path of Transformation: Finding Yourself Between Glory and Humility", Pastor Tacklin describes spiritual transformation as an invitation to paradox. By entering into suffering, he says, we find joy. By embracing the downward path of humility, we find glory. And by remaining small, sometimes we grow to great heights.

Anyone who hungers to understand God's heart in the midst of life's tension will resonate with Pastor Tacklind's vulnerability in this honest and meditative account. So will readers who have found their own spiritual journey to be winding and halting rather than a constant ascent of growth.

Pastor Tacklind draws from the natural world (trees, waves, mountains, and canyons) to bring to life the lessons that he has picked up along the way. C. S. Lewis, Henri Nouwen, S ren Kierkegaard and others all serve as guides who light the way on the winding path of following God.

Critique: Inspired and inspiring, thoughtful and thought-provoking, reflectively insightful and spiritually refreshing, "The Winding Path of Transformation: Finding Yourself Between Glory and Humility" is an extraordinary and unreservedly recommended study for all members of the Christian community regardless of denominational affiliations. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of clergy and laity that "The Winding Path of Transformation" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $14.55).

The Jesus Who Surprises
Dee Brestin
Multnomah Books
c/o Waterbrook Multnomah Publishing Group
12265 Oracle Blvd., Suite 200, Colorado Springs, CO 80921
http://waterbrookmultnomah.com
9780735291805, $15.99, PB, 256pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Dee Brestin is the founder of Dee Brestin Ministries, maintains an interactive Bible study blog, and is actively involved in prison ministries. A frequent guest on Moody Radio and Focus on the Family, she also speaks annually at many large women's conferences.

In "The Jesus Who Surprises: Opening Our Eyes to His Presence in All of Life and Scripture", she offers a fascinating perspective on the historic, poetic, and prophetic books of the Old Testament. Brestin draws on her deep understanding of the full scope of the Bible to explore the timeless story of God's quest to rescue each of us. She combines rich teaching, memorable storytelling, and an in-depth Bible study component to create a resource that shows readers how the story began (the books of Moses), how to live in the story (the poetic books), and how the story will end (the prophets).

Critique: An extraordinarily informative and thoroughly 'reader friendly' study, "The Jesus Who Surprises: Opening Our Eyes to His Presence in All of Life and Scripture" is especially and unreservedly recommended for church, seminary, and community library Christian Studies collections. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of seminary students, clergy, and biblical student study groups that "The Jesus Who Surprises" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $11.99) and as a complete and unabridged audio book (Oasis Audio, 9781640911918, $24.99, CD).

God vs. Money
J. Clif Christopher
Abingdon Press
2222 Rosa L. Parks Blvd.
PO Box 280988, Nashville, TN 37228-0988
www.abingdonpress.com
9781501868115, $16.99, PB, 128pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: J. Clif Christopher is a combat veteran of the Gulf War and has been an ordained minister of the United Methodist Church since 1975.

As Pastor Christopher informs us, God and Money both make a lot of promises. God keeps all of God's promises, while Money keeps none. However, Money has better advertising, and we keep falling for it.

In "God vs. Money: Winning Strategies in the Combat Zone" Pastor Christopher shows clergy and lay members of the Christian community how to turn that trend around in our lives and in the lives of those we lead in this little volume that is comprised of practical, up-to-date, 'real world' expert advice on fundraising -- one of the biggest challenges facing church and not-for-profit leaders alike.

Critique: Exceptionally well written, organized and presented, "God vs. Money: Winning Strategies in the Combat Zone" should be considered essential written for all members of the Christian community, but most especially clergy and seminary students destined for the clergy. It should be noted that "God vs Money" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $11.75).

Disability and the Way of Jesus
Bethany McKinney Fox
InterVarsity Press
PO Box 1400, Downers Grove, IL 60515-1426
www.ivpress.com
9780830852390, $28.00, PB, 224pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: What does healing mean for people with disabilities? The Gospels are filled with accounts of Jesus offering physical healing. But even as churches today seek to follow the way of Jesus, people with disabilities all too often experience the very opposite of healing and life-giving community: exclusion, judgment, barriers.

Misinterpretation and misapplication of biblical healing narratives can do great damage, yet those who take the Bible seriously mustn't avoid these passages either. Bethany McKinney Fox believes that Christian communities are better off when people with disabilities are an integral part of our common life. In "Disability and the Way of Jesus: Holistic Healing in the Gospels and the Church", she considers how the stories of Jesus' healings can guide us toward mutual thriving.

How did Jesus' original audience understand his works of healing, and how should we relate to these texts today? After examining the healing narratives in their biblical and cultural contexts, Fox considers perspectives from medical doctors, disability scholars, and pastors to more fully understand what Jesus does as he heals and how he points the way for relationships with people with disabilities.

Personal reflections from Christians with disabilities are featured throughout "Disability and the Way of Jesus, which concludes with suggestions for concrete practices adaptable to a variety of church settings. Bridging biblical studies, ethics, and disability studies with the work of practitioners, Fox provides a unique resource that is both theologically grounded and winsomely practical.

"Disability and the Way of Jesus" provides new lenses on holistic healing for scholars, laypeople, and ministry leaders who care about welcoming all people as Jesus would.

Critique: An extraordinary and unique study applying scripture and the teachings of Jesus Christ to an often obscured condition within our Christian communities, "Disability and the Way of Jesus: Holistic Healing in the Gospels and the Church" will prove to be a welcome contribution to the every growing library of applied Christian Theology and the spiritual improvement of Church communities as a whole, and those members of that community with a disability. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of clergy, seminary students, and lay members of the Christian community that "Disability and the Way of Jesus" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $15.99).

Editorial Note: Bethany McKinney Fox (PhD, Fuller Theological Seminary) is the Director of Student Success and an Adjunct Professor of Christian Ethics at Fuller Theological Seminary. She has worked previously at San Francisco Theological Seminary, First Presbyterian Church of Hollywood, and L'Arche Wavecrest. Professor Fox currently lives in Los Angeles, where she is a founding pastor at Beloved Everybody Church.

Francis of Assisi's Sermon on the Mount
John Michael Talbot
Paraclete Press
PO Box 1568, Orleans, MA 02653
www.paracletepress.com
9781640601727, $19.99, PB, 192pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: In "Francis of Assisi's Sermon on the Mount: Lessons from the Admonitions", John MichaelTalbot applies the timeless words of St. Francis to our own troubled times. In the United States and across the world, we are experiencing polarization, anger, and violence, as well as the rise of white supremacy based racism, hostility to immigrants, and an increasing authoritarianism challenging and usurping the democracies.

But God is still in control, and it is important to dig deep into our Christian heritage in a way that speaks to all people. St. Francis is one of the great saints who somehow reaches across all divides, touches hearts and souls, and brings spiritual peace.

Talbot explores Francis's Admonitions: twenty-eight teachings that are among the most beautiful and troubling of the saint's writings. Covering sacramental theology of the Eucharist, to communal issues of consecrated life, to very private aspects of faith and devotion, these Admonitions provide clear and radical road signs to the destination on our spiritual journey in Christ.

Critique: Reading through the pages of "Francis of Assisi's Sermon on the Mount" is a kind of balm for the troubled soul given to the unrelenting and depressing news we are bombarded with each day from here at home and around the world. Unreservedly recommended to the attention of all members of the Christian community, it should be noted that "Francis of Assisi's Sermon on the Mount" is also available for personal reading lists in a digital book format (Kindle, $14.25).

Editorial Note: John Michael Talbot is a multi-platinum selling, Grammy and Dove award-winning Contemporary Christian Music pioneer. He is recognized as one of Catholic music's most popular artists with compositions published in hymnals throughout the world. A bestselling author, John Michael has written twenty-nine books. He was host and creator of the popular TV series "All Things Are Possible with God." He lives and leads the monastic life, which overflows into his very active ministry from Little Portion Hermitage in Arkansas and St. Clare Monastery in Texas, where he is the Founder and General Minister of the Brothers and Sisters of Charity.

Pressure Points
Shelby Abbott
New Growth Press
1301 Carolina Street, #L101, Greensboro, NC 27401
www.newgrowthpress.com
9781948130349, $15.99, PB, 160pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: This humorous, poignant, and conversational guide invites young men and women to practically apply gospel solutions to all of life's pressures, big or small. From navigating failure, roadblocks, and spiritual warfare to tackling relevant, hard-hitting topics such as drinking, sex, dating, pornography, and the fear of missing out, "Pressure Points: A Guide to Navigating Student Stress" by Shelby Abbott encourages college students to consider Jesus in the midst of everyday struggles.

Used for biblical reflection, group discussion, devotional reading, or large group Bible study discussion, "Pressure Points" is full of rich gospel hope for all readers, but most especially those attending college or university. This flexible resource points to Scripture and Abbott's funny, easily digestible reflections to help modern-day college students maneuver their early years toward the gospel, challenging young adults to see their struggles through a biblical lens.

By addressing relevant challenges and practical hardships with gospel advice, "Pressure Points" guides readers to see and lean on the person of Jesus, reflecting on important issues in light of the gospel. From waiting on the Lord with patience, learning to fellowship with him in his sufferings, to wrestling with purpose, relationships, and the growing challenges of today's culture, "Pressure Points" is a timely and refreshing voice for young people pointing to a bottomless pit of grace.

Critique: Shelby Abbott is an author, campus minister, and conference speaker on staff with the ministry of Cru and so brings to "Pressure Points: A Guide to Navigating Student Stress" a special expertise within a distinctively Christian perspective. While very highly recommended for seminary, college, and university students in particular, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Pressure Points" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $12.79).

By the Way: Getting Serious about Following Jesus
Derek Vreeland
Herald Press
P.O. Box 866, Harrisonburg, VA 22803
www.heraldpress.com
9781513805870, $29.99, HC, 232pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: In "By the Way: Getting Serious about Following Jesus", pastor and author Derek Vreeland reframes everything we've been told about Christianity and what it means to follow Jesus.

Discipleship isn't an add-on. Jesus didn't say, Go into all the world and get people saved or Get people to ask me into their hearts. Jesus said, Go therefore and make disciples. Reclaiming discipleship as the heart of the Christian faith means seeing anew the gospel, the cross, the resurrection, transformation, and the community of faith. We learn the ways of Jesus by practicing them, Vreeland says, and in By the Way, he introduces us to the ways of Jesus.

Discipleship means joining God's joyful mission of reconciliation on earth, not just saving souls for the afterlife. Following Jesus is more like taking a long walk in the woods than sitting in a classroom. Living by the Way takes practice -- and that's the point!

Critique: Offering thoughtful and thought-provoking insights into what being a Christian and a member of a Christian community calls for in today's secular world, "By the Way: Getting Serious about Following Jesus" is an inspiring read from beginning to end. While very highly recommended for church and seminary library collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "By the Way" is also available in a paperback edition (9781513805863, $16.99) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $8.49).

Editorial Note: Derek Vreeland is the Discipleship Pastor at Word of Life Church in St. Joseph, Missouri, where he leads small groups and discipleship ministries and serves on the pastoral leadership team along with Brian and Peri Zahnd. Vreeland is a regular contributor at Mission Alliance, and his work has been published by Outreach. The author of several books, Pastor Vreeland has degrees from Missouri Western State University, Oral Roberts University, and Asbury Theological Seminary.

Carmelite Wisdom and Prophetic Hope
Mary Frohlich, R.S.C.J., editor
ICS Publications
c/o Discalced Carmelite Friars
2131 Lincoln Road, NE, Washington, DC 20002-1199
www.icspublications.org
9781939272638, $22.95, PB, 376pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: "Carmelite Wisdom and Prophetic Hope: Treasures Both New and Old" is an anthology deftly compiled and edited by Mary Frohlich, RSCJ, and is comprised of twelve original essays by contemporary scholars and theologians who collectively explores the pivotal role of biblical Wisdom in the Carmelite tradition, as well as Carmel's perennial commitment to the following of Christ and how Carmel speaks prophetically in both time-honored and new ways to the contemporary world.

Critique: The eleventh volume in the simply outstanding Carmelite Studies series from ICS Publishing, "Carmelite Wisdom and Prophetic Hope: Treasures Both New and Old" is an extraordinary collection of exceptionally informative, impressively thought-provoking, ultimately inspiring commentaries. While unreservedly recommended for community, church, seminary, and academic library Christian Studies collections in general, and Carmelite supplemental reading lists in particular, it should be noted for the personal reading lists of students, seminarians, academia, clergy, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "Carmelite Wisdom and Prophetic Hope: Treasures Both New and Old" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $22.95).


The Judaic Studies Shelf

Studying Hasidism
Marcin Wodzinski, editor
Rutgers University Press
106 Somerset St., 3rd Floor, New Brunswick, NJ 08901
http://rutgerspress.rutgers.edu
9781978804227, $120.00, HC, 314pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Hasidism is a Jewish religious movement that originated in Poland in the eighteenth century and today counts over 700,000 adherents, primarily in the U.S., Israel, and the UK.

Popular and scholarly interest in Hasidic Judaism and Hasidic Jews is growing, but until now there was no textbook specifically dedicated to research methods in the field, nor sources for the history of Hasidism have been properly recognized.

Compiled and edited by Marcin Wodzinski, an internationally recognized historian of Hasidism, "Studying Hasidism: Sources, Methods, Perspectives" aims to remedy this gap. The work's thirteen chapters each draws upon a set of different sources, many of them previously untapped, including folklore, music, big data, and material culture to demonstrate what is still to be achieved in the study of Hasidism.

Ultimately, "Studying Hasidism" is a textbook that presents research methods that can decentralize the role community leaders play in the current literature and reclaim the everyday lives of Hasidic Jews.

Critique: Comprised of thirteen erudite and informative articles by experts in Hasidic culture and customs, "Studying Hasidism: Sources, Methods, Perspectives" is an extraordinary, unique, and impressively informative contribution to the growing library of Hasidic literature and an invaluable addition to personal, community, and academic library Judaic Studies collections. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of students, academia, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in Hasidic Judaism that "Studying Hasidism" is also available in a paperback edition (9781978804210, $44.95) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $44.95).


The Buddhist Studies Shelf

Love on Every Breath
Lama Palden Drolma
New World Library
14 Pamaron Way, Novato, CA 94949
www.newworldlibrary.com
9781608685769, $16.95, PB, 232pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Today, when our human family is facing so many challenges, it is more important than ever that we find peace and sustenance in our hearts.

"Love on Every Breath: Tonglen Meditation for Transforming Pain into Joy", is a seven-step meditation for anyone who wants to nourish and open their heart. An ancient and profound meditation that has been practiced in isolated mountain retreats in the Himalayas for centuries, it is now available to us in the modern world.

In "Love on Every Breath", Lama Palden Drolma (a Western teacher trained by Tibetan Buddhist masters and also schooled in contemporary psychotherapy), deftly introduces readers to the meditation in this powerful, user-friendly book. She walks readers step-by-step through the meditation, from beginning issues of sitting with awareness and focusing on the breath to taking in and extending love.

Real-life challenges of sadness, anger, and overwhelm are addressed with "On-the-Spot" versions of the meditation. Love on Every Breath is a meditation that changes our experience in the moment -- and changes our lives.

Critique: Impressively informative, exceptionally well organized and presented, "Love on Every Breath: Tonglen Meditation for Transforming Pain into Joy" is a life changing, life enhancing, life celebrating read from first page to last. Certain to be an immediate and enduringly appreciated addition to community, college, and academic library Buddhism & Mediation Studies collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Love on Every Breath" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $10.98)

Editorial Note: Lama Palden Drolma is a licensed psychotherapist, spiritual teacher, and coach. She has studied Buddhism in the Himalayas with some of the preeminent Tibetan masters of the twentieth century, including Kalu Rinpoche, who authorized her to become one of the first Western lamas. She is the founder of the Sukhasiddhi Foundation, a Tibetan Buddhist center in Fairfax, California.


The Religion/Spirituality Shelf

Encountering World Religions: A Christian Introduction
Irving Hexham
Zondervan Academic
c/o Zondervan Publishing House
5300 Patterson Avenue, S.E., Grand Rapids, MI 49530
9780310588603, $16.99, PB, 224pp, www.amazon.com

The diversity of the world's religions has come to the West, but believers are often ill-equipped for any kind of serious engagement with non-Christians. In the pages of "Encountering World Religions: A Christian Introduction", professor and author Irving Hexham introduces all the world's major religious traditions in a brief and understandable way as seen from a Christian perspective.

Professor Hexham outlines key beliefs and practices in each religion, while also providing guidance on how to think critically about them from the standpoint of Christian theology. African, yogic, and Abrahamic traditions are all covered. Accessible and clear, Encountering World Religions will provide formal and lay students alike with a useful Christian introduction to the major faiths of our world.

Critique: Exceptionally informed and informative, thoroughly 'reader friendly' in organization and presentation, "Encountering World Religions: A Christian Introduction" is an ideal choice for the non-specialist general reader wanting a succinct summary overview of the major religions celebrated around the world in terms of their own Christian beliefs. While highly recommended for church, community, and academic library collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Encountering World Religions: A Christian Introduction" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

Editorial Note: Irving Hexham is the Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Calgary and the Adjunct Professor of World Christianity at Liverpool Hope University. He has published twenty-seven academic books, including The Concise Dictionary of Religion, Understanding Cults and New Religions, and Religion and Economic Thought, plus eighty major academic articles and chapters in books, numerous popular articles, and book reviews. Recently he completed a report for the United Nations' refugee agency on religious conflict in Africa and another for the Canadian Government's Department of Canadian Heritage on Religious Publications in Canada. In 2008, he was honored at the historic Humboldt University in Berlin with a Festschrift, Border Crossings: Explorations of an Interdisciplinary Historian (Stuttgart: Franz Steiner Verlag).


The Psychology Shelf

The Great Within
Han F. de Wit
Shambhala Publications, Inc.
300 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston, MA 02115-4544
www.shambhala.com
9781611806816, $24.95, PB, 360pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: In "The Great Within: The Transformative Power and Psychology of the Spiritual Path", by psychologist Han de Wit explores the psychology found in age-old contemplative traditions and takes us deep into the mind of the spiritual practitioner.

Using Buddhism as a framework, and drawing insights from several world religions, he demonstrates how contemplative practices can open us up to our own wisdom and compassion.

The result is a vivid illumination of the process of spiritual transformation and an important contribution to contemporary psychology and psychotherapy.

Critique: An absorbing, informative, and deftly written, organized and presented, "The Great Within: The Transformative Power and Psychology of the Spiritual Path" is an extraordinary study comprised of ten specific chapters divided into two major sections (Explorations; Spiritual Practice and Development), and enhanced with the inclusion of eight pages of Notes, a six page Bibliography, and a fifteen page Index. While especially recommended for both community and academic library Contemporary Psychology collections in general, and Buddhist Studies supplemental reading lists in particular, it should be noted for the personal reading lists of students, academia, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the psychology of spirituality, that "The Great Within" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $18.99).

Editorial Note: Han F. de Wit received his PhD in psychology from the University of Amsterdam in 1977. In 1983, as a visiting scholar at Naropa University, he started a research program that brought him international acclaim as a founder of contemplative psychology. Trained as a Buddhist teacher by Chogyam Trungpa and Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, Professor de Wit is also involved through his writings in the dialogue of Buddhism with Western psychology, philosophy, and religion.


The Graphic Novel Shelf

Atar Gull
Fabien Nury, author
Bruno, illustrator
Titan Comics
https://titan-comics.com
9781785867323, $24.99, HC, 96pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Atar Gull is a Prince among his tribe, until he finds himself in chains, being exported to Jamaica like livestock, at the hands of the ruthless Captain Brulart -- and sold to a Jamaican plantation owner by the name of Tom Will. But Atar Gull is a patient man, and seeing his kin murdered around him (including the hanging of his aged father by his new plantation master) is not enough to prevent him from biding his time. When that time does eventually come, revenge is bloody, ruthless, thorough and extraordinary.

Critique: A chilling yet inherently riveting and superbly crafted graphic novel by the team of author Fabien Nury and famed illustrator Bruno, "Atar Gull" is a story of slavery and vengeance that is not for the squeamish or faint of heart. "Atar Gull" is a distinctively original and highly recommended addition to adult and academic library graphic novel collections.

Mermaid Project: Episode 3
Leo, author
Fred Simon, illustrator
Corine James, contributor
Cinebook Ltd.
www.cinebook.com
c/o National Book Network (dist.)
4501 Forbes Boulevard, Suite 200, Lanham, MD 20706
www.nbnbooks.com
9781849184120, $11.95, 48pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Continuing the graphic novel series "Mermaid Project" we find that Roger, Romane's brother, has now been transferred to an Algapower lab in Brazil. Shortly afterwards, Romane, still working for Intelligence, arrives in Rio. Her new mission: to get in touch with her brother and convince him to inform the authorities on the company and its mysterious Mermaid Project. The stakes have changed for the Pennac siblings, though: among the documents retrieved during the New York mission, their names appear on a list of potential genetic experiments from when they were enrolled in a French orphanage.

Critique: Expertly illustrated by Fred Simon, "Mermaid Project: Episode 3" is an inherently fascinating presentation of a near future world of exhausted resources and the reduction of the formally dominate Caucasian race to a subservient position to the black and brown population. Throw in a pod of intelligent dolphins and the emergence of genetic manipulations that have resulted in the creation of human/dolphin hybrids, and you have a science fiction story of intense interest and an unsettling plausibility. "Mermaid Project: Episode 3" is an extraordinary and highly recommended addition to both personal reading lists and community library graphic novel collections.

Thorgal: The Sacrifice
Van Hamme, author
Rosinski, illustrator
Cinebook Ltd.
www.cinebook.com
c/o National Book Network (dist.)
4501 Forbes Boulevard, Suite 200, Lanham, MD 20706
www.nbnbooks.com
9781849184267, $11.95, PB, 48pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Thorgal's family is once again reunited, but the future is bleak. The hero is unconscious, dying, and his wife and children are exhausted and starving. Aaricia's prayers bring her some hope: the goddess Frigg is willing to save Thorgal. But Frigg's husband, the high god Odin is determined to get rid of the troublesome Child of the Stars once and for all. So begins one last challenge for Thorgal and his son Jolan - a final chance to obtain what they've always dreamed off: a quiet life lived out in the comfortable surroundings of their northern village.

Critique: The twenty-first volume in the long running saga Thorgal, "The Sacrifice" is a thoroughly entertaining and completely reader engaging graphic novel by the masterful team of author/storyteller Van Hamme and illustrator/artist Rosinski that will prove to be an immediately popular and appreciated addition to community library graphic novel collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Thorgal: The Sacrifice" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $2.99).

Editorial Note: Jean Van Hammewas born in 1939 in Belgium. His major breakthrough came in 1977, when he created the Viking hero Thorgal for Grzegorz Rosinski. The mix of medieval legends and heroic fantasy soon became a huge success, with major awards following. He is also the creator of the bestselling series Largo Winchand XIII(published in English by Cinebook).

Grzegorz Rosinski is one of the most popular artists of comic books in Western Europe. Among his later works are the series Chninkel (with Van Hamme) and a series titled Lament of the Lost Moors(with Jean Dufaux). In 2001, the Rosinski/Van Hamme duo published yet another comic book titled Western, based in the American Old West.

Distant Worlds: Episode 3
Leo, author
Icar, illustrator
Cinebook Ltd.
www.cinebook.com
c/o National Book Network (dist.)
4501 Forbes Boulevard, Suite 200, Lanham, MD 20706
www.nbnbooks.com
9781849183796, $11.95, PB, 48pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Abandoned amidst a hostile wilderness, Paul has been rescued by a biologist, Mr Amid. The scientist is studying the pearls that are Altair's true wealth - and more particularly the plants that produce them and that appear to be dying off. Amid offers to take on Paul as his assistant, but the young man is still looking for his father. As he follows the trail, Paul becomes tougher and more inured to life on his new planet - and to human nature.

Critique: The third volume in a deftly crafted and expertly illustrated science fiction series, "Distant Worlds" is unreservedly recommended for the personal reading lists of all dedicated SciFi fans and community library graphic novel collections.

Editorial Note: Brazilian artist Leois best known for his science-fiction, multi-series saga The Worlds of Aldebaran. He also created Canadian Mountie Trentas well as Kenyaand its second season Namibia, all three with Rodolphe. Icar(Franck Picard), a deaf artist and colourist, studied architecture, bande-dessinee, and art at the Beaux-Arts school in Paris, before being 'discovered' at the 1990 Angouleme festival by Patrick Giordano, with whom he would go on to publish his first comic, Jeepster.


The Audiobook Shelf

February's Son
Alan Parks
HighBridge Audio Books
270 Skip Jack Road, Prince Frederick, MD 20678
https://highbridgeaudio.com
9781684573608, $34.99, CD, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: A man hangs himself in a neighborhood chapel. Bodies of young girls are being found in canals and rivers across the city with high levels of Mandrax in their bloodstream. Harry McCoy is asked to watch over a colleague's niece, who has left home young and is running with a bad crowd in Glasgow. DS Wattie is attempting to become a sergeant. Drugs in Glasgow have gotten darker and more dangerous. "February's Son" showcases Glasgow, its music, and its rough edged inhabitants. This hard city that is fought over by gangs, organized crime, the forces of law and order, along with ordinary people who are just trying to get by.

Critique: A deftly crafted mystery with more plot twists and turns than a carnival roller coaster, "February's Son" is the second title in author Alan Parks' outstanding Harry McCoy series and will prove to be an enduringly popular addition to personal and community library Mystery/Suspense audio book collections. (Complete and Unabridged, 6 CDs, 10 Hours, 15 minutes)


The Music CD Shelf

Local Motion
Pepper
https://www.pepperlive.com
Law Records
$10.99 CD / $9.49 MP3 amazon.com

Local Motion is the eighth full length album by punk/rock/reggae band Pepper, and listening to it quickly reveals why Pepper shows sell out from coast to coast! The music reflects on weeks spent touring, sharing music, and forging relationships with both fans and fellow musicians. Vivacious and blood-pumping, Local Motion is brimming with intense fervor, and highly recommended. The tracks are "Warning", "Carnaval", "Neighborhood", "Sugar", "Candy", "We The People", "Brand New Day", "Goddaughter", "Truth", and "My Holiday".

Rearrange My Heart
Che Apalache
https://www.cheapalache.com
Free Dirt Records
www.freedirt.net
$15.00 CD / $9.49 MP3 amazon.com

Rearrange My Heart is a Latin and American roots music fusion album by four-man band Che Apalache: world traveler, bluegrass fiddle master, and queer musician Joe Troop; guitar player Franco Martino; mandolin player Martin Borik; and banjo player Pau Barjan. The rapturously vibrant, original music flows with passion, in this cross-cultural album highly recommended for connoisseurs of either or both genres. The tracks are "Saludo Murguero", "Maria", "The Dreamer", "24 de Marzo", "Rock of Ages", "The Wall", "Rearrange My Heart", "The Coming of Spring", "New Journey, "La Milonga del Cuis Emperdernido", "Over In Glory / New Swing", and "Once Took Me In".

Somos
Villalobos Brothers
www.VillalobosBrothers.com
Privately Published
$TBA CD / $9.49 MP3 amazon.com

Somos is a new album by masterful violin players Villalobos Brothers, with support from Humberto Flores on electric and acoustic guitars, and other associates performing percussion. Their soul-searching original songs reflect their not only the beauty of classical music, but the hardships they have seen and experienced. The lyrics denounce political corruption, injustice, and cruel border policies. Somos is an unforgettable listening experience, highly recommended for both personal and public library world music collections. The tracks are "Xalapa Bang!", "Destino", "Chiquitita", "Lo Relativo", "Hombres de Arcilla", "Quien Eres Tu", "Hermano Mio", "La Leva", "Ausencia de Ti", "Sin Mi", "Wind Song", "Somos", and "Veracruzana".


The Health/Medicine Shelf

I Used to Have Cancer
James Templeton
Square One Publishers
115 Herricks Road, Garden City Park, NY 11040
www.squareonepublishers.com
9780757004780, $16.95, PB, 192pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: By all standards of success, James Templeton seemed to have it all. He was a highly successful businessman, had a beautiful wife and daughter, and, only in his early thirties, had his whole life in front of him. To avoid the same fate as his father and grandfather, who both died of heart attacks at a young age, James became an avid runner -- a passion that he believed helped him stay fit and healthy. Imagine his shock when, during a routine physical, his doctor noticed a mole on his body that turned out to be a melanoma -- a dangerous form of skin cancer.

The mole was removed immediately and James, who was diligent in his follow-up exams, appeared to be cancer-free -- but only for a short while. When the cancer reappeared and had spread, on the advice of his doctor, James followed the conventional medical protocol, which included surgery and chemotherapy. He was also involved in a clinical trial. When he learned that the treatments weren't working, James was obviously devastated. He had reached a new low point in his life, and as he lay in the hospital bed, he prayed fervently for help. As if by some miracle, help came to James in the form of three different visitors who would change the course of his life -- and help direct him on a path back to health.

"I Used to Have Cancer" is James Templeton's medical memoir and presents an inspiring look back at his unique journey in overcoming stage 4 melanoma. James takes you with him on a trip crisscrossing America, during which he shares the various natural approaches he followed to battle his cancer -- from diet and supplements to meditation and lifestyle adjustments. As his journey continued, you will see first-hand how James' definition of success changed from making money to seeing the next sunrise. And how he continues finding success by reaching out to others to share the lessons he has learned.

While "I Used to Have Cancer" largely focuses on the various methods James used to overcome his own cancer, it is also an inspiring story of not giving up when all other avenues of conventional medicine fail. It is about taking control of your life and finding a way back from the brink of death. It is about being able to tell your friends, "I used to have cancer."

Critique: Inspired and inspiring, potentially life changing and life saving, "I Used to Have Cancer: How I Found My Own Way Back to Health" is exceptionally well written, organized and presented, making it an ideal and unreservedly recommended addition for all community, college, and university library Health/Medicine collections. Especially commended to the attention of anyone having to deal with cancer within themselves of a loved one, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "I Used to Have Cancer" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $8.99).


The Metaphysical Studies Shelf

Cosmic Crystals
Ashley Leavy
Fair Winds Press
c/o Quarto Publishing Group USA
400 First Avenue North, Suite 400, Minneapolis, MN 55401-1722
www.quartous.com
9781592338856, $24.99, PB, 192pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Ashley Leavy is the Founder & Educational Director of the Love & Light School of Crystal Therapy. Teaching others about crystals is Ashley's passion and her purpose. Ashley's experience is based on almost a decade, and 100+ classes, of professional crystal healing training. Because of her expertise, Ashley has been a featured guest on NBC, has been interviewed about crystal healing for dozens of radio shows, has had articles published in many newspapers and magazines, and has been featured as a guest blogger on hundreds of energy healing and wellness blogs. She is also the author of "Crystals for Energy Healing".

Living in sync with the rhythm of the lunar cycle is a powerful way to stay aligned to universal energy. Crystals and moon magic have been used together to this aim for centuries. Crystals are natural amplifiers of energy that can be used to enhance your connection to the moon and its healing energy.

Ashley specifically wrote "Cosmic Crystals: Rituals and Meditations for Connecting With Lunar Energy" so that the non-specialist general reader with an interest in the subject an learn crystal meditations and rituals for each moon phase, as well as which crystals are most potent during New Moons, Full Moons, and other lunar events. Cosmic Crystals shows you how to combine the power of lunar energy and healing crystals to create sacred space, set intentions, and manifest magic and abundance in your life.

For each moon, find information on how to work with its corresponding crystals and energetic qualities, along with lists of its associated herbs, colors, essential oils, animals, and deities.

Critique: Beautifully and profusely illustrated throughout, "Cosmic Crystals: Rituals and Meditations for Connecting With Lunar Energy" is an ideal introduction to crystal based metaphysics. Impressively informed and informative, "Cosmic Crystals" is thoroughly 'user friendly in organization and presentation, making it an ideal and unreservedly recommended addition to personal, professional, community, and academic library collections.

Memory Palaces and Masonic Lodges
Charles B. Jameux
Inner Traditions International, Ltd.
One Park Street, Rochester, VT 05767
www.innertraditions.com
9781620557884, $14.99, PB, 128pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: In Antiquity, the art of memory was a mnemonic device that allowed an orator, such as Cicero, to recall all the points he wished to make by associating each of them with an image or architectural element in the site he was speaking. When this art was rediscovered in the Renaissance, hermetic thinkers like Giordano Bruno reworked it into a method that allowed them to acquire knowledge with the creation of "memory palaces". The elements of these memory palaces were not intended to trigger the memory but would actually transform into talismanic objects with knowledge entirely new to the seeker.

In "Memory Palaces and Masonic Lodges: Esoteric Secrets of the Art of Memory", Charles B. Jameux shows that this hermetic reworking of the classical art of memory was no mystery to operative Masons, who grafted it onto their own rituals, catalyzing the transformation of operative Masonry into speculative Masonry. He shows how the hieroglyphic writing used during the Renaissance in the art of memory provided the groundwork for one of the most esoteric elements of masonic practice: the grasp of the realm of image by the letter, where symbols were "buried" within words.

Using archival evidence from 17th-century Scotland and earlier, combined with the research of modern scholars such as Frances Yates and David Stevenson, Jameux argues that the creation of speculative Freemasonry can be traced back 100 years earlier than conventional history records--to 1637, when the first recorded use of the Mason's Word appeared and with it, the first known appearance of the symbolic Temple of Solomon. He follows Giordano Bruno's visit to the British Isles in the late 16th century and the subsequent activities of the men he met there, showing that Masonic symbolism owes much of its current form to early memory palaces, which represented the Masonic lodge and temple in their fully imaginary states.

Revealing the pivotal role of the memory palace and hermetic traditions in early Masonic symbolism, Jameux sheds new light on the Masonic questions asked of each initiate and the spiritual importance of the Temple of Jerusalem to Freemasonry.

Critique: A unique and very special contribution to the growing library of Masonic literature, "Memory Palaces and Masonic Lodges: Esoteric Secrets of the Art of Memory" is an extraordinarily well written, organized and presented study that will have immense value for both academia and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject. While unreservedly recommended for both community and academic library Metaphysical Studies collections in general, and Masonic Studies supplemental curriculum lists in particular, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Memory Palaces and Masonic Lodges" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

Editorial Note: Charles B. Jameux was Grand Chancellor of Foreign Relations of the Grand Lodge of France and the chief editor of the Masonic Journal of the Grand Lodge of France, Initiatory Perspectives, from 1998 to 2001. He is currently the director of the Living Stone collection for the French publisher Dervy (Tredaniel Group).

In Light and In Shade
Patricia Irvine
Ozark Mountain Publishing, Inc.
PO Box 754, Huntsville, AR 72740
www.ozarkmt.com
9781940265735, $25.00, PB, 368pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: "In Light and In Shade: The Inspirational Story of A Love That Refused to Die, Even After Death" by Patricia Irvine is the inspirational true story of a love that refused to die, even after death. It is the first-hand account of extraordinary events that happened to an ordinary woman.

Before her husband died prematurely, Patricia was skeptical about spiritual matters. However, driven by grief and fear over a feud concerning the family business, she decided to seek the advice of a medium. Shortly afterwards, inexplicable things began to happen to challenge her beliefs. As Patricia awakened spiritually, so her husband was able to reach beyond the grave to help his widow achieve justice for her and their young family in a court battle that made legal history.

Based on the journals Patricia kept throughout this time, "In Light and In Shade" is a memoir describes her amazing journey from non-believer to finding her true destiny, healing through words. In a troubled and turbulent world, "In Light and In Shade" raises important points about religion, God, and the true meaning of spirituality. It is a story anyone seeking answers to the big questions about life and death should read.

Critique: A deftly written, impressively informative, candidly personal, and inherently fascinating account, "In Light and In Shade: The Inspirational Story of A Love That Refused to Die, Even After Death" is especially and unreservedly recommended for both community and academic library Metaphysical Studies collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "In Light and In Shade" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

Familiars in Witchcraft
Maja D'Aoust
Destiny Books
c/o Inner Traditions International, Ltd.
One Park Street, Rochester, VT 05767
www.innertraditions.com
9781620558461, $16.99, PB, 160pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: In European folklore and folk-belief of the Medieval and Early Modern periods, familiar spirits (sometimes referred to simply as "familiars" or "animal guides") were believed to be supernatural entities that would assist witches and cunning folk in their practice of magic. (Wikipedia)

In "Familiars in Witchcraft: Supernatural Guardians in the Magical Traditions of the World", Maja D'Aoust explains how familiars are connected with shapeshifting and how the classic familiars of medieval witchcraft tradition are related to the power animals and allies of shamanic practices worldwide, including animal guardian spirits of Native American traditions and the daimons of the ancient Greeks and Romans. She examines the fetch spirit, also known as the fylgia in Scandinavian tradition, and how the witch or sorcerer draws on their personal sexual energy to give this creature its power to magnetize and attract what it was sent to retrieve. She also looks at incubus, succubus, doubles, doppelgangers, and soul mates, showing how familiars can also adopt human forms and sometimes form romantic or erotic attachments with the witch or shaman.

Reviewing alchemical, Hermetic, and Egyptian magical literature, including the nearly forgotten alchemical works of Anna Kingsford, D'Aoust explores their instructions for procuring the attention of a supernatural assistant as well as an extensive description of the alchemical wedding and how this ritual joins the magician and familiar spirit into a single unified consciousness. Exploring fairy familiars, she reveals how a practitioner can establish a "marriage" with a totemic plant or tree spirit, who, in return, would offer teachings about its medicinal and visionary powers.

Delving deeply into the intimate relations of humanity with the spirit world, D'Aoust shows how forming connections with living forces other than human enables us to move beyond the ego, expand our magical abilities, as well as evolve our conscious awareness.

Critique: Impressively informative, expertly written, organized and presented, "Familiars in Witchcraft: Supernatural Guardians in the Magical Traditions of the World" is an extraordinary and unreservedly recommended addition to community and academic library Metaphysical Studies collections in general, and Witchcraft supplemental studies reading lists in particular. It should be noted for students, academia, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "Familiars in Witchcraft" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $11.99).

Bonefire Tarot
Gabi Angus-West
Schiffer Publishing Ltd.
4880 Lower Valley Road, Atglen, PA 19310
www.schifferbooks.com
9780764351921, $34.99, Card Deck, 196pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Australian painter Gabi Angus-West creates ultra-vivid visions of the seen and unseen. She enhances, beautifies and flatters, making the unpalatable ripe and delicious: placing symbolic truths of human creativity where ardent seekers are sure to find them.

In "Bonefire Tarot" she takes the tarot reader on an exciting trip through an extravaganza of 78 vivid and expertly hand-painted Tarot cards inspired by the vintage, old-school tattoo flash of Sailor Jerry Collins. Influenced by Rider-Waite, this deck and guidebook are styled for the serious life explorer, identifying important symbols and key thoughts visually, so you may intuitively read the cards and demystify your own journey.

Fully equipped to tackle anything from the micro-cosmic to the macro-enormous, the Majors feature archetypal figures sure to play roles in our lives as aspects of ourselves or situations we are bound to encounter. The Minor suits have their own look and set of common symbols and are concerned with life's little details.

Along with a comprehensive glossary of symbols and their meanings, three simple spreads, and descriptive essays to guide even the most novice of tarot readers, "Bonefire Tarot" is a very special set that offers eternal truths via the timeless medium of Tarot.

Critique: Featuring beautiful and inspiring art, "Bonefire Tarot" by Gabi Angus-West is an extraordinary and unreservedly recommended addition to personal and professional tarot card set collections. The additional glossary of symbols, recommended spreads, and helpful essays also make "Bonefire Tarot" a superb choice for those new to tarot.

The Enchanted Love Tarot
Monte Farber, author
Amy Zerner, illustrator
Red Feather
c/o Schiffer Publishing Ltd.
4880 Lower Valley Road, Atglen, PA 19310
www.schifferbooks.com
9780764357091, $34.99, Box Set, 176pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Monte Farber and Amy Zerner are popular Tarot experts and legendary lovebirds, who have focused the ancient power of Tarot on the art of love with their creation of "The Enchanted Love Tarot". This unique system gives clear, direct, and insightful advice to improve relationships and partnerships -- and even finding a soul mate!

Each of the 78 tapestry-collaged cards is a magical fairy-tale world of enchantment, dreams, and fantasy that makes every readings a work of metaphysical inspiring art. Through proven relationship secrets and timeless spiritual teachings, with "The Enchanted Love Tarot" anyone can learn to open their heart and mind to make wise decisions on the pathway to love, improve existing relationships, or find out how to meet their soul mate.

Tarot readers can use these cards as a meditation tool or to build up intuition skills, as well as entertain and empower them in the ways of true love.

Critique: Beautifully illustrated, "The Enchanted Love Tarot" is an inspired and inspiring addition to any personal or professional tarot collection -- especially for readings seeking metaphysical insights into romance in the form of dating, mating, and relating!

Dimes from Heaven
Monica L. Morrissey
Balboa Press
c/o Hay House, Inc.
PO Box 5100, Carlsbad, CA 92018-5100
www.balboapress.com
9781982220105, $32.99, PB, 178pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: In the words of author Monica Morrissey -- "When people die, are they ever truly gone? I had heard the saying "pennies from heaven" before, but my coins from heaven seemed to be dimes. Was my father actually sending me dimes to show me he wasn't really gone? My mother seemed to be sending pennies all the time, but my dad was pretty clever. Everyone around me knew that I was sensitive, but it took me writing about a few special dimes to discover what it meant to be an empath. Along with the messages from Heaven, I share how I am listening to the positive voice inside my head. This book is about so much more than dimes, yet without them, I wouldn't have written it."

Critique: An inherently fascinating, deftly penned, thought-provoking, and occasionally iconoclastic read that has the potential to change the life (and afterlife) perceptions of the reader, "Dimes from Heaven: How Coins and Coincidences Helped Me Discover My Life As an Empath" is an extraordinary and highly recommended addition to personal, community, and academic library Contemporary Metaphysical Studies collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Dimes from Heaven" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $7.99).

The Sacred Herbs of Samhain
Ellen Evert Hopman
Destiny Books
Inner Traditions International, Ltd.
One Park Street, Rochester, VT 05767
www.innertraditions.com
9781620558614, $18.99, PB, 216pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Ellen Evert Hopman is a master herbalist and lay homeopath, who has been a Druidic initiate since 1984. She is a founding member of the Order of the White Oak, an Archdruidess of the Tribe of the Oak, a former professor at the Grey School of Wizardry, and a member of the Grey Council of Mages and Sages. She is the author of several books, including Secret Medicines from Your Garden. She lives in Massachusetts.

In "The Sacred Herbs of Samhain: Plants To Contact The Spirits Of The Dead" she has created a practical guide to using the sacred herbs of Samhain for healing, divination, purification, protection, magic, and as tools for contacting the Spirits.

"The Sacred Herbs of Samhain" also explores the identification, harvest, and safe practical and ritual use of more than 70 plants and trees sacred to the Celtic festival of Samhain, the origin of Halloween; details the most effective plants for protection from the mischief of Fairies, herbs for releasing the Dead, and visionary plants for divination and shamanic work; and provides instructions and suggestions for a traditional Dumb Supper, offerings to the Land Spirits, Samhain rites, and recipes for the sacred foods of Samhain.

Critique: A truly extraordinary and unique addition to personal, professional, community, and academic library Metaphysical Studies collections in general, and Celtic Spirituality supplemental studies reading lists in particular, "The Sacred Herbs of Samhain: Plants To Contact The Spirits Of The Dead" is especially and unreservedly recommended. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Sacred Herbs of Samhain" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $12.99).

Sacred Mysteries: The Chakra Oracle
Kooch N. Daniels, author
Victor Daniels, author
Pieter Weltevrede, illustrator
Red Feather
c/o Schiffer Publishing Ltd.
4880 Lower Valley Road, Atglen, PA 19310
www.schifferbooks.com
9780764357114, $34.99, Card Set, 244pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: In "Sacred Mysteries: The Chakra Oracle", yogic traditions meet Western psychology to create an explosion of new insights for transformation. To accelerate this emerging awareness, this stunning 49-card deck and its comprehensive guidebook offer easy access into the chakra system.

With illustrations created by Pieter Weltevrede (an expert in the Tantric tradition) and a guidebook grounded in the research, training, and working knowledge of oracles of co-authors Kooch and Victor Daniels, the "Sacred Mysteries" deck and book give you the right tools for advancing your personal quest.

Understand your key qualities by engaging your vibratory energy, looking within to interpret your body's sensations, thinking process, emotions, and pathways of Spirit, including your inner and outer awareness. Discover detailed, helpful spreads; find out how to awaken your third eye; and start reading right away with a keyword reference guide. This unique chakra deck will help you dive into the ancient well of Tantric wisdom and is appropriate for all levels of card readers.

Critique: Exquisitely beautiful cards combined with an impressively informative instruction guide book, "Sacred Mysteries: The Chakra Oracle" is certain to be an immediate and enduringly valued addition to personal, professional, community, and academic library Tarot Card collections in general, and Tantra oracular divination exercises in particular.

The Archangel Metatron
Amanda Ellis, author
Jane Delaford Taylor, illustrator
Red Feather
c/o Schiffer Publishing Ltd.
4880 Lower Valley Road, Atglen, PA 19310
www.schifferbooks.com
9780764357138, $29.99, Card Set, 128pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Archangel Metatron is a powerful ally who watches over the angelic realm and serves as a bridge to Earth. Metatron is able to help with concerns in our lives, and "The Archangel Metatron: Self-Mastery Oracle" is comprised of 55 individual divination cards and an informative guidebook that address situations, challenges, and gifts that arise throughout life.

The theme and message for each card in this beautifully crafted deck were channeled through the Archangel, bringing forth an energy whose time is now and that will increase in importance as you travel through the years to come.

On this path of self-mastery, you will explore color therapy, sacred geometry, the elements, and angelic wisdom as you learn to deepen your relationship with Metatron through readings that give a sense of enlightenment, peace, and expanded light. You will be asked to question, evolve, and grow as you take the opportunity to cast off the old you and reveal the new, emerging, empowered self -- all under the umbrella of Metatron's love, color, and light.

Critique: Unique, strikingly beautiful, "The Archangel Metatron: Self-Mastery Oracle" will prove to be a significantly and enduringly prized addition to personal and professional metaphysical studies collections, as well as of particular value to anyone specifically interested in the use of color therapy, sacred geometry, and angelic wisdom.

Slavic Witchcraft
Natasha Helvin
Destiny Books
c/o Inner Traditions International, Ltd.
One Park Street, Rochester, VT 05767
www.innertraditions.com
9781620558423, $16.99, PB, 224pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Born in the Soviet Union, Natasha Helvin is an occultist, hereditary witch, and priestess in the Haitian Vodou tradition, as well as an avid scholar of other magical traditions. She learned the ancient Slavic secrets of magic and healing from her family and, as a child, often saw her grandmother and mother use magic in their everyday lives to help neighbors and friends. A professional rootworker and spiritual coach, she lives in the Pacific Northwest.

In "Slavic Witchcraft: Old World Conjuring Spells and Folklore", Natasha share her extensive knowledge inherited from her mother and grandmother, including spells of the "Old Believers" previously unknown to outsiders, as well as the folk history and practice of Russian sorcery and Eastern Slavic magical rites.

A rich compendium of more than 300 spells, incantations, charms, and practical rituals for love, relationships, career success, protection, healing, divination, averting the evil eye, communicating with spirits and ancestors, and a host of other life challenges and daily situations, with complete step-by-step instructions to ensure your magical goals are realized, "Slavic Witchraft" also explains how this tradition has only a thin Christian veneer over its pagan origins and how the Slavic pagan gods and goddesses acquired new lives as the saints of the Eastern Orthodox Church.

"Slavic Witchcraft" goes on to detail how the magical energy for these spells and rituals is drawn from the forces of nature, revealing specific places of power in the natural world as well as the profound power of graveyards and churches for casting spells. Additionally, "Slavic Witchcraft" explores the creation of amulets and talismans, the importance of icons, and the proper recital of magical language and actions during spells, as well as how one becomes a witch or sorceress.

Of special note is the Slavic folk advice, adapted for the modern era. Revealing what it means to be a Slavic witch or sorceress, and how this vocation pervades all aspects of life, and that each of us has magic within that we can use to take control of our own destiny.

Critique: An inherently fascinating, impressively informative, thoroughly 'user friendly' introduction to the authentic practice of Slavic spellcasting, "Slavic Witchcraft: Old World Conjuring Spells and Folklore" is a unique and unreservedly recommended addition to personal, professional, community, and academic library Metaphysical Studies collections. It should be noted that "Slavic Witchcraft" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $10.99).

Edgar Cayce's Egyptian Energy Healing
Shelley A. Kaehr
ARE Press
215 - 67th Street, Virginia Beach, VA 23451-2061
www.AREPress.com
9780876049457, $16.95, PB, 160pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Edgar Cayce (March 18, 1877 - January 3, 1945) was an American clairvoyant who answered questions on subjects as varied as healing, reincarnation, wars, Atlantis, and future events while allegedly asleep. A nonprofit organization, the Association for Research and Enlightenment, was founded to facilitate the study of Cayce's work. (Wikipedia)

Shelley Kaehr has worked with vibrational energy medicine for two decades as well as studied Cayce's readings on the topic. In "Edgar Cayce's Egyptian Energy Healing" she delves into the wealth of information provided by the man known to his peers as 'The Sleeping Prophet'.

In any form of healing, the goal is to change the current frequency (or vibration) to one that is more balanced and in rapport with optimal results. Shelley shows us that working with our consciousness to overcome our life lessons and challenges to achieve lasting happiness and peace throughout our lives is actually achievable.

Enriching yet simple, step-by-step information is given to us as tools we can use to apply this ancient knowledge to our everyday modern lives.

Critique: Exceptionally well organized and presented, "Edgar Cayce's Egyptian Energy Healing" is an extraordinary and information packed volume that will be an especially appreciated and value addition to personal, professional, community, and academic library Alternative Medicine and Metaphysical Studies collections. It should be noted for students, academia, and non- specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "Edgar Cayce's Egyptian Energy Healing" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

Editorial Note: Shelley Kaehr holds a doctorate of philosophy degree and is one of the world's leading authorities on energy healing and mind-body medicine and the practical use of gems and stones. She is the author of Edgar Cayce's Sacred Stones, Edgar Cayce's Guide to Gemstones, Minerals, Metals, and More, and dozens of other books on the mind-body connection. A certified Clinical Hypnotherapist and Master Practitioner of Neuro-Linguistic Programming, she travels throughout the world training energy healing and hypnotherapy practitioners.


The Political Science Shelf

The Indispensable Electoral College
Tara Ross
Gateway Editions
c/o Regnery Publishing, Inc.
300 New Jersey Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20001
www.regnery.com
9781621576747, $29.99, HC, 320pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Twice in as many decades, a president won the office without the popular vote. Both times, people cried foul on the Electoral College. Detractors claim the institution is antiquated and impedes democracy, but in "The Indispensable Electoral College: How the Founders' Plan Saves Our Country from Mob Rule", lawyer and constitutional scholar Tara Ross deftly argues that the Electoral College is the best defense of America's constitutional republic.

"The Indispensable Electoral College" makes a detailed and winning argument for a necessary protection against "rigged" party elections, coastal elites, and DC insiders who wish to make a career of unchecked political ambition.

Critique: Accessibly organized into three major sections (The Founders' Invention; Presidents Who Lost the Popular Vote; Who's in Charge Here?), and enhanced for academia with the inclusion of five Appendices, eighty-six pages of Notes, and an eight page Index, "The Indispensable Electoral College" is a core addition to community and academic library Contemporary Political Science collections. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of students, academia, politicians, political activists, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "The Indispensable Electoral College" is now also available in a paperback edition (9781684510139, $18.99) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

Editorial Note: Tara Ross is a lawyer and writer who focuses on the intersection among law, public policy, and constitutional history. She often appears as a guest on a variety of talk shows nationwide to discuss these matters and regularly addresses civic, university, and legal audiences. Her work has been published in several law reviews and newspapers, including the National Law Journal, USA Today, the American Enterprise Online, National Review Online, WeeklyStandard.com, FoxNews.com, HumanEvents.com, The Washington Times, and the Texas Review of Law & Politics. She is the author of Enlightened Democracy: The Case for the Electoral College, co-author of Under God: George Washington and the Question of Church and State, and We Elect A President: The Story of our Electoral College.


The Computer Shelf

The Penetration Tester's Guide to Web Applications
Serge Borso
Artech House
685 Canton Street, Norwood, MA 02062
www.artechhouse.com
9781630816223, $99.00, HC, 280pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Serge Borso is the CEO of SpyderSec, an independent security consulting organization including Penetration Testing services, OSINT solutions, Security Awareness Training programs and profitability since inception. He is also an instructor at the SANS Institute and a private cyber security consultant.

In "The Penetration Tester's Guide to Web Applications" Borso presents an innovative new resource that provides both professionals and aspiring professionals with clear guidance on how to identify and exploit common web application vulnerabilities.

"The Penetration Tester's Guide to Web Applications" focuses on offensive security and how to attack web applications. It describes each of the Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP) top ten vulnerabilities, including broken authentication, cross-site scripting and insecure deserialization, and details how to identify and exploit each weakness.

Critique: Expertly written, organized and presented, "The Penetration Tester's Guide to Web Applications" is the consummate introduction to testing web site security designs and protocols. Of special not is the chapter on 'Testing as a Consultant and Adding Value'. While unreservedly recommended for corporate, college, and university library Contemporary Computer Technology & Web Designing collections and supplemental studies lists, it should be noted for students, academia, professional web designers, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "The Penetration Tester's Guide to Web Applications" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $94.05).

A Beginner's Guide to 3D Modeling
Cameron Coward
No Starch Press
245 - 8th Street, San Francisco, CO 94103-3910
9781593279264, $24.95, PB, 152pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: "A Beginner's Guide to 3D Modeling" by mechanical designer and draftsman Cameron Coward is a project-based, straightforward introduction to computer-aided design (CAD). Readers will learn how to use Autodesk Fusion 360, the world's most powerful free CAD software, to model gadgets, 3D print their designs, and create realistic images just like an engineering professional with no previous experience required!

Hands-on modeling projects and step-by-step instructions throughout "A Beginner's Guide to 3D Modeling" introduce fundamental 3D modeling concepts. As readers work through the projects, they will master the basics of parametric modeling and learn how to create their own models, from simple shapes to multipart assemblies. Once they have mastered the basics, they will learn more advanced modeling concepts like sweeps, lofts, surfaces, and rendering, before pulling it all together to create a robotic arm.

"A Beginner's Guide to 3D Modeling" shows how to: Design a moving robotic arm, a door hinge, a teapot, and a 20-sided die; Create professional technical drawings for manufacturing and patent applications; Model springs and other complex curves to create realistic designs; Use basic Fusion 360 tools like Extrude, Revolve, and Hole; Master advanced tools like Coil and Thread.

Critique: An ideal instructional textbook specifically designed for the aspiring hobbyist, artist, or aspiring professional, "A Beginner's Guide to 3D Modeling" is certain to show how to turn ideas into professional models with a 3D printer. Exceptional and thoroughly 'user friendly' in organization and presentation, it should be noted that "A Beginner's Guide to 3D Modeling" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $14.99).


The Travel Shelf

100 Things to Do in Madison Before You Die
Katie Vaughn
Reedy Press
PO Box 5131, St.Louis, MO, 63139
www.reedypress.com
9781681061955, $16.00, PB, 160pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Wisconsin tradition and natural beauty meet political activity and a constant influx of new ideas in the cool college town and state capital of Madison. Starting from the city's center (the State Capitol building set between two gorgeous lakes), downtown bustles with restaurants, breweries, theaters, galleries, shops, startups, and more, then segues into the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus, where 40,000-plus Badgers pursue studies and Jump Around on football Saturdays.

The city is full of eclectic neighborhoods, with restaurants, shops, parks, festivals, and additional discoveries to be made at every turn. It's also a smart, family-friendly, come-as-you-are kind of place with far more than 100 things to do in any of its four distinct seasons. This newly updated and expanded second edition of "100 Things to Do in Madison Before You Die" adds a new round of eateries, breweries, events, and attractions that newcomers and longtimers alike won't want to miss.

"100 Things to Do in Madison Before You Die" is the ideal itinerary travel guide for exploring and enjoying the vibrant, independently spirited city of Madison, Wisconsin.

Critique: The author of "100 Things to Do in Madison Before You Die", Katie Vaughn is an award-winning writer, editor, and blogger who has worked at magazines, newspapers, and websites in Wisconsin, Iowa, and California. Trained as a journalist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Stanford University, she is now a Madison-based writer and her intimately knowledge of the city infuses this travel guide with a very special expertise. Exceptionally well organized and presented, "100 Things to Do in Madison Before You Die" is unreservedly recommended for community library travel guide collections. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of visitors or native Madisonians that "100 Things to Do in Madison Before You Die" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

The Art Lover's Guide to Paris
Ruby Boukabou
www.rubybouabou.com
White Owl Books
c/o Pen & Sword Books
www.casematepublishers.com
https://www.pen-and-sword.co.uk
9781526733658, $24.95, PB, 208pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: The museums and galleries of Paris are filled with some of the world's best art. But on a trip to the City of Light, it's easy to be overwhelmed by the options, get caught up in the queues and miss the back street gems. That's where "The Art Lover's Guide to Paris" by Ruby Boukabou comes to the rescue of the non-Parisian visitor.

With access to this profusely illustrated travel guide anyone can now easily navigate their way through the rich art history to the vibrant present scene, and have fun doing so!

Along with listings of the unmissable museums and galleries showcasing artistic works ranginf from the ancients through to the contemporaries, this information packed guide book includes more off beat places to find public and private art all over town ranging from design hotels to auction houses, and from beautiful brasseries to artist studios.

"The Art Lover's Guide to Paris" also features true insider tips from local and international professionals, including where to take a sketch class, see live street art, buy an artwork, attend intriguing art events and meet contemporary artists themselves!

Critique: "The Art Lover's Guide to Paris" is a delight to browse through and ideal for planning day trip excursions throughout the complex and pervasive art scene that is Paris. Simply stated, planning a trip to Paris would be impressively enhanced by including a copy of "The Art Lover's Guide to Paris" as a guide. While highly recommended for both community and academic library European Travel Guide collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists of Paris bound travelers that "The Art Lover's Guide to Paris" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $11.98).

Editorial Note: Ruby Boukabou is a reporter specializing in culture and travel. For over a decade Ruby has written cultural stories about Paris for dozens of magazines, papers and sites with clients including the French Travel Board, Qantas in-flight magazine and the ABC. She is co-author of 48 Paris, a National Geographic guide to Paris. Her websites include www.rubytv.net & www.rubybouabou.com


The Self-Help Shelf

The Gifts Beneath Your Anxiety
Pat Longo
Citadel Press
c/o Kensington Publishing Corp.
119 West 40th Street, Floor 21, New York, NY 10018-2522
www.kensingtonbooks.com
9780806539430, $26.00, HC, 256pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: As a spiritual healer and teacher to some of today's most well-known empaths Pat Longo has found that many of the individuals who have come to her with anxiety and related symptoms possess a heightened sense of perception and extreme level of intuition -- absorbing the energies, thoughts, and feelings that surround them and even experiencing them as their own. What's more, most of these individuals had no idea they had these abilities.

The good news is that, in Pat's experience, just beneath what feels distressing can be something wonderful. In her illuminating book, "The Gifts Beneath Your Anxiety: Simple Spiritual Tools to Find Peace, Awaken the Power Within and Heal Your Life" Pat guides you to become aware of, care for, and protect your spiritual self and energy; discover, develop, and strengthen the powerful gifts within; and in doing so, to eliminate and prevent related anxiety and other symptoms.

In an increasingly anxious world, getting in touch with our deepest healing abilities and achieving inner peace is more important than ever. With this invaluable instructional reference book as your basic tool kit, you will begin your journey toward finding that peace, becoming aware of and caring for your spiritual self and gifts, and healing your life.

Critique: Expertly written, organized and presented, "The Gifts Beneath Your Anxiety: Simple Spiritual Tools to Find Peace, Awaken the Power Within and Heal Your Life" is a life healing, life enhancing, life celebrating read from cover to cover. While unreservedly recommended for community library Self-Help/Self-Improvement collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Gifts Beneath Your Anxiety" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $13.26).


The Philosophy Shelf

Blade Runner 2049 and Philosophy
Robin Bunce & Trip McCrossin, editors
Open Court Publishing Company
70 East Lake Street, Suite 800, Chicago, IL 60601
www.opencourtbooks.com
9780812694710, $19.95, PB, 256pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: 'Blade Runner 2049' is a 2017 sequel to the 1982 movie 'Blade Runner', about a future world in which some human-looking replicants have become dangerous, so that other human-looking replicants, as well as humans, have the job of hunting down the dangerous models and "retiring" (destroying) them. Both films have been widely hailed as among the greatest science-fiction movies of all time, and Ridley Scott, director of the original Blade Runner, has announced that there will be a third Blade Runner movie.

Collaborative compiled and co-edited by Robin Bunce and Trip McCrossin, "Blade Runner 2049 and Philosophy" is a collection of entertaining articles on both Blade Runner movies (and on the spin-off short films and Blade Runner novels) by twenty philosophers representing diverse backgrounds and philosophical perspectives.

Among questions addressed in the book are: What does Blade Runner 2049 tell us about the interactions of state power and corporate power?; Can machines ever become truly conscious, or will they always lack some essential human qualities?; Do AI-endowed human-looking replicants have civil and political rights, or can they be destroyed whenever "real" humans decide they are inconvenient?; What are the impacts of decision-making AI entities on the world of business?; What are the social and psychological implications of human-AI sexual relations?

Critique: Comprised of twenty eight erudite and thought-provoking contributed articles, "Blade Runner 2049 and Philosophy" is an extraordinary and unreservedly recommended addition to community, college, and university library Contemporary Philosophy collections. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of philosophy students and Blade Runner fans that "Blade Runner 2049 and Philosophy" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $13.29).


The Railroading Shelf

Great Western, Grange Class Locomotives
David Maidment
Pen & Sword Books
c/o Casemate (distribution)
www.casematepublishers.com
https://www.pen-and-sword.co.uk
9781526752017, $49.95, 200pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Churchward proposed a 5ft 8in wheeled 4-6-0 for mixed traffic duties in 1901 and it was seriously considered in 1905, but it took until 1936 before his successor, Charles Collett, realized the plan by persuading the GWR Board to replace many of the 43XX moguls with modern standard mixed traffic engines that bore a remarkable likeness to the Churchward proposal.

"Great Western, Grange Class Locomotives: Their Design and Development" is the latest addition by David Maidment to his series of 'Locomotive Portfolios' for Pen & Sword to coincide with the construction of a new 'Grange' at Llangollen from GW standard parts to fill the gap left by the total withdrawal and scrapping of one of that railway's most popular classes - to their crews at the very least.

As well as covering the type's design and construction, "Great Western, Grange Class Locomotives" deals comprehensively with the allocation and operation of the eighty locomotives and in particular has researched their performance and illustrated it with many examples of recorded logs from the 1930s as well as in more recent times. As in previous volumes in this simply outstanding series, Maidment has added his own personal experiences with the engines and has sourced more than 250 photos -- over 40 of which are in color.

Critique: Superbly researched, impressively informative, profusely illustrated, "Great Western, Grange Class Locomotives: Their Design and Development" is still another extraordinary and unreservedly recommended addition to both community and academic library British Railroading History collections. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of railroading enthusiasts that "Great Western, Grange Class Locomotives" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $23.98).

The Modified Bulleid Pacifics
Tim Hillier-Graves
Pen & Sword Books
c/o Casemate (distribution)
www.casematepublishers.com
https://www.pen-and-sword.co.uk
9781526721662, $80.00, HC, 280pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Oliver Bulleid's Pacifics were perhaps the most controversial steam locomotives ever built in Britain. They seem to been loved and loathed in equal measure and the debate over their strengths and weaknesses took on a new dimension when BR decided to modify them in the 1950s. It was argued that they were too costly to operate and maintain by comparison to other types available. Their time out of service, due to breakdowns, was also increasing to an unacceptable level, and some of Bulleid's innovations were believed to be more hindrance than help. Rightly or wrongly BR were faced with a costly scrap and build program or seek to make the engines more reliable.

To Ron Jarvis, an engineer of note, fell the job of saving Bulleid's enigmatic locomotives in a bid to satisfy the demands of the service. And he displayed a master's touch in the program that followed, saving the best of Bulleid's work and adopting other established design principles. What emerged was described by Bert Spencer, Gresley's talented assistant, as taking 'a swan and creating a soaring eagle.'

In "The Modified Bulleid Pacifics", author tim Hillier-Graves explores all the elements of the lives of these Pacifics and their two designers. This study draws on previously unpublished material to describe their gradual evolution, which didn't start or finish with the 1950s major rebuilding program.

Critique: Profusely illustrated thoroughly, "The Modified Bulleid Pacifics" is an extraordinary and singularly informative study that will prove to be an enduringly valued addition to personal, community, and academic library British Railway History collections and supplemental studies reading lists.


The Needlecraft Shelf

Easy Knitted Fingerless Gloves
Nihon Vogue, author
Cassandra Harada, translator
Tuttle Publishing
364 Innovation Drive, North Clarendon, VT 05759-9436
www.tuttlepublishing.com
9784805315170, $12.99, PB, 84pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Nihon Vogue is Japan's preeminent publisher of books on handicrafts, with a long history and thousands of titles on knitting, sewing, quilting, embroidery, paper crafts, tole painting and more. In "Easy Knitted Fingerless Gloves" Vogue draws upon her years of experience and expertise to present an updated take on a favorite cool weather accessory with classic patterns like Fair Isle, Aran, cables and knit-and-purl, all knitted using Japanese charts and techniques.

Among the 21 patterns comprising "Easy Knitted Fingerless Gloves the knitting enthusiast will find: Fair Isle-patterned gloves with lacy cuffs; A pair of slouchy, lightweight arm warmers; Cozy picot-finished gloves with loop-stitched cuffs; Elegant beaded mohair cuffs; and more!

The colorful patterns and classy neutrals offer something for every personal style and level of coziness. A few basic lessons (aimed at those who already have some knitting experience) and a step-by-step guide to the Japanese knitting symbols help simplify the process.

Critique: Profusely illustrated, ably translated into English by Cassandra Harada, and thoroughly 'user friendly' in organization and presentation, "Easy Knitted Fingerless Gloves: Stylish Japanese Knitting Patterns for Hand, Wrist and Arm Warmers" is a unique and extraordinary addition to any personal, professional, or community library needlecraft instructional reference collection. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of dedicated knitting fans that "Easy Knitted Fingerless Gloves" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $12.34).


The Fishing Shelf

Sight Fishing for Trout
Landon Mayer
Stackpole Books
5067 Ritter Road, Mechanicsburg, PA 17055-6921
9780811737661, $29.95, PB, 198pp, www.stackpolebooks.com

Synopsis: Now in a fully updated and expanded second edition, "Sight Fishing for Trout" by expert angler, fly-fishing instructor, guide Landon Mayer is a complete and illustrated instructional guide for aspiring anglers providing everything they need to know to spot the trout before casting -- because if you can see a trout, you are more likely to catch that trout.

Here provided are all of the tricks and skills anglers need to master trout fishing including where to look for the trout, how to rig a line, how to retrieve the fish when getting a strike, and how to use the buddy system for a more productive day on the water.

Sight fishing is intriguing, fun, addictive, and best of all, it gets results-more and bigger trout!

Critique: Expertly written, organized and presented, this new second edition of "Sight Fishing for Trout" is a complete and comprehensive course of instruction that all novice trout fishermen should give a close and careful reading to. Profusely illustrated throughout, Landon Mayer's "Sight Fishing for trout" is unreservedly recommended for personal, professional, community and academic library Hunting/Fishing instructional reference collections.


The Automotive Shelf

The Complete Book of Porsche 911
Randy Leffingwell
Motor Books
c/o Quarto Publishing Group USA
400 First Avenue North, Suite 400, Minneapolis, MN 55401-1722
www.quartoknows.com
9780760365038, $50.00, HC, 344pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Compiled by Randy Leffingwell, "The Complete Book of Porsche 911: Every Model Since 1964" showcases the air-cooled Porsche cars of 1963 to 1998, then the water-cooled 911s of 1998 to present day. With behind-the-scenes info on the evolution of this iconic sports car, this unique volume offers the detail craved by Porsche enthusiasts.

Illustrated throughout with images from Porsche's own historical archive and complemented by Leffingwell's stunning full color photos, along with detailed technical specification tables, "The Complete Book of Porsche 911" offers a thorough account of one of the most beloved enthusiast cars ever produced.

Critique: An absolute 'must' for the legions of dedicated Prosche owners and enthusiasts, "The Complete Book of Porsche 911: Every Model Since 1964" is a beautiful, coffee table style picture book that is impressively informative and a treat to browse through from first page to last. While unreservedly recommended for both community and academic library Automotive History collections in general, and Porsche supplemental reading lists in particular, it should be noted for the dedicated Porsche fan that "The Complete Book of Porsche 911: Every Model Since 1964" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $19.99).


The Fashion Shelf

Dawn
John A. Tiffany
Pointed Leaf Press
136 Baxter Street, Suite 1C, New York, NY 10013
www.pointedleafpress.com
9781938461958, $75.00, HC, 208pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: A lavishly illustrated coffee table style book that spans her impressive career, "Dawn: The Career of the Legendary Fashion Retailer Dawn Mello" is the first monograph on Dawn Mello.

In 1975, Mello was hired as Fashion Director and Vice President of Bergdorf Goodman to turn the store around and remake it in her image, by then CEO, Ira Neimark. Together they turned the once dowdy department store into the retail center of luxury fashion. Mello's strategy not only redefined and repositioned Bergdorf Goodman, but in doing so, she discovered and encouraged the rise of exciting modern designers, while inaugurating an exuberant, new type of fashion shows.

Mello left Bergdorf Goodman in the late 1980s to revitalize the fading and unfashionable Gucci. She hired Tom Ford to oversee women's ready-to-wear and Richard Lambertson as Design Director. By the time she left, Gucci was back on top as a bonafide high-fashion luxury brand.

She has spent decades identifying talent, pursuing designers, and helping launch and nurture their careers: Michael Kors, Donna Karan, Giorgio Armani, Calvin Klein, Gianfranco Ferre, Azzedine Alaia, Claude Montana, Jean-Paul Gaultier, Christian Lacroix, Jo Malone - and the list goes on. Discover the amazing and pioneering career of the formidable Dawn Mello.

Critique: Impressively informative and especially recommended for both community and academic library American Fashion History collections and supplemental studies lists, ""Dawn: The Career of the Legendary Fashion Retailer Dawn Mello" would also be appropriate for Contemporary American Biography collections as well.


The Crafts Shelf

Fun & Easy Origami Animals
Michael G. LaFosse
Tuttle Publishing
364 Innovation Drive, North Clarendon, VT 05759-9436
www.tuttlepublishing.com
9780804851916, $8.99, PB, 48pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Origami is the Japanese art of paper folding and today is used as an inclusive term for all paper folding practices. The goal is to transform a flat square sheet of paper into a finished sculpture through folding and sculpting techniques. Modern origami practitioners generally discourage the use of cuts, glue, or markings on the paper.

"Fun & Easy Origami Animals: Full-Color Instructions for Beginners" by origami expert Michael G. LaFosse contains 19 origami models that everyone will love and that anyone can fold -- comes complete with 20 sheets of high-quality origami papers.

"Fun & Easy Origami Animals" is fully illustrated in color and has simple, step-by-step instructions showing you how to fold each piece. It is the ideal guide for someone who wants to explore the magic of origami for the first time.

This collection of adorable paper animals includes step-by-step instructional models for creating:
Little Bird (the simplest of models); Chameleon (an amazingly lifelike and cute lizard that is surprisingly easy to fold); Flapping Bird (the classic "action model" that flaps its wings when you pull on its tail); Hummingbird (the most challenging model in the book an award-winning LaFosse design), and so many more!

Critique: Throughout 'user friendly' in organization and presentation, "Fun & Easy Origami Animals: Full-Color Instructions for Beginners" will provide hours of creative fun and while especially recommended for personal crafts and hobbies collections, it should be noted that it is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $8.54).

Easy Wire Art
Susanne Schaadt
Fox Chapel Publishing Company
1970 Broad Street N., East Petersburg, PA 17520
www.FoxChapelPublishing.com
9781497100190, $14.99, PB, 80pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Susanne Schaadt studied mathematics, pedagogy, and psychology at the Bielefeld University in Germany. After many years working as a therapist with children and young people, she now works exclusively as a freelance artist and writer specializing in painting, creative art, and art education. Her work combines creativity with relaxation and meditation.

In "Easy Wire Art" she draws upon her years of experience and expertise to create an instruction guide and manual for making wire art that includes 21 beautiful projects ranging from elegant flamingos to delicate flowers; easy-to-follow diagrams and clear, beginner-friendly instructions. Here are basic techniques that can personalize any project to artist's own taste, using inexpensive materials that are easily accessible at craft stores or online.

Critique: Beautifully and profusely illustrated with thoroughly 'user friendly' step-by-step instructions for each of twenty-one specific and fun do-it-yourself projects, "Easy Wire Art" is especially and unreservedly recommended for personal and community library Arts & Crafts instructional reference collections.


The Photography Shelf

Selected Works
Vincent Peters
teNeues Publishing
350 Seventh Avenue, Suite 301, New York, NY, 10011
9783961712281, $40.00, 160pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Vincent Peters, born in Bremen, Germany, in 1969, is one of today's most active fashion photographers. At age of 20, he moved to New York, where he worked as a photo assistant. Upon his return to Europe, he worked for a number of art galleries before launching his own fashion photography career at Giovanni Testino. Peters's clients include Wolfgang Joop, Bottega Veneta, Louis Vuitton, Hugo Boss, Emporio Armani, and Lancome.

"Selected Works" is a compilation of Vincent Peters's photographs that are defined by their precision, love of detail, and an exquisite lighting that lifts his images beyond fast-moving trends into something timeless and iconic. In his portrait images, Peters manages to capture even the most photographed of faces (whether Scarlett Johansson, Monica Bellucci, or Penelope Cruz) with previously unseen nuance, creating a new sense of intimacy with each subject.

While Vincent Peters's work has already appeared in The Light Between Us and Personal. Now, "Selected Works" is in parallel with the major Vincent Peters solo show at Fotografiska in Stockholm. This compact and affordable Vincent Peters photo book presents a selection of his best black-and-white images, including portraits of Charlize Theron, John Malkovich, Laetitia Casta, and Emma Watson. It is a vivid overview of a photographic artist who is always evolving, while remaining true to his principles.

Critique: A beautifully representative compilation showcases the photographer as artist, "Selected Works" is a 'must' for all Vincent Peters fans and unreservedly recommended for personal, professional, community, and academic library Contemporary Photography collections, it would also serve as an enviable template for other photographers seeking to engage in similar projects.


The Woodworking Shelf

Kitchen Projects for the Woodworker
Ken Horner
Linden Publishing
2006 South Mary, Fresno, CA 93721-9875
www.woodworkerslibrary.com
9781610353397, $24.95, PB, 136pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Ken Horner has been working with wood since 1961. Still active in the craft, he teaches classes to beginners at his home shop in Morgan Hill, California. Horner is the author of four woodworking books: Woodworkers' Essential Facts, Formulas & Short-Cuts, More Woodworkers' Essentials, The Essential Guide to the Steel Square, and Basic Marquetry and Beyond.

In "Kitchen Projects for the Woodworker" Horner draws upon his years of experience and expertise to showcase more than 65 fun, useful, and beautiful home woodworking projects for the kitchen including cutting boards, trivets, spoons, kitchen stools, and more!

Even the most novice of woodworkers can dress up their kitchen and make it more functional with these stylish, easy-to-make kitchen projects for the home woodworker with step-by-step instructions and illustrations making each individual project simple to complete while building woodworking skills.

Critique: Profusely illustrated and thoroughly 'user friendly' in organization and presentation, Ken Homer's "Kitchen Projects for the Woodworker: Plans and Instructions for Over 65 Useful Kitchen Items" from Linden Publishing is an extraordinary and unreservedly recommended addition to personal, professional, community, and school wood shop instructional reference collections. It should be noted that "Kitchen Projects for the Woodworker" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).


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Diane C. Donovan, Editor
Midwest Book Review
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Oregon, WI 53575-1129
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