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Wisconsin Bookwatch

Volume 15, Number 12 December 2020 Home | WBW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice Writing/Publishing Shelf Psychology Shelf
General Fiction Shelf Historical Fiction Shelf Literary Fiction Shelf
Romantic Fiction Shelf Mystery/Suspense Shelf Fantasy/SciFi Shelf
Graphic Novel Shelf Audiobook Shelf Music CD Shelf
Travel Shelf Poetry Shelf Computer Shelf
Needlecraft Shelf Christian Studies Shelf Self-Help Shelf
Cookbook Shelf    

Reviewer's Choice

Education for Democracy: Renewing the Wisconsin Idea
Chad Alan Goldberg, editor
University of Wisconsin Press
728 State Street, Suite 443, Madison, WI 53706-1418
9780299328900, $44.95, HC, 314pp

Synopsis: All the public universities in America were founded in a civic tradition that differentiated them from their European predecessors -- steering away from the exclusive pursuit of knowledge for its own sake.

Like many such higher education institutions across the United States, the University of Wisconsin's mission, known as the Wisconsin Idea, emphasizes a responsibility to serve the needs of the state and its people. This commitment, which necessarily requires a pledge to academic freedom, has recently been openly threatened by state and federal actors seeking to dismantle a democratic and expansive conception of public service.

Using the Wisconsin Idea as a lens, the contributors "Education for Democracy" collectively argue that public higher education institutions should remain a bastion of collaborative problem solving. Examinations of partnerships between the state university and people of the state highlight many crucial and lasting contributions to issues of broad public concern such as conservation, LGBTQ+ rights, and poverty alleviation. The contributors also restore the value of state universities and humanities education as a public good, contending that they deserve renewed and robust support from their alumni, their communities, and the state.

Critique: Expertly compiled and edited by sociologist, author and educator Chad Alan Goldberg, "Education for Democracy: Renewing the Wisconsin Idea" is comprised of eleven erudite and informative articles by experts in their fields of studies, and is additionally enhanced for academia with the inclusion of an informative Preface, an Introduction (The University's Service to Democracy), an Afterword (by Owen Drury), a four page listing of the contributors and their credentials, and a twenty-one page Index. Informed and informative, thoughtful and thought- provoking, "Education for Democracy: Renewing the Wisconsin Idea" is an especially and unreservedly recommended addition to personal, professional, community, college, and university library Sociology of Social Theory collections in general, and Education Reform, Policy, and History supplemental curriculum studies reading lists in particular.

Editorial Note: After earning a doctorate at the New School for Social Research, Chad Goldberg joined the faculty at the University of Wisconsin - Madison. He writes about politics, history, and social theory.

100 Things to Do in Madison Before You Die
Katie Vaughn
Reedy Press
PO Box 5131, St. Louis, MO 63139
9781681061955, $16.95, PB, 160pp

Synopsis: Now in a fully updated and expanded second edition, "100 Things to Do in Madison Before You Die" by Katie Vaughn fully lives up to its title and should be considered a 'must' for anyone living in or visiting Wisconsin's capital city. Exceptionally well organized and presented, this is the ideal resource and reference for planning itineraries that would include places to go and events to participate in. With the individual entries deftly organized into specific sections for Food & Drink; Music & Entertainment; Sports & Recreation; Culture & History; Shopping & Fashion, it should be noted that "100 Things to Do in Madison Before You Die" is enhanced for Madison residents and visitors is enhanced further with the inclusion of Suggested Itineraries, Activities by Season; and a three page Index.

Critique: Impressively 'user friendly', "100 Things to Do in Madison Before You Die" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99) -- making it especially and unreservedly recommended for personal, professional, and community library American Travel Guide collections in general, and Madison, Wisconsin community, school, college, and university library collections in particular.

Napkin Folding
Marie Claire
Search Press Ltd.
9781782217619, $19.95, PB, 160pp

Synopsis: Napkins add a touch of elegance and sophistication to any dining table and showcasing 40 ideas for original table settings, "Napkin Folding" from Marie Claire is a wonderful source of inspiration to help even the most novice of hosts to decorate and customize their home with taste and creativity.

Napkins are functional as well as decorative, and these 40 lovely designs include a pleated rectangle, a leaf, a flower and a knot. Each napkin design is explained through clear, step-by-step instructions and illustrations. There are folds to suit every occasion from a smart dinner party to a family barbecue, weddings, picnics and more. The readers of "Napkin Folding" are guaranteed to gain all the skills, techniques and expertise needed in order to create stunning, contemporary table decorations to a professional and elegant standard.

Critique: Beautifully illustrated instructions make "Napkin Folding" an ideal instructional guide and manual. A unique and certain to be immediately popular addition to personal, professional, family, and community library collections, it should be noted that "Napkin Folding" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $14.20).

Editorial Note: The Marie Claire magazine and website are outstanding resources for craft. Marie Claire Idees is the essential place for creative hobbies from cross stitch, sewing, crochet and embroidery to dyeing painting and collage. It is a community of creative and passionate people who share their creations and ideas through the magazine Marie Claire Idees and the website

The Writing/Publishing Shelf

The Writer's Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers
Christopher Vogler
Michael Wiese Productions
12400 Ventura Blvd., #1111, Studio City, CA 91604
9781615933235, $39.95, HC, 520pp

Synopsis: Originally an influential memo that Hollywood development executive, screenwriter, author and educator Christopher Vogler wrote for Walt Disney Animation executives regarding The Lion King, "The Writer's Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers" details a twelve-stage, myth-inspired method that has galvanized Hollywood's treatment of cinematic storytelling.

A format that once seldom deviated beyond a traditional three-act blueprint, Vogler's comprehensive theory of story structure and character development has met with universal acclaim, and is detailed in the pages of "The Writer's Journey" using examples from myths, fairy tales, and classic movies. Indeed, "The Writer's Journey" is justifiably credited with having changed the face of screenwriting worldwide over the last 25 years -- and continues to do so to this very day.

Critique: This fourth edition of "The Writer's Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers" from Michael Wiese Productions was published in celebration of its 25th year. While especially and unreservedly recommended for community, college, and university library Writing/Publishing instructional reference collections and supplemental curriculum studies lists, it should be noted for the personal reading lists of novice screenwriters, film and television program developers and writers, academia, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "The Writer's Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers" is also readily available in a paperback edition (9781615933150, $29.95).

The Book Lover's Treasury of Quotations
Jo Brielyn
Hatherleigh Press
c/o The Hatherleigh Foundation
62545 State Highway 10, Hobart, NY 13788
9781578266302, $11.99, HC, 96pp

Synopsis: Comprised of more than 200 meaningful quotes, heartfelt humor and witty one-liners that will have a very special and direct appeal to dedicated bibliophiles, "The Book Lover's Treasury of Quotations: An Inspired Collection on Reading, Writing and Literature" brings together the best and brightest to speak on all that books have to offer. Whether it's their ability to transport us to exciting new worlds, or the way they open our eyes to new ways of seeing our own, "The Book Lover's Treasury of Quotations" speaks directly to the lifelong reader in each of us.

Critique: Knowledgeably compiled and deftly organized by Jo Brielyn, "The Book Lover's Treasury of Quotations: An Inspired Collection on Reading, Writing and Literature" is a delight to simply browse through again and again and again. Inspired and inspiring, thoughtful and thought-provoking, "The Book Lover's Treasury of Quotations: An Inspired Collection on Reading, Writing and Literature" should be considered an essential, core addition to the personal reading lists of authors, publishers, and dedicated fans of the written word. While especially and unreservedly recommended for community, college, and university library collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Book Lover's Treasury of Quotations: An Inspired Collection on Reading, Writing and Literature" is also readily available in a pocket sized (5 x 0.5 x 7.4 inches) paperback edition (9781578266302, $11.99).

Editorial Note: Jo Brielyn is an author and contributing writer for Hatherleigh Press and has currently completed 16 nonfiction books about health and wellness. She is the founder, writer, and editor of Creative Kids Ideas, a resource website that supplies parents, teachers, and family members with the tips and fun ideas to help build stronger, happier, and more creative kids.

The Psychology Shelf

Music Therapy
Aldredo Zotti
Loving Healing Press
5145 Pontiac Trail, Ann Arbor, MI 48105
9781615995318, $29.95, HC, 98pp

Synopsis: Alfredo Zotti is a professional musician and bipolar survivor with a university degree in social anthropology and three years study of psychology, provides an introduction to music theory with specific case studies of applications for Alzheimer's, bipolar disorder, autism spectrum disorder (ASD), schizophrenia, anxiety, depression and other issues.

Working primarily as a peer support counselor, his person-centered methods are respectful of client's needs, abilities and responses to music therapy. Strategies explored include both active listening of recorded music as well as instruction in playing musical instruments. Using patience and listening skills, the non-specialist general reader can (with the help of Zotti's "Music Therapy") begin their own journey of music therapy.

Critique: Impressively informative, insightful, and 'user friendly' in terms of organization and presentation, "Music Therapy: An Introduction with Case Studies for Mental Illness Recovery" is an extraordinary and unreservedly recommended addition to community and college/university library Contemporary Psychology & Counseling collections. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of students, academia, counselors, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "Music Therapy: An Introduction with Case Studies for Mental Illness Recovery" is also readily available in a paperback edition (9781615995301, $19.95) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $5.95).

The General Fiction Shelf

The Names of the Stars
Ann Tatlock
New Hope Publishers
PO Box 830711, Birmingham, AL 35283-0711
9781563094224, $15.99, PB, 304pp

Synopsis: Annalise Rycroft has spent her whole life afraid she'll be lost to obscurity. She wants nothing more than to be viewed as someone important.

Synopsis: Anna grew up traveling with her family on the Vaudeville circuit with dreams of becoming a shining star. She has talent. Unfortunately, as a young girl, she also has fears that she will have to overcome if she is going to be successful.

With a powerful voice able to mesmerize audiences, Anna is paralyzed by stage fright. But that's not her only fear. Her deepest fear is that she'll be lost to obscurity, becoming part of the "surplus population" spoken of by Ebenezer Scrooge in her favorite book A Christmas Carol.

During the 1918 flu epidemic, Anna has a strange experience where characters from her favorite book unlock a hidden part of her past -- a past that involves an absent father and missing younger brother. Dismissed as a fever dream, Anna pushes aside not only the dream but her fears as she pursues the stage.

Years pass, and eventually Anna finds the career success she desired. Yet even as an adult, she is driven by unfilled longings. She wants to marry her leading man Frederick Mansfield -- only Frederick has fears and failings of his own. Leaving the drunk lush and philanderer behind, Anna pushes toward even greater stardom only to discover that the fever dream was based on reality, when her dad Charles surprises her with a visit.

As she spends more time with her father, she learns she must choose between her fear of being seen as part of the "surplus population" or to courageously believe and act in a way that shows everyone has significance.

Critique: An inherently absorbing novel by an author with an impressive narrative storytelling style that keeps the entertained reader's full and complete engagement from first page to last, Ann Tatlock's "The Names Of The Stars" is especially and unreservedly recommended for community library's Christian History Fiction collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Names Of The Stars" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

Brass Carriages and Glass Hearts
Nancy Campbell Allen
Shadow Mountain Publishing
P.O. Box 30178, Salt Lake City, Utah 84130-0178
9781629727370, $15.99, PB, 368pp

Synopsis: Emmeline O'Shea is determined to save the world -- single-handedly, if necessary. A strong voice for societal reform, she is the natural choice to deliver a key speech at the end of the International Shifter Rights Organization's week-long Summit in Scotland.

But when a death threat arrives at Emme's home, she is immediately placed into protective custody, watched over by none other than her personal nemesis, Detective-Inspector Oliver Reed. The two have crossed paths many times, with disastrous results, but now they will have to work together in order to reach the Summit before midnight of the last day in order to ensure legislation is passed to protect the Shifter community.

As unseen enemies close in around Emme and Oliver, they struggle to reach Edinburgh by any means necessary, only to find Emme's vindictive stepsister, Oliver's vampire brother, and a dangerous political minefield awaiting them in Scotland.

Even more difficult is their own refusal to admit that the fiery animosity that once burned between them might be turning into the heat of romantic passion. Could a straitlaced policeman determined to uphold the law and an outspoken activist willing to break the rules ever find true love? Or will all their dreams shatter like glass when the clock strikes midnight?

Critique: Impressively original, entertaining, and showcases author Nancy Campbell Allen's genuine flair for the kind of narrative driven storytelling and profusion of unexpected plot twists and turnes, "Brass Carriages and Glass Hearts" is a compelling and enjoyable read from first page to last. While very highly recommended for community library collections, it should be noted for the personal reading lists of steampunk fans and Scottish/Victorian historical romance buffs that "Brass Carriages and Glass Hearts" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $11.99) and as a complete and unabridged audio book (Blackstone Audio, 9781799905004, $29.95, CD).

The Mermaid from Jeju
Sumi Hahn
Alcove Press
c/o Crooked Lane Books
2 Park Avenue, 10th floor, New York, NY 10016
9781643854403, $26.99, HC, 300pp

Synopsis: In the aftermath of World War II, Goh Junja is a girl just coming into her own. She is the latest successful deep sea diver in a family of strong haenyeo. Confident she is a woman now, Junja urges her mother to allow her to make the Goh family's annual trip to Mt. Halla, where they trade abalone and other sea delicacies for pork. Junja, a sea village girl, has never been to the mountains, where it smells like mushrooms and earth. While there, she falls in love with a mountain boy Yang Suwol, who rescues her after a particularly harrowing journey. But when Junja returns one day later, it is just in time to see her mother take her last breath, beaten by the waves during a dive she was taking in Junja's place.

Spiraling in grief, Junja sees her younger siblings sent to live with their estranged father. Everywhere she turns, Junja is haunted by the loss of her mother, from the meticulously tended herb garden that has now begun to sprout weeds, to the field where their bed sheets are beaten. She has only her grandmother and herself. But the world moves on without Junja.

The political climate is perilous. Still reeling from Japan's forced withdrawal from the peninsula, Korea is forced to accommodate the rapid establishment of US troops. Junja's canny grandmother, who lived through the Japanese invasion that led to Korea's occupation understands the signs of danger all too well. When Suwol is arrested for working with and harboring communists, and the perils of post-WWII overtake her homelands, Junja must learn to navigate a tumultuous world unlike anything she's ever known.

Critique: A deftly scripted novel from beginning to end, and exhibiting a genuine flair for originality and a distinctive style of narrative storytelling, "The Mermaid From Jeju" by novelist Sumi Hahn will prove to be an immediate and enduringly popular addition to community library World War II era general fiction collections. Of special interest to readers with a particular interest in Asian American Literature and Coming of Age stories, it should be noted that "The Mermaid From Jeju" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $12.99) and as a complete and unabridged audio book (Dreamscape Media, 9781662055720, $22.99, CD).

Hooting Grange
Jeffrey E. Barlough
Gresham & Doyle
9780978763473, $14.95, PB, 273pp

Synopsis: Jeffrey E. Barlough was born in 1953, and holds a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from the University of California, Davis, and a Ph.D. from Cornell. He has published some seventy research and review articles in scientific journals, and has edited several small-press publications of minor and archaic English works. His Western Lights series of fantasy-mysteries, begun in 2000 with the renowned Dark Sleeper, has been widely acclaimed for its imaginative setting, eccentric characters, droll humor, and unconventional storylines.

His novel, "Hooting Grange" is the story of Captain Robert Surtees of Falaise who has found that when he had lost his livelihood and his beloved ship the Lady Jane after a downturn in the coasting trade, his only recourse was to an inheritance left him years earlier by a maiden aunt.

That inheritance was Hooting Grange, a rambling old wilderness of a country manse in the Tillington Road, on the far outskirts of Market Snailsby in Fenshire. With its vast, walled perimeter, steep roofs and clumps of twisted chimneys, the Grange was a sight to behold. And Ramshackle Great Place (the captain's name for the house in his youth ) had a reputation to match. Workmen refused to work in it, housekeepers disliked keeping house in it, because, as people whispered, there was something wrong with the place -- despite their affection for the captain's kindly aunt, Miss Belle Normand, who lived there.

Five years now have passed since the captain's aunt mysteriously vanished on the road, while traveling to a nearby town to consult a medical specialist for her condition. Her nephew has moved into the Grange, and already trouble has reared its head. Worse yet, according to a provision of his aunt's will, Captain Surtees is prohibited from selling the Grange or any part of it or its acres, and so has no practical means of recovering his former life.

Critique: "Hooting Grange" is the eleventh volume in novelist Jeffrey Barlough's acclaimed Western Lights series of fantasy-mysteries, and returns to the scene and times of Bertram of Butter Cross, in a whimsical tale of the captain who might have lost a ship but has gained something else -- trouble! A deftly crafted and narrative driven story that will hold the reader's total and rapt attention from first page to last, "Hooting Grange" is an especially entertaining and unreservedly recommended addition to personal reading lists and community library collections.

The Thief of Blackfriars Lane
Michelle Griep
Barbour Publishing
9781643527154, $15.99, PB, 320pp

Synopsis: Constable Jackson Forge intends to make the world safer, or at least the streets of Victorian London. But that's Kit Turner's domain, a swindler who runs a crew that acquires money the old-fashioned way -- conning the rich to give to the poor. When a local cab driver goes missing, Jackson is tasked with finding the man, and the only way to do that is by enlisting Kit's help. If Jackson doesn't find the cabby, he'll be fired. If Kit doesn't help Jackson, he'll arrest her for thievery. Yet neither of them realize those are the least of their problems.

Critique: An impressively original, exceptionally entertaining, deftly scripted, and simply riveting read from first page to last, in the pages of her novel, "The Thief of Blackfriars Lane", author Michelle Griep deftly blends elements of Mystery, Suspense, Romance, and Historical Fiction. Certain to be an immediate and enduringly popular addition to community library collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Thief of Blackfriars Lane" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $15.19) and as a complete and unabridged audio book (Oasis Audio, 9781640914780, $14.99, CD).

The Historical Fiction Shelf

Mary and Martha
H. B. Moore
Covenant Communications
American Fork
9781524414429, $15.99, PB, 208pp

Synopsis: Experience as never before the accounts of those who knew Christ, not only as the Savior of the World but also as a friend.

For prosperous landowner Lazarus, hard work and extensive travel are a means to comfortably support his family, including his two sisters, Mary and Martha. Following a journey to sell his wares, Lazarus stumbles upon an opportunity to assist a stranger in need, delaying his return home. Through Lazarus's selfless act of service, he, Mary, and Martha find themselves standing witness to miracles they never dreamed possible in the presence of a man who will forever change them and those they love -- a man called Jesus of Nazareth.

Critique: A superbly crafted and impressively entertaining read from cover to cover, "Mary and Martha" is especially and unreservedly recommended to those who appreciate Christian fiction at its very best. While highly commended for community library Historical Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Mary and Martha" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99) and as a complete and unabridged audio book (9781524414436, $27.99, CD).

The Literary Fiction Shelf

Transcendent Kingdom
Yaa Gyasi
Alfred A. Knopf
c/o The Random House Publishing Group
9780525658184, $27.95, HC, 288pp

Synopsis: Gifty is a sixth-year PhD candidate in neuroscience at the Stanford University School of Medicine studying reward-seeking behavior in mice and the neural circuits of depression and addiction. Her brother, Nana, was a gifted high school athlete who died of a heroin overdose after an ankle injury left him hooked on OxyContin. Her suicidal mother is living in her bed.

Gifty is determined to discover the scientific basis for the suffering she sees all around her. But even as she turns to the hard sciences to unlock the mystery of her family's loss, she finds herself hungering for her childhood faith and grappling with the evangelical church in which she was raised, whose promise of salvation remains as tantalizing as it is elusive.

Critique: "Transcendent Kingdom" by Yaa Gyasi is a deeply moving portrait of a family of Ghanaian immigrants ravaged by depression and addiction and grief that blends faith, science, religion, love. Exquisitely written, emotionally searing, "Transcendent Kingdom" is an exceptionally powerful follow-up to Gyasi's phenomenal debut with her first novel "Homegoing" (Vintage, 9781101971062, $16.95 PB, $12.99 Kindle). An original and tautly written with her distinctive narrative storytelling style, "Transcendent Kingdom" is unreservedly recommended for community and academic library Contemporary American Literary Fiction collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Transcendent Kingdom" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $12.99).

The OK End of Funny Town: Stories
Mark Polanzak
BOA Editions, Ltd.
9781950774050, $17.00, PB, 200pp

Synopsis: A fastidious pet robot with a knack for knitting. A soporific giant pitching camp in the middle of a city. A mysterious mime whose upcoming performance has the whole town on edge. The stories comprising Mark Polanzak's BOA Short Fiction Prize-winning short story anthology "The OK End of Funny Town" collaboratively and deftly stitch fantastic situations into the drab fabric of everyday life.

In his stories, Polanzak delights in stretching every boundary he encounters, from the new focus on practical learning at the New Community School, to the ever-changing tastes of diners in search of the next big trend in local cuisine. Wondrous yet familiar, "The OK End of Funny Town" excavates the layers between our collective obsession with passing fads and our secret yearning for lasting connection.

Critique: With an extraordinary flair for originality, "The OK End of Funny Town: Stories" by Mark Polanzak is a compelling read from first page to last and a truly memorable short story anthology that will be an especially appreciated addition to community, college, and university library Contemporary American Literary Fiction collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "The OK End of Funny Town: Stories" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.49).

Editorial Note: Mark Polanzak is author of the hybrid fiction/memoir POP! (Stillhouse, 2016). His stories have appeared in The Southern Review and The American Scholar, and anthologized in Best American Nonrequired Reading 2017. He is a founding editor of draft: the journal of process and a contributor to the podcast, The Fail Safe. A graduate of the University of Arizona's MFA program in fiction, Mark teaches writing and literature at the Berklee College of Music in Boston.

The Romantic Fiction Shelf

Secret Nights with a Cowboy: A Kittredge Ranch Novel
Caitlin Crews
St. Martin's Press
120 Broadway, New York, NY 10271
9781250625496, $7.99, PB, 400pp

Synopsis: Riley Kittredge has always known exactly what he wanted. His land, his horses. His woman. He met and married Rae Trujillo far too young, and their young love combusted right after they said their vows. But their passion has never managed to burn itself out. Yet when Rae shows up this time, it's not a night of pleasure she demands, but a divorce.

Rae should have moved on a long time ago. She knows she and Riley just don't work. They might make great lovers, but that doesn't make a marriage. And now Rae wants a new life, complete with a baby. But when her husband offers to be a father, to give her the family she's always secretly desired, she and Riley will both have to face demons from their past -- and choose love over fear at last.

Critique: As an author and novelist, Caitlin Crews continues to reveal her impressive flair for originality, total mastery of the romance genre, and a narrative driven storytelling style that is inherently entertaining and engaging from first page to last. Her latest novel, "Secret Nights With A Cowboy" is certain to be an immediate and enduringly popular addition to personal reading lists and community library Romance Fiction collections. It should be noted that "Secret Nights With A Cowboy" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $7.99).

Truth, Lies, and Second Dates
MaryJanice Davidson
St. Martin's Griffin
c/o St. Martin's Press
120 Broadway, New York, NY 10271
9781250053176, $16.99, PB, 320pp

Synopsis: Captain Ava Capp has been flying from her past for a decade. She'd much rather leave it, and her home state, behind forever. But when she finds herself back in Minnesota, against her better judgment, everything goes sideways in a way she never expected it to.

M.E. Dr. Tom Baker has never forgotten Ava and the cold case she ran away from. When she shows up unexpectedly in town, in spite of himself, sparks fly. Which is terrible because he can't stop his growing attraction to her. Can these two Type-A's let their guards down and work together to put Ava's tragic past behind her for good? And keep their hands off each other at the same time?

Critique: A wonderfully entertaining blend of contemporary romance and deftly infused humor, "Truth, Lies, and Second Dates" by MaryJanice Davidson is highly recommended and certain to be an enduringly popular addition to community library collections. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of all dedicated romance fiction fans that "Truth, Lies, and Second Dates" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

The Mystery/Suspense Shelf

Dog-Gone Dead
Jackie Layton
Bell Bridge Books
9781611949889, $15.95, PB, 248pp

Synopsis: Low Country dog walker Andi Grace Scott is happy to score some free mulch from one of her brother's landscaping jobs -- until she discovers the dead body buried beneath the bark.

Worse, her brother's landscaping tools were used to commit the murder. Once the police arrest her brother and seem happy to have "caught their man", Andi Grace has no choice but to track down the real killer. She'll risk everything to prove her brother's innocence. Even if it means turning over every rock in town!

Critique: A deftly crafted 'whodunnit' style mystery, "Dog-Gone Dead" by novelist Jackie Layton is an inherently entertaining story laid out against a framework of small-town coastal life, dogs, and strong heroines. Certain to be an immediate and enduringly popular addition to community library Mystery/Suspense collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Dog-Gone Dead" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $4.99).

The Tease / Sin for Me
Gil Brewer
Stark House Press
1315 H Street, Eureka, CA 95501
9781951473044, $19.95, PB, 264pp

Synopsis: "The Tease" -- Wes McCord and his wife are fighting again, and this time it looks like she's going to leave him for good. She doesn't trust him; thinks he drinks too much. Alone that evening, Wes receives an unexpected guest, a terrified young girl named Bonnie who is on the run and crying rape. Worse, she had witnessed the death of the "old man," and was being chased by his friends. Wes agrees to hide her. But young Bonnie is more than she seems, and Wes soon finds himself involved with a nosy cop, some very desperate characters and a bundle of stolen money. If only he weren't so broke, he wouldn't be tempted. But, of course, there's Bonnie...

"Sin For Me" -- Sunderland misses his ex-wife Germaine like hell. But she's got a new husband, Paul Knowles, a smooth operator who's living in the house Jesse built. Now Jesse just sells real estate, and drinks a lot. So when a young lady calls him up to show her some houses, he is surprised to find that she doesn't want a house at all. She wants Jesse to steal the money her former partner (who is now known as Paul Knowles) stole from her, which she knows must be hidden somewhere in Jesse's old house. Jesse agrees, and it might have worked if Germaine hadn't found the money first and set him up to be the fall guy in a sudden case of murder!

Critique: Bringing back for a new generation of appreciative mystery buffs two of author Gil Brewer's best suspense thriller short stories under one cover, "The Tease / Sin For Me" will prove to be a welcome and popular addition to community library Mystery/Suspense collections and leave full entertained readers scouring the shelves of bookstores and libraries for more of Brewer's work. It should be noted for personal reading lists that this Stark House Press title is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $4.99).

Editorial Note: Gil Brewer (Nov. 20, 1922 - Jan. 9, 1983) in Canandaigua, NY. After leaving the army at the end of WWII, he joined his family who had settled in St. Petersburg, Florida. There he met Verlaine in 1947 and married her soon after. Brewer started by writing serious novels, but soon turned to paperback originals after a sale to Gold Medal Books in 1950. At his height, he was a brilliant writer of sharply defined noir thrillers, usually involving a male protagonist driven to crime by the sexual allure of a young siren. But unwilling to promote himself, his career took a turn for the worse after a mental breakdown, and a long decline into alcoholism.

Murder at Andaman
Bharti Kirchner
Camel Press
6524 NE 181st Street, Suite #2, Kenmore, WA 98028
9781603816809, $16.95, PB, 206pp

Synopsis: Maya Mallick, PI, is called when her best friend's husband, a book publisher, is murdered in the Andaman Islands in India. Maya travels there, endangering herself, only to discover he'd been living a secret life. Her quest is made more difficult when she starts to suspect her friend of wrongdoing.

Critique: Another carefully crafted mystery from the pen of Bharti Kirchner, "Murder at Andaman" is a riveting read that will have special appeal to dedicated mystery buffs and is a 'must read' for the growing legions of Bharti Kirchner fans. Simply stated, "Murder at Andaman" is an original and unreservedly recommended addition to any and all community library Contemporary Mystery/Suspense collections.

Crocodile Tears
Mercedes Rosende
Bitter Lemon Press
9781913394431, $14.95, PB, 248pp

Synopsis: The setting for author Mercedes Rosende's novel, "Crocodile Tears" is the Uruguay city of Montevideo with its Old Town comprised of dark alleys, crumbling facades and watchful residents. The gig is an armored truck robbery. The cast of characters includes Diego, a failed kidnapper with weak nerves, Ursula Lopez, an amateur criminal with an insatiable appetite, the Hobo, a notorious hoodlum with excessive self-confidence. Dr Antinucci, a shady lawyer with big plans. And finally, Leonilda Lima, a washed-out police inspector with a glimmer of faith in justice.

Critique: Ably translated into English for an American readership by Tim Gutteridge, "Crocodile Tears" by Mercedes Rosende is the kind of suspense thriller read from start to finish that would make for a block buster movie. With many an unexpected twist and laced with dark humor, "Crocodile Tears" is an impressively original, exceptionally compelling, and deftly crafted story -- a novel that would be an immediately welcome and enduringly popular addition to community library collections and is readily available for personal reading lists in a digital book format (Kindle, $12.95).

The Fantasy/SciFi Shelf

Casting Shadows
L. R. Braden
Bell Bridge Books
9781611949896, $15.95, PB, 274pp

Synopsis: Children are disappearing. With Purity growing in political power and bigotry on the rise across the Realms, Alex's short-term goals are to stay under the PTF's radar and as far from the fae Courts as she can. But her plans go up in smoke when May, the younger sister of her good friend Emma, goes missing.

The fae are involved. Alex will do everything she can to find May, but to mount a rescue she'll have to avoid PTF raids, conquer old ghosts, and risk coming face to face with her fae grandfather again.

War is coming. Lines are being drawn. No one is safe. To survive, Alex will have to choose a side.

Critique: While also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $4.99), "Casting Shadows" is the fourth book in fantasy author L. R. Braden's simply outstanding action/adventure fantasy series 'The Magicsmith'. An exceptionally entertaining and compelling read from first page to last, "Casting Shadows" will be especially appreciated by dedicated fantasy fans and is certain to be an enduringly popular addition to community library Science Fiction & Fantasy collections.

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue
V. E. Schwab
Tor Books
c/o Tor/Forge Books
9780765387561, $26.99, HC, 448pp

Synopsis: Set in France, 1714, "The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue" by V. E. Schwab is the story of how, in a moment of desperation, a young woman makes a Faustian bargain to live forever -- and is cursed to be forgotten by everyone she meets. Thus begins the extraordinary life of Addie LaRue, and a dazzling adventure that will play out across centuries and continents, across history and art, as a young woman learns how far she will go to leave her mark on the world. But everything changes when, after nearly 300 years, Addie stumbles across a young man in a hidden bookstore and he remembers her name!

Critique: Original, inherently entertaining, and an inherently riveting read from beginning to end, "The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue" is a deftly scripted, innately compelling and highly recommended addition to community library fantasy fiction collections. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of all dedicated action/adventure fantasy fans that "The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $13.99) and as a complete and unabridged audio book (Macmillan Audio, 9781250777966, $66.99, CD).

The Valkyrie Protocol
David Weber & Jacob Holo
Baen Books
PO Box 1188, Wake Forest NC 27588
9781982124908, $27.00, HC, 592pp

Synopsis: Agent Raibert Kaminski and the crew of the Transtemporal Vehicle Kleio have stumbled across a temporal implosion that has claimed two whole universes, and neither Raibert nor his crew can - figure out what caused this calamity, or how to stop its spread. Meanwhile, old colleagues of Raibert's from the Antiquities Rescue Trust, together with a version of Samuel Pepys transplanted from the 17th century into the 30th, have proposed an expedition into the past. The goal? To branch the timeline by preventing the Plague of Justinian, one of the worst pandemics in human history.

And on a multidimensional level, governmental entity SysGov's multiverse neighbor, the xenophobic Admin, is stirring. While their ambassadors put on a friendly show, the Admin is amassing a fleet of advanced, heavily armed time machines -- with SysGov firmly in the crosshairs.

In the midst of the temporal turmoil, time is running out for Raibert and his team to save the rest of the known universes from ceasing to exist. Navigating the paradoxes of time can be a killer task - especially when dogged by those who seek your destruction at every turn. But this isn't the - first Time Rodeo for the crew of the Kleio, and they won't go down without a - fight no matter where or when the threat to the multiverse arises!

Critique: "The Valkyrie Protocol" is the prequel to David Weber and Jacob Holo's 'The Gordian Protocol' and a 'must' for the legions of David Weber fans. While certain to be an immediate and enduringly popular addition to community library Science Fiction collections, it should be noted for the personal reading lists of all dedicated science fiction fans that "The Valkyrie Protocol" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $8.99).

The Graphic Novel Shelf

Marvel Comics: The First 80 Years
Titan Comics
9781787735088, $29.99, HC, 160pp

Synopsis: For 80 years, the late Stan Lee and Marvel Comics have inspired millions of fans worldwide with iconic characters and timeless stories that have brought the Marvel Universe to the forefront of contemporary pop culture.

Though now the company is famous for their blockbuster hits such as the Avengers, Guardians of the Galaxy, X-Men, and Spider-Man, "Marvel Comics: The First 80 Years" from Titan Comics will explore the Marvel Comics company's humble beginnings and it's struggle to become the powerhouse of publishing that it is today.

Featuring all encompassing overviews of the trials and triumphs from each decade, with marvelous milestones, characters, creators, incredible illustrations, and behind-the-scenes trivia.

Critique: An ultimate, profusely illustrated and impressively informative memorial celebrating and showcasing the mightiest Super Heroes in the Marvel Universe, "Marvel Comics: The First 80 Years" is a 'must read' for the legions of Marvel Comics fans and is certain to be an immediate and enduringly popular addition to personal, community, and academic library Comics & Graphic Novels History collections.

Authorised Happiness: Vol. 1
Jean Van Hamme, author
Griffo, illustrator
Cinebook Ltd.
c/o National Book Network (dist.)
9781849184472, $13.95, PB, 56pp

Synopsis: When society pushes the ideals of social equality to their breaking point, the result can easily become plain absurd. For example, in order to avoid the chronic budget deficit of social security, what better way is there but to forbid people to take any chances with their health? Even if it leads to a Medical Police and fines for anyone not watching the weather forecast. What if in order to keep health costs down taking a vacation was not only mandatory but ruthless enforce as a government controlled imperative? What if severe unemployment resulted in having to work for a company whose products and/or services are a ruthless kept secret -- even from its own employees?

Critique: The first volume in a new graphic novel series dedicated to exploring dystopian futures, "Authorised Happiness" is comprised of three Kafkaesque style stories that paint a frightening picture of an over-regulated world. A compelling thought-ful and thought-provoking read that will leave you looking eagerly toward the publication of "Authorized Happiness: Volume 2", this debut volume is especially recommended for community, college, and university library graphic novel collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Authorized Happiness: Volume 1" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle/comiXology, $5.99).

Vostok, Do You Read Me?
Frederic Zumiehl, author
Gil Formosa, illustrator
Cinebook Ltd.
c/o National Book Network (dist.)
9781849184991, $11.95, PB, 48pp

Synopsis: Tasked with testing the new F-35 in extreme cold conditions, Buck and his two wingmen are sent to Antarctica -- much to Sonny's disgust. The F-35 recurring technical problems force them to make a longer first stop than anticipated on their crossing of the continent. And while it does allow Buck to meet the lovely Natalya, a Russian scientist, it also puts them in the middle of a merciless snowstorm. That's when they receive a mysterious SOS from Vostok Station and are unexpectedly faced with a biological warfare threat to the entire human race.

Critique: Aviation and military buffs in particular will appreciate the detailed notations for the abbreviations used in this action/adventure graphic novel's dialogue. A compelling and entertaining cliff-hanger of a story, "Vostok, Do You Read Me?" is the eleventh installment in this simply outstanding Buck Danny series from the team of author/storyteller Frederic Zumiehl and artist/illustrator Gil Formosa. Highly recommended for community library Graphic Novel collections.

Mermaid Project: Episode 4
Leo, author
Corine Jamar Fred Simon, illustrator
Cinebook Ltd.
c/o National Book Network (dist.)
9781849184137, $11.95, PB, 48pp

Synopsis: Romane Pennac's niece has been kidnapped in Paris. Her genetic makeup, inherited from the experiments conducted on her mother (and Romane) in her youth, make her a perfect candidate for Algapower's hybridisation experiments that seek to surgically create mermaids out of humans. Hell bent on rescuing her and putting an end to the corporation's actions, El Malik and Pennac attempt a daring raid on Algapower's Rio laboratory. But when things go wrong, they'll find some very strange allies!

Critique: A deftly scripted action/adventure plot with a wealth of unexpected twists and turns, "Mermaid Project: Episode 4" is a compelling page turner of a read from beginning to end and highly recommended for community library graphic novel collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that like the first 3 volumes in this outstanding series, "Mermaid Project: Episode 4" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle/comiXology, $1.99).

The Route List: Kansas
Eric Stainer
Cinebook Ltd.
c/o National Book Network (dist.)
9781849184533, $11.95 PB, 48pp

Synopsis: During the 1961 floods in Kansas, the Clown is searching a house, looking for important documents. When the police arrive, though, a shoot-out ensues that ends in the killer's apparent death. And yet by the time the owner of the house returns, along with Alex Poliac, the documents have disappeared, and Alex is convinced his old enemy is still alive. Meanwhile, FBI Agent Laura Kensington is arrested for treason. "Kansas" is the third volume in author Eric Stainer's graphic novel series "The Route List" and, like the previous two volumes (Illinois and Missouri), continues the death list liquidation of embedded communists under orders to be eliminated as the Kremlin power struggles back in Russia continue.

Critique: A wealth of unexpected plot twists, turns and revelations continue unabated and will leave the reader looking eagerly toward the next installment of this hit man saga, "The Route List: Kansas" is a thoroughly entertaining and highly recommended read and a welcome addition to community library graphic novel collections.

The Audiobook Shelf

Pierce Brown's Red Rising: Sons of Ares
Pierce Brown
Graphic Audio
7520 Standish Place, Suite 100, Rockville, MD 20855
9781648815324, $TBA, MP3 CD

Synopsis: From the world of author Pierce Brown's original science fiction series Red Rising comes a story of love and loss and rage! In the future, when mankind has spread across the stars, the hierarchy of man is dictated by the color of one's caste.

The Golds rule all, but what will happen when one falls for a lowly Red? "Red Rising: Sons of Ares" reveals how a forbidden love will set the course of events for the future and lead to the formation of the formidable Sons of Ares!

Adapted from the graphic novel and produced with a full cast of actors, immersive sound effects and cinematic music, "Red Rising: Sons of Ares" provides the listener with a true 'theatre of the mind' experience.

Critique: Simply stated, "Red Rising: Sons of Ares" is certain to be an immediately welcome and enduringly popular addition to personal and community library Science Fiction & Fantasy audio book collections. Listeners will look eagerly toward the next title in this outstanding series from Graphic Audio, "Red Rising: Sons of Ares, Volume 2: Wrath". (1 MP3-CD, 4 Hours)

The Music CD Shelf

Christmas Is
Mike Renzi with Jim Porcella
Whaling City Sound
c/o Naxos (dist.)
$16.99 CD

Award-winning pianist Mike Renzi with baritone vocal performer Jim Porcella present Christmas Is, a holiday-themed album ideal for setting a mood of celebration, joy, and compassion. Wonderful, warmhearted, and evocative, Christmas Is flows beautifully and is highly recommended for both personal and public library music collections. The tracks are "Cool Yule", "The Christmas Song", "The Holiday Song", "Our First Christmas", "Blue Christmas", "Christmas Is", "I've Got My Love To Keep Me Warm", "A Christmas Love Song", "Snowfall", and "Winter Wonderland".

Down Home Christmas
The Oak Ridge Boys
Lightning Rod Records
$14.99 CD / $9.49 MP3

Down Home Christmas is a holiday-themed album by The Oak Ridge Boys. The songs are overflowing with holiday cheer, and include both renditions of beloved seasonal classic and invigorating original creations! The tracks are "The Family Piano", "Angels", "Bring Daddy Home", "Reindeer on the Roof", "Silent Night", "Hallelujah Emmanuel", "Down Home Christmas", "South Alabama Christmas", "Don't Go Pullin' On Santa Claus' Beard", "Amazing Grace (spoken introduction)", and "Amazing Grace". Also highly recommended is another treasury of Christmas music by The Oak Ridge Boys, "Christmas Time's A-Coming" ($14.00 CD / $9.49 MP3).

Beethoven 250 Mashup
The Great Kat
$9.98 CD / $0.99 MP3

The extraordinarily talented, boundary-pushing music artist The Great Kat applies her talent for guitar-shredding classical music at extraordinary speeds in Beethoven 250 Mashup, a CD single with over four minutes of mashed-up shreds from Beethoven's "5th Symphony", "Moonlight Mosh", "Turkish March", "Fur Elise", "Beethoven Mosh 2", "Razumovsky String Quartet", "Minuet in G", "Egmont Overture", "Violin Concerto", and "Eroica Symphony". Beethoven 250 Mashup is a brief yet exciting and enthralling new way to experience Beethoven's timeless classics, and makes an adventurous gift for connoisseurs of the intense guitar shredding!

Brand New
Honey Made
Privately Published
$10.00 CD / $7.00 digital

Austin-based funk and soul band Honey Made present their debut full-length music album Brand New, which showcases their talent for crafting and performing music with elements of soul, funk, reggae, and jazz. Vibrant and extraordinary, Brand New is enthusiastically recommended especially to connoisseurs of original soul. The tracks are "Chicken Sweats feat. Ms. Mack", "Brand New", "Steppin' Out", "Be True feat. Ms. Mack", "Smoove", "Can You Feel It?", "Canadian Mist", "Like You", "Southern Fried Funk", and "So Good".

Never Mind
Margie Singleton
Privately Published
$TBA CD / $TBA digital

Never Mind is a country music EP album by 85-years-young music artist, songwriter, and mother Margie Singleton. Her son Steve aided the creation of Never Mind as a studio builder, producer, and co-writer, making Never Mind their first "family affair". A rich, emotional, "FCC Clean" collection, Never Mind is a joy for country music connoisseurs and also makes an excellent holiday gift. The tracks are "Never Mind" (3:22), "Who's Gonna Love You" (2:34), "Wonder What She's Doing" (3:10), "Missing You" (2:59), and "Lie to Me" (4:04).

Sacred Gift
Nader Vasseghi
Privately Published
$TBA CD / $9.49 MP3

Sacred Gift is a wonderous and spiritual new age album featuring both instrumentals and vocals. A philosophical journey that transcends the moment, Sacred Gift is a choice pick for fomenting inspiration, creativity, passion, and contemplation. Highly recommended, especially for connoisseurs of the genre. The tracks are "First Creek", "Spacious Heart", "Kojaeed", "Fragments of a Dream", "Calling Forth", "Dance of Waves", "Rising Sun", "Touch", and "Flow".

Sangeeta Kaur
Privately Published
$12.89 CD / $9.49 MP3

Illuminance is a beautiful, new age music album featuring the vocals of classically-trained music artist Sangeeta Kaur, the piano and keyboards of Peter Kater, the cello and cello arrangements of Tina Guo, the bass of Mark Gorman, the guitar of Dat Nguyen, and the percussion of MB Gordy and Christian Teele. A profound, multidimensional musical journey, Illuminance cultivates an uplifting sense of grace, elegance, and fascination. Highly recommended. The tracks are "All My Love", "Illuminance", "Worlds Collide", "Light Of Love", "Path oOf Light", "Come And Find Me", "Supernova", "Stardust", and "Dedication".

The Travel Shelf

Kentucky Bourbon Country: The Essential Travel Guide, third edition
Susan Reigler
The University Press of Kentucky
663 South Limestone Street, Lexington, KY 40508-4008
9780813180311, $21.95, PB, 264pp

Synopsis: Bourbon is a type of American whiskey, a barrel-aged distilled spirit made primarily from corn. The name ultimately derives from the French Bourbon dynasty, although the precise inspiration for the whiskey's name is uncertain; contenders include Bourbon County in Kentucky and Bourbon Street in New Orleans, both of which are named after the dynasty. Although bourbon may be made anywhere in the United States, it is strongly associated with the American South and with Kentucky in particular. As of 2014, distillers' wholesale market revenue for bourbon sold within the U.S. was about $2.7 billion, and bourbon made up about two-thirds of the $1.6 billion of U.S. exports of distilled spirits. According to the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States, in 2018 U.S. distillers derived $3.6 billion in revenue from bourbon and Tennessee whiskey (a closely related spirit produced in the state of Tennessee) sold in the United States. It was recognized in 1964 by the United States Congress as a "distinctive product of the United States". Bourbon sold in the United States must be produced in the U.S. from at least 51% corn and stored in a new container of charred oak. (Wikipedia)

Like wine lovers who dream of traveling to Bordeaux or beer enthusiasts with visions of the breweries of Belgium, bourbon lovers plan their pilgrimages to Kentucky. Some of the most famous distilleries are tucked away in the scenic Bluegrass region, which is home to nearly seventy distilleries and responsible for 95 percent of all of America's bourbon production. Locals and tourists alike continue to seek out the world's finest whiskeys in Kentucky as interest in America's only native spirit continues to grow.

Now in a fully updated and expanded third edition, "Kentucky Bourbon Country: The Essential Travel Guide", by Susan Reigler offers updated, essential information and practical advice to anyone considering a trip to the state's distilleries (including the state's booming craft distillery sector) or the restaurants and bars on the Urban Bourbon Trail. Featuring more than two hundred full-color photographs and a bourbon glossary, "Kentucky Bourbon Country" is organized by region and provides valuable details about the Bluegrass -- including attractions near each distillery and notes on restaurants, lodging, shopping, and seasonal events in Kentucky's beautiful historic towns.

In addition to providing knowledge about each point of interest, "Kentucky Bourbon Country" weaves in little-known facts about the region's best-kept secrets, such as the historic distillery used as a set in the movie Stripes and the fates of used bourbon barrels. Whether you're interested in visiting the place where your favorite bourbon is made or hoping to discover exciting new varieties, "Kentucky Bourbon Country" is handy and practical guide is the key to enjoying the best of bourbon.

Critique: Profusely illustrated throughout, this new third edition of "Kentucky Bourbon Country: The Essential Travel Guide" is an ideal planning guide for any and all bourbon enthusiasts wanting to explore the history and culture of 'Bourbon Country' for themselves. Simply paging through "Kentucky Bourbon Country" as an armchair traveler will prove to be an immensely interesting pastime. While very highly recommended for community library American Travel Guide collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Kentucky Bourbon Country" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $16.49).

Editorial Note: Currently residing in Louisville, Kentucky, Susan Reigler is a former restaurant critic for the Louisville Courier-Journal and a current correspondent for Bourbon+ and American Whiskey magazines. She has also authored or coauthored six books on bourbon, and in 2019, she was inducted into the Order of the Writ.

Lonely Planet's Where To Go When Europe
Lonely Planet Publications
150 Linden Street, Oakland CA 94607
9781838690403, $24.99, HC, 304pp

Synopsis: Packed from cover to cover full with trip recommendations for every time of year, and
curated with weather, seasonal costs, crowds and events in mind, "Lonely Planet's Where To Go When Europe" covers every flavor of the European travel experience, from culture-rich city breaks and sun-kissed beach escapes to scenic road trips and adrenaline-fuelled adventures.

With more than 300 suggestions for destinations across Europe and the best time of year to experience them, this 304-page travel guide is the ultimate trip planner for every month of the year. It features unique interactive flow chart in each month's chapter to help you refine your interest. Find out how to escape the crowds in the pastel-hued villages of Italy's Cinque Terre, discover why the slopes of Moritz are the place to be come winter time, and get to know when to explore the highlands and islands of Scotland for the best weather.

Destinations are divided by months of the year, and a key describes where on the continent is best to enjoy adventure, culture and food and drink, where is best to spot species of wildlife, the best places to kick back and relax, and where you get the best bang-for-your-buck. Ultimately, whether you want to wander through sky-high mountain ranges or lose yourself wandering through quaint and cobbled city streets, this trusty and expert-led book will have you covered.

Critique: Ironically in this time of a botched pandemic response by the Trump administration, Americans are forbidden to travel to Europe, "Lonely Planet's Where To Go When Europe" is the next best thing to being able to go there and will be treasured by dedicated armchair travelers and frustrated on-site travelers alike. Beautifully illustrated, impressively informative, exceptionally well organized and presented, "Lonely Planet's Where To Go When Europe" will prove to be an immediately welcome and enduringly popular addition to personal, professional, community, college, and university library Travel Guide collections.

Lonely Planet's Ultimate Travel List, second edition
Lonely Planet Publications
150 Linden Street, Oakland CA 94607
9781788689137, $24.99, HC, 336pp

Synopsis: Now in a fully updated and expanded second edition of "Lonely Planet's Ultimate Travel List", the armchair traveler and trip planner is presented with an all-new ranking of the greatest places to visit on Earth, reflecting the travel tastes and trends of today's world. Decided by Lonely Planet's global family of writers, editors and industry experts, and packed from cover to cover with insightful commentary, awe-inspiring photos and over 200 new entries, "Lonely Planet's Ultimate Travel List" is a unique, informed and informative reference and resource for explorers and armchair travellers alike!.

With experiences ranging from hiking among the vast granite pillars of South America's mesmerising Torres del Paine to snaking your way through the desert to the treasured ancient city of Petra, this anticipated book covers everything from UNESCO World Heritage Sites to azure bays and white-sand beaches by way of iconic cities. With 500 entries, 320 pages and an all-new ranking system, this is the definitive wishlist for the best places to visit on the planet.

Critique: Fun to browse through, beautifully and profusely illustrated throughout, "Lonely Planet's Ultimate Travel List" is a unique, extraordinary, thoroughly reader/user friendly in organization and presentation, making it an unreservedly recommended addition to personal, professional, community, college, and university library Travel Guide collections.

The Poetry Shelf

The Readiness
Alan Gillis
Wake Forest University Press
PO Box 7333, Winston-Salem, NC 27109
9781930630949, $13.95, PB, 96pp

Synopsis: Alan Gillis's "The Readiness" is a volume of verse that moves fluently among various modes of poetic expression: the lyric, one of his most beautiful and assured; the gritty, one of his most familiar; and the comic, one of his most form-splitting.

As a poet Alan Gillis can be darkly profound and lovingly comic, bitingly indicative, and compassionately pained. Gillis crafts poems that measure our cultural morass with the love, pity, and sarcasm that it deserves. The volume is set in the terms Hamlet finally comes to at the end of the play: "There's a special providence in the fall of a sparrow... the readiness is all." Gillis concludes: So make sure you're up to speed when, at sunset or dawn, worms vex the seed, crows shadow the corn.

The shadowy threats that appear throughout the volume are met in "Late Spring" by how the beauty of "a green / world moves through // us in slow motion." They are also answered by the "quake" of recognition in a poem like "The Dote" that leaves the poet's "mind in the air." Yet, the darkness remains. We readers must also be ready, and, as the poet insists, we "know this, / the oncoming day, is nothing / but the night's brief parenthesis."

Critique: A visceral word smithing delight for those who appreciate the versatility of the English language in setting up memorable word pictures with an emotional impact and cerebral insight into the human conditions. "The Readiness" is especially and unreservedly recommended for personal reading lists and community/academic library Contemporary Poetry collections.

Editorial Note: Alan Gillis is from Belfast and now lives in Scotland, where he teaches English at the University of Edinburgh. He has published Scapegoat and Other Poems (2016) in the US, which was a compendium of poems from previous volumes published in Ireland: Scapegoat (2014), Here Comes the Night (2010), Hawks and Doves (2007), and Somebody, Somewhere (2004), which won the Strong Award for Best First Collection in Ireland. He has also been shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot Prize, and for the Irish Times Poetry Now Award.

Beyond Earth's Edge: The Poetry of Spaceflight
Julie Swarstad Johnson, editor
Christopher Cokinos, editor
University of Arizona Press
1510 E. University Boulevard
P.O. Box 210055, Tucson, AZ 85721-0055
9780816539192, $19.95, PB, 280pp

Synopsis: Collaboratively compiled and co-edited by the team of Julie Swarstad Johnson and Christopher Cokinos, "Beyond Earth's Edge: The Poetry of Spaceflight: is a trailblazing anthology of poetry that spans from the dawn of the space age to the imagined futures of the universe. This anthology offers a fascinating record of both national mindsets and private perspectives as poets grapple with the promise and peril of U.S. space exploration across decades and into the present.

Tracing an arc of literary skepticism during the Apollo era and before to a more curious, and even hopeful, stance today, "Beyond Earth's Edge" includes diverse perspectives from poets such as Robert Hayden, Rae Armantrout, N. Scott Momaday, Adrienne Rich, Tracy K. Smith, Ray Bradbury, May Swenson, Pablo Neruda, and many other engaging poetic voices.

"Beyond Earth's Edge" vividly captures the violence of blastoff, the wonders seen by Hubble, and the trajectories of exploration to Mars and beyond through a wide array of lyric celebrations, somber meditations, accessible narratives, concrete poems, and new forms of science fiction. With the dawn of the New Space movement, continued interest in Mars, and renewed excitement about returning to the Moon, "Beyond Earth's Edge" is a giant leap toward bridging poetry and science.

Critique: An inherently fascinating and memorable volume of original and space exploration themed verse, "Beyond Earth's Edge: The Poetry of Spaceflight" is a unique and extraordinary anthology that is especially recommended for personal, community, college, and university library Contemporary Poetry collections.

How Time Moves: New and Selected Poems
Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg
Meadowlark Press
9781734247725, $22.00, PB, 376pp

Synopsis: "How Time Moves: New and Selected Poems" brings together over 30 years of Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg's poetry on what it means to be human in a particular place, time, body, history, and story. The new poems include a special section on pandemic time, exploring how the nature of our hours, days, and months change during this unprecedented era in our lives.

Mirriam-Goldberg is a wise and warm literary companion, leading us into more vivid sight and keen insight into the times of our life, and how time tumbles across generations, landscapes, callings, and questions.

Critique: An impressive compendium of literate, articulate, reflective, considered, lyrical verse showcasing Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg's word smithing skills, "How Time Moves: New and Selected Poems" is an especially and unreservedly recommended addition to personal, professional, community, college, and university library Contemporary American Poetry collections.

The Computer Shelf

Murach's SQL Server 2019 for Developers
Bryan Syverson & Joel Murach
Mike Murach & Associates
4340 North Knoll Avenue, Fresno, CA 93722
9781943872572, $59.50, PB, 674pp

Synopsis: The collaborative work of Bryan Syverson and Joel Murach, "Murach's SQL Server 2019 for Developers" is specifically crafted for professional application developers, as well as anyone training to be one.

"Murach's SQL Server 2019 for Developers" presents the SQL statements that developers need to retrieve and update the data in a database. These are the SQL statements that would be used every day. Then this expert instructional guide and manual shows how to design a database, how to implement that design, and how to work with database features like views, scripts, stored procedures, functions, triggers, transactions, security, XML data, and BLOB data with FILESTREAM storage.

With "Murach's SQL Server 2019 for Developers" developers will be able to create database applications that are thoroughly professional, as well as being familiar with the DBA-related issues. Of special note is that SQL developers will have a handy reference to answer questions and handle new challenges as they come up.

Critique: Expertly written, organized and presented, "Murach's SQL Server 2019 for Developers" is ideal as a curriculum textbook and a DIY instruction manual -- making it especially and unreservedly recommended for personal, professional, technical college, and university library Computer Science Training & Reference collections.

Murach's ASP.NET Core MVC
Mary Delamater & Joel Murach
Mike Murach & Associates
4340 North Knoll Avenue, Fresno, CA 93722
9781943872497, $59.50, PB, 780pp

"Murach's ASP.NET Core MVC" by the team of Mary Delamater and Joel Murach is intended for computer science students and practitioners who already know the basics of C# and are ready to learn how to create web applications using Microsoft's powerful technology, ASP.NET Core MVC (Model-View-Controller).

By the end of section 1 (just 5 chapters) the reader will be developing real-world web apps using C# code for the model and controller classes including HTML, CSS, and Razor code for the view files (for the user interface), as well as Bootstrap classes for responsive design so that apps adapt well to all screen sizes. Readers will also be able use the debugging tools in Visual Studio and their browser to test their apps and make sure they'll work right for all users.

In section 2, readers will build out that set of skills to create more complex controllers, work with Razor views, handle cookies and sessions, do model binding, validate data, and handle database data with EF (Entity Framework) Core. They will also see how all these skills come together in a single application, with coverage of the gotchas that can occur and how to solve them.

Finally, in section 3, readers can pick up additional skills as they need them to: create custom tag helpers and view components; authenticate and authorize users; use dependency injection to automate testing; and use Visual Studio Code.

All along the way, readers will get complete web apps that show how each feature works in context (these can be downloaded these for free from the Murach website). Readers will get chapter exercises that let them practice their new skills. And readers will get Murach's distinctive paired-pages format that presents each skill in a 2-page spread, full of examples, notes, and explanation -- a format that developers praise because it saves them both training and reference time.

Critique: Thoroughly 'user friendly' as a training and reference resource for computer science students in general, and ASP.NET Core MVC students and practitioners in particular, "Murach's ASP.NET Core MVC" is an ideal and unreservedly recommended DIY instructional textbook and will prove to be a welcome and appreciated addition to personal, professional, technical college and university library Computer Science collections.

The Needlecraft Shelf

Weekend Makes: Hoop Embroidery
Rosemary Drysdale
GMC Publications
c/o The GMC Group
9781784945909, $22.95, PB, 144pp

Synopsis: In the pages of "Weekend Makes: Hoop Embroidery Art", experienced needlecrafter Rosemary Drysale features 25 beautifully stitched embroideries that are mounted and hung in an embroidery hoop. Inexpensive and quick to make, these small pieces are perfect for using up remnants of fabric and embroidery thread, felt, buttons and beads. The essential tools and techniques section means that those new to embroidery will be able to pick up a much-loved craft and create beautiful and simple pieces. "Weekend Makes: Hoop Embroidery Art" also covers how to finish the back of the pieces, as well as how to hang them. These simple projects are achievable for all levels of ability and experience from novice to professional.

Critique: Profusely and beautifully illustrated throughout, "Weekend Makes: Hoop Embroidery Art" is thoroughly 'user friendly' in organization and presentation -- making it an ideal and unreservedly recommended introduction and instructional guide to hoop embroidery and an enduringly welcome addition to personal, professional, and community library Needlecraft instructional reference collections.

Editorial Note: Rosemary Drysdale has worked as an embroidery designer. She was at the forefront of the cross-stitch craze in the 1990s, traveling the world teaching workshops and giving demonstrations. She is recognized as a global expert on black work embroidery, as well as a teacher of many other advanced stitching techniques.

Weekend Makes: Punch Needle
Sara Moore
GMC Publications
c/o The GMC Group
9781784945893, $22.95, PB, 144pp

Synopsis: Fun and fats, the use of a Punch Needle is one of the hottest trends in needlecrafting right now. Featuring 25 quick and easy punch needle designs, "Weekend Makes: Punch Needle" by Sara Moore is a great way to learn the craft or challenge yourself with a new design idea.

"Weekend Makes: Punch Needle" introduces the needlecrafter to the basics of the punch needle craft, including the materials needed, marking fabric, and the basic stitches and techniques to be used. There are also tips for successful stitching, guiding the needlecrafter through the process of making some stunning projects in very little time.

Critique: Thoroughly 'user friendly' in organization and presentation, "Weekend Makes: Punch Needle" is the ideal DIY combination of step-by-step instruction guide and manual -- making it an especially and unreservedly recommended addition to personal, professional, and community library Needlecrafting collections.

Editorial Note: Sara Moore is a modern punch needle artist, teacher, and the owner of Whole Punching, a needle punching on-line shop. Based in Bristol, United Kingdom, Sara has been teaching the craft since 2018 throughout the South West. Sara is passionate about encouraging others to engage in the craft through teaching in person and with her online presence. More of her work can be seen at, or she can be followed on Instagram @wholepunching.

The Christian Studies Shelf

The Shroud of Turin
Andrea Nicolotti
Baylor University Press
One Bear Place, #97363, Waco, TX 76798-7363
9781481311472, $59.95, HC, 524pp

Synopsis: Shrouds have long held a special place among the sacred relics of Christendom. In the Middle Ages, shrouds, like holy relics, were the prize possessions of churches and cities.

Cloaked in mystery, these artifacts have long been objects of reverence and awe, as well as sources of debates, quarrels, thefts, and excommunications. Shrouds (so some Christians claim) provide visible testimony to faith. One in particular has drawn the interest of scholars, clergy, and the public alike: the Shroud of Turin.

In "The Shroud of Turin: The History and Legends of the World's Most Famous Relic", Andrea Nicolotti (Professor of History of Christianity and the Churches at the University of Turin) chronicles the history of this famous cloth, including its circuitous journey from the French village of Lirey to its home in the Italian city of Turin, as well as the fantastical claims surrounding its origin and modern scientific efforts to prove or disprove its authenticity.

Full of intrigue and mystery, "The Shroud of Turin" dismantles hypotheses that cannot survive the rigors of historical analysis as Nicolotti directly addresses the thorny problem of the authenticity of the relic and the difficult relationship between history, faith, and science.

Critique: Impressively written, organized and presented, "The Shroud of Turin: The History and Legends of the World's Most Famous Relic" by Professor Andrea Nicolotti is an extraordinary work of exhaustive and meticulous research conducted with an impressive degree of seminal scholarship. Ably translated into English for an American readership by Jeffrey M. Hunt and R. A. Smith, "The Shroud of Turin: The History and Legends of the World's Most Famous Relic" is enhanced for academia with Figures, Genealogical Stemma, and an Index of Names -- making it an ideal and unreservedly recommended addition to personal, community, church, seminary, college and university library Christian Historiography collections in general, and Shroud of Turn supplemental studies reading lists in particular.

The Theology of Sergius Bulgakov
Robert F. Slesinski
SVS Press
575 Scarsdale Road, Yonkers, NY 10707
9780881416015, $35.97, PB, 280pp

Synopsis: Sergei Nikolaevich Bulgakov (28 July 1871 - 13 July 1944) was a Russian Orthodox Christian theologian, philosopher, priest and economist.

"The Theology of Sergius Bulgakov" by Fr. Robert F. Slesinski is arguably the single best one volume introduction and critical study of Bulgakov now available in English. In a time when Bulgakov's complex theology and profound legacy in modern theology in Christian East and West is finally being widely appreciated, Fr. Slesinkski's study has given us a sure conceptual guide, with marked critical analysis, not a mere summary, to the major themes and words of Bulgakov's massive oeuvre. "The Theology of Sergius Bulgakov" is a meticulous and detailed study which will set a scholastic standard for all future academic work that attempts to understand Bulgakov -- who is to be noted as the awakening giant of modern Orthodox theology.

Critique: Fr. Slesinski's "The Theology of Sergius Bulgakov" is an impressively informative and detailed biography of Bulgarkov's life and work. Exceptionally well written, organized and presented, "The Theology of Sergius Bulgakov" is an especially and unreservedly recommended addition to church, seminary, college, and university library Orthodox Christian collections and supplemental curriculum studies list. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of clergy, seminary students, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "The Theology of Sergius Bulgakov" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $14.99).

Editorial Note: Robert F. Slesinski received his doctorate in philosophy from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, and served on the faculty of the John XXIII Institute for Eastern Christian Studies (Bronx, NY). He is the author of Pavel Florensky: A Metaphysics of Love (SVS Press, 1984), as well as other books and articles.

DoubtLess - Because Faith is Hard
Shelby Abbott
New Growth Press
1301 Carolina Street, #L101, Greensboro, NC 27401
9781645070757, $15.99, PB, 128pp

Synopsis: Is God good? Can I trust him with my life? Is the Bible true? These are just some of the questions that can plague young adult Christians as they stand at the crossroads of life, when new responsibilities loom large and the world around them treats God as a small or irrelevant part of life.

In DoubtLess, author and Cru campus minister Shelby Abbott comes alongside young Christians to help them honestly face their doubt and turn to God for the gift of faith. He reminds readers that biblical scripture recounts the stories of many men and women who have also faced deep misgivings and uncertainty in their walk of faith.

Using both Scripture and personal illustrations, Abbot shows us how to feed our faith in seasons of doubt through authentic relationships with other Christians, hearing from God in the Bible, and practicing thankfulness. Doubt should not scare us, nor should it become our obsession. He urges readers to see the difference between doubt and unbelief, assuring us that big questions can press us deeper into the heart and character of God rather than push us away from him.

Used for biblical reflection, group discussion, devotional reading, DoubtLess is full of gospel hope for those grappling with the mysteries of Christian faith.

Critique: Exceptionally well written, organized and presented, "DoubtLess - Because Faith is Hard" is an inspired and inspiring read that is unreservedly recommended to all members of the Christian community regardless of denominational affiliations. It should be noted for students, clergy, seminarians, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "DoubtLess - Because Faith is Hard" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

Editorial Note: Shelby Abbott is an author, campus minister, and conference speaker on staff with the ministry of Cru. His passion for university students has led him to speak at college campuses all over the United States and author the books Jacked, I'm Awkward You're Awkward, I Am A Tool (To Help With Your Dating Life), and Pressure Points. He and his wife have two daughters and reside outside Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He maintains a ministry oriented website at

The Self-Help Shelf

The Ikigai Journey
Hector Garcia & Francesc Miralles
Tuttle Publishing
364 Innovation Drive, North Clarendon, VT 05759-9436
9784805315996, $15.99, HC, 224pp

Synopsis: Ikigai is a Japanese concept that means "a reason for being". The word refers to having a meaningful direction or purpose in life, constituting the sense of one's life being made worthwhile, with actions (spontaneous and willing) taken towards achieving one's ikigai resulting in satisfaction and a sense of meaning to life.

In "The Ikigai Journey: A Practical Guide to Finding Happiness and Purpose the Japanese Way", authors Hector Garcia and Francesc Miralles showing their readers just how to find their own ikigai through practical exercises, such as employing new habits and stepping outside your comfort zone.

Ikigai is the place where our passion (what we love), mission (what we hope to contribute), vocation (the gifts we have to offer the world) and profession (how our passions and talents can become a livelihood) converge, giving us a personal sense of meaning. "The Ikigai Journey" helps the reader to bring together all of these elements so that they can enjoy a balanced life.

The Japan people have one of the longest life spans in the world, and the greatest number of centenarians -- many of whom cite their strong sense of ikigai as the basis for their happiness and longevity. Unlike many "self-care" practices, which require setting aside time in an increasingly busy world, the ikigai method helps to find peace and fulfillment in a busy life.

Critique: Exceptionally well written, organized and presented, "The Ikigai Journey: A Practical Guide to Finding Happiness and Purpose the Japanese Way" is thoroughly 'reader friendly' in tone and narrative style -- making it an ideal and enduringly popular addition to community, college, and university library Self-Help/Self-Improvement collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Ikigai Journey: A Practical Guide to Finding Happiness and Purpose the Japanese Way" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

Editorial Note: Hector Garcia was born in Spain and worked at CERN in Switzerland before moving to Japan, his home of more than 15 years. In Japan he developed voice recognition software and the technology for young Silicon Valley companies to enter the Japanese market. His popular blog led to his internationally successful book A Geek In Japan.

Francesc Miralles is a lecturer and author specializing in the areas of health and spirituality.

Be the Awesome Man
Dennis Gazarek
Quill Driver Books
c/o Linden Publishing
2006 South Mary, Fresno, CA 93721-9875
9781610353373, $18.95, PB, 280pp

Synopsis: Young men are underachieving in unprecedented numbers. More and more young men are not attaining standard benchmarks of maturity, such as entering and graduating from higher education, finding a career, establishing their financial independence, and living on their own.

"Be the Awesome Man: A Young Man's Guide to Achieving Discipline, Success, and Happiness" by Dennis Gazarek approaches the challenges of being a young man from a unique and practical perspective. Written in a sensible, easy-to-read format, "Be the Awesome Man" delves into the roots of male underachievement and provides practical guidance for young men and their parents, teachers, ministers, coaches, and other mentors.

Drawing on real-world experience as a coach, mentor, and father, Gazarek provides methods to counter the negative influences that encourage underachievement, and shows how effective decision making can lead to a better life. "Be the Awesome Man" emphasizes that freedom requires responsibility and offers specific guides and advice for taking full responsibility and control over one's life.

Combining old-fashioned wisdom, a critical analysis of modern culture, and a pragmatic program of character development, "Be the Awesome Man" offers a better way of life for young men who want to break out of mediocrity and underachievement.

Critique: As informed and informative as it is inspired and inspiring, "Be the Awesome Man: A Young Man's Guide to Achieving Discipline, Success, and Happiness" is a kind of DIY self-help/self-improvement instructional guide and manual for young men regardless of their ethnicity or background. While a highly recommended addition to community, college and university library Parenting and Teenage/Young Adult self-help collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Be the Awesome Man" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

Editorial Note: Born in a working-class neighborhood of Windsor, Ontario, Dennis Gazarek paid for college by working on farms, in factories, and in horse-racing tracks. His early work experience taught him the reality of heavy manual labor and an appreciation for the challenges faced by working people in everyday life. After receiving an honors degree in business administration from the University of Windsor, Gazarek worked in sales for Procter & Gamble and General Motors, as well as working in real estate and as a business consultant. He is the author of Whacked! How GM Careened into Bankruptcy and Took the Innocent with Them. Gazarek lives with his wife in the Toronto area, where he plays saxophone with the Markham Concert Band.

Rethink Your Self
Trevin Wax
B&H Publishing Group
1 LifeWay Plaza, Nashville, TN 37234
9781535995634, $17.99, PB, 224pp

Synopsis: Follow your heart. You do you. You are enough. -- We take these slogans for granted, but what if this path to personal happiness leads to a dead-end?

In the pages of "Rethink Your Self: The Power of Looking Up Before Looking In", Trevin Wax encourages you to rethink some of our society's most common assumptions about identity and the road to happiness.

Most people define their identity and purpose by first looking in to their desire, then looking around to express their uniqueness, and finally (maybe) looking up to add a spiritual dimension to life. "Rethink Your Self" proposes a counter-intuitive approach: looking up before looking in.

The ultimate message of "Rethink Your Self: The Power of Looking Up Before Looking In" is that it's only when we look up to learn who we were created to be that we discover our true purpose and become our truest selves.

Critique: Exceptionally well written, organized and presented, "Rethink Your Self: The Power of Looking Up Before Looking In" is an insightfully inspiring, life changing/life enhancing read and one that is especially recommended for community, college, and university library Self-Help/Self-Improvement and Christian Spiritual Growth 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 "Rethink Your Self: The Power of Looking Up Before Looking In" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

Editorial Note: Trevin Wax is senior vice president of Theology and Communications at LifeWay Christian Resources and a visiting professor at Wheaton College. A former missionary to Romania, Trevin hosts a blog at The Gospel Coalition and regularly contributes to The Washington Post, Religion News Service, World, and Christianity Today, which named him one of thirty-three millennials shaping the next generation of evangelicals. As former director of Bible Publishing at LifeWay, he led the launch of the Christian Standard Bible (CSB) and served as general editor of the CSB Worldview Study Bible. Currently he is the general editor of The Gospel Project, and an author of many books, including This Is Our Time, Eschatological Discipleship, Gospel Centered Teaching, and Rethink Your Self.

The Cookbook Shelf

Mediterranean Instant Pot
America's Test Kitchen
9781948703062, $24.99, HC, 192pp

Synopsis: Mediterranean cuisine is the foods and methods of preparation by people of the Mediterranean Basin. Many culinary experts define the three core elements of the cuisine as the olive, wheat, and the grape, yielding olive oil, bread and pasta, and wine; others emphasize the diversity of the region's foods and deny that it is a useful concept. A common definition of the geographical area covered follows the distribution of the olive tree.

The region spans a wide variety of cultures with distinct cuisines, in particular (going anticlockwise around the region) the Maghrebi, Egyptian, Levantine, Ottoman (Turkish), Greek, Italian, Provencal (French), and Spanish, though some authors include additional cuisines. Portuguese cuisine, in particular, is partly Mediterranean in character.

Utilizing an Instant Pot for their creation, "Mediterranean Instant Pot: Easy, Inspired Meals for Eating Well" showcases succulent meals such as Chicken Tagine, Lamb Meatballs with Couscous, Pickled Onions, and Tahini, Shrimp and Asparagus Risotto, and Gigante Bean Soup with Celery and Olives become hands-off affairs for the busy cook.

The Instant Pot also takes the waiting game out of cooking dried beans and sturdy grains so it's easy to enjoy them more often. And vegetables get star billing, both as main dishes (Braised Whole Cauliflower with North African Spices), and sides (Marinated Artichokes and Baba Ghanoush). Recipes embrace the tenets of the Mediterranean Diet Pyramid, translating its less-meat-and-more-vegetables approach into vibrant, healthy one-dish meals that take the guesswork out of balancing portions and multiple dishes.

Most recipes comprising Mediterranean Instant Pot" are ready in under an hour. Full nutritional information is provided for each recipe.

Critique: Featuring mouth-watering full color photography of finished dishes throughout, "Mediterranean Instant Pot: Easy, Inspired Meals for Eating Well" is an extraordinary and unreservedly recommended addition to personal, professional, and community library cookbook collections. It should be noted as a personal culinary reference and menu planning resource that "Mediterranean Instant Pot" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $15.99).

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

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