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Wisconsin Bookwatch

Volume 10, Number 11 November 2015 Home | WBW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice Islamic Studies Shelf Christian Studies Shelf
Judaic Studies Shelf Writing/Publishing Shelf Cookbook Shelf
Metaphysical Studies Shelf Biography Shelf Graphic Novel Shelf
Audiobook Shelf Music CD Shelf DVD Shelf
Business Shelf Self-Help Shelf Education Shelf
Sports Shelf Health/Medicine Shelf Large Print Shelf
Fiction Shelf Humor Shelf Travel Shelf
Poetry Shelf

Reviewer's Choice

The Penny-Pinching Prepper
Bernie Carr
Ulysses Press
PO Box 3440, Berkeley CA 94703-3440
9781612434872 $12.95

The Penny Pinching Prepper: Save More, Spend Less and Get Prepared for Any Disaster lives up to its title as a combination money-saving and disaster-preparation guide. From economizing on food costs, to ensuring one has access to potable water in a crisis, to what is needed in a first aid kit, hygiene and personal care considerations, and more, The Penny-Pinching Prepper is invaluable. "Discard any canned foods that are bulging or corroded; they are unsafe to eat and may cause botulism... Also, use your senses when you open canned food. If it looks or smells strange or even a little "off," it is best to discard it." A host of inexpensive DIY disaster-prep projects round out this user-friendly, potentially lifesaving reference and resource.

The Quotable Amelia Earhart
Michele Wehrwein Albion, editor
University of New Mexico Press
MSC05 3185, 1 University of New Mexico
Albuquerque NM 87131-0001
9780826345622 $24.95

The Quotable Amelia Earhart is an anthology of memorable words from pioneer aviator Amelia Earhart (1897-1937), the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic. She was courageous, ambitious, and a record-breaker, in an era when all three traits were considered "unfeminine". Though she is most remembered for her tragic disappearance during the last leg of her round-the-world flight in 1937, she deserves to be memorialized for her hard work, dedication, and foresight. Her quotes reveal a practical-minded woman ("When you graduate be sure you go on and have a career; don't get married as soon as you get out of school.") who believed that women should proudly live up to their fullest potential in the workplace, many decades before this belief became widely accepted in America. "[A woman's] place is wherever her individual aptitude places her. There is no such thing as men's work or women's work." A handful of quotes by others about Amelia Earhart, as well as brief notes, a bibliography, and an index for quick reference round out this inspirational compilation.

The Islamic Studies Shelf

Meeting the Ideological Challenge of Islamism
Anna Bekele and Patrick Sookhdeo, editors
Isaac Publishing
6729 Curran Street, McLean, VA 22101
9780991614592 $15.00

Five learned contributors (Patrick Sookhdeo, Robert R. Reilly, J. Michael Waller, Anna Bekele, and Stephen Ulph) present informed and informative essays about the challenging problem of Islamic extremist ideology. How can the worldview, methodologies, and motivations of violent Islamist groups be effectively countered? In a modern era when globalized information (and misinformation!) coexists with sectarian violence, territorial war, and a growing refugee crisis, Meeting the Ideological Challenge of Islamism is desperately needed and worthy of the highest recommendation for public and college library Islamic Studies shelves. The individual essays are "The Role of Religion in the Battle Space since 9/11", "Information Operations: Successes and Failures", "The Muslim Brotherhood: Doctrine, Strategy, Operations and Vulnerabilities", "Islamist Activism through the Lens of Social Science", and "The Importance of Progressive Arab Reformers".

The Christian Studies Shelf

Church On Purpose
Adam L. Bond & Laura Mariko Cheifetz, editors
Judson Press
PO Box 851, Valley Forge, PA 19482-0851
9780817017569, $15.99,

Collaboratively compiled and co-edited by Adam L. Bond (an ordained minister in the American Baptist Churches USA, and is currently an Assistant Professor of Historical Studies and American Baptist liaison at the Samuel DeWitt Proctor School of Theology at Virginia Union University in Richmond) and Laura Mariko Cheifetz (an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church who also serves as the executive director of church and public relations at Presbyterian Publishing Corporation), "Church on Purpose: Reinventing, Discipleship, Community, & Justice" is a 160 page compendium covering such topics as discipleship issues such as Sunday school, intergenerational worship settings, and evangelism; redefinition of community through strategic planning, ecumenical partnerships, and communication in a larger world; and pursuit of justice through inclusion of the poor and the prisoner. Recognizing the generational shift within congregations across the country and anticipating areas of church life that require attention or reform, "Church On Purpose" offers possibilities for new directions within Christian communities as it: Challenges the church to consider alternative ways to doing church in order to strengthen and grow congregations; Offers practical strategies that address key areas of congregational health; Explores the core themes of community, discipleship, and justice with emerging Christian leaders of diverse denominations, generations and vocations. Thoroughly 'reader friendly' in content, commentary, organization, and presentation, "Church On Purpose" is very highly recommended, especially for Baptist clergy and laity. For personal reading lists it should be noted that "Church On Purpose" is also available in a Kindle edition ($11.64).

The Complete Francis of Assisi
Jon M. Sweeney, editor and translator
Paraclete Press
PO Box 1568, Orleans, MA 02653
9781612616889, $24.99,

Saint Francis of Assisi was born October 3, 1226 as Giovanni di Pietro di Bernardone, but nicknamed Francesco and became an Italian Catholic friar and preacher. He founded the men's Order of Friars Minor, the women's Order of St. Clare, and the Third Order of Saint Francis for men and women not able to live the lives of itinerant preachers. Francis is one of the most venerated religious figures in Roman Catholic history. "The Complete Francis of Assisi: His Life, The Complete Writings, and The Little Flowers" is a 416 page compendium comprised of an annotated account of his life and all of his surviving writings ably edited and translated into English for an American readership by independent scholar, author, and culture critic Jon M. Sweeney (who has been the editor-in-chief of the Massachusetts-based Paraclete Press since 2004). Deftly organized and presented with insightful commentaries, "The Complete Francis of Assisi" is enhanced with the inclusion of a five page listing of succinctly presented biographical sketches of the Franciscan Friars; a two page listing of suggestions for further reading. A truly impressive work and 'reader friendly' work, "The Complete Francis of Assisi" is very highly recommended for community, church, and academic library Christian Studies and Christian Biography collections in general, and Franciscan History supplemental studies lists in particular. For personal reading lists it should be noted that "The Complete Francis of Assisi" is also available in a Kindle edition ($18.95).

Standing Firm
Jesse Yow
Concordia Publishing House
3558 South Jefferson Avenue, Saint Louis, MO 63118-3968
9780758649218, $19.99, 244pp,

We need only watch the evening news to see that Christians encounter hostility and subtle persecution with the U.S. as well as experiencing open persecution in other parts of the world. Christians are called by Jesus to turn the other cheek, but in what other ways would God have us respond? "Standing Firm: A Christian Response to Hostility and Persecution" provides biblical perspectives to help understand the challenge of persecution and how God promises to guide, use, and sustain us. Indeed, "Standing Firm" covers such issues as: The biblical perspective on hostility and persecution; How God would have us respond; Recent trends of hostility and persecution toward Christian in the United States and worldwide; Positive options for a respond reflecting the Gospel and life under God's grace. What kinds of hostility do Christians encounter?; When does hostility spill over into persecution?; What are the underlying roots found in sin, spiritual warfare, and opposition to Christ?; How can examples from Scripture improve our understanding of persecution?; What are God's priorities, and how does that motivate Christians?; How does God support and encourage us during times of difficulty?; and ultimately, How can we respond? Exceptionally well written, organized, and presented, "Standing Firm" is very highly recommended to the attention of all members of the Christian community regardless of their denominational affiliation. It should be noted that "Standing Firm" is also available in a Kindle edition ($9.99).

The Judaic Studies Shelf

Beautiful Days, Holy Days
Avraham Peretz Friedman
Compass Books
PO Box 3091, Linden, NJ 07036
9780986177408, $25.95, 264pp,

The life and excitement that should animate a truly fulfilling and enjoyable Jewish holiday experience is often difficult to find in today's increasingly secular world. The very essence and meaning of Jewish holidays are elusive to many. Their pious beauty and spiritual brilliance (which are the very heart and soul of the holidays in the Jewish calendar), tend to get lost in its many details. "Beautiful Days, Holy Days: The Majesty and Profundity of the Jewish Holidays" is a 264 page compendium of informed and informative commentary that will reveal dimensions of the holidays that infuse them with life and meaning, and will make their observance experiences of growth and satisfaction. "Beautiful Days, Holy Days" will provide new approaches to Jewish holidays, an enhanced appreciation for the richness of the Torah's language, insights into the relationship between God and Man, novel ideas to share with friends and family, as well as a wonderful addition to the holiday table! Thoroughly 'reader friendly' in organization and presentation, "Beautiful Days, Holy Days " is an inherently fascinating and thoroughly absorbing read from beginning to end. Very highly recommended for synagogue, community, and academic library Judaic Studies reference collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Beautiful Days, Holy Days " is also available in a Kindle edition ($8.99).

The Writing/Publishing Shelf

Writer's Market: Deluxe Edition 2016
Robert Lee Brewer, editor
Writer's Digest Books
c/o F+W Media
10151 Carver Road, Suite 200, Blue Ash, OH 45242
9781599639420, $49.99,

The "Writer's Market Deluxe Edition 2016" is an 896 page compendium that focuses upon where aspiring writers can sell what they write. It should be noted that a special features is the inclusion of a one-year subscription to With it, aspiring writers will gain instant access to more than 7,500 listings for book publishers, magazines, contests, literary agents, and more -- complete with daily updates. Beyond the listings, aspiring writers will find all-new material devoted to the business and promotion of writing, including tips from six-figure freelancers, ideas on how to create a productive home office, and apps that make freelance writing easier. Plus, novice writers will learn how to build relationships in the publishing business, use video to promote their work, and remove inevitable obstacles from their path to freelance writing success. This new edition includes: a pay-rate chart; a book publisher subject index; a lists of professional writing organizations; sample query letters; exclusive access to the webinar "How to Build an Audience and Business With Your Writing" from Robert Lee Brewer, editor of Writer's Market. Thoroughly 'user friendly' throughout, the "Writer's Market: Deluxe Edition 2016" should be considered an essential addition to personal, professional, community, and academic library Writing/Publishing reference collections. In full disclosure it must be noted that the a guaranteed review by the Midwest Book Review is part of the Writer's Digest Books first place award package in their annual writing contest divisions and has been for a number of years now.

The Write Prescription
Judith Hannan
Archer Books
601 West 26th Street, New York, NY 10001
9781941729038, $17.95, 320pp,

Judith Hannan is the author of "Motherhood Exaggerated" (CavanKerry Press, 9781933880273, $21.00 PB, $9.99 Kindle), her memoir of discovery and transformation during her daughter's cancer treatment and her transition into survival. In "The Write Prescription: Telling Your Story to Live With and Beyond Illness" Hannan draws upon her personal and professional experience to provide the reader with an impressively written, organized and presented instructional guide and manual for setting down in a publishable format their own experiences when dealing with a serious illness or life-threatening injury afflicting themselves or a loved one. "The Write Prescription" is deftly arranged in three major sections: Getting Started; Parting the Curtains, Setting the Scene; Inside the System. Enhanced with the inclusion of an informative Introduction and 'How To Use This Book" commentary; "The Write Prescription" is further enhanced for the non-specialist general reader with Quick Prompts; An Ending and a Beginning: Where are You Now?; After the First Draft; and a Bibliography. Thoroughly informed, informative, and completely 'user friendly' from beginning to end, "The Write Prescription" is very highly recommended for community and academic library Writing/Publishing instructional reference collections. For personal reading lists it should be noted that "The Write Prescription" is also available in a Kindle edition ($9.99).

The Cookbook Shelf

Besh Big Easy
John Besh
Andrews McMeel Publishing
1130 Walnut Street, Kansas City, MO 64106-2109
9781449469177, $25.00, 224pp,

John Besh (James Beard Award-winner) is a renowned chef, the owner of nine restaurants, the host of John Besh's Family Table on public television, and the author of the bestselling cookbooks "My New Orleans", "My Family Table", and "Cooking from the Heart". His latest cookbook is "Besh Big Easy: 101 Home Cooked New Orleans Recipes", a 224 page, beautifully illustrated compendium showcasing some of the very best examples of New Orleans cuisine. The thoroughly 'kitchen cook friendly' recipes range from Crabmeat Spinach Dip; Honey Island Chanterelle Soup; Duck Camp Shrimp & Grits; and Roasted Brussels Sprout Salad; to Grandaddy's Skillet Corn Bread; Pan-Roasted Blackfish with Crab Butter; Cajun Stuffed Porkchops; Jenny's Crawfish-Stuffed Chicken; and Stone Fruit Rice Pudding. Of special note are the succinct comments accompanying each recipe. "Besh Big Easy: 101 Home Cooked New Orleans Recipes" is a 'must' for the legions of John Besh fans, and will prove to be an enduringly popular addition to personal, professional, family, and community library cookbook collections.

Beverly Lynn Bennett
Books Alive
The Book Publishing Company
PO Box 99, Summertown, TN 38483
97811553120520 $11.95

Illustrated with full-color photography throughout, Spiralize! Transform Vegetables and Fruits from Ordinary to Extraordinary is a cookbook that teaches the reader how to "spiralize" vegetables and fruits, effectively transforming them into gluten-free pasta. An introductory chapter walks one through the basics of choosing and using a spiralizer, and the recipes include "Tater-Wrapped Vegan Sausages", "Garden Vegetable Noodle Soup", "Lemon-Walnut Parsnip Pasta", and much more. Spiralize! is a treasure for people on a gluten-free diet, or those who are interested in low-calorie, low-carb, healthy alternatives to pasta.

The Almond Milk Cookbook
Alan Roettinger
The Book Publishing Company
PO Box 99, Summertown, TN 38483
9781570673269 $12.95

Whether one is lactose intolerant, allergic to soy, vegan, or simply interested in trying something new, The Almond Milk Cookbook is a great introduction to enjoying an alternative to dairy and soy-based milks. Over 100 recipes show how the light, palatable flavor of almond milk can be used to create tasty, creamy delights, with the pleasant bonus that almond milk has a high concentration of vitamins and minerals, and no cholesterol or saturated fat. A brief introduction to almond milk, as well as starter recipes for Basic Almond Milk, Rich Almond Milk, Almond Cream, and Basic White Sauce kick off this user-friendly guide. Advanced almond milk recipes include Chocolate-Raspberry Smoothie (among other smoothie recipes), Spiced Butternut Squash Soup, Tomato-Pepper Dressing (perfect for livening up one's salad), Vegetable Pot Pie, Mixed Berry Cobbler, Mocha Chip Ice Cream, and much more. A superb specialty cookbook!

The Fish Sauce Cookbook
Veronica Meewes
Andrews McMeel Publishing
1130 Walnut Street, Kansas City, MO 64106-2109
9781449468699 $19.99

The Fish Sauce Cookbook: 50 Umami-Packed Recipes from Around the Globe is a unique cookbook that features homemade fish sauce, and other useful sauces that can be crafted with homemade fish sauce such as Caramel Miso Glaze and Apple Relish. Further recipes include dishes that incorporate flavorful sauces, including soups and salads (such as Thai Hot and Sour Coconut Chicken Soup), vegetable sides (such as Warm Brussels Sprout Slaw with Asian Citrus Dressing), meat entrees (such as Vietnamese Caramel Chicken), seafood entrees (such as Zucchini Tofu Shrimp Frittata with Fish Sauce) and more. Interspersed with color photography as well as tips, tricks, and techniques, The Fish Sauce Cookbook is a choice pick for any interested in learning more about exotic flavors. Advice on the proper care and storage of this popular yet briny ingredient is also present for fish sauce novices.

Cookies & Beer: Bake, Pair, Enjoy
Jonathan Bender
Andrews McMeel Publishing
1130 Walnut Street, Kansas City, MO 64106-2109
9781449470883 $19.99

Cookies & Beer: Bake, Pair, Enjoy offers a hot new culinary pairing: baked cookies and craft beer. Savory cookie recipes offer the perfect complements to recommended craft beers. For example, a recipe for "Chef Amy's Chocolate Chip Cookies" is recommended for serving with Left Hand Brewing Company's Milk Stout, since "Milk stouts are sweet and creamy. With the right chocolate chip cookie, they're the missing link between milk and beer." Occasional full-color photographs intersperse the cookie cookbook with tasty twist!

Edible Gifts
Jane Lyster
New Holland UK
c/o Fox Chapel Publishing Company
1970 Broad Street N., East Petersburg, PA 17520
9781780090436, $14.99, 176pp,

Jane Lyster is a working artist who can turn her hand to almost any craft or food project. She has recently launched Making, a magazine for contemporary crafts in the home, and has contributed to a variety of food publications in the UK as well as working on food sets for major films. Now she presents "Edible Gifts", a 176 page compendium showcasing beautifully presented recipes for an impressive variety of homemade and hand-wrapped sweets, snacks, and drinks suitable for all gift-giving and dining occasions. Thoroughly 'kitchen cook friendly' in presentation and instruction, "Edible Gifts" begins with an informative Introduction and a two-page section on Materials; followed by 'The Food Gifter's Workshop'; Presentation Techniques; Sweet Gifts; Not So Sweet; Drinks; and concludes with Christmas Gifts that range from Edible Gift Tags, to Christmas Tree Biscuits, to a Gingerbread House. Also available in a paperback edition (9781504800297, $14.99) is enthusiastically recommended for personal, family, professional, and community library instructional reference collections.

Pregnant Women's Weird Cravings Cookbook!
Teri Brown
Crary Publications
5233 Painted Pebble Street, North Las Vegas, Nevada 89081
9780974343846, $14.95,

Every woman going through a hormone driven pregnancy will, sooner or later, experience wanting certain and specific foods -- often in weird combinations. Although it has the word 'cookbook' in it's title, Terri Brown's "Pregnant Women's Weird Cravings Cookbook!" contains only one recipe (Spaghetti Sauce a' La Marotta). Instead, the "Pregnant Women's Weird Cravings Cookbook!" is a 160 page compilation of color photograph pictures of different food pairings known to be desired in pregnancy and ranging from Rice Krispies with Strawberry Ice Cream on Top; to Hot Dog with Chili, Slaw, and Jalapenos; to Baked Beans and Salad Dressing on a Cheese Sandwich; to Sour Cream and Onion Chips Dipped in Applesauce. Simply fascinating to merely browse through, every woman who ever bore a child will recognize and appreciate this strange cornucopia of food pairings, blends, and combinations. It should be noted that "Pregnant Women's Weird Cravings Cookbook!" is also available in a Kindle edition ($7.49).

The Metaphysical Studies Shelf

Feng Shui from the Inside, Out
Victoria Pendragon
Ozark Mountain Publishing, Inc.
PO Box 754, Huntsville, AR 72740
9781940265094 $16.00 pbk / $9.99 Kindle

Professional residential and commercial Feng Shui consultant Victoria Pendragon presents Feng Shui from the Inside, Out, a guide that emphasizes that in order for Feng Shui to benefit the practitioner, they must be ready to take advantage of the good fortune that comes their way. Blending Feng Shui tenets with a do-it-yourself technique called "Sleep Magic" to revitalize one's outlook and approach to tackling difficult problems, Feng Shui from the Inside, Out is both inspirational and transformative. "Multitasking does not bring the body peace and it hampers its ability to bring your mind peace, and when I say peace what I am talking about is a condition of significantly reduced stress. Stress releases something called cortisol into the body. Cortisol breaks down the body. Cortisol ages organs of the body. Anything you can do to simplify your life will reduce stress levels and since life comes with stressful challenges that you have no control over whatsoever, taking control where you can, helps." Feng Shui from the Inside, Out is enlightening and thoroughly accessible to readers of all backgrounds, including Feng Shui novices. Also highly recommended is Pendragon's previous metaphysical and spiritual self-help guide, "Sleep Magic" (9781886940277, $12.00).

The Biography Shelf

Between Two Flags
Anthony G. Russell
Merrion Press
c/o International Specialized Book Services
920 Northeast 58th Avenue, Suite 300
Portland, OR, 97213
9781785370014 $65.00

Between Two Flags: John Mitchel & Jenny Verner is the true-life story of a difficult yet loving marriage buffeted by the politics of mid-nineteenth century Ireland and America. John Mitchel and Jenny Verner's courtship was hotly contested by both families; their elopement and marriage was close to if not quite scandalous. Their story spans Ireland's Great Famine, revolution, deportation, the American Civil War, Feminism, and Home Rule. Author Anthony Russel examines their travels, the tragedies of their family life, and does not shy from portraying a negative aspect of their lives: their wholehearted support of the institution of slavery. As fascinating as it is edifying, Between Two Flags is highly recommended.

After the Wind
Lou Kasischke
Good Hart Publishing LC
PO Box 274, Harbor Springs, MI 49740
9781940877006 $17.00 hc / $7.99 Kindle

After the Wind: 1996 Everest Tragedy, One Survivor's Story is the personal testimony of author Lou Kasischke, a survivor of Rob Hall's 1996 Mount Everest Expedition. An ill-fated confluence of events made the area near the summit of Everest into a deathtrap disaster of legendary proportions. Kasischke's miraculous account of survival is paired with the love story of his connection with his wife Sandy. Intense and profound, After the Wind is highly recommended.

The Graphic Novel Shelf

The Story of Lee, Volume 2
Sean Michael Wilson & Nami Tamura
NBM Publishing
160 Broadway, Ste. 700, East Wing
New York, NY 10038
9781561639731 $11.99

The Story of Lee, Volume 2 is a black-and-white graphic novel continuing the travels of a young woman from Hong Kong. Lee has fallen in love with the handsome student Matt, and acquired a visa to visit the land of her dreams - the United Kingdom. Yet amid the palpable excitement are new pressures, such as the difficulty of navigating an unfamiliar city, troubles understanding the thick Scottish or other accents of the locals (especially when Lee is still struggling to master English as a second language). Will the stress of life as an expatriate destroy Lee's blossoming love affair with Matt? And why does Matt's friend Richard seem so jealous of Lee's and Matt's relationship? Lee's wise and insightful Uncle Jun also turns up, in this thoughtful drama about finding balance in one's life. Highly recommended for older teen and adult readers, due to occasional mature situations and references.

The Audiobook Shelf

Summer Moonshine
P. G. Wodehouse
Blackstone Audio
c/o Recorded Books, LLC
270 Skip Jack Road, Prince Frederick, MD 20678
DD18078, $27.96,

The hideous Walsingford Hall is home to an odd assortment of coves. The vile premises belong to Sir Buckstone, who is in a little financial difficulty. So for a little monetary help he puts a roof over the heads of people like (among others) Tubby Vanringham, the adoring slave of the coldhearted Miss Whittaker. His brother Joe has fallen head over heels for Sir Buck's daughter Jane. She, however, only has eyes for Adrian Peake, who has already formed a liaison with the terrifying-but superbly wealthy-Princess Dwornitzchek. Is there no end to the confusion? "Summer Moonshine" is a P. G. Wodehouse classic British comedy brought vividly to life in a true 'theatre of the mind' experience by the expert narrative skills of Jonathan Cecil. With flawless production values, this complete and unabridged audio book is very highly recommended for community library collections and to the attention of all P. G. Wodehouse fans. (8 CDs, 7.5 Hours).

Legal Heat
Sarah Castille, author
Read by Charlotte Kane
Tantor Media, Inc.
6 Business Park Road, Old Saybrook, CT 06475
9781494518684 $39.99

Legal Heat is the unabridged audiobook edition of a steamy romance between members of opposing counsel. Katy Sinclair is a professional on the brink of becoming a partner at her high-powered law firm, but when she tracks a witness to a sex club, she can't resist a passionate encounter with the bartender. Then she learns that the man who set her senses on fire is her opponent for the most important case of her career! But when her pursuit of justice in the courtroom leads to death threats, her antagonist on the job just might be her most devoted protector off the clock. Sexy and exciting, Legal Heat captures the listener's rapt attention to the very end. 9 CDs, 10.5 hours.

The Music CD Shelf

Safe in Your Arms
Scott Cossu
Heart Dance Records
c/o RS Promotions (publicity)
$12.97 CD/ $9.99 download

Safe in Your Arms is an album by New Age composer, pianist, and recording artist Scott Cossu. Many of the tracks have long been "out of print", and are at last reproduced for a new generation of connoisseurs to cherish. Re-recorded with contributions from guitarist Van Manakas, alto flutist Ann Lindquist, and flutist John Croarkin, these acoustic, ringing songs evoke gentle memories and a sense of wonder. Highly recommended! The tracks are "Safe in Your Arms" (4:14), "Angel Steps" (2:50), "Fawn" (5:12), "Little Sunshine Girl" (3:36), "Purple Mountain" (4:59), "Sweet Pea Lullaby" (4:13), "Gwenlaise" (4:34), "Starlit Walk" (4:02), "A Child's Eyes" (3:33), "Akaka Falls" (4:55), "Christo's Theme" (3:57), and "Sanctuary" (5:29).

The Ascent
Amy Faithe
Privately Published
c/o RS Promotions (publicity)
$15.00 CD / $12.99 download

The Ascent is the debut album by artist and rising star Amy Faithe, featuring her dulcet vocals and a magical, new age soundscape. An ethereal beauty permeates this soul-stirring treasury. Highly recommended, especially for connoisseurs of the genre. The tracks are "The Moment" (10:10), "Daybreak" (6:42), "Serenity's Call" (10:12), "Peace Be Mine" (10:12), "The Ascent" (10:01), "Who Am I?" (8:45), and "Only in my Dreams" (8:32).

Low Lily
Low Lily
Privately Published
c/o 58 North PR
$15.00 CD / $9.99 download

Liz Simmons (vocals, guitar, percussion), Lissa Schneckenburger (vocals, fiddle), and Flynn Cohen (vocals, guitar, mandolin) are the string and vocal trio Low Lily (formerly Annalivia), well known for their knack for infusing American folk music with both traditional and modern influences. Low Lily's self-titled EP draws upon musical stylings from bluegrass to Irish, English, New England, and Old Time Appalachian to create a stellar performance of four original and two traditional songs that blend the finest musical and storytelling qualities. Highly recommended! The tracks are "House Carpenter" (3:35), "The Girl's Not Mine" (3:07), "Northern Spy" (2:57), "Adventurer" (4:58), "All Roads Lead To You" (3:25), and "Cherokee Shuffle/Lucky" (5:02).

Dreams of India
Tom Teasley
T & T Music
c/o FlipSwitch (publicity)
$14.97 CD / $9.99 download

Dreams of India is an instrumental album (aside from some vocal percussion) with roots as a guided meditation soundtrack; it evolved into a soundscape reimagining of the classic epic of the Mahabharata, India's ancient saga of love and war. Evocative and profound, Dreams of India resonates in the mind and spirit. The tracks are "Om Tat Sat" (4:44), "Whispers in the Wind" (5:32), "Breath of Smoke" (3:41), "Fire Dance" (3:42), "Indra and Arvasu" (3:10), "Mask of Vritra" (3:49), "Silver Rain" (3:34), "Sacrifice" (4:40), "Dance for Arvasu" (4:41), "Sketches of India" (3:27), "Namaste" (3:24), "Fists of Karna" (3:00).

Daby Toure
413 Carpenter Road, Charlotte, VT 05445
$15.00 CD / $9.99 MP3

Amonafi (meaning, "Once Upon a Time" in the West African language Wolof) is the new music album from African-born artist Daby Toure, who cherishes his dual nationality of both Mauritania and France. His music transcends tradition and borders, connecting with elements of folk, soul, and Afropop. His songs speak of dreams of the past, the joy of simple life in an African village, the nightmare of being unable to find work, the hardship that women have faced in society, and more. Thought-provoking and soulful, Amonafi is a welcome addition to international music collections. The tracks are "Woyoyoye" (2:34), "Amonafi" (2:57), "Kiba" (3:49), "Oma" (2:36), "Emma" (3:06), "Little Song" (3:06), "If You" (2:25), "Khone" (2:40), "Kille" (3:13), "Debho" (3:36), "Mina" (3:40), "Soninko" (3:00), and "Ndema" (3:31).

The DVD Shelf

The Code Season 1
Acorn Media
c/o RLJ Entertainment

The Code Season 1 is a multiple award-winning political thriller with an ensemble cast including Lucy Lawless, David Wenham, and Adam Garcia. Far in the Australian outback, two joy-riding teenagers in a deadly crash kick off a series of events that could potentially reveal closely guarded secrets of the government. Internet journalist Ned Banks (played by Dan Spielman) and his brilliant yet disconnected brother Jesse (Ashley Zukerman) encounter smartphone footage of the accident, making them targets amid a web of intrigue. A suspenseful, high-tech drama with twists and turns, The Code will keep the viewer guessing! Highly recommended especially for connoisseurs of the genre. Bonus material includes 30 min. of behind-the-scenes featurettes. 6 episodes on 2 DVDs, 341 min. plus bonus, widescreen, SDH subtitles.

Therese Raquin
Adapted from the novel by Emile Zola
Acorn Media
c/o RLJ Entertainment
9781621722304 $29.99

Therese Raquin is a DVD adaptation of the scandalous French novel by Emile Zola. The titular Therese Raquin is a young woman (played by Kate Nelligan) trapped in a loveless marriage to her simpleminded first cousin, Camille (Kenneth Cranham). A love affair blossoms between Therese and Camille's childhood friend Laurent (Brian Cox). As passion between the two Therese and Laurent flourishes, they plot to do the unthinkable for their love; but the price for their desperate choice may be far more horrifying either of them imagined. Suspenseful and distinguished by emotionally heightened performances, Therese Raquin is highly recommended. 3 episodes, 166 min., SDH subtitles.

Just Walk: The Burn to the Beat Walk!
Leslie Sansone
Anchor Bay Entertainment
2401 West Big Beaver Road, Suite 200
Troy, MI 48084-3304

Just Walk: The Burn to the Beat Walk! is a fitness DVD in the "Just Walk" series for all ages. Even those who are brand new to an exercise regimen can join in and have fun! These walks encourage cardio from a starter speed to a "super walker" speed by increasing the beat of the catchy, up-tempo music. Just Walk: The Burn to the Beat Walk! opens with a 20-minute, 3 mph "Easy Beat Mile", moves to the 15-minute, 4 mph "Brisk Beat Mile", and culminates in the 12-minute, 5 mph "Super Beat Mile", encouraging the viewer to to move more like a runner! A bonus "After the Burn" segment offers toning exercises for the arms, thighs, backend, and core. Accessible and user-friendly, Just Walk: The Burn to the Beat Walk! is enthusiastically recommended. 75 min.

The Business Shelf

The Devil's Advocate Guide to Planning Your Business Website
Elaine Meszaros
EMGraphics, LLC
9780996354301 $9.99 pbk / $4.99 Kindle

The Devil's Advocate Guide to Planning Your Business Website is not a computer or HTML manual, leaving such material to other, more technical resources. Instead, it is a "must-read" for any start-up business, regardless of whether the proposed website is to be created personally, internally, or with the aid of an outside professional. The "Devil's Advocate" reference in the title alludes to an accessible, reader-friendly, and extensive tour of common pitfalls - website mistakes that can potentially cripple or destroy a business in today's increasingly online-driven economy. Chapters discuss practical considerations to keep in mind when building, updating, and advertising one's website. Highly recommended!

Selling to Heroes, Villains and Geeks
Jill M. Lewis
Anime Vendor
9780996453608 $24.95 pbk / $19.95 Kindle

Selling to Heroes, Villains and Geeks: An Insider's Guide for New Anime Vendors is a guide written especially for business vendors seeking to break into the market of anime, comic book and sci-fi conventions. Chapters present the cardinal rules of such a business, a "battle plan blueprint" of what prospective vendors need to do, and an "infinite launch sequence" that walks vendors through getting their business off the ground and ready to sell at their first convention. From paying the lowest possible shipping costs for one's inventory, to common and easily avoided pitfalls, Selling to Heroes, Villains and Geeks is packed with no-nonsense tips, tricks, and techniques. "A vendor selling expensive collectible toys decided 'cash only was going to be his policy at the beginning of a large convention. On Friday, the second day of the convention, he realized he was losing several hundred dollars in daily sales by only accepting cash. The onsite ATMs, as usual, quickly ran out of money." A "must-have" for any businessperson seeking to break into potentially lucrative pop culture convention sales!

The Self-Help Shelf

Tame Your Inner Critic
Della Temple
Llewellyn Worldwide, LTD.
2143 Wooddale Drive, Woodbury, MN 55125
9780738743950 $15.99

Tame Your Inner Critic: Find Peace & Contentment to Live Your Life on Purpose lives up to its title as a guide to transforming negative thoughts into positive ones. Peppered with specialized exercises and meditations, Tame Your Inner Critic reveals one's inner power to improve everyday interactions, personal relationships, and overall quality of life. Both psychological qualities ("Releasing Negative Self-Talk") and metaphysical qualities ("Chakras and Your Life Force") are discussed at length in this excellent self-help guide. "...there is only one thing you can change in a relationship, and that is your attitude. You can decide how you react when your boss hands you a task that needs to be completed immediately. Only you can decide if you become aggravated or angry, whether you cuss and scream or whether you remain calm and unruffled."

The Education Shelf

Put College to Work
Kat Clowes, M.B.A.
Quill Driver Books
2006 South Mary, Fresno, CA 93721
9781610352536 $18.95

Written especially for millennials by professional college and career planner Kat Clowes, M.B.A. (herself a millennial), Put College to Work: How to Use College to the Fullest to Discover Your Strengths and Find a Job You Love Before You Graduate lives up to its title as a practical-minded career guide especially for students applying to or attending college. Chapters discuss how to determine one's aptitudes and passions, time management, how to choose one's courses for a career game plan, financial aid, and post-graduate pursuits including internships, volunteering, graduate school, job fairs, skilled networking, resume crafting, the wise use of social media, and much more. "Although you might think I'm getting a commission from LinkedIn (I'm not), I can't emphasize enough how great a tool it can be for you as a high school or college student. It takes a lot of the leg work out of networking, making connections, researching industries, and looking for future job opportunities." In these tough economic times with a scarcity of good-paying jobs, soaring college costs, and crushing student debt, Put College to Work is sincerely needed and highly recommended.

The Sports Shelf

Playing Time
Kevin McNutt
African American Images
P.O. Box 1799, Sauk Village, IL 60412
9780910030175 $16.95

Playing Time: Tough Truths About AAU Basketball, Youth Sports, Parents and Athletes offers straight, no-nonsense information about Amateur Athletic Union basketball programs. There is a focus on the African-American sports community, which is particularly well-known for passionately embracing basketball, but Playing Time's message is invaluable for parents, coaches, teachers, and student athletes of all backgrounds. Author Kevin McNutt, whose involvement in youth sports as a college scholarship basketball player, referee, coach, and parent spans over five decades, candidly answers frequently asked questions. How realistic is the dream of an athletic scholarship? How should parents and a young athlete approach the dilemma of choosing between a junior varsity or varsity team? (Junior varsity team membership is less prestigious, but a young athlete may have more opportunity to play the game on a junior varsity team instead of a varsity team). When is transferring schools for the sake of an athletic program justifiable? "...especially in the black sports community, having a second dream outside of athletic success is viewed by some parents as counterproductive and a distraction to the prodigy keeping his eyes on the athletic prize. This is wrong. They can coexist. It is not an either-or proposition. In truth, this tunnel vision thinking reflects your low self-esteem and low expectations to believe your child can concentrate on only one goal." Playing time is an absolute "must-read" for anyone involved with the AAU, and highly recommended.

The Health/Medicine Shelf

The Plant-Based Journey
Lani Muelrath
BenBella Books
10300 N. Central Expressway, Ste 400
Dallas, TX 75204
9781941631362 $16.95

Award-winning teacher and certified behavior change specialist Lani Muelrath presents The Plant-Based Journey: A Step-by-Step Guide for Transitioning to a Healthy Lifestyle and Achieving Your Ideal Weight, a practical-minded, science-supported, five-step guidebook for transitioning to a plant-based diet. Chapters discuss how to get one's kitchen and pantry ready, how to smoothly adjust to the lifestyle change, how to keep to a plant-based dietary lifestyle on the road or with friends and family (who can be well-meaning but improper "food pushers"), and more. Suggested meal-plan templates, more than 20 recipes, and an index round out this superb choice for aspiring vegetarians and vegans, or anyone just looking to reduce their consumption of expensive, high-cholesterol animal products.

The Large Print Shelf

The Country Doctor's Choice
Maggie Bennett
Magna Large Print Books
c/o Ulverscroft Large Print (USA), Inc.
PO Box 1230, West Seneca, NY 14224-1230
9780750541084 $35.50

The Country Doctor's Choice is a dramatic novel presented in large print format for ease of reading. Set in the small British market town of Everham during the Profumo affair (a 1963 scandal during which John Profumo, the Secretary of State for War, was forced to admit to an past, improper sexual relationship with a nineteen-year-old aspiring model), The Country Doctor's Choice is a tale of winding intrigue and star-crossed love. Dr. Leigh McDowall, medical registrar, is taking a refresher course in obstetrics; he finds himself attracted to Dr. Shelagh Hammond, obstetric surgeon, but she is involved in a relationship and caring for her terminally ill mother. Meanwhile Reverend Derek Bolt finds himself harassed with unwanted attention from a female parishioner, and confides in headmaster Jeremy North. A confluence of conflicting wills, strong characterization, and building tensions, The Country Doctor's Choice holds the reader's rapt attention from cover to cover.

The Fiction Shelf

I am Coyote
Geri Vistein
Tilbury House, Publishers
12 Starr Street, Thomaston, ME 04861
9780884484660 $16.95

Penned in the spirit of animal-perspective classics such as "Watership Down", I am Coyote is an original novel about the life and struggles of a female coyote. She must brave extreme cold, hunger, and danger, in her search to find a stable life, and eventually a mate with who she can raise a new generation of coyotes. I am Coyote makes every effort to be as scientifically accurate as it is adventurous and engrossing; through Coyote's life story, the reader learns more about the complex family bonds of these animals who have come to replace wolves (which were effectively exterminated a century ago) as a keystone predator that the eastern United States ecology sorely needed. Highly recommended!

The Humor Shelf

Simon's Cat: Off to the Vet
Simon Tofield
Akashic Books
232 Third Street, #A115, Brooklyn, NY 11215
9781617754029 $27.95

Simon's Cat: Off to the Vet is an entirely wordless graphic novel about the (mis)adventures of Simon's fluffy white cat, its adopted grey kitten sibling, their hapless human caretaker, and the raucous local wildlife. The black-and-white cartoony comics (with occasional color comics) bring these delightful and exuberant adventures to life, from the kitten's ferocious battle with a stuffed snake, to Simon's Cat's attempt to lure birds into his mouth with a clever sunflower disguise! Witty and wonderful, Simon's Cat: Off to the Vet is a treat for cat lovers or anyone who loves laughter. Also highly recommended are the previous Simon's Cat collections, "Simon's Cat in Kitten Chaos" (9781617751585, $15.95) and "Simon's Cat vs. The World" (9781617751882, $15.95).

How to Toilet Train Your Cat & 61 Other Ill-Conceived Projects
Portable Press
PO Box 1117, Ashland, OR 97520
c/o Printer's Row Publishing Group
9781626863606 $14.95

How to Toilet Train Your Cat & 61 Other Ill-Conceived Projects is part of the Uncle John's chuckle-inducing series of "bathroom literature". Although every activity is presented with step-by-step instructions, it should be emphasized that feline toilet training is the ONLY project herein that should even be considered for actual practice. All other "projects" are for entertainment purposes only and emphatically must NOT be done by any layperson, ever. This includes such eyebrow-raising undertakings as "How to Make a Shrunken Head" (a methodology practiced by certain warlike and tribal peoples in human history), "How to Make Condoms" (the use of which is absolutely not guaranteed to prevent pregnancy or sexually transmitted infections),"How to Pump Your Own Stomach" and more. A disclaimer warns "we are not legally responsible if you are dumb enough to actually attempt these tasks", since some of them are illegal, and many of them are life-threatening to the point of suicidal. But for pure edification, perhaps more than any bathroom reader ever wanted to know, How to Toilet Train Your Cat & 61 Other Ill-Conceived Projects is unmatched!

The Travel Shelf

Death Valley National Park
Jenna Blough
Moon Handbooks
c/o Avalon Travel
1700 Fourth Street, Berkeley, CA 94710
c/o Publishers Group West (dist.)
9781631210099 $16.99

Part of the superb Moon Handbooks travel guide series, Death Valley National Park is a user-friendly travel guide to the breathtaking landscape of salt flats, sand dunes, and gleaming marble canyons that is Death Valley. Peppered with maps and color photography, Death Valley National Park includes detailed directions, recommended hikes to abandoned mining camps and isolated ghost towns, scenic backcountry roads, wildlife refuges, local attractions beyond the park such as the Amargosa Opera House and the Trona Pinnacles, and much more. A "must-have" for tourists, nature lovers, and sightseers eager to experience this amazing national park firsthand!

The Poetry Shelf

Words in Passing: A Selection of Formal Verse
E. M. Schorb
New Formalist Press
9788361769996, $22.95,

"Words in Passing: A Selection of Formal Verse" is a 196 page compendium showcasing E. M. Schorb's remarkable gift for poetry. Replete with deftly crafted verses that will linger in the mind and memory long after the book itself is finished and set back upon the shelf, "Words in Passing: A Selection of Formal Verse" is very highly recommended for personal, community, and academic library American Poetry & Poets collections. 'The Good Ones': I guess the good ones stay with everyone, / the ones we knew who made us proud to know / them at some point somewhere beneath the sun, / but, to the good, I think, the others go / into a fading place and so are lost, / the others who were not so good to know. / The pain of course stays like an ugly ghost. / But I suppose in time it too will go. / I could name names, but only of the good, / the ones I knew that I was proud to know. / They are the heros of my life. I would / keep them forever fresh, not let them go. / It isn't hard to keep the two apart, / the heroes and the zeros of the heart.

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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