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Small Press Bookwatch

Volume 19, Number 5 May 2020 Home | SPBW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice Pets/Wildlife Shelf Self-Help Shelf
General Fiction Shelf Romantic Fiction Shelf Mystery/Suspense Shelf
Fantasy/SciFi Shelf Biography Shelf Political Science Shelf
Business Shelf Health/Medicine Shelf Metaphysical Studies Shelf
Christian Studies Shelf Relationship Shelf World History Shelf
Native American Studies Shelf    


Reviewer's Choice

One Pill Makes You Stronger
Jill Stegman
Transformation Media Books
9781941799628, $17.95, PB, 168pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: After forty years of marriage, Jill and Don Stegman had it all -- two beautiful children, a stable relationship, fulfilling careers. But a brush with cancer and subsequent complications upended their lives.

Don survived the cancer but was saddled with a sinister sidekick that transformed this gentle Dr. Jekyll into an evil Mr. Hyde: a white pill called prednisone. What was supposed to save him instead killed him -- by his own hand.

With 44 million prescriptions written per year, for everything from allergies to immune system disorders, prednisone is something of a miracle drug. But the side effects (mania, psychosis, depression) took Don's life and nearly ruined Jill's. In the months and years after Don's death, Jill reels from grief but finds her own way of coping.

Critique: "One Pill Makes You Stronger: The Drug That Scorched My Soul" is a deftly crafted memoir that combines a love story, a cautionary tale, and a true testament to human resilience. While especially and unreservedly recommended for community library collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "One Pill Makes You Stronger" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $3.99).

Editorial Note: Jill Stegman has short stories published in such literary journals as Isotope, Literary Mama, North Atlantic Review, RE:AL, South Dakota Review, Del Sol, and Storyglossia. She has also been a finalist for the Glimmer Train Emerging Writer's Fiction Award and has been nominated for Best of the Net anthologies. She has an M.F.A. in fiction writing from Pacific University, Oregon. Her mentors have included Benjamin Percy, Mary Helen Stefaniak, and Kevin McIlvoy.

Lotus Laughing
Marie-Celine Sinclair
Balboa Press
c/o Hay House, Inc.
PO Box 5100, Carlsbad, CA 92018-5100
www.balboapress.com
9781504318433, $13.99, PB, 190pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: High on the balcony of an ultra-modern apartment above a riverside cityscape on New Year's Eve and the fringe of a new decade, ten friends gathered. With six hours to pass until the midnight hour, Lillian invites each of her guests to share tales of extraordinary, mystical, and inexplicable events that have occurred in their lives. These are tales that nobody would ever believe but are true. Haunted by the 11:11 numeric configuration, bestowed a life mission, and visited by ethereal beings not of this earthy world, Lotus Laughing will speak to the depths of your inner self and challenge you to probe your long-forgotten past.

Critique: An inherently fascinating and quite compelling read from first page to last, "Lotus Laughing: Extraordinary Tales of Mystical and Inspirational Life Experiences" by Marie-Celine Sinclair is as thoughtful and thought-provoking as it is unique and entertaining. While very highly recommended, especially for community library collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Lotus Laughing" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $3.99).

Editorial Note: A journal keeper, a researcher, a lover of writing and the aesthetic, an author, and an English teacher. Marie-Celine Sinclair is no stranger to the written word telling a tale from the factual to the mystical. An adventurous person and seeker if knowledge and wisdom, Marie- fully endorses the importance of asking questions and seeking answers to life's mysteries. Believing the mystery of the self to be the most prescient of them all.

An Ex-Wife's Journey from Darkness to Light
Salina Womack
Independently Published
9781704836232, $10.99, PB, 280pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: "An Ex-Wife's Journey from Darkness to Light" is a story of Samantha and her challenging journey navigating the unexpected life she is forced into. Samantha rediscovers the person she used to be, embraces the person she is, and battles for the person she needs to become to find her light. Samantha never imagined when she asked Lawrence if he wanted to be married that he would tell her no. She had never been a fighter, but along her journey she found something worth fighting for. Based on a true story, "An Ex-Wife's Journey from Darkness to Light" explores the single parent role, love, life after divorce, friendships, dating, family, death, and finding oneself through it all.

Critique: An inherently fascinating read from cover to cover, and based upon the author's life experiences (but with names and circumstances changed to protect people's privacy), "An Ex-Wife's Journey from Darkness to Light" is very highly recommended for community library Self-Help/Self-Improvement collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "An Ex-Wife's Journey from Darkness to Light" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $7.99).

Mean People Suck
Michael Brenner
Marketing Insider Group
https://marketinginsidergroup.com
9780997050837, $15.99, PB, 116pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Some leaders believe that they need to be mean in order to be effective. Their lack of compassion creates negative relationships that lowers performance and profits!

Michael Brenner's "Mean People Suck: How Empathy Leads to Bigger Profits and a Better Life" uses real-life experience and proven research to show why instead of blaming others, we can look inside ourselves, and learn how to use empathy to defeat "mean" in every situation. This insightful guide shows leaders, and employees how more emotional communication increases profits and enhances lives.

Readers will learn: Why employees are unhappy and the power of empathy to turn things around; How organizational charts disengage employees by neglecting the human element; Why empathy seems counter-intuitive to success; The secrets to a happy, meaningful and impactful career.

Critique: Michael Brenner has been recognized as a Forbes top CMO influencer, a Top Business Keynote Speaker by the Huffington Post and a Top Motivational Speaker by Entrepreneur Magazine. He is CEO of Marketing Insider Group, where he has worked with more than 75 brands in building effective thought leadership, marketing, and employee activation programs. In "Mean People Suck: How Empathy Leads to Bigger Profits and a Better Life" he effectively draws upon his years of experience and expertise to deftly craft a thoroughly 'reader friendly' DIY instructional guide. While very highly recommended for all community library Self-Help/Self-Improvement collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Mean People Suck: How Empathy Leads to Bigger Profits and a Better Life" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).


The Pets/Wildlife Shelf

Cat Among the Pigeons
David Muirhead
Powers Squared
c/o Catalyst Press
www.catalystpress.org
9781733547406, $16.95, PB, 242pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: "Cat Among the Pigeons: A riotous assembly of unrespectable African creatures" is an irreverent but loving treatise on the creatures of South Africa and beyond, in which David Muirhead features eccentric animal behaviors in his native home. Mixing folklore and legend with a heavy dose of science, Muirhead leaves no wart unexamined in these tales of unrespectable animals. "Cat Among the Pigeons" reveals what "pronking" means, and such interesting facts as that for pythons, swallowing a porcupine whole is the easy part; it's afterwards when the anxiety really starts.

"Cat Among the Pigeons" allows us to laugh our way to a re-connection with the creatures we co-evolved with, highlighting their importance to our collective past and precarious futures. A reminder in our increasingly urban world that the strange and fantastical still roam, crawl, wiggle, swim and soar through the terrestrial and aquatic world, ready to delight and surprise us.

Critique: An inherently fascinating, impressively informative, and thoroughly entertaining read from first page to last, "Cat Among the Pigeons: A riotous assembly of unrespectable African creatures" is a unique and unreservedly for both community and academic library Pets/Wildlife collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Cat Among the Pigeons" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $8.99).


The Self-Help Shelf

Skills That Pills Can't Give You
Judy Cook, MD
Balboa Press
c/o Hay House, Inc.
PO Box 5100, Carlsbad, CA 92018-5100
www.balboapress.com
9781982220563, $30.95, HC, 148pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: The basic premise of "Skills That Pills Can't Give You: Learn to Have a Happier Life" is that by gaining some of personal insights into yourself and learning some of the skills taught laid out by physician and counselor Judy Cook, that anyone can do a lot to improve not only their mental health, but also the physical health of themselves, their loved ones, and others around them.

Emotions are as much a part of life as a heartbeat, yet too many people are encouraged to be ashamed of feelings and emotional problems and if they can't ignore them, to cover them up with medication. The result may be spending time blaming oneself for problems that they didn't actually cause. Learning new ways to understand and deal with those issues will allow us to take charge of handling them in a positive and productive fashion so we no longer have problems with them. More positive skills might even rub off on others, which is to the benefit of everyone.

Critique: Impressively informative, thought-provoking, and ultimately inspiring, "Skills That Pills Can't Give You: Learn to Have a Happier Life" is an extraordinary contribution to the growing library of Self-Help/Self-Improvement literature. While unreservedly recommended for both community and academic library collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Skills That Pills Can't Give You: Learn to Have a Happier Life" is also readily available in a paperback edition (9781982220570, $14.99), and in digital book format (Kindle, $6.54).

Editorial Note: Judy Cook is a physician, author, speaker, coach and trainer. She is also has training in both Psychiatry and Pathology, and 40 years of experience creating emotional improvement results for tens of thousands of clients of all ages.

Success Is All B.S.
Stephen Dela Cruz
Independently Published
www.stegelasuccess.com
9781074041175, $5.00, PB, 175pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: "Success Is All B.S." by Stephen Dela Cruz (who is an author, speaker and serial entrepreneur who specializes in helping budding entrepreneurs double their income in their first year) is a practical and insightful self-help book about how success is all based on a persons belief system. "What you believe is how you behave, how you behave is who will become." In the pages of "Success Is All B.S., Stephen gives a detailed description of how to break free from old belief systems and create new ones that will lead to massive personal and professional success!

Critique: One of the most inexpensive but effective DIY self help books available today, "Success Is All B.S." is an engaging, life enhancing, reality practical, effectively inspiring, and unreservedly recommended for personal reading lists, as well as community, college, and university library Self-Help/Self-Improvement collections.

Squeeze More Life out of Time
Diane Cashin
AuthorHouse
1663 Liberty Drive, Suite 200, Bloomington, IN 47403-5161
www.authorhouse.com
9781546276371, $28.99, HC, 316pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Life is not always about fame, fortune or glory. It is also about creating a personal life style that is designed by you, uniquely for you, because there is no one like you! You are one-of-a-kind. Only you get to determine what it means to live an Extraordinary Life.

In the pages of "Squeeze More Life out of Time: Manage Your Mind, Energy & Minutes to Live an Extraordinary Life", Diane Cashin shares the secrets and techniques the most successful, happy, impactful people in the world use to live extraordinary lives and you can too!

"Squeeze More Life Out of Time" also shares how to change your predictable, automatic behaviors that are holding you back to breakthrough and fearlessly create more love, peace, joy, health and financial stability in your life. "Squeeze More Life Out of Time provides a framework and steps for you to follow with lots of exercises to explore what lies ahead by listening to the answers that are within you!

Critique: Throughly 'user friendly' in tone, commentary, organization and presentation, "Squeeze More Life out of Time: Manage Your Mind, Energy & Minutes to Live an Extraordinary Life" is an extraordinary and life-changing, life-enhancing read from cover to cover. While especially and unreservedly recommended for community library Self-Help/Self-Improvement collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Squeeze More Life out of Time" is also readily available in a paperback edition (9781546276388, $19.95) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $3.99).

I Am: Your Guide to Mind and Body Union for Total Awareness
Maggie Moor
Archway Publishing
1663 Liberty Drive, Bloomington, IN 47403-5161
www.archwaypublishing.com
9781480879089, $33.95, HC, 234pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Maggie Moor is a healer, psychotherapist, musician, actress, and founder of the Institute for the Advancement of the Mind. She maintains a web site at: www.MaggieMoor.com

"I Am: Your Guide to Mind and Body Union for Total Awareness" is Maggie Moor's inspiring and intriguing self-help guide that will show her readers how to lead a happier life with a greater sense of awareness of the need for a harmonious coexistence between the body and the mind. Of special note are the meditation and journaling exercises at the end of each chapter will assist the reader in realizing the reality of a heightened sense of enlightenment in how he or she can approach the day-to-day pressures of life.

Critique: Informative, practical, effective, and thoroughly 'user friendly' in organization and presentation, "I Am: Your Guide to Mind and Body Union for Total Awareness" is an ideal and unreservedly recommended addition to the reading lists of anyone with a serious interest in development a self-help or self-improvement instructional reference collection. It should be noted that "I Am: Your Guide to Mind and Body Union for Total Awareness" is also readily available in a paperback edition (9781480879072, $16.99) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $3.99).

Cantville
Joe Borelli, author
Sergio Drumond, illustrator
Borelli Direct Publishing
https://borellidirectpublishing.jimdofree.com
9781732747401, $28.00, HC, 80pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: "Cantville" is an inspiring tale of two towns separated by a huge mountain. As the reader follows the evolution of Cantville and Wecando and their people's hardships and successes, they will be continually reminded about the importance of a positive attitude and the value of making good decisions.

Critique: "Cantville" is a unique and ultimately inspiring story that delivers useful messages in a non-confrontational and thoroughly 'reader friendly' by an author with a genuine flair for originality, insights into the human condition, and an effective narrative storytelling style. While unreservedly recommended for community library Self-Help/Self-Improvement collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Cantville", is also readily available in a paperback edition (9781732747418, $15.99) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $8.99).


The General Fiction Shelf

The Winter Sisters
Tim Westover
QW Publishers LLC
9780984974856, $25.95, HC, 324pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Dr. Waycross knows bleeding and blistering -- the best scientific medicine of 1822. When he arrives in the Georgia mountains to bring his modern methods to the superstitious masses the local healers, the Winter sisters, claim to treat yellow fever, consumption, and the hell-roarin' trots just as well as he can.

Some folks call the sisters herb women; some call them witches. Dr. Waycross calls them quacks. But when the threat of rabies (incurable and fatal) comes to town, Dr. Waycross and the Winter sisters must combine their science and superstition in a desperate search for a remedy. Can they find a miracle cure, or has the age of miracles passed?

Critique: An original and deftly written novel by an author with an impressively effective and narrative based storytelling style, "The Winter Sisters" by novelist Tim Westover is an especially and unreservedly recommended addition to community library General Fiction collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Winter Sisters" is also readily available in a paperback edition (9780984974894, $16.95) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $4.99).

Terribilita
Ben Wyckoff Shore
Cinder Block Publishing
9780578632032, $13.99, PB, 258pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: The rebel caprices of Enzo Ferrando have dire consequences. His father, the Risorgimento war hero is gunned down on his veranda. His son Lucca is forced into hiding as a deckhand on a merchant ship. Enzo himself is conscripted into the Italian army and forced to wage war on the African Horn, yet he yearns to take vengeance on his father's killers and to reunite with his son.

Set in the second half of the 19th century, Terribilita is a coming of age tale about family, and an examination of the redemptive power of violence.

Critique: A deftly crafted and inherently engaging historical novel set in the latter half of the 19th Century, "Terribilita" showcases author Ben Wyckoff Shore's impressive talent as a narrative driven storyteller who expertly incorporates such elements as pirates, mercenaries, the Ethiopian army, and more. While "Terribilita" is especially and unreservedly recommended for community library Historical Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that it is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $4.99).

One Night With Lilith
Martin Golan
http://martingolan.com
Adelaide Books
http://www.adelaidebooks.org
9781951214494, $19.60, PB, 284pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis; When a devastating fire destroys Rob and Amy Lerner's lovely Victorian house, it also destroys a lifetime of Amy's art, all Rob's business papers, and their entire history (letters, photos, and memorabilia) is all gone. To make matters worse, the fire breaks out just as they are huddled in a nearby restaurant negotiating the end of their marriage.

Although "One Night With Lilith" is the story of a marriage seemingly at its end, at its heart it's a love story. Author Martin Golan deftly draws on the biblical tale of Lilith, Adam's first wife, who is portrayed in myth and legend as a woman not only of fierce independence but also of unbridled sexuality.

Critique: An inherently engaging and expertly crafted novel by an author with a genuine flair for originality and the kind of reader entertaining narrative storytelling style that so very few are able to sustain, "One Night With Lilith" by Martin Golan is an extraordinary and unreservedly recommended addition to both community and academic library Contemporary Literary Fiction collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "One Night With Lilith" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $7.99).

Two Revolutionary War Privateers
WilliamT. Packwood, author
Virginia M. Packwood, author
Matthew W. Packwood, editor
Two Trees Roots
https://twoprivateersbook.com
9780935725018, $39.99, PB, 414pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: William and Joseph Packwood were Connecticut sea captains and privateers actively involved in the American Revolutionary War. They ran the trade route from the Thirteen Colonies to the Caribbean islands, secured gunpowder and arms for use in the rebellion, and outfitted privateers to prey on British ships. George Washington personally requested gunpowder from them; Benjamin Franklin sought France's release of one of their ships; and Alexander Hamilton ultimately denied reimbursement for the extensive losses they suffered in the War.

Deftly edited by Matthew W. Packwood and told in the Packwood captains' own words, "Two Revolutionary War Privateers, William and Joseph Packwood of Connecticut" offers a vivid picture of the American War for Independence from a maritime perspective.

Critique: Unique, impressively detailed, and offering absolutely compelling perspectives on a particular aspect of the American Revolutionary War, "Two Revolutionary War Privateers, William and Joseph Packwood of Connecticut" is an extraordinary and unreservedly recommended addition to personal, community, college, and university library American Revolutionary History collections and supplemental studies reading lists.

Healing Star
Ian Blake Newhem
A Million Words Away
https://amillionwordsaway.com/books
9781951681005, $25.99, HC, 313pp.

Synopsis: Aric Hatch is a 16-year-old drummer for the British Army, and newly orphaned, at the edges of a battlefield during the bloodiest year of the American Revolution. Wandering among the dead, wondering what to do, he encounters another boy, "Orion." Who seems to manifest out of nothing. Is he a boy at all? The two of them, alone together, then with Akt'adia, the young woman who's become chief of a local Native American tribe, embark on a dangerous adventure. Dodging the enemy, suffering the elements-and growing closer even as they find themselves farther from their home worlds.

"Healing Star" is a coming-of-age story about the gateways we can find in our traumas if only we can muster the courage (and the company) to face them.

Critique: A deftly crafted and absorbing read throughout, "Healing Star" nicely showcases author Ian Blake Newhem's throughly reader engaging narrative storytelling style as a novelist. While especially recommended for community library Historical Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Healing Star" is also readily available in a paperback edition ($7.84) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $3.99) from Amazon.com

Rachel Versus Sean with Jackson in the Middle
Wayne Lobdell
Archway Publishing
1663 Liberty Drive, Bloomington, IN 47403-5161
www.archwaypublishing.com
9781480884601, $35.95, HC, 246pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: A unique politically oriented novel by Wayne Lobdell, "Rachel vs Sean with Jackson in The Middle" brings together a brilliant African American bartender with an amazing knowledge of political events, facts and opinions, trapped in a unique circumstance with a beautiful intellectual liberal and a handsome, articulate and successful business conservative. In the course of two long contentious and sometimes humorous debates that involve spouse relationships they delve into many conservative and liberal differences and seek some innovative ideas and compromises on the key issues. Jackson keeps it fun with some Presidential trivia and humorous stories.

Critique: A perfect novel for our contemporary times with dramatic political polarizations throughout the country, "Rachel Versus Sean with Jackson in the Middle" aptly promotes with both wit and wisdom the value of listening carefully to opposing views as an essential part of the process for generating a rationale understanding so necessary in a rational evaluation of the social, cultural, and political issues of the day. While especially recommended for all community library Contemporary General Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Rachel Versus Sean with Jackson in the Middle" is also readily available in a paperback edition (9781480884595, $17.99) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $3.99).

Dumbbell
Marian Christy
White Bird Publications
www.marian-christy.com
9781633634596, $20.99, HC, 284pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Dumbbell is the shocking novel by Marian Christy about an innocent ten-year-old girl who is trapped by severe emotional bullying in a home ruled by her Daddy, an extreme chauvinist. In her own passionate voice, the child allows the reader to see and feel just what it's like to be totally imprisoned in a maddening silence while confronting a series of cruel and demeaning obstacles meant to shatter her spirit.

The child also dares to reveal her overwhelming helplessness, her consequential thoughts of suicide and what it takes to save yourself when saving seems out of the question. When desperate, she escapes into fantasies of her own making. She thinks she is alone. But She isn't.

Angels, 1,000 of them, descend into her space. They aren't real angels. What she sees is a steely white disc. What she hears are guideposts. She leans on her crutches, those mysterious angels, only to discover that the graceful rescue words floating toward her emanate from her own intuition and instinct. By the time she is twenty-one, her real name is a distinguished newspaper by-line.

At-home bullying is the most common bullying, hidden by the adage that what happens at home stays at home. Although a work of fiction, "Dumbbell" is an accurate narrative that documents the specific realities and damages that come with being a victim of unrelenting domestic bullying.

Critique: An emotionally challenging but deftly crafted novel by an author with a genuine flair for originality and the kind of narrative storytelling skills that will grasp the reader's total attention from cover to cover. While highly recommended for community library Contemporary General Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Dumbbell" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $6.99).

Overture And Beginners
Betty Valentine
Green Cat Books
9781916276604, $11.57, PB, 258pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: "Overture And Beginners: The Actor, The Painter and the Little Brown Dog" by Betty Valentine is a novel about a man named James Porter, but whom the world knows best as Allan.

Allan is and always have been happily gay. He has had no problem with this whatsoever. If anyone else found it awkward then that was their problem, not his!

Allan is a short, tubby little actor who won't see sixty again. He also happen to be famous! Some years ago he kicked the last younger lover out of his bed. While plenty of them had used Allan's mattress as a springboard to higher things, treading on him in the process, He finally decided to stop looking for 'the one' and to keep his relationships on a more casual basis.

Of course when Allan stopped looking, he found that special 'him', in a place he had never even considered looking. All thinks he almost lost 'him' a couple of times along the way -- but then got him back again.

Critique: "Overture And Beginners" is a very deftly crafted and original novel by an author with an impressively effective and narrative driven storytelling style -- making it an ideal and unreservedly recommended addition to community and academic library Contemporary LBGTQ Fiction collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Overture And Beginners" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $2.99).

The Opium Lord's Daughter
Robert Wang
The Opium Lord's Daughter LLC
9780578526188, $25.04, HC, 304pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Su-Mei is a young woman unbounded by convention who valiantly resists her wealthy and powerful father (who is one of the largest opium traders in mid-19th century China) when he attempts to force her into the barbaric practice of foot binding. Her defiance sets in motion a series of events, forever altering her fate, as well as the fates of those she holds dear. Su-Mei is forced to rapidly come-of-age and muster her heroic spirit to survive her crumbling world.

"The Opium Lord's Daughter" is a novel of taboo romances, tumultuous adventures, and heart-wrenching tragedies. It is also a kind of literary expedition through the destruction of a culture, underscoring the hold and havoc drug empires continue to exert in society, even to this day.

Critique: An inherently fascinating and fully entertaining page-turner of a read from cover to cover, "The Opium Lord's Daughter" is an extraordinary novel that showcases author Robert Wang's genuine flair for originality and a thoroughly reader engaging style of narrative driven storytelling. While especially recommended for community library General Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Opium Lord's Daughter" is also readily available in a paperback edition (9780578502922, $17.02) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $4.99).

The Masked Baron
Anneka R. Walker
www.annekawalker.com
Covenant Communications, Inc.
www.covenant-lds.com
9781524412234, $15.99, PB, 240pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Andalin is a young woman who is accustomed to her father's frequent travels and to being left behind. So when he returns home and instructs her to pack her belongings, she is bewildered but there is no time for questions as she is whisked away on a mysterious journey under the cover of night.

When their tense flight leads them into the forbidding Black Forest, the pair quickly finds themselves in great peril. With little hope of escape, father and daughter are spared when rescue appears in the form of the mysterious Dark Rider, a notorious deadly highwayman feared by all he meets. But his assistance does not come without a price: he is taking Andalin with him.

Now her fate rests in the hands of the enigmatic masked man whose secrets are inescapably tied to the beautiful young woman now in his charge.

Critique: A superbly crafted and fully entertaining novel that combines elements of romance and suspense, "The Masked Baron" by Anneka R. Walker will prove to be an enduringly popular and appreciated addition to community library General Fiction collections. It should note for personal reading lists that "The Masked Baron" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $5.99) and as a complete and unabridged audio book.

The Run Don't Count
Herb Gould
Independently Published
9781732665903, $19.08, PB, 310pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: The 1908 baseball season was a raucous one, especially for Frank Chance and the Chicago Cubs, who were gunning for their third straight National League pennant.

In his new sports novel, "The Run Don't Count: The Life and Times of Frank Chance and his 1908 Chicago Cubs', author Herb Gould makes the Cubs and their quest come to life by deftly turning Tinker, Evers and Chance into real people with human flaws as well as baseball skills.

After the glory, "The Run Don't Count" follows their hopes and dreams as their baseball skills fade.

Critique: Although a work of entertaining fiction, "The Run Don't Count: The Life and Times of Frank Chance and his 1908 Chicago Cubs" is a meticulously researched and deftly crafted novel about the Cubs' last 20th Century World Series win touches all the bases. While especially and unreservedly recommended for community library General Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Run Don't Count" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.08).

Begotten
Joseph Crew
Outskirts Press, Inc.
10940 S. Parker Road, #515, Parker, CO 80134
www.outskirtspress.com
9781977223746, $34.95, HC, 278pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: On the brink of divorce, and in the middle of a torrid affair with a brilliant German graduate student, American history professor, Adam Cantwell, a faculty member of Immanuel Kant International University in Heidelberg, accepts an offer from his close friend, a Turkish restaurant owner, to drive a car to Antalya, Turkey during summer vacation in 1994.

When Adam races down the autobahn he never imagines the BMW is loaded with explosives or that he will be abducted by Kurdish separatists when he reaches his destination. And he certainly didn't expect to fall in love with the beautiful Kurdish woman he encounters in Austria, who might be involved with his captors.

At once a thriller, a travelogue, history tutorial, and love story, in "Begotten", novelist Joseph crew takes the reader through Yugoslavia when it was engaged in a genocidal civil war and on across Anatolia where a growing Islamic revival is facing a standoff with Mustafa Kemal's secular republic. Timely in its subject matter, this deftly crafted work of fiction effectively underscores the global geo-political impacts of immigration concerns currently plaguing Europe and the United States.

Critique: "Begotten" by Joseph Crew is set against the background of a Yugoslavia that is mired in a genocidal civil war, and then moves on through Anatolia where a growing Islamic revival is facing a standoff with Mustafa Kemal's secular republic. Deftly combining the elements of a suspense thriller, a travelogue, an history tutorial, and love story, "Begotten" is an inherently engaging novel that showcases author Joseph Crew's genuine flair for originality and narrative based storytelling skills. While unreservedly recommended for community library General Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Begotten" is also readily available in a paperback edition (9781977215499, $17.95) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $4.99).

R & R: A Sex Comedy
E. M. Schorb
Hill House New York
9780578474717, $18.00, HC, 248pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Serge Bering-Strait, a young poet who lives with his activist mother and four aunties in a Greenwich Village brownstone, has just gone to work as copywriter for "Women's Omnibus" magazine. Serge would much rather have remained up in his garret room writing poetry, but his mother, Dagmar, and his Auntie Janet have insisted that it's high time he got out into the world, that it isn't natural to be a recluse at twenty-three!

In this New York work-a-day situation of the swinging Sixties, Serge finds himself the object of unwanted sexual advances from his lady boss editor. It is all too upsetting to this young, shy, poet. He has spent his whole life under the thumbs of five very tough, aggressive women and now the additional pressure from Editor Battle, out to deflower him, brings him to a crossroads.

He must assert himself! In the beginning, he has only one true supporter in this struggle: Juanna Donna Lorca, his childhood transsexual nanny-cum general housekeeper for the family, who is partial to flamenco dresses.

Serge, somewhat inspired by his love of the classics, and perhaps somewhat inspired by the idea of poetic justice, and simply pressured to let off steam, begins a novel -- Resurgius.

Coincidentally, or not, he begins his novel immediately after meeting the girl of his dreams. I

"R & R: A Sex Comedy" is a futuristic tale of a universe governed by women who bear a striking resemblance to his mother and aunties. In the nation called Atalanta, however, trouble is brewing. The enslaved Dongs, as males are called, are in revolt. In fact, there's an underground leader in ascendancy -- one Resurgius. This stalwart Resurgius bears an uncanny resemblance to Serge, obviously a wish-fulfillment, for he has everything that Serge has not -- especially muscles and courage, though he is several I.Q. points down from Serge himself and wears Serge's actual horn-rimmed spectacles.

Through the process of writing his novel, and with the help of his transgender friends, and his girlfriend, Amanda, Serge, who has been taught by his dominating female family to pee sitting down, stands up for himself, at last!

Critique: Deftly crafted, original, inherently fascinating, humourously witty, and demonstrating an especially effective, narrative driven storytelling style, "R & R: A Sex Comedy" by E. M. Schorb will prove to be an unusual but enduringly interesting addition to personal reading lists, as well as community and academic library Speculative Fiction collections.

Nephi's Courage: Story of a Bad Mormon
Rory McFarlan
Independently Published
9781734179408, $12.99, PB, 308pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Nephi Willard is a practicing Mormon who loves God and his church. He grew up in Happy Valley, the center of LDS life in Utah, and faithfully served a mission. The perfect Mormon life would be his -- if not for the fact that Nephi is gay.

Being homosexual has put him at odds with his church leaders. No matter how well Nephi obeys the commandments, he doesn't seem to fit in at church, and his desire to follow the Mormon rules makes it difficult to fit in with the gay community. While he tries to reconcile his Mormon side with his gay side, Nephi is navigating two worlds in a struggle to understand himself.

When a new love interest introduces him to possibilities he never imagined, Nephi must decide whether to embrace his nature or his faith, which takes this religious gay man on a journey that is both devastating and beautiful.

Critique: A deftly written story that, while a work of fiction, quite accurately portrays the condition of being a gay man in a Mormon dominated society. An engaging and emotionally powerful novel by an author with an impressive flair for the kind of narrative driven storytelling that emotionally rivets the readers full attention from cover to cover, "Nephi's Courage" is the kind of story that will linger in the mind and memory of the reader long after the book itself has been finished and set back upon the shelf. While very highly recommended for community library Contemporary General Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Nephi's Courage" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $2.99).

56th Street
James W. Haddad
Commonwealth Books Publishing
9781892986078, $22.00, HC, 147pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: "56th Street" by James W. Haddad is the story of a young girl growing up in the Liberty City ghetto of Miami gradually adjusting to the daily hardships of ghetto life but finding herself hopelessly trapped in a waking nightmare as she struggles to survive in an environment where a girl should feel her safest: in her own home.

Her older brother is a pathological abuser who knows no limits employing his relentless torment on the most vulnerable family members. The young girl fights for her life; fights as hard as she could to protect her three younger siblings. She is troubled with family loyalties but with time, decides to save herself and marries the first man she meets. Then the nightmare suddenly comes to a climax!

Critique: A deftly crafted and absolutely riveting novel reflecting the drama of domestic violence and ghetto life, "56th Street" showcases author James W. Haddad's genuine flair for the kind of gritty and narrative driven storytelling that fully engages the readers engaged involvement from cover to cover -- making it an especially and unreservedly recommended addition to personal reading lists and community library Contemporary Literary Fiction collections.

The Unexpected
Donal Myrick
Xlibris Corporation
1663 South Liberty Drive, Bloomington, IN 47403-5161
www.xlibris.com
9781796058819, $29.99, HC, 312pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: In Venezuela an offshore earthquake causes the opening of a canyon that swallows up Angel Fall's Churum River which then disappears into a large cave. At the rear of the cave, the river disappears into an abyss that is speculated to be over twenty five hundred feet deep.

The existence of this abyss is brought to the attention of a group of spelunkers, aka cavers, from Austin, Texas. Exploring deep difficult caves is what these people do; it is what they live for. The leader of the group organizes an expedition to explore the cave and their primary mission is to be the first to rappel into this monster underground pit. Accomplishing this would be a monumental caving first, and they are extremely excited about the prospect.

They notice that the cave walls are extremely smooth and unusual, and they speculate that something unnatural was behind the formation of the cave. As they overcome massive difficulties and near success, they encounter something that they could never have expected. This discovery changes the direction of their expedition, imperils all of their lives, and sends them scurrying on an extended trek that takes them from Venezuela to one of the most remote islands in the far arctic north.

Critique: An artfully crafted novel by an author with a genuine flair for originality as a novelist having an effectively style of narrative driven storytelling, "The Unexpected" by Donal Myrick will prove to be an immediate and enduringly popular addition to community library Contemporary General Fiction collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Unexpected" is also readily available in a paperback edition (9781796058802, $19.99) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $3.99).

Code Name Arc Angel: The Demise of the Devil
Bruce Jarvis
iUniverse
https://www.iuniverse.com/en
9781532000010, $28.95, HC, 292pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: It is 1940 and Europe is in crisis. Adolph Hitler is leading Germany, the Mussolini has declared war on Great Britain and France, and the Luftwaffe is attacking Great Britain. Carlton Fuller, a husband, father, lawyer, and common citizen of the United States, is going about his day in Cleveland when he receives a strange phone call from General William Donovan, future director of the Office of Strategic Services.

After Donovan reveals he is interested in Fuller because of his German background, it is not until nearly a year later when he manages to recruit Fuller into one of the most complex and dangerous spy missions of World War II. When Fuller takes his place as an embedded spy, he steps into his role as a highly placed Nazi Colonel who plans armed services operations and interacts with Hitler, Himmler, Jodl, Gobbles, and their staffs. As he attempts to fulfill his mission gathering military secrets for the allies, Fuller puts everything on the line for the sake of destroying Hitler's regime. Now only time will tell if he will become one of the unsung heroes of the war or lose his life in the process.

Critique: Based on a true story about an American citizen turned spy who must do everything in his power to stop a cycle of dark events before more innocent civilians die at the hands of a megalomaniac devil, "Code Name Arc Angel: The Demise of the Devil" is a deftly crafted and suspenseful page-turner of a novel that will prove to be an enduringly popular addition to community library collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Code Name Arc Angel: The Demise of the Devil" is also readily available in a paperback edition (9781532000034, $18.95) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $3.99).


The Romantic Fiction Shelf

This Won't End Well
Camille Pagan
Lake Union Publishing
9781542014809, $24.95, HC, 300pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: No new people! That's Annie Mercer's vow. It's bad enough that her boss sabotaged her chemistry career and her best friend tried to cure her with crystals. But after her fiance, Jon, asks for space while he's gallivanting around Paris, Annie decides she needs space too -- and from everyone!

Yet when Harper moves in next door, Annie can't help but train a watchful eye on the glamorous but fragile young woman. And if keeping Harper safe requires teaming up with Mo, a maddeningly optimistic amateur detective, who is she to mind her own business?

Soon Annie has let not one but two new people into her life. Then Jon reappears -- and he wants her to join him in France. She's pretty sure letting anyone get close won't end well. So she must decide: Is another shot at happiness worth the risk?

Critique: A lively and thoroughly entertaining read from cover to cover, "This Won't End Well" wonderfully showcases author Camille Pagan's impressive flair for the kind of narrative storytelling style that fully engages the reader's attention throughout. Certain to be an immediate and enduringly popular addition to community library Contemporary General Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "This Won't End Well" is also readily available in a paperback edition (9781542014823, $14.95), in a digital book format (Kindle, $3.99), and as a complete and unabridged audio book (Brilliance Audio, 9781799726852, $24.99, CD).

Next Dish
Bethany Turner
Fleming H. Revell Company
c/o Baker Publishing Group
6030 East Fulton, Ada, MI 49301
www.revellbooks.com
http://oasisaudio.com/about-oasis
9780800738655, $29.99, HC, 336pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis; Months ago, hot-tempered celebrity chef Max Cavanagh publicly fell from grace, leaving southern belle celebrity chef Hadley Beckett at the center of the drama. Now forced to work together again, these polar opposites will either fall in love or burn down the kitchen!

Critique: A thoroughly entertaining and deftly crafted novel by a master of the contemporary romance fiction genre, Bethany Turner's "Next Dish" will be an immediate and enduringly popular addition to both community library collections and the personal reading lists of all dedicated fans of romance. It should be noted for the growing legion of Bethany Turner fans that "Next Dish" is also readily available in a paperback edition (9780800735234, $15.99), in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99), and as a complete and unabridged audio book (Oasis Audio, 9781640914018, $15.99).

Crystal Cove
Sally Suen
www.sallysuen.com
Knew Books Publishing
https://www.knewbookspublishing.com
9780692175637, $16.00, PB, 236pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Growing up with loneliness in British Hong Kong with her father drifting away, Lili has tasted the powerful love that gives her a purpose in life. Upon returning to her birthplace where she lost her mother to earthquake, Lili falls in love with Sean Shaw at first sight. Yet another earthquake separates her from Sean. Lili has to learn to endure losses in her life until she finds strength and love again.

Critique: Written by an author with a genuine flair for originality and the kind of narrative driven storytelling style that keeps her readers completely invested and engaged from cover to cover, "Crystal Cove" by Sally Suen is an especially and unreservedly recommended addition to community library collections. The kind of novel that will linger in the mind and memory of the reader long after the book itself has been finished and set back upon the shelf, "Crystal Cove" is an ideal addition to the personal reading lists of any and all dedicated romance fans.

Straight Uphill: A Tale of Love and Chocolate
Jess Wells
Cortero Publishing
9781611793949, $17.99, PB, 200pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: After tragedy strikes, brokenhearted Gretchen takes a holiday in a hilltop Italian village to seek peace and solitude. Through chance, she meets Bettina, an elderly woman estranged from her legacy as a chocolatier. Gretchen soon finds herself wrapped in the aromas of chocolate and caramel and butter and wine, as villagers past and present, question all aspects of love that send her on a journey of self-discovery and healing. But will Gretchen truly be able to leave the past behind and open her heart again to life and love, or will she be content to drown her sorrows in chocolate?

Critique: "Straight Uphill: A Tale of Love and Chocolate" is a charmingly entertaining novel that will have special appeal to Romance Fiction fans and is certain to be an immediately popular addition to both personal reading lists and community library collections. It should be noted that this deftly penned and original story by Jess Wells is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $5.99).


The Mystery/Suspense Shelf

We Are Monsters
Brian Kirk
Flame Tree Press
https://www.flametreepress.com
9781787583795, $24.95, PB, 336pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Some doctors are sicker than their patients. When a troubled psychiatrist loses funding to perform clinical trials on an experimental cure for schizophrenia, he begins testing it on his asylum's criminally insane, triggering a series of side effects that opens the mind of his hospital's most dangerous patient and setting his inner demons free!

Critique: The kind of riveting novel that will linger in the mind, memory, and nightmares long after it has been finished and set back upon the shelf, "We Are Monsters" showcases author Brian Kirk's genuine flair for originality, the macabre, and the kind of effective narrative storytelling style that will keep and hold the readers full attention from beginning to end. While highly recommended for community library psychological/suspense/thriller fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "We Are Monsters" is also readily available in a paperback edition (9781787583771, $14.95) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $6.29).

A Fatal Fondness
Richard Audry
Conger Road Press
9780985019693, $14.99, PB, 268pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: It's September 1902, and Mary MacDougall has fulfilled her greatest dream -- opening her own detective agency. But the achievement doesn't come without complication. Mary's father insists that an older cousin come to work with her as both her secretary and minder.

Jeanette Harrison pledges to keep the plucky sleuth away from danger, as well as from her unsuitable suitor Edmond Roy. This arrangement, embarrassingly, makes Mary the only detective in the state with a chaperone.

The new agency's first cases hardly seem to portend danger or significance. There's the affair of the nicked napkin rings, the problem of the purloined pocket watch, and the matter of the four filched felines. Mary and Jeanette have not the slightest notion that one of these modest little matters will blow up into the most consequential and perilous case of the heiress-sleuth's budding career.

What begins in triviality mushrooms into disappearance, betrayal, international intrigue, and murder. As she learns more and more, Mary's prospects for making the acquaintance of an assassin's blade improve exponentially.

Critique: The first of what will hopefully prove to be an extended new series, "A Fatal Fondness: A Mary MacDougall Mystery" is a wonderfully crafted and thoroughly entertaining read by author Richard Audry that will simply delight all dedicated mystery buffs. Certain to be an immediate and enduringly popular addition to community library Mystery/Suspense collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "A Fatal Fondness" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $3.99).

Desert Burial
Brian Littlefair
Dunn Books
9780998574264, $13.95, PB, 308pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: American geologist Ty Campbell spends his days on the periphery of the Sahara's internecine warfare in Mali, dowsing for water and trying to forget his murdered wife. When Lila, an aid worker on the verge of emotional collapse, leads a convoy of African refugees into the Mali badlands, Ty's hermitage is shattered. In a desperate attempt to save the refugees, Ty and Lila make a Faustian pact with Bud van Sickle (the smiling face of a powerful multinational corporation) who is competing for the lucrative privilege of ridding the planet of nuclear waste. His solution? Bury it beneath the land claimed by the refugees.

Ty finds himself pressed into service by Van Sickle and his company, Timbuktu Earthwealth, in order to save the refugees. As he is shuttled between commando training centers in Virginia, technocratic councils in Vienna, and the jungles of the Congo, the stakes escalate, and Lila and her refugees find themselves threatened by a growing civil war. Can Ty extricate himself from the center of ruinous conspiracy of personal and global proportions?

"Desert Burial" probes the human connections that mock our illusion of a world under our control--and reveals how those connections ultimately redeem us.

Critique: Drawn from author Brian Littlefair's real-world experience, "Desert Burial" is an extraordinary thriller of a read from cover to cover. A deftly crafted novel that will prove to be an enduringly favorite addition to community library Contemporary General Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Desert Burial" is also readily available in an inexpensive digital book format (Kindle, $0.99).

The Angel's Trumpet
James Musgrave, author
Jacquelyn Court, editor
EMRE Fiction
9781943457397, $18.95, PB, 209pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Abraham Lincoln was shot inside Ford's Theater, Washington D.C. In 1887, the investigation team of attorney-detective Clara Shortridge Foltz visits the same theater, which has now been converted into an Army Medical Museum for tourists. But, the same mysterious "vibes" are circulating among the skulls, surgical instruments and garishly frightening scenes from the Civil War battlefield. Lincoln's ghost, it is rumored, is also wandering about. And below the creaky floors, there is a secret that cannot be revealed until the final act!

Critique: Showcasing author James Musgrave's considerable flair for originality as a novelist, "The Angel's Trumpet" is a unique combination of historical mystery and political satire that will prove to be an immediate and enduringly popular addition to community library Mystery/Suspense collections. The fourth volume in Musgrave's 'Portia of the Pacific' series, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Angel's Trumpet" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $4.99).

A Simple Life
Philip Corridan
Independently Published
9781916376908, $11.49, PB, 281pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: 35-year-old Paul Williams is divorced, unassertive, and trying his best to live a simple and stress-free life. If only it were that easy. He lives on his scruffy plywood yacht moored in Davison's Dyke on the Norfolk Broads - the cheapest and most isolated moorings in the village with zero facilities - and teaches at the local college.

Paying the mortgage for his ex-matrimonial home and maintenance for his much-loved 4-year-old son, Ben, means Paul's simple life (or hand to mouth existence, as we would call it) is a challenge. But this is the least of his worries. Because Paul's simple life has started to fall apart.

His job is under threat and so is access to his high IQ son, the centre of his world. To add further fuel to the fire, two local criminals are tempting him (the most unlikely criminal ever) to become embroiled in running his boat from the Netherlands to Norfolk. As his turmoil escalates, he's left with two options -- stay and fight, or snatch his son and run.

Critique: A deftly scripted blend of mystery, suspense and thriller, "A Simple Life: Snatch in Time" impressively showcases author Philip Corridan's distinctive flair for originality and the kind of narrative driven and entertaining storytelling that will hold the reader's rapt attention from cover to cover. While especially and unreservedly recommended for community library collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "A Simple Life: Snatch in Time" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $3.99).

Viebury Grove
Shannon Kirk
Suspense Publishing
www.suspensemagazine.com
9780578633077, $15.95, PB, 276pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: It is the Center Ring that Lisa Yyland has been planning to take down for eighteen years; planning every day since her release from confinement, as she discovered the group was, indeed, connected to her kidnapping at the age of sixteen. What does eighteen years of planning and collecting assets to catch these horrific people in the act look like? Will her plan work? Will she get revenge? Law enforcement's good intentions, due process, and procedures seem to fail when put up against the powerful elite in these age-old sick enterprises. Does Lisa's brand of vigilante justice stand a better chance?

Critique: A simply riveting novel from cover to cover, "Viebury Grove" effectively showcases author Shannon Kirk's originality and impressive flair for a distinctively reader engaging narrative storytelling style. While "Viebury Grove" is especially and unreservedly recommended for community library collections, it should be noted for the personal reading lists of dedicated suspense thriller fans that "Viebury Grove" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $4.99).


The Fantasy/SciFi Shelf

Convergence
Jerry Sander
The Way It Works Press
9780976612735, $11.99, PB, 307pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: In the Year 13 (following the end of the Religious Wars) the United States is gone. The Triumvirate has accomplished filament implantation in citizens' necks and spines and the network that biometrically unites all, The HIVE is a fact of life. It provides regular communications and guidance, such as Predictive Friend technology and retinal alerts.

The Religious Ones have been forced into hiding. The mysterious launch of a violent, highly addictive, mind-altering computer game ("Hell on Earth") targeting young people results in viciously-altered teen behaviors. A small group of the best and brightest teen geniuses from around the world (brought together at the Center for Advanced World Studies) is called into action. They find themselves thrust into a stealth revolution-in-progress.

Relying on the help of a handful of survivors from before Year Zero (what old-timers called 2026) the international cadre of teens struggle to discover aspects of humanity that seem lost. The teens must either risk all to regain human reflexes, for themselves and others, or surrender them forever. "Convergence" by Jerry Sander takes the reader into a fierce world of the near-future, in which "legacy" human sensibilities are overwhelmed and the post-human era seems to have begun.

Critique: An original and deftly crafted novel by an author with a genuine flair for the kind of narrative driven storytelling that fully engages the readers attention from beginning to cliff-hanger ending, Jerry Sander's "Convergence" is an especially and unreservedly recommended addition to community library Science Fiction & Fantasy collections. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of all dedicated SciFi fans that "Convergence" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $2.99).

Phineas Varga and the Revenants of Windsor
A. K. Rouse
Independently Published
9781698344379, $13.99, PB, 354pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: In 1014 AD, Nieve, a young Irish woman nurses a wounded man named Fintan who is a mysterious foreigner fighting for the Irish at the Battle of Clontarf. From this point on, their fates are intertwined as they attempt to navigate secrets, supernatural beings, a rival for Nieve's affection -- in addition to their own conflicted feelings for one another.

Over five-hundred years later, in 1563, the Black Death descends on the kingdom of Queen Elizabeth I. She welcomes into her court at Windsor Castle, a man, Phineas Varga, who offers protection. However, the young queen soon finds that his strategy includes the use of gargoyles, for she and her kingdom are to be defended against something far worse than the plague.

England and all mankind are at the mercy of the revenant should these most ancient and evil beings have their way. Phineas, too, has his secrets, secrets that shaped who he is and who he will become.

In his quest to rid Europe of the foul revenant, Phineas is joined by a young, eager apprentice, a gargoyle warrior, a female assassin of a strange guild, and others who seek to find the source of the revenant outbreak. It is only when mysteries are revealed, and tragedy occurs that it is revealed why five-hundred years is but a short time for some. Today, the revenant is known by its most popular name -- vampire!

Critique: A brilliant and riveting vampire novel, "Phineas Varga and the Revenants of Windsor" showcases author A. K. Rouse as an extraordinary novelist whose distinctive narrative storytelling style showcases a complete mastery of this dark fantasy genre. While highly recommended, especially for community library Fantasy Fiction collections, it should be noted for the personal reading lists of all dedicated vampire enthusiasts that "Phineas Varga and the Revenants of Windsor" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $4.85).

Beatific Vision
Jordan Spiece
AuthorHouse
1663 Liberty Drive, Suite 200, Bloomington, IN 47403-5161
www.authorhouse.com
9781546248798, $34.99, HC, 294pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Giuseppe Morreti, commander of an elite branch of the Vatican military known as the Milvian Guard, wakes one night from a dream of Liliths angelic punishers. Rebuked for her disobedience of Adam, Lilith has been separated from God, but now, her children plot revenge with members of a new Roman power, Domus Aurea.

Rome is under siege, and it appears evil is winning. Those residing and visiting Rome are captives, unable to move about or escape without fear of death. However, a higher power is in their midst as angels keep watch, unbeknownst to the Vatican or Domus Aurea.

Giuseppe is dragged into a tug-of-war between the people of Rome and the demons attempting to take over when two unassuming young men get involved. Daven and Adam have no great notions of fame or grandeur. Their only concern is for the safety of their loved ones, so they will fight the children of Lilith and anyone else who stands in their way.

Rome is now a breeding ground of upheaval, but there is hope as humanity takes on the supernatural, saving the Vatican and possibly the world.

Critique: A superbly crafted and inherently riveting fantasy novel by an author with a genuine flair for originality and an effective, entertaining, narrative driven storytelling style, "Beatific Vision" is an extraordinary and unreservedly recommended addition to community library Fantasy Fiction collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Beatific Vision" is also readily available in a paperback edition (9781546248804, $20.99) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $3.99).

The Rue of Hope
Jason R. Koivu
Black Rose Writing
PO Box 1540, Castroville, TX 78009
www.blackrosewriting.com
9781684334360, $19.95, PB, 257pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: There is murder in the streets. There is murder in the houses of the holy. The violent deaths of prominent figures have the populous on edge. Now, amid fire and flood, the revolt is on. The castle is taken, the lord is on the run, and the city is crumbling.

An impulsive street fighter seeking his past and satisfying his desires finds himself in a harsh world that is eroding his compassion. Mercenary work for a mage brings about adventure and makes him question his selfish ways, as well as the criminal activities of a close friend. After a shocking discovery involving scandal and betrayal, he must dredge up the will to make a change for the better. The people depend upon it, as the salvation of all lies within love and assassination.

Critique: Simply stated, "The Rue of Hope" by Jason R. Koivue is an inherently riveting and compulsive page turner of a read from cover to cover. The second volume in the author's outstanding 'Beyond Barlow' series, "The Rue of Hope" is an impressively entertaining and deftly crafted occult fantasy action/adventure novel -- and highly recommended for all community library Fantasy Fiction collections. It should also be noted for the personal reading lists of all dedicated fantasy fans that "The Rue of Hope" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $6.99).

The Broken Heavens
Kameron Hurley
Angry Robot
Brilliance Audio
www.brillianceaudio.com
9780857665621, $16.99, PB, 464pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: The Dhai nation has broken apart under the onslaught of the Tai Mora, invaders from a parallel world. With the Dhai in retreat, Kirana, leader of the Tai Mora, establishes a base in Oma's temple and instructs her astrologers to discover how they can use the ancient holy place to close the way between worlds. With the connected worlds ravaged by war and Oma ascendant, only one world can survive. Who will be sacrificed, and who will be saved, when the heavens finally break?

Critique: The third volume in author Kameron Hurley's 'The Worldbreaker Saga' series, "The Broken Heavens" once again showcases his impressive flair for originality and the kind of narrative driven storytelling that keeps the reader riveted from cover to cover. While unreservedly recommended for community library Science Fiction collections, it should be noted for the personal reading lists of all dedicated scifi fans that "The Broken Heavens" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $6.99) and as a complete and unabridged audio book (Brilliance Audio, 9781713523864, $29.99, CD).

Recovering Gretel
Barton Paul Levenson
Independently Published
9798603417004, $6.99, PB, 254pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: "Recovering Gretel" by Barton Paul Levenson is near-future science fiction novel of suspense in which Neo-Nazis have obtained sophisticated bioengineering technology and have become able to turn kidnapped "Aryan" children into "warriors" with cat claws, superhuman strength, and equally superhuman poise and balance. Burnt-out child psychiatrist Bert Kaplan must take a girl from this group and rehabilitate her -- while fleeing four different factions whose intentions for Gretel range from turning her into a terrorist to simply killing her.

Critique: An inherently fascinating and deftly crafted novel set in a near future alternative earth by an author with a genuine flair for originality and a narrative driven storytelling style that completely engages the reader from beginning to end, "Recovering Gretel" is a particularly recommended addition to community library collections, as well as the personal reading lists for science fiction and suspense/thriller fans.

The Siren of Good Intentions
John Edward Mooney
www.jemooneybooks.com
Althea Publishing
9781733182904, $29.95, HC, 568pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis; When Victor Byrnes (who was a former Peace Corps volunteer in West Africa) is tapped to guide expeditions for scientists through the bush of Senegal, Mali, and Guinea in 1978, his knowledge of the savannah and jungle also make him a target for more dangerous intentions.

Doria Blake, the wife of British businessman Nigel, longs to return to her heart's desire as a botanist and developer of natural medicines -- a career she abandoned to follow her ambitious husband. When Doria and Victor connect, they discover ways to help each other as they journey separately into the bush. Their adventures and discovery transform their personal goals, their lives, and the lives of those around them.

Forbidden love, traditional African medicine, ancient rituals, ruthless diamond smugglers and more, drive Doria, Victor, and Nigel to the edge of sanity and death in the pages of "The Siren of Good Intentions" by J. E. Mooney.

Critique: A massive saga of a novel, "The Siren of Good Intentions" is a complex and deftly crafted novel that combines action, adventure, romance and fantasy. While especially and unreservedly recommended for community library collections. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of Magical Realism fans that "The Siren of Good Intentions" is also readily available in a paperback edition (9781733182911, $12.95) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).


The Biography Shelf

Dream Big, Never Quit: The Marc Megna Story
Marc Megna
Independently Published
9781733474900, $15.29, PB, 216pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: You Can't be Feeble in Football -- but that's exactly what Marc was. Repeatedly bullied and overweight, Marc was an unpopular kid who turned pain into fuel to transform his body, train his mind, and change the course of his entire life.

What started as self-defense became an unquenchable thirst for self-improvement from pre-dawn sprints at his high school track to living in a storage closet while training for the NFL draft. It took blood, sweat, sacrifice (and his mom's heartfelt advice) for Marc to go from an insecure boy to a professional NFL athlete.

"Dream Big, Never Quit: The Marc Megna Story" is an against-all-odds story that is proof that a bigger life, a better version for all of us, and that incredible success is possible with enough grit, hard work, and dedication. For anyone who's been told they aren't strong enough, fast enough, or simply good enough, "Dream Big, Never Quit: The Marc Megna Story" will move you to dream big and believe in yourself.

Critique: An inherently fascinating and ultimately inspiring life story, "Dream Big, Never Quit: The Marc Megna Story" is especially and unreservedly recommended for community library Contemporary American Biography collections. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of dedicated football fans that "Dream Big, Never Quit: The Marc Megna Story" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

I Called Him Uncle Harry
David Wallace
Donella Press
9781734260106, $15.95, PB, 148pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: David Wallace spent his childhood in the Truman/Wallace home in Independence, Missouri, living with his family, his grandmother, and his Aunt Bess, Uncle Harry, and cousin Margaret, with more aunts and uncles just next door. Their shared living arrangement created a self-contained extended family whose interconnectedness continued even after Uncle Harry, then Senator Truman, became President Truman (the most powerful man in the world) and their shared home became the Summer White House.

As the only remaining member of this self-contained household, in the pages of "I Called Him Uncle Harry: Growing Up in the Truman-Wallace Household " Wallace looks back on those years to recount anecdotes and intimate details of a unique American heritage. From the scandal of his granddaddy's suicide that led to the unusual living arrangement to the family stories passed down on weekend drives, "I Called Him Uncle Harry" shares Wallace's memories of his famous family and their lives together.

Critique: An inherently fascinating and impressively informative memoir, "I Called Him Uncle Harry: Growing Up in the Truman-Wallace Household" is an extraordinary and unreservedly recommended addition to both community and academic library American Biography collections in general, and President Harry Truman supplemental studies in particular. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "I Called Him Uncle Harry" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

Dare Wright And The Lonely Doll
Brook Ashley
Dare Wright Media
www.darewright.com
9781733431200, $39.95, HC, 260pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Profusely illustrated with over five hundred photographs, "Dare Wright And The Lonely Doll" by Brook Ashley (who is Dare Wright's godchild and heir to her estate) is a poignant and revealing biography of Dare Wright (December 3, 1914 - January 25, 2001), the beautiful and enigmatic photographer and author of The Lonely Doll children's book series.

Dare Wright captivated the children's literary world of the 1950s and 60s with a new genre of storytelling through simple text and haunting black and white photography. Her protagonists were a felt doll named Edith and her two ursine companions, Mr. Bear and Little Bear. In an era when children's authors were not particularly photogenic, Dare Wright stood out as a stunning, articulate and mysterious beauty.

An author and biographer, Brook Ashley was the young child whom Dare Wright brought into her magical world of dolls, bears and fairy tales to co-create scenes for Dare's early books The Lonely Doll and Holiday For Edith And The Bears. Ashley grew up in her godmother's star-swirled orbit where Tallulah Bankhead's parakeet sipped champagne and Greta Garbo sought refuge from an intrusive public.

"Dare Wright And The Lonely Doll" also uncovers and reveals the violent history behind Dare Wright's childhood separation from her father and brother while tracing the origins of Wright's concern that she might not be a fully real woman.

Enhanced by hundreds of photographs which include Wright's self-portraits in elaborate costumes (and her pose as a nude sea nymph), as well as those of her friends, family and suitors, "Dare Wright And The Lonely Doll" has her secrets, betrayals and an enduring threaded through this candid biography in the form of a informative text, photos, paintings and newspaper clippings, all of which collectively provide a multi-dimensional texture to its intriguing subject.

Critique: Candid, informative, inherently fascinating, "Dare Wright And The Lonely Doll" is a 'must' for the legions of Dare Wright fans and will prove to be an enduringly appreciated contribution to personal, community, and academic library American Biography collections.


The Political Science Shelf

Government for a New Age
Robert Stephen Higgins
Bradich Books
www.bradichbooks.com
9780981063195, $12.95, PB, 163pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: The current pandemic makes it starkly clear that the federal government is unable to solve the serious problems of our times as manifested by the incredible concentration of wealth, uncontrolled migration, and the aggressive incursion of lethal ideologies. The pandemic's exposure of the social and economic inequality with respect to the American populace necessitates a significant re-invention of government, not only for the present, but for the foreseeable future.

In "Government for a New Age", author Robert Stephen Higgins adds new theory to contemporary political science, generating new government philosophies, principles and methods of operation. "Government for a New Age" includes a complete political constitution that will enable the formation of better government on the federal level and the introduction of a new and more prosperous age for us all.

Critique: Informed and informative, thoughtful and thought-provoking, insightful, iconoclastic, and an invaluable contribution to our on-going national dialogue regarding the proper role of the federal government when confronted by a national emergency, "Government for a New Age" is especially and unreservedly recommended for community, college, and university library Contemporary Political Science collections. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of students, academia, political activists, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "Government for a New Age" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $3.99).

The Forty Year Con Game
Michael B. Harrington
Xlibris Corporation
1663 South Liberty Drive, Bloomington, IN 47403-5161
www.xlibris.com
9781796045840, $29.99, HC, 340pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Most voters during the 2016 presidential election were largely unaware of Trump's forty-year history as a skilled con man but an incompetent failure (especially in business) otherwise.

In anticipation of the 2020 election, "The Forty Year Con Game: Everything You Need to Know About Donald Trump's Threat to Democracy" describes Trump's public life from his mob connections in the early 1980s through his first two stumbling years in the White House. It documents Trump's inescapable history of ignorance, self-absorption, poor judgment, corruption, impulsive decision-making, bigotry, and strong authoritarian instincts. Taken together, all guaranteed a disastrous presidency.

His first three years in the White House fulfilled this guarantee, threatening America's constitutional democracy.

Critique: Given Trump's most recent proclamations that being president he has total authority over the states, his cult of personality that has so thoroughly corrupted the Republican party, the absolute loyalty demanded of his subordinates, and the wholesale gutting of the established agencies of government ranging from the state department, to the justice department, to the dismissals of inspectors general, all of the information compiled in "The Forty Year Con Game: Everything You Need to Know About Donald Trump's Threat to Democracy" has been continually verified with respect to Trump's damage to American democratic institutions and principles. While unreservedly recommended for community and academic library Contemporary Political Science collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Forty Year Con Game: Everything You Need to Know About Donald Trump's Threat to Democracy" is also readily available in a paperback edition (9781796045857, $19.99) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $3.99).


The Business Shelf

The Quotient
Rick Gillis
QTNT Publishing
9781087800325, $24.99, HC, 248pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Nearing completion of the final draft for "The Quotient", author Rick Gillis had an epiphany. For months he had been using the generally accepted phrase "Equal Pay for Equal Work" when talking about pay disparity. Then it struck him that based on everything he had written over the previous year; this was not correct. It was then he determined that for "The Quotient" to be more accurate, that statement should be: "Proper Pay for the Best Work."

For anyone who believes that they are not being paid fairly for the work they do, "The Quotient offers a direct and simple process to identify their achievements on the job, source their value to an employer, and be able to defend your claims to management -- at all levels. Similarly, an employer can easily see why what an employee would have to say is accurate.

And with "The Quotient" as an instructional guide and reference this will prove to be easily accomplished on the part of both labor and management.

Critique: Simply stated, "The Quotient" by Rick Gillis is a unique and invaluable contribution to personal, professional, community, corporate, college business school, and university library Business Management collections and supplemental studies lists.

Culture Is The Bass
Gerald J. Leonard
PPM Academy Press
9781734005004, $17.95, PB, 118pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: "Culture Is The Bass: 7 Steps to Creating High Performing Teams" was written by Gerald Leonard for those who want to: Learn the secret to reclaiming their workplace culture, and workplace motivation; Discover why and how of culture change in a simple to follow 7 step process and grow leadership skills; Learn how to thrive in a difficult workplace, gain great feedback and learn the secret to reclaiming control of their time and tripling their productivity!

"Culture Is The Bass: 7 Steps to Creating High Performing Teams" reveals: How companies can perform like a world-class orchestra and receive a standing ovation from their employees and customers; How to create a shared vision for your team and grow your leadership skills; An 8-step process for implementing change, creating buy-in and increase productivity; How to develop stories that will touch your staff's heart, head, and hands.

"Culture Is The Bass: 7 Steps to Creating High Performing Teams" will material help organizations to create a truly competitive advantages that will consistently produce and exceed stakeholder expectations.

Critique: Exceptionally well written, organized and presented, "Culture Is The Bass: 7 Steps to Creating High Performing Teams" is an ideal and thoroughly 'user friendly' DIY instructional reference and guide which is unreservedly recommended for community and academic library Business Management instructional reference collections. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of business students, academia, corporate executives, managers and entrepreneurs that "Culture Is The Bass: 7 Steps to Creating High Performing Teams" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

Leadership Behavior DNA
Lee Ellis & Hugh Massie
Freedomstar Media
9780983879398, $24.99, PB, 348pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: For success in any business venture, the entrepreneur must have some awareness of the unique differences in people and know how to harness and manage these differences to create a dynamic people culture for their enterprise. Knowledge of hard-wired behaviors (for self and others) is the distinctive differentiator that opens the door for personal growth, managing differences, and ultimately enables the cohesive trust needed for high-performance business teams.

Based on more than 45 years of hands-on human behavioral research and data working with millions of clients, Lee Ellis and Hugh Massie reveal in "Leadership Behavior DNA: Discovering Natural Talents and Managing Differences" their personal stories on how they have successfully helped organizations achieve their goals by applying practical insights on human design.

"Leadership Behavior DNA" will empowered the reader to: Grow by capitalizing on strengths and managing struggles; Improve communication and collaboration with people who are different; Develop the full potential of each person by leading them uniquely; Unify diverse teams by building trust based on understanding, acceptance and respect.

Critique: Expertly written, "Leadership Behavior DNA: Discovering Natural Talents and Managing Differences" is a complete course of detailed DIY instruction that is thoroughly 'user friendly' in organization and presentation. While especially recommended for community, corporate, and academic library Business Management collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Leadership Behavior DNA: Discovering Natural Talents and Managing Differences" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

Editorial Note: Lee Ellis is the president of Leadership Freedom LLC, a leadership and team development consulting and coaching company, Lee consults with Fortune 500 senior executives in the areas of hiring, teambuilding, human performance, and succession planning. His media appearances include interviews on networks such as CNN, CBS This Morning, C-SPAN, ABC World News, and Fox News Channel.

Hugh Massie is the CEO of DNA Behavior International and has over 60,000 hours of experience and has mentored millions of people, including the leaders of more than 2,500 businesses and 20,0000 advisors in 123 countries to be Behaviorally SMART for achieving greater self-empowerment so they can unlock their human potential and live with meaning.

The Dignity Mindset
Susan Hodgkinson
Marketing Department
iUniverse, Inc.
c/o Author House
1663 Liberty Dr. Suite #300, Bloomington, IN 47403
www.iuniverse.com
9781532075162, $13.99, PB, 206pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Gender inequality is one of the most serious problems facing US businesses today. Inequality lowers profits, stifles creativity, and causes high employee turnover. Companies struggle to find and retain talented women, and women who land top positions often feel alienated at work. Something has to change. Leaders need an entirely new way of thinking about gender equality.

In "The Dignity Mindset: A Leader's Guide to Building Gender Equity at Work", veteran executive coach Susan Hodgkinson offers leaders an innovative, paradigm-shifting approach to facilitate gender equality. By adopting a Dignity Mindset, business and corporate leaders can replace outdated belief systems with groundbreaking perspectives that recognize the common worth and needs of all employees.

In "The Dignity Mindset", Hodgkinson shows how gender-biased forces harm organizations. And her groundbreaking Dignity Mindset Toolkit provides a comprehensive roadmap that guides leaders in creating gender-balanced organizations wherein all employees (women and men) can contribute at their highest levels while maximizing business success.

Critique: Expertly written, organized and presented, "The Dignity Mindset: A Leader's Guide to Building Gender Equity at Work" provides an extraordinarily effective DIY approach that should be a part of every community, corporate, and academic library Business Management collection and supplemental studies list. It should be noted for business students, academia, entrepreneurs, business managers, corporate executives, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "The Dignity Mindset: A Leader's Guide to Building Gender Equity at Work" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $3.94).

Winning Big In Sales
Rebecca Jenkins
Discover Your Bounce Publishing
9780995678637, $16.83, PB, 131pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Today, in a business to business environment it isn't sufficient to rely on products and services to sell themselves or expect sales teams to do it without the skills needed to gain executive engagement. Combined with uncertain times and a tough economy made even tougher by the economic shutdown compelled by a global pandemic, a new approach is needed.

Sales and account management teams have to know the target company as well if not better than the targets know themselves. Only then can they truly open up significant sales opportunities that lead to collaboration and profitable wins. While there are plenty of books about sales on the market, but there are not many about how to grow and retain the accounts once they have been won. This is a key aspect of "Winning Big In Sales" and makes it different from others out there.

Not only that it is important when many companies are prioritizing resources that the sales teams focus on what are going to be the best fit clients for the business. "Winning Big In Sales" provides a process to avoid time being wasted on targeting the wrong companies and sectors. This helps busy sales executives to focus on accounts where they have a higher capability to convert them.

The steps in "Winning Big In Sales" are less than in the traditional sales cycle and discovery meetings are ditched as they waste the prospects time, instead value exchange meetings move the sales opportunity forward with more traction. "Winning Big In Sales" takes the reader step by step on implementing what is learnt using a proven methodology to transform sales results and win big. "Winning Big In Sales" includes having a success mindset to achieve exceptional results so both a blend of practical knowledge and mindset to transform sales results.

Critique: Expertly written, organized and presented, "Winning Big In Sales: Proven steps for ambitious teams to win, grow and retain the best accounts" is an especially commended addition for community, corporate, college, and university library Business Management & Marketing collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Winning Big In Sales" is also readily available in an inexpensive digital book format (Kindle, $1.29).

Editorial Note: With a leadership career career spanning 25 years, Rebecca has grown a business to over 50 million British pounds in sales revenue, winning many prestigious accounts such as The Body Shop, Next and Magnet. She readily shares her experience of client acquisition along with lessons learnt from retaining accounts for many years, despite operating in a highly competitive market.

High Risk High Reward
Steve Scher
Acrobat Advisors LLC
9781733448505, $19.99, PB, 212pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Entrepreneurship is about living the dream, right? And we're told it takes hard work, focus and dedication - but those are only broad concepts - they don't tell you what the first steps should be when you wake up tomorrow. That's why "High Risk, High Reward" was designed by entrepreneur Steve Scher to give aspiring business owners an honest and real insider look at entrepreneurship and all the twists and turns that go along with it. Steve's basic message is that it all comes down to culture, taking chances, and reacting quickly to your business and market conditions.

After sinking his life savings into an underperforming company, Steve found out that he had unwittingly acquired two unreliable employees, a culture rife with sabotage, zero strategy for marketing and sales, and a shabby office located in one of San Francisco's roughest neighborhoods. So he rebuilt his company from scratch, overcoming virtually every roadblock possible as grew the business into a $50 million company with 18 offices coast-to-coast managed and staffed by thousands of loyal employees. Then, after 14 years at the helm I sold the company for 8 figures.

Packed from cover to cover with creative solutions, "High Risk High Reward" is an instructive guide that includes: The low risk, low reward /high risk, high reward formula to transform your business; Real-world tips to create a loyal employee culture; The pros and cons of growing organically vs. acquisitions; How to make technology work for you and your bottom line; Inspiration to fight for your business every day; Tips to build out your business and maximize value; How to implement socially responsible recruitment by hiring military vets, reformed offenders and people with disabilities; A checklist to prepare your exit strategy, so you can get the highest sale price possible and experience true financial freedom!

High Risk, High Reward is an inspirational story of grit and determination and your go-to reference guide for real-life business success.

Critique: Expertly written, deftly organized, and throughly 'reader friendly' in presentation, "High Risk High Reward" is a brilliantly showcased combination of personal memoir and a DIY 'how to' manual for aspiring entrepreneurs and business managers. While very highly recommended for community, business school, and academic library Business Management collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "High Risk High Reward" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).


The Health/Medicine Shelf

Can You See What Eye See?
M. Chere Sampson
Balboa Press
c/o Hay House, Inc.
PO Box 5100, Carlsbad, CA 92018-5100
www.balboapress.com
9781982232726, $35.95, HC, 288pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Change is constant. We cannot remain the same because we are progressing or regressing through our action or inaction. By taking positive steps and utilizing transformative tools, it is possible for us to grow and flourish for the common good and engage in life in a purposeful way.

M. Chere Sampson is a psychotherapist who has spent her life identifying, refining, and practicing tools that help humans live a peaceful and joyful existence. In "Can You See What Eye See?: Envision a Better You and a Better World" she draws upon her years of experience and expertise to create an enlightening and empowering guidebook that uses memorable stories, inspiring quotes, and key points that guide others to use practical and insightful life-changing concepts to build resilience amid any type of adversity, free themselves from negativity, and open their hearts to blessings while on a journey to manifesting their highest selves.

Transformation seekers will learn how to breathe through stressful moments, listen to understand, stop habitually worrying, speak their truth, let go of suffering with acceptance and gratitude, and ultimately find a path to achieving inner peace.

"Can You See What Eye See?" offers effective tools, insightful sometimes humorous stories, and inspiration that will guide anyone through positive personal transformation and growth while on a journey to fulfilling their unique purpose.

Critique: Insightfully informative, motivatingly inspirational, and thoroughly 'reader friendly' in organization and presentation, "Can You See What Eye See?: Envision a Better You and a Better World" is an extraordinary and unreservedly recommended addition to both community and academic library Self-Help/Self-Improvement collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Can You See What Eye See?: Envision a Better You and a Better World" is also readily available in a paperback edition (9781982232733, $18.99) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $8.69).

Editorial Note: M. Chere Sampson is a licensed psychotherapist in private practice who integrates several therapeutic styles to guide individuals, couples and groups to attain the mindset for resilient and joyful living. She relies on her professional experience in a variety of previous roles in the banking, real estate, travel, and addiction treatment and recovery arenas to help others find positive change.


The Metaphysical Studies Shelf

Storm on the Horizon
Sylvia McKelvey
LifeRich Publishing
https://www.liferichpublishing.com
9781489724212,$35.95, HC, 268pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Is there a covert plan for humanity? Are we on the brink of discovery? Every day huge cumbersome radio telescopes around the world scan the farthest regions of space; listening, probing, waiting. Waiting for that one tone, that one ring, that one sound, that would set the world ablaze with unbridled excitement never before seen on this planet. We will have made contact with Extraterrestrials!

Some say they are already here. Some say they have already made contact. Some say they have a plan. Is there a Mastermind behind them? Could Extraterrestrials be part of the largest deception ever to take place on this Earth? Some theorist say yes, and in the pages of "Storm on the Horizon: The New Age, UFOs, and the Cosmic Christ", author and extraterrestrial researcher Sylvia McKelvey reveals just how they might have done it.

Critique: An inherently fascinating, iconoclastic, thoughtful and thought-provoking read from cover to cover, Storm on the Horizon: The New Age, UFOs, and the Cosmic Christ" is an extraordinary and unreservedly recommended addition to community and academic library Metaphysical Studies collections in general, and UFO supplemental studies lists in particular. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Storm on the Horizon" is also readily available in a paperback edition (9781489724205, $17.99).


The Christian Studies Shelf

Life Enhancement With Jesus
Jim Brandt
Lulu Publishing
3101 Hillsborough Street, Raleigh, NC 27607-5436
www.lulu.com
9781684708291, $28.80, HC, 170pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: "Life Enhancement With Jesus: The Witness of One Ordinary Man" is a deeply personal memoir that documents the benefits of faith in God in the life and times of Jim Brandt. Readers will learn about the actual events that led Jim to see the benefits of faith in God and striving for Christian life in our contemporary world.

Critique: An inherently interesting and inspiring autobiography, "Life Enhancement With Jesus: The Witness of One Ordinary Man" will be of special and particular interest to all members of the Christian community regardless of denominational affiliations. It should also be noted for the personal reading lists of seminary students, clergy, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "Life Enhancement With Jesus: The Witness of One Ordinary Man" is also readily available in a paperback edition (9781684708314, $9.80) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $3.99).

Continued Miracles
Debra L. Stout
Independently Published
9780986174605, $15.00, PB, 242pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Debra (Debbie) Stout is an entrepreneur, and an educator, and author of the children's book series "Juno Stories". Her international outreach includes cross-cultural ministry on the top of the mountains in Tijuana, Mexico. She has a sincere passion for those who are homeless and in need of food and shelter. Debbie's unique perspective arises from a combination of leadership, compassion, and academia creating a message for all to enjoy.

In the pages of "Continued Miracles: Inspiring Testimonies of God at Work in the Lives of Everyday People" she draws upon her years of experience to present to her readers the compelling message that they should not lose heart, that God wants more for them.

Comprised of inspiring miracle stories will help her readers to discover how God can sever struggles, breaks strongholds, and destroys destructive paths, experience His glory, and be set free, "Continued Miracles" presented seven keys that when implemented will result in obtaining personal miracles and witnessing God's impact in our lives.

Critique: As thoughtful and thought-provoking as it is inspired and inspiring, "Continued Miracles: Inspiring Testimonies of God at Work in the Lives of Everyday People" is an extraordinary, life enhancing, spiritually insightful, and inherently fascinating read that is especially and unreservedly recommended for personal reading lists of all members of the Christian community regardless of denominational affiliations, as well as community, church, seminary, and academic library Contemporary Christian/Spiritual/Self-Help collections.


The Relationship Shelf

Learn to Love
Thomas Jordan
Book Baby Publishers
www.bookbaby.com
9781543987874, $16.95, PB, 132pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: After 30 years of clinical research and treatment of patients with unhealthy love lives, clinical psychologist and therapist Thomas Jordan discovered that most people aren't actually in control of their own love lives. Why? Because most people don't know how to identify and change what they've learned from the love relationships in their lives.

In "Learn to Love: Guide to Healing Your Disappointing Love Life", Dr. Jordan shows how to make real (and lasting) improvements in your love life. Starting with our families of origin, we learn from all the love relationships in our lives, especially the unhealthy ones.

"Learn to Love" will also show you how these earlier relationship experiences form a "psychological blueprint" that shapes the love life experiences we have as adults. If what you've learned about love relationships was healthy, chances are you'll have a healthy love life. If what you've learned was unhealthy, chances are you'll unwittingly replicate what was unhealthy over and over again.

"Learn to Love" reveals how to unlearn this unhealthy learning and form the love relationships you've always wanted to have. The simple formula presented within the pages of "Learn to Love" has helped many of Dr. Jordan's patients begin taking control of their love lives, and as Dr. Jordan discloses, it has helped him improve his own love life as well.

"Learn to Love" will help you learn how to take control of your love life.

Critique: Exceptionally informed and informative, insightful, practical, and thoroughly 'reader friendly' in tone, commentary, organization and presentation, "Learn to Love: Guide to Healing Your Disappointing Love Life" is an ideal and unreservedly recommended addition to community library Self-Help/Self-Improvement collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Learn to Love" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

Editorial Note: Dr. Thomas Jordan is a clinical psychologist and psychoanalyst in private practice on the upper west side of Manhattan. He is a graduate of the New York University's Postdoctoral Program in Psychoanalysis, Clinical Associate Professor of Psychology, and a faculty member of the post-doctoral program. Dr. Jordan is the creator of the Love Life Webinar and Love Life Seminar, author of "Learn to Love," "Healthy Love Relationship," and "Individuation in Contemporary Psychoanalysis," and is the co-founder of the Love Life Learning Center website www.lovelifelearningcenter.com.


The World History Shelf

Mundunur
Michele Antonio DiMarco
Via Media Publishing
www.viamediapublishing.com
9781893765580, $48.95, HC, 336pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Michele A. Di Marco studied Italian at the University for Foreigners in Perugia, and received an M.A. degree from Seton Hall University. He founded Via Media Publishing in 1991, publishing a quarterly journal and books. He has published nearly one-hundred articles in a variety of periodicals.

In "Mundunur: A Mountain Village Under the Spell of South Italy", Di Marco tells the story of Montenero Val Cocchiara -- wich is usually referred to simply as Montenero, or Mundunur in the local dialect. Montenero is a typical mountain village on the border of the Abruzzo and Molise regions, but it is more than that. Its history was tinted by contacts with numerous powerful groups over many centuries. The village and its people prove to be unique, but they also are highly embued with elements common to all in South Italy.

Of course it is the hope of the author of "Mundunur: A Mountain Village Under the Spell of South Italy" that while anyone with roots in South Italy will benefit from reading this history, other readers will also enjoy the story of Montenero as a metaphor of their own ancestral village or town, regardless of their country of origin -- or even see the village as a microcosm of the world where the forces of history and culture forge the character of people!

Critique: A meticulous and original volume of inherently interesting history, "Mundunur: A Mountain Village Under the Spell of South Italy" could well serve as a kind of template for similar regional studies. Expertly written, organized and presented, "Mundunur: A Mountain Village Under the Spell of South Italy" is especially and unreservedly recommended for personal, community, college, and university library Italian History collections and supplemental studies reading lists.


The Native American Studies Shelf

Protecting Our People
Michael Cooke
Chickasaw Press
www.chickasawpress.com
9781935684770, $29.95, HC, 136pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: No region of the Wild West was wilder than Indian Territory. Enforcement of the law, whether those of Native American tribes who'd just been forcibly removed from their homelands to live there, or of the colonizers who'd put them there, was more than a tough job. It often was a deadly one.

In "Protecting Our People: Chickasaw Law Enforcement in Indian Territory", author and historian Michelle Cooke provides a detailed look at Indian Territory law enforcement in the Chickasaw Nation through carefully compiled biographies, service records, and vintage photos. The result is a sweeping and detailed account of the Chickasaw lawmen who served as lighthorse officers, sheriffs, constables, US Indian Police, and US marshals. Cooke also chronicles the reestablishment of the Chickasaw Nation's Lighthorse Police as a cutting-edge law enforcement department.

Critique: A unique and unreservedly recommended addition to personal, community, college, and university library Native American History collections and supplemental curriculum studies lists, "Protecting Our People: Chickasaw Law Enforcement in Indian Territory" is enhanced for academia with the inclusion of an informative introduction (Law Enforcement in Indian Territory), a nineteen page Appendix of Names, sixteen pages of Endnotes, and a three page Index. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of students, historians, and non-specialist general readers that "Protecting Our People: Chickasaw Law Enforcement in Indian Territory" is also readily available in a paperback edition (9781935684787, $24.95).

Editorial Note: Michelle Cooke is senior staff writer for Chickasaw Press and a Chickasaw citizen. She has worked for the Chickasaw Nation since 2007 and has been writing about, teaching, and researching Chickasaw history for twelve years. Her work has appeared in The Journal of Chickasaw History and Culture, Chokma: Chickasaw Magazine, and the Chickasaw Basic Language workbook series.


James A. Cox
Editor-in-Chief
Midwest Book Review
278 Orchard Drive
Oregon, WI 53575-1129
phone: 1-608-835-7937
e-mail: mbr@execpc.com
e-mail: mwbookrevw@aol.com
http://www.midwestbookreview.com


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