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Small Press Bookwatch

Volume 19, Number 12 December 2020 Home | SPBW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice Art Shelf Photography Shelf
Money/Finance Shelf Biography Shelf General Fiction Shelf
Historical Fiction Shelf Romantic Fiction Shelf Mystery/Suspense Shelf
Business Shelf Christian Studies Shelf Self-Help Shelf


Reviewer's Choice

I Was a Spectator in the Greatest Generation
H. Lloyd Wilkerson
Dorrance Publishing Company
585 Alpha Drive, Suite 103, Pittsburgh, PA 15238
www.dorrancepublishing.com
9781646104840, $64.00, PB, 422pp

https://www.amazon.com/Was-Spectator-Greatest-Generation-contributed/dp/1646104846

Synopsis: Pearl Harbor was a turning point for H. Lloyd Wilkerson. He rushed to the Marine Corps Recruiting station on December 8, 1941 to enlist. His first assignment after boot camp was orderly-driver for Colonel James W. Webb, CO 7th Marines. Their first overseas deployment was British Samoa. At Guadalcanal Wilkerson became a rifleman under the notorious LtCol "Chesty" Puller.

When Marines departed Guadalcanal, Wilkerson was hospitalized in Melbourne for malaria which he contracted at Guadalcanal. He was returned to the States for hospitalization. In Pocatello, ID he completed his college degree and met his future wife. Prior to graduation from OCS at Quantico, VA in 1945, Lloyd was in the Marine unit that escorted by train the remains of President Roosevelt to Hyde Park for burial.

Second Lieutenant Wilkerson participated under command of MGen Lemuel C. Shepard Jr. the Japanese surrender in North China. Returning to the States, he welcomed his first son and became a Freemason.

In the Korean War in 1950-1 Wilkerson served in the 5th Marines commanded by Colonel Raymond Murray. They defended the Pusan Perimeter, attacked Inchon and invaded North Korea.

In the Vietnam War Wilkerson commanded the 1st Marines and subsequently served as G-3 of III MAF. Major career assignments included G-2/G-3 Advisor to Korean Marine Corps; Assistant Professor, Duke University; Commanding General, Marine Corps Base, Camp Lejeune, 3rd Marine Division and III MAF on Okinawa. Lloyd retired as a Major General in 1978.

Critique: A compelling and detailed personal history that is impressively enhanced with both black/white and color photography, "I Was a Spectator in the Greatest Generation" is an extraordinary and inherently interest account of a professional military career that spanned three major 20th Century conflicts involving the American military. Exceptionally well written, organized and presented, "I Was a Spectator in the Greatest Generation" is an outstanding and unreservedly recommended addition to personal, community, college, and university library 20th Century American Military History & Biography collections and supplemental curriculum studies reading lists.


The Art Shelf

A Mind in Motion: The Art of Charles H. Forrester
Winifred Forrester
Folly Industries
c/o Dexterity Books
www.dexteritycollective.co
9780578678269, $45.00, HC, 138pp

https://www.amazon.com/Mind-Motion-Art-Charles-Forrester/dp/0578678268

Synopsis: "A Mind in Motion: The Art of Charles H. Forrester" offers an in-depth guide into the mind and artistic legacy of the artist. Curated by his daughter, Winifred Forrester, "A Mind in Motion" vividly presents more than eighty stunning images organized by ten distinct categories and five creative series of his most significant artwork. This richly visual coffee table book will appeal to art lovers everywhere.

Charles Forrester (1928-2010) was the master of the visual pun and comes to life through his legacy - sculptures, paintings and drawings, and journals. He was especially adept at working with the human figure, creating abstract figurative forms in materials ranging from welded steel to laminated-plywood. His engineering prowess is reflected in his kinetic sphere sculptures and wire suspension works. He captured startlingly realistic details, yet his works are highly stylized -- often twisted into sly visual puzzles and riddles.

The artist's large concrete outdoor sculptures across the United States and England are among his most well-known works, but he also created many smaller sculptures cast in bronze and aluminum. With roots in New York and the Pacific Northwest, and as a teacher for thirty years in England and Kentucky, Forrester's work directly impacted generations of sculptors and artists. His frequent sabbaticals and residencies in Europe, the Middle East and the Americas provided him inspiration for his life-long creativity. In 1998, Forrester and his wife, Dorothy, moved to East Nashville, where he maintained a studio up until his death in 2010.

The late artist's sculptures have been shown in many regional and national exhibited nationwide, receiving numerous awards. Some of Forrester's more notable public artwork was commissioned by Chamber of Commerce, Springfield, Oregon; Medford, Oregon public parks; Shakespeare Memorial Theater in Ashland, Oregon; the Bundy Art Museum, Waitsfield, Vermont; Broughton High School, Salford, England; Bowling Green-Warren County, Kentucky Hospital; and Northern Telecom, Nashville, Tennessee.

Additional contributors to the book are: John Forrester, son of Charles Forrester, Rome, Italy; Russ Faxon, sculptor, Bell Buckle, TN; Caroline Phillips, Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art, University of Oregon; Sam Hunt, Adjunct Professor of Art, Western Kentucky University.

Critique: Beautifully and profusely illustrated throughout, "A Mind in Motion: The Art of Charles H. Forrester" is a superbly produced, informed and informative retrospective on the life and work of a talented American sculptor and unreservedly recommended for personal, professional, community, college, and university library 20th Century American Art History collections in general, and Charles H. Forrester supplemental studies reading lists in particular. It should be noted for students, academia, and non-specialist readers with an interest in the subject that "A Mind in Motion: The Art of Charles H. Forrester" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $24.99).


The Photography Shelf

Mississippi River: Headwaters and Heartland to Delta and Gulf
David Freese, author/photographer
George F. Thompson Publisher
http://www.gftbooks.com
9781938086731, $50.00, HC, 336pp

https://www.amazon.com/Mississippi-River-Headwaters-Heartland-Delta/dp/1938086732

Synopsis: America's most important and iconic river has many familiar names: The Mighty Mississippi, Old Blue, and Ole Man River. In "Mississippi River: Headwaters and Heartland to Delta and Gulf" (and the third book of his trilogy on North American Waters), David Freese takes us on a captivating visual journey from its source at Lake Itasca in Minnesota 2,552 miles south to the Gulf of Mexico. Freese's photographs open our eyes to encompass a wide diversity of industry and farmland, cities and towns, landscapes and wildlife, all the while revealing the constant flow of goods, grain, and fuel, up and down the country's major shipping artery.

The photographs illustrate the ongoing dangers posed by increased flooding and the protective measures taken by the U. S. Army Corp of Engineers to try and keep a restless river in check. There are environmental concerns, ranging from habitat loss to agricultural and pesticide runoff, and the legacy of slavery and the removal of native peoples persist. It's a river that reveals a complicated past, present, and future as humankind attempts to control nature. American history bends and turns in its waters.

Noted author, Simon Winchester, has written an arresting essay that provides one of the most compelling descriptions and histories yet written about a river that is so much more than a familiar name. The foreword by Sarah Kennel, Curator of Photography at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, places Freese's images into the canon of landscape photography as a magnificent body of work that documents, critiques, honors, and sanctifies America's most treasured river.

Critique: A simple delight to browse and page through one duo-tone image at a time, "Mississippi River: Headwaters and Heartland to Delta and Gulf" showcases memorable aspects of an iconic American river. A remarkable compendium of equally remarkable photography, "Mississippi River: Headwaters and Heartland to Delta and Gulf" is very highly recommended for personal Contemporary American Photography collections, and would make an ideal Memorial Gift Acquisition selection for community, college, and university library collections.

Editorial Note: David Freese has spent the last fifteen years photographing the West and East Coasts of North America, resulting in two books West Coast: Bering to Baja (2012) and East Coast: Arctic to Tropic (2016). In addition to his ongoing fine-art projects, he has worked as a freelance assignment photographer on location for more than thirty years and has taught for years at the Film and Media Arts Department at Temple University. His prints are in many collections, including the Cleveland Museum of Art, Denver Art Museum, Haggerty Museum of Art, and Library of Congress. Freese's photographs have appeared in Communication Arts, Photo District News, Photo Insider, Polaroid International, Popular Photography, Smithsonian Air and Space, and View Camera magazines. His images can also be seen on the Internet at LensCulture and at the Art Photo Index.


The Money/Finance Shelf

Personal Finance QuickStart Guide
Morgen B. Rochard, CFA, CFP, RLP
ClydeBank Media LLC
www.clydebankmedia.com
9781945051012, $24.99, PB, 353pp

https://www.amazon.com/Personal-Finance-QuickStart-Guide-Eliminating/dp/1945051019

Synopsis: At a time when 80% of US workers live paycheck to paycheck and as many as 40% of Americans can't afford a surprise $400 expense it, and in the face of the current pandemic created economic depression, has never been more important to take control of your financial wellbeing.

In "Personal Finance QuickStart Guide: The Simplified Beginner's Guide to Eliminating Financial Stress, Building Wealth, and Achieving Financial Freedom", author, podcaster, and financial advisor Morgen B. Rochard CFA, CFP(R), RLP(R) pulls back the personal finance curtain to present personal finance wisdom that is so simple anyone can start putting it to use today.

It doesn't matter where you are on your financial journey, how much experience you have, or how much money you have in the bank-you can make the financial changes needed to build the fulfilling life you deserve with the time-tested and proven personal finance wisdom enclosed in this book.

The "Personal Finance QuickStart Guide" is especially useful for: Millennials who feel like they never got a handle on their finances and want to catch up; Working professionals who are thinking about retirement; Anyone looking to make a financial change in their life and build wealth.

The "Personal Finance QuickStart Guide" covers: How to think about money and craft your own positive money mindset; Repairing your credit score to increase your buying power and provide more freedom in your life; The difference between good and bad debt and how to pay down and manage debt; Financial goal setting with actionable steps to accomplish your goals; How to prepare for retirement and secure your own financially independent future

The Personal Finance QuickStart Guide" shows how to: Build a positive money mindset, analyze your own money habits, and secure your own financial freedom for good times and bad; Effectively manage and pay down debt, the difference between good and bad debt, and how to raise your credit score (and keep it high); Translate your dreams into a financial reality without restrictive budgeting or beating yourself up over daily spending; Prepare for major life events like home buying, weddings, and sending kids off to college; Invest -- how to put your money to work for you without assuming a mountain of risk or learning complicated charts

Critique: Comprehensive, informative, exceptionally well organized and presented, "Personal Finance QuickStart Guide: The Simplified Beginner's Guide to Eliminating Financial Stress, Building Wealth, and Achieving Financial Freedom" is the ideal instruction manual and guide for the non-specialist general reader wanting to achieve financial independence in these troubled times. While very highly recommended for community, college, and university library Money/Finance Management collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Personal Finance QuickStart Guide" is readily available in a paperback edition (9781945051012, $24.99) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

Editorial Note: Morgen B. Rochard is a financial advisor, author, podcaster, and founder of Origin Wealth Advisors LLC, a financial advisement firm. Morgen has been named one of Investopedia's 100 Top Financial Advisors of 2020. Prior to starting her own practice, Morgen worked extensively with such notable financial heavyweights as UBS Financial Services and Merrill Lynch.


The Biography Shelf

Peter and the Wolves
Adele Bertei
Smog Veil Records
https://www.smogveil.com
9780578639437, $18.98, PB, 96pp

https://www.amazon.com/Peter-Wolves-Adele-Bertei/dp/0578639432

Synopsis: Adele Bertei is a poet, writer, actor, performer, singer, songwriter, and filmmaker. She entered the downtown New York scene of the late 1970s as organist for musical insurrectionists, the Contortions. Bertei appeared in lead roles in several indie films, notably Lizzie Borden's Born in Flames, and has toured with, written songs for, and recorded as a vocalist for artists as diverse as Tears for Fears, Sandra Bernhard, Culture Club, Scritti Politti, Whitney Houston, and Lydia Lunch.

Bertei's first solo recording Build Me a Bridge on Geffen Records was a dance hit, as were singles Just a Mirage and Thomas Dolby's Hyperactive!. She debuted new material in 2017-18 at MoMA, Club Salo Paris, and in Florence at La Compagnia Cinema.

Adele has facilitated songwriting workshops for homeless youth at My Friend's Place in Hollywood, and volunteered with Wayne Kramer's Jail Guitar Doors. Bertei's book Why Labelle Matters will be published in 2021 by the University of Texas Press.

Adele Bertei's memoir and autobiography, "Peter and the Wolves", recounts her friendship with the late great Peter Laughner, Cleveland's answer to all things underground and punk in the 1970s.

Adele and Peter's collaborations appear in Smog Veil's groundbreaking 2019 box set, also available from Amazon. The combination of personal memoir and music history is Bertei's intimate recounting of the musical education she received from Laughner; of their complex artistic kinship, and the vivid trajectory of the 'live fast die young' ethos that extinguished the light of a radiant rock and roll heart.

This new paperback edition of "Peter and the Wolves" includes a new foreword and epilogue and also features newly discovered never-before published photos.

Critique: Impressively informative and an inherently fascinating read from beginning to end, "Peter and the Wolves" is a 'must read' for all Smog Veil fans and will be an enduringly appreciated addition to personal, professional, community, college, and university library American Biography and American Popular Music collections.


The General Fiction Shelf

Wild Horses On The Salt
Anne Montgomery
https://annemontgomerywriter.com
Independently Published
9781715324285, $41.99, HC, 284pp

https://www.amazon.com/Wild-Horses-Salt-Anne-Montgomery/dp/1715324285

Synopsis: Can Rebecca find hope in the wilds of the Arizona desert? Escaping her abusive husband, Rebecca hops the red-eye to Arizona. There, Gaby Strand (her aunt's college roommate) gives her shelter at the Salt River Inn, a 1930's guesthouse located in the wildly beautiful Tonto National Forest.

Becca struggles with post-traumatic stress, but is enthralled by the splendor of the Sonoran Desert. Soon, she meets Noah Tanner, a cattle rancher and beekeeper, Oscar Billingsley, a retired psychiatrist and avid birder, and the blacksmith, Walt. Thanks to her new friends and a small band of wild horses, Becca adjusts to life in the desert and rekindles her love of art.

After Becca's husband tracks her down, she has to summon all her strength. But can she finally stop running away?

Critique: An absorbing and compelling read from first page to last, "Wild Horses On The Salt" showcases author Anne Montgomery's genuine flair for originality and the kind of narrative driven and dramatic storytelling that is the hallmark of an award-worthy novel. While especially and unreservedly recommended for community library Contemporary General Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Wild Horses On The Salt" is also readily available in a paperback edition (9798649678124, $13.49) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $2.99).

Duped
Stephen Maitland-Lewis
Black Rose Writing
PO Box 1540, Castroville, TX 78009
www.blackrosewriting.com
9781944715748, $22.95, HC, 198pp

https://www.amazon.com/Duped-Stephen-Maitland-Lewis/dp/1944715746

Synopsis: Sam Marsh's beloved Palm Springs hotel is hanging on by a string. Sam is running out of funds and he's looking down the barrel of a prospect he doesn't want to imagine, selling his stake to his ex-wife. When his friend, Tony, suggests a Nigerian multi-million-dollar deal, Sam forgets that deals that seem too good to be true often are.

Sam and Tony travel to Nigeria to arrange the movement of $37 million to Switzerland. Between his dealings with the nefarious Dr. Kidogo and his run-in with an American lout, who's in Lagos to carry out his own scam, Sam doubts whether the profit he stands to earn is worth it, especially with a new woman in his life, the beautiful and enigmatic Dina.

Critique: In "Duped", author Stephen Maitland-Lewis has written a novel of high-stake schemes, suspense and sex. A deftly crafted, impressively original, and inherently riveting read from first page to last, "Duped" will prove to be an immediately welcome and enduringly popular addition to community library Contemporary General Fiction collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Duped" is also readily available in a paperback edition (9781684334896, $17.95) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $5.99).

A Day in the Woods
Brian Walsh
Archway Publishing
1663 Liberty Drive, Bloomington, IN 47403-5161
www.archwaypublishing.com
9781480893481, $19.99, PB, 308pp

https://www.amazon.com/Day-Woods-Brian-Walsh/dp/148089348X

Synopsis: Twenty-something Brian arrives in Frankfurt, Germany, in March of 1976, ready for adventure. The native South African decided years before that he wanted to explore the world, emulating the characters in James Michener's novel, The Drifters. Tales of adventure shared by his friends served as further inspiration, so after a year of saving cash, he reaches Europe.

Since this is Brian's first time away from home, his travel technique is na´ve at best-reckless at worst-but in order to truly "drift," he follows his instincts as he hops from country to country. However, it's not all as exciting and romantic as Brian hoped.

Challenged by the harsh reality of poverty and rejection, he stumbles through joys and hardships on his way to discovering if he has the determination to sustain his journey. Despite the dizzying difficulties of travel in a foreign world, Brian searches for the perceived lifestyle of Michener's characters while chasing his dreams.

Critique: An inherently fascinating and impressively crafted novel by an author with a genuine flair for the kind of narrative storytelling style that holds his reader's rapt attention from first page to last, "A Day in the Woods" is a finely tuned work of fiction that is especially and unreservedly recommended for community library Contemporary Literary Fiction collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "A Day in the Woods" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $3.99).

Girls of Brackenhill
Kate Moretti
Thomas & Mercer
9781542000086, $15.95, PB, 331pp

https://www.amazon.com/Girls-Brackenhill-Kate-Moretti/dp/1542000084

Synopsis: When Hannah Maloney's aunt dies in a car accident, she returns to her family's castle in the Catskills and the epicenter of a childhood trauma: her sister's unsolved disappearance. It's been seventeen years, and though desperate to start a new life with her fiance, Hannah is compelled to question the events of her last summer at Brackenhill.

When a human bone is found near the estate, Hannah is convinced it belongs to her long-lost sister. She launches her own investigation into that magical summer that ended in a nightmare. As strange happenings plague the castle, Hannah uncovers disturbing details about the past and startling realizations about her own repressed childhood memories.

Fueled by guilt over her sister's vanishing, Hannah becomes obsessed with discovering what happened all those years ago, but by the time Hannah realizes some mysteries are best left buried, it's too late to stop digging. Overwhelmed by what she has exposed, Hannah isn't sure her new life can survive her old ghosts.

Critique: With the kind of narrative driven storytelling that is the hallmark of a skilled and talented novelist, "Girls Of Brackenhill" by Kate Moretti is a riveting read from beginning to end. Certain to be a welcome and enduringly popular addition to community library Suspense/Thriller Fiction collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Girls Of Brackenhill" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $4.99) and as a complete and unabridged audio book (Brilliance Audio, 9781713502517, MP3-CD).

Love and Other Criminal Behavior
Nikki Dolson
www.nikkidolson.com
Bronzeville Books
http://www.bronzevillebooks.com
9781952427008, $23.99, HC, 174pp

https://www.amazon.com/Other-Criminal-Behavior-Nikki-Dolson/dp/1952427002

Synopsis: Comprised of thirteen short stories by Nikki Dolson, "Love and Other Criminal Behavior" begins with "Georgie Ann", a tale of kept women, betrayal, fake friends, and oh, so much blood. Nikki doesn't pump the breaks before throwing the reader into the ring in "Take the Hit," where Kendra must go back into the boxing ring and throw a fight if she hopes to fulfill her dream of having a family.

In "Sunrise," Nikki takes us to the desert to die. But not before unwinding the lost loves, regrets, and complicated relationships all plaguing one family, as two cousins try to decide whether they'll let their beloved Uncle join his late first wife.

"Our Man Julian," is about a washed-up actor who is cultivating a wild San Diego garden, and a lifetime of loneliness and regret. Hit with the reality that he will die soon with no savings and nothing to offer the daughters he loves but barely sees, he plans an outrageous kamikaze mission. But can a man who's survived it all really turn off that survival instinct?

Critique: An inherently entertaining and deftly crafted series of thought-provokingly memorable short stories that full showcase author Nikki Dolson's literary talents and narrative storytelling style, "Love and Other Criminal Behavior" will prove to be an immediately welcome and enduringly valued addition to community, college, and university library Contemporary American Literary Fiction collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Love and Other Criminal Behavior" is also readily available in a paperback edition ( 9781952427015, $12.99) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $4.99).

Editorial Note: Nikki Dolson's stories have appeared in Shotgun Honey, Thuglit, Bartleby Snopes, and others. She lives in Las Vegas, NV with her children. She occasionally tweets @nikkidolson and she maintains a website at www.nikkidolson.com


The Historical Fiction Shelf

Acts of Hope
Martin Elsant
G&M Publishers
9798686990975, $8.49, PB, 350pp

https://www.amazon.com/Acts-Hope-Part-Inquisition-Trilogy/dp/B08JDTN9M5

Synopsis: "Acts of Hope" by Martin Elsant is about how having escaped the Portuguese Inquisition, a New Christian woman embarks on a journey to reclaim her Jewish heritage. She soon meets several others on their own unique quests: an English doctor trying to reestablish a Jewish homeland, a pirate and an innkeeper seeking revenge for the Inquisition's crimes, a Muslim honor victim fighting for justice, and a Catholic seminary student risking his life to end all Inquisitions, everywhere. Their individual acts of hope intertwine to create a timeless story of faith, doubt, betrayal, and redemption.

Critique: The second volume in 'The Inquisition Trilogy' from Martin Elsant, "Acts of Hope" is an impressively entertaining novel that continues to showcase the author's genuine flair for the kind of narrative style storytelling that will quickly immerse the reader's total attention from the beginning and hold it until the very end. Certain to be an immediate and enduringly popular addition to community library Historical Fiction collections, "Acts of Hope" is also currently available in an inexpensive digital book format (Kindle, $0.99). Also highly recommended is the first book in this simply outstanding series, "Acts of Faith" (9781658684811, $7.59 PB, $0.99 Kindle).

The Holy Conspiracy
Kristi Saare Duarte
Conspicuum Press
9780997180749, $14.99, 296pp

https://www.amazon.com/Holy-Conspiracy-Kristi-Saare-Duarte/dp/0997180749

Synopsis: Haunted by the brutal execution of Jesus, his brother Yakov is desperately trying to piece together the fragments of his broken life. Dwelling in constant fear of persecution, he cowers in lakeside Galilee where the Romans rule with bloodstained hands.

When the other disciples elect him as their new leader, Yakov refuses at first. He has no desire to put his life at further risk. Until Mary Magdalen suggests that they form a secret society in the shadows of the Jerusalem Temple, and Yakov reluctantly agrees.

Shortly after their move to Judea, an affluent tentmaker from Tarsus named Saul approaches Yakov with a wild tale that Jesus has risen from the dead as the long-awaited Messiah. The disciples protest: their beloved teacher Jesus was a humble man, not a god. And they witnessed his execution, they even entombed his body.

But Saul just scoffs at their objections and insists that only his version of Jesus as the Savior is true. Now Yakov, Mary Magdalen, and the others must fight to keep Jesus's credo of oneness with God alive. But how can these poor, uneducated disciples stand victorious in an arena of treachery and deceit, where the rich and powerful always prevail?

Critique: An inherently fascinating and attention absorbing novel by an author with a genuine flair for originality and the kind of narrative storytelling style that will completely engage the reader's attention from first page to last, author Kristi Saare Duarte's "The Holy Conspiracy" will prove to be a welcome and appreciated addition to community, college, and university library Historical Fiction collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Holy Conspiracy" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $4.99).


The Romantic Fiction Shelf

Hope's Gentle Touch
Laura Hodges Poole
https://www.laurahodgespoole.com
Firefly Southern Fiction
https://shoplpc.com/firefly-southern-fiction
9781645262695, $14.99, PB, 330pp

https://www.amazon.com/Hopes-Gentle-Touch-Laura-Hodges/dp/1645262693

Synopsis: After her abusive husband's death, Misty Stephens returns to her job as a nurse and volunteer at a women's shelter. She intends to put her life back together and has no intention of ever being vulnerable to a man again. But when an abuse victim dies in her care, Misty finds herself consoling the girl's brother -- and fighting attraction.

Adam Jenkins sees Misty's compassion for the oppressed and implores her to help build Hope House, a women's shelter, in honor of his sister. Though grieving, Adam is drawn to Misty. But he approaches romance the way he does ranching (quick and decisive) which is an almost disastrous mistake.

While dealing with family fallout and troubles at work, this new project and Misty become a light shining into Adam's grief. A common purpose binds them together, and Misty's heart starts to open to Adam. But she finds it much harder to lower her defenses than she imagined. Can any man be fully trusted -- especially a powerful, wealthy rancher?

When the past rears its ugly head and her reality starts to crumble, Misty's trust in God and hope for a bright future are put to the test. Will hope's gentle touch finally bring the love Misty's heart needs to heal?

Critique: A deftly written and inherently reader engaging novel by an author with a genuine flair for originality and an impressively entertaining narrative storytelling style, "Hope's Gentle Touch" will be an immediate and enduringly popular addition to community library Contemporary Romance Fiction collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Hope's Gentle Touch" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $3.99).


The Mystery/Suspense Shelf

Murder in Minnesota
Garry L. Gooding
Independently Published
9781734022865, $19.95, HC, 572pp

https://www.amazon.com/Murder-Minnesota-Wandering-Woodie-Mysteries/dp/1734022868

Synopsis: The year is 1971 and Jamie Masters, a Military Police Captain in Vietnam, has just returned home to face more tragedy. Carrying mental and physical scars beyond the war, Jamie is a man lost without direction. Then his best friend P.T. Abbott arrives driving a wreck of a vehicle in desperate need of restoration.

The '46 Ford Woodie, a wood-paneled classic wagon, is P.T.'s repayment of his friend's loan. Once beautifully redone, Jamie decides to take the Woodie on a solo road trip to find himself. A ragtag collection of misfit friends, however, have other ideas. In the end, Jamie leaves on his uncharted adventure with four others and a teardrop trailer in tow.

It isn't long before the gang aboard the Wandering Woodie becomes involved in a string of murders linked to the tragic past of Walden Creek, Minnesota. With growing urgency, Jamie along with his once unwanted companions risk their lives as they race to end the killing spree before it is too late.

Critique: A riveting good read by an author with a genuine flair for originality and the kind of narrative driven storytelling style perfectly suited to a mystery suspense thriller of a novel, "Murder in Minnesota" will prove to be an immediately welcome and enduringly popular addition to community library Contemporary Mystery/Suspense collections. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of all dedicated mystery buffs that "Murder in Minnesota" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $4.99).

Act of Revenge
John Bishop, MD
Mantid Press
9781734251142, $12.99, PB, 256pp

https://www.amazon.com/Act-Revenge-Medical-Thriller-Mystery/dp/173425114X

Synopsis: Plastic surgeon Lou Edwards's life is complicated by two major issues. One, his wife has lupus, possibly due to leaking silicone from breast implants Edwards himself inserted. And two, his malpractice insurance has been canceled, as it has been for many other plastic surgeons, due to the burgeoning breast implant problem.

But it gets worse. Shortly after Edwards threatens an insurance company president on national TV, the president is found murdered in his penthouse.

Dr. Jim Bob Brady once again finds himself doing a bit of investigating, this time on behalf of a colleague. But how well does he know this colleague? Is the investigation worth the threat to Jim Bob's own life? Will he discover that it was a burglary gone bad? A lover's quarrel? Or is this an act of revenge?

Critique: Clearly and effectively drawing upon his own medical background, author and doctor John Bishop has deftly crafted a well wrought and simply riveting medical thriller of a novel with his new novel "Act of Revenge: A Doc Brady Mystery". Certain to be an immediately and enduringly popular addition to community library Contemporary Mystery/Suspense collections. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of all dedicated mystery buffs that "Act of Revenge" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $4.99).

The Prey Gets the Last Laugh
Mahmud Shareef
Lulu Publishing
3101 Hillsborough Street, Raleigh, NC 27607-5436
www.lulu.com
9781684703388, $12.99, 182pp, www.amazon.com

https://www.amazon.com/Prey-Gets-Last-Laugh/dp/1684703387

Synopsis: Gordon is a poor black man in America. While he doesn't exactly have a clean slate, he isn't bad enough to be chased down and arrested by the police-but it still happens. Two hours later, he dies in the police car, driven by two white officers, one of who has an immense hatred for black people.

Gordon's death is ruled an accident. Police officer Anthony supports white supremacy. He believes black people should be slaves to the white man, so he feels no guilt when Gordon dies, even though he knows it wasn't an accident. Gordon was murdered. His death is questioned all over the United States, but there is no justice since the police department suppresses the truth. Instead of receiving hate, Anthony is greeted with love and called a hero. It appears he has gotten away with his crime. Has he successfully concealed the truth from society?

Critique: In a deftly scripted novel whose theme could well be ripped from today's newspaper headlines in a time of the Black Lives Matter movement, "The Prey Gets The Last Laugh" is an inherently compelling read and a novel that showcases author Mahmud Shareef genuine flair for the kind of entertaining and narrative driven storytelling that will keep the reader's total attention from first page to last -- making "The Prey Gets The Last Laugh especially recommended for both personal reading lists and community library Contemporary General Fiction collections.


The Business Shelf

Decision Intelligence Selling
Roy Whitten
Whitten and Roy Partnership
https://www.wrpartnership.com
9781952654077, $25.99, HC, 180pp

https://www.amazon.com/Decision-Intelligence-Selling-Transform-People/dp/1952654076

Synopsis: What if selling meant doing the best thing for your prospects--every time? Straight from the work of two expert sales consultants comes "decision intelligence," a genuinely customer-centric approach that turns traditional selling on its head. Ready for bigger deals, flowing pipelines, and higher closing rates?

"Decision Intelligence Selling: Transform the Way Your People Sell " is specifically designed for sales professionals who are tired of the sales target treadmill and disillusioned with the old, manipulative ways of selling. Learning to sell in a new way, however, requires strength stronger than the hardened habits, routines, and mindsets that resist change.

This requires a transformative approach -- a wholesale shift in the way your people think about selling and the way they actually do it. This genius approach applies the insights of transformative science to expose a root problem in sales: the conviction held by salespeople and clients alike that selling is fundamentally a process of pitching, persuading, and pressuring people to buy. This single conviction initiates a downward spiral that leads to systems of thought and behavior that become dysfunctional and self-limiting for everyone involved.

Using real stories from over a decade of field work, "Decision Intelligence Selling: Transform the Way Your People Sell" puts you right into the training room to break through those calcified perspectives in favor of a better way. Follow in the footsteps of thousands of salespeople and executives as you learn to transform your team and develop a consistent selling system.

With "Decision Intelligence Selling: Transform the Way Your People Sell" you can get to the heart of client-driven sales with an exploration of: Educating your clients to help them make the right purchasing decision; Aiming your brain to focus on the "why" behind your selling; Mastering your attitude to bring out your best; Generating compelling conversations that lead to real action; Building your sales team into high performers with an effective selling system.

No hype or hyperbole -- just actionable insight from two seasoned executives who believe that selling is the heartbeat of business, and who know that how a company sells will determine its ultimate value to the clients it serves, "Decision Intelligence Selling: Transform the Way Your People Sell" is a practical and enjoyable read, with ideas that are both fresh and timeless.
Thought-provoking and even eye-popping at times, it will make you proud to be called a salesperson again.

Critique: Exceptionally effective in organization and presentation, "Decision Intelligence Selling: Transform the Way Your People Sell" is an ideal instruction manual and guide that is as impressively 'user friendly' as it is ultimately motivating and inspirational. While especially and unreservedly recommended for community, corporate, college, and university library Business Management & Salesmanship collections, it should be noted for the personal reading lists of MBA students, academia, corporate executives, sales staff, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "Decision Intelligence Selling: Transform the Way Your People Sell" is also readily available in a paperback edition (9781952654060, $12.99) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).


The Christian Studies Shelf

Welded: Forming Racial Bonds That Last
Jay Stewart & Derrick A. Hawkins
iDisciple Publishers
https://idisciplepublishing.com
9781734952223, $19.99, HC, 150pp

https://www.amazon.com/Welded-Forming-Racial-Bonds-That/dp/1734952229

Synopsis: "Welded: Forming Racial Bonds That Last" by Jay Steward and Derrick A. Hawkins is the true story of two pastors and two churches coming together amidst the nation's greatest racial tensions and painting a picture of true biblical community.

"Welded: Forming Racial Bonds That Last" recounts the two-year journey leading up to the merging of an African American church with a white mega church -- highlighted with a backstory that began years earlier and bringing the reader to a place of self-reflection.

Critique: An absorbing, inherently fascinating, and inspiring read, "Welded: Forming Racial Bonds That Last" is a timely and unreservedly recommended addition to our on-going national dialogue on race relations within the context of the Christian community. While highly recommended for church, seminary, and community library Christian Leadership, Christian Theology, and Christian Social Issues collections, it should be noted for the personal reading lists of clergy, seminary students, political and racial justice advocates, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "Welded: Forming Racial Bonds That Last" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

Editorial Note: Jay Stewart is the Founding and Lead Pastor of The Refuge Church. In addition to leading The Refuge, he serves on several ministry boards, coaches pastors and church planters, and travels nationally and internationally to speak.

Derrick A. Hawkins and his wife Roshonda Hawkins collaboratively pastor The Refuge Greensboro in Greensboro, NC. In the summer of 2016, Derrick Hawkins became the Senior Pastor of House of Refuge Deliverance Ministries. In that same year, he led House of Refuge Deliverance Ministries into the historic merger with The Refuge. Today, he continues to fearlessly lead the campus; bringing the vision to new places and fresh heights.


The Self-Help Shelf

Feeling Great
David D. Burns, MD
PESI Publishing & Media
9781683732884, $26.99, HC, 454pp

https://www.amazon.com/Feeling-Great-Revolutionary-Treatment-Depression/dp/168373288X

Synopsis: "Feeling Great: The Revolutionary New Treatment for Depression and Anxiety " by Dr. David D. Burns is based on his 40 years of research and more than 40,000 hours treating individuals with severe mood problems. The goal is not just a rapid and complete elimination of negative feelings but the development of joy and enlightenment.

In "Feeling Great", Dr. Burns reveals that our negative moods do not result from what's wrong with us, but rather what's right with us. And when you listen and suddenly hear what your negative thoughts and feelings are trying to tell you, suddenly you won't need them anymore, and recovery will be just a stone's throw away.

In "Feeling Great" Dr. Burns provides inspiring and mind-blowing case studies along with more than 50 amazing tools to crush the negative thoughts that rob you of happiness and self-esteem.

Critique: Especially and unreservedly recommended for personal, professional, community, college and university library DIY self-help/self-improvement collections and reading lists, it should be noted for anyone who is feeling depressed, unhappy, anxious, insecure, or simply overwhelmed by the current pandemic, economic stresses, social justice issues, "Feeling Great: The Revolutionary New Treatment for Depression and Anxiety" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $13.49).

Editorial Note: David D. Burns, MD, was a pioneer in the development of cognitive therapy, and is the founder and creator of the new TEAM-CBT, which makes ultra-rapid recovery from depression and anxiety possible. He has served as Acting Chief of Psychiatry at the Presbyterian / University of Pennsylvania Medical Center (1988) and Visiting Scholar at the Harvard Medical School (1998), and is certified by the National Board of Psychiatry and Neurology. Dr. Burns is currently Adjunct Clinical Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the Stanford University School of Medicine, where he is involved in research and teaching. He maintains an informative website at www.feelinggood.com offering free resources for therapists as well as individuals struggling with depression and anxiety; along with weekly Feeling Good Podcasts.

In 1995, Dr. Burns and his family returned to California from Philadelphia. When he is not crunching statistics for his research, he can be found teaching his famous Tuesday evening psychotherapy training group for Stanford students and community clinicians, or giving workshops for mental health professionals throughout the United States and Canada.


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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