Book Lover Resources, Advice for Writers and Publishers
|Home / Wisconsin Bookwatch
Table of Contents
The Battalion Artist
Janice Blake, author
Natale Bellantoni, editor & illustrator
Hoover Institution Press
9780817922245, $39.95, HC, 120pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: "The Battalion Artist: A Navy Seabee's Sketchbook of War in the South Pacific, 1943-
1945" is the result of the three years, three months, and three days of Nat Bellantoni's life spent
on the Pacific front during World War II.
He had known since childhood that he wanted to be (that he in fact was) an artist. When he
packed his seabag and took leave of his family and his sweetheart to go to war, he knew that the
best way to manage the narrative of his life and to cope with the ups and downs of his feelings
was to create images -- visual records that spoke of what he felt, as well as what he saw.
"The Battalion Artist" is a visually unique compendium filled from cover to cover with authentic
World War II images (many in full color) through which we see and feel the intensity of wartime
life through the eyes of a talented young artist who was also a US Navy Seabee.
Natale Bellantoni, a young art student from Boston, sailed across the Pacific in 1943-45 and
returned home with a sea chest of art and photographs documenting his experiences in New
Caledonia, New Guinea, the Admiralty Islands, and Okinawa. His subject matter was his daily
life: endless weeks at sea, harbors and ships, men at work, airstrips, the local countryside, and the
view of enemy planes overhead at night from his fox hole.
Now collected in a lavishly illustrated volume, his watercolors, sketches, and photographs offer a
window onto one of the most significant moments in American history. "The Battalion Artist"
explores the World War II experiences of Nat Bellantoni, as well as visually reflecting the story
of an entire generation that went to war.
Critique: A unique and inherently fascinating contribution to the growing body of War War II
Pacific Theatre literature, "The Battalion Artist: A Navy Seabee's Sketchbook of War in the
South Pacific, 1943-1945" is an especially and unreservedly recommended addition to personal,
community, college, and university library World War II American Military History collections
and supplemental studies lists.
Editorial Note: Natale Bellantoni was assigned to the US Navy's 78th Construction Battalion in
the South Pacific during World War II before having a successful career as an art director in
Nancy Bellantoni carefully searched her father's extensive South Pacific collection for visual
materials that accurately reflect the context in which Natale Bellantoni's wartime art was created.
She is a co-founder with her husband, Peter Galipault, of Movidea Inc., a design and marketing
strategy firm in Boston.
Janice Blake set aside her freelance work in order to focus on The Battalion Artist at the request
of her friend and former colleague Natale Bellantoni. She has edited books for the Brazelton
Institute and the Harvard Business School Press. She has also taught writing at the Harvard
The Year of the Fox: A Burning Man Memoir
2747 Regent St., Berkeley, CA 94705
9781587904752, $28.77, PB, 448pp, www.regentpress.net
Synopsis: Steve Arntson has been writing and playing the piano around the San Francisco Bay
Area for the past 30 years. His training was in music at the University of Washington after which
he did some private teaching and also discovered the poetry scene in San Francisco. He is the
author of a previous book "To-and-From on the Day-for-Night Coast" published by Regent Press
under the name of Stephen Francis Cosgrove.
"The Year of the Fox: A Burning Man Memoir" is a book of recollections about the 2016
Burning Man Arts Festival and is comprised of poems, stories and conversations with real and
imaginary beings. It's about getting there, being there and leaving there -- and about a certain fox
that appeared in the nearby hills while Steve was hiking through them.
Steve's love affair with the Burning Man Arts Festival began in 1996 and continues to this
Critique: An inherently fascinating, entertaining, thoughtful and thought-provoking read from
first page to last, "The Year of the Fox: A Burning Man Memoir" will prove to be a unique and
enduringly popular addition to community and academic library American Biography collections,
as well as the personal reading lists of anyone having an interest in the Burning Man Arts
The Sports Shelf
The Year the Packers Came Back
McFarland & Company
PO Box 611, Jefferson NC 28640
9781476674247, $35.00, PB, 259pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: The 1972 Green Bay Packers were not expected to challenge for a playoff spot, or even
to top their four victories from the season before. But the players were an eclectic group of
over-achievers, 20 of whom were brand new to the team. Despite disheartening decisions by a
questionable head coach, they gelled almost immediately and by season's end became the only
Packers team throughout the 1970s to earn a division title.
"The Year the Packers Came Back: Green Bay's 1972 Resurgence" by Joe Zagorski details how
they succeeded beyond all expectations and tells one of the great stories in pro football
Critique: An information packed and inherently interesting read, "The Year the Packers Came
Back: Green Bay's 1972 Resurgence" is a 'must' for the legions of Packer fans and certain to ben
an enduringly popular addition to personal, community, and academic library collections.
Editorial Note: Former sportswriter Joe Zagorski has been a member of the Pro Football
Researchers Association since the mid-1980s, and has written numerous articles for their
monthly publication The Coffin Corner. He has also written articles for the internet site Pro
Building The Brewers
McFarland & Company
PO Box 611, Jefferson NC 28640
9781476672632, $29.95, PB, 222pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: When the Milwaukee Braves moved to Atlanta after the 1965 season, many
impassioned fans grew indifferent to baseball. Others (namely car dealer Bud Selig) decided to
fight for the beloved sport. Selig formed an ownership group with the goal of winning a new
franchise. They faced formidable opposition -- American League President Joe Cronin, lawyer
turned baseball commissioner Bowie Kuhn, and other AL team owners would not entertain the
notion of another team for the city.
"Building the Brewers: Bud Selig and the Return of Major League Baseball to Milwaukee" by
Wisconsin author Chris Zantow is first ever history of baseball's return to Milwaukee covers the
owners, teams and ballparks behind the rise and fall of their Braves, the five-year struggle to
acquire a new team, the relocation of a major league club a week prior to the 1970 season and
how the Brewers created an identity and built a fan base and a contending team.
Critique: Enhanced for academia with the inclusion of a nine page Bibliography, fifteen pages of
Chapter Notes, and a five page Index, "Building the Brewers: Bud Selig and the Return of Major
League Baseball to Milwaukee" is a unique history and essential reading for all dedicated
Brewers fans and will prove to be an immediate and enduringly popular addition to personal,
community, and academic library Wisconsin Sports History collections.
The Education Shelf
Ryan T. Stein, author
Jennifer Costa Berdux, contributor
5 South First Street, Richmond, VA 23219
9781947860599, $15.95, PB, 184pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: After fifteen years as an award-winning educator, Ryan Stein knows this: when you
make the school experience about fostering genuine human connection, students don't just
succeed -- they thrive.
"Lifeline 65: How Small Connections and Big Enthusiasm Can Change Education" is
part-guidebook and part-memoir in which Ryan shares the best ideas and stories from his
groundbreaking educational philosophy with anyone seeking to make a positive difference in a
"Lifeline 65" is as joyful as it is useful, packed full of wit, humor, and heart. Try even one
strategy and classroom teachers will find the students more engaged, confident, and eager to
excel, from elementary school to college and beyond.
Critique: Exceptionally well written, insightful, thoughtful and thought-provoking, "Lifeline 65:
How Small Connections and Big Enthusiasm Can Change Education" is an extraordinary and
unreservedly recommended addition to school district, college, and university library Teacher
Education collections and supplemental curriculum lists. It should be noted for personal reading
lists that "Lifeline 65" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $4.99).
Editorial Note: Ryan T. Stein has been recognized on a national scale as an Elite Educator and as
a pioneer for student engagement, innovation, and achievement. As an educational songwriter
and forward thinker, he sees no barriers. His high energy and contagious enthusiasm for building
intentional and authentic relationships has created lifelines for school communities throughout
The Business Shelf
Social Media Success for Every Brand
c/o HarperCollins Publishers
195 Broadway, New York, New York 10007
9781400214969, $17.99, PB, 144pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: Most business owners are blindly guessing at their social media strategy, and it's
costing them time and money. Based on Donald Miller's "Building a StoryBrand", Claire
Diaz-Ortiz applies the seven principles of the StoryBrand Framework in "Social Media Success
for Every Brand: The Five StoryBrand Pillars That Turn Posts Into Profits" to help entrepreneurs
and the business community to build an effective, long-lasting social media plan for your
"Social Media Success for Every Brand" teaches readers how to incorporate the StoryBrand
7-Part Framework into their social media channels to increase engagement and see better results.
Readers will understand exactly what they need to do with their social media to drive growth to
their organization through the practical guidance of the five-point SHARE model: STORY;
HOW; AUDIENCE; REACH; EXCELLENCE.
"Social Media Success for Every Brand" does not require the reader to be familiar with Building
a StoryBrand but provides enough foundation to prepare the reader for practical success with
their social media content. Together with the StoryBrand Framework, Claire's SHARE model
will help boost customer engagement and grow the organization's brand awareness and
Critique: Impressively 'user friendly' in tone, commentary, organization and presentation, "Social
Media Success for Every Brand: The Five StoryBrand Pillars That Turn Posts Into Profits" is
unreservedly recommended for corporate, community, and academic library Business
Management collections and supplemental curriculum lists. It should be noted for personal
reading lists that "Social Media Success for Every Brand: The Five StoryBrand Pillars That Turn
Posts Into Profits" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99) and as a complete
and unabridged audio book (Brilliance Audio, 9781799709824, $22.99, CD).
Operations and Supply Chain Management, fifteenth edition
F. Robert Jacobs & Richard Chase
c/o McGraw Hill Professional
1221 Avenue of the Americas, 45th Floor, New York, NY 10020
9781259666100, $90.89, HC, 784pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: If they are to succeed in today's volatile and competitive marketplace, resourceful
companies must successfully manage the entire supply flow, from the sources of the firm,
through the value-added processes of the firm, and on to the customers of the firm. Now in a
fully updated and expanded fifteenth edition, "Operations and Supply Chain Management"
continues to provide a well-balanced coverage on the specific subject of managing people and
applying sophisticated technology to operations and supply chain management.
Critique: Exceptionally well organized and presented, this new and impressively informative
edition of "Operations and Supply Chain Management" is an ideal selection as a curriculum
textbook and is unreservedly recommended for corporate, college, and university library
Business Management collections and supplemental studies lists for students, academia,
corporate executives, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject.
Miracle Minded Manager
John J. Murphy
Beyond Words Publishing
9781582707259, $16.99, PB, 272pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: "Miracle Minded Manager: A Modern-Day Parable about How to Apply "A Course in
Miracles" in Business" by John J. Murphy is the story of Jack MacDonald, CEO of TYPCO, who
is trying to transform his company. He's hit a roadblock with unhelpful and defensive direct
reports and ingrained systems of doing business that no longer serve. Unsure of how to continue,
he turns to business consultant Jordan Mckay, who has helped Jack with management challenges
in the past.
Jack is surprised that instead of suggesting practical business tactics, Jordan encourages him to
adopt A Course in Miracles to open his mind and let go of ego. Though at first he's reluctant,
Jack and his wife Judy begin to follow the Course. The results are life changing.
Yes, the Course changes his mind set about solving TYPCO's problem, but Jack finds
transformations occur in all areas of life: from family relationships to his daily stress levels. And
it's right there to serve him during one of the most personal trials of his life.
Readers will learn along with Jack, that miracles spread across all areas of life, if only we open
ourselves up to faith.
Critique: Applying 'A Course in Miracles' concepts and principles to the area of business in a
capitalist culture and society in the form of a modern day parable, "Miracle Minded Manager: A
Modern-Day Parable about How to Apply "A Course in Miracles" in Business" is an
extraordinary and potentially life-changing read. Exceptionally well written and presented,
"Miracle Minded Manager" is especially recommended for community, corporate, and academic
library Business Management collections and supplemental studies lists, as well as the personal
reading lists of business students, academia, corporate executives, business managers, and non-
specialist general readers with an interest in the subject.
The Christian Studies Shelf
Speaking of God
Anthony G. Siegrist
P.O. Box 866, Harrisonburg, VA 22803
9781513806075, $31.99, HC, 276pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: Christian theology is nothing more (and nothing less) than speaking together about
God. Still, a lot of Christians simply don't know where to start.
In "Speaking of God: An Essential Guide to Christian Thought", pastor and theologian Anthony
Siegrist helps readers recover a basic language around Christian theology. The sweeping epic of
Scripture serves as the scaffold for this accessible study. In vivid and even humorous writing,
Siegrist introduces us to scholars and pilgrims and traditions that disclose essential truths about
God and Jesus Christ, as well as concepts like creation, sin, redemption, the church, and
By plumbing the works of theologians such as Augustine, Julian of Norwich, Antonia Gonzalez,
and Kazoh Kitamori, Pastor Siegrist offers readers an introduction to Christian theology
throughout the ages, emphasizing common threads of thought and practice across traditions.
Learning to talk about God requires courage and humility; "Speaking of God" is handbook of
Christian theology will help the reader to gain both.
Critique: Exceptionally well written for the benefit of all members of the Christian community,
"Speaking of God: An Essential Guide to Christian Thought" is both inspired and inspiring. An
extraordinary and highly recommended addition to church, seminary, and academic library
Christian Studies collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Speaking of God"
is also available in a paperback edition (9781513806068, $18.99) and in a digital book format
The Passion Code
O. S. Hawkins
Thomas Nelson Publishers
PO Box 141000, Nashville, TN 37214
9781400211500, $14.99, HC, 224pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: "The Passion Code: 100 Days with Jesus" by O. S. Hawkins was specifically written
for those members of the Christian community who long to experience the joy and peace that is
only to be found in knowing and loving the Lord. "The Passion Code" leads the reader to grow
closer to God and to discover that the more we know Him, the more we will want to do His will.
This was what Jesus desired as well: "My food is to do the will of Him who sent me, and to
finish His work" (John 4:34).
"The Passion Code" is a 100-day journey that begins at Bethlehem, where we find God with us,
then to Golgotha, where we find God for us, and finally to Pentecost, where we discover that God
came to take up residence in our lives, God in us.
Each reading features a Code Word that serves as a daily reminder of the devotional thought. The
reader can write it down and keep it with them to think about throughout their day so that, as
James says, they will become a "doer of the word and not a hearer only" (James 1:22). Each day
also includes a Passion Proclamation (a Bible verse to apply to their life) as well as a prayer.
Critique: Inspired and inspiring, thoughtful and thought-provoking, potentially life changing and
life enhancing, "The Passion Code: 100 Days with Jesus" is unreservedly recommended to the
attention of all members of the Christian community regardless of denominational affiliations.
While highly recommended for church and seminary Christian Theology collections, it should be
noted for personal reading lists that "The Passion Code: 100 Days with Jesus" is also available in
a digital book format (Kindle, $8.99) and as a complete and unabridged audio book (Brilliance
Audio, 9781799732761, $14.99, CD).
Editorial Note: O. S. Hawkins is President and Chief Executive Officer of GuideStone Financial
Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. GuideStone serves more than 250,000 individual
participants from churches, missionary organizations, colleges and universities, hospitals, and
other nonprofit institutions with their financial and benefit service needs. GuideStone Funds is
the largest Christian-based mutual fund family in the nation, with assets of over 15 billion
dollars. Prior to the beginning of his tenure at GuideStone in 1997, Hawkins served as senior
pastor of the historic First Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas (1993-1997), and senior pastor of the
First Baptist Church in Fort Lauderdale, Florida (1978-1993), as well as earlier pastorates at First
Baptist Church of Ada, Oklahoma (1974-1978), and First Baptist Church of Hobart, Oklahoma
A Silent Patriarch
575 Scarsdale Road, Yonkers, NY 10707
9780881416497, $29.95, PB, 418pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: Pope Cyril VI was born Azer Youssef Atta in Damanhour, Egypt, into a Coptic
Orthodox middle-class family, the son of a deacon. He resigned from a civil service position to
become a monk in July 1927 (Paoni - Epip 1643). He passed his probationary period and, on 24
February 1928 (21 Meshir 1644), took his monastic vows at the Paromeos Monastery, assuming
the name of Father Mina el-Baramosy (Father Mina of the Paromeos Monastery). He was also
known as Father Mina the Elder. (Wikipedia)
"A Silent Patriarch: Kyrillos VI" (1902 - 1971) by the Rev. Dr Daniel Fanous (who is Dean and
Lecturer in Theology & Biblical Studies at St Cyril's Coptic Orthodox Theological College in
Sydney, Australia) is the first scholarly biography of this desert hermit who became a most
unlikely patriarch. Until now the details of his life have remained hidden.
As patriarch, Kyrillos inherited a bleeding church, one confronted by political Islamism, an
indifferent Muslim president, and the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood. Silent in the face of
persecution, mockery, and criticism, Kyrillos stood at the head of a nearly impossible spiritual
revolution. But by the time he reposed, everything had changed.
In this lucid biography, Professor Fanous deftly traces Kyrillos life from childhood, drawing
upon hundreds of letters and sources never before seen, detailing Kyrillos unusual method of
ecclesial reform, which speaks enduringly to the uncertainties of the present age.
Critique: An inherently fascinating, impressively detailed, exceptionally well written, and
ultimately inspiring biography, "A Silent Patriarch" is unreservedly recommended reading for all
members of the Coptic Christian faith and a unique addition to church, seminary, community,
and academic library Coptic Christian History collections.
Transubstantiation: Theology, History, and Christian Unity
c/o Baker Publishing Group
6030 East Fulton, Ada, MI 49301
9781540962188, $59.99, HC, 288pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: Transubstantiation is, according to the teaching of the Catholic Church, the change of
substance or essence by which the bread and wine offered in the sacrifice of the sacrament of the
Eucharist during the Mass, become, in reality, the body and blood of Jesus Christ. In this
teaching, the notions of substance and transubstantiation are not linked with any particular theory
of metaphysics. (Wikipedia)
"Transubstantiation: Theology, History, and Christian Unity" by Brett Salkeld (who is
Archdiocesan Theologian for the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Regina, Saskatchewan,
Canada) is detailed and definitive study of the doctrine of transubstantiation that deftly explores
eucharistic presence in the theologies of Aquinas, Luther, and Calvin, showing that Christians
might have more in common on this topic than they have typically been led to believe.
Critique: Enhanced for academia with the inclusion of a fourteen page Bibliography, a six page
Author Index, and a five page Subject Index, "Transubstantiation: Theology, History, and
Christian Unity" is an exceptionally well written, organized and presented study. Particularly and
unreservedly recommended for church, seminary, and academic library Contemporary Christian
Theology collections, it should be noted for the personal reading lists of clergy, seminary
students, and non-specialist general readers in the Christian community with an interest in the
subject that "Transubstantiation: Theology, History, and Christian Unity" is also available in a
paperback edition (9781540960559, $29.99) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $16.19).
Trains, Jesus, and Murder
P.O. Box 1209, Minneapolis, MN 55440-1209
9781506433769, $18.99, PB, 205pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: "Saints and sinners, all jumbled up together." That's the genius of Johnny Cash, and
that's what the gospel is ultimately all about.
Johnny Cash sang about and for people on the margins. He famously played concerts in prisons,
where he sang both murder ballads and gospel tunes in the same set. It's this juxtaposition
between light and dark, writes Richard Beck in "Trains, Jesus, and Murder: The Gospel
according to Johnny Cash", that makes Cash one of the most authentic theologians in recent
In "Trains, Jesus, and Murder", Beck explores the theology of Johnny Cash by investigating a
dozen of Cash's songs. In reflecting on Cash's lyrics, and the passion with which he sang them,
we gain a deeper understanding of the enduring faith of the Man in Black.
Critique: Part analytical biography and part theological treatise, "Trains, Jesus, and Murder: The
Gospel according to Johnny Cash" is a compelling read that is insightfully inspirational,
thoughtful and thought-provoking. While unreservedly recommended for both community and
academic library collections, it should be noted for the personal reading lists of the legions of
Johnny Cash fans and members of the Christian community that "Trains, Jesus, and Murder: The
Gospel according to Johnny Cash" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).
Editorial Note: Richard Beck is professor of psychology at Abilene Christian University in
Abilene, Texas, and a popular blogger and speaker. He is the author of several books, including
Unclean. His published research also covers topics as diverse as the psychology of profanity and
why Christian bookstore art is so bad. Beck leads a Bible study each week for inmates at a
maximum security prison.
Why Did Jesus Die and What Difference Does it Make?
P.O. Box 866, Harrisonburg, VA 22803
9781513805658, $12.99, PB, 120pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: Why did Jesus die? And how does his death change us and our world? These questions
stand at the center of Christian faith. But that doesn't mean they are simple or
In "Why Did Jesus Die and What Difference Does it Make?" Michele Hershberger helps us peer
deeply into the meaning of the cross by sifting through Scripture and the life of Christ; Learn
about theological concepts like sin, salvation, and atonement; Find out how Christians across the
centuries have thought about Jesus' death; Discover how Jesus' life, crucifixion, and resurrection
Part of The Jesus Way series from Herald Press, "Why Did Jesus Die and What Difference Does
it Make?" delves into a major and core questions about God's work in the world.
Critique: As thoughtful and thought provoking as it is inspired and inspiring, "Why Did Jesus
Die and What Difference Does it Make?" is unreservedly recommended to the attention of all
members of the Christian community regardless of their denominational affiliations. It should be
noted for the personal reading lists of seminary students, clergy, and non-specialist general
readers with an interest in the subject that "Why Did Jesus Die and What Difference Does it
Make?" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $8.69).
Editorial Note: Michele Hershberger is the author of God's Story, Our Story; A Christian View of
Hospitality; and several other books. She serves as chair of the Bible department at Hesston
College, where she teaches Bible and youth ministry classes. With a degree from Associated
Mennonite Biblical Seminary, Hershberger has devoted her life to serving the church as pastor,
writer, speaker, and instructor. She and her husband, Del Hershberger, have three children and
are members of Hesston Mennonite Church.
Paul W. Chilocote
PO Box 280988, Nashville, TN 37228-0988
9781791001728, $13.99, PB, 112pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: In the pages of "Active Faith: Resisting 4 Dangerous Ideologies with the Wesleyan
Way", Christians are invited to practice the way of Jesus by engaging in four formative practices
representing central themes of the Wesleyan way: humility, hospitality, healing, and
These four practices function as counterpoints to four growing dangers based on fear in the
contemporary church and in society: Christian Fundamentalism; Nationalism; Dispensationalism;
Each of the four practices is an antidote related to the quest for a particular virtue as well,
namely, truth, joy, peace, and love in resistance to these dangerous movements.
Each of the four chapters discusses the relationship of these practices to scripture, identifying a
signature biblical text or story related to each. They introduce the reader to a spiritual mentor
who can help them understand and embrace the practice more fully. They describe contemporary
forms of Christianity that distort or compromise our received faith tradition, directing their
attention to a contemporary issue in which these distortions figure prominently and in which a
progressive Wesleyan perspective offers an alternative vision of Christian authenticity. Finally,
the chapters offer guidance showing how readers can engage in these practices on a very practical
Critique: Exceptionally well written, organized and presented, "Active Faith: Resisting 4
Dangerous Ideologies with the Wesleyan Way" is an especially recommended addition to church,
seminary, college, and university library Contemporary Christian Studies collections. It should be
noted for the personal reading lists of clergy, seminary studies, theologians, and non-specialist
general readers with an interest in the subject that "Active Faith" is also available in a digital
book format (Kindle, $9.99).
Editorial Note: Paul W. Chilcote is a retired United Methodist elder and professor of historical
theology and Wesleyan studies who has taught on three continents. An award-winning author, he
has published nearly thirty books, including Praying in the Wesleyan Spirit, A Faith That Sings,
and Recapturing the Wesleys' Vision. He is a Benedictine Oblate of Mount Angel Abbey in Saint
Gerald L. Sittser
c/o Baker Publishing Group
6030 East Fulton, Ada, MI 49301
9781587434082, $19.99, PB, 240pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: In our Western, post-Christendom society, much of Christianity's cultural power,
privilege, and influence has eroded. But all is not lost, according to Professor Gerald Sittser.
Although the church is concerned and sobered by this cultural shift, it is also curious and
Professor Sittser shows how the early church offers wisdom for responding creatively to the
West's increasing secularization. The early Christian movement was surprisingly influential and
successful in the Roman world, and so different from its two main rivals (traditional religion and
Judaism) that Rome identified it as a "third way." Early Christians immersed themselves in the
empire without significant accommodation to or isolation from the culture. They confessed Jesus
as Lord and formed disciples accordingly, which helped the church grow in numbers and
Professor Sittser explores how Christians today can learn from this third way and respond
faithfully, creatively, and winsomely to a world that sees Christianity as largely obsolete. Each
chapter introduces historical figures, ancient texts, practices, and institutions to explain and
explore the third way of the Jesus movement, which, surprising everyone, changed the
Critique: An exceptionally well written, organized and presented study that is as thoroughly
accessible to non-specialist general readers as it is to seminary students and academia, "Resilient
Faith: How the Early Christian "Third Way" Changed the World" is an especially and
unreservedly recommended addition to community, seminary, college, and university library
collections. Impressively informative and featuring an eighteen page Annotated Bibliography,
twenty-two pages of Notes, and a three page Index, it should be noted for personal reading lists
that "Resilient Faith: How the Early Christian "Third Way" Changed the World" is also available
in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).
Editorial Note: Gerald L. Sittser (PhD, University of Chicago) is the author of Water from a
Deep Well, A Grace Disguised, and The Will of God as a Way of Life. He is professor of
theology at Whitworth University in Spokane, Washington, where he also serves as senior fellow
and researcher in the Office of Church Engagement. He specializes in the history of Christianity,
Christian spirituality, and religion in American public life. Sittser has written for numerous
publications, including Christianity Today, and has spoken at numerous churches, conferences,
retreats, and colleges.
Theresa Rickard, O.P.
Ave Maria Press
PO Box 428, Notre Dame, IN 46556
9781594719233, $12.95, PB, 128pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: In "Everyday Witness: 7 Simple Habits for Sharing Your Faith", Sr. Theresa Rickard,
O.P. (President of RENEW International) offers seven simple habits to help fellow Catholics
more comfortably talk about and model Christian faith in our everyday lives.
Most often people come to Christ because they've admired the words and actions of believers
they respect. But talking about God and witnessing by our actions can be very difficult. In this
primer for evangelizing witness, Sr. Theresa Rickard, O.P., presents inspirational stories and
biblical reflections along with spiritual coaching and practical advice for Catholics who want to
get better at sharing what they believe and how they came to believe it.
"Everyday Witness" encourages us to adopt seven habits that will help us confidently share our
faith in word and deed: choose joy; be humble; preach from the pulpit of life; pray unceasingly;
listen closely; practice the art of accompaniment; engage in God-talk.
Each chapter includes Rickard's reflection on witnessing the faith in her own life, a brief survey
of what the Bible says on the topic, and the story of an ordinary person who gives witness to their
faith in an extraordinary way. Each chapter also offers self-reflection questions, simple ideas
about how to grow the habit, and a closing prayer that gives us not only food for thought but also
practical help for becoming better witnesses to our Catholic faith.
Critique: Inspired and inspiring, "Everyday Witness: 7 Simple Habits for Sharing Your Faith" is
an extraordinary and unreservedly recommended addition to church and seminary library
collections. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of seminary students, clergy, and all
members of the Roman Catholic community that "Everyday Witness" is also available in a digital
book format (Kindle, $9.99).
Editorial Note: Theresa Rickard, O.P., is a Dominican Sister of Blauvelt, New York, a
well-known retreat leader, and the president of RENEW International. She is the author of Daily
Devotions for Advent 2015, Daily Devotions for Lent 2014, and LiveLent! Rickard also
contributed to Preaching the Sunday Assembly and We Preach Christ Crucified. She earned a
doctorate of ministry in preaching from Aquinas Institute of Theology in St. Louis, a master of
divinity degree from Union Theological Seminary in New York City, and a master of arts degree
in religion and religious education at Fordham University. Prior to working at RENEW, Rickard
ministered in two multicultural parishes in the South Bronx, was the director of vocation and
formation ministry for her congregation, and was a member of the Archdiocese of New York's
Parish Mission Team.
The Judaic Studies Shelf
The Jewish Question
Enzo Traverso, author
Bernard Gibbons, translator
PO Box 180165, Chicago, IL 60618
9781642590548, $28.00, PB, 264pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: For figures ranging from Karl Marx to the luminaries of the Frankfurt School, the
'Jewish Question' (a set of problems related to emancipation and anti-Semitism, cultural
assimilation and Zionism) raised significant controversies within Marxist theory.
In "The Jewish Question: History of a Marxist Debate", Enzo Traverso (who is the Susan and
Barton Winokur Professor in the Humanities at Cornell University) carefully reconstructs this
intellectual debate that runs over more than a century, discussing both its generative aspects and
its blind alleys.
In "The Jewish Question", Professor Traverso deftly explores the causes and the forms of the
encounter that took place, from the middle of the nineteenth century to the Holocaust, between
the intelligentsia of a cosmopolitan minority and the most radical ideological current of Western
Originally published in French, then translated into English, and now in a completely rewritten
and updated second edition, "The Jewish Question" has already been translated into many
languages including German, Spanish, Japanese, and Turkish.
Critique: A seminal work of meticulously detailed and exceptional scholarship that is enhanced
for academia with the inclusion of a two page Glossary, a six page Chronology, a twenty-five
page Bibliography, and a seven page Index, "The Jewish Question: History of a Marxist Debate"
is as informed and informative as it is thoughtful and thought-provoking, making it an
unreservedly recommended addition to both community and academic library Judaic Studies and
Marxist Studies collections, as well as the personal reading lists of students, academia, and non-
specialist general readers with an interest in the subject.
The Mussar Torah Commentary
Rabbi Barry H. Block, editor
355 Lexington Avenue, 8th floor, New York, NY 10017
9780881233544, $22.95, PB, 402pp, www.ccarpress.org
Synopsis: Compiled and edited by Rabbi Barry H. Block "The Mussar Torah Commentary: A
Spiritual Path to Living a Meaningful and Ethical Life" is a mussar-based commentary is a vital
resource for Torah study, offering a thoughtful analysis of each of the 54 weeks. Each individual
essay in this anthology brings a parashah into juxtaposition with one of the mussar middot
(character traits as described within the Jewish school of ethics called mussar), thereby providing
an applied lens of mussar teachings that helps us to delve deeper into our tradition with increased
mindfulness and intention.
Critique: Enhanced for academia with the inclusion of a four page Glossary and a complete
listing of the contributors and their credentials, "The Mussar Torah Commentary: A Spiritual
Path to Living a Meaningful and Ethical Life" is an especially and unreservedly recommended
addition to personal, synagogue, community, college, and university library Judaic Studies
collections and supplemental curriculum reading lists.
Editorial Note: Rabbi Barry H. Block serves Congregation B'nai Israel in Little Rock, Arkansas.
A Houston native and graduate of Amherst College, Rabbi Block was ordained by Hebrew Union
College-Jewish Institute of Religion in 1991 after studying at its Jerusalem, Los Angeles, and
New York campuses, and he received his DD, honoris causa, in 2016. Block currently serves as
faculty dean at URJ Henry S. Jacobs Camp, a role he held for twenty-one years at URJ Greene
Family Camp. He is a past board chair of Planned Parenthood of South Texas.
Armed With Spirit
Rabbi Shalom Hammer
Gefen Publishing House
9789652299673, $17.99, PB, 265pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: There are many ordeals that observant young men and women encounter while serving
in the Israeli army. Rabbi Shalom Hammer's son Yakov is an observant young man who was
drafted as a combat soldier for the Nachal Brigade battalion -- of whom the majority are
non-observant from the Shomer Hatzair Kibbutz movement.
While Rabbi Hammer was supportive of Yakov and his service, as a devout father he knew there
were religious challenges yet to come; and so from the very first day of his service Rabbi
Hammer would send him a dvar Torah message on his whats app every single day.
Rabbi Hammer chose different divrei Torah from varied sources with the intention of finding
something from that week's parsha which related to his serving in the Israeli army as an
observant soldier. These divrei Torah were a means of remaining connected with the Rabbi's son
and although the two of them were physically apart, the Torah would keep them together.
What evolved were conversations and exchanges between the two of them that were meaningful
and insightful. "Armed with Spirit: A father's advice to his son in the Israeli army based on the
weekly Torah portions" will give the reader an inside glimpse of the Israeli army from a religious
Critique: A unique, thought provoking, and inherently informative compilation of religious
insights, observations and commentaries, "Armed with Spirit: A father's advice to his son in the
Israeli army based on the weekly Torah portions" is an unreservedly recommended addition to
synagogue, community, and academic library Judaic Studies collections and supplemental studies
lists. It should be noted for students, academia, and non-specialist general readers with an interest
in the subject that "Armed with Spirit" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle,
Editorial Note: Rabbi Shalom Hammer lives in Israel 30 years with his wife Gabi, their seven
children and two granddaughters. He served under the Rabbinate Division of the Israeli Defense
Forces and currently serves as a senior lecturer for Mahane Meshutaf and the Jewish Identity
branch of Tzahal which motivates troops in all divisions and teaches soldiers about Jewish
identity and Jewish heritage. In addition Shalom is the founder of Makom Meshutaf, an
organization which promotes a new Judaism based on tolerance and unity between all
denominations in Israel. Makom Meshutaf offers Jewish programming for secular Kibbutzim and
Moshavim throughout Israel. Rabbi Hammer is also a contributing writer for the Jerusalem Post
and is a sought after lecturer for communities throughout the Diaspora. He has authored four
previous books including The Family Parsha Book, The Family Rashi Book, The Eybeshitz
Haggadah: Experiencing Redemption, and Derash Yehonatan.
Be, Become, Bless
c/o Koren Publishers Jerusalem
PO Box 8531, New Milford, CT 06776
9781592645275, $19.95, PB, 350pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: The thirst for spirituality and meaning is a defining characteristic of our times. A
societal shift is taking place, one that emphasizes experience, feeling, and imagination. "Be,
Become, Bless: Jewish Spirituality Between East & West" by Rabbi Yakov Nagen presents a
Jewish approach to transforming the way we see and live our lives.
In these pages, Rabbi Nagen uses the weekly parasha as a springboard to converse with both
Eastern spirituality and Western thinking, creating a synthesis that unifies being and doing.
Thought-provoking and original, this study draws on wisdom from the Bible, Talmud, Kabbala,
as well as philosophy, poetry, literature, music, and film. Rich with stories and insights from the
author's personal journey, "Be, Become, Bless" seeks to guide its readers to discover their own
path to fulfillment.
Critique: As thoughtful and thought-provoking as it is inspired inspiring, "Be, Become, Bless:
Jewish Spirituality Between East & West" is an extraordinarily engaging, exceptionally
informative, impressively organized and presented study that is unreservedly recommended for
personal reading lists, as well as community and academic library Contemporary Judaic Studies
The Buddhist Studies Shelf
Modern Tantric Buddhism
Lama Justin von Bujdoss
North Atlantic Books
2526 Martin Luther King Jr. Way, Berkeley, CA 94704-2607
9781623173951, $19.95, PB, 336pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: Tantric Buddhism refers to the Buddhist traditions of Tantra and "Secret Mantra",
which developed in medieval India and spread to Tibet, Bhutan, and East Asia. In Tibet,
Buddhist Tantra is termed Vajrayana, while in China it is generally known as Tangmi.
Today, a new generation of Buddhists searches for ways to adopt Vajrayana while staying true to
its historical legacy. "Modern Tantric Buddhism: Embodiment and Authenticity in Dharma
Practice" unpacks the principles and applications of this esoteric practice in an accessible and
meaningful manner, connecting its roots to a socially engaged, modern-day dharma.
Taking a traditional Tibetan pedagogical approach, Lama Justin von Bujdoss divides "Modern
Tantric Buddhism" into three thematic sections: Body, as it applies to physicality and
embodiment; Speech, or ethical action; and Mind, the context of awakening.
Von Bujdoss challenges assumptions about what it means to be a socially engaged Buddhist, and
presents Tantra as an ideal vehicle for critically examining today's most pressing social issues
while confronting the structural inequities of patriarchy, sexism, colonialism, and racism within
Critique: A definitive and comprehensive study that is as impressively informative as it is
exceptionally well organized and presented, "Modern Tantric Buddhism: Embodiment and
Authenticity in Dharma Practice" is especially and unreservedly recommended for both
community and academic library Buddhist Studies collections. It should be noted for the personal
reading lists of students, academia, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the
subject that "Modern Tantric Buddhism" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle,
Editorial Note: Justin von Bujdoss is an American Buddhist teacher and chaplain. He was
ordained as a repa in the Karma Kamstang tradition of Tibetan Buddhism by His Eminence
Goshir Gyaltsab Rinpoche in 2011 and given the name Repa Dorje Odzer. Justin is passionate
about the preservation of the Tantric Buddhist tradition in a way that meets the needs of, and
simultaneously challenges, the modern western way of life. From 2012 until 2017 Justin served
as the resident-lama and executive director of New York Tsurphu Goshir Dharma Center and is
presently the first dedicated Staff Chaplain for the New York City Department of Correction. In
March 2018 Justin was appointed Executive Director of the Division of Chaplaincy and Staff
Wellness for New York City Department of Correction and leads all wellness initiatives for the
The Religion/Spirituality Shelf
Monkfish Book Publishing Company
9781948626170, $29.99, HC, 236pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: Bringing together insights from a wide range of traditions ranging from Taoism, to
Jediism, to Yoga, to Science, to Christianity and more, "Spiritual Rebel: A Positively Addictive
Guide to Finding Deeper Perspective and Higher Purpose" by Sarah Bowen encourages readers
to explore their own personal spiritual style and life purpose.
Mining the world's philosophical, scientific, and wisdom traditions, "Spiritual Rebel" offers a
three-week program of unconventional spiritual practices. Each day readers choose from a
variety of creative activities to try out including forest bathing, meditation with animals, visio
divina, kirtan, sacred reading, and visiting spiritually charged locations, just to name a few.
Throughout "Spiritual Rebel", Sarah divulges juicy tidbits from her own spiritually rebellious
journey. A preacher's kid originally inspired by the Force of Star Wars, she confesses her
challenges with her birth religion, descent into addiction, and recovery into a life where
everything can be sacred.
Combining pop culture with ancient wisdom, "Spiritual Rebel" draws on the interfaith wisdom of
Wayne Teasdale, Brother David Steindl-Rast, Dr. Andrew Newberg, A.H. Almas, David
Spangler, Abraham Joshua Heschel, Neil deGrasse Tyson, John Muir, Dr. Qing Li, Sarah
Wilson, Leonard Felder, Deepak Chopra, Ram Dass, Diane Berke, Thich Nhat Hanh, Madeleine
L'Engle, Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, Krishna Das, Phyllis Curott, Belden C. Lane, Albert
Einstein, and many others.
An indispensable guide for seekers, those in spiritual communities, agnostics, atheists, mystics,
and the spiritual-but-not-religious, "Spiritual Rebel" is for anyone who desires meaningful
experiences without having to commit exclusively to one path or fear they might be "doing it
wrong." The diverse collection of interspiritual practices and resources will inspire the Force
within you, by whatever name you call it.
Critique: Informed and informative, thoughtful and thought-provoking, exceptionally insightful
and ultimately inspiring, "Spiritual Rebel" is especially and unreservedly recommended for both
community and academic library Contemporary Spirituality collections. It should be noted for the
personal reading lists of students, academia, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in
the subject that "Spiritual Rebel" is also available in a paperback edition (978-1948626040,
$16.95) and in digital book format (Kindle, $8.49).
Editorial Note: Sarah Bowen is a multifaith spiritual educator and speaker, and an aspiring Jedi.
As a member of One Spirit Interfaith Seminary's faculty, Spiritual Directors International, and
several recovery communities, she seeks to help others connect with the higher power of their
own understanding. Passionate about the world's great faith traditions, Sarah is a graduate of One
Spirit and has studied at Chicago Theological Seminary, Emerson Theological Institute, Chopra
Center, and Omega Institute. She is especially interested in the intersection of animal welfare and
spiritual values and a fierce advocate for all creatures, and she currently serves as an animal
The General Fiction Shelf
Someone We Know
Pamela Dorman Books / Viking Books
c/o Penguin Group USA
375 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014
9780525557654, $27.00, HC, 304pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: In a quiet, leafy suburb in upstate New York, a teenager has been sneaking into houses
(and into the owners' computers as well) learning their secrets, and maybe sharing some of them,
too. Who is he, and what might he have uncovered?
After two anonymous letters are received, whispers start to circulate, and suspicion mounts. And
when a woman down the street is found murdered, the tension reaches the breaking point. Who
killed her? Who knows more than they're telling? And how far will all these very nice people go
to protect their own secrets?
In this neighborhood, it's not just the husbands and wives who play games. Here, everyone in the
family has something to hide -- an you never really know what people are capable of!
Critique: An impressively well crafted thriller of a suspense novel by an author with a distinctive
flair for originality and a narrative storytelling style that holds her readers enthralled from cover
to cover, "Someone We Know" by Shari Lapena is unreservedly recommended for community
library Contemporary Mystery/Suspense collections. It should be noted for the personal reading
lists of all dedicated mystery buffs that "Someone We Know" is also available in a digital book
format (Kindle, $13.99), and a large print edition (Random House Large Print, 9780593152232,
$29.00, PB, 400pp).
Toward the Light
1620 Main Street, Suite 11, Sarasota, FL 34236
9781608093762, $26.95, HC, 304pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: Luz Concepcion returns to Guatemala to murder Martin Benavides, the man who
destroyed her family. Benavides, who rose from insurgent fighter to president, controls a major
Richard Clement became Luz's resettlement officer when she was evacuated to the U.S. He now
works for the CIA, which has its own reasons for eliminating Benavides. Richard's team
persuades Luz to pursue a job as nanny to Benavides' grandson, Cesar, a lonely child with an
absentee playboy father.
The Guatemala contact for her mission is Evan McManus, an expat painter who pursues Luz,
hoping to persuade her to model for him -- and more. Luz initially spurns his advances, but her
first terrifying encounter with Martin Benavides propels her into his arms.
Complicating matters, Luz conceals from all sides her clandestine contact with her surviving
cousin, Antonio Torres, a guerrilla leader fighting the government propped up by the Benavides
and their drug money.
Critique: An inherently riveting suspense thriller of an action novel, "Toward the Light"
showcases an impressive author with a fully developed narrative storytelling style that keeps the
reader totally engaged from first page to last. Offering the kind of story that makes for block
buster movies, "Toward the Light" is unreservedly recommended, especially for community
library Contemporary General Fiction collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists
that "Toward the Light" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $14.29).
Cynthia Newberry Martin
c/o Yellow Pear Press
57 Post Street, Suite 913, San Francisco, CA 94014
9781732676824, $26.95, HC, 364pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: Mary Cassatt Miller falls for famous photojournalist Ethan Graham. But it's
complicated. For months at a time, Ethan's work takes him to Afghanistan, and Cass, who's
passionate about her job in Atlanta, wants a husband who comes home at night. Then, there's the
issue of family -- he wants one; she doesn't.
What they do want is a life together, so Ethan agrees that after three years, he will stop traveling -
- whether Cass agrees to children or not. But for Cass, who grew up with a mother who didn't
want her and a father who was never home, even thinking about children is troubling.
Now, nine weeks before their third anniversary, Cass wonders whether Ethan will try to squeeze
in one final trip to Afghanistan. When he does, she's unsure if he will ever give up the work he
loves. And if he won't, well, she will not repeat the life her parents had.
As the clock counts down, it doesn't help that Singer, the artist-bartender, is always in Atlanta,
and the enthralling Setara, the subject of Ethan's most famous photograph, is also his business
partner. Then, a new danger in Afghanistan changes everything.
Critique: "Tidal Flats" is the inherently compelling, deftly crafted, and remarkably original story
of a marriage that is all the more impressive when considering that it is author Cynthia Newberry
Martin's debut as a novelist. While especially and unreservedly recommended for community
library Contemporary General Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists
that "Tidal Flats" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.89).
The Country Guesthouse
195 Broadway, 24th Floor, New York, NY 10007
9780778309055, $26.99, HC, 336pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: Hannah Russell's carefully crafted plans for her life have been upended without
warning. When her best friend died suddenly, Hannah became guardian to a five-year-old named
Noah. With no experience at motherhood, she's terrified she's not up to the challenge. She and
Noah need time to get to know each other, so she decides to rent a country house with stunning
views on a lake in rural Colorado.
When they arrive at the house, they are greeted by the owner, a handsome man who promises to
stay out of their way. But his clumsy Great Dane, Romeo, has other ideas and Noah immediately
bonds with the lovable dog. As Hannah learns to become a mother, Owen Abrams, who is
recovering from his own grief, can't help but be drawn out of his solitude by his guests.
But life throws more challenges at this unlikely trio and they are tested in ways they never
thought possible. All three will discover their strengths and, despite their differences, they will
fight to become a family. And the people of Sullivan's Crossing will rally around them to offer all
of the support they need.
Critique: Another deftly crafted, heartwarming, and thoroughly entertaining novel from the
talented novelist Robyn Carr, "The Country Guesthouse" is a very special and original addition to
her 'Sullivan's Crossing' series. While especially and unreservedly recommended for community
library collections, it should be noted for the legions of Robyn Carr fans that "The Country
Guesthouse" is also available in a paperback edition (Mills & Boon, 9781848458048, $11.96), in
a digital book format (Kindle, $12.99) and as a complete and unabridged audio book (Recorded
Books, 9781980066286, $29.99).
Bodies on the Line: Short Fiction
2747 Regent St., Berkeley, CA 94705
9781587905193, $15.95, PB, 190pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: In "Bodies on the Line: Short Fiction", Peter Stine (founder and editor of the literary
magazine Witness), presents a debut collection of his stories that defy categorization. Here is a
great weird scope. The most realistic story can twist and turn until suddenly you're in the land of
dreams, questioning everything. Collectively, Stine's short stories are studies in violence and
self-deception, unspeakable griefs and hypocrisy, sports and war, injustice, kindness. The body in
these stories is often under siege ("on the line") either physically or psychologically. Wildly
imaginative, the stories are often funny and absurd, always stripped clean of artifice, and
possessed by the same eyes-wide-open-to-the-world consciousness that gave rise to one of the
arguably best literary magazines in the country.
Critique: An inherently engaging, deftly crafted anthology of memorable short stories, "Bodies
on the Line: Short Fiction" is an especially and unreservedly recommended addition to
community, college, and university library Contemporary Literary Fiction collections. It should
be noted for personal reading lists that "Bodies on the Line: Short Fiction" is also available in a
digital book format (Kindle, $7.95).
Trouthe, Lies, and Basketball
Seven Stories Press
140 Watts Street, New York, NY 10013
9781609809416, $18.95, PB, 240pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: Elliot Hersch is given a basketball on his tenth birthday and cuts a deal with his
disapproving father: if he makes straight As, he is allowed to play. Modeling his game on the
basketball heroes of his time--Clyde Frazier, Oscar Robertson, Magic Johnson, and especially
Larry Bird--Elliot becomes one of the finest high school basketball players in New York.
Trying to steer clear of the corruption and sleaze in the big college programs, Elliott signs with
the seemingly clean-cut University of Southern Arizona (USA), partly to fulfill his promise to his
father, whose one piece of advice about life is: Tell the truth, always. A quote from Chaucer, his
father's favorite writer, guides both father and son "Trouthe is the hyest thing that man may
What he finds at the USA and then the NBA is a far cry from untarnished "trouthe." Elliott is
challenged at every turn, tangling at the end of the day with what is most true: the game. Can
Elliott truly play basketball? And if not, what is left of his life?
"Trouthe, Lies, and Basketball" is an epic comic tale that is uniquely structured like a gripping
basketball game, completely with literary "time-outs" -- of a basketball player coming to terms
with the world as it is, his talents as they are. Rosen's characters, even the mostly unseemly, are
all heart, and by the end they leave those hearts on the hardwood.
Critique: A unique and impressively entertaining novel by an author with a very special grasp of
how to utilize narrative storytelling to maintain the reader's rapt attention and engagement from
beginning to end, "Trouthe, Lies, and Basketball" is an extraordinary and unreservedly
recommended addition to school and community library Contemporary General Fiction
collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Trouthe, Lies, and Basketball" is
also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $14.99).
We, The Jury
31 Mistletoe Road, Ashland, OR 97520
9781538507728, $24.99, HC, 304pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: On the day before his twenty-first wedding anniversary, David Sullinger buried an ax
in his wife's skull. Now, eight jurors must retire to the deliberation room and decide whether
David committed premeditated murder -- or whether he was a battered spouse who killed his
wife in self-defense.
The path to justice is fraught with surprising pitfalls and confusing turns. An experienced,
fair-minded judge mistakenly tells the jury that David is guilty and fears she's losing her mind.
The bailiff, once a decorated street cop but now a pariah in the sheriff's department, must fend off
the sexual advances of an amoral juror. An unscrupulous tabloid reporter tries to tamper with the
Once inside the deliberation room, the jurors elect as foreperson an insecure, addled file clerk,
who gets the job because no one else wants it. Despite (or perhaps because of) her delusions of
grandeur, she loses control of the deliberations, allowing a juror known as the Housewife to
monopolize the discussion. A buttoned-up jury consultant uses her professional experience to
challenge her colleagues' preconceived notions about the evidence. An apparently sweet
grandmother turns out to be anything but. A Methodist minister sits silently, concealing a
shocking secret that could change everything.
As the jurors stagger toward a verdict, they must sift through contradictory testimony from the
Sullinger's children, who disagree on which parent was Satan; sort out conflicting allegations of
severe physical abuse, adultery, and incest; and overcome personal animosities that threaten a fair
and just verdict. Ultimately, the central figures in We, the Jury must navigate the blurred
boundaries between bias and objectivity, fiction and truth.
Critique: Deftly scripted and told from the perspective of more than a dozen participants in a
dramatically vivid murder trial, "We, The Jury" by Robert Rotstein deftly examines how public
perception can mask the ghastliest nightmares and format the process of justice into unexpected
shapes. While very highly recommended, especially for community library Contemporary
General Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "We, The Jury" is
also now available in a paperback edition (9781982546533, $15.99), in a digital book format
(Kindle, $17.19), and as a complete and unabridged audio book (Blackstone Audio,
9781538503232, $34.95, CD).
The Romantic Fiction Shelf
Where Have All the Boys Gone?
William Morrow & Company
c/o HarperCollins Publishers
195 Broadway New York, New York 10007
9780062869647, $16.99, PB, 368pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: Faced with the harsh reality that there are 25,000 more women than men in London,
Katie's dating prospects are at an all-time low. While she's glad it's not a man's world anymore, it
wouldn't hurt if there were more eligible bachelors!
More likely to get murdered than married, according to gleeful media reports, Katie resigns
herself to the fact that there's no sex in the city for her and decides to head for the hills -- or the
Scottish Highlands to be exact. Despite the fact she's never been one for muddy rain boats (and
Fairlish is in the middle of nowhere) the tiny town does have one major draw: men. LOTS of
But while Katie relishes the chance to do battle with armies of admirers, she's not excited about
going head to head with her shady new boss, Harry. At least there's the local eye-candy to distract
her, including gorgeous newshound Iain. But he is at loggerheads with Harry, and she can't afford
to get on Harry's bad side any more than she already has.
Life in the country might not be one big roll in the hay, but now that Katie has taken the plunge,
can she ever turn her back on the delights of Fairlish and return to city life?
Critique: A rollicking great read from cover to cover, "Where Have All the Boys Gone?" will
prove to be a welcome and enduringly popular addition to community library collections. It
should be noted for personal reading lists that "Where Have All the Boys Gone?" is also
available in a digital book format (Kindle, $11.99), as well as a complete and unabridged audio
book (Blackstone Audio, 9781094107646, $39.99, CD).
Fleming H. Revell Company
c/o Baker Publishing Group
6030 East Fulton, Ada, MI 49301
9780800737795, $29.99, HC, 368pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: In the borderlands of 1770 West Virginia, unflinching and plainspoken, Tessa Swan is
not your typical 18th-century woman. Born and bred on the western Virginia frontier along with
her five brothers, she is a force to be reckoned with.
Quiet and courageous, Clay Tygart is not your typical 18th-century man. Raised by Lenape
Indians, he returns a hero from the French and Indian War to the fort that bears his name,
bringing with him Tessa's long-lost friend, Keturah, a redeemed Indian captive like himself.
Determined to avoid any romantic entanglements as fort commander, Clay remains aloof
whenever he encounters the lovely Tessa. But when she is taken captive by the tribe Clay left, his
hand (and heart) are forced, leading to one very private and one very public reckoning.
Critique: An inherently riveting action/adventure historical romance, "Uncommon Woman" by
Laura Frantz is a simply riveting and engagingly entertaining novel from beginning to end. With
an exceptional flair for historical detail combined with a singularly original narrative storytelling
style, "Uncommon Woman" is unreservedly recommended for community library collections. It
should be noted for personal reading lists that "Uncommon Woman" is also available in a
paperback edition (9780800734954, $15.99) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).
Stitches in Time
Suzanne Woods Fisher
Fleming H. Revell Company
c/o Baker Publishing Group
6030 East Fulton, Ada, MI 49301
9780800737078, $29.99, HC, 336pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: New to the area, Mollie Graber is a teacher in Stoney Ridge who takes on the
challenge to help find homes for foster children in Lancaster County at the request of the new
church deacon, Luke Schrock. Her effort brings hope to two young girls, but complicates her
Critique: A pleasant and fully entertaining read from cover to cover, "Stitches in Time" by
Suzanne Woods Fisher is another exquisitely crafted romance novel set in Amish country by a
master of the genre and the second installment of the author's outstanding series 'The Deacon's
Family". While especially and unreservedly recommended for community library Romance
Fiction collections, it should be noted for the legions of Suzanne Woods Fisher fans that
"Stitches in Time" is also available in a paperback edition (978-0800727529, $15.99) and in a
digital book format (Kindle, $8.63).
The Mystery/Suspense Shelf
Bound for Murder
Crooked Lane Books
2 Park Avenue, 10th floor, New York, NY 10016
9781643852430, $26.99, HC, 311pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: Taylorsford Public Library director Amy Webber's friend "Sunny" Fields is running for
mayor. But nothing puts a damper on a campaign like an actual skeleton in a candidate's closet.
Sunny's grandparents ran a commune back in the 1960s on their organic farm. But these former
hippies face criminal charges when human remains are found in their fields -- and a forensic
examination reveals that the death was neither natural nor accidental.
With Sunny's mayoral hopes fading, Amy sets her wedding plans aside, says "not yet" to the
dress, and uses her research skills to clear her best friend's family. Any of the now-elderly
commune members could have been the culprit. As former hippies perish one by one, Amy and
her friends Richard, Aunt Lydia, and Hugh Chen pursue every lead. But if Amy can't find
whoever killed these "flower children," someone may soon be placing flowers on her grave.
Critique: Another deftly crafted mystery buff's delight by a true master of the genre, "Bound for
Murder" is another unreservedly recommended addition to author Victoria Gilbert's 'Blue Ridge
Library Mystery' series. While "Bound for Murder" will prove to be an exceptionally popular
addition to community library Mystery/Suspense collections, it should be noted for the growing
legion of Victoria Gilbert fans that "Bound for Murder" is also available in a digital book format
The Woman in the Veil
Laura Joh Rowland
Crooked Lane Books
2 Park Avenue, 10th floor, New York, NY 10016
9781643852416, $26.99, HC, 294pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: Sarah Bain and her friends Lord Hugh Staunton and Mick O'Reilly are crime scene
photographers for the Daily World newspaper. After solving a sensational murder, they're under
pressure to deliver another big story. On a foggy summer night, they're called to the bank of the
river Thames. The murder victim is an unidentified woman whose face has been slashed. But as
Sarah takes photographs, she discovers that the woman is still alive.
The case of "Sleeping Beauty" becomes a public sensation, and three parties quickly come
forward to identify her: a rich, sinister artist who claims she's his wife; a mother and her two
daughters who co-own a nursing home and claim she's their stepdaughter/sister; and a precocious
little girl who claims Sleeping Beauty is her mother. Which party is Sleeping Beauty's rightful
kin? Is someone among them her would-be killer?
Then Sleeping Beauty awakens -- but with a severe case of amnesia! She's forgotten her name
and everything else about herself. But she recognizes one of the people who've claimed her.
Sarah is delighted to reunite a family and send Sleeping Beauty home -- until one of the
claimants is murdered. Suddenly, Sarah, her motley crew of friends, and her fiance Detective
Sergeant Barrett are on the wrong side of the law. Now they must identify the killer before they
find themselves headed for the gallows.
Critique: An impressively elegant and well crafted Victorian era mystery by novelist Laura Joh
Rowland, "The Woman in the Veil" is a compelling and compulsive page turner of a read from
cover to cover. A very highly recommended addition to any community library Mystery/Suspense
collection, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Woman in the Veil" is readily
available in a digital book format as well (Kindle, $12.99).
Crooked Lane Books
2 Park Avenue, 10th floor, New York, NY 10016
9781643852393, $26.99, HC, 281pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: A few months earlier, Boston expat Maura Donovan was rekindled with her mother
after more than twenty years of absence. Since then, Maura has been getting accustomed to Irish
living, complete with an inherited house and a pub named Sullivan's. But now, her mother has
returned -- and she's brought Maura's half-sister in tow.
To make matters more confusing, a handful of Cork University students are knocking on Maura's
door asking about a mystical fairy fort that happens to be located on Maura's piece of land.
The lore indicates that messing with the fort can cause bad luck, and most everyone is telling
Maura not to get too involved for fear of its powers, but Maura is curious about her own land,
and she definitely doesn't buy into the superstition. Then one of the students disappears after a
day of scoping out the fort on Maura's property.
Maura treads carefully, asking the folks around town who might have an idea, but no one wants
anything to do with these forts. She has to take matters into her own hand--it's her land, after all.
But when she uncovers a decades-old corpse buried in the center of the fort, nothing is for
Critique: The latest County Cork mystery from the pen of Sheila Connolly, "Fatal Roots" is a
superbly crafted and reader riveting novel by a master of the genre. Replete with unexpected plot
twists and turns, "Fatal Roots" will prove to be an immediate and enduringly popular addition to
community library Mystery/Suspense collections. Another wonderfully entertaining and original
story, it should be noted for the personal reading lists of all dedicated mystery buffs, as well as
the growing legion of Sheila Connolly fans that "Fatal Roots" is also available in a digital book
format (Kindle, $12.99).
Lorraine Bartlett & Gayle Leeson
Berkley Prime Crime
c/o Penguin Group (USA)
375 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014
9780425266014, $7.99, PB, 304pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: A tattoo parlor on Victoria Square? Some of the merchants get hot under the collar at
the proposal, but could they be driven to kill to stop it? That's what the sheriff's office and Katie
Bonner want to know when the building's owner is electrocuted with his own saw.
Meanwhile, tensions rise when a hot chef takes over the square's tea shop. Will Katie have three
men vying for her affections, or will her rival take the tea cake?
Critique: Her sixth murder mystery in her 'Victorian Square Mystery' series, "Murder Ink" by
Lorraine Bartlett (with the assistance of Gayle Leeson) is another little gem of a novel and certain
to be a welcome and enduringly popular addition to community library Mystery/Suspense
collections. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of all dedicated mystery buffs that
"Murder Ink" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $7.99) and as a complete and
unabridged audio book (Tantor Audio, 9781977364258, $29.99, CD).
P.O. Box 3671, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48106-3671
9781612941592, $16.95, PB, 288pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: Tim Donovan is a Catholic priest with a guilty conscience -- though not in the way
most people would guess nowadays. And Katherine Donne is a Parisian socialite who long ago
kicked her self-respect to the curb -- for good and for ill. And much closer, we have a group of
men whose fortunes, graying temples and positions in life are distinguished and enviable. But
their morals? Anything but.
And that's where Evan Reed comes in. Evan (short for Evangeline) is a highly principled political
operative with an imperfect past, tasked with uncovering compromising material on a rotten
judge up for nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court before he can be rushed through
Evan knows it won't be simple to find damaging information against the judge because he's been
vetted many times before. When Evan pulls the string after an interview with a cryptic madman,
she finds herself struggling to solve a puzzle that gets more complex by the hour. And where
crime, money, conscience, and greed come together, danger is sure to lurk.
As Evan pushes further into peril, her personal life sparks into flame with the increasing presence
of the ravishing Julia Donne, a book publisher with a progressive bent and troubling questions
about her late father. McMan's specialty of intertwining a hot romance into heart-pounding
suspense just keeps getting better and better.
Critique: A sequel to her novel "Dust", this second suspense thriller of a read, "Galileo"
continues to showcase author Ann McMan's genuine flair for originality and total mastery of the
mystery/suspense genre. While unreservedly recommended, especially for community library
collections, it should be noted for the personal reading lists of all dedicated mystery/thriller buffs
that "Dust" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $8.69) as well as a complete and
unabridged audio book (Brilliance Audio, 9781799770220, $29.99, CD).
Molten Mud Murder
Sara E. Johnson
Poisoned Pen Press
6962 E. First Ave., #103, Scottsdale, AZ 85251
9781464211232, $15.99, PB, 320pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: When a body is found half-submerged in a molten mud pot in one of Rotorua's famous
geothermal wonderlands, forensics expert Alexa Glock spots a way to prolong her stay in New
Zealand, which she has been visiting for work. Teeth are her expertise, and the investigation
needs her help, as other ways of identifying the body may have melted away!
Joining Detective Inspector Bruce Horne and his team, Alexa discovers that the murder victim, a
city councilman, had trespassed on an island sacred to the Maori. The ancient punishment for
such a transgression is disaster, demonic possession, or death. When she visits the island to
investigate, the same outcome is promised for her. Alexa doesn't believe in ancient spirits
returning to exact revenge, and when another victim turns up dead she begins to wonder whether
the real threat is something (or someone) much closer to home.
Critique: A deftly crafted and exceptionally original mystery by a master of the genre, "Molten
Mud Murder by Sara E. Johnson is her debut as a novelist and an exceptionally entertaining read
with unexpected twists and turns that keep the reader's riveted attention from first page to last.
While certain to be an enduringly popular addition to community library Mystery/Suspense
collections, it should be noted for the personal reading lists of dedicated mystery buffs that
"Molten Mud Murder" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $7.99).
The Fantasy/SciFi Shelf
The Hanged Man
K. D. Edwards
c/o Prometheus Books
59 John Glenn Drive, Amherst, NY 14228-2197
9781633884922, $17.00, PB, 384pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: Rune Saint John, last child of the fallen Sun Throne, is backed into a fight of high
court magic and political appetites in a desperate bid to protect his ward, Max, from a forced
marital alliance with the Hanged Man.
Rune's resistance will take him to the island's dankest corners, including a red light district made
of moored ghost ships; the residence of Lady Death; and the floor of the ruling Convocation,
where a gathering of Arcana will change Rune's life forever.
Critique: Book 2 of 'The Tarot Sequence' series by fantasy author K. D. Edwards and set in a
modern-day Atlantis off the coast of Massachusetts which is governed by powerful Courts based
on a Tarot deck, "The Hanged Man" us a simply riveting story of the last member of a murdered
House trying to protect his ward from a forced marriage to a monster while uncovering clues to
his own tortured past. Impressively original, deftly crafted, and exceptionally entertaining, "The
Hanged Man" is unreservedly recommended for community library Fantasy Fiction collections
and is also available for the personal reading lists of dedicated fantasy fans in a digital book
format (Kindle, $9.99).
Alex R. Haler
c/o HarperCollins Publishers
195 Broadway, New York, New York 10007
9781335462268, $18.99, HC, 368pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: Tenn thought the spirits wanted him to find his fellow Hunter, Aidan, to win the war
against the undead. But with Aidan on the brink of self-destruction and Tenn reeling from his
lover's spite, their fated convergence seems far from promising. Especially because Aidan no
longer appears to be fighting for the living!
With the Dark Lady whispering commands and Tom s guiding his hand, Aidan slips deeper into
darkness. And while the world rallies for its final battle against the Dark Lady's minions, Tenn
finds himself torn between saving the boy who's slipping away and fulfilling a prophecy he can't
understand -- one that will require him to harness the most powerful magic the world has ever
seen: the Sphere of Maya. And depending on who unleashes its power, that magic could either
save humanity... or erase it!
Critique: The concluding volume to author Alex R. Haler's original and extraordinary fantasy
series 'The Runebinder Chronicles', "Rune Maker" is another deftly crafted and riveting read
from cover to cover. While unreservedly recommended for community library Fantasy Fiction
collections, it should be noted for the personal reading lists of all dedicated fantasy buffs that
"Rune Maker" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).
The Psychology Shelf
When Antidepressants Aren't Enough
Stuart J. Eisendrath, MD
New World Library
14 Pamaron Way, Novato, CA 94949
9781608685974, $18.95, PB, 224pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: For nearly two decades, Dr. Stuart Eisendrath has been researching and teaching the
therapeutic effects of mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) with people experiencing
clinical depression. By helping them recognize that they can find relief by changing how they
relate to their thoughts, Eisendrath has seen dramatic improvements in people's quality of life, as
well as actual, measurable brain changes.
"When Antidepressants Aren't Enough: Harnessing the Power of Mindfulness to Alleviate
Depression" by Dr. Stuart J. Eisendrath (Senior Clinician and Research Psychiatrist at the
University of California, San Francisco, and the founding director of the UCSF Depression
Center) is comprised of easily practiced breath exercises, meditations, and innovative
visualizations release readers from what can often feel like the tyranny of their thoughts.
Freedom of thought, feeling, and action is the life-altering result.
Critique: Exceptionally reader friendly in tone, commentary, organization and presentation,
"When Antidepressants Aren't Enough: Harnessing the Power of Mindfulness to Alleviate
Depression" is insightful, thoughtful, practical, effective and inspiring. While especially and
unreservedly recommended for both community and academic library Contemporary Health &
Wellness collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "When Antidepressants
Aren't Enough: Harnessing the Power of Mindfulness to Alleviate Depression" is also available
in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).
The Metaphysical Studies Shelf
The Language of Tarot
9780738759425 $17.99 pbk / $9.99 Kindle amazon.com
Synopsis: Welcome to a world of tarot you couldn't have imagined until now a world in which
you can give accurate and insightful tarot readings with little or no guesswork while also
developing your psychic ability. This revolutionary guide, written by a tarot master with more
than thirty years of experience, teaches a simple, proven system that makes reading cards in a
spread as straightforward as reading words on a page.
The Language of Tarot presents an innovative system that treats tarot as a science. It can be
taught and learned. Jeannie Reed discovered that when the same two or three cards appear
together, it usually represents the same issue in any client's life. This remarkable book translates
many card combinations and supplies examples to support each lesson. You can be more creative
and confident with card meanings as you uncover how they relate to matters of health, money,
relationships, and more. With Jeannie's guidance, it's easy to become fluent in the language of
Critique: The Language of Tarot: A Proven System for Reading the Cards is a practical-minded,
accessible guide to a tarot-reading method that can be taught and learned like any other
discipline. In addition to discussing the meanings of individual cards and how to interpret
spreads, The Language of Tarot also covers how to work with people in need of a tarot reading -
and what not to do. "...never, ever, ever make a financial decision based on what a psychic thinks
is happening. Never. No matter how the psychic arrives at the information. And never be the one
to give such advice unless you happen to be a psychic and a financial planner." The Language of
Tarot is a "must-have" for anyone interested in learning how to read tarot cards. It should be
noted for personal reading lists that The Language of Tarot is also available in a Kindle edition
Editor's Note: Jeannie Reed has been a tarot master and professional psychic for more than three
decades. She designed a scientific system of tarot reading and has been teaching it for twenty
years. Jeannie has written about oracles for AntiquityNow.org and she wrote a tarot advice
column for the national magazine Women-in-Touch. Visit her online at
The Ultimate Guide to Witchcraft
Fair Winds Press
c/o Quarto Publishing Group USA
400 First Avenue North, Suite 400, Minneapolis, MN 55401-1722
9781592339297, $26.99, PB, 192pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: Today magic is not just for a select few. Everyone has the ability to connect to the
power of the natural and supernatural worlds to support their intentions. Blending ancient
practices with modern context, "The Ultimate Guide to Witchcraft: A Modern-Day Guide to
Making Magick" is a guide by Anjoy Kiernan that gives aspiring witches a practical,
easy-to-follow path through the study of natural witchcraft and ritual.
Whether the reader is looking to commune with spirits across the veil, need an amulet for
protection, wish to build their magical apothecary, create a grimoire, or curate a crystal collection
for vibrational work, this guide will empower and inform the craft with respect to learning how
to harness the power of the moon, elements, and seasons to amplify spells and divination
Critique: Profusely illustrated throughout, exceptionally informative, expertly organized and
accessibly presented, "The Ultimate Guide to Witchcraft: A Modern-Day Guide to Making
Magick" is an ideal instructional manual and guide for personal development or spiritual
enlightenment by tapping into personal magic and apply its alchemy to everyday life.
Editorial Note: Anjou Kiernan is the hedgewitch and herbal alchemist behind Light of Anjou, a
witchery shop and virtual sacred space for magic and mysticism. She has been toiling in potions
and occult writing since the age of 16 and has continued her journey in witchcraft on a
magically-minded homestead in the rolling hills of mid-Maine. Anjou has been named as one of
Refinery29's "Magical Women You Really Should Be Following on Instagram". Her writing and
photography of unique altars and sacred spaces have attracted a broad audience and customer
base on both Instagram (@lightofanjou) and her online witchery shop
Practical Tarot Techniques
Marcus Katz & Tali Goodwin
2143 Wooddale Drive, Woodbury, MN 55125
9780738762630, $17.99, PB, 240pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: Now anyone can master the tarot card deck and develop their own unique style with
"Practical Tarot Techniques: Your Essential Tool Kit for Better Readings", a fun, practical
guidebook on becoming a confident and accurate tarot reader. Providing numerous spreads,
exercises, and interpretation strategies, "Practical Tarot Techniques" is the key to unlocking
essential skills and methods of tarot reading.
Marcus Katz (England) is a tarot teacher and co-director of the Tarosophy Tarot Association. He
has studied and taught tarot for thirty-five years and has delivered more than ten thousand
face-to-face readings. Marcus has coauthored several books, including Around the Tarot in 78
Days and Secrets of the Waite-Smith Tarot. Tali Goodwin (England) is a tarot researcher and
co-director of the Tarosophy Tarot Association. She is responsible for the Cards of Antiquity
campaign which set the ground for the return of Lenormand, Kipper, and other antique decks in
the mass market. Tali is the coauthor of several books, including Around the World in 78 Days
and Secrets of the Waite-Smith Tarot.
Based on over thirty years of tarot reading experience and an extensive survey of readers by Katz
and Goodwin, this easy-to-follow tool has everything needed to perform insightful readings in
everyday situations ranging from party games to magical applications. Whether an aspiring
learner or an expert reader, "Practical Tarot Techniques" is an amazing guide that provides tarot
techniques for any occasion with friends, family, or professional clients.
Critique: Thoroughly 'user friendly' in organization and presentation, "Practical Tarot
Techniques: Your Essential Tool Kit for Better Readings" is an ideal and unreservedly
recommended addition to personal, professional, community, and academic library Metaphysical
Studies collections in general, and Tarot Card supplemental studies lists in particular. It should
be noted that "Practical Tarot Techniques" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle,
The Witch's Herbal Apothecary
Fair Winds Press
c/o Quarto Publishing Group USA
400 First Avenue North, Suite 400, Minneapolis, MN 55401-1722
9781592339099, $27.99, PB, 224pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: Wiccans hold that Mother Earth is a living entity and holds great medicine to heal us
physically and spiritually. However, in today's modern world, too many of us are separated from
this source of nourishment. Using the wheel of the year as a framework, "The Witch's Herbal
Apothecary: Rituals & Recipes for a Year of Earth Magick and Sacred Medicine Making" by
Marysia Miernowska will enable its readers to understand the currents of nature and how to
weave themselves back into this great web of life.
Using the plants, seasons, and cycles as tools, "The Witch's Herbal Apothecary" enable its
readers to tap into the potent Earth Magick of life, death, renewal and rebirth. they will learn
ways of growing medicine, harvesting from the wild or home garden, processing plants, and
making remedies -- all in harmony with the seasons. Each season opens a portal of magick that
allows the harvesting of the literal and spiritual gifts that the Earth is offering at that time.
"The Witch's Herbal Apothecary" will awaken the Witch inherent in every wild soul and guide
him or her into an empowered relationship of healing and magick with the natural world.
Critique: Exceptional in organization and presentation, "The Witch's Herbal Apothecary: Rituals
& Recipes for a Year of Earth Magick and Sacred Medicine Making" is an impressively
informative compendium of information that is unreservedly recommended for personal,
professional, community, and academic library Metaphysical Studies collections.
Editorial Note: Marysia Miernowska teaches herbalism through the Gaia School of Healing and
regenerative land practices in California. She is the master herbalist and owner of Wild Love
Apothecary and was named one of the "top 15 witches on Instagram" (@marysia_miernowska).
As an herbalist, witch, biodynamic gardener, and Plant Spirit Medicine Practitioner, she is rooted
in the Wise Woman Tradition of Healing. Marysia teaches and speaks at conferences
internationally on herbal medicine, plant shamanism, regenerative farming practices, and Earth
The Practice of Enochian Magick
c/o Red Wheel/Weiser/Conari
65 Parker Street, Suite 7, Newburyport, MA 01950
9781578636891, $18.95, PB, 272pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: Enochian magick is a powerful system of ceremonial magic based on the 16th-century
writings of John Dee and Edward Kelly, who claimed that their information was presented to
them directly from angels. It is named after the biblical prophet Enoch and is perhaps the most
powerful and elegant of all magical systems. Dee and Kelley's work has formed the basis for
countless magical systems, such as the Golden Dawn, and has inspired magicians from all the
generations that followed, including the famed Aleister Crowley.
This new edition of "The Practice of Enochian Magick" presents students of metaphysical studies
with the Enochian selections from the Equinox, a magical journal published by Aleister Crowley.
It features Crowley's distillation of the work of Dee and Kelley along with an introduction by Lon
Milo DuQuette, master occultist.
Critique: Aleister Crowley (12 October 1875 - 1 December 1947) was an English occultist,
ceremonial magician, poet, painter, novelist, and mountaineer. He founded the religion of
Thelema, identifying himself as the prophet entrusted with guiding humanity into the ’on of
Horus in the early 20th century. A prolific writer, he published widely over the course of his life.
This new edition of "The Practice of Enochian Magick" should be considered an essential and
core addition to personal, professional, community, and academic library Metaphysical Studies
collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Practice of Enochian Magick"
is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $10.99).
c/o Quarto Publishing Group USA
400 First Avenue North, Suite 400, Minneapolis, MN 55401-1722
9781577151876, $18.99, HC, 192pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: Aurora Kane is a practicing witch and herbalist with many decades (some say
centuries) of experience in casting and conjuring. She lives in the Northeastern United States
where she is a founding member of the Coven of the Moonbeam Ravine.
In the pages of "Moon Magic: A Handbook of Lunar Cycles, Lore, and Mystical Energies" she
draws upon her years of experience and expertise to show others how they can harness the power
of the magical, mystical, glorious Moon with more than 100 spells, chants, and rituals, along
with Esbat celebrations for the Full Moon.
The Moon is one of our most prominent and ancient symbols. It has shaped how we understand
and track time, its movement controls the tides, and its rise into the sky signals the coming of
night. All of these roles have cemented our relationship with the Moon and its important place in
our myths and culture. The distinct phases of the lunar cycle have associations with different
states of being. These states mirror a kind of spiritual quest which, like our search for ourselves,
never ends. When we observe the Moon, we see reflections of the grand pattern of life that is
birth, death, and rebirth.
With this invaluable handbook, metaphysical studies students and practitioners can follow the
Moon as she traverses each sign of the zodiac and discover how each astrological phase affects
magic -- and how their personal Moon sign affects their magical work. The discussions include
the influence of the seldom-discussed energies of the True-Blue Moon, the Black Moon, the
Void of Course Moon, and the lunar eclipse.
"Moon Magic" shows how to properly conduct spells using candles and gemstones at exactly the
right lunar moment to enhance the flow of power. Each Moon phase is explored individually to
cover the phase's main themes along with moon rituals, intention setting, and practical ways to
celebrate and manifest health, wealth, and confidence. Also included are herb and crystal lists as
they relate to each moon phase and information on traditional lunar herbs, including lavender,
jasmine, willow, moonwort, mug wort, pumpkin, and sandalwood.
Critique: An impressively informative and inherently fascinating read, "Moon Magic: A
Handbook of Lunar Cycles, Lore, and Mystical Energies" is an exceptionally well organized and
presented instructional guide and manual that is especially and unreservedly recommended for
personal, professional, community, and academic library Metaphysical Studies collections.
Judy's Story: A Heavenly Love Story
L. R. Sumpter
Ozark Mountain Publishing, Inc.
PO Box 754, Huntsville, AR 72740
9781940265667, $11.50, PB, 120pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: What happens when we pass on to heaven? Those who remain in the material world
grieve and cope with the shock of their loss. But what do our departed loved ones experience?
What is death like for them?
"Judy's Story: A Heavenly Love Story" by L. R. Sumpter is one woman's story narrated by her
through a medium. She tells of her struggle to give up the material world and to adjust to her life
in heaven. She struggles with the fear of being sent to hell that she had from the religious
teaching of her childhood. She finally learns to be a joyful guide and healer for others.
Critique: Inherently fascinating, impressively informative, exceptionally well presented, "Judy's
Story: A Heavenly Love Story" is an extraordinary and unique contribution to the growing body
of After Life literature. While especially and unreservedly recommended for community and
academic library Contemporary Metaphysical Studies collections, it should be noted for personal
reading lists that "Judy's Story: A Heavenly Love Story" is also available in a digital book format
The Biography Shelf
Sidney Lumet: A Life
St. Martin's Press
175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010
9781250030153, $29.99, HC, 416pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: Broadly acknowledged as the ultimate New York movie director, Sidney Lumet (June
25, 1924 - April 9, 2011) began his astonishing five-decades-long directing career with the now
classic 12 Angry Men, followed by such landmark films as Serpico, Dog Day Afternoon, and
Network. His remarkably varied output included award-winning adaptations of plays by Anton
Chekhov, Arthur Miller, Tennessee Williams, and Eugene O'Neill, whose Long Day's Journey
into Night featured Katharine Hepburn and Ralph Richardson in their most devastating
Renowned as an "actor's director," Lumet attracted an unmatched roster of stars, among them:
Henry Fonda, Sophia Loren, Marlon Brando, Anna Magnani, Sean Connery, Ingrid Bergman,
Paul Newman, Al Pacino, Ethan Hawke, and Philip-Seymour Hoffman, accruing eighteen Oscar
nods for his actors along the way.
With the help of exclusive interviews with family, colleagues, and friends, author and biographer
Maura Spiegel provides a vibrant portrait of the life and work of this extraordinary director
whose influence is felt through generations, and takes us inside the Federal Theater, the Group
Theatre, the Actors Studio, and the early "golden age" of television.
From his surprising personal life, with four marriages to remarkable women (all of whom opened
their living rooms to Lumet's world of artists and performers like Marilyn Monroe and Michael
Jackson) to the world of Yiddish theater and Broadway spectacles, "Sidney Lumet: A Life" is a
biography that anyone interested in American film of the twentieth century will not want to
Critique: Exceptionally well written, impressively informative, enhanced with the inclusion of a
four page Filmography & Sources, a fourteen page Bibliography, and an eighteen page Index,
"Sidney Lumet: A Life" is an extraordinary, inherently interesting and unreservedly
recommended addition to both community and academic library 20th Century American
Biography collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Sidney Lumet: A Life"
is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $14.99).
Rachel Maddow: A Biography
Thomas Dunne Books
c/o St. Martin's Press
175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010
9781250298249, $28.99, HC, 288pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: Rachel Maddow is arguably the most popular and most watched political pundit in
television today. Maddow has beaten the odds in a way that's novel in today's America: she uses
In a world of banal and opinionated soundbites, she regularly crushes Sean Hannity's ratings
thanks to her deeply researched reports. And in our highly politically polarized world, Maddow
amiably engages the staunchest conservatives, while never hesitating to expose their
As a result, she's become the top anchor for MSNBC and a beloved representative for all that
progressive America holds dear. The news that Maddow was the first publicly self-acknowledged
lesbian to anchor a prime-time TV news show seemed almost anticlimactic to her millions of
viewers, who will be surprised and intrigued by little-known details of her life as revealed in
"Rachel Maddow: A Biography by Lisa Rogak.
Growing up in a conservative California town (and viewing herself as a perennial outsider)
helped spark an early interest in activism. After attending Stanford and Oxford, she opted for a
minimum-wage job as a radio DJ in a tiny Massachusetts market while finishing her Ph.D. She
planned to pursue a career as an activist, but 9/11 changed all that, so she returned to local radio
where she could help listeners by "explaining stuff." A stint at Air America raised her national
profile, which led to her groundbreaking MSNBC show where she dissects the news of the day
with an approach found nowhere else on TV.
Critique: Exceptionally well researched, written, organized and presented, "Rachel Maddow: A
Biography" is an impressively informative biography and unreservedly recommended for both
community academic library Contemporary American Biography collections. It should be noted
for the personal reading lists of the legions of Rachel Maddow fans that this biography is also
available in a digital book format (Kindle, $14.99) and as a complete and unabridged audio book
(Tantor Audio, 9781541418349, $39.99, CD).
The Automotive Shelf
Jeep Wrangler YJ 1987-1995: Performance Modifications
Don Alexander & Quinn Thomas
838 Lake Street South, Forest Lake, MN 55025
9781613254486, $32.95, PB, 144pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: More than 685,000 YJs were built from 1986 to 1995. They featured heavier wider leaf
springs, track bars, and sway bars for improved handling. A massive range of parts are offered
for these vehicles, which include lift kits, wheels up to 37 inches, larger brake rotors,
high-performance aluminum remote reservoir shocks, stronger driveshafts and U-joints, and
Dana 60 conversions.
In "Jeep Wrangler YJ 1987-1995: Performance Modifications", veteran author and automotive
expert Don Alexander covers the 4.0 engine, transmissions (automatic and manual), transfer
cases, axles, differentials, and driveshafts, steering boxes, brake upgrades, shocks, springs and
lift kits, chassis strengthening, and interior upgrades.
Whether you want to do some simple upgrades, such as a lift and tire combination, or want to go
all out with a rock crawler-style suspension and an engine swap, "Jeep Wrangler YJ 1987-1995:
Performance Modifications" will guide you illustrated step-by-step through the process.
Critique: Markedly comprehensive, exceptionally well written, profusely organized, impressively
organized and presented, "Jeep Wrangler YJ 1987-1995: Performance Modifications" is
unreservedly recommended for personal and professional collections. It should be noted that
"Jeep Wrangler YJ 1987-1995: Performance Modifications" is also available in a digital book
format (Kindle, $31.30).
The Jobs/Careers Shelf
Skyhorse Publishing, Inc.
307 West 36th Street, 11th Floor, New York, NY 10018
9781510749511, $16.99, PB, 192pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: As of 2019, eleven states and Washington, DC have legalized recreational marijuana
use with another twenty-two states having legalized medical marijuana -- and those numbers will
only continue to rise. Cannabis career opportunities are beginning to take off across the country
and beyond. In fact, Forbes noted the legal marijuana industry is projected to create more jobs
than manufacturing by 2020.
With the rise in legalization, virtually any job in the American market can be replicated in the
cannabis industry. From working in a dispensary to social media, IT to HR, marketing to quality
assurance, millions of future professionals are looking at cannabis as a future career path.
In "Cannabis Jobs: How to Make a Living and Have a Career in the World of Legalized
Marijuana", Andrew Ward (who has been covering the growing cannabis industry for over a
decade) shares the vast stretch of potential careers. In addition to job opportunities, Ward
supplies career growth, salaries, and first-hand knowledge from professionals who have made a
career in the field.
But as with any industry, there are pros and cons. While the market is expanding, every
profession has growing pains, and Ward explains them in detail. In addition to potential jobs,
Ward explores other options, such as freelancing and starting your own business. For those either
looking to find a new career or preparing to join the workforce, "Cannabis Jobs" offers the most
in-depth information available.
Critique: Impressively informed and informative, exceptionally well written, comprehensive and
thoroughly 'user friendly' in organization and presentation, "Cannabis Jobs: How to Make a
Living and Have a Career in the World of Legalized Marijuana" is unreservedly recommended
for personal, professional, community and academic library Contemporary Jobs/Careers
instructional reference collections.
The Graphic Novel Shelf
The Regiment: The True Story of the SAS
Vincent Brugess, author
Thomas Legrain, illustrator
c/o National Book Network (dist.)
4501 Forbes Boulevard, Suite 200, Lanham, MD 20706
9781849184465, $15.95, PB, 64pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: It's 1941 and almost all of Europe is under the Nazi heel. Great Britain is still holding
out, but the situation worsens with every passing day. And in North Africa, gateway to the
Middle East and its immense oil reserves, Rommel now threatens Egypt, keystone of British
defences. In those desperate times, three men (David Stirling, Blair Mayne and 'Jock' Lewes),
three unconventional officers, band together to create a small, elite unit that will become a
military legend: the SAS. "The Regiment: The True Story of the SAS" is their story.
Critique: Engagingly written by Vincent Brugess and brought to life with the artwork of
illustrator Thomas Legrain and colorist Elvire De Cock, "The Regiment: The True Story of the
SAS" is a compelling and unreservedly recommended addition to personal and community
library graphic novel collections. It should be noted that "The Regiment: The True Story of the
SAS" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle/comiXology, $8.99).
The Audiobook Shelf
Die Mommie Die
Charles Busch, author
Carl Andress, director
Lewis Flinn, music and songs
L.A. Theatre Works
681 Venice Boulevard, Venice, CA 90291
9781682660973, $28.95, CD, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: Angela Arden wants to be free of her suffocating marriage to film producer Sol
Sussman. What better way than poison! Distraught by her father's death and convinced of her
mother's guilt, Edith Sussman plots to get the truth out of Angela using any means necessary.
Charles Busch stars in the role he originated in this camp sendup where tongues aren't the only
thing dipped in acid.
Recorded before a live audience at the UCLA James Bridges Theater in May 2019, this audio
book edition of "Die Mommie Die" is directed by Carl Andress and features original music and
songs by Lewis Flinn. The Producing Director is Susan Albert Loewenberg and includes as cast
members: Charles Busch as Angela Arden Sussman; Mark Capri as Tony Parker; Willie Garson
as Sol Sussman; Ellis Greer as Edith Sussman; Jeffery Self as Lance Sussman; and Ruth
Williamson as Bootsie.
The Missing Girl and The Salt and Pepper Polka are performed by Mary Birdsong, music and
lyrics by Lewis Flinn.
Critique: Providing a true and authentic 'theatre of the mind' experience, "Die Mommie Die" is
unreservedly recommended and will prove to be an immediate and enduringly popular addition
to personal, community and academic library audio book collections. (2 CDs, 1 hour, 34
Children of Virtue and Vengeance
Tomi Adeyemi, author
Bahni Turpin, narrator
175 Fifth Avenue, Suite 315, New York, NY 10010
9781250309914, $39.99, CD, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: After battling the impossible, Zelie and Amari have finally succeeded in bringing
magic back to the land of Orisha. But the ritual was more powerful than they could've imagined,
reigniting the powers of not only the maji, but of nobles with magic ancestry, too.
Now, Zelie struggles to unite the maji in an Orisha where the enemy is just as powerful as they
are. But when the monarchy and military unite to keep control of Orisha, Zelie must fight to
secure Amari's right to the throne and protect the new maji from the monarchy's wrath.
With civil war looming on the horizon, Zelie finds herself at a breaking point: she must discover
a way to bring the kingdom together or watch as Orisha tears itself apart.
Critique: Expertly narrated by Bahni Turpin, this complete and unabridged audio book edition of
Tomi Adeyemi's novel, "Children of Virtue and Vengeance" is the attention riveting sequel the
first book in the Legacy of Orisha trilogy, "Children of Blood and Bone". Certain to be an
enduringly popular addition to both personal and community library audio book collections,
"Children of Virtue and Vengeance" is unreservedly recommended as a true 'theatre of the mind'
experience. (11 CDs, 13 Hours, 27 Minutes).
The Music CD Shelf
Love Themes for Solo Piano
$18.98 CD / $9.49 MP3 amazon.com
Love Themes for Solo Piano is a beautiful, original album composed by expert pianist Dan
Chadburn, who has trained extensively in both classical and modern music traditions. The songs
celebrate the boundless gift of love in its many forms. Some songs were traditionally composed;
others created in the moment and recorded as single takes; still others were improvisations once
improvisations in concert sessions, then transcribed to sheet music. Love Themes for Solo Piano
is a joyful treasure that nourishes the spirit, highly recommended. The tracks are "Starlit Waltz",
"Gentle Touch", "Cherished", "Stillness", "Newborn Joy", "Timeless", "Grounded", "Stars Above
Sedona", "Longing", "Reminsice", "Undconditional", "Grateful", and "Shalom".
$TBA CD / $9.49 MP3 amazon.com
Divine Passage is an original solo piano album by pianist, composer, teacher, and recording artist
Marshall Barnhouse. Crafted to reflect the timeless moments of one's divinely appointed passage
through the world, Divine Passage resonates with emotion, from the dawning of first love to
reminiscence of shining days past. A mellifluous treasure for solo piano connoisseurs, Divine
Passage is highly recommended. The tracks are "Divine Passage", "The Traveler", "All Grown
Up", "First Love", "A New Beginning", "All Joy", "As Time Goes By", "Remember", "Was it a
Dream", "Why Worry", "By the River", "Home Again", and "What We Leave Behind".
The DVD Shelf
Based on the novel by Helen Fitzgerald
Starring Jenna Coleman
c/o RLJ Entertainment
A Sundance Now Original Series, The Cry is a British psychological thriller on DVD based on
the novel of the same name Helen Fitzgerald. Complete in four episodes, The Cry follows how
the sudden disappearance of a young couple's infant son leads to withering public scrutiny, which
places unfathomable pressure on their relationship. Actress Jenna Coleman plays the starring role
of the mother, whose tenuous connection to reality erodes from the pain of loss and
condemnation. Intense and harrowing to the very end, The Cry is highly recommended. 4
episodes on 2 DVDs, 240 min., SDH subtitles.
Doc Martin series 9
Starring Martin Clunes
$39.99 DVD / Blu-ray
Available in both DVD and Blu-ray formats, Doc Martin series 9 continues the thoroughly
engaging medical drama about the ill-tempered medical practitioner responsible for the health
and well-being of a coastal British town. In series 9, Doc Martin's medical practice is jeapordized
by official scrutiny, due to his blood phobia. Doc Martin is forced to attend refresher courses -
beginning with phlebotomy. At the same time, his wife Louisa studies child psychology for her
own career, and worries that their son James might be a little too much like his surly father. Her
conclusion is that James needs a sibling! Additional life changes affect the lively town residents,
and the medical board contemplates whether it is time for Doc Martin's time as the village GP
should end, in this quirky, witty, yet ultimately heartwarming treat. Bonus materials include
behind-the-scenes featurettes about the characters, filming in Cornwall, the Large family business
ventures, trivia, and "Flip the Script" with Ian McNeice and Joe Absolom. While Doc Martin
series 9 is not rated, it should be noted that the series does have graphic medical situations. 8
episodes on 3 DVDs or 3 Blu-ray discs, 384 min., SDH subtitles.
The Political Science Shelf
The Turn to Industry
PO Box 162767, Atlanta, GA 30321-2767
9781604881103, $15.00, PB, 200pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: The proletariat is that class of wage-earners in an economic society whose only
possession of significant material value is their labor-power (how much work they can do). A
member of such a class is a proletarian. (Wikipedia)
"The Turn to Industry: Forging a Proletarian Party" by Jack Barnes (who is the National
Secretary of the Socialist Workers Party) is about the working-class program, composition, and
course of conduct of the only kind of party worthy of the name revolutionary in this current and
A Proletarian Part is the only kind of party that can recognize the most revolutionary fact of this
epoch -- the worth of working people, and our power to change society when we organize and act
against the capitalist class in all its economic, social, and political forms.
"The Turn to Industry" is specifically about building just such a party within the United States as
well as in other capitalist countries around the world.
Critique: Enhanced for the reader with occasional black/white illustrations, "The Turn to
Industry: Forging a Proletarian Party" is an exceptional and clarion call for political, cultural, and
economic reform that is especially focused upon the United States. As informed and informative
as it is thoughtful and thought-provoking, "The Turn to Industry" is unreservedly recommended
for both community and academic library Contemporary Political Science collections in general,
and in particular, the personal reading lists of students, academia, political activists, social
reformers, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject.
The Cookbook Shelf
The Little Women Cookbook
Jenne Bergstrom & Mike Osada
PO Box 3440, Berkeley CA 94703-3440
9781612439433, $19.95, HC, 192pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: A classic work of literature, "Little Women" is the story of these four sisters who, with
little means, find their own paths in a tale full of laughter, love, loss, and family. Now,
experience fans of Louisa May Alcott's famous novel in an entirely new and delightful way -- as
Following the recipes showcased in "The Little Women Cookbook", anyone can now learn to
make ice cream with Meg, molasses candy with Jo, baked squash with Beth, pickled limes with
Amy, and so much more. For a creative twist, these delicious step-by-step recipes are adapted
from vintage Civil War-era cookbooks for the modern kitchen.
"The Little Women Cookbook" is packed from cover to cover with beautiful color photographs,
timeless illustrations, favorite passages, historical trivia, and additional commentary by the
collaborative authors Jenne Bergstrom and Mike Osada -- who are also the founders of 36 Eggs,
the literary food blog.
Critique: A joy to simply browse through and ideal for planning truly memorable meals with,
"The Little Women Cookbook" is an engagingly unique and unreservedly recommended addition
to personal, family, professional, and community library cookbook collections. It should be noted
that "The Little Women Cookbook" is also available for personal reading lists in a digital book
format (Kindle, $14.49).
The Military Shelf
Loss and Redemption at St. Vith
University of Missouri Press
113 Heinkel Bldg., 201 S. 7th Street, Columbia, MO 65211
9780826221926, $34.95, HC, 374pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: "Loss and Redemption at St. Vith: The 7th Armored Division in the Battle of the
Bulge" by Gregory Fontenot closes a gap in the record of the Battle of the Bulge by recounting
the exploits of the 7th Armored Division in a way that no other study has. Most accounts of the
Battle of the Bulge give short-shrift to the interval during which the German forward progress
stopped and the American counterattack began. This narrative centers on the 7th Armored
Division for the entire length of the campaign, in so doing reconsidering the story of the whole
battle through the lens of a single division and accounting for the reconstitution of the Division
while in combat.
Critique: Exhaustively researched, "Loss and Redemption at St. Vith: The 7th Armored Division
in the Battle of the Bulge" is a detailed military history that reads with all the inherent
engagement of a deftly crafted novel. Enhanced for academia with the inclusion of a listing of
Formation Symbols, an informative Introduction and Epilogue, three appendices, a twenty-eight
page Bibliography, and a nine page Index, "Loss and Redemption at St. Vith" is unreservedly
recommended for both community and academic library World War II Military History
collections and supplemental curriculum studies. It should be noted for the personal reading lists
of students, academia, military history buffs, and non-specialist general readers with an interest
in the Battle of the Bulge that "Loss and Redemption at St. Vith" is also available in a digital
book format (Kindle, $19.22).
Whispers in the Tall Grass
1940 Lawrence Road, Havertown, PA 19083
9781612007755, $32.95, HC, 216pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: "Whispers in the Tall Grass" is the second volume of Nick Brokhausen's riveting
memoir of his time serving in Recon Teams Habu and Crusader, CNN, part of MACV-SOG.
These small recon teams, comprising Americans and indigenous Montagnards, conducted some
of the most dangerous missions of the war, infiltrating areas controlled by the North Vietnamese
in Laos, Vietnam, and Cambodia.
Picking up where his first memoir "We Few" left off, "Whispers in the Tall Grass" opens as the
war moves into a new phase. The enemy are using special formations to hunt recon teams and
missions are now rarely accomplished without heavy contact. Despite the teams' careful prep,
losses are mounting. More and more missions are extracted by Bright Lights until eventually
classic recon missions are almost impossible, and the teams briefly trial HALO insertion. Finally,
as the US prepares to withdraw, the teams undertake back-to-back missions directing air strikes
and disrupting supply lines to ease the pressure on the ARVN. Broken by the pace, but desperate
not to leave the Yards, Brokhausen is ordered to out-process, his request for extension denied,
and is forced to leave his friends and his brothers-in-arms behind.
"Whispers in the Tall Grass" follows Habu, Crusader and other teams as they undertake missions
in this new, deadlier phase of the war. The narrative veers from hair-raising to tragic and back as
the teams insert into hot targets, act as Bright Light for stricken teams, and play hard in between
missions to diffuse the ever-rising tension.
Brokhausen's account continues brings home the reality and the detail of operating for days
within mere meters of the enemy, and movingly convey the bonds that war creates between
Critique: Reading with all the inherent and riveting drama of a deftly crafted novel, "Whispers in
the Tall Grass" is unreservedly recommended for community and academic library 20th Century
American Military History and Contemporary American Biography collections in general, and
Viet Name War supplemental studies lists in particular. It should be brought to the attention of
all dedicated military history buffs and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the
subject that "Whispers in the Tall Grass" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle,
Just Another Day in Vietnam
Keith M. Nightingale
1940 Lawrence Road, Havertown, PA 19083
9781612007854, $34.95, HC, 264pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: Keith Nightingale's accomplishments in both military and civilian life largely
contribute to the excellence of "Just Another Day" in Vietnam as a front line memoir of unusual
depth as well as breadth.
Uniquely adopting a third-person omniscient point of view, Nightingale eschews the "I" of
memoir in favor of multiple perspectives and a larger historical vision that afford equal time and
weight to ally and enemy alike. Examples of the many perspectives based on real-life characters
include: Hu, a VC "informant" whose false information led the Rangers straight into the jaws of a
ferocious ambush; General Tanh, the COSVN commander; Major Nguyen Hiep, the 52d Ranger
Commander; and Ranger POWs later returned by the North.
Nightingale moreover offers the point of view of an American advisor to elite Vietnamese troops,
a vital perspective regrettably underrepresented in the literature of Vietnam, including Burns'
documentary. Added to this are well-informed conjecture of enemy psychology; insight into the
dedication and often misunderstood role of the elite Vietnamese Ranger forces; the intelligence
acquired from debriefing captured Rangers, whose captors had told them that the entire battle had
been a carefully staged attack planned by COSVN as part of a larger Total War strategy
developed by the leadership of the North Vietnamese Army; and an eyewitness account by a
gifted author who is a rare survivor of one of the most vicious (and heretofore forgotten) battles
of the war.
Critique: An information packed and inherently riveting read from cover to cover, "Just Another
Day in Vietnam" by Colonel Keith M. Nightingale (retired) will prove to be an enduringly valued
and appreciated addition to the growing library of Vietnam War histories and memoirs. While
especially and expressive recommended for both community and academic library 20th Century
American Military History collections in general, and Vietnam War supplemental studies reading
lists in particular, it should be noted that "Just Another Day in Vietnam" is also available for
personal reading lists in a digital book format (Kindle, $11.99).
Editorial Note: Colonel Keith Nightingale is a hard-core military man who wields a pen as
brilliantly as any weapon, and strategically deploys a full literary arsenal. Targeting our senses
with the sights, sounds, smells, textures, and even the tastes of war, his myriad of minute
physical details, visual similes, and extended metaphors invariably strike home. To quote
Pulitzer-Prize winner Tom Ricks, contributing editor to Foreign Policy: "If you want to know
about war, Keith Nightingale is your man." Nightingale's work is further endorsed by General
David Petraeus, General Volney Wagner, Susan Eisenhower, Emmy-winner Dennis Murphy, and
The Health/Medicine Shelf
Healing Trauma With Yoga
Blue River Press
c/o Cardinal Publishers Group
2402 North Shadeland Avenue, Suite A, Indianapolis, IN 46219
9781681577777, $19.99, PB, 224pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: "Healing Trauma With Yoga: Go from Surviving to Thriving With Mind-Body
Techniques" by Beth Shaw (president and founder of YogaFit Training Systems) is a thoroughly
user-friendly guide to learning about trauma sensitive yoga, who needs it, and how to implement
the practice. This book provides easy to understand, applicable, and valuable information for
many populations so anyone can embrace the gift of yoga. As our world grows smaller through
technology, we can grow more distant and alone. Tragedy seems to present itself as pervasive
and overwhelming, however armed with the many tools of yoga, we discover resiliency and
Trauma is an emotional response to an event like an accident, rape, or natural disaster. Trauma is
a subjective experience and represents a threat to personal safety physically, emotionally, or
mentally. Trauma activates our sympathetic nervous system (SNS), which is necessary and
important as a survival response. Trauma becomes a problem when it is chronic or so severe in
perception that the SNS is never turned back off. When the sympathetic nervous system is
continually activated, it rewires the nervous system and physical changes take place in the brain
and the endocrine system that make healing more challenging.
Chronic activation can turn into Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), a condition that can
cause serious physical and mental illness. Whether or not a trauma becomes a chronic stress
seems to be related to the intensity and severity of the incident and also to past trauma exposure.
This book will explore these changes and just how trauma gets stored in the body as well as offer
a trauma sensitive format of YOGAFIT as a body based program for healing.
Critique: Exceptionally well written, organized and presented, "Healing Trauma With Yoga: Go
from Surviving to Thriving With Mind-Body Techniques" is an ideal DIY instruction manual and
guide that is unreservedly recommended for personal, professional, community, college, and
university library Health/Medicine collections in general, and Yoga supplemental studies reading
lists in particular.
The Art Shelf
The Sporting Art of Eldridge Hardie
Eldridge Hardie, author & artist
5067 Ritter Road, Mechanicsburg, PA 17055-6921
9780811738392, $75.00, HC, 216pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: Eldridge Hardie has made a name for himself as a highly respected sporting artist,
capturing in watercolor and oil the heart-in-the-throat moments and the quieter times hunters and
fishermen live for. Hardie's art helps us see, feel, understand, and hold on to those times.
"The Sporting Art of Eldridge Hardie: Paintings of Upland Hunting, Angling, and
Waterfowling", is comprised of 150 paintings that are carefully and exquisitely reproduced and
documents Hardie's lifework. Hardie has painted every kind of sporting scene, including
Wisconsin grouse hunts, Atlantic salmon camps, southern quail plantations, angling waters in
Tierra del Fuego and Scotland, waterfowling on the Santee marsh and Chesapeake Bay, fly
fishing the Bahama flats, the Bighorn, Colorado, and South Platte Rivers.
Hardie has painted home rivers and close-to-home fields and destinations to dream for and in the
pages of "The Sporting Art of Eldridge Hardie" he recalls these times and the paintings that
capture them in descriptive text. Workbook pages of preliminary studies and notations from the
artist's workbooks are reproduced side by side with the paintings. These notes give a rare look
into the artist's creative process.
Critique: A beautifully produced coffee table style volume (12.4 x 1 x 10.3 inches), "The
Sporting Art of Eldridge Hardie: Paintings of Upland Hunting, Angling, and Waterfowling" is
inherently fascinating to simply browse through, one page at a time. Holding a very special
interest for outdoor hunters and anglers, "The Sporting Art of Eldridge Hardie" will prove to be
an immediate and enduringly popular addition to personal, community, and academic library
Contemporary American Art collections.
Editorial Note: For six decades Eldridge Hardie has worked at what he loves doing, painting his
passion for outdoor sport. His art has graced the pages of books -- his own and others, been
published in the pages of the finest sporting magazines, hung in North America's galleries and
private collections, and been shown in prestigious exhibitions.
The Parenting Shelf
Pilates For Parenting
Loving Healing Press
5145 Pontiac Trail, Ann Arbor, MI 48105
9781615994885, $27.95, HC, 86pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: "Pilates For Parenting: Stretch Yourself & Strengthen Your Family" by Holli Kenley is
a personalized workout regime for parents, guardians, those contemplating parenthood and
anyone else who is open to assessing their parenting attitudes and adjusting their approaches as
they strive to build stronger parent-child relationships.
When it comes to implementing healthy roles and tackling heavy responsibilities of being a
parent, Pilates For Parenting targets five strategic areas. The goals of the Warm Up, 3 Workouts
and Cool Down include: Increasing awareness regarding the importance of parenting;
Strengthening the skill of being present for children: Fortifying the skill of doing what is best for
children; Honing the skill of meeting children's needs; Increasing accountability as parents
become purposeful in their parenting.
Critique: Unique, informatively instructive, and thoroughly 'user friendly' in tone, commentary,
organization and presentation, "Pilates For Parenting: Stretch Yourself & Strengthen Your
Family" will prove to be an immediate and enduringly popular addition to family and community
library Parenting instructional reference collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists
that "Pilates For Parenting" is also available in a paperback edition (9781615994878, $17.95) and
in a digital book format (Kindle, $5.95).
The Gardening Shelf
You Bet Your Garden Guide to Growing Great Tomatoes
Fox Chapel Publishing Company
1970 Broad Street N., East Petersburg, PA 17520
9781497100756, $14.99, PB, 120pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: A complete guide to growing heirloom tomatoes, whether its in an entire backyard or
just a small dedicated space, this newly updated and expanded second edition of "You Bet Your
Garden Guide to Growing Great Tomatoes" by Mike McGrath is a fully illustrated instructional
guide dealing with tomato varieties, germination, planting, staking and caging, food, water,
maintenance, pest control and diseases, and harvesting.
With the help of "You Bet Your Garden Guide to Growing Great Tomatoes", novice gardeners
will understand the benefits of growing their own tomatoes, going well beyond the obvious fact
that they taste better.
Critique: An inherently fascinating and expertly presented compendium of tomato lore, expert
tips, tricks and techniques (all flavored with Mike McGrath's irreverent wit), "You Bet Your
Garden Guide to Growing Great Tomatoes: How to Grow Great-Tasting Tomatoes in Any
Backyard, Garden, or Container" is unreservedly recommended for personal, professional, and
community library Gardening instructional reference collections.
Editorial Note: Mike McGrath is editor-at-large for Organic Gardening and is the former
editor-in-chief. He writes a monthly column, "Mike McGrath's Tall Tales," and answers
questions on the magazine's website. McGrath's You Bet Your Garden airs weekly on National
Public Radio. He has made frequent guest appearances on NBC's Weekend Today and NPR's All
Asian Fruits and Berries
9781476675954 $29.95 amazon.com
Synopsis: From loquat to breadfruit to persimmon, Asian fruits and berries offer a dizzying
selection of tastes, techniques and associated lore. This guide provides descriptions, histories,
growing techniques and additional information about Asia's resplendent selection of fruits and
berries, with a full color photograph accompanying each entry. Their rich history and cultural
lore is presented in this practical guide to identifying, eating and growing the berries and fruits of
the Asian continent.
Critique: Asian Fruits and Berries is packed cover to cover with information about how to grow
an immense variety of Asian fruits and berries, along with their gardening and culinary history,
and extensive references. An index rounds out this excellent, information-laden, and reader-
friendly horticultural guide, enriched with a full-color photograph of virtually every featured
fruit. Highly recommended!
The Needlecraft Shelf
Weekend Makes: Crocheted Toys
The GMC Group
9781784945497, $22.95, PB, 144pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: "Weekend Makes: Crocheted Toys" by Emma Osmond presents 25 cute and colorful
toys to crochet with love for young children and babies. Perfect for using up remnants of yarn
and quick to make, needlecrafts be delighted with the results and so will their little ones! A
variety of toys and games are included, from tactile stacking rings and an adorable giraffe to a
practical stroller toy and educational number cubes - you'll want to make them all. There is even
a toy basket to store all your precious makes. The essential tools and techniques section means
that those new to crochet need not worry, these simple projects are achievable for all levels of
ability. Additional projects include: baby rattle, elephant toy, number cubes, caterpillar, memory
game, fishing game, and more!
Critique: Profusely illustrated throughout, "Weekend Makes: Crocheted Toys" is a complete
course of instruction that is thoroughly 'user friendly' in organization and presentation, making it
an ideal and unreservedly recommended addition to personal, professional, and community
library Needlecraft instructional reference collections.
Editorial Note: Emma Osmond was originally taught to knit and crochet by her grandmother, and
this wonderful skill has become her career. It was in the haberdashery department at Liberty of
London that her love of yarn was established. There she enjoyed teaching beginners' knitting and
crochet classes, which gave people the opportunity to take a handmade item home with them at
the end of the day. Now Emma creates beautiful patterns that are inspiring and enable others to
use their newly learned skills in different ways.
The Self-Help Shelf
The Clutter Remedy
New World Library
9781608686292 $15.95 pbk / $10.99 Kindle amazon.com
Synopsis: There are many valid approaches to creating neat and tidy spaces, but these approaches
tend to fail over time because they suggest that we dispose of our stuff, and most of us love our
stuff! Marla Stone's fresh and friendly approach, based on her work as both a professional
organizer and a former psychotherapist, goes beyond tidying up to offer the Clutter Remedy
strategy that will create spaces you love and keep you perpetually organized.
Marla walks you through a process of getting to know yourself and your values and then
visualizing your ideal lifestyle and optimal surroundings. From that perspective, you'll learn step
by step (and room by room) how to create your ideal lifestyle and organize your space to support
Critique: The Clutter Remedy: A Guide to Getting Organized for Those Who Love Their Stuff
lives up to its title as a user-friendly guide to de-cluttering one's home, lifestyle, and personal
space. Chapters address how get family members to put things back in their proper place, reliable
criteria for choosing what to keep and what to discard, how certain bad habits of thinking can
obstruct one's efforts to remain organized long-term, and much more. The Clutter Remedy is
ultimately an invaluable time-saver that will dramatically reduce the amount of aimless hours
spent looking for that one important item amid heaps of unsorted materials. Highly
recommended! It should be noted for personal reading lists that The Clutter Remedy is also
available in a Kindle edition ($10.99).
James A. Cox, Editor-in-Chief
Diane C. Donovan, Editor
Midwest Book Review
278 Orchard Drive
Oregon, WI 53575-1129
Site design by Williams Writing, Editing &