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M ARCH 2019

Your guide to self-publishing

Fighting the Commoditization of Books •
Book Cover Redesign • Indie Scouting Report •
First Lines from BookLife Authors • 89 New Titles Listed

A self-published romance
author makes her
characters earn their
happy endings

uring the eight years Meghan March
worked as a corporate lawyer, handling
mergers and acquisitions, she sought
refuge in reading and writing romance. She’d
never thought seriously about becoming a
full-time author, but, while looking for a new
professional path, she told her career coach
that she was working on a book. Her coach
set her a deadline, and the challenge lit a fire.
“After that, I was hooked,” March says. “Story
ideas flowed constantly, and I knew that
becoming a full-time author was my new goal.”
About 18 months after March self-published
her first book, 2014’s Flash Bang—which her
media manager, Donna Soluri, describes as
“a postapocalyptic ménage romance”—she

I value each and every one of

my readers, because they’ve
made this journey possible.
To date, she has published more fight to achieve,” she says. “The
than 30 titles and sold millions more intense the struggle, the
of copies in multiple languages. more memorable the novel.”
© weston carls

March wr ites acros s several March says that “writing the

Meghan March series, including the Beneath absolute best books possible is
and Dirty Girl books and the Dirty always my number-one strategy
quit her corporate job and, she Billionaire, Forge, Mount, Savage, for success,” but she adds that
says, “never looked back.” and Sin trilogies. She also has a she has learned, through some
For March’s ravenous fans, it’s number of standalone novels. intense trial and error, a few best
a good thing she didn’t. She fol- March says her characters bring practices for promoting her books.
lowed Flash Bang with the first the real spice to her storytelling She focuses on making connec-
book in her popular Beneath and are the ingredient that lies tions with readers through social
series: Beneath the Mask (2014). at the heart of any great romance. media and Amazon Marketing
“A good portion of my characters Services ads, but feels that real-
storm into my brain fully devel- world interactions with readers
oped on impact,” she says. “Many and word-of-mouth advertising
times, it feels like they’re already are critical to her success.
real and have just been waiting March notes that she relies on
for the perfect moment to intro- the support of “an awesome com-
duce themselves to me so they munity of super fans” to spread
can start demanding I write their book-related news. In turn, she
story.” listens to and nurtures her fan
Other characters first come to base: “I value each and every one
March as questions. For example, of my readers, because they’ve
she says, “What if there was a made this jour ney possible.”
woman who wanted to run away Beyond smartly using available
from her life?” From there, she marketing tools, she says she
asks more and more questions, finds that “my genuine excite-
until a character begins to emerge. ment about what I’m writing is
“I focus on creating intriguing, one of the best tools for promotion.”
multifaceted, and layered char- March encourages writers who
acters. Readers find it easy to are considering self-publishing
connect with them because they’re their work to tap into their busi-
flawed and human. And then I ness savvy by putting on their
put them through hell.” CEO hats and embarking on the
Though that may sound cruel, j o u r n ey w i t h a we l l - sto ck e d
March believes that her charac- arsenal of “grit and determina-
ters come alive through challenge tion.” It’s not the right path for
and perseverance. “No happy ever yone, but, for March, the
ending can be as sweet as the sweetness of success is well
one two beloved characters must worth the fight. ■

48 B O O K L I F E , M A R C H 2 5 , 2 0 1 9

Cover Redesign
This month, Michelle Argyle at Melissa Williams Design
reimagines the cover of Loathly, by indie author Erica
Forrest, who called the redesign “everything romantic and
elegant that I couldn’t ever produce with my own talents.”
To submit a book for a free cover redesign, email us at booklifeeditor@booklife.com. Original Cover

The original
Making the cover has good
author’s name balance, but the
dark purple colors feel off
helps draw the for the genre.
eye to the title. Making the girl’s
A lighter color dress and cape
would be too a dreamy purple
distracting. really makes
the cover pop.

It’s easy
to overdo
on a cover.
The lettering
here is ornate The cover needs
and could to immediately
compete with convey a sense
the background of fairy tale
image, so I and fantasy. I
gave the colors accomplished
and textures a this with color
minimal silvery scheme, image,
appearance. and typography.

B O O K L I F E .C O M 49

Smart indie authors can combat the
devaluation of e-books caused by
Kindle Unlimited


he mere thought is at once repulsive and by the cost of production. If farmers can’t turn
terrifying: books as commodities. After all, profits at the given market rate for their products,
a book is the original divine creation of its they stop producing those products. When farmers
author, right? stop growing, supply decreases. This then causes
We typically think of commodities as undiffer- prices to stabilize or increase to the point where
entiated products such as corn or wheat. To a new growers are incentivized to enter the market.
consumer looking for flavor and nutrition, one For decades now, most writers—even traditionally
kernel of corn is the same as another. Though published writers—have maintained day jobs to
higher-quality corn can command premium prices, make ends meet. This means authors are person-
the price ceiling is ultimately determined by what ally subsidizing the publishing industry by continu-
the market is willing to pay for a given product. ing to write books that don’t pay the bills.
In this respect, books are similar to any other Would we expect farmers to work for free? Certainly
commodity. Books are delivery vehicles for reading not. Yet many writers will continue writing even
pleasure. Although each book is unique, the primary if there’s no money in it. Though one writer may
reason readers purchase books—reading pleasure— write for the joy of writing and another to afford
can be measured and commoditized. groceries, both require readers. And price is often
If we divide the hours of reading pleasure one the determining factor for finding readers.
book offers by its price, we can create a simple Imagine two five-star e-books of equal length in
metric: cost per hour of reading pleasure. This the same genre by authors of equal brand stature.
metric allows one book’s pleasure-delivery poten- If one is priced at $4.99 and the other at $9.99,
tial to be compared to another’s. most readers will gravitate toward the lower-priced
Readers are unlikely to consciously intellectual- option. This is how indie e-book authors have
ize their cost per hour of reading pleasure. Yet this captured such sizable market share over the past
metric guides consumer behavior much as gravity 10 years: by offering high-quality books at low
guides water to flow downhill. In a marketplace of prices. But now indies are learning the limits of
interchangeable options for pleasure, consumers low prices.
will gravitate toward the best-quality option with In my example above, imagine that a third book
the lowest price, whether that quality is measured of equivalent quality and desirability is thrown
by brand, average review, or word of mouth. into the mix, except that it can be read for what
How low can prices go? With agricultural com- feels like free. And then imagine a single retailer
modities, the price floor is ultimately determined controls nearly 80% of the e-book market and

50 B O O K L I F E , M A R C H 2 5 , 2 0 1 9

actively encourages its customers to read for free Here’s how indie authors can prevent
rather than purchase copies. commoditization of their valuable intel-
Imagine no more. This is what’s happening with lectual property:
Kindle Unlimited, Amazon’s e-book subscription 1. Produce premium products. Quality and craft
service. Kindle Unlimited users can read more matter. Elevate the true and perceived qualities of
than one million books for free as part of their a book through professional editing, beta readers,
monthly subscriptions. The ser vice is almost and professional cover design. The greater the
entirely powered by indie authors who’ve made quality, the higher the price the book can command.
their books exclusive to Amazon by enrolling in 2. Don’t underprice: readers will pay for quality.
KDP Select. The e-book sweet spots for quality bestselling
full-length indie fiction are typically $3.99 and
Kindle Unlimited causes significant $4.99, and $7.99 to $9.99 are good prices for qual-
devaluation on two fronts: ity nonfiction.
1. Amazon is training the world’s largest community 3. Avoid exclusivity. When indie authors make their
of readers to expect five-star reading experiences books exclusive anywhere—even for a short time—
for what feels like free. This makes readers reluc- it undermines their ability to build readership at
tant to pay for books, which harms sales. other stores. Exclusivity makes the author vulner-
2. Because Kindle Unlimited decouples book price able to exploitation when a single retailer controls
from author compensation, it means that Amazon the author’s access to readers. True independent
has stripped authors of pricing power and can pay authors publish, price, and promote with complete
them less. freedom. ■

Mark Coker is founder of Smashwords and host of the Smart Author podcast.

Scouting Report
In this month’s roundup of the best-reviewed BookLife
titles, we highlight a historical romance, a medical thriller,
a historical novel, a guide to monastic spiritual practices,
and more.

★ The Monk Within ★ Comes the

Synopsis: Lanzetta delivers
a stimulating and encourag- Synopsis: Lena and Evan are
ing vision for new monastic both grieving when they
movements in this fine meet in 1886 Sawtooth City,
book. Idaho, in this pitch-perfect
PW’s Takeaway: Written in historical.
an engaging tone and PW’s Takeaway: Rich
sprinkled with relatable descriptions and entertain-
parables, Lanzetta’s book ing... This cozy tale will
will be indispensable for readers interested in surely delight historical romance fans.
monastic spiritual practices. Comparable Title: Rosanne Bittner’s Capture My
Comparable Title: Yogi Cameron’s The Yogi Code Heart
Sample Line: “I imagine that for many of you—as Sample Line: ”The wagon lurched sideways as
it was for me—the call to be a monk, to seek silence the sour-faced, bewhiskered driver hit yet
and solitude, was in your heart from early another deep rut along the narrow mountain
childhood.” road.”
Read the Review: Read the Review:
publishersweekly.com/9780984061655 publishersweekly.com/9781973282006

★ The Not Quite 355

Private Life Dead KIT SERGEANT
of Jane DAWN HARRIS Synopsis:
Maxwell SHERLING Sergeant’s
JENN GOTT Synopsis: A first- enthralling series
year intern must launch highlights
Synopsis: The origin investigate the the emotional
story of comics writer turned circumstances surrounding her turmoil of American patriots
superhero Jane Maxwell. boyfriend’s admission to the ICU. and British loyalists.
PW’s Takeaway: Fans of superhero PW’s Takeaway: Sherling’s atten- PW’s Takeaway: Sergeant’s rivet-
stories are sure to be tion to detail makes suspension ing narrative will entice history
entertained. of disbelief easy. buffs and lay readers alike.
Comparable Title: Perry Moore’s Comparable Title: Robin Cook’s Comparable Title: Mary Calvi’s
Hero Charlatans Dear George, Dear Mary
Read the Review: publishers- Read the Review: publishers- Read the Review: publishers-
weekly.com/9780990891444 weekly.com/9780578400921 weekly.com/9781981196739

52 B O O K L I F E , M A R C H 2 5 , 2 0 1 9

First Lines
BOOKWOKS_HALF_V_0715_Layout 1 7/24/15 10:10 AM Page 1

Uncle and Ants

“Be careful what you wish for when
Our monthly look at some of the best you’re ten years old because it just
might come true.”
first lines by BookLife authors
The Reclusive Writer & Reader
This month we’ve got ice cream, murder, of Bandra: Essays
and looks that kill. To submit a first line, FIZA PATHAN
email booklifeeditor@booklife.com. “My father didn’t want me because I
was a girl.”

Tigra II Calling allEmpire

Iras of the
“The albino was not happy.” Indie
“She Authors
saw it with her eyes closed.”

What can BookWorks do

Mage’s Apprentice No Goodfor you:
“On the day her parents were mur- “If looks could kill, I’d be dead, and
dered, Aspen discovered ice cream.” ● HelpSelena
You Find Your
Carson Reader
would be arrested for
● Post Excerpts from Your Book
Q&A SPONSORED for Peer Review
BookLife Talks with ● Get a Featured Author Cover
Maura O’Leary Medallion for Your Book
Angel messenger and new
author O’Leary debuts with a ● Chat With Our Experts
fun, inspirational novel about
● Showcase and Sell Your Books With
these divine emissaries. can BookWorks do
What Direct-to-Retailer for you:
How did you come to write When Angels Play Poker?
More than five years ago, I traveled to Cape Elizabeth, ● Find
• Help you the
Your Editors,
Reader Designers,
Maine, for a weekend. I brought a journal with me Illustrators, Marketers,
• Post Excerpts from Your Book for andPeer Review
with no intention of starting a novel. The first night Publicists in the Business
• Get a Featured Author Cover Medallion for
I was there, images and dialogue just came into my
Your Book
head. I realized that I was being divinely guided to
• Chat
And that’s just for starters
With Our Experts
write When Angels Play Poker. Let us help you Prepare, Publish and Promote
How do you imagine Heaven and Earth in When • Showcase and Sell
your books. Your Books
We show you how With
to make
Angels Play Poker? Direct-to-Retailer
I did not have this story in my head or these images
indie publishingLinks
easier and, yes it’s true —
• Find the Best how
Editors, Designers,
to make it fun. Illustrators,
and characters in my mind before I started writing.
They are purely my imagination, based on the visuals Marketers, and Publicists in the Business
I saw. They just came to me suddenly, almost like
automatic writing. One thing that was very clear,
though, is that angels are not bored in heaven. They
have a job to do: to protect, guide, and love us every JOIN NOW!
day. They are just waiting for us to ask for their help!
For the complete interview, visit booklife.com/oleary

B O O K L I F E .C O M 53

Ask the adverbs, simplify your

descriptions, and then take
is even harder. But once you get
the hang of it, you’ll be amazed

out all sentences, paragraphs, at how much more effective
scenes, chapters, and, yes, your novel can be.
even characters that are not Tracy Kidder and Richard Todd

Editer absolutely essential.

Do you have too many sub-
plots? Can you eliminate one
put it this way, in Good Prose:
“Of the things we have learned
in revising, perhaps the most
A veteran editor or two without weakening important is the concept of
your plot? Go ahead and see sacrifice. Sometimes passages,
answers your writing what happens. even chapters, characters, or
questions And ask yourself why the themes, that are perfectly good
story got so complicated in the in themselves must go for the
BY BETTY KELLY SARGENT first place. Are you trying to good of the whole.”
include too much of what you
Dear Editor: learned in your research? Did

P eople tell me my novels are

too complex. What should I
do? —Fred S.
you just become so intrigued
with the ex-husband of the pro-
tagonist that you let his story Betty Kelly Sargent is the
dominate too much of the plot? founder and CEO of BookWorks.

O mit needless words, for

starters. That’s what Strunk
and White suggest for all prose,
You might take another look at
your outline and do some revis-
ing. Leaving things out is hard,
If you have a question for the
editor, please email Betty Sargent
and few would disagree. Lose and learning what to leave out at booklifeeditor@booklife.com.

54 B O O K L I F E , M A R C H 2 5 , 2 0 1 9


New Titles from

Booksellers, publishers, librarians, and agents are encouraged to look at the 89
self-published titles below. Each appears with a list of retailers that are selling the
book and a description provided by its author. Some of these writers are waiting to
be discovered; others have track records and followings and are doing it on their
own. If you are a self-published author interested in listing titles in this section,
please visit publishersweekly.com/pw-select for more information.
Fiction B07KBH28JB to blame for the breakup.
Alternative Facts Amazon, Baker & Taylor, BN.com, BookBaby,
Publius Valerius Poplicola. U.N.I.T. Books-a-Million, Ingram, Powell’s La Jolla Shores
Publications. $15 paper Retired billionaire Martin Mueller believes Murders: A Bishop
(219p), ISBN 978-1- the prison he’s an inmate of is in the Bone Mystery
71988-073-2 basement of his country estate and that Robert Rogers. Robert G.
Alternativefacts-book. his mission in life is to alter the course of Rogers. $9.86 paper
com, Amazon human evolution. (422p), ISBN 978-1-
Set in a dystopian soci- 983070-16-7
ety that parallels our The Interview Amazon, BN.com
own, this novel bears Roger Spielmann. Joshua A party in a wealthy enclave north of San
witness to its downward spiral from the Tree Publishing. $19.95 Diego ends with a murdered hostess.
present day through 2052 via slice-of- paper (255p), ISBN 978- Bishop Bone takes the case at the request
life vignettes. 1-941049-90-7 of ex-client who is being blackmailed.
Amazon, BN.com, Indigo
Death and Other Things: Stories What would you do if Little Girl Leaving:
Kimberly LaRocca. Kimberly LaRocca. $6.99 you had the chance to A Novel Based on a
paper (88p), ISBN 978-1- hang out with Jesus Christ for 24 hours True Story
79425-245-5 in the present day? Lisa Blume. Illumine. $16
Amazon paper (362p), ISBN 978-
In this collection of In the Doghouse: A Couple’s Breakup 0-692-10406-4
short stories, the many from Their Dog’s Point of View Amazon, BN.com
facades of death are Teri Case. Teri Case. $26 hardcover (350p), Based on a true story
examined, occasionally ISBN 978-0-9997015-2-2; $15.99 paper and told from the first-person, present-
with a wry and back- (392p), ISBN 978-0-9997015-3-9 tense perspective of the child, this novel
ward glance and occasionally through Amazon, Apple iBooks, BN.com, Kobo presents various forms of child abuse and
gut-wrenching horror. Skip is a rescue dog who loves living how children are forced to confront them.
with John and Lucy. But
Inside the Mind of when John leaves Lucy, No Ordinary Man:
Martin Mueller Skip’s world is turned Obsession Defined
EA Luetkemeyer. upside down. Skip is This Soldier’s Secret
BookBaby. $14.99 paper determined to guide Double Life
(150p), ISBN 978-1- Lucy through her iden- Nicky Webber. Media
5439-5040-3; $2.99 tity crisis, but he’s Publishers. $15.99 paper
e-book, ASIN guarding a secret: he’s (306p), ISBN 978-0-

B O O K L I F E .C O M 55

9582314-1-1 ISBN 978-0-595- Mystery/Thriller
Amazon 44996-5 Betrayed
Mick’s secret double life throughout Amazon Eve DeLange. Xlibris. $19.99 paper (126p),
WWII continued after he returned home During a hike in the ISBN 978-1-984559-
in 1945. This true story explores this mountains, Lauren 37-1; $3.99 e-book,
courageous ANZAC soldier’s fight for runs into John, an ISBN 978-1-984559-
survival. engaging fellow with a 41-8
disarming smile who Amazon
A Place, a Warrior, a Boy, and the claims to have been sent to answer all of FBI agents Ragetti
Atlantic Charter his questions—about life and anything and Smitty set out to
G.W. Canning. else. piece together clues
AuthorHouse. $20.99 that lead them to solving two cases at
paper (262p), ISBN 978- Poetry one time.
1-5462-4588-9; $3.99 In the Cradle of Silence: Inner and
e-book, ISBN 978-1- Outer Journeys Through Beauty, Pain, The Case of Billy’s Missing Gun
5462-4589-6 Laughter, Reverie and the Infinite S.J. Slagle. S.J. Slagle. $9.99 paper (143p),
Amazon Gary Siegel. Epigraph ISBN 978-0-463-90055-0; $2.99 e-book,
The worlds of two young men on Books. $17.95 paper ASIN B07NL87J6T
opposing sides of WWII collide as (168p), ISBN 978-1- Amazon, Apple iBooks,
British and American leaders meet in 948796-52-1 BN.com, Kobo
Newfoundland, desperately searching Amazon, BN.com Supersleuth Lucy
for peace. A poetic journey James is hired to find
through inner and the Colt pistol that
Remove This Cup: But Not My Will outer aspects of life. may have belonged to
H.L. Grey. Dorrance Publishing. $16 paper Each chapter is a self-contained flow of Billy the Kid. Be care-
(198p), ISBN 978-1-4809-9116-3 differing material. ful what you wish for—a smoking gun
Dorrancebookstore.com conceals the truth. The Kid is back.
The Studebaker family Poems and Other
of Houston confronts Nonsense Chaos at Crescent City Medical Center:
the right and wrong Dexter Satterwhite. The Alexandra Destephano Medical
in today’s issues of Xlibris. $19.99 paper Thriller Series, Book One
gender, race, religion, (168p), ISBN 978-1- Judith Lucci. Bluestone Valley Publishing.
and politics. Are they 984511-91-1; $3.99 $15.99 paper (373p), ISBN 978-1-5122-
permanently divided, e-book, ISBN 978-1- 7163-8; $4.99 e-book, ASIN B00AU2KHPG
or can they find common ground? 984511-92-8 Amazon
Amazon A New Orleans attor-
The Surgion’s Mate Satterwhite’s view of life and the human ney’s Mardi Gras takes
Gerald Stulc. First Edition Design Publishing. experience written in poetic verse and a bloody turn when the
$24.95 hardcover (318p), ISBN 978-1- lines. wife of Louisiana’s
5066-0957-7 governor is discovered
Thesurgionsmate.com, What Luck unconscious and cov-
Amazon Suzanne O’Connell, illus. by Jeffrey O’Connell. ered with blood.
A historical fiction Garden Oak Press. $16.95 paper (137p),
drama of adventure, ISBN 978-1-73237-532-1 Death at Crooked Creek
romance, intrigue, and Amazon, BN.com, Powell’s Mary Ann Cherry. Mary Ann Cherry. $14.99
medicine during the A collection of con- paper (399p), ISBN 978-
Napoleonic Wars, trasts: 85 poems, some 1-72459-299-6
involving a young man’s ambition and erotic, some gritty, each Amazon, BN.com
quest for his family. mining the eccen- A tractor draped with
tricities of small an advertising banner
A Walk with John: moments and making struck Jessie
The Power of Love and Hate the commonplace O’Bourne as a fun way
Lauren Ball. iUniverse. $10.95 paper (116p), memorable. to promote Montana’s

56 B O O K L I F E , M A R C H 2 5 , 2 0 1 9


Crooked Creek Art Expo, until she saw small, isolated, and backward town in a Jim is a simple man with a simple plan—
the bullet holes in the back window. Communist totalitarian state, amid hos- until fate takes him on a journey to another
tility, discrimination, injustice, and poverty. place and time. His logs tell of a danger-
The Desire Card ous serial killer. As of today, Jim is still
Lee Matthew Goldberg. The Last missing.
Fahrenheit Press. $13.99 Chance Lawyer:
paper (309p), ISBN 978-1- A Daniel Pike Novel Venice Beach: A Novel
912526-35-2 William Bernhardt. Emily Gallo. CreateSpace.
Fahrenheit-press.com, Babylon Books. $14.99 $12.95 paper (344p), ISBN
Amazon paper (344p), ISBN 978- 978-1-5054-5621-9
Any wish fulfilled for the 1-948263-36-8 Abebooks, Alibris, Amazon,
right price: that’s the promise the card Amazon BN.com
gives to its elite clients. But the price may Lawyer Daniel Pike agrees to handle a Finn, a hard-drinking
be more menacing than they could ever simple adoption but soon discovers con- and cantankerous Irish
imagine. nections to a much larger conspiracy writer, is in the midst of a downward spi-
involving Florida gangs, Salvadoran ral. After his wife’s death, he finds him-
The Destiny Relic cartels, politics—and murder. self penniless and is forced to move in
Ed Mitchell. California Coast Publishing. with his daughter.
$15.95 paper (312p), ISBN 978-0- A Mutual Addiction
9668447-1-9; $9.99 e-book, ISBN 978-0- Mary Widdicks. Outmanned Publishing. SF/Fantasy/Horror
9668447-8-8 $14.99 paper (316p), The 21st Centuryon
Amazon, Apple iBooks, ISBN 978-1-73297- Clay Moor. AuthorHouse. $13.95 paper
Baker & Taylor, BN.com, 620-7; $4.99 e-book, (392p), ISBN 978-1-
Kobo, OverDrive ISBN 978-1-73297- 58721-955-9; $4.95
Hank Cameron is the 621-4 e-book, ISBN 978-1-
most hated and most Amazon, Apple iBooks, 5246-5480-1
hunted man in the BN.com, Kobo Amazon
Middle East. He’s For Cressida Dunhill, Moor’s tale tells why,
been framed for stealing a religious relic dreamless sleep is like dying every night. in the author’s view,
that could end or inflame warfare around Then she meets Vee and realizes a America is a jumble of
the world. mutual addiction might save her dreams. overlapping neuroses culminating in
But at what cost? herd psychosis. It also mirrors the
Fat Chance events of the society from years ago.
R.J. Leahy. R.J. Leahy. The Scribe’s Deceit
$2.99 e-book, Michael Berens. Cognition
ASIN B00B3DROPW MJBerens Research. Jacques St-Malo. Ballista
Amazon $2.99 e-book, ISBN Press. $15.29 paper
Wisecracking New 978-1-73204-052-6 (342p), ISBN 978-0-
York City PI Sean Amazon, Apple iBooks, 578-44629-5; $5.14
McDermott is coerced BN.com, Ingram, Kobo e-book, ASIN
into helping solve a missing persons The sudden death of B07M6V9Y21
case in rural New Mexico. an old priest and the discovery of a mys- Amazon
terious ancient fragment send a young World powers compete to control the
The Jew: Novel Based on a True Story woman and her mother on a life-chang- genetics of intellect, and a man’s DNA
Dominik Poleski. Xlibris. $15.99 paper ing adventure in the Judaean desert. holds a key piece of the puzzle.
(252p), ISBN 978-1-
5245-8308-8; $3.99 The Toy Maker’s Key Darkness on the
e-book, ISBN 978-1- (Every Now and Then) Horizon
5245-8309-5 J. Monroe McCoy. Christopher Renna.
Amazon Dorrance Publishing. Christopher Renna.
This is a survival story $21 paper (338p), ISBN $10.99 paper (295p),
of a Jewish teenager 978-1-4809-9283-2 ISBN 978-0-578-
and his mother in a Dorrancebookstore.com 44403-1

B O O K L I F E .C O M 57

Amazon, Apple iBooks, BN.com, Scribd as no more than ani- Amazon, BN.com
Two friends offer Morgan the love he mals under the law. Lady Catherine, ban-
doesn’t receive at home. Soon he learns Kalin Taylor has never ished to the country-
their dark secret. Because of his love for questioned this, until side as a useless girl
them, it’s a secret he promises to keep. one day he ends up on with a lame leg, inher-
the other side of that its a secret family title.
Kairos (Quest for a New World #2) fence. But one reckless deci-
Donald Morgan Edwards. Xlibris. $19.99 sion from the past may
paper (238p), ISBN 978- Prophecy of a Planet: The Meeting ruin her chance at happiness.
1-984530-12-7; $3.99 Anthony B. Smellie. Xlibris. $15.99 paper
e-book, ISBN 978-1- (88p), ISBN 978-1- Rock Hard (Chord Brothers #1)
984530-11-0 984571-67-0; $3.99 M.J. Roberts. Eminent Press. $4.99 e-book,
Amazon e-book, ISBN 978-1- ISBN 978-0-463-58395-1
Edwards is back with 984571-66-3 Amazon, Smashwords
a story of survival as Amazon, BN.com, Books- Drummer Ryder Chord
eight individuals and a-Million, Powell’s has avoided feelings
their children struggle to establish a Matoca makes an since the tragedy.
human colony on a distant planet. agreement with the Now Lexi tests his
Dark One to take control of Icka. Four clans reserve and sanity.
NanoMorphosis find out and get together to stop him. Rule #1 of bands: you
Marla L. Anderson. Wolfheart Press. $18.99 never sleep with your
paper (432p), ISBN 978-0-9963249-2-2; Retrospect friend’s sister when they’re both in the
$3.99 e-book, ASIN Bryan DeMinico. Balboa band.
B07C74RTJR Press. $22.99 paper
Amazon, BN.com (362p), ISBN 978-1- Nonfiction
Daniel Walker’s ambi- 982220-18-1 640 Acres and Dirt Poor
tion to colonize a new Amazon, Apple iBooks, Janet Godwin Meyer. AuthorHouse. $28.99
world risks the life of BN.com paper (590p), ISBN 978-1-5462-0555-5;
the woman he loves In the year 3421, $3.99 e-book, ISBN
and turns an unscru- human, novus, and alien races coexist. 978-1-5462-0554-8
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mined foe. Agent Jonah to investigate stolen codes In her memoir, Meyer
capable of crippling an artificial Earth- argues that working
P.I.N.T.S. (Perpetrators Initiating like planet. hard has its great
Natural Tolerance Selection): The Blood advantages, especially
Books, Vol. 1 Romance/Erotica when the same values
T. Harris. Theresa M. Harris. $19.99 paper Double Wow are passed and practiced from one gen-
(376p), ISBN 978-0- Shellie Green-Baker. Xlibris. $19.99 paper eration to another.
692-09446-4 (174p), ISBN 978-1-
Amazon 984509-36-9; $3.99 An Affair with Beauty—The Mystique of
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Jane enters the 984509-37-6 Illusions
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verdict regarding forgiveness has abductor only to have Amazon, BN.com
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Chandler Christy
Project Tau The Portrait returns to life through
Jude Austin. KDP. $3.13 e-book, ASIN Cassandra Austen. Apollo Grannus Books. the eyes of his wife
B01MF6X57D $14.99 paper (337p), ISBN 978-1-73251- and former model
Amazon, Apple iBooks, BN.com, Kobo 580-2; $4.99 e-book, ISBN 978-1-73251- Nancy, who inspires him to create his
Clones (known as Projects) are viewed 581-9 vision of beauty, the “Christy Girl.”

58 B O O K L I F E , M A R C H 2 5 , 2 0 1 9


Always My Hero: The Road to Hope & Death to Life: From Liberty to Magnolia: In Search of
Healing Following My Brother’s Death Memoirs of Wendy the American Dream
in Afghanistan Adams Janice S. Ellis. Christian Faith Publishing.
Renee Nickell. Lifewise Books. $29.99 hard- Wendy Adams. Balboa $37.95 hardcover
cover (288p), ISBN 978-1-947279-70-4; Press. $17.99 paper (428p), ISBN 978-1-
$18.99 paper, ISBN (260p), ISBN 978-1- 64114-753-8; $22.95
978-1-947279-69-8 5043-0725-3 paper (428p), ISBN 978-
Amazon, BN.com, Amazon 1-64114-751-4
Books-a-Million This memoir shares one woman’s jour- Amazon, BN.com, Books-
When a Marine was ney from a troubled life to becoming a a-Million
killed in action, his warrior for God. Ellis recounts the jour-
sister realized that ney of an African-American woman over-
siblings are often A Dream for Peace coming racism and sexism in America.
forgotten, fighting through PTSD with Ghoulem Berrah. Ghoulem Berrah
no support. She exchanged sorrow for Foundation. $29.99 paper (644p), ISBN 978- God Must Think I’m
strength to find hope. 0-578-46076-5 A Bad Ass
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Battles of Texas BN.com, Google Play Essence Unique. $8.22
Joseph P. Regan. Xlibris. $19.99 paper Freedom fighter for e-book, ASIN
(306p), ISBN 978-1- the Independence of B07GTB76VN
5434-4456-8; $3.99 Algeria, man of sci- Amazon
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5434-4457-5 the Yale School of stricken with an incurable brain disorder.
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This book is an anthol- bring about world peace in this memoir. her life is turned upside down. But she
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in Texas from 1758 to Endless Days
1874 and is for readers with an interest Jayne McGregor. Xlibris. I’m Alive: A Near
in Texas or military history. $19.99 paper (114p), Death Encounter, an
ISBN 978-1-984555- Out of Body
The Book of Enlightenment 46-5; $3.99 e-book, Experience
Don. Dorrance Publishing. $9 paper (32p), ISBN 978-1-984555- Jeannette Foltz. Dorrance
ISBN 978-1-4809- 83-0 Publishing. $10 paper
6040-4 Amazon (42p), ISBN 978-1-
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both theoretically and ex-wife cooks up a scheme that lands something beyond this world.
mathematically, with the woman in jail.
the aim of helping readers overcome Inviting Muslims to
doubts and evolve to enlightenment. Family Terror Christ: Including
Networks Quotations and
Creating Stories Dean C. Alexander. Commentary from
Hank Quense. Strange BookBaby. $14.99 paper the Bible and Quran
Worlds Publishing. (264p), ISBN 978-1- Randall Ireland. Middle
$4.49 e-book, 5439-5323-7 East Religious Studies
ASIN B01MZ6E3EM Amazon Foundation. $15 paper
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depth both story design and story- A message to Muslim believers that
telling. encourages them to compare the Bible

B O O K L I F E .C O M 59

and Koran, presented in a narrative of struggled with a physical disability, 1-4809-8701-2
mutual respect for each faith. which covers surgical procedures and Dorrancebookstore.com
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The Irreducible Primary: A Dialogue on within the hospital initiated changes. tations on God’s love and purpose for
Nature, Spirituality, and the Human humankind. They encourage readers to
Condition Let’s Make a Contract: Getting Your discover God in their own lives and how
Rob Taylor. Rob Taylor. Teen Through Substance Abuse to rise up and be an overcomer.
$2.99 e-book, Ann Schiebert. Andrew
ASIN B07JQLCFK6 Benzie Books. $16.95 Memories of a Devil:
Amazon paper (280p), ISBN My Life as a Jesuit in
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lenge to perspectives Amazon, BN.com Chester Fabisiak. Danuta
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A Layperson’s Guide to Legal Research and Christ drew them together during all Amazon
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literature with reviews of 800 titles in 85 4525-8315-0; $3.99 e-book, ISBN 978-1- $18.99 paper (466p),
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Charlene McIver. Amazon
Charlene McIver. $25 Making Sense of God This book challenges the standard
paper (170p), ISBN 978- in This Chaotic World Western worldview while exploring the
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Amazon, BN.com, James Hammond and and destiny.
Booktopia, Kobo Joseph Hammond.
A biography of the Dorrance Publishing. $9
author’s son, who paper (34p), ISBN 978-

60 B O O K L I F E , M A R C H 2 5 , 2 0 1 9

Power to Pray: God’s Immense (114p), ISBN 978-1-5320-
Purposes for Our Simple Prayers 4623-0; $3.99 e-book,
Don Andreson. WestBow Press. $13.95 paper ISBN 978-1-5320-4624-7
(168p), ISBN 978-1- Amazon
4497-4818-0 Skaarup aims to help read-
Amazon ers learn how to achieve
The Bible is filled with any goal and create suc-
stories of people who cess in any career field.
prayed and saw amaz-
ing results. The aim of This Day’s Joy
this book is to increase Gina Prosch. Lohman Hills
faith in everyone, so that God can act on Creative. $14.99 paper
Earth as in heaven. (386p), ISBN 978-1-
A Professor and CEO: True Story Amazon, Apple iBooks,
Richard T. Cheng. Xlibris. $25.99 paper BN.com, Kobo
(704p), ISBN 978-1- This micro-memoir, culled
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e-book, ISBN 978-1- a prescription for a more joyful life.
Amazon Unadorned in Love, in Bed, or Bedding:
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Resilience Amazon, BN.com
Tricia Morrison. Tricia This book is a collection
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this tumultuous and complex world. Think About Practically
Revolutionary Carlotta G. Holton.
Powercycles: The Dorrance Publishing.
Science of Sweat $16 paper (202p), ISBN
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Success Philosophy: Standing on the Removing Masks, Reclaiming Identity,
Shoulders of Sleeping Giants Restoring Relationships, Reinventing
Daniel J. Skaarup. iUniverse. $13.99 paper Leadership, Reaching the World

B O O K L I F E .C O M 61

Cynthia K. Stiverson. iUni- A Circle of Sharks: The Secret List Hello, My Name Is Bunny! London
verse. $20.99 paper Kelly Tully. Filiorum Publishing. $7.99 paper Matt Bloom, illus. by Pippa Mayell. Matt
(312p), ISBN 978-1- (112p), ISBN 978-0-9994315-7-3; $4.99 Bloom. $21.95 hard-
5320-4126-6; $3.99 e-book, ISBN 978-0-9994315-8-0 cover (80p), ISBN
e-book, ISBN 978-1- Amazon, Apple iBooks, BN.com, Ingram, Kobo 978-0-9976425-1-3
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Amazon has come to life for bloom.com, Amazon
Stiverson shares the 10-year-old Ren Foxes in peril? No
story of Woven Women, a sisterhood of Singerson, and he will problem. Bunny
love that helps women find support have to find the cour- Bloom to the res-
through a ministry with Christ. age to save himself cue. This is the tale
and the creatures that of a small kitty with a big heart who’s
Children’s/YA scare him the most. finally found her fur-ever home and is
Ace Carroway and the Great War paying forward her good fortune.
Guy Worthey. CreateSpace. $7.99 paper (112p), Exile of the Sky God
ISBN 978-1-976482-39-7 P. Anastasia. Jackal Moon Kennedy and Her Bink/
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ney of self-discovery with extraordinary Maureen Sky, illus. by Maricella Obando Moya.
The Adventures of Vince the Cat: Vince revelations. Xlibris. $15.99 paper (24p), ISBN 978-1-
Discovers the Golden Triangle 5434-7677-4; $3.99 e-book, ISBN 978-1-5434-
Heidi Bryant. Ipsum Farmer’s Son, Military Career 7678-1
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cover (55p), ISBN 978-1- Publishing. $17.95 paper Kennedy loves her bink—her pacifier—
9993312-3-8; $6.42 (334p), ISBN 978-1- and brings it everywhere. However, as
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www.catnapstories.com Vold sought life beyond for a soft blanket.
Vince, Heidi, and Jon what he knew. Answering
journey to India, where they visit beautiful the call, he serves 30 Not Gonna
sites, experience a Hindu festival, sample years with honor in the U.S. Air Force and Write Poems:
the delicious cuisine, and eventually dis- achieves the distinguished rank of chief A Poetry Book for
cover the Golden Triangle. master sergeant. All the Non Poets
Michael A. Lee, illus. by
Aki & Paris (A True Story) Gularian Islands Michael and Jessica
Mimi Chester. AuthorHouse. $20.99 paper Tracey C. Ayres. Balboa Lee. Lulu. $27.98
(38p), ISBN 978-1- Press. $10.64 paper hardcover (124p),
5462-4134-8; $3.99 (196p), ISBN 978-1- ISBN 978-1-4834-
e-book, ISBN 978-1- 50431330-8 9712-9; $11.97 paper, ISBN 978-1-4834-
5462-4133-1 Amazon, Booktopia 9565-1
Amazon A holiday ends in a Apple iBooks, BN.com
This is the real story plane crash on a A collection of whimsical poetry and
of an American fam- remote island where strange things are drawings for children and adults of all
ily of a mom, a dad, happening. ages.
an adopted white
puppy, and a rescued Maine coon kitten.

62 B O O K L I F E , M A R C H 2 5 , 2 0 1 9

Olyvianna: The Incontinent Octopus
Cindy Graves, illus. by Mark Ruben
Abacajan. Xlibris. $21.99 paper (30p),
ISBN 978-1-5434-6368-2; $3.99
e-book, ISBN 978-1-5434-6369-9
A young octopus learns to control
her ink by releasing it, thus gaining
control by expression, rather than repression.

Sassie’s New Home

Erin Albright, illus. by Alexandra Hombs. Albright Creative. $22.95 hard-
cover (20p), ISBN 978-0-578-45681-2;
$14.95 paper (20p), ISBN 978-0-578-
Amazon, BN.com
This story helps children deal with pet
loss. Lanie’s beloved dog, Sassie, dies.
Lanie’s mom explains what heaven is
like for dogs and Sassie’s important
new job in heaven.

Smeagull the Seagull: A True Story

Mark Seth Lender, illus. by Valerie Elaine Pettis.
Seahouse Press. $25 hardcover (56p), ISBN
Smeagulltheseagull.com, Amazon
This is the true story of a wild herring gull
who knocks on the door to be fed. When
Smeagull disappears, it makes clear what an
important family member he has become.

Sophia and Leo Save the Day

S.M. Scarlet. S.M. Scarlet. $9.99 paper
(32p), ISBN 978-1-79525-591-2
Amazon, BN.com
Sophia and Leo couldn’t wait to start
their winter adventures together.
When they find out the animal rescue
shelter will close down in a few days,
they know they have to help save it.

Timothy Mean and the Time Machine

William A.E. Ford, illus. by Marcelo Simonetti.
William Ford. $9.99 paper (26p), ISBN 978-1-
Amazon, BN.com
Timothy goes on a magical rhyming
adventure as he skips through time and
pranks with pirates, gets daring with
dragons, and even teases a T. rex. ■

B O O K L I F E .C O M 63

Fiction for each other, and Tenor breaks his cardinal nary person, until her new neighbor, Aedan,
rule for her. But after an ex of Mia’s tries to a vampire, changes her entire world. This
make Tenor believe she’s not genuine in her narrative is standard paranormal romance
Alex feelings for him, his fixer steps in and fare: a special woman falls for a brooding,
Adam Nicolai. Lone Road, $3.99 e-book intimidates her into agreeing to stay away handsome, and otherworldly man while
(304p) ISBN 978-0-9849264-1-1 from him—until Tenor finds out. Me (The learning secrets about her heritage and
At first blush a tense psychological Mentor and the Master) carefully and sympa- trying to stop a killer. The unique element
drama, this debut comes undone with a lack thetically handles the attempted sexual is the worldbuilding, which dives into
of suspense. Grieving father Ian Colmes assault, although some readers might find faerie lore—Lara is of the Daoine Sidhe
tries to come to terms with his five-year-old the vivid scene distressing. Scorching sex, faerie lineage—while complicating vam-
son Alex’s death, which is not easy to do as well-developed characters, occasional pire lore. Lara and Aedan are both stock
Alex has been haunting him for the six bursts of humor, and skillful plotting make characters, and in order to justify him being
months since he was murdered. The Me’s series launch a must-read. possessive and overprotective, the story
haunting plagues Ian, spilling over into the alternates between playing up her consider-
rest of his life and further straining the rela- Broken able powers and making her conveniently
tionship between him and his estranged Nicola Haken. Nicola Haken, $3.49 e-book weak. There is also a very unpleasant rape
wife. As Alex’s presence grows more insis- (344p) ASIN B01CEUZT40 scene that will put some readers off. Fans of
tent, there is no doubt in Ian’s mind that his Haken’s sympathetic romance builds a paranormal romance who like the comfort
son’s phantom is trying to tell him some- relationship between Theodore Davenport, of familiarity will enjoy this series opener.
thing, and it may be linked to the disap- a new employee of Manchester’s Holden
pearance of another man’s child. While House publishing company, and his myste- ★ Comes the Winter
Nicolai paints a moving portrait of a grief- rious boss, James Holden, who inherited the (Sawtooth Range #3)
stricken family, the eventual buildup of company from his father three months Samantha St. Claire. River’s End, $9.95 trade
suspense is overwrought. Although Ian before. Upon first meeting at a gay club, the paper (308p) ISBN 978-1-973282-00-6
wrestles with the idea that seeing his dead two men enjoy anonymous, drunken sex in Lena Sommer and Evan Hartmann are
son may be all in his head, it is established the bathroom. However, once Theo realizes both grieving lost loved ones when they
too early that ghosts dictate the course of who James is, he takes umbrage at his boss’s meet in 1886 Sawtooth City, Idaho, in this
the plot. Readers will appreciate Nicolai’s arrogant and patronizing attitude. James pitch-perfect third Sawtooth Range his-
atmospheric writing, but may be let down woos Theo, who refuses to have sex with him torical (after High Valley Promise). Mail-
by the predictable twists. again until they know each other better. order bride Lena hopes to leave tragedy
They eventually give in to their desires, behind when she travels west, but when she
American Asshole becoming quite intimate and falling in love. arrives in Sawtooth City, she learns that her
(Bachelor International, Book 1) Then James reveals that he has bipolar dis- hoped-for husband, Mr. Nash, has died.
Tara Sue Me. After Six, $3.99 e-book (236p) order and a history of cutting and suicide When Lena decides to stay and run Nash’s
ASIN B07FDNNJJB attempts, and Theo has to figure out how to boarding house, his boarders—including
Erotic romance fans will swoon for Me’s be in a relationship with someone so mercu- fellow mail-order bride Jessie Leach, whom
sizzling enemies-to-friends tale of two rial and self-destructive. In chapters alter- Lena befriends—agree to help her. Only
dating agency bosses who find love with nating Theo and James’s perspectives, Haken quiet loner Evan disagrees, and he warns
each other. After Dee Matthews dies in a car balances the love and tenderness with epi- Lena that she should leave soon, before
crash, her daughter, Mia, co-owner of Cross sodes of James’s pain. The depiction of winter arrives. The two butt heads, but Lena
My Heart, a Boston-based boutique dating mental illness, including a situation that is determined to learn the ways of life in
agency, finds out that Dee had taken out a lands James in the hospital, is nicely handled, Sawtooth and find a connection with Evan,
$250,000 loan—from Tenor Butler, owner and readers will have no trouble believing who intrigues her even as he pushes her
of Cross My Heart’s biggest competitor, that love will win out in the end. This is a away. Where loss has driven Lena to fierce,
Bachelor International. As Mia is unable to sensitive and thoughtful story of love taking near reckless independence, it leads Evan to
repay Tenor, he says he’ll forgive the loan if root and flourishing against the odds. caution. Rich descriptions and entertaining
she closes Cross My Heart and goes to work characters bring to life the beauty and
for him. Reluctantly, she agrees, taking the Cerridwen’s Tears struggle of life in the 19th-century West.
opportunity to investigate why Dee needed Sharilyn Skye. Dark Horse Publishing, $4.99 This cozy tale grounded in the everyday will
all that money. Tenor has long had feelings e-book. (323p) ISBN 978-0-9600159-0-0 surely delight historical romance fans.
for Mia, but has a strict policy of not getting Skye’s debut novel suffers from a few mis-
involved with employees. On a business trip steps but ultimately builds a fun world with The Darkest Hour (Surrender #4)
to Atlanta, Mia runs into an old acquain- clear plans for a series. Lara Hennessey is a Lauren Smith. Lauren Smith, $4.99 e-book
tance, who tries to sexually assault her, and nurse and widow living outside of (262p) ISBN 978-1-947206-53-3
Tenor comes to the rescue. The two fall hard Baltimore. She thinks she’s a perfectly ordi- Fossil smuggling, BDSM, and heart-

B O O K L I F E .C O M 63a
stopping run-ins with the Russian mob McCarron does a fine job of keeping up with Ashoka leads Hannibal’s elephant corps
power Smith’s taut, well-characterized the events surrounding the disappearances through skirmishes and trials over the Alps
fourth Surrender novel (after The Gilded and Yarrow and Bray’s inner challenges as and into Italy during the Second Punic War
Chain). Teaching assistant MacKenzie they grapple with the past and what needs (218–201 BCE). Once the elephants die,
Martin is grading papers for her sexy to be done for the future. There’s plenty here brought down by wounds or disease,
mentor and boss, paleontologist Dr. Royce for fans of character-focused fantasy quests. Hannibal releases and rewards Ashoka, who
Devereaux, at Long Island’s Hampstead eventually makes his way home. Berger
University when thugs break into the office. Foresight (and Other Stories) describes each location with care, from its
They threaten her, hoping to use her as Brant von Goble. Loosey Goosey, $4.95 trade natural environment to the customs of its
leverage to force Royce to authenticate a paper (135p) ISBN 978-0-9820991-8-6 people, giving his tale a certain vibrancy.
valuable velociraptor fossil. After Kenzie All the stories in von Goble’s neat collec- Readers interested in the ancient world, and
makes a daring escape, Royce directs her to tion feature characters who are desperate to specifically ancient warfare, will find much
meet him at the BDSM club where he make a connection in an inhumane world. to savor here.
spends his Saturday nights. He whisks her “They Don’t Call It Love Anymore” chron-
first to his mansion and then to Russia to icles the loves of migrants who enter Going Over the Falls
keep her safe from the thugs’ boss, soulless America long after Trump has built a wall Amy Waeschle. Aviva, $19.95 trade paper
human trafficker and fossil smuggler on the border with Mexico. Von Goble’s nod (346p) ISBN 978-1-944335-72-4
Vadym Andreikiv. In between bouts of to Lovecraft in his reference to the U.S. gov- Waeschle’s novel sustains a heady level of
great, kinky sex, mayhem ensues, making ernment as the “Yuge Ones” is equal parts tension with its story of a young doctor who
long-term survival somewhat unlikely. But horrifying and delightful. “Foresight” has a passion for surfing and a guilty con-
when all seems lost, Smith cleverly brings relates a supercomputer’s misguided science. While on a surfing trip in Fiji,
in the cavalry. Although some scenes of attempts at understanding humanity. Lorna Jacobs receives a call from a resident
graphic violence are unpleasant to read, “Glorious Ukrainian Bride Wants YOU!” who works with her in the ER of the
they make it clear that Andreikiv is thor- is the pinnacle of the collection, describing University of Washington Medical Center.
oughly evil, making it easy for readers to the long con of an American man in his Lorna’s mother, Alex Morneau, whom Lorna
cheer for his downfall. At the end, Smith quest to find a romantic partner on the other hasn’t seen in the years since completing her
tantalizingly whets the reader’s appetite for side of the globe. This tale best exhibits von degree, has arrived in the Seattle ER with a
the next book, which promises to be every Goble’s dry wit and unflinching examina- mysterious illness. Before Lorna can decide
bit as gripping as this satisfying tion of the possible futures of Western whether to return to Seattle, Alex leaves the
installment. society. Relationships are bungled, feelings hospital, disappearing from Lorna’s life
and intent are misconstrued, and absurdity once again, and Lorna continues her vaca-
Division of the Marked and profundity mingle. These dystopian tion. She struggles against the bitterness
March McCarron. March McCarron, $2.99 visions will unsettle even the most jaded she has long felt toward her absent mother
e-book (362p) ASIN B00E2QYVLM reader. despite their shared love of surfing,
McCarron manages to successfully bridge insisting that she’s “through chasing her
modern ideals and an ancient world in this Four Nails down.” Nevertheless, curiosity compels her
coming-of-age tale. On the day of Da Un G.J. Berger. G.J. Berger Publishing, $16.95 to start hunting for clues to where Alex may
Marcu, 50 teenagers receive marks on their trade paper (398p) ISBN 978-0-9883982-4-5 have gone, and the subsequent adventures
necks and are forced to leave their homes Berger’s well-researched and richly imag- are filled with troubles, epiphanies, and
and family to become part of the Chisanta, ined historical opens in 227 BCE India and romance. An unfortunate number of clichés
people with supernatural abilities. At first, follows the life of Ashoka, a young elephant is offset by what is otherwise engaging
Yarrow Lamhart and Bray Marron struggle trainer sold into slavery by his family and prose, and the fast pace of the story and
to understand what it means to shoulder the sent to Carthage to fight in war. Ashoka is beguiling surfing descriptions will keep
responsibilities of becoming Chisanta. the younger of two sons in a warrior caste readers turning the pages. It isn’t necessary
Years later, when the number of marked family that runs an elephant camp in central to be a surfer to stay submerged in this tale,
children begins to dwindle, it is up to India; he’s sent with Syrian traders on a long and the ending is as satisfying as the tanta-
Yarrow and Bray to unravel the conspiracy journey westward. On the way, they stop at lizing ride.
behind the disappearances. Unfortunately, the town of Exhandahar where Ashoka
the passing of years has driven a wedge trains and then sets free the supposedly mad Improbable Botany
between the two, and what was once an ami- elephant that he names Four Nails. From Edited by Gary Dalkin. Wayward, $8.99 e-
cable friendship has turned into hostility, Carthage, after years of slavery working in book (263p) ISBN 978-1-99977-151-5
aided by the split of the Chisanta into two the elephant camp of Senator Mintho, Commissioned by the Wayward design
rival groups. Though the pacing and char- Ashoka is sent to New Carthage in Iberia. collective to explore “what excites and
acter development can get awkward at There, he is reunited with Four Nails, intrigues us about the future—the limitless
times, especially with the large time jump, whom Hannibal himself names Surus. potential of the biophilic city,” this unfo-

63b B O O K L I F E , M A R C H 2 5 , 2 0 1 9

cused anthology clings to outmoded science characters who, while at times amusing, unabashedly guilt-tripping, refers to as
fiction and horror formulas without real- still maintain their terrifying aura of “throwing away [her] heritage”) or fails, the
izing that mission. Nine U.K. authors and unleashed fury. bakery will be sold and closed, with pro-
one American offer broadly plant-themed ceeds going to charity rather than Leah’s
but rarely futurist short fiction. The In Pain and Blood: beloved grandmother. Ben helps Leah with
stronger stories are rich with atmosphere: A Spellster Novel the company, unaware that Morty is trying
Ken MacLeod’s “The Bicycle-Frame Tree Aldrea Alien. Thardrandian, $5.99 e-book to matchmake from beyond the grave.
Plantation Manager’s Redundancy” exudes (720p) ASIN B076PTBTMC Enhancing a touching portrayal of grieving,
melancholy dignity; Stephen Palmer’s irre- Uncovering one’s identity, confronting Jackson smoothly includes details of Jewish
pressible “You Bringers of Oxygen” grafts bigotry, and forging intimacy are issues at rituals and traditions around death. Many
revolutionary politics and predatory archi- the heart of this impassioned fantasy side characters lack development or consis-
tecture onto a shimmering version of romance series launch from Alien (Golden tency, but there are enough plot twists and
London; Tricia Sullivan’s poetic “Who Dawn). In the kingdom of Demarn, spell- sexual tension to keep the narrative moving.
Lived in a Tree” measures aging slowly in a ster (magic user) Dylan joins the king’s The dynamics among Leah, her mother, and
fast world sincerely and seriously. Weaker army to see the world beyond the oppressive her Italian mobster stepfather are clichéd
entries merely plug plants into standard tower where he grew up. Military service but effectively portray the complications in
technological narratives—Justina Robson’s comes with the price of having his magic blended families. This is an enticing story
woman-shaped fruits in “Strange Fruit” are controlled by a handler via a special collar. about love, family, and tradition.
undifferentiated from sexbots—or lapse On Dylan’s first outing with the army, he is
into characters explaining the story idea, as ambushed and breaks his collar; this leaves Not Quite Dead
in Simon Morden’s “Shine” and Eric him at the mercy of the Hounds, an elite Dawn Harris Sherling. Dawn Harris Sherling,
Brown’s Lovecraftian “The Ice Garden.” task force who apprehend uncollared spell- $12.99 trade paper (297p) ISBN 978-0-578-
The lineup, meanwhile, shows only cursory sters. Tracker, the Hound who finds Dylan, 40092-1
efforts at diversity: the near parity of gender brings him back to the tower only to find Autumn Johnson, the heroine of
only highlights the similarities of the many its inhabitants slaughtered. The pair race to Sherling’s impressive first novel, endures
white perspectives. These futures break warn the capital city about the attack; along long hours in the ICU at Boston Memorial
little new ground but will appeal to readers the way, Dylan uncovers shocking informa- Hospital as a first-year intern. Her onerous
who enjoy riffs more than paradigm shifts. tion about himself and his kingdom, and he duties leave her little time to spend with her
and Tracker begin to forge a romance new boyfriend, Jay Abrams, a medical stu-
The Interloper despite the many social and practical obsta- dent involved in diabetes research. The pro-
Dave Zeltserman. CreateSpace, $15 trade pa- cles. A well-crafted narrative about self- fessional and personal intersect after a seri-
per (332p) ISBN 978-1-4992-1614-1 acceptance is tucked away inside of a grand ously ill patient with heart problems who’s
Ex-soldier and unemployed former adventure with lots of well-executed bat- brought into intensive care while Autumn
liquor salesman Dan Willis, the hero of this tles, though the endeavor is bogged down is on duty proves to be Jay. Despite the
action-packed, darkly witty thriller from somewhat by excessive sex scenes and a heroic efforts of a senior resident, Jay, whose
Zeltserman (Husk), joins a newly created wandering plot. ailment is undiagnosed, remains near death.
government department of Homeland Autumn’s relationship with him leads the
Protection known as the Factory, which has Leah’s Choice hospital to give her some time off, which she
“extraordinary powers to deal with the Patricia M. Jackson. Patricia M. Jackson, spends trying to track down what caused his
insidious and imminent threat to the coun- $4.55 e-book (255p) ASIN B07H6QN2TP condition. A prologue suggests the answer
try’s survival.” After three months of Romance, secrets, and corporate sabotage with its introduction of an unscrupulous
training, his superiors dispatch him to the combine in this heartwarming story about doctor who falsifies his studies of the effects
Boston area to carry out his job as an keeping things in the family. When Leah of a new weight loss drug to conform with
assassin. After a score of hits, Willis begins Loven’s grandfather Morty dies, she’s the requirements of the pharmaceutical
to suspect that some of his targets aren’t shocked by the terms of his will, disclosed company funding his work. Sherling’s atten-
terrorists, and when he investigates them in a video that his lawyer shows only to her. tion to detail makes any suspension of dis-
more fully, he realizes he’s been duped and In order to inherit Morty’s Jewish bakery in belief easy. Robin Cook fans will enjoy this
must stop the Factory’s mission. Willis slips Philadelphia, Leah is required to serve as intelligent medical thriller.
into the underworld of crime to bring in CEO for 12 months, turn a profit, and be
money, using the subversive skills gleaned happily married before that year is up—ide- Only the Good: A Jack Hart Mystery
from his training and some of the Factory’s ally, Morty suggests, to operations officer Rosemary Reeve. Rosemary Reeve, $12.99
electronic tracking devices. Things seldom Ben Stratton, who is conveniently hand- trade paper (285p) ISBN 978-1-982989-21-7
proceed as planned, and chaos erupts when some and kind. Leah is also required to keep Reeve’s enjoyable third whodunit fea-
an “interloper” gets one of Willis’s criminal these terms secret from everyone, including turing Seattle attorney Jack Hart (after No
colleagues in his sights. Zeltserman creates Ben. If she refuses (which her grandfather, Good Deed) finds Jack handling a lawsuit

B O O K L I F E .C O M 63c
against insurance company American A Recipe for Love: off after Nigel’s betrayal. Green masterfully
Fidelity. A paper mill owned by one of that A Lesbian Culinary Romance illustrates Eliza’s deep, unwarranted shame
company’s clients, Squalicum Paper Lucy J. Madison. Labrador, $16.95 trade pa- and heartbreakingly portrays the unforgiv-
Products, was leaking processing chemicals per (234p) ISBN 978-0-9998796-4-1 able but common sneering often doled out
into Bellingham Bay, which Washington In this tender late-in-life romance from to sexual assault victims. Angus, a gruff
State ordered the paper company to clean Madison (Personal Foul), two women must hero with a heart of gold, will ensnare
up. After American Fidelity refused to pay trust their hearts to each other after giving readers. Blistering explicit sex peppers this
for the cleanup, because SPP had knowingly up on love. Retiree Danika lost her partner tale, but it’s the emotion that will stick with
polluted the bay, SPP sued. Jack’s defense to cancer; shortly after, her beloved father readers long after the final page is turned.
case appears in good shape after an SPP also died. Pulling herself out of grief,
employee concedes having been aware of the Danika decides that 55 years old is a good Russian Treasures
ongoing pollution. That changes when he age for reshaping her life, and she begins by Elvira Baryakina. Elka Palka Production,
learns that the SPP mill burned down the expanding on her love of cooking by taking $14.90 trade paper (470p) ISBN 978-1-73258-
night following his deposition, that its a culinary class. There she meets Finn, a 400-6
owner was killed in the fire, and that the woman for whom she instantly feels an With its cloak-and-dagger intrigue, this
dead man, coincidentally, was Jack’s attraction she thought was no longer pos- first book of the Russian Treasures series
estranged father, who abandoned Jack when sible. Shortly after their first night together, reveals the woes of bourgeois lovers who are
he was five. Jack becomes a suspect in the Finn abruptly leaves and cuts off commu- thrust into poverty, chaos, and despair
murder—and in a subsequent attempted nication completely. Danika moves on with during the Bolshevik revolution in 1917
murder that occurs after he meets his building her new life while struggling with Russia. Klim Rogov, 29, an Argentinian
father’s other family, which includes four the loss, not knowing what is happening in journalist and scion of a Russian noble
half-sisters. Reeve admirably balances char- Finn’s life or the pain that Finn is trying to family, returns home to claim his inheri-
acter development and tense plotting. protect her from. This setup makes it hard tance. He intends to return to Buenos Aires
to believe that Danika and Finn have had and avoid the political unrest between Tsar
★ The Private Life of Jane the opportunity to fall truly in love, but Nicholas II and the Bolsheviks—until he
Maxwell mouthwatering descriptions of food (with falls in love with the young, captivating
Jenn Gott. Jennifer Gott, $3.99 e-book (348p) recipes included) compensate for the snags widow Countess Nina Odintzova. The civil
ISBN 978-0-9908914-4-4 in the plot. Readers will wish they could sit war brings turmoil; Klim and Nina face
Gott (The Lady of Souls) kicks off her in Danika’s kitchen and will hope for her violence and a constant struggle for food,
superpowered Hopefuls series with the and Finn to find joy together. shelter, and safety. Amid fighting between
exhilarating origin story of comics writer the White Army and the Red Army, a
turned superhero Jane Maxwell, aka Rewritten (Bound #7) typhoid outbreak, crumbling social con-
Captain Lumen. Jane is recently widowed Bronwyn Green. Bronwyn Green, $3.99 e-book ventions, and betrayal, Klim and Nina sur-
and has just been fired from her dream job (271p) ASIN B075QX9C77 vive: Klim as an interpreter and gambler
at Quantum Zero Comics. Her old friend The seventh Bound BSDM-themed and Nina as a flax mill owner, until private
Cal introduces her to a group of costumed erotic romance (after Safeword Protected), property is banned. They live for a while in
heroes shockingly similar to those in her continuing a series that Green cowrites the home of Klim’s controlling cousin,
comic Hopefuls, which she based on games with Jessica Jarman, is a gut-wrenching tale Lubochva, and her Bolshevik lover, until
played by her childhood friends. Fleeing of love and redemption between two dam- Klim and Nina attempt a daring escape to
from a surprise attack by mutant raptors, aged souls who manage to make each other China. Fans of historical fiction, particu-
Jane is transported to a parallel world whole. Reserved assistant editor Eliza larly that set amid the Russian Revolution,
almost identical to her own, save for two Burrows is assigned to mind bestselling yet will be rewarded with highly dramatic
vital facts: her friends (and parallel Jane) are moody sci-fi writer Angus Domhnull, prose and excellent period details.
the superheroes they pretended to be as whose books kept her going during a very Baryakina provides surprising twists and
kids, and her late wife is alive. Original Jane dark period in her life. While grappling turns and a cliffhanger that will leave
has been recruited by this universe to fill in with writer’s block and the pressures of readers eager for the next book.
for her missing counterpart in the battle fame, Angus quickly begins to be intrigued
against a deadly supervillain. But she by, and then attracted to, the emotionally ★ The Shadows of Stormclyffe
doesn’t have an ounce of power to her fragile Eliza. What Angus doesn’t know at Hall
name—or so she thinks. Gott aims true in first is that Eliza’s fragility is directly Lauren Smith. Lauren Smith, $3.99 e-book
this action-packed, emotionally resonant related to her mistreatment by sadistic, (268p) ASIN B07B4QYZBN
series opener about hope and heroism in the abusive jerk Nigel, an old schoolmate of his. Smith’s first Dark Seductions novel is an
face of overwhelming loss. Fans of superhero When he finds out, he’s determined to make alluring and haunting gothic romance
stories are sure to be entertained. Nigel pay—and to help Eliza rediscover the about the secrets and ghosts of a cursed
joys of sexual submission, which she swore English noble family. In the present day,

63d B O O K L I F E , M A R C H 2 5 , 2 0 1 9

American Jane Seyton, studying for her his- thoughtful, moving series opener, which After a reporter turns up at the house, Linda
tory PhD, goes to Weymouth, England, to thoroughly develops its characters to create learns the man she knows as “Jay” is actually
research the tragic events that occurred at undeniable appeal. Lawrie Crofter, the Republican candidate
the legendary Stormclyffe Castle. She is not for vice president. Their week together is
prepared for the supernatural elements that Shadows, Shells, and Spain idyllic and platonic as Lawrie recovers from
possess both her and handsome Bastian John Meyer. Summer Nomad Publications, his mysterious illness out of the public
Carlisle, Earl of Weymouth. Rich and evoc- $13.95 trade paper (312p) ISBN 978-0- eye—but when their “affair” becomes
ative descriptions of the castle create an 9876703-9-7 national news, it threatens to destroy both
eerie backdrop for the collision of past and Meyer’s redemptive tale combines ele- of their lives. Though Christian grace is the
present lives as Bastian and Jane experience ments of travelogue, epistolary novel, foundation upon which the plot is built, the
the visions and emotions of Richard and romance, and mystery, and follows Canadian story suffers from lack of character develop-
Isabelle, an earlier Earl and Countess of Jamie Draper in Mallorca, Spain, as he ment, particularly for Lawrie, whose moti-
Weymouth, who died under suspicious cir- searches for his wife, Pam, who left him vations remain a mystery. Gustafson’s story
cumstances in 1811. The connection months before. A letter reveals that she left of healing works best when it focuses on
between Jane and Bastian is conveyed with to walk Spain’s medieval pilgrim trail, the themes of faith, and it will appeal to inspi-
sensuality that is at once seductive and Camino de Santiago, and that Jamie must rational romance fans who can look past
chilling, further capturing the sense of omi- too, if he wants to find more letters that weak characters and an implausible plot.
nous, unearthly matters within the walls of she’s left him along the trail. Readers are
the ancestral manor that threaten the pro- treated to Jamie’s preparations in Pamplona, Why Was Rachel Murdered?
tagonists’ lives. The mystery behind his observations of scenery and thoughts on Bill Prentice. Echo Road, $13.99 trade paper
Richard and Isabelle’s deaths, the haunt- chores of the trail, like finding food and (300p) ISBN 978-1-7753337-0-8
ings, and Jane and Bastian’s own struggles lodging. He also shares asides on the fig- Prentice’s taut debut draws the reader
to survive are cleverly explored, making for ures, events, and folklore attached to his- into the world of Ponzi schemes, money
an enthralling plot. This unusual and spell- toric sites, from assorted kings to miracle laundering, political corruption, and greed.
binding mix of Regency and contemporary chickens. Jamie is stunned to learn that When a killer snaps the neck of financial
romance will satisfy a wide range of readers. Pam left not just because of their lackluster consultant Rachel Lisgar, who’s also a pro-
marriage but also because she was diag- fessor of advanced mathematics, on her
Specter (Circuit #1) nosed with cancer and wanted to face it return home to Toronto from New York
Lacey Dailey. Lacey Dailey, $0.99 e-book alone. Brie Bletcher, a Londoner walking City, where she uncovered some troubling
(286p) ASIN B07GC481JN the trail to leave behind her life with her information about a Manhattan-based
Dailey (Creating Chaos) kicks off her abusive ex-husband, proves to be a great investment firm, the client who sent her to
Circuit series with an emotionally rich support to Jamie. Ultimately, her friend- New York, Janos Pach, hires PI Neil Walker
romance that pairs an introverted computer ship, Jamie’s own reflections, and the miles to investigate. Neil, a former Mountie who
whiz with a woman he helped to rescue. of the Camino provide a way forward. Meyer specialized in financial crimes, is soon at
Wren Wilder spends his days working tech has successfully melded ruminations on one odds with the victim’s powerful and wealthy
support, but by night, he is Specter, a of Europe’s most famous pilgrimages with family, particularly her aunt, Isabelle
member of a group of “hacktivists” known a tender story of loss and healing, creating Lisgar, “Canada’s pre-eminent female entre-
as Circuit, who “[take] down scumbags for a lovely tale. preneur” and “a fierce backroom power
fun” both online and off. When a package broker in the Conservative Party.” When an
arrives at his door addressed to his alias, An Unpresentable Glory American, with whom Rachel spoke the day
Wren is terrified that his identity has been Ellie Gustafson. Ambassador International, of her murder, is killed, the FBI and the
compromised by his enemies. The package, $16.99 trade paper (365p) ISBN 978-1-62020- U.K.’s National Crime Agency enter the
however, is a thank-you gift from Sage 842-7 picture, as do a Russian oligarch, a Chinese
Maddison, who was rescued from a drug This uplifting but underdeveloped arms dealer, and a shady Spanish busi-
dealing ring by Circuit after 18 months in romance from Gustafson (Dynamo) over- nessman. Prentice’s complicated but enjoy-
captivity. Sage is struggling with her dark flows with faith and an admirable message able thriller provides some insight into
memories and guilt, but she is determined of redemption. In Westchester, N.Y., Linda current real-life headlines about interna-
to thank her saviors. When she and Wren Jensen lives a peaceful life devoted almost tional criminal activity.
finally meet, a deep friendship blossoms entirely to tending to her garden. But after
that helps Sage begin to heal. Then Sage’s church one Sunday, she comes across an Wicked Whiskey Love
whereabouts are leaked to her kidnapper, unfamiliar and gravely ill man near her Melissa Foster. World Literary, $4.99 e-book
and Sage refuses to hide behind Wren, house. Agreeing to his request that she not (300p) ASIN B078TNV8M6
instead taking on the drug dealers herself. call 911 or the hospital, she instead takes Foster’s low-key third Whiskey stand-
Though some shifts in emotional tone can the stranger into her home and nurses him alone (after Driving Whiskey Wild) is tame
be jarring, there is a lot to enjoy in this back to health over the following week. and tender compared to the earlier novels.

B O O K L I F E .C O M 63e
Sarah Beckley; her long-lost brother, Scott; Patriot Sally Townsend gathers information profession for the benefit of independently
and her two young children, Lila and from unsuspecting British soldiers when published authors. Chock-full of charts,
Bradley, were in a car crash that badly her family becomes host to a Loyalist militia tables, and worksheets, this useful resource
injured Scott and Lila. The Whiskey group. This fast-paced and suspenseful gently guides authors through the various
brothers, gruff bikers with hearts of gold, novel effectively conveys the irony of how steps of marketing their book. Beevas and
stepped up to help them. Wayne “Bones” society’s disregard for a woman’s relevance Cheng encourage authors to overcome any
Whiskey, a respected oncologist, finds him- beyond marriage and family set them up to reluctance they might feel toward self-
self drawn to Sarah and her two children. be successful clandestine operatives. promotion by keeping a healthy sense of
He’s never been attracted to a pregnant Sergeant’s riveting narrative will entice his- humor about the process and observing how
woman before, but Sarah being six months tory buffs and lay readers alike. authors they admire market themselves.
along—a condition stemming from being The authors cover hiring an independent

raped by her ex, Lewis—doesn’t faze him. publicist (“maybe”), the pros and cons of
Sarah, cautious from her previous experi- having an audiobook (“You absolutely don’t
ences with men, is reluctant to let Bones in; need [one]”), wooing booksellers (“Learn
he’s persistent, but doesn’t rush her. As they Basically Bipolar: Laughing Mani- how they operate”), and anticipating what
grow closer, it’s clear that Bones is the acally Through the Dark Delirium to do when sales start to taper off (“first
partner and father figure that Sarah and her of a Polar Winter... or Two things first: relax”). Included is a very useful
kids need, but they fear that Lewis will Rex Nelson. The Anglers Unwilling, $14.99 sample marketing calendar to help deter-
track Sarah down and demand custody of trade paper (294p) ISBN 978-1-7328272-0-2 mine activities leading up the book launch,
the children. The unusual choice of a preg- Engineer Nelson recounts in journal alongside a helpful summary list of “101
nant heroine with young children bolsters entries the year and three summers (between Ways to Market Your Book” (“Create a mar-
this slow-paced contemporary, showing 2008 and 2012) he spent at Summit Station keting plan”; “Create an Amazon Author
that love is always possible no matter the “on the apex of the Greenland ice cap” to Central account”). Every author, whether
circumstances. Bones and Sarah’s story is “maintain scientific instruments, launch indie or not, will find this guide encour-
fitting for Bones’s personality: contempla- weather balloons, perform snow accumula- aging and instructive.
tive, careful, and measured. Though series tion surveys, maintain meteorological
fans may be surprised at the relative absence suites, and troubleshoot any problems.” But Carl Van Doren: A Man of Ideas
of romantic urgency, they’ll still love this his story is much more than relaying the Robin K. Foster. Armillary, $16.99 trade paper
sweet and relaxing tale. scientific data he collected; he recounts life (337p) ISBN 978-0-692-18921-4
at the polar ice station, including his first In this admiring and enthusiastic biog-
355: The Women of Washington’s days at the Summit, where it was -70 °F (“I raphy, historian Foster (The Age of Sail in the
Spy Ring expected it to be cold here, but I didn’t Age of Aquarius) examines the life and work
Kit Sergeant. CreateSpace, $12.99 trade pa- expect it to be that cold”), and the fatigue of critic Carl Van Doren (1885–1950). She
per (330p) ISBN 978-1-981196-73-9 he and his five coworkers experienced—“an carefully traces Van Doren’s Illinois
Sergeant’s enthralling series launch, eerie mind-numbing quality to life” where upbringing and his early desire to move to
about three women who became part of “brains are malfunctioning.... Words are New York City, where he would go on to
George Washington’s Culper Spy Ring, fleeting, memory short, train of thought study, and later teach, at Columbia
highlights the emotional turmoil of easily derailed.” Along the way, he describes University. Drawing deeply on Van Doren’s
American Patriots and British Loyalists the rugged environment (“the monochro- correspondence with writers including
during the battle for New York City in maticity of a frosty-white world lends extra Mary Hunter Austin, Theodore Dreiser,
1776. After Meg Moncrieffe’s tip to the brilliance to what color there is”), bouts of and Sinclair Lewis, Foster reveals his intense
British Army endangers her love interest, insomnia, and breaking up a long-distance engagement with the literary culture of
Maj. Aaron Burr—an American Patriot— relationship. This is a fascinating and per- early and mid-20th-century America.
and she is forced into a loveless marriage, ceptive look at what it means to live and These contributions included a steady
the disillusioned 17-year-old abandons her work in extreme conditions. stream of essays and book reviews for peri-
British loyalty and becomes an American odicals such as Century, the Nation, and the
sympathizer. Twenty-something mother Buzz: The Ultimate Guide to Saturday Review of Literature; presiding
and wife Elizabeth Burgin and her husband, Book Marketing over selections for one of the first monthly
who has enlisted as a Continental Army Dara Beevas and Roseanne Cheng. Wise Ink, book clubs, the Literary Guild of America;
soldier, have opposing loyalties. But after $20 trade paper (204p) ISBN 978-1-63489-168- and writing the Pulitzer-winning biog-
Elizabeth discovers her husband has been 4 raphy Benjamin Franklin. Foster finds Van
captured by the British and mistreated on Book marketers Beevas (The Indie Author Doren “at his most brilliant” as a critic in
a prison ship, she aligns herself with the Revolution) and Cheng (Edge the Bare Garden) his introductory essay for Carl Van Doren:
Patriots in an attempt to free other pris- present an exceedingly straightforward, The Viking Portable Library, which con-
oners from a similar fate. Eighteen-year-old easy-to-use handbook that demystifies their tained the ringing declaration that

63f BOOKLIFE, MARCH 25, 2019


“American literature is the only important Answers range from moral dilemmas (“what able cultural legacy.
literature in the world that is younger than criteria do you use to differentiate between
the art of printing.” Foster’s in-depth study right and wrong?”) to cocktail party con- ★ The Monk Within:
of Van Doren as an exemplar of an “era when versation (“is a chicken wing light meat or Embracing a Sacred Way of Life
the Man of Ideas was itself a calling” should dark meat?”). Intended questions to celeb- Beverly Lanzetta. Blue Sapphire, $19 trade
stand for many years to come. rities frame each chapter, featuring the likes paper (402p) ISBN 978-0-98406-165-5
of poet laureate Ted Kooser (“Do you know Lanzetta (Nine Jewels of Night), former
Choosing Happy: 44 Proven a way to slow the passage of time?”) and professor of theology at Villanova
Hacks to Defeat Sadness and humorist Dave Barry (“Do you mind if I ask University, delivers a stimulating and
Embrace a Joy-Filled Life you one question?”). Along the way encouraging vision for new monastic move-
Heidi Farrelly. How 2 Without, $14.99 trade Sassaman wrestles with his own problems, ments in this fine book. Adapting ancient
paper (448p) ISBN 978-0-9945171-6-6 most notably his need for his father’s monastic tenets, Lanzetta details how these
Finance writer Farrelly (Mortgage Free) approval. The book doesn’t necessarily hold long-known practices can help to integrate
turns her keen eye to happiness “hacks” for the meaning of life, but it will leave readers “all aspects of contemporary life—work,
those who struggle with anxiety and depres- asking themselves questions both family, friendship, and sexuality—into the
sion in this cheery book of advice. Farrelly thoughtful and silly. sacred dimension of being.” Lanzetta’s most
writes of the onset of bouts of depression useful advice is on how to cast aside worldly
and how her husband issued an ultimatum Mississippi and the Great distractions to concentrate on “the perma-
to “be happier or talk to someone,” which Depression nence of silence, love, and truth.” While she
led her to dig into the science of mental Richelle Putnam. The History Press, $21.99 provides some practical meditation tips, her
health. Farrelly found ways to work through trade paper (160p) ISBN 978-1-4671-1876-7 wide-ranging volume’s most lively sections
her depression by focusing on her responses In this worthy illustrated history, are her introductions to the spiritual jour-
and reactions to feeling negative emotions. Putnam (The Inspiring Life of Eudora Welty) neys of devoted ascetics St. Augustine,
In one pivotal moment, she lost 10 pages of narrates the hardscrabble Great Depression Gandhi, and Thomas Merton. Through
a book she was writing and became upset— years in Mississippi, beginning with the their examples, Lanzetta urges those who
but then realized that focusing on the posi- Great Flood of 1927 and ending with wish to embark on a life of spiritual solitude
tive that could come of the missing pages WWII, accompanied by a trove of photo- to commit themselves to gratitude, obedi-
(a second, clearer draft) transformed her graphs recording daily life and special ence, and poverty (which is not just giving
anger into determination. Eventually, she events. As Putnam recounts, the white, away money, but includes divesting oneself
developed “hacks” to help her during rough black, Choctaw, and Chinese people who of “superiority” and “willfulness”). Finally,
spots, among them setting goals, avoiding lived in the Deep Southern state experi- she recommends readers take vows of advo-
the morning news, and focusing on good enced significant hardship on top of pre- cacy for current movements toward nonvio-
posture and breathing. Farrelly’s tips are existing natural disasters (such as flooding, lence and social justice. Written in an
fairly practical, and she reminds readers multiyear droughts) and manmade crises engaging tone and sprinkled with relatable
she’s not a licensed mental health profes- (extensive deforestation). She excerpts the parables, Lanzetta’s book of wonder, con-
sional and repeatedly urges those with pleading letters Mississippians of all eco- templation, and selflessness will be indis-
depression and other mood disorders to seek nomic classes wrote to their congressman, pensable for readers interested in monastic
clinical help. Readers looking to bring a William H. Colmer, about the extreme lack spiritual practices.
little more brightness into their days may of education and jobs. Putnam shows that
well pick up a helpful tip or two here. the state proved ripe for Roosevelt’s then- Porcelain Travels: Humor, Horror
controversial New Deal programs; the and Revelation in, on and Around
Just One Question: Tennessee Valley Authority, Civilian Toilets, Tubs and Showers
A Road Trip Memoir Conservation Corps, and National Matthew Felix. Solificatio, $14.99 trade paper
Tyler Sassaman. MCP Books, $16.95 trade Industrial Recovery Association kept resi- (240p) ISBN 978-0-9977619-2-4
paper (274p) ISBN 978-1-5456-0137-2 dents from starving. The photos reveal not Travel writer Felix (With Open Arms: Short
Sassaman’s entertaining memoir traces a only deprivation but also a rich culture Stories of Misadventures in Morocco) returns
road trip from Boston to Burning Man, in i n f l u e n c e d b y t h e s t a t e ’s G r e a t with an offbeat yet funny collection of sto-
Nevada, and back, all the while asking Depression-era writers Eudora Welty, ries of his travels abroad—mainly in Spain,
strangers: if you could ask everyone you met William Faulkner, and Walker Percy and France, and Turkey—united by a common
just one question, what would you ask? legendary musician Robert Johnson. Ideal theme: his misadventures with the toilets
Sassaman uses this conceit to navigate for readers fascinated by the idea of the New and showers he encountered on the road.
beyond his comfort zone into conversations South, Putnam’s spare account of a difficult Felix presents a panoply of disastrous bath-
with strangers, including a felon hitch- era provides insight into modern room experiences: he begins with a descrip-
hiker, a tattoo artist, and a wild bull, who Mississippi’s struggle to overcome an tion of having to deal with a Moroccan toilet
retreats after Sassaman pops his question. impoverished past with grit and a remark- and “the unspeakable secrets hidden in its

B O O K L I F E .C O M 63g
depths” and includes his experience in an
Eastern European youth hostel with “a wall
of urinals that no one had bothered to con-
nect to the plumbing,” which he noticed
before using one and felt guilty about after-
wards (“I knew I should tell the front desk
attendant what I had done”). His bathroom
misadventures are often part of longer sto-
ries, such as his time spent in the French
countryside—“the atmosphere had a novel,
celebratory feel”—while having to deal
with a compost toilet at a “Creativity
Refuge” (an old farm where the owner
rented rooms to artists and writers in
exchange for labor). It’s a one-note book,
but Felix nevertheless manages to

Upright Bass: The Musical Life

and Legacy of Jamil Nasser
Muneer Nasser. Vertical Visions, $25 trade pa-
per (252p) ISBN 978-0-692-89598-6
In this informative as-told-to memoir,
Nasser highlights the musical career of his
father, jazz bassist Jamil Nasser (1932­–
2010). Nasser spent nearly seven years
interviewing his father and many of his
fellow musicians and friends, and he weaves
those conversations into a narrative dotted
with articles and music reviews of the time.
Born George Joyner in Memphis, Jamil
began playing bass at age 16, then attended
Arkansas State, where he performed with
various bands. After college, he played for
two years in B.B. King’s band in Memphis
then moved to New York City with jazz
pianist Phineas Newborn and his brother,
guitarist Calvin Newborn. Jamil fondly
recalls his relationships with many fellow
musicians, including pianist Oscar
Dennard, trumpeter Idrees Sulieman (who
introduced Nasser to Islam), and, with
more complex feelings, Charles Mingus (the
volatile musician “shared valuable insights
about arco and pizzicato technique” with
Jamil, yet often flew into a rage toward
him). An outspoken advocate of music edu-
cation and the preservation of jazz, Nasser
helped form the Jazz Foundation of America
in 1982 to provide medical, legal, and
financial assistance to jazz musicians. This
is a celebratory and worthy tribute to a jazz

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