US Review of Books

 

The Eric Hoffer Award for Books

The US Review of Books supports the Eric Hoffer Project by publishing the results of the annual Eric Hoffer Award for Books. The Eric Hoffer Award is judged by a separate panel, under direction of the Eric Hoffer Project, and is not influenced by The US Review of Books. We simply post the results each year.

The Hoffer Award honors the memory of the great American philosopher Eric Hoffer. In addition to the grand prize, Hoffer honors are bestowed by press type and category, and also through the Montaigne Medal, da Vinci Eye, and First Horizon Award.

Coverage of the the Hoffer is updated in May when the results are released to the public. The Eric Hoffer Project respectfully requests that you give fair use when quoting their award winners. Please use: "-The Eric Hoffer Award."

 

2013 Eric Hoffer Book Award

 

Official Sponsor of the Eric Hoffer Award

 

Hoffer Grand Prize

The Eric Hoffer grand prize is the highest distinction awarded each year.

People Who Said No: Courage Against Oppression, Laura Scandiffio, Annick Press - In many ways, this book embodies Eric Hoffer's life and ideals: a voice of reason against the raging tide of mass movements. Scandiffio delivers seven profiles of courage in the face of oppression. Focusing on figures throughout history who have stood up for their beliefs, the book is not only an inspirational read for those who want the world to be a better place, but a model for civility during society's most crucial moments. In a journey from World War II Germany to modern day Egypt, the author has chosen moments and people which remain beacons of hope today. The book contains captivating visuals and vignettes to add to the already compelling stories. The book would be a great supplement to an educator's unit on equality, discrimination, or genocide, as well as a general reminder that civil disobedience is often a public display of sanity. Each figure memorialized in this book is a source of inspiration and hope. The contemporary style and layout make the book a simple read, but the content will challenge readers to take a stand against mankind's inhumanity against mankind.

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Montaigne Medal

The Montaigne Medal is awarded to the most thought-provoking books.

Evolutionary Enlightenment, Andrew Cohen, SelectBooks - One of the eternal questions in life is: Who am I? Cohen goes beyond this by first positioning humanity at the edge of evolution, establishing the human race as an "as good as it gets" status on the planet. But can we do better? This requires a certain type of thought, evolutionary enlightenment, which requires you to release yourself of the constructs of the earthly mind and body. Of course, the author is driving at the reality of the soul and a contemporary path of enlightenment through the evolving soul. Some might say that the ever-changing world reflects that part of us. Through five tenets, Cohen builds a journey of personal discovery toward what has always existed within us, helping us to lose the temporal clutter and personal inhibitions of our lives and fully embrace our existence manifested through humanity and our capacity to change. At the very least, you'll gain insight to who you are and what is important, and a higher level of self-awareness is always worth the effort.

Red Fields: Poems From Iraq, Jason Poudrier, Mongrel Empire Press - Heavy subject matter doesn't always translate to great poetry. It can become lost in emotions so purple that it resembles more of a bloodletting than art. However spilt blood is an apt topic for Poudrier's collection, and it's only one vital component. He not only relates the horror of battle, in non-visceral ways, but intertwines it with life at home, especially returning life in the aftermath of war, until they appear simultaneously on the page. Again, it would be easy to enter the clichés of post-traumatic stress disorder, but the poet navigates those pitfalls, depicting the slow unraveling of history in the lens of the present, where sometimes the simplest footfall summons the past. The result is poetry of the highest form where it relates experience beyond the specifics: My wife and I sit, together,/on the couch before bed./I tell her about my battle buddy's dead body/beside me, and his face/fills our five-by-five living room/—mouth open, eyes closed/as if trying to catch snowflakes/but his tongue's stuck/at the back of his throat./We sit on the couch together/within his head,/looking at each other/through the fog/of his cold skin.

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da Vinci Eye

The da Vinci Eye is awarded to books with superior cover artwork.

Detroit's Historic Places of Worship, Marla O. Collum, Barbara E. Krueger, & Dorothy Kostuch, Wayne State University Press (cover by Charlie Sharp)

Greetings From Below, David Philip Mullins, Salt Publishing (cover by The Cover Factory)

Kidnapping, Murder, and Management, Lynn Dorrough, Trafford Publishing (cover by Lynn Dorrough)

Mary Chesnut's Illustrated Diary, Mary Boykin Chesnut, Martha M. Daniels, and Barbara E. McCarthy, Pelican Publishing (cover by Bridget McDowell)

Michigan's Historic Ralroad Stations, Michael H. Hodges, Wayne State University Press (cover by Maya Rhodes)

The World Eve Left Us, Boston Teran, High Top Publishing (cover by Lilien Hoffman)

US Review Coverage see a full review of this book

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First Horizon Award

The First Horizon Award is given to superior work by debut authors.

Buried in the Sky, Peter Zuckerman & Amanda Padoan, WW Norton (see coverage for small press award)

Extraordinary Centenarians in America, Gwen Weiss-Numeroff, Agio Publishing (see coverage in the self-help category)

Hattie, Anna Bozena Bowen, Small Batch Books (see coverage in the general fiction category)

Leaving Early, D.F. Waitt, Hummingbird Knowledge Press (see coverage in the memoir category)

Searching For Friday's Child, Marjorie Irish Randell, Trafford Publishing (see coverage in the legacy nonfiction category)

The Expedition: Dark Waters, Jason Lewis, BillyFish Books (see coverage in the e-book nonfiction category)

The Silent Partner, Terrence King, Trafford Publishing (see coverage in the commercial fiction category)

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Academic Press Award

The Academic Press Award is given to a book from a press with an educational institution affiliation, such as a college, library, or museum.

Detroit's Historic Places of Worship, Marla O. Collum, Barbara E. Krueger, & Dorothy Kostuch, Wayne State University Press - Each year there is an art book that takes us by surprise. In the form a beautiful coffee table book, Collum, Krueger, and Kostuch deliver a comprehensive guide to Detroit's historic places of worship. Like many major American cities, Detroit city proper ascended to its prime with expansive construction, including thirty-seven churches and temples between the mid-18 and 1900s. Presented in construction date order, the authors discuss the background, congregation, and architectural details of these majestic buildings. Stunning photographs by Dirk Bakker complete this collection. Although some of these buildings are no longer being used for the intended purpose, little doubt exists that this book has captured the character and history of these buildings for all time.

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Small Press Award

The Small Press Award is given to a book from a press producing twenty-five books or more per year.

Buried in the Sky: The Extraordinary Story of the Sherpa Climbers on K2's Deadliest Day, Peter Zuckerman & Amanda Padoan, WW Norton - A meticulously researched account of the deadliest single climbing disaster in K2's history produces sentences as taut as belay lines, words hammered into place like pitons into tight ice. Many mountaineering messes are seen through the eyes of the Western clients; this chronicle considers the view of the Sherpas and porters who guided twenty-nine people up but only eighteen down in August 2008. Damning combinations of personalities, egos, terrain, weather, diverse physical abilities, overcrowding, miscommunication, equipment gaps, and cultural and language divides turn K2's "Death Zone" (above 27,000 feet) into a self-fulfilling prophesy. Pictures, maps, and extensive background notes from trips to Pakistan and Nepal enhance the riveting journey.

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Micro Press Award

The Micro Press Award is given to a book from a press producing twenty-four books or less per year.

Unbroke Horses, D.B.Jackson, Goldminds Publishing - An unsavory band of Civil War deserters led by General Ike Smith kills for the taste of blood and kidnaps 14-year old Matthew Stanford for the joy of human degradation. Pillaging the countryside, their brutal exploits are witnessed and experienced by J. D. Elder, a past hunter of men. He will track the murderous trio, bring them to suitable justice, and redeem not only himself, but offer Matt new life with the assistance of Indian horse trainer No'Ka and a corral of unbroken horses. Jackson's descriptions and scenes read true, and his characters are at times uncomfortably real. This fast-paced, well-writed novel has excellent visuals. It is a darkly passionate story with a savagely brutal beginning and an uplifting ending. By the conclusion, the violated boy becomes an honorable man, and it is an saga worth savoring.

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Self-Published Award

The Self-Published Award is given to a book that was financed by the author and/or not by the publisher, regardless of press size.

The Primal Connection, Mark Sisson, Primal Blueprint Publishing - Sisson insists that the key to becoming happy and healthy rests with accepting and implementing biological, ancestral tendencies. The author goes beyond evaluating how diet and exercise need to align with our primitive history. He posits that much of today's social and physical malaise goes back to a disconnection with how humans evolved as a species, before creature comforts separated people from their natural roots. A well-paced, well-researched book for all readers, this book surveys several aspects of daily life, from sleep rhythms and posture to the fundamental need for sunlight and human touch, and seeks to renew the critical balance between people confined to often-detached settings and their hereditary environment.

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Art

The Art category captures the experience, execution, or demonstration of the arts, including art, fine art, graphic art, architecture, design, photography, and coffee table books.

Winner

George Washington, Rod Gragg, Pelican Publishing Company - George Washington has been well documented, although refined over the years into a more realistic though no less heroic, honorable, and admirable figure. Gragg's biographical retrospective not only sweeps through the landmarks of the First American President, from birth to death, but does so with enviable clarity and notable even-handiness. However this is hardly a dry recitation of facts. The book is beautifully organized with pictures and photos to compliment the text, containing pockets and insertions with more than a dozen reproductions of authentic documents. These treasures run the gamut from such staples as The Declaration of Independence and maps of Mt. Vernon and other historical places to more personal documents such as a love letter to Martha Washington or the score to his funeral dirge. This excellent book compliments a remarkable life, and any American home, school, or library would love to have it and explore its pages.

First Runner-Up

Rockpeople, Joel Carter, Canukshuk Artworks Publishing- Inuksuk is a stone marker built by humans, most notably Inuit and other Arctic peoples. Carter, who is director of a palliative care program in Minnesota, practices the art form as a spiritual path of discovery and healing. He is fully engaged with life and ever-curious about the journey. Beyond Chester Creek is the second book in the Rockpeople series. The wonder of his pictures and text is often the continuity and insight, rather than providing pat answers that are often not useful in the future. Opening this chapbook-sized collection to any page provides the restorative of beauty and occasional humor.

US Review Coverage see a full review of this book

Honorable Mentions

Art Interrupted, Dennis Harper, Mark White, & Paul Manoguerra, Georgia Museum of Art - At the dawn of the Cold War, the US State Department hatched a plan to promote democracy and freedom by exhibiting exclusively American art worldwide. By assembling this modernist art and touring the collection offshore, the US was breaking from its primarily European roots and featuring the very best of the great American experiment. One hundred and fifty-two works were gathered from the country's top artists, but soon the political landscape shifted and the cultural project was abandoned. The works were recalled home and auctioned off. Three institutions hold more than half of the original collection, which are on display in this gorgeous volume, along with many of the other works of art. The book contains  accompanying text and artist profiles from a dozen experts.

Continental Divide, Krista Schlyer, Texas A&M University Press - America's Great Wall is a controversial hodgepodge of concrete, steel, and barbed wire intended to seal the southern border to Mexico. Whether it is truly effective or necessary is debatable, although Schlyer gives us a glimpse of politics and nature colliding through this stunning collection of photographs. The border, which extends from Texas to California, is often harsh and unforgiving, and while the wall focuses on illegal immigration, there have been unintended consequences on nature and natural migration. Irrevocably altering local habitat is a way of self-sabotaging, if not somewhat suicidal, but it happens every day. The author/photographer shows us that the environment is worth preserving and that compromises are essential.

When Not Performing, Fred Lyon, with photography by David Spielman, Pelican Publishing Company - New Orleans is a gumbo of culture and devil-may-care attitude. Fully engaged with the future, it is also US ancient history, and when describing the Crest City, one has to begin with either its music or food. Lyons and Spielman choose the former, assembling portraits and accompanying bios of the city's resident musicians when they are not on stage. These are exquisite photos. The subjects are famous and not as well known, but they are each relevant to the country's most vibrant musical scene. The breadth of this collection proves the rock-solidness of its core, especially for a city that literally went underwater during Hurricane Katrina. Jazz singer John Boutté perhaps put it best: “I didn't lose anything because I never worry about stuff. I got my music, I own it, and no damn storm was gonna take that away.”

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Poetry

The Poetry category contains poetry or highly stylized prose.

Winner

Robinson Alone, Kathleen Rooney, Gold Wake Press - A book of extraordinary insight, these poems, (based on the life and disappearance of the poet, Weldon Kees), communicate the pedestrian and righteous understanding of a post WWII man come face-to-face with the hollow-treasures of the American Dream. As Robinson and his wife drive across country, they are: "Eyeing the other poor saps in their rolling coffins... (and they) consult atlas-as-medical text:/vein-blue state Routes, red Principal Highways... They & their fellow motorists are hones/straight razors, nicking the land." So too, each of these poems bleeds upon the page—our dispassionate hero experiencing: the nihilism of Burma Shave signs, the branding sting of his divorce, and the emptiness of sex object/love. By the end, he is gone—with only his cat and a policeman left to hear the ringing of his phone. Robinson Alone stands as homage to a poet who could feel the demons of materialism breathing on his neck. The work is bleak, breathtaking, and masterfully controlled.

First Runner-Up

Sounding, Barry Marks, Negative Capability Press - Marks' introduction prepares us for the works to follow: "[This book] is for Lauren… who has managed against all odds to get up in the morning, brush her teeth, and go on with her life; and it is for Jennifer… who suffers silently and who goes on… Most of all, it is for Leah… for the world that lost her." Such eloquence on the first page foretells the elucidation to come, as in "Grief has its own architecture,/ sorrow its own physics," or "Dust collects on the doll with blue eyes." Through this collection of poetry, Marks has dealt with and shared the loss of his daughter with all readers in a way that we can understand and empathize with: "Sometimes I do not cry…" From his simple prayer of Kaddish to a brief update of the news that the daughter he lost would be interested in, Marks' poems are the tears of the angels verbalized.

US Review Coverage see a full review of this book

Honorable Mentions

Red Fields, Jason Poudrier, Mongrel Empire Press - The realities of life in a war zone as well as life on the home front are recounted through the experiences of a wounded veterean of the Iraq wars. In poem after poem the, reader never quite knows until the end if they are looking at life in America or thousands of miles away. In poems, like "Damned Kids," we experience both simultaneously. The poet uses strong words and contrasting images to show the pride of a veteran and the brokenness of a war hero. Without making strong political statements either way, the poetry in this book awakens the reality of war to every reader.

Congress of Strange People, Stephanie Lenox, Airlie Press - This book is an examination of spectacle and obsession. It weaves the wondrous moments of childhood with the moments of adulthood that make us feel like children. The book opens with a series of vignettes of childhood memories: formative moments that highlight the quiet dissonance of youth. It then moves on to a series of poems about entries in the Guinness Book of World Records. This series of poems shows how even in adulthood, our sense of wonder can be triggered by a certain kind of strange beauty—both natural oddities and personal obsessions. The book moves, in the third part, to a series of imagined moments that seek to build upon the sense of wonder that the book is trying to convey.

This Caravaggio, Annie Boutelle, Hedgerow Books/Levellers Press - This book uses the life of Caravaggio to present an extended meditation on the sensuality of the creative process. The writer takes on the voice of the artist to imagine the process and the passion behind several paintings. The author also imagines moments from Caravaggio's life and meditates on how those moments shaped the artist's work. The language of the book speaks to the sensuality of Caravaggio's work. The life of Renaissance Italy is rendered in the language of 21st Century America, allowing immediate access to the passions and adventures portrayed. The book seethes with sensuality conflagrated with spirituality, portraying an artist as passionate and heroic, but ultimately human.

My Father, Humming, Jonathan Gillman, Antrim House Books - This book quickly pulls the reader into the confusing and painful world of a dementia patient. The poet expertly shows the painful resignation of watching a loved one slip deeper in to a world of waking sleep. While it paints the pain of loss, it also poignantly reveals the moments of lucidity and evidence that the afflicted loved-one still remains in some way. With musical imagery and tongue-in-cheek comments, we live a normal day of a son watching his father go as well as watching a wife care for her beloved husband during the worst of the for-better-or-for-worst vows.

Wet, Carolyn Creedon, The Kent State University Press - The cover of her poetry collection sets the stage for the acts to come; a copy of Ovid's Metamorphosis sets next to a half-eaten sandwich in a diner, and a woman with long, red hair walking away. Creedon, however, is brave enough to share her portraits with us, almost in an "in your face" manner; she pulls no punches, but shoots straight for the heart—and every heart knows what she’s talking about. "…maybe we all yell into the silence," she writes, so adroitly reading the human plight. She paints a picture of Thanksgiving with her mother: "I make a mess of loving her. Her face/ turns to me/ and is a bird fluttering/ when I make a joke of the braonze lame wallet/ she just bought. She nests her sadnesses there/ with its handy zippered pocket for prayers." In poetry that runs the gamut from sonnet to stream of consciousness, from sacred to profane, from frustration in love to betting on life, Creedon speaks for us all.

To Inhabit the Felt World, Susan Gardner, Red Mountain Press - Exploding in consonants and fertile juxtapositions of verbs with their luxuriant tenses, rubbing against the grain of everyday boredom, celebrating the meaning of anything seen, held, or enjoyed—this collection rocks the reader in ways post-modern poetry never will. Whether writing about the experience of cancer, the death of her daughter, or the sensual memory of a loved one, these poems make us want to believe in the human project—the words breathe and beat with music and electricity: "Lips still, tongue fat, ears cold/I want to stay longer/a while longer... evoke your ghost to stroke skin, caress breast... to have and hold without end/your face in my hands/a great eagle/keen talons outstretched...". Indeed, these poems go after life, dragging it in, holding it close—devouring it through iambs and "...the Felt World."

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General Fiction

The General Fiction category contains non-genre specific fiction, including literary, short story, and mainstream.

Winner

Chojun, Goran Powell, YMAA Publication Center - This fictional history of Okinawa focuses on the truly existent martial arts master Chojun Miyagi. Told from the viewpoint of one fictional Kenichi Ota, the story of the young boy's tutelage under Miyagi while his country enters World War II is engaging. Vivid descriptions of Miyagi's martial discipline help tell the historical origins of Karate in Okinawan and Chinese cultures. The eruption of Japanese patriotism and the ensuing defeat and destruction of Okinawan culture and civilization are also gripping. Often forgotten in histories because sandwiched between Iwo Jima and Hiroshima, the American invasion of Okinawa was second only to the Normandy Invasion in scope and size. Somehow the spirit and practice of Karate survive the wanton destruction to become embraced by the entire world. The story of this metamorphosis is artfully told by the author.

US Review Coverage see a full review of this book

First Runner-Up

Black Crow White Lie, Candi Sary, Casperian Books - Although only twelve years old, Carson Calley has learned to deal with the unusual aspects of his life: His mother works as a psychic, he lives in a hotel, and his father is buried in Arlington cemetery. When his mother is sent to rehab, he is forced to assume a new and frightening independence. He learns to rely on unlikely friends and in the process discovers he possesses a special ability: the power to heal. As he explores the limitations of his gift, he begins to wonder if he can use it to help his mother and—more important—possibly bring his father back.

Honorable Mentions

Greetings from Below, David Philip Mullins, Salt Publishing - Told in a series of linked short stories, this book reveals the obsessions, weaknesses, and fears that propel Nick into a life defined by betrayal and loneliness. The terminal diagnosis of Nick's father marks a turning point in Nick's life, when both his isolation and sexual awareness begin to take shape in "Arboretum." Years later, Nick's father is gone, and he struggles to control his sexual fetishes and save his gambling-addicted mother in "Glitter Gulch." Later still, his bereaved mother has died, yet Nick still wrestles with his sexual appetites and inability to truly love in "First Sight." Though standalone, these stories do not merely link together. Rather, the cumulative effect of this collection is a rich, varied portrait of loss and perpetual desire.

Hattie, Anna Bozena Bowen, Small Batch Books - Just about as perfect as a book can be, this grabs you from the first word and holds onto your heart right to the last, fateful word. Bowen has created a book that is so fully saturated in the voice of the narrator that the reader comes away feeling as if he or she were Hattie's best friend. Through short chapters and snippets that jump through Hattie's life, from her death scene in the opening to her life's trials and triumphs, the reader experiences Hattie's hard, unforgiving world and is transported through love, longing, hope, disgust, betrayal, and back to love again. Bowen has us rooting for Hattie to finally find her happiness even though we already know her fate. Hattie is a masterful debut that expertly weaves together themes of love, loss, nature, destiny and the beauty of simple humanity.

Same Same, Doug Smith, Xlibris - With a blend of stunning narrative and dialogue, the author draws readers into the lives of two vastly different journalists, one black, one white, and the friendship that binds them despite diverse backgrounds and opposing political viewpoints. Samuel Lewis and Hamilton Armstrong III are often referred to by their friends and colleagues as "… black and white peas that somehow wound up in the same pod." Their mutual zest for life and competitive spirit drive Sam and Ham in their careers, reinforcing the sameness that isn't outwardly visible. Working at rival newspapers only fuels the bond between them, which is built on a love of writing, search for the truth, and respect for one another. From the everyday drama of the newsroom and the war zone of Vietnam, racial tension and violence leads to White House politics and provides a thought-provoking look at people and the changing world.

US Review Coverage see a full review of this book

Slum, Dan Carroll, Vanity Press Books - The author creates an illuminating tale about the unlikely love between a New York gentleman and a strong-headed woman from the slums. After much confusion and hidden longing, the man's efforts to save a terminally ill, six year old girl inevitably bring the two closer together. Vivid and lively descriptions bring a realistic feel to the characters, their relationships, and their struggles. This novel allows readers' an inside look at interactions between two different cultures, and details how easy it is to make wrong assumptions. Audiences will be compelled to think on their own presumptions regarding class, race, society, and love.

Chiral Mad, Michael Bailey, Written Backwards - This unsettling collection of twenty-right dark tales features both the work of established authors and promising new writers. Each short story offers a unique glimpse into a world that bears a striking resemblance to our own, yet suffers from a palpable dissonance that stays with the reader long after the book has been set aside. From the empowered dreams of a comatose boy, to the collective responsibility for an impoverished family's tragic end, to a pregnant mother's terrifying realization, each story inspires fear, both blatant and subtle, yet always thought provoking. Proceeds from the sale of Chiral Mad go directly to Down Syndrome charities.

Measuring the Distance, Robert Scotellaro, Blue Light Press - Succinct and quirky, these short stories portray ordinary events, like a neighborhood blackout, as surreal, comical, or in some cases, hopeful. "Mr. Nasty" features a married man of 17 years who finds himself lusting after the woman hired to play Snow White at his daughter's birthday party. Another story tells of a house cleaner who goes through her employer’s possessions including her expensive jewelry. The house cleaner panics when the doorbell rings and she is sure she has been caught in the act and will be fired. "Uncle L" shows a man with dementia who is unable to comprehend that his brother has died and his nephew who tries in vain to relay the sad news. Another narrated from a son's point of view, tells the story of how his mother attacks his father after dad gambles away his entire paycheck, and how she gets away with her crime.

Into this World, Sybil Baker, Engine Books - An American soldier's extramarital affair with a Korean woman during his stay there in the seventies leads to a web of denial when he takes a daughter born of the affair home with him. His daughter Mina grows up with increasing identity problems, eventually embracing a Korean identity and even moving there as a young adult in search of her roots. Her half-sister Allison does not grow up unscathed. She has a troubled relationship with Mina. Not until Mina finds her actual birth mother and is rejected by her does she open up to Allison's offer of love and support. Allison learns to take charge and causes her father to tell the truth. Meanwhile, the author lovingly describes Korean history, culture, and most compellingly, people.

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Commercial Fiction

The Commercial Fiction category contains genre specific titles, including mystery, thriller, suspense, science fiction, romance, and horror.

Winner

The Silent Partner, Terrence King, Trafford Publishing - King magically weaves a story filled with immediate mirth, whimsy, and murderous suspense. Masterfully, he connects his characters, even a female angel named Homer, in believable roles. What does an angel do when she has a man's name, is black, and is forced to live on Earth as a derelict? She argues with God! King delights in using her as a marvelous foil for the shenanigans offered up by the various characters who, arguably, do no help Tom in his struggle to find a publisher for his novel. Tom, his live-in girlfriend, and his pot-head brother William, struggle for identity as well as the struggle against the villain who splashes her arrogance and disdain upon Tom. A misdirected phone call, and a well-placed bullet changes the landscape. What's an angel to do when God expects her to get Tom's book published, and He won't help? Does she wait or does she step in and change the course of the world?

First Runner-Up

No One Else to Kill, Bob Doerr, TotalRecall Publications - In this newest book in the popular Jim West series, Mr. West finds himself stood up and out of town. Looking forward to some R & R he keeps his reservation at the remote hunting lodge. Located in the Pecos Wilderness area in New Mexico it's a hunter’s haven. Expecting to do nothing other than relax, he has no idea what the rest of the weekend holds for him. When a murder takes place, the hotel guest are detained and no one is beyond suspicion. The sheriff is called in, and while the investigation is underway, a second murder takes place. Both crimes are clearly related, but by whom and why? With time running out and unable to find a motive, the legal experts seek Jim's help.

US Review Coverage see a full review of this book

Honorable Mentions

Adventures of a Gala Guru, Donna Vessey, Gala Gurus Press - This is a rollicking adventure about the party planning business that goes behind the scenes and behind the motives of some of the wackiest characters you've ever been exposed to. The party planners cater to rich people throwing a redneck party complete with a white-trash covered yard, exotic donkeys, and an insulting tattoo artist. More excitement pops up with each turn of the page: rampaging elephants, ribald jokes on community leaders, and a wedding where everything goes wrong but comes out right thanks to the outstanding team of miracle workers who set up the events. This is a non-stop laugh riot.

Dancing Naked in Dixie, Lauren Clark, Camellia Press - Messy New York travel writer Julia tells her own story as she morphs from unsavory misfit to an endearing character. Julia's new editor—her father—delivers the needed spanking: He cuts her stale, mediocre piece on Italy and gives her one last chance. She must find small town charm in Eufaula, AL while covering the annual Christmas Pilgrimage Festival. Fighting all the way behind her urban snobbery, she discovers peace, civility, great food, a dreamy architect, and a scheme to destroy historic homes for a crooked condo development. Julia and Dad get together to thwart the schemers, including a jealous girlfriend. Julia gets her act together and finally reconciles with Dad when she learns the real reason why he left dying Mom. As our misfit duckling stumbles her way to become a winning swan, she might actually commit to love.

Treachery at Torrey Pines, John Van Vlear, Velvet Room Publishing - When his fellow caddy and friend, Buddy Franks, is murdered, Shank MacDuff agrees to investigate at Linda Frank's request. The grieving widow is a suspect and wants Shank to find the murderer. Linda's troubled relationship with Buddy bothers Shank, and he hopes he doesn't discover evidence that leads back to her. He puts his almost completed FBI training to use as he tracks down suspects. Buddy's gambling habits lead down a dangerous path. Several people have motive, but who actually killed Buddy in his motel room? And what about Linda, who stands to gain millions of dollars in insurance money? Searching for answers, Shank places himself in danger. He barely escapes with his life, but along the way he deals with his own painful past.

The Color of Hate, Wilma Blair-Reed, iUniverse - Shaun McDaniel has everything a man could want: loving wife, two beautiful children and a good job. But living in a very racist South in the 1960s takes a toll on his family, and Shaun's eyes begin to wander. He's drawn to the forbidden white-skinned Kathleen. and their relationship results in a child. Shaun's wife, Doris, is never really able to forget her husband's affair. When Kathleen is found murdered, there are no clues as to who did it. Was the pain so unbearable that Doris was willing to commit murder? This deeply engaging novel raises questions about morality and human reaction to pain. The tireless search by Shaun's daughter brings answers that are both shocking and engaging.

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Children's

The Children's category is for young children's books, including stories and picture books.

Winner

Three Years and Eight Months, Icy Smith, East West Discovery Press - This realistic story tells the tale of when the Japanese invaded Hong Kong and attacked Pearl Harbor as seen through the eyes of a 10-year old boy named Choi. Although it is fiction, there are intense moments where you are pulled into the story, and it feels as if you experiencing the situations with the characters. It shows the struggles and hardships that the people of Hong Kong endured for three years and eight months. However, the story doesn't just give the negative details. It shows a positive perspective of human nature and how people are able to make even the worst situation have moments of clarity and compassion. The extremely detailed illustrations help the story unfolds.

First Runner-Up

Let's Hear it for Almigal, Wendy Kupfer, Handfinger Press - A sweet story told in the voice of a positive young girl named Almigal. She points out others' physical differences, but in a way that makes them extremely likable and unique. Amigal herself is special because she is deaf and wears hearing aids. She tells the reader how hard it is not to be able to hear or understand everything around her like the music at ballet class, her friends' conversations and even when her mother and father say I love you before bedtime. Eventually, Amigal gets cochlear implants and although they take some getting used to, she is overjoyed that she can finally hear the world around her. Amigal feels she is the luckiest girl in the world!

Honorable Mentions

The First Day Speech, Isabelle Hadala, Wild Onion Press - The main character of this story is a very brave and strong boy by the name of Nathan. At first you hear of his worries about starting school for the first time and it seems like how any other new kindergartener may be feeling. Nathan, however, decides that he would like to give a first day of school speech to his classmates and tell them about himself. His mother is hesitant but supports her son's willingness to speak to the class. The teacher is very supportive also and encourages Nathan. Up until this point in the story, we haven't seen an illustration of Nathan from the front and he seems like a completely normal boy. When the speech scene occurs you suddenly realize and learn that Nathan has a facial deformity. He explains to the class that this is the way he was born. He continues by telling the class that it's just the way he looks and it isn't catching. After some questions the students start to make connections to Nathan in some sort of way and quickly become his friend.

Mommy, Daddy, I Had a Bad Dream!, Martha Heineman Pieper, Ph.D., Smart Love Press - A sweet story that tells of a little Kangaroo, named Joey, and how he reacts to his bad dreams. After each bad dream Joey runs for the support of his parents who very patiently help Joey brainstorm as to why he had the dream in the first place. Although Joey continues to have bad dreams, he starts to mature and instead of running to his parents after every bad dream, he starts to use the strategies his parents have taught him to figure it out on his own and calm himself down. The illustrations help to tell Joey's story in a very soft and comforting way.

Voices of the Dust Bowl, Sherry Garland, Pelican Publishing - This book is written through fictional, yet realistic, voices of ordinary people and well-know historical people from 1893-1940 whose lives were affected across the plains and southwest regions of the United States during a terrible period of drought. Each short narrative tells of the hardships that they had to go through during this time period. There is a Native American that speaks of the downfall of his home and bankers who have lost everything and cannot give the local farmers the money that is rightfully theirs. Although each tale is sad, the last from 1940, promises rain and hope for the future.

Major Manners: Nite-Nite Soldier, Michael and Beth Hofer, Outhouse Ink Publishing - This uniquely fun story shows a bedtime routine complete with a kid-friendly military rhyme that helps children get ready to hop in bed. It takes the children through everything from bath time to story time. If read with the correct expression, it would sound like a military chant or "cadence" that children would be happy to say out loud with the reader. The author turns the mundane routine into a mission kids would be happy in which to take part.

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Young Adult

The Young Adult category is aimed toward the juvenile and teen markets.

Winner

At the Walls of Galbrieth, Alon Shalev, Tourmaline Books - Seanchai is rousted from his bed in the middle of the night and forced to flee his village leaving all he knows, including his family. His head long flight brings him into contact with a resistance group fighting against The Emperor. For some strange reason, this resistance group seems to be willing to lay down their lives for Seanchai. When he meets up with his uncle, he learns that he is to travel to a far off mountain to be taught by a great master. During his travels, he makes some binding friendships and learns many new truths about politics, fighting, and human (or elven) nature. With only part of his training complete, he must engage the enemy and do his best to save his friends and his country.

First Runner-Up

A Roller Coaster Down, Mary Lash and Vasant Garcia, Grist Mill Press/CreateSpace - "If I just disappeared, Brie, Dad, Mom, they wouldn't be burdened by me anymore." This is a wonderful coming of age novel about Bernie, a visually disabled teenager, attempting to make her way in the visual world of High School. Bernie's mom abandons her to the care of her sister Brie and her father. Brie is her total opposite, popular, cheerleader, cute boyfriend, and Bernie longs to be like her sister. The novel explores how sometimes another person's life looks good from the outside until you really start to dig beneath the surface. Bernie starts out feeling like she has been dealt the hardest hand of all, but through her trials and tribulations, she realizes that is not the case. The journey to appreciate what she has is both uplifting and thought provoking. The authors do a wonderful job of letting the reader feel the embarrassment and pain that she faces as she tries to find her place in high school and in the lives of the people around her.

Honorable Mentions

No Character Limit, Keren Tayler (editor), WriteGirl Productions - A compilation of writings from inspirational prompts, the book is both a fascinating read and a priceless educational tool. It provides prompts and examples that could be used to motivate even the most reluctant writers to stretch their composition and find new and unique ways to express themselves. The prompts also motivate and inspire more experienced writers to vary their mode of expression. The range of emotion expressed in this collection of writing will lead the reader to laugh and cry along with the authors. This is a great anthology for writers and hopefuls of all ability levels. The book illustrates the value of free expression and the energy of the written word in all forms. The authors show that, with the right inspiration, age, and experience are never obstacles to great writing.

Rafi's Song and the Stones of Erebus, Frederic M. Perrin, Ankh Books - Talking rats, a Harvard educated Praying Mantis and other colorful characters comprise the Companions of Earth, bound to follow Rafiatu Malawi, or Rafi as she is known by most, on her journey to save the Earth. In a unique style, the author mixes present day with the magical. The story is based around young Rafi being given three unusual stones, the Stones of Erebus, found by her father. These are part of a legend that tells of a young human using them to save the world. Chased by Triodon, a being intent on gathering all seven stones in order to rule the world, Rafi and her friends must battle Triodon's minions and outthink their way through many obstacles. Throughout the story, the message is strong about accepting people and creatures for their differences.

Hapenny Magick, Jennifer Carson, Pugalicious Press - Mae is a Happnny, a small pixie like creature. Mae's mother has disappeared and she is being raised by a guardian named Gelbane. Gelbane is not nice to Mae, but Mae endures hoping her mother will return. Mae gets help from an unusual individual, a pig who turns out to be a kitchen witch. When Mae runs away, she learns that Gelbane is not really a Hapenny at all, but a troll. And trolls eat Hapennies. With the help of her new found friends Mae rallies the whole village to take back control from the trolls and return to their peaceful life. But, victory over the trolls will not be easy. It will take not only endurance and cunning, but magic as well.

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Culture

The Culture category contains nonfiction books demonstrating the human or world experience, including multicultural, essay, women's issues, sexuality, gay, lesbian, aging, travel, recreation, true crime, social commentary, and current events.

Winner

Priceless: Curing the Healthcare Crises, John C. Goodman, The Indepenent Institute - This is a well-informed, fact-filled prescription for what is ailing America's bureaucratic and dysfunctional healthcare system. Moving beyond criticism, renowned healthcare economist, John Goodman—widely known as the father of health savings accounts—proposes dozens of decisive, innovative, and common sense ideas for transforming America's healthcare system into an efficient and effective marketplace infused with the necessary framework and safety nets needed to provide assessable and affordable healthcare for all Americans. With an emphasis toward individual choice, low-costs, and high-quality, Goodman's market-friendly solutions for America's inefficient and flawed healthcare system is well-researched and succinctly presents an editorial balance that is not only uncomplicated, but also exposes inherent weaknesses of government-driven healthcare. For Americans truly trying to understand the basic facts about the decline of America's healthcare system which are often hidden within the heated debates over healthcare reforms, this provides an informed balance of ideas needed to help them form their own educated opinions, regarding the accessibility, quality, and cost of the coming political and partisan-influenced reforms affecting their future.

First Runner-Up

Ghost Dance in Berlin: A Rhapsody in Gray, Peter Wortsman, Travelr's Tales/Solas House - This is the best kind of travel literature; it is beautifully written, personal, and a portrait of both the past and present of a complex city. Wortsman writes that he thinks of Berlin, not as a proper noun but as a verb "forever evolving, boomeranging or 'Berlining' into the city of tomorrow." He recounts conversations and interactions with a cross-section of Berlin dwellers—and the ghosts of dwellers past—to convey his insights into the metamorphosis that has occurred in this European capital over the last four decades. Worstman is the American-born son of German-speaking Jewish refugees, and he draws upon his family history to make his reflections particularly meaningful. Black-and white photographs accenting each chapter complement the haunting quality of the book.

Honorable Mentions

Ryan Adams: Losering, a Story of Whiskeytown, David Menconi, University of Texas Press - A talented music critic with a seventeen-year obsession keeps his journalistic perspective with this semi-authorized biography of Ryan Adams, leader of Whiskeytown, a legendary alternative country-rock band. A high school drop-out from Jacksonville, North Carolina, the prickly Adams wrote brilliant songs by the bushel, and gave alcohol-and-drug―fueled concerts that veered between "legendary train wrecks" and mesmerizing magic. Melodic, descriptive phrases share an insider's view of the 1990s music scene where a healthy economic climate allowed unconventional bands to flourish. Interviews and anecdotes form a lucid homage to Adams, the Keith Richards of alternative country who could "open up a hole in the universe with just his guitar and his voice."

The Critical Analysis: An Overview of African American Progress from Emancipation to Present Day, E.D. Johnson, AuthorHouse - This book delivers a passionate and comprehensive overview of the misconceptions about African Americans that have historically and continually held back many in the black community. Drawing on his lifetime of commitment to social justice advocacy and exposure to limited income communities, the author, who is a decorated veteran, entrepreneur, and concerned African-American, sets the record straight by debunking the cultural myths and misinformation that has fueled racism, demeaning speech, and culturally insensitive actions from Emancipation to the present day. With the power of informed opinion on his side, Johnson's analytical look at a broad range of critical issues affecting African Americans, including poverty, incarceration, education, marriage, divorce, substance abuse, religion, politics, and socio-economic change will leave readers informed and empowered to make the behavioral changes necessary to emotionally and psychologically overcome real and perceived obstacles that are rooted in a life-time of half truths.

Power of the Ring: The Spiritual Vision Behind the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, Stratford Caldecott, The Crossroad Publishing Company - This is a guide to the moral vision that permeates J.R.R. Tolkein's Lord of the Rings series. Caldecott, a lay Catholic scholar, argues that Tolkein is one of the great spiritual writers of our time and supports this premise with close analysis of Tolkein's texts as well as many of his letters. Caldecott explores the Catholic beliefs that inform much of Tolkein's writing but keeps in mind that the Lord of the Rings trilogy is read and admired by "people who have no particular beliefs but simply love reading a good fantasy adventure story." The book sheds light on the mythology created by Tolkein and reflects on the deeper themes that have resonated with generations of readers. The guide even includes a brief discussion of the Lord of the Rings movies and their successful rendering of Tolkein's fantasy world.

Born, Not Raised, Susan Madden Lankford, Humane Exposures Publishing - Following Maggots in My Sweet Potatoes: Women Doing Time and downTown U.S.A.: A Personal Journey with the Homeless, by photojournalist Susan Madden Lankford, this is the third book in her award-winning trilogy which focuses on troubled lives. Infused with the raw emotions of black and white photographs, recorded conversations, drawings, and hand written responses, this plainspoken portrayal of the 5,000 juvenile criminals temporarily housed at San Diego's Kearny Messa Juvenile Detention Facility exposes the dark shadows of the traumatic life histories and developmental influences that are very often the driving forces that lead children to drug abuse and gang violence. And Lankford's heartfelt rejection of the notion that delinquents are beyond repair is evident in her compassionate interactions with these troubled teens that disclose not only their despair and pain, but their outlooks and hopes for their futures which they have not yet abandoned. More than a photojournalistic expose, this provides commentary from practicing psychiatrists and the Messa Juvenile Detention Facility caretaking staff, in addition to practical educational and social service policy calls-to-action and recommendations for intervening with at-risk minors before they become criminal statistics.

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Memoir

The Memoir category captures specific personal experience.

Winner

Leaving Early, D.F. Waitt, Hummingbird Knowledge Press - This is about the last ten days in a man's life, but his decision to make it the last ten days. He's not poor, not sick, and not suffering from depression. He's decided that now is the time, and for the next nine days he is going to prepare for his birthday… on the tenth day… and on that day he'll die. But that's just part of the story. It's also about the wild ride of his life, the dozens of wacky characters he's met along the way, and how he got to this place, to the day he bought the gun to kill himself with. And there's one more character, actually the one who could be considered the lead character in this tragic, thought-provoking, laugh out loud, brilliantly written and totally bizarre book. His name is Boo. Boo is Waitt's dog, best friend, confidant, and advisor. This book takes a good long look at suicide, the 13th leading cause of death in America.

First Runner-Up

The Fragile Life: A Mother's Story of a Bipolar Son, Charlotte Pierce-Baker, Chicago Review Press - Approximately 5% of the United States' population has bipolar disorder. With this condition, a person can be, one day, wildly happy and full of energy, and, the next, deeply depressed. This memoir of an African-American mother's son's bipolar condition is well written, empathetic, and informative. Mark, now in his 40s, is intelligent and holds a post-graduate degree, yet he ends up institutionalized and in the county jail several times. Mark likes history; has girlfriends; writes poems to help cure himself. But the disorder takes a toll on all members of his family. His parents get numerous terrifying late night calls. Included within the book's chapters are some of Mark's writing during the timeframe of the book: "When arrested, I was lost in a fog of insanity… I was desperate. I was frantic. And I was scared." Even though, as the author writes, "I know there is no cure for our son's illness," they are all extremely lucky to share so much love and many meaningful times.

Honorable Mentions

With Robert Lowell and His Circle: Sylvia Plath, Anne Sexton, Elizabeth Bishop, Stanley Kunitz & Others, Kathleen Spivak, University Press of New England - The author of this engrossing memoir enjoyed a privilege that many writers only dream about. She was a close personal friend of the legendary poet Robert Lowell and some of his amazingly talented literary friends. She first met Robert Lowell in 1959 as an undergraduate student and worked with him both in class and in a private tutoring relationship. As the years passed, the author kept in touch with him and continued to work with him until he died in 1977. This book, years in the making, is an artfully constructed memoir of some of the highlights of the author’s personal and professional relationship with Lowell. Plus, this book contains a thorough examination of some of the major cultural and literary influences of the mid to late 20th century. It is a must read for anyone who loves the written word, but its tale of perseverance and survival in the midst of addiction, depression, and major social change will appeal to a much wider audience.

From the Block to the Boardroom, Tracey D. Syphax, From the Block 2 the Boardroom - The author of this book lost his brother at a young age. Due to that tragedy, he decided he wanted to take control of his own destiny and dabbled in the world of selling and using drugs. From the moment you open this book, you enter life on the street and what it does to a young man: prison. The author spent years of his life using and dealing drugs and then, while incarcerated for these crimes, he has an epiphany. The life he chose isn't as glamorous as he once thought, and when he leaves jail, he decides to turn his life around. He's hired by a man who sees more to the author than what he's become. Because of someone believing in him, he follows his dream and pursues a legitimate business. With his wife and children by his side, he turns a small business into a bigger one, giving back to the community he stole so much from in the past.

Border Crossings: Coming of Age in the Czech Resistance, Charles Novacek, 1021 Press - In this well articulated memoir, Charles Novacek pays tribute to the heroes of his past. "My country comes first," is the lesson young Charles learns from his father. Courageous and inquisitive, our hero comes to age through the horrors of World War II, spends his tumultuous youth fighting Communism, and finds peace in a land away from home. Like many before him, coming to America becomes an act of self preservation, not an abandonment of the homeland. Part memoir and part history lesson, this book captures a time long gone, with moments of normalcy and love in the midst of suffering and struggle. The passage of years fails to erase the author's memory of remarkable events, which he recounts in captivating detail. This book makes an important contribution to the literature of World War II and communism in Eastern Europe. Kudos to Sandra Novacek, the author's "last love," for entrusting this remarkable personal account to the printer.

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My Odyssey through the Underground Press: Voices From the Underground, Michael “Mica” Kindman, Michigan State University Press - This book on the rise of underground newspapers is an eye-opener. Beginning with a paper titled The Realist in 1958, anti-establishment papers were all over the country by the 60s. Their goal and passion was to report what was really happening on the streets, instead of what the media saw fit to talk about it. By 1969 there were some 500 underground papers being published. Kindman got into the game early, starting an underground paper while he was student at Michigan State University in 1965. That paper was one of the first five members of the UPS; Underground Press Syndicate. The papers were published for many different countercultural groups, hippie, activist, gay culture, and spiritual seekers, to name just a few. The book is extraordinarily well-edited by Ken Wachberger, based on letters, interviews and direct conversations with the now deceased Kindman. Dramatic, surprising, and definitely fascinating.

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Business

The Business category involves applications to today's business environment and emerging trends, including general business, career, finance, computer, and the Internet.

Winner

Change-Friendly Leadership, Dr. Rodger Dean Duncan, Maxwell Stone Publishing - Many people resist change, perhaps, because of fear of the unknown. As a result, implementing change in the workplace can be quite difficult. Change, however, can lead to great progress. What many leaders fail to understand is that in order to put change into action, people have to see the benefit of the change. Dr. Rodger Dean Duncan teaches us that "engagement matters" in the workplace. People need to feel emotionally attached to their work. This can only be done through effective listening and relating on the part of organizational leadership. Dr. Duncan guides us through the steps necessary in any environment to be effective. Critical components for success include: trust, listening, collaboration, and simplicity. Success can only be achieved when goals are aligned. This book is filled with inspirational advice and is a practical resource for strengthening relationships with employees, family members, and teammates.

First Runner-Up

Ethical Meltdown, David R. Frazer, Hartz Publishing - Living life in an ethical and moral manner should be the defining principles of our lives. Doing the right thing, simply because it is right, should guide us through our daily choices. Unfortunately our values as a society are on a downward spiral. Frazer, attorney and author, explains that this decline in ethical values is due to many factors, including the high number of children living in single parent homes. Frazer points out that teaching ethical behavior begins at home, not from watching TV or the Internet. Schools must also have a responsibility in teaching children about ethics but have often fallen short in this area. It is logical to see why such a culture shift has taken place. The book discusses the adverse impact poor ethics have had on several professions, including, medicine, education, and law. While a bleak picture is painted of our current state, the book provides hope through practical solutions which can begin the necessary reversal of our society.

Honorable Mentions

Lead Like a General, Paul A. Gilbert, Marquis Press - Looking back in history can teach us many lessons. Studying the successes and failures of some of America's greatest leaders, can provide us with valuable insight into the leadership qualities that can be applied today. Paul Gilbert takes us through a fascinating historical analysis of the Civil War and its leaders, many who were generals, from the north and south, who helped shape our history under their direction. The book is much more than a historical account of the Civil War. It is also about the leadership principals, such as goal setting, team building, motivation, and innovation that existed during the civil war and yet are still relevant. Many historical points of view are shared; including, Robert E. Lee, Abraham Lincoln, and John Mosby, to provide broad Civil War perspectives. This book is a fascinating read that marries history with modern day business principles that can be employed in any organization seeking successful change.

It's My Company Too!, Kenneth R. Thompson, Ramon L. Benedetto, Thomas T. Walter, Greenleaf Book Group - If employees were treated as stakeholders in the companies that they work for, imagine the impact this could have on the bottom line. If management shared the challenges, rules, and outcomes needed for success with their employees, companies would have a greater number of highly invested supporters. This book explores the key components to organizational success across numerous industries and discovers the commonality that exists in these diverse environments. The book points out that an "entangled organization" is one in which people do "extraordinary things" and work in "extraordinary places." In order for this to be achieved, company leaders need to create an atmosphere where employees' individual contributions matter. Goals and outcomes between leadership and staff need to be aligned. The book employs principals that can be easily implemented. Examples of challenges that businesses face, and how they are overcome, are discussed. Creating an environment focusing on ethics, confidence, respect, and engagement leads to a competitive edge and a more productive and happy workplace.

Financing Failure, Vern McKinley, The Indepenent Institute - The recent economic crisis that our country faced in 2008 and 2009 had a lasting impact on many Americans. Today, there are still people who are out of work and others whose nest eggs have been greatly diminished. At the time of the economic crisis, the government stepped in to "bailout Wall Street." Many books have been written on the subject, but few have given an objective account as to the true role that the government played in the events leading up to the crisis and its aftermath. Vern McKinley provides a detailed analysis of the government's decisions made during our most recent financial crisis and notes the uncanny similarities between the last three in history. McKinley looks at the historical impact that government policies and agencies have had on our financial systems, and questions the long term effect that these "fixes" have had on taxpayers and the economy. This book is a fascinating analysis of governmental financial interventions and their necessity.

Automated Fare Collection System & Urban Public Transportation, Clifford N. Opurum, Trafford Publishing - In major cities, such as New York City, Public Transportation (Mass Transit) is a means to alleviating overcrowded roadways and heavy traffic conditions. Mass transit, however, will only be used if it is convenient and cost effective for the rider. Convenience not only refers to on-time schedules but also efficient fare collection systems. The use of public transportation can have an enormous impact on an urban economy. If potential riders are finding alternative means of transportation, this can be crippling. Opurum has dedicated years of research on this subject. His research examines Mass Transit operations and the economic impact of automated fare collections on ridership, as well as the viability of investing in these systems. Research shows that implementing an automated system will not only increase ridership but will also improve revenues. The book is informative and is highly recommended for anyone with an interest in mass transit.

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Reference

The Reference category involves traditional and emerging reference areas, including history, psychology, biography, education, sports, recreation, training, travel, and how-to.

Winner

New Mexico Historical Biographies, Don Bullis, Rio Grande Books - While the term "comprehensive" is frequently invoked when describing encyclopedias, Bullis' biographies are not only thorough but democratic in their inclusiveness. Within this anthology, one finds famous, infamous, noteworthy, and notorious figures appearing alongside persons who would assuredly go unnoticed by a less-diligent historian. Indeed, the book contains fifteen-hundred brief yet detailed biographies; each biography provides a handy sketch for scholars, writers, or anyone interested in The Land of Enchantment. While each entry includes what one expects in an encyclopedia, significant dates and events in the subject's life, the author also relates a number of interesting stories and specific details that make this book a valuable reference text. This is terrific jumping off point for research that will leave many readers to wanting to find out more.

First Runner-Up

Mixed Heritage: Your Source for Books for Children and Teens about Persons and Families of Mixed Racial, Ethnic, and/or Religious Heritage, Catherine Blakemore, Adams-Pomeroy Press - This large hardback book is primarily comprised of a detailed bibliography of books about what it calls mixed-heritage people and families. Catherine Blakemore's definition of heritage includes racial heritage, ethnic heritage, and religious heritage. She breaks the subject into categories and subcategories to allow the reader to easily find books of interest. Detailed descriptions of the listed books will assist a parent, teacher, librarian, or other adult in choosing appropriate books for the children in their life. The author has included three indexes, organized by title, author/editor, and subject. This book would be a particularly valuable asset for schools and libraries.

Honorable Mentions

The Little Red Writing Book: The Deluxe Edition, Brandon Royal, Maven Publising - Many people who write for professional, academic, or personal reasons will agree that a concise writing guide is a valuable tool. This is certainly such a tool as it contains both a writing guide concerned with principles to make writing more effective and grammar guide concerned with the rules that govern expository prose. The book focuses on the "four pillars" of writing: structure, style, readability, and grammar. In the guide section, the first three pillars are broken down into logical principles, which are discussed in context with concrete examples, no-nonsense strategies, and helpful exercises. For example, a discussion of parallel forms is accompanied by short excerpts from famous texts that deploy parallelisms, strategies for writing them effectively, and exercises for applied practice. The topic of grammar, the fourth pillar, makes up the second half of the book. Appropriately, this section's primary focus is on the most important grammar rules. The book remains consistent in structure by discussing these rules via explanations, examples, and exercises.

Essential Principles of Horseshoeing: Foundation Guide to Sound Trimming and Shoeing, Dr. Doug Butler, Jacob Butler, & Peter Butler, Doug Butler Enterprises - This heavily illustrated hardback book by three farriers is aimed primarily at those that are considering becoming a farrier, with the secondary aim of educating people that interact with horses and farriers. It covers a wide range of horse and horseshoeing topics in the main text and large glossary, including horse anatomy, working with horse feet, forging horseshoes, and horse breeds and markings. It also covers a variety of topics one should consider before becoming a farrier, such as what kinds of business skills are needed to run a successful farrier business. The extensive index will help the reader quickly locate any items of special interest.

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Hanji Unfurled: One Journey into Korean Papermaking, Aimee S. Lee, The Legacy Press - Lee details her journey through Korea to find a teacher of traditional papermaking. The paper, known as Hanji, is handmade and comes in a wide range of textures, colors, translucency, and dimensions. Its uses in Korean culture are similarly diverse having played a role in both the secular and religious aspects of daily life. Lee, a Korean-American artist and Fulbright fellow, discusses various methods of paper making in the past as well as documenting the processes presently used with both detailed explanations and photographs. Along the way, Lee provides the reader with an intimate view of the teachers, artists, and other ordinary Koreans who she meets on her journey. This narrative that's interwoven with the author's quest for a teacher, sheds light on both traditional and contemporary Korean culture and the guardians of a proud heritage of paper making that spans over 1,500 years.

Learning the Hidden Curriculum: The Odyssey of One Autistic Adult, Judy Endow, MSW, AAPC Publishing - This short, engaging book is written by autistic adult Judy Endow for other autistic adults. Endow found that most materials for helping autistics better understand social situations were aimed at children, so she started writing a calendar of similar tips for adults, and her experiences culminated in this book. Endow discusses a variety of tips for learning to recognize social missteps, practical suggestions for specific situations, ways to cut down on socially embarrassing situations, and things to do if you find yourself in one. Endow's personal experiences allowed her to include items that would not occur to many others.

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Home

The Home category has practical applications to home or home-related issues, including general home, gardening, cooking, parenting, family, interior design, animals, pets, and home-related crafts.

Winner

Pride and Joy, Kenneth Barish, Ph.D., Oxford University Press - Most parents want to raise their children to become happy and productive adults with compassion and respect for those around them. In order to get there, the proper foundation needs to be laid during the childhood years. This foundation begins by developing strong family relationships through emotional support and empathy. Understanding how a child might be feeling in certain situations is critical. Parents must be engaged and interested in their children’s lives. Pride and Joy offers sound and proven techniques for parents to help children develop healthy emotional attitudes at an early age, leading to a lifetime of positive emotional well being. Kenneth Barish, PH.D., shows us how to set limits and teach our children to problem solve and build resiliency, all in a positive and supportive environment. Numerous day-to-day examples are given, covering everything from temper tantrums to dealing with difficult adolescents. This is a valuable handbook for parents of children of any age.

First Runner-Up

The 4-1-1 Surviving Teenhood, Michele Sfakianos, Open Pages Publishing - The teenage years can be frustrating and challenging for parents and their teenage children. These years are times of great change, both physically and emotionally. During these times, relationships between parents and their children are put to the test. Author Michele Sfakianos, RN, BSN provides sound advice, as well as resources, to help parents navigate through this trying period. Sfakianos reminds us that our children need our unconditional love, guidance, and limits. The key is to establish strong communications with our youth. Practical recommendations are given, ranging from monitoring TV and cell phone usage, to knowing who our teens are choosing for friends. The book offers reassurance as well as a glimpse into what parents can expect during these years. Many common issues are discussed including, acne and nutrition, along with more serious matters, like anorexia and alcoholism. This essential guide will help parents get through these difficult times.

Honorable Mentions

Rocks Across the Pond, Richard & Kathy Verlander, Dementi Milestone Publishing - Being a parent today can be an exhausting job. For many, their day does not end when they leave work. Most moms and dads can be found running their children to after school programs, including little league sports. For some, coaching and volunteering is also part of the mix. This requires a great deal of time, patience, and dollars. Richard and Kathy Verlander, have achieved inspirational success in raising two sons. In fact, they became the recipients of the George and Barbara Bush Little League Parents of the Year Award. This prestigious award is given to parents of professional Major League Baseball players, whose young children began their careers in Little League baseball. The Verlanders are the parents of Major League ballplayer, Justin Verlander. They not only share stories of their journey as strong role models, but remind us of the importance of helping children to achieve their dreams.

52 Weeks of Parenting Wisdom, Meg Akabas, CreateSpace - Most parents will agree that, at times, parenting can be a daunting task. Author, Meg Akabas, a Certified Parenting Educator, encourages her readers to take a proactive approach to parenting. Her book provides weekly advice to parents on essential matters. Topics include strengthening parent-child relationships, discipline, and yes, even bribery. Each chapter represents a week of the year, specifically focusing on critical parenting topics to cover each week. The intention is that parents will read only one chapter a week, but will build upon the skills learned previously. This is accomplished through end of chapter questions and exercises in the form of to do lists. Some notable exercises and questions include: "Allow yourself to be silly" and "What percentage of time in my children's company do I spend conversing with them?" This is a book that truly looks at parenting from a new, hands-on perspective, not often seen in most parenting books.

A Culinary Journey, Nancy Keeney Forster, Wind Shadow Press - Being the wife of an American Diplomat has many challenges. Add to that, living all around the world and being responsible for cooking and hosting countless dinner parties for foreign diplomats. This can be quite overwhelming for most of us. Nancy Keeney Forster shares her experiences as the wife of a Foreign Service officer. To complicate matters, when Nancy was thrust into her role as a newlywed, she had limited knowledge of cooking. She learned by necessity and began to compile favorite recipes from her time spent overseas. In addition to great recipes, this book has entertaining stories that will take you on a trip around the world, while you learn to cook. Some unusual recipes include, Curried Carrot and Beet Salad from the Philippines, Hawaiian Avocado Grapefruit Soup, and Spiced Lamb with Saffron and Almonds from Burma. If you are unable to travel as extensively as the author, this book will bring you the flavor of the food and cultures of many faraway lands.

Portabella Mushroom Party, Troy Brown, Troy Brown - Portabellas are a delicious, yet sometimes overlooked mushroom. Part of the reason for this is that many do not know how to cook or season this tasty delicacy. Upon tasting the portabella, it is hard to believe that it is a member of the mushroom family. Troy Brown realized that the need existed for a great cookbook dedicated to this seldom used ingredient. By spanning across many cultures and courses, he created a cookbook that not only gives us great recipes that are easy to follow, he also provides invaluable information pertaining to storing, washing, and preparing portabella mushrooms. Some notable recipes include: potato and onion fritters, cream of mushroom soup with sherry, and portabella and asparagus stuffed chicken breasts. Beautiful pictures match the unique recipes that are hard to find elsewhere. If one is looking to add a special ingredient to their next dinner party, this book would be great one to have on hand.

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Health

The Health category promotes physical, mental, and emotional well-being, including psychology, fitness, and sex.

Winner

It Was Only a Moment Ago, William E. Hablitzel, Sunshine Ridge Publishing - Whatever a physician collects during a lifetime of practicing internal medicine, stories are among the most inevitable objects that one acquires. The ability to relate these stories, to learn from them, to extract and transmit the wisdom they may bestow is unusual, however. The author has this rare gift, and he shares his experiences from his pre-physician days as an EMT to his later years as a respected teacher of junior doctors. The reader is alternately charmed, awed, horrified by the content of the tales, but always comforted that the knowing yet humble storyteller will make the journey worthwhile.

First Runner-Up

Tinnitus Treatment Toolbox, J. L. Mayes, Trafford Publishing - The condition of tinnitus remains an elusive and frustrating entity for both sufferers and caregivers. The subjective nature of the complaint and difficulty in designing studies to assess treatment strategies create obstacles to understanding. In this book, the author, herself affected by tinnitus, explains the nature of the condition and provides detailed case reports from her own practice. While acknowledging the difficulty in accomplishing a cure, the author's commonsense methods offer hope for coping with this problem. The clinical material is clear and free of medical jargon; there is a welcome absence of miracles. The book includes a list of resources and a comprehensive bibliography.

Honorable Mentions

The Dark Side of Hope, Karen Krett, Xlibris - This book opens a psychological debate about the consequences of hope in American culture. Author and long-time psychotherapist Karen Krett moves beyond examining the benefits of hope, and delves into its potential impact on expectations and limiting personal growth. Krett addresses this other side of hope from several angles, to include childhood development, sexuality, and gender. She questions assumptions and explores how pop-culture's exploitation of hope has altered national identity. The author offers much-needed criticism amid the collective view of hope as unequivocally positive. While its message bucks conventional wisdom, it instead fosters a deep and long-lasting sense of personal development.

Great Sex Made Simple, Mark A. Michaels & Patricia Johnson, Llewellyn Worldwide - This book is intended as introduction to Tantric sex, which the authors define as "an ancient Indian tradition that recognizes sexual energy as a source of personal and spiritual empowerment." The authors concede the challenges of creating a satisfactory definition of Tantra, but they achieve an effective demonstration of its practice. The book contains a balanced exposition of the physical and the mental components required to achieve the maximum in sexual pleasure. The authors offer intriguing ideas that should prove intriguing even for couples that already have satisfying sex lives. The book has a useful index, endnotes, glossary, and bibliography.

Kids First, Diabetes Second, Leighann Calentine, Spry Publishing - This is a personal account of parenting a child with diabetes. Instead of stilted medical jargon, author Leighann Calentine steps through the numerous challenges, nuggets of wisdom, and revelations she has experienced as the primary caretaker of her diabetic daughter. From the initial diagnosis and the first steps of preparedness to the long-term implications of living with the disease, Calentine employs down-to-earth, relatable language that anyone involved in the life of a diabetic child would find invaluable. Her encouraging and realistic tone removes the stigma of diabetes in children leading to a life without sports, summer camp, or even normalcy. Kids First Diabetes Second takes the anxiety and helplessness out of living with diabetes, encouraging reason and prudence over defeat.

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Self-Help

The Self-Help category involves traditional and emerging self-help topics.

Winner

Extraordinary Centenarians in America: Their Secrets to Living a Long and Vibrant Life, Gwen Weiss-Numeroff, Agio Publishing - The author's intense fear of illness and loss inspired this engaging look into the secrets of longevity. In her book, we hear the engaging stories of thirty unique centenarians who managed to beat the odds. Each story begins with their words of wisdom and a summary of each individual's lifestyle and family history. While many credit their longevity to genetics, most are convinced that diet, staying active, and a positive outlook all were significant contributors to a longer life. But the most powerful message of the book is that aging is not to be feared and that even our later years can be vibrant and fulfilling.

First Runner-Up

The Mindfulness Workbook for Addiction: A Guide to Coping with the Grief, Stress and Anger that Trigger Addictive Behaviors, Rebecca E. Williams, PhD and Julie S. Kraft, MA, New Harbinger Publications - This workbook taps into the power of the mind to overcome addictive behavior of any kind, such as drugs and alcohol, self-harm, overeating, or gambling. Compiling and simplifying useful concepts from cognitive behavioral therapy, acceptance and commitment therapy, and dialectical behavioral therapy, the authors lead the reader on a journey to uncover underlying wounds or unmet needs from childhood and how a person's addictive behaviors have been like a bandage from fully feeling this pain. Filled with exercises that are easily reproducible for individual or group practice, this workbook eases the reader into the subject matter with several helpful vignettes and applications. Through utilizing mindfulness, readers will come to understand how their own minds have limited their recovery, and hopefully break through that remaining barrier on the road to wholeness.

Honorable Mentions

Dear Mallory: Letters to a Teenage Girl Who Killed Herself, Lisa Richards, New Middle Press - Every 15 minutes, someone commits suicide. How does a mother cope after losing her only daughter to suicide? In this book, we are afforded a rare, heart-wrenching glimpse into the thoughts of one such mother, licensed counselor Lisa Richards. In the wake of Mallory’s death, Lisa experienced an overwhelming desire to communicate with her daughter, and the letters began, starting just fifteen days after Mallory's passing. Each letter evokes her pain, guilt, confusion—and, as time passes—eventually her acceptance of her daughter's choice. Mallory's friends and family members also wrote letters, and those who have experienced the death of a loved one by suicide will connect and ultimately heal with these letters in a powerful way. This book should be required reading for clinicians, grief counselors, clergy, social workers, and suicide hotline operators.

Building Independence: How to Create and Use Structured Work Systems, Susan Kabot, Christine Reeve, AAPC Publishing - This is a well-organized, powerful resource for parents and professionals dealing with people on the autism spectrum (ASD). Using their vast experience in the field, the authors provide a detailed and easy to follow guide to setting up structured work systems that can be implemented in a variety of settings. Color photos enhance the reader's understanding and provide powerful visual examples of structured teaching techniques to promote skill development and independence in individuals with ASD. The charts, pictures, and explicit directions and examples using common household items are exceptionally easy to follow and will be a great resource for teachers and families .

Near-Death Experiences as Evidence for the Existence of God: As Evidence for the Existence of God and Heaven, J. Steve Miller, Wisdom Creek Press - Miller, a medical doctor, seeks to connect personal reports of near-death experiences to solid evidence of the existence of an after-life. He uses reports from those who claim to have visited heaven and links them to clinical findings by researchers in the field and also examines how these experiences are impacted by cultural and religious beliefs. Miller compares several scientific studies and provides intriguing arguments for those interested in the subject. Miller concludes that there is, indeed, a pattern with Near Death Experiences that cannot be ignored and that this pattern is what may lead to the discovery of the purpose of our existence.

The Turning Point: Conquering Stress with Courage, Clarity, and Confidence, Balasa Prasad & Preetham Grandhi, Cedar Fort - In this concise, direct book, the authors tackle stress, a common denominator throughout humanity, and offer explanations and solutions that aren't weighed down by dense medical technology or psychologese. Using case studies and personal examples, the authors show a wide variety of stress arenas being conquered with appropriate attention and the "Turning Point" intervention, which are laid out for the reader. The authors believe stress is a problem of the mind, not of the brain, and as such, can be treated without use of expensive medications with dubious, unwanted side effects. Included in the book are chapters on childhood stress, which give parents several suggestions on how to minimize the effects of stress in children, as well as a chapter on post-traumatic stress disorder, which is highly applicable for those treating returning veterans.

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Spiritual

The Spiritual category involves the mind and spirit, including religion, metaphysical, and mystical.

Winner

SQ21: The Twenty-One Skills of Spiritual Intelligence, Cindy Wigglesworth, Select Books - In a work which may become a classic, the author has created a way to define and measure what she calls spiritual intelligence. Understanding that a person may have a high IQ and still have poor interpersonal skills holding them back in life, the author has developed a competency-based spiritual intelligence assessment instrument. Intended for anyone who wishes to improve themselves, to grow into their full potential, or as the author puts it, to become "more fully human," SQ can be used to discover the negative modes of thought that block spiritual development when an individual tries to become a better person. Using twenty-one skill sets, the author isolates the desirable spiritual values and causes of leadership success as demonstrated by people, like the Dalai Lama, Gandhi, Jesus, and Lincoln, who are universally respected and admired, and gives practical exercises and advice for individuals trying to achieve self-mastery and spiritual growth.

First Runner-Up

A Spirituality of Service: Reflections on a Life-Long Journey of Faith and Work Among the World's Poor, Jerry Aaker, Pfeifer-Hamilton - For over forty years, Aaker traveled to places many have never heard of helping to establish and manage sustainable development programs in poor villages on five continents. This journey helped him to define his inward spirituality that took shape as an outward service to the poor. As a result of reading the reflections and meditations throughout the pages, the reader will be encouraged to observe with a different lens how a one can reflect on experiences and questions that impact their faith. Excellent organization of the book allows the reader to ponder beyond the edges of comfort that enhance the reader’s view of the world.

Honorable Mentions

Twelve Mindful Months: Cultivating a Balanced & Fit Body, Mind & Spirit, Carol Tibbetts, True Nature Press - The author walks us through a beautifully laid out journal for transformational change. For those who are looking for a thoughtful way to integrate mind, body, and soul into a daily routine using fitness, creativity, and mindfulness, this book is broken down into simple step by step tips and journal pages that allow for artful exploration of our biological cycles and how they relate to the cycles of nature. As we let our minds become still, write our innermost thoughts throughout the year, and edify our bodies with proper food and non-stressful exercise, we are able to become more accepting of the seasons of our existence, gaining respect for everything around us, as we blossom through self-limiting behaviors to healthy individuals with optimism for life.

Do You Quantum Think? New Thinking That Will Rock Your World, Dianne Collins, SelectBooks - The book is a uniquely written look at the concept of transformation from the physical to the divine—living through transcendence rather than change. The author illuminates the necessity of recognition and distinction of context and its relevance to world views, shifting states of consciousness, and how the mind takes on the attributes of that of which we are aware, with our reality becoming observer-created. There are endless possibilities, as we drop the drumbeats of the past and go through the spiritual, cosmic, and esoteric levels of consciousness, applying the distinguished attributes to our lives today, in essence creating a snowballing "catch 22" of seeing, knowing, and being.

Not Just a Hearer But a Doer (Volume 1), Yolanda Shanks, Believers Press - No matter what time of day one chooses to feast on scripture, this devotional book will be a welcome and delight. The author clearly knows how to take a reader swiftly through layers of short text in one sitting. Readers will be compelled to look at the word with a fresh perspective that will encourage them in the habit of embracing each day for purposeful living. The unique relevance of experiences shared, the background in between the lines of scripture, and the interpretations that lead to the application are the design of this book that lead to a personal manner of living.

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The Bhagavad Gita: Song of God, Jagdish R. Singh, Jagdish R. Singh - The Hindu Bhagavad Gita is a portion of the Sanskrit epic Mahabharata, which is the story of the dynastic war between two sets of cousins for the throne of Kuru, an ancient Indian kingdom. Intended for those unfamiliar with the Bhagavad, this excellent translation of the Hindu scripture provides, in simple and clear English, the dialogue between the gentle-hearted Prince Arjuna, and his charioteer, who is actually Krishna in disguise. Not wanting to fight against his friends, family, and former teachers, Prince Arjuna asks Krishna for advice. Krishna's counsel to Arjuna about the pathways to wisdom, self-discipline, and self-sacrifice has inspired and influenced millions from Mahatma Gandhi to Henry David Thoreau and T.S. Eliot. The book lists Hindu theological and philosophical terms to aid the reader, as well as giving clarifications throughout the text. The author has done a wonderful job of making the Bhagavad accessible to the general reader.

Paramhansa Yogananda: With Personal Reflections & Reminiscences, A Biography, Swami Kriyananda, Crystal Clarity Publishers - "The Master, by contrast, recommended world acceptance in the right spirit, which leads to rejection also in the right spirit, and is not negative but means only leaving a lesser god for a greater one." From this personal, first-hand insight of a devotee, comes an expanded perspective of Yogananda's autobiography to help people discover their divine potential and nature. Inspired by the great guru's life, the author brings fresh understanding through stories of his personality, future hopes and, his last years. Also skillfully woven throughout the book are Yogananda's core teachings. By relating his insider's story of the multi-facted yogi, the author's lively, compassionate voice makes Yognandas's divine consciousness and impact on the world become clearer through dialogue, examples, and insights. Chapters with dozens of new stories masterfully walk us through a new, egoless perspective that the great guru could not share in his autobiography about himself that was read by millions.

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Legacy Fiction

Books in the Legacy Fiction category are fiction books over two years of age which hold particular relevance to any subject matter or art form. Unlike many in the industry, we think good books last longer than one season.

Winner

The Devil's Chosen: A Search for Understanding, Robert W. Barker, iUniverse - A stark portrayal of World War II and the Holocaust, this book examines the underlying social factors that led to Germany's embrace of Hitler's authoritarian reign. Going back as far as World War I, the author acknowledges that the punitive backlash against Germany for their involvement in that war led to the Second World War. Written as a series of short stories with the fictional Hans Gruber as the willing participant in the Nazi party, this book explores what pushes good men to participate in brutality or to stand by and do nothing to stop it. The author pushes the reader to consider who is responsible for the horror of the Holocaust and take responsibility to prevent history from repeating itself.

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First Runner-Up

One Last Dance: It's Never Too Late To Fall In Love, Mardo Williams, Calliope Press - With cake and anger flying, Morgan (89) and Dixie (79) first meet crashing into each other at a retirement home. There is a mutual attraction that later turns to dating. After time the couple decide to live together for economical reasons. Both life survivors come into the situation set in their ways with pasts they don't want to discuss and struggle to get along together. After health scares, an accident, an unexpected grandson, and other bumps along the way the two find they are falling in love. Both admitting they can't live without the other. Vividly written with a strong attention to detail. The authors take the reader on a remarkable journey of a story strong of character relationships and romance teaching us we are never too old for forgiveness, passion or to fall in love. Written by Mardo at ninety-two and completed by his daughters after his passing is perfect and in every way making for a very enjoyable novel.

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Honorable Mentions

Tremolo: Cry of the Loon, Aaron Paul Lazar, Twilight Times Books - Gus and his pals are looking forward to a fun, relaxing summer at the lake. As it turns out, their summer is anything but relaxing. After a near miss of being capsized in a storm, Gus and his friends inadvertently witness a young girl, who looks terrified, being chased by a man. This accidental encounter embroils Gus and his buddies in a mystery that involves, not only several crimes, but also, threats on their very lives. Read along as the story unfolds with tales of mysterious visitors, criminals, and even personal loss. For Gus and his friends, this summer adventure turns out to be a time of growing and learning that life is not always fair, things don't always go as we expect them to, and summers can be much more than swimming, hiking, and having fun with your friends.

Lucky's Plott: A Plott Hound Tale, Libby Bagby, AuthorHouse - This story, about a Plott Hound that gets hit by a car while on a hunt, draws the reader in from its first words. Opening through the eyes of Lucky, the story captures the exhilaration that a dog experiences when about to go on a hunt. Bagby doesn't shy away from the realities of hunting and the dangers found outdoors for a dog, although these are presented in ways a small child could understand and handle. After Lucky is hit by a car on the hunt and seriously injured, then subsequently rescued, he is taken to a new home and the story gets warm and fuzzy. There is an addendum telling about the real life Lucky, which explains that the Plott Hound is the North Carolina state dog. There is also a glossary, and the illustrations are extremely handsome. Not only children, but dog rescuers, breeders, and canine lovers of all ilks would appreciate this book.

Dark Fire, Claudia Newcorn, Outskirts Press - The intense and brutal opening of this story grips and compels the reader to keep turning pages. The characters in the Feyree realm and that of the Fire Daemons are well drawn. Soon it becomes obvious all is not what it appears to be. Many of the most intriguing characters seem to be duplicitous. Some pivotal characters discover, to their horror, that trusted allies are instead traitors. Each realm has its own prophecy, and these two seem to be diametrically opposed to each other. So, which prophecy is to be believed? This is a suspense filled action-adventure novel set in a fantasy world. The story is reminiscent of J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings trilogy. The plot twists and turns, not to mention that the magic, treachery, dreams, visions, bonds of intense love and loyalty of the main characters, and heinous betrayal leave the reader breathless.

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The Haunting of Wolfe Haven, Debbie A. Heaton, iUniverse - Three years after fleeing Wolfe Haven, Riley receives a letter from her husband's cousin Abby, letting her know that Tristan plans to divorce her to marry Glenda an ex-girlfriend from before their marriage. Riley decides to return to Wolfe Haven to settle the ghosts from her past. What she finds is a feeling of tension that quickly turns to murder and betrayal with someone wanting to kill her and a wondering if her marriage has a second chance. Heaton creates a well-developed cast of characters with excellent descriptions and plot twists that fit perfectly into this storyline of mystery and romance making for a unique novel. The setting of a Gothic ancestral home with secrets of its own take this well plotted novel into the depths of new and old mysteries and intrigue that will leave the reader guessing until the very end who is the real enemy and hiding the secrets surrounding Wolfe Haven.

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Winds of the South, Ben Walker, Jamin Press - The story begins in southern Georgia during the 1830s as the country is divided by the moral conflict and political debate over slavery. Zimri Rhodes is taking a young couple and their children to the slave auction, and readers are immediately pulled into their feelings of helplessness and fear, and those of Zimri, who struggles with the financial need to sell them and the morality of his decision. His pregnant wife, Elizabeth, stays home while he travels to Connecticut and becomes romantically involved with an actress active in the abolitionist movement and the Underground Railroad. The compelling story intensifies as hundreds of slaves escape on riverboats and cannot be found. When insufficient funds halt delivery of a new printing press for Zimri's newspaper, Elizabeth breaks tradition to take charge of the business in his absence. Beautifully written, history and characters come alive and readers are transported to another time and place.

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Legacy Nonfiction

Books in this Legacy Nonfiction category are nonfiction books over two years of age which hold particular relevance to any subject matter or art form. Unlike many in the industry, we think good books last longer than one season.

Winner

Searching For Friday's Child, Marjorie Irish Randell, Trafford Publishing - This is the exceptional story of one woman's search for her brother, who was killed during World War II while serving in the Philippine Islands. Through a 50-year painstaking process of piecing together correspondence and items from her brother, soldiers who may have served with him, and government agencies, Mrs. Randell was finally able to learn how her beloved sibling lost his life, and yet at the same time, came so close to being rescued. The author includes images of the memorabilia used in her investigation. Not only does this book made the reader feel like he or she knew Howard "Jack" Irish Jr., it evokes a sense of being there while the author takes two steps forward and one step back solving the mystery behind his death.

First Runner-Up

The Family ROI Experience: A Step-byStep Guide to Realizing Your Best Family, Barbara Fagan-Smith and Lesli Gee, Family ROI - This book invites you to think of your family as you would a business. If you make the proper investments and do the proper planning, your family will realize a profit. The book is a step-by-step guide filled with fun activities and experiences for families to do together to make their family units stronger. Families are asked to examine their attitudes, values, and culture; create mission statements; and practice compassionate communication techniques. The authors have created a user-friendly resource designed to improve families by using many of the techniques already proven to work in the business world. This colorful easy-to-use guide will help your family create a shared vision and plan for an exciting future together.

Honorable Mentions

Man Overboard: Confessions of a Novice Math Teacher in the Bronx , Ric Klass, Seven Locks Press - This book is not an inspirational story about teachers working miracles in the classroom. It's a story of survival by a man beginning a second career as a teacher in the Bronx—one who wanted to make a difference. With a mixture of humor, frustration, and heart-wrenching honesty, the author chronicles tragic circumstances as he tries to improve his student's understanding of math while actually functioning in an inner city school setting. His account opens the reader's eyes to what it's like to teach students who are unruly, to work with administrators who fight him at every turn, and to navigate through a nearly impossible situation.

ABCs of Getting Out of Debt: Turn Bad Debt into Good Debt and Bad Credit into Good Credit , Garrett Sutton, Esq., BZK Press - Is it really necessary to cut up all your credit cards to get out of debt? This author contends you don't. Instead, he advises the reader to use them wisely and to personal advantage, turning bad debt into good debt and bad credit into good credit. In a day when many Americans are suffering under the weight of bad financial decisions, this book offers a step-by-step strategy for overcoming debt, improving your credit score, and avoiding many of the scams that exist today. Without being patronizing, the author demystifies the process of getting out of debt and protecting financial resources.

A Place In Time, Roger Longpre, Trafford Publishing - Longpre describes the rugged way of life and cruelty of nature known mainly to those involved in ranching, logging, farming, or hunting. The author was well-acquainted with all of these growing up in the area of Petty Creek, Montana. Fast-moving vignettes with keen descriptions, crisp dialogue, and just enough emotion keep this autobiographical story entertaining, as it clips along from one tree-chopping, sheep-herding, log-splitting adventure to another. This well-crafted tale is one of struggle and survival, not only with the harsher elements of nature, but also with change itself, especially in the area of government regulations, which ultimately lead to the selling of the family's ranch to a corporation.

December 1941: 31 Days That Changed America and Saved the World, Craig Shirley, Thomas Nelson - The entrance of the United States into World War II by means of the bombing of military base at Pearl Harbor by the Japanese served as a pivotal point in the war. Those who were alive at the time would never forget, but until the author published this book, no practical way existed to enlighten individuals what living everyday life in America for the common man was like during the month of December 1941. He has combined a tightly-written narrative with excerpts from hundreds of publications, news broadcasts, and other means of communication to transport the reader back to those harrowing days in the country's history. It shows exactly what happened on each individual day of that terrible month to propel the United States into combat against Germany and Japan.

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E-Book Fiction

The E-Book Fiction category holds fiction books published in an electronic format.

Winner

The War is Language: 101 Short Works, Nath Jones, Nath Jones - The cryptic title sets the perfect contract for the reader, and this oddball book makes for a delicious stew of weirdness. Selections within have glorious titles, such as "The Dumbass Solidary Project: A Facebook Forum," "Breast Meat," and "Should Have Got Knocked-up at Fourteen." Jones places the highest priority on style, and is, in fact, a master stylist—a post-modern minimalist and a poet/storyteller, who pays the greatest attention to every word, while respecting the reader by realizing books are written to be read. This is a writer's writer, as well as a reader's writer.

First Runner-Up

Lilith Rises, Terry R. Lacy, BookBaby - The story casts an undeniable spell on the reader. This wholly original exploration of the creation myth melds Catholicism and Wiccan theology in a fascinating way, making this book hard to put down. Even more so, it's a celebration of feminism with our dear Lilith starring as the universe's original feminist. The author masterfully describes the trouble in Paradise that made the four God's angels follow Lilith to Earth and become powerful witches. This theme weaves it in and out of the story. Despite the mournful quality of the narrative, this is a must-read. Lacy is an undeniable talent and masterful storyteller.

Honorable Mentions

Shadow Game, Darryl Sollerh, Del Oro Company - This is what you get when you cross a soon-to-retire assassin with a healthy dose of Buddhism. It is, in fact, the incorporation of a spiritual metamorphosis that makes Sollerh's novel something you will read in one sitting. His wonderfully short, clipped sentences at the beginning of the novel, reel you in, hook you, and prepare you for a book full of tension. By the end, the short, clipped sentences reflect the protagonist's transformation. This book is not a glorification of violence; rather, it makes a powerful case that none of us is fully dead. That all of us still have it in us to change for the better.

Silver: Acheron (A River of Pain) , Keira Michelle Telford, Venatic Press - This dystopian novel set a few hundred years in the future reminds us of the destructive force of mankind, whose injuries are most often self-inflicted. The monsters in this novel, who wildly outnumber the humans, are descendants of humans who were contaminated by the nuclear war that spawned the post-apocalyptic setting. Our protagonist, Ella Cross, is a hunter whose job is to exterminate the monsters. There is much contemporary society can learn from Telford's novel, as the old adage of history repeating itself, certainly applies. In short, Telford's novel is nothing short of fascinating. Her world is gripping.

The Story of Sassy Sweet Water, Vera Jane Cook, MUSA - Cook uses the 1960's Civil Rights movement in South Carolina to explore how social issues, complicated family histories, and secrets can tear a family apart. Cook's interesting cast of characters will both delight and frustrate you. The story's protagonist, the mellifluously-named Sassy Sweetwater, searches for love, fairness, peace, and familial harmony. This emotional rollercoaster is a true Southern literary triumph, reminding us that ugliness can never extinguish beauty. Sweetwater is a beautiful character with powerful resonance.

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E-Book Nonfiction

The E-Book Nonfiction category holds nonfiction books published in an electronic format.

Winner

The Expedition: Dark Waters, Jason Lewis, BillyFish Books - When does a journey become an expedition? It happens when the path leads into the unknown and often life-threatening territory. When does a memoir become a story? It happens when the life events become compelling. Lewis' book has it all—expedition adn story. In 1995, Lewis and his cohorts ventured to conquer perhaps the Earth's last circumnavigational frontier: a complete trip around the globe using only human power. Beginning in England, the expedition employed boots, bicycles, in-line skates, and a variety of watercraft, and took more than thirteen years to complete. As members of his team fell away, Lewis battled nature, man, political forces, severe injury, and his own will to proceed, while at times narrowly escaping death. This first installment, Dark Waters, takes us over the Atlantic Ocean in a pedal boat and across the continental United States where Lewis' legs are snapped, literally, while in-line skating through Colorado.

First Runner-Up

Stop Living In This Land, Go To The Everlasting World Of Happiness, Live There Forever , Woo Myung, Cham Books - The author has assembled a collection of affirmations and meditations around the concept of universal truth. Broken into five parts, the book attempts to answer the great questions of life, including the reason we are here, the human mind, the creator's will, everlasting life, and, finally, a more complex topic called "The Living Empty Sky," which is another way of describing the unexplainable, from a human perspective, and the peacefulness of embracing truth. One of the major themes in pursuit of truth is the shedding of the self, most specifically the stripping away of an idealized human concept of self (and others) and entering a nonjudgmental oneness with the universe. The book can be read linearly or sampled occasionally as meditations.

Honorable Mentions

Cold Cash, Cool Climate, Jonathan G. Koomey, Analytics Press - While the debate over global warming rages, there should be no argument over the fact that the air, soil, and water conditions of the planet could be a great deal better. Scientist and technical advisor Jonathan Koomey has written a green book for entrepreneurs—or said another way, advice for startup success while reducing emissions. Using a pool of intricate research, he sorts through the myth and politics, establishing the global misunderstanding about climate change that actually feeds global warming through ignorance and pessimism. In that crisis, there is opportunity for entrepreneurs to invent technologies that help the situation. This is not a high podium threat, but scientific analysis. It's a pragmatic look at the issues and an energizing, optimistic discussion of solutions.

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In Search of Destiny, Edith Hathaway, Vintage Vedic Press - Vedic Astrology is study of time's subdivisions, helping to explain the past, present, and future. Hathaway uses Vedic Astrology to explore individual and collective destiny, focusing on the Ascendant more commonly called the "rising sign" in western culture. The underpinning is heavy math, or the measurements of time from fractions of a second to length of civilizations and longer, although Hathaway doesn't bury you in those details. Nor is this book about the fortune cookie-type advice found in daily newspapers; it's an understanding of the astrological science via explanation and examination wrought through the lens of time and culture. The book includes thirty one biographical studies as examples.

Thomas Jefferson, Esther Franklin, Xlibris - In the last few decades, Thomas Jefferson has been redefined from a god-like liberal bastion to a more flawed, human figure. Esther Franklin furthers this understanding with a collection of queries regarding the "troubled genius." At first appearing like expanded notation from her research for an earlier work on Jefferson, the questions read like an intelligent conversation about the Founding Father. In fact, this book could be a Monticello tour guide's best friend. It helps to reveal the man and his relationship to both his nearby and extended worlds. It's a fun exploration for the primary school level and beyond.

Whole-Body Dentistry, Mark A. Breiner, Quantum Health Press - Maintaining healthy teeth is a nagging concern for millions of people, but in truth, dental issues can lead to a host of problems across the body. Doctor Breiner tackles the whole-body approach to dentistry, outlining the issues and the holistic methods of dental examinations and treatment. The book is divided into several parts: his background, dental-related health issues, contemporary dentistry, mouth restoration, dental options, and practical advice. This essential guide will have us all scrambling for a holistic, forward-thinking dentist.

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