Next Chapter Book Reviews

Discover Your Next Favorite Book!

The Bone Box

Product DetailsThe Bone Box
By Jay Amberg
Amika Press
Retail Price:$15.95

Book Description:  On a hill overlooking the Aegean Sea in Turkey, an international team of archeologists discovers a stone box that first-century Jews used to rebury their dead. The box’s Aramaic inscription: Jesus of Nazareth, the Christ. Sophia Altay, the beautiful French-Turkish archeologist who heads the team, tries to keep the discovery secret until she can authenticate the ossuary. She knows that people will kill to obtain the relics—and to suppress the box’s other contents, documents that could alter Western history.

Joseph Travers, an American sent to Turkey to evaluate the archeological dig, soon finds himself pulled into the web of betrayal, reprisal, and violence. In his journey through Istanbul’s mosques and palaces, the archeological sites around ancient Ephesus, and, ultimately, the strange and mystical terrain of Cappadocia, he comes to understand the epochal meaning of the bone box.

Review

This is a fast-paced thriller that  takes you on a wild ride of adventure as you travel to an archeological dig that could change the world.   The tension stays high as the main characters are often in life-threatening circumstances, which always keeps you on the edge of your seat.  There are several plot twists and many mysteries to unravel.  This book was hard to put down and I found the ending very satisfying.

~Reviewed by Jerry C.

 

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    The Beauty Detox Power

    Product DetailsThe Beauty Detox Power
    By Kimberly Snyder
    HarlequinRetail Price:  $18.25
    Amazon Price: $13.24

    Book Description:  As Hollywood’s go-to nutritionist and New York Times bestselling author of The Beauty Detox Solution and The Beauty Detox Foods, Kimberly Snyder knows that there is so much more to being truly healthy and achieving and maintaining weight loss than counting calories and working out. The secret is aligning your mind and body. In The Beauty Detox Power, she shares the diet and lifestyle changes that are the foundation of her signature program and will nourish your mental and emotional well-being.

    Heal your mind and body to let go of excess weight

    Discover and conquer the root of specific food cravings

    Overcome plateaus and blocks to gain inner and outer beauty

    Balance your mind and body with over 60 recipes for youthful vitality, health and glow.

    The Beauty Detox Power is filled with revolutionary advice, inspiring personal stories, and powerful tips and tools. Embrace your true power to create your best body, beauty and life.

     

    Review

    This is not just another weight loss book, but a revolutionary lifestyle change program that will help you to not only lose weight but be healthier both physically and mentally.  She has written other books on the topic, but this book stands alone, giving a summary of the other books plus new techniques, recipes and personal stories.  It is not all about beauty on the outside, but beauty and health on the inside as well so you can be the best you can be.  I highly recommend it.

    ~Reviewed by Allie B.

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      Texts From Mittens

      Product DetailsTexts From Mittens: A Cat Who Has an Unlimited Data Plan…and Isn’t Afraid to Use It
      by Angie Bailey
      Harliquin
      Retail Price:  $12.98
      Amazon Price: $6.98

      Book Description:  Texts from Mittens is a series of text message conversations between a snappy, self-absorbed housecat named Mittens and his long-suffering human, a single woman who works away from home during the day. Mittens relentlessly hassles his human all day long, while only taking breaks to watch Judge Judy, hang with his best friend Stumpy, complain about the antics of Drunk Patty the neighbor, ask Grandma for money to buy useless items from QVC, and harass the “filthy beast” dog, Phil.

      Angie Bailey is an award-winning writer and blogger, humorist, and professional member of the Cat Writers’ Association. Her primary blog, Catladyland, has won many awards, and her humor writing is featured nearly daily on Catster.com, one of the most popular cat sites on the Web. She loves to photograph her cats in silly poses and sleeps with one eye open. And yes, she has three cats.

      Review

      This book was a real hoot.  Bailey looks into the mind of a housecat and the result is an hilarious rendition of the day in the life of Mittens and his human.  I found it to be very lighthearted and entertaining…just what I needed after a long commute and exhausting day at work.  I highly recommend it.

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        braiding sweetgrass

        Braiding  Sweetgrass
        By Robin Wall Kimmer
        Milkweed Editions
        Retail Price $18.00
        Amazon Price: $14.30

        Book Description: 

        Called the work of “a mesmerizing storyteller with deep compassion and memorable prose” (Publishers Weekly) and the book that, “anyone interested in natural history, botany, protecting nature, or Native American culture will love,” by Library Journal, Braiding Sweetgrass is poised to be a classic of nature writing. As a botanist, Robin Wall Kimmerer asks questions of nature with the tools of science. As a member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, she embraces indigenous teachings that consider plants and animals to be our oldest teachers. Kimmerer brings these two lenses of knowledge together to take “us on a journey that is every bit as mythic as it is scientific, as sacred as it is historical, as clever as it is wise” (Elizabeth Gilbert). Drawing on her life as an indigenous scientist, a mother, and a woman, Kimmerer shows how other living beings offer us gifts and lessons, even if we’ve forgotten how to hear their voices.

        Review

        This was a fantastic book about relationships to the natural world and our responsibilities to the other members of Creation. I read, re-read and then bought extra copies for our local library. I will continue to re-read. It is extremely well written and insightful. Each paragraph is charged with poetic information and deep understanding of the natural world and the  interconnectedness of humble organisms such as fungi and soil-inhabiting arthropods as well as the more familiar birds and mammals we’re more likely to notice.You will be inspired to take a much closer look during your next outing into nature. I found the book absorbing.

        ~Nancy B.

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          Lowcountry Boneyard

          Product Details

          Lowcountry Boneyard
          By Susan Boyer
          Henery Press
          Retail Price $34.95
          Amazon Price: $23.73

          Book Description: 

          Where is Kent Heyward?  The twenty-three-year-old heiress from one of Charleston’s oldest families vanished a month ago. When her father hires private investigator Liz Talbot, Liz suspects the most difficult part of her job will be convincing the patriarch his daughter tired of his overbearing nature and left town. That’s what the Charleston Police Department believes. But behind the garden walls South of Broad, family secrets pop up like weeds in the azaleas. The neighbors recollect violent arguments between Kent and her parents. Eccentric twin uncles and a gaggle of cousins covet the family fortune. And the lingering spirit of a Civil-War-era debutante may know something if Colleen, Liz’s dead best friend, can get her to talk. Liz juggles her case, the partner she’s in love with, and the family she adores. But the closer she gets to what has become of Kent, the closer Liz dances to her own grave.  Part of the Henery Press Mystery Series Collection, if you like one, you’ll probably like them all!

          Review

          I enjoy this series and Lowcountry Boneyard was a great addition!  I love the author’s style of writing and the way she uses humor to lighten the suspense.  Sometimes you don’t know whether to laugh or be scared!  She also makes the characters so real that you feel that you are part of the story.   The plot is well developed and moves quickly, keeping your interest until the very end.  This was a very enjoyable read in the mystery genre!

          ~Reviewed by Allie B.

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            The Speedlight Studio

             

            The Speedlight Studio
            By Michael Mowbray
            Amherst Media Kneaverth@amherstmedia.com
            Retail Price $34.95
            Amazon Price: $23.73

            Book Description: 

            In this book, Michael Mowbray shows readers how to set up a completely speedlight-based portrait photography studio. He goes in depth regarding gear and techniques, providing photographers with scores of example portraits and lighting diagrams to make it easy to follow along and replicate the portrait lighting effects that he shows. Readers will learn about selecting speedlights (Mowbray covers Canon, Nikon, and third-party units), learning standard operations, and working with the units on the camera’s hot shoe (a connectivity device on top of the camera) or in the periphery for more flexible, controllable results. Readers will learn why modifying the light from speedlights will produce a lot more bang for their buck and will also discover a host of tools—commercial and DIY—that can be used to change the direction, color, and quality of light for the ultimate artistic control.

            Review

            The Speedlight Studio by Michael Mowbray is a must read for Amateur and Professional Photographers alike. An easy read, full of applicable images and diagrams provides the reader with a complete guide to Flash Photography. For the camera enthusiast the author covers the basics of lighting, provides direction as to what gear to use and the choices you can make with budget in mind. For the professional there is plenty of information within the book to take your flash photography to the next level. Flash modification, Portrait Lighting concepts, Manual vs ETTL, specific lighting for specific looks to name a few. The image examples and diagrams help bring the text to life. Seemingly endless examples of light modifiers and the looks they provide, and examples of finished composites and the lighting used to create them.

            ~Reviewed by Dave O.

             

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              The Spirit of Gin

              The Spirit of Gin
              By Matt Teacher and Greg Jones
              Cider Mill Press
              Retail Price $24.95
              Amazon Price: $19.50

              Book Description: 

              The ultimate guide to today’s exciting gin revival with a nod to the spirit’s rich history, featuring a comprehensive review of gin distilleries, ingredients and accoutrements, distilling methods, cocktail recipes, international bar guide, and creative contributions from industry leaders.The Spirit of Gin is a comprehensive and entertaining illustrated guide to the classic spirit, with a sharp focus on the modern gin revival led by innovative craft-gin distillers, new ingredients and infusions, and growing interest in bars across the United States and overseas. The book details the colorful history of gin from its invention in eighteenth century London to today’s worldwide resurgence; provides detailed coverage of the methods, ingredients, and accoutrements of modern makers and purveyors; gives coverage to popular gin bars and classic cocktails with eclectic sidebars and interviews; and provides a complete catalog of commercial and craft distilleries worldwide.

              Review

              In this book the author takes us on a colouful journey through gin’s history and its intersection with culture: from its origin, through wars, world exploration, and global trade, to the Dutch Golden Age and the Roaring Twenties, to its current renaissance in the cocktail world. The urban, gritty tales are as entertaining as they are informative, involving intriguing characters.  I particular found his interviews with mixologist and gin club owners around the globe enlightening and intriguing.   This is a must-read for those who loves gin: it’s not just a geeky companion for nerds, but a truly enjoyable history for anyone who favors this spirit.  And the delicious recipes included are an added bonus!

              ~Reviewed by Rich W.

               

               

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                The Great Reformer

                The Great Reformer
                By Austen Ivereigh
                Henry Holt
                Retail Price $30.00
                Amazon Price: $18.75

                Book Description: 

                A biography of Pope Francis that describes how this revolutionary thinker will use the power of his position to challenge and redirect one of the world’s most formidable religionsAn expansive and deeply contextual work, at its heart The Great Reformer is about the intersection of faith and politics–the tension between the pope’s innovative vision for the Church and the obstacles he faces in an institution still strongly defined by its conservative past. Based on extensive interviews in Argentina and years of study of the Catholic Church, Ivereigh tells the story not only of Jorge Mario Bergoglio, the remarkable man whose background and total commitment to the discernment of God’s will transformed him into Pope Francis–but the story of why the Catholic Church chose him as their leader.
                With the Francis Revolution just beginning, this biography will provide never-before-explained context on how one man’s ambitious program began–and how it will likely end–through an investigation of Francis’s youth growing up in Buenos Aires and the dramatic events during the Perón era that shaped his beliefs; his ongoing conflicts and disillusionment with the ensuing doctrines of an authoritarian and militaristic government in the 1970s; how his Jesuit training in Argentina and Chile gave him a unique understanding and advocacy for a “Church of the Poor”; and his rise from Cardinal to the papacy.

                Review

                I was born and raised Catholic but attend a non-denominational Bible-based church. Though I am not a practicing Catholic now, my Catholic roots run deep.  This is why I picked up a copy of this book.  Pope Francis intrigues me. The author does a good job of profiling Pope Francis and contrasting him with previous popes.   There is enough for Pope Francis fans to get a better understanding of his journey to becoming pope and how it all came to be. It covers the changes and reforms he is making and how he is ushering in even greater change, particularly when no one is paying attention.  The author paints a rich portrait of a pope who has a  commitment to a new course for Catholics.

                ~Reviewed by Mitch P.

                 

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                  Town in a Blueberry Jam

                  Product Details

                  Town in a Blueberry Jam
                  By B.B. Heywood
                  Tantor
                  Retail Price: $39.99
                  Amazon Price: $16.91

                  Book Description:  In the seaside village of Cape Willington, Maine, Candy Holliday has an idyllic life tending to the Blueberry Acres farm she runs with her father. But when an aging playboy and the newly crowned Blueberry Queen are killed, Candy must investigate to clear the name of a local handyman. And as she sorts through the town’s juicy secrets, things start to get sticky indeed . . .

                  Review

                  This was a very warm, cozy book, even if it was a murder mystery!  There was lots of small town charm as well as crazy antics by those who lived there.  It was well-written, and it was very easy to listen to.  The characters were well-developed, the plot was well laid out, and the setting described so well you felt you were right there!  I listened on a long car ride and it passed the time away, keeping my attention for the entire trip.

                  ~Reviewed by Rossie B.

                   

                   

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                    Grow a Little Fruit Tree

                    Grow a Little Fruit Tree
                    By Ann Ralph
                    Storey Publishing – sarah.armour@storey.com
                    Retail Price $16.95
                    Amazon Price: $12.98

                    Book Description: 

                    Grow your own apples, plums, cherries, and peaches in even the smallest backyard! Expert pruner Ann Ralph reveals a simple yet revolutionary secret that keeps an ordinary fruit tree much smaller than normal. These great little trees take up less space, require less care, offer easy harvest, and make a fruitful addition to any home landscape.

                    Review

                    If you are looking to grow fruit trees this book has everything you want to know. It has information about planting, cultivating and pruning that will help you be successful.  Before I read this I knew very little and now I feel knowledgeable and comfortable growing fruit trees. It may be a small book, but it is chock full of useful facts and tips.  I would highly recommend for first fruit tree growers.

                    ~Reviewed by John C.

                     

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