Next Chapter Book Reviews

Discover Your Next Favorite Book!

Dinner with Edward

Product DetailsDinner with Edward
By Isabel Vincent
Algonquin Books
Retail Price: $23.95
Amazon Price: $14.25

Book Description:  When Isabel meets Edward, both are at a crossroads: he wants to follow his late wife to the grave, and she is ready to give up on love. Thinking she is merely helping Edward’s daughter–who lives far away and has asked her to check in on her nonagenarian dad in New York–Isabel has no idea that the man in the kitchen baking the sublime roast chicken and light-as-air apricot soufflé will end up changing her life.

As Edward and Isabel meet weekly for the glorious dinners that Edward prepares, he shares so much more than his recipes for apple galette or the perfect martini, or even his tips for deboning poultry. Edward is teaching Isabel the luxury of slowing down and taking the time to think through everything she does, to deconstruct her own life, cutting it back to the bone and examining the guts, no matter how messy that proves to be.

Dinner with Edward is a book about love and nourishment, and about how dinner with a friend can, in the words of M. F. K. Fisher, “sustain us against the hungers of the world.”


Maybe it is the fact that I am well into mid-life and my parents have aged and I am dealing with the reality of loneliness after death, but this book reached deep into my very soul.
It is touching, heart-felt, and endearing. It makes you realize just how precious life is and how important it is to cultivate friendships both now and as we age. This book is well written and the story is laid out in such a fashion that it is easy to follow. I liked that the chapters were short, which made it flow easily.  The characters were life-like and very approachable.  You took them into your heart and made them friends.  They were intellectual and charming.  If you are a foodie, you will love the food parts of the book as they are described in such a way that you may find yourself heading for the kitchen yourself.  This book was a pleasure to read and it touched my heart.  It will stay with you long after you read it.

~Reviewed by Rosie B.

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    Clearing the Emotional Clutter

    Clearing Emotional Clutter
    By Donald Altman
    New World Library
    Retail Price: $15.96
    Amazon Price: $11.37

    Book Description:  A Fresh Start to a Healthy Emotional Life

    Is emotional clutter blocking success in your personal and professional life? You’ve likely heard about the psychological benefits of clearing out the clutter in your surroundings, but how do you handle your emotional clutter — the psychological version of the jam-packed closet or impenetrable garage? Shutting away and trying to hide old pains and traumas creates toxic patterns that can keep you from having the life of your dreams. Integrating mindfulness and cutting-edge neuroscience, international mindfulness expert Donald Altman teaches how to modify entrenched habits and patterns with only a few minutes of attention daily.

    Altman first helps you realize what your baggage consists of and how to transform or jettison it. He then shows how to avoid the daily danger of accumulating new emotional clutter. No matter how fraught your life or relationships may be, you can cleanse, heal, or accept the old wounds, mistakes, and disappointments. With Altman’s lifestyle tools, you’ll discover how to address your past, better deal with the present, and cultivate the best possible future. Start fresh with Clearing Emotional Clutter.


    This is a wonderful resource that will teach you how to live a stress free life. The author does an amazing job at bringing awareness to all the unnecessary negativity that’s often running our lives without us realizing it. And he provides detailed steps, strategies, and tools on how to get rid of stress, eliminate distractions and stay focused, keep healthy relationships, stay organized and calmed, and much more. If you want to learn how to live a peaceful, happy life, this book will help you achieve that.

    ~Reviewed by Jenna L.

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      Goodbye Parkinson’s: Hello Life


      Product DetailsGoodbye Parkinson’s, Hello Life!: The Gyro–Kinetic Method
      for Eliminating Symptoms and Reclaiming Your Good Health
      by Alex Kerten and David Brinn
      Divine Arts
      Retail Price:  $18.95
      Amazon Price: $14.57

      Book Description:  Parkinson’s Disease, a disorder of the central nervous system, affects 1 million people in America and 10 million worldwide. In Goodbye Parkinson’s, Hello Life! Alex Kerten presents his breakthrough holistic technique that combines dance therapy, behavior modification, and martial arts, to prove that there is life beyond the diagnosis of PD. Goodbye Parkinson’s, Hello life! received “Recommended Reading” status by the Michael J. Fox Foundation and listings on the National Parkinson’s Association social media sites.
      Those who follow Kerten’s techniques and are committed to becoming “Parkinson’s warriors” can succeed in eliminating many, if not most, of their symptoms and return to a productive and fulfilling life. Instead of viewing themselves as Parkinson’s victims, the methods in Goodbye Parkinson’s, Hello life! will lead them to become healthy people with Parkinson’s. Includes 20 easy-to-follow exercises.


      This book is revolutionary in the treatment of Parkinson’s Disease.  The authors offer cutting edge techniques that will help eliminate most of the symptoms of the disease and lead to living a productive life.  When most are given the diagnosis of Parkinson’s they feel helpless. This book begins by explaining what Parkinson’s Disease is and how it affects the body.  This is important in helping you understand the disease before moving on to treatments. The next section of the book goes into exercise therapy, giving detailed illustrations.  After this the authors discuss other aspects of handling the disease including medication and caregivers.  It ends with an extensive glossary and  bibliography.  Following the advice outlined in the book will empower those suffering from Parkinson’s to take control of their health and life by managing their symptoms through a variety of means, including therapeutic exercise.  While they won’t rid you of the disease, this exercise regime will help you to make it more manageable. I found this to be a very informative and encouraging book, giving hope to those afflicted with this disease and their loved ones as well.  It give you hope for a fulfilling life.

      ~Reviewed by George C.

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        Brave Strong and True

        Product DetailsBrave, Strong, and True
        By Kate Hendricks Thomas
        Innovo Publishing LLC
        Retail Price:  $13.95
        Amazon Price: $10.46

        Book Description:  Brave, Strong, True: The Modern Warrior’s Battle for Balance is a practical call to health for America’s modern military warriors and those who support them. Right now, what we hear repeatedly about veterans’ mental health isn’t always positive and is often far from accurate. With a unique blend of personal narratives and current research, author Dr. Kate Hendricks Thomas explores this question: what if we could train America’s service members to success in mental battles as we do in physical ones? This book unpacks the possibility of mental fitness training programs that bulletproof the psyche and shift the paradigm from treatment to resilience. In an accessible and inspiring way, this Marine-turned-PhD outlines clear strategies – including social support, self care, and spiritual practice – for readers to meet the challenge of living purposeful lives. Her research offers a wealth of knowledge and practical guidance for veterans, their family members, military commands, mental health professionals, and everyday citizens who identify with the title “warrior.” Resilience can be trained and cultivated in all of us.


        The author brings to light a very real problem that has been facing veterans for over 40 years…how to mentally prepare for meeting life’s challenges out of the war zone.  I don’t think this issue is one that many people think about, unless they are in the military or related to someone who is.   In reality, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and anxiety disorders  are  common mental health problems faced by returning troops.   About 11 to 20% of veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars have been diagnosed with PTSD and 30% of soldiers develop mental problems within 3 to 4 months of being home.  With these stats, Thomas’ book is a godsend for many.  Within its covers the author explores ideas for strategies and programs that will help veterans enter civilian society and lead healthy, productive live.   This book offers hope and  I highly recommend it.  It is indeed a game changer.

        ~Reviewed by Jason C.

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          Fen Shui From the Inside Out

          Product DetailsFeng Shui From the Inside Out
          By Victoria Pendragon
          Ozark Mountain Publishing
          Retail Price: $16.00
          Amazon Price: $12.29

          Book Description:   All the properly adjusted Feng Shui in the world is worthless if your personal vibration isn’t ready for what your improved environment can do for you. Feng Shui from the Inside, Out can help on both counts, teaching you how to reprogram the emotional cellular consciousness of your body so that it can be in alignment with the energetically improved living space you will learn to create.


          Feng shui is a Chinese  philosophical system of harmonizing everyone with the surrounding environment.  Feng shui is one of the Five Arts of Chinese Metaphysics, classified as physiognomy. The feng shui practice discusses architecture in metaphoric terms of “invisible forces” that bind the universe, earth, and humanity together.  This author puts a different spin on Feng shui and her premise is that we have to be harmonized on the inside before it ever really matters how we are harmonize our surroundings.  She goes on to teach you just how to get your inner self aligned so that you can move on to your environment, letting Feng shui have its most profound impact.  The book is well written and easy to read and apply.  I highly recommend it.

          ~Reviewed by Jenna H.

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            The Common Thread of Overcoming Adversity and Living Your Dreams

            Product DetailsThe Common Thread of Overcoming Adversity and Living Your Dreams
            by Jerry Gladstone
            Morgan James Publishing
            Retail Price:  $16.95
            Amazon Price: $13.05

            Book Description:  Is it your turn to be a super achiever? Could you learn from the world’s most successful people like Bill O’Reilly, Marc Cuban, Montel Williams, Sylvester Stallone, Snoop Dog, Gloria Gaynor, Randy Couture and others?

            Get instant access to insights and wisdom from Academy and Grammy award winners, Super Bowl and World Series champions, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame legends, talented artists, best-selling authors, Olympians, boxing legends, Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) world class fighters, and even billionaires. The Common Thread of Overcoming Adversity and Living Your Dreams gives you proven strategies, disciplines, methodology, insights, wisdom and perspective from people in the public eye.

            You will discover that there is without question a Common Way, a Common Theme, a Common Thread that separates desired success from real success. It is not based on theory. Rather, it focuses on real people and how they became so successful.
            The Common Thread of Overcoming Adversity and Living Your Dreams is a guide to help you master new skills and habits. It is a comprehensive, easily read “Instant Motivator” with long-term benefits as you focus on how these cultural icons rose to the top and overcame the obstacles and challenges we all face each day. Each story concludes with practical helpful “do it daily” tips you can implement immediately.
            You will receive a renewed vision and a new “Yes I Can Do It” attitude. Get ready to use the “success formula” revealed in The Common Thread. Now is your chance to you reach your fullest potential and live a life far greater than you have imagined. You will no longer allow your circumstances, your lack or resources, or your past define who you are or what you can become.


            This book is very inspirational.  If you have been putting your dreams on hold or struggling with meeting your goals, then this book will encourage you to get up and get moving.  If you aren’t moving toward something, you are actually going backwards.  The true life stories are motivational and makes you realize that if it can happen for them, it can happen for you.  Besides the stories, there are useful tips to help you create a plan of action that is very doable.  I highly recommend it!

            ~Reviewed by Allie B.

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              Chicken Soup for the Soul: Be The Best You Can Be: Inspiring True Stories about Goals & Values for Kids & Preteens

              Product DetailsChicken Soup for the Soul: Be The Best You Can Be: Inspiring
              True Stories about Goals & Values for Kids & Preteens
              by Amy Newmark and Dr. Milton Boniuk
              Chicken Soup for the Soul
              Retail Price:  $14.95
              Amazon Price: $12.21

              Book Description:   Self-esteem, tolerance, good values – these are gifts that will last children a lifetime and help them become successful adults. These stories, great for kids to discuss with parents and teachers, help them be the best they can be.

              This collection shows kids positive role models to follow in its stories about making good choices, having confidence, and doing the right thing. Parents and grandparents will enjoy discussing the stories with children, making it a family event. Great for teachers to share with students, too.

              This book harnesses the power of storytelling to inspire and teach kids, while also entertaining them. Key issues such as bullying, tolerance, and values are addressed in stories selected from Chicken Soup for the Soul’s vast library and represent the best on these topics from the company’s 22-year history.

              This book is a joint project of Chicken Soup for the Soul and The Boniuk Foundation, which are working together to promote tolerance, respect, and compassion, inspiring young people and adults to embrace their differences, reject stereotypes, and make good choices.


              It’s about time we started to provide good role models for our middle school age kids, giving them someone positive to emulate.  This is a difficult age where kids find pressure all around them as they form their personalities.  This book contains over 100 stories either written by the children/teens or told to adults who wrote them giving positive role models.  The chapters are diverse, ensuring that there is something for everyone.  I highly recommend this for teachers to have in their classroom and parents to share with their kids.

              ~Reviewed by Allie B.

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                Deal: My Three Decades of Drumming, Dreams, and Drugs with the Grateful Dead

                Product Details
                by Bill Kreutzmann and Benjy Eisen
                Retail Price:  $34.95
                Amazon Price: $20.47


                Book Description:   On their fiftieth anniversary comes a groundbreaking rock-and-roll memoir by one of the founding members of the Grateful Dead.

                The Grateful Dead are perhaps the most legendary American rock band of all time. For thirty years, beginning in the hippie scene of San Francisco in 1965, they were a musical institution, the original jam band that broke new ground in so many ways. From the music to their live-concert sound systems and fan recordings, they were forward-thinking champions of artistic control and outlaw artists who marched to the beat of their own drums.

                Bill Kreutzmann, one of their founding members and drummer for every one of their over 2,300-dd concerts, has written an unflinching and wild account of playing in the greatest improvisational band of all time. Everything a rock music fan would expect is here, but what sets this apart is Bill’s incredible life of adventure, which was at the heart of the Grateful Dead experience. This was a band that knew no limits, and Bill lived life to the fullest, pushing the boundaries of drugs, drums, and high times, through devastating tragedy and remarkable triumph.

                But at this book’s beating heart is the music — theirs and others. Some of the greatest musicians and concerts were a part of the Grateful Dead’s career, from sharing the stage with Janis Joplin, Bob Dylan, and the Who, to playing in the Acid Tests, the Monterey Pop Festival, Woodstock, and Altamont. Bill’s life is a chronicle of American music and pop-culture history, and his epic personal journey is one of sonic discovery and thrilling experiences.


                I am a Grateful Dead fan from way back so I really enjoyed this memoir of Bill Kreutzmann.  I read the book myself and enjoyed it so much that I bought the audiobook for my husband to listen to on his work commute.  There were so many good, original stories about the band and other bands that they encountered in their career that I knew he would enjoy it…and he just loved it!  This book offers you an in depth, uncensored look at the Grateful Dead and I highly recommend it in both the print and audio verions.

                ~Reviewed by Allie B.





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                  The Goblin Emperor

                  The Goblin Emperor
                  by Katherine Addison
                  Retail Price:  $34.99
                  Amazon Price: $27.88

                  Book Description: 

                  The youngest, half-goblin son of the Emperor has lived his entire life in exile, distant from the Imperial Court and the deadly intrigue that suffuses it. But when his father and three sons in line for the throne are killed in an “accident,” he has no choice but to take his place as the only surviving rightful heir.

                  Entirely unschooled in the art of court politics, he has no friends, no advisors, and the sure knowledge that whoever assassinated his father and brothers could make an attempt on his life at any moment.

                  Surrounded by sycophants eager to curry favor with the naïve new emperor, and overwhelmed by the burdens of his new life, he can trust nobody. Amid the swirl of plots to depose him, offers of arranged marriages, and the specter of the unknown conspirators who lurk in the shadows, he must quickly adjust to life as the Goblin Emperor. All the while, he is alone, and trying to find even a single friend . . . and hoping for the possibility of romance, yet also vigilant against the unseen enemies that threaten him, lest he lose his throne-or his life.

                  Katherine Addison’s The Goblin Emperor is an exciting fantasy novel, set against the pageantry and color of a fascinating, unique world, is a memorable debut for a great new talent.


                  This is the best Fantasy book that I have “read” in a long time.  I have a very long work commute so I love to listen to novels.  The Goblin King was the perfect audiobook, giving me hours of listening pleasure. It grabbed me tight and didn’t let me go until it finished. The gist of this novel is that the youngest son of the Emperor who grew up in exile discovers that he is heir to the throne.  The story develops as begins the quest to take his rightful place as head of the Kingdom.  It is full of intrigue, adventure, and suspense.  I highly recommend it.

                  ~Reviewed by Dave H.

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                    Does This Beach Make Me Look Fat?

                    Product DetailsDoes This Beach Make Me Look Fat?
                    By Lisa Scottoline & Francesca Serritella
                    Retail Price:  21.99
                    Amazon Price: $16.83

                    Book Description: 

                    The unstoppable, irreverent mother-daughter team presents a new collection of funny stories and true confessions that every woman can relate to. From identity theft to the hazards of bicycling to college reunions and eating on the beach, Lisa and Francesca tackle the quirks, absurdities, and wonders of everyday life with wit and warmth. As Lisa says, “More and more, especially in the summertime when I’m sitting on the beach, I’m learning not to sweat it. To go back to the child that I used to be. To see myself through the loving eyes of my parents. To eat on the beach. And not to worry about whether every little thing makes me look fat. In fact, not to worry at all.”

                    So put aside your worries and join Lisa and Francesca as they navigate their way through the crazy world we live in, laughing along the way.


                    I am a huge fan of Lisa Scottoline’s humor books.  I know she is mostly known for her novels, but I don’t read a lot of fiction.  While I was in a book store I saw many years ago I found her book, “My Third Husband will be a Dog” and the title intrigued me so I picked it up.  I never laughed so hard in my life.  From that time on, I pick up every new humor book she (and now with Francesca) have written.  This book tells the stories that we hate to admit could be our own, but we are too embarrassed to tell them to anyone.  These ladies know how to be real and share their antics in such a way that is hilarious.  When I need to a lift, all I have to do is read a chapter and I am good to go.  I have enjoyed it so much I can’t even pick a favorite chapter.  Each one is unique and hits home.  If you are looking for a short, enjoyable read, you will like this book.  You won’t regret the time reading it.

                    ~Reviewed by Tricia c.


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