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Xlibris Critic's Choice
 
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By Hemenway Stephens

In The Summoning, two novellas celebrate the astonishing transformation of character when boisterous, fanciful and sometimes comic eroticism is fully embraced.

The Clearing introduces us to Anna, daughter of the owner of a vast estate in England in the nineteenth century. She and her highly imaginative partner Guillame procure clients (from field hands to noblemen, diminutive acrobats to nervous lawyers) for raucously sexual appointments with Anna. This audacious money-making scheme has surprising repercussions for Anna and Guillame, as well as future generations, as seen through the adventures of Melissa Marley, heroine of The Awakening. In this second novella, set in contemporary Ohio, Melissa’s sudden transformation has life-changing consequences for those around her, and poses the intriguing possibility that the two novellas may be more connected than first supposed.


FORMAT: Softcover
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By George A.F. Seber
Here is a comprehensive handbook of twenty-two chapters covering all the major issues a counsellor or psychotherapist might meet in the counseling room. The book is very practical and is based on sound psychological principles. It provides a wealth of ideas for counseling and for structuring a series of counseling sessions. It is particularly accessible to the inexperienced counsellor or psychotherapist who is often looking for some guidance on a particular topic without having to read a whole book on the subject or read something more technical. The book covers basic emotional issues such as anger, shame, anxiety, stress, grief, depression, anxiety disorders, and suicide risk, and behavioural issues like addiction, phobias, and compulsive behaviours such as self-harm and obsessive compulsive disorder. There are also chapters on relationship issues such as divorce, abuse of various kinds, dysfunctional relationships, adoption, blended families, and strategies for couple counseling. There are two chapters on personality disorders. A biblical viewpoint is added at the end of each chapter for the Christian counsellor and pastor. There is an extensive list of about 500 references along with internet references throughout, providing a rich source for further reading. The chapters are mainly independent with minimum cross-referencing.
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By ALAN W. KENNEDY & THOMAS E. KENNEDY
The Alpha Strategies is a framework of eight strategies common to all for-profit, not-for-profit, and public sector organizations, regardless of their size. The eight strategies are business definition, financial management, growth, marketing, organization management, research & development / technology, risk, and service delivery / manufacturing / production. For not-for-profits and public sector organizations, the business definition strategy is known as the mandate while marketing is typically called communications. The service delivery strategy is also known as production or as manufacturing, depending on the nature of an organization’s business. The framework is dynamic in that there is a configuration of The Alpha Strategies unique to every organization. A characteristic of the framework is that one of the eight strategies leads the remaining seven and sets the culture for the organization. Understanding The Alpha Strategies is the key to understanding strategy, risk, and values in any organization. Visit www.thealphastrategies.com for more
FORMAT: Softcover
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By Charles Ssennyondo, STL, STD

Joseph Ratzinger rates relativism as the greatest challenge of the Church today. What he describes is not a new phenomenon but his theology highlights its origins and magnitude. Stanley Hauerwas fights the same battle on the Protestant side. This book attempts to discover and streamline their deliberations, showing their meeting points and where they differ, and remedies they offer to combat the crisis. It seeks to argue out the best response to relativism that can most appropriately benefit both Western and African Christendom. Despite being a Western phenomenon, relativism is no longer an exclusively Western problem. It is, rather, imposing itself as the new world culture, depicting all other cultures and perspectives as inferior. Ratzinger christened this ‘the Dictatorship of Relativism’, while Hauerwas calls it ‘Policing of Christian Values’. While Ratzinger’s greatest worry is relativism’s denial of Truth (mostly from outside the ekklesia), for Hauerwas, relativism is not a force from without (of the Church) but part and parcel of the peoples’ modern ways of life, in which Christian values are persecuted in the name of peaceful existence. Both perspectives point at a crisis of cultures where the past is rejected and the future disconnected from the present, which trend inevitably leads to disintegration – a leap into the dark. While the pre-Modern world sought God, the Modern world sought knowledge. The contemporary world seeks relativism. But all is not lost. The truth can still be found through the word of God and Christian culture.


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By Vivian Jack

This is a story centered on the Nathaniel family of Toco Village in the Caribbean Islands of Trinidad and Tobago, West Indies in the ’30s and ’40s. All the stories are based on actual events as seen through the eyes of Gabriel, a boy, from the time he was aged five until he turned fourteen. The author’s intention is to give people an idea of the culture and day-to-day life of this hard-working, happy, superstitious but religious people in a small village where there were no serious crime.



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By Martin Skogsbeck
In a last attempt to find his lost friend, the French neurologist Redan reveals the incredible story of Gustav. He tells us everything, not fearing the consequences of bringing their secret into light. But Redan has no choice for his sanity is at stake. The reader embarks on a fascinating journey through the realms of memory. A Parisian upbringing, a deadly cold Swedish winter and an undercover brain research lab in the Boston area are the settings for this captivating, Poe inspired psychological drama. In an ultimate quest for truth, Gustav and Redan will connect in a way that neither of them thought was possible... Love, friendship, obsession and mystery combine as the winning ingredients of this wide-ranging and exciting first novel.
FORMAT: Softcover
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By Margaret Sisu
New to the simmering streets of Miami, globetrotting artist, Adam Straker, captivates photographer, Gwenyth Mason. Despite their differences, a mutual attraction boils over. Then Adam discovers exactly who Gwen is and abruptly he’s back peddling as if she’s suddenly become radioactive.

Confiding in her mother about him is useless. A turbulent divorce from Gwen’s father has left Annalyn’s opinion of artists at rock bottom, especially artists as intensely focused as Adam.

When Adam reevaluates his pursuit of Gwen, things seem to be back on even keel...until Gwen stumbles across a stunning nude portrait curiously tucked away in his studio closet. Unearthed, the painting is labeled “a modern masterpiece” by critics and launches Adam to stardom.

But Adam’s limelight is fraught with as much conflict as acclaim. Now surrounded by people with their own agendas for The Nude—including a powerful billionaire, a savvy art dealer, and a restless business partner—Adam’s refusal to part with it only increases the pressure he’s under. Then there are his secret meetings in big cities and hushed phone calls in the wee hours, and Annalyn’s insistence that Gwen walk away before he shatters her heart completely.

When Gwen discovers instead that there is a link between The Nude and her own California childhood, she starts digging for the truth. No one is talking, however, not even Adam, and their relationship is pushed to the brink when Gwen finally unearths the bizarre secrets the nude is keeping, and along the way resurrects a nemesis thought long gone.

There’s serious fallout from Gwen’s innocent curiosity just months before, and life turns taut and perilous, with twists and revelations right up, literally, to the last page.

Book Review:

When the secrets behind an intriguing nude portrait trickle out into the open, a photographer and her artist lover must grapple with the fallout in Sisu’s masterful debut. Photographer Gwen Mason has just opened up her own studio in Miami and hopes to find her niche in the trendy city. Though she lives with her divorcee mother and doesn’t think she’s interested in a relationship, meeting upcoming artist Adam Straker changes all that. Adam’s paintings are causing quite a stir in the art world, and Gwen knows she’s found something special. He might be 20 years her senior, but that doesn’t stop the couple from embarking on a passionate affair. Yet one of Adam’s paintings arouses Gwen’s curiosity like no other; it’s a striking portrait of a nude woman, one Adam keeps hidden and pointedly refuses to discuss. When Adam has the chance to land a spot in a prestigious New York City gallery, Gwen believes the painting will secure his place and she shows “The Nude” to Adam’s manager without Adam’s knowledge. Though the painting clinches the New York deal, it starts an explosive chain reaction for Adam and Gwen. In the coming weeks, decades-old secrets of destroyed lives and loves, of tragedy and revenge, of greed and madness, are revealed at a cost no one could have foreseen. Sisu nicely ramps up the suspense with her excellent pacing while her vibrant depiction of the art world breathes energy and authenticity into the narrative. Gwen and Adam’s stormy relationship rings true, though delving into Adam’s point of view earlier would have delivered a more well-balanced story. Gwen’s feistiness and sometimes bad choices make her sympathetic and fully human, and readers will root for her to discover her past and keep her man. But it is Sisu’s analysis of the creative process that forms the heart of this novel; she explores the artistic mentality in all its bizarre and often-misunderstood facets and digs deep into the dark underbelly of creative genius and its unintended consequences. An enthralling first novel.

- Kirkus Discoveries
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By Renee Michelle Christian
A Life Aligned with Mary Magdalene is a modern-day fairy tale worthy of dalliance, uniting spiritual and human sides of nature. The story is of a soulful reunion with love, honor, trauma, triumph, and faith intertwined. Born in Europe, Renee Michelle Christian’s family relocated back to the States with the military. Feeling her soul is misplaced, she longs to find her Prince Charming who connects her to her roots.
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By Clifford L. Johnson
Among the compromises made by the states at the Constitutional Convention in 1787 was one that acknowledged the existence of legal slavery. That deal, and the confl icting promise of equal justice embodied in the constitution they produced, together comprised an almost fatal structural fl aw. After ratifi cation of the constitution by the people of each state, there appeared in due course in the newly-created nation social and political fault lines. Those fractures inexorably increased—to the point of threatening the nation’s existence. In 1819 and 1820, it was a fi ght in Congress about whether slavery would be allowed or banned in the proposed new state of Missouri, the fi rst attempt to expand it beyond the original thirteen states. In the 1830s and 1840s, it was a movement to abolish slavery and grant equality “instantly.” In the late 1840s and 1850s, it was confrontations about proposed expansions of slavery into the far west and the plains. In 1860, it was the pivotal election of the nation’s fi rst avowedly antislavery president. That election caused the usual public-debate/bindingelection aspect of politics in the United States to fail. Eleven states claimed the extreme political position of secession, and the nation resorted to the extreme action of a war within itself.

This book tells the story of the constitutional deal on slavery and the increasing pressures that arose to undo it. And of the emergence of an Illinois lawyer and politician who led the nation through the ultimate crisis. A compelling look at history for any reader who wants to understand the causes of the Civil War.

FORMAT: Softcover
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