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Book Reviews
'Thomas Dolby - The Speed of Sound: A Memoir'
By:Thomas Dolby
(Hardback / Flatiron Books / 288 Pages / $27.99)

Description: Thomas Dolby's 'The Speed of Sound: Breaking the Barriers Between Music and Technology: A Memoir' is the remarkable story of rising to the top of the music charts, a second act as a tech pioneer, and the sustaining power of creativity and art therein.

Verdict: So, here's how this went down: I saw Thomas Dolby had mentioned his new memoir, 'The Speed of Sound: Breaking the Barriers Between Music and Technology' on Twitter several times, and so asked him if he could kindly send me a copy to review. Being a HUGE fan of the man himself, and having met him before, knowing he was also very articulate, very intelligent, I knew it was bound to be a solid read. Well, the book arrived via Flatiron soon thereafter and I began reading instantly upon arrival.

Exceptional! Trust me, that one noun sums up this book rather perfectly! It opens with a Prologue that details Dolby's association, friendship with the King of Pop, Michael Jackson back in 1984. Containing elements of both joy and heartbreak, it is a precursor to an incredible memoir to come. The first chapter sets it all up for us. Dolby as a young boy, floating through the various visages of the local music scene, working in Mr. Grigson's fruit and veg shop, and his growth within the confines of the cultural revolution happening in the mid to late seventies.

In the chapters thereafter, we learn more about the young Dolby and what his heart truly desired as he started to earn money, and focus in more on what he needed instrument wise to really start to take his love for music to the next level. Little known facts to me, a genuine fan of Dolby's music, begin to pour out in just the second chapter. Such as he not only found a band to tour the US with (after an unsuccessful UK tour), but whilst opening up for Lene Lovitz, he actually wrote her a song ('New Toy'), that she subsequently loved (after the tour was brought to an abrupt close due to her illness), and recorded!

Or how about this gem. Dolby was in touring the US with a band called Bruce Woolley and the Camera Club, and it was Woolley who co-wrote (along with both Trevor Horn and Geoff Downes) the massive #1 hit around the world, 'Video Killed The Radio Star'. But, here's the gem factor of that tidbit, for Wolley and his Camera Club actually recorded their own version of the song and released it at the very same time as the Buggles (Horn and Downe's quickly-created group) did! Theirs reached #1 whilst Woolley's and company never even made it into the Top 100!

Moving on and even more gorgeous tidbits of musical Dolby history are brought to the fore. Like after spending some time in Paris, busking in the subways, after a call from Mutt Lange, he flew to the US to work on Foreigner's upcoming 4 album. Subsequently, his keyboard work on that album, especially where he completely reworked the original, lackluster intro to 'Waiting For A Girl Like You' and made it his experimental own, is now part of music history! Dolby was also the mad genius behind the keyboard styling of Whodini's 'Magic's Wand', of which the track went on to be the first rap 12" single to sell a million copies!

As the book further unfolds, Dolby's honesty is never in question, but his remarkable ability to recall every sight, sound and smell from the late seventies to modern day is beyond incredible. I mean, some days I can't remember what I had for breakfast, let alone what I was thinking back when I was 19 years-old! But Dolby seemingly recalls it all, and in grand detail, each and every memory, each tale, each progression on his career path carefully laid out in almost too perfect recollections. Maybe there's some rose tinted glasses between the lines here, maybe not.

Regardless, for as he talks frankly about his on-off relationship over those nubile-within-the-business years with the alluring Siobhan Barron, you feel everything he says about her is something you yourself have been through; that every little thought he has about her are ones you have pondered about a woman in your life at one point or another also.

Back on musical track, and Dolby reveals that his next big technical advancement was buying a 30,000 GBP Fairlight CMI so that he could begin to add so much more musical depth to his future recordings. But, you know, I could go on, and on and on about what comes next, for everything comes next! I'm not even close to kidding: His work for/with Prefab Sprout, his time spent in Stevie Wonder's "closet", his endless film scores (yes, inclusive of 'Howard The Duck'), horse riding with Jenny Agutter, a run in with Joni Mitchell, The Lost Toy People Tour of 1988, his cemented contract issues with EMI, his time spent with Roger Waters on his Wall, studio moments with the Grateful Dead ... and so much more!

In closing, I read this book cover to cover, glued to every word on the pages, chapter after chapter, in two sittings. It has changed how I view Thomas' solo work and how I now listen out for his work on other artist's recordings. So, if you love Thomas Dolby's music, and you think that's all there is to the man, well, think again, my friends. Think long and hard again!

'The Speed of Sound: Breaking the Barriers Between Music and Technology: A Memoir' Book Purchase Link

Official Flatiron Books Website

'Death of a Liar' (A Hamish Macbeth Mystery)
By: M.C. Beaton
(Hardback / Grand Central Publishing / 272 Pages / $25.00)

Description: Sergeant Hamish Macbeth is alarmed to receive a report from a woman in the small village of Cronish in the Scottish Highlands. She has been brutally attacked and the criminal is on the loose. But upon further investigation, Hamish discovers that she was lying about the crime. So when the same woman calls him back about an intruder, he simply marvels at her compulsion to lie. This time, though, she is telling the truth. Her body is found in her home and Hamish must sort through all of her lies to solve the crime.

Verdict: In truth, you would think that what I have just written as the description above would have given the whole game away, now wouldn't you? But, if you know your friendly, local policeman Hamish Macbeth mysteries, well, you will also know that the description is far from revealing of anything, in truth.

'Death of a Liar' (A Hamish Macbeth Mystery) is a truly delightful read, a book that you simply cannot put down at any cost. Short(ish) chapters, nothing too expansive with regard the writing, the descriptions, the scene setting, etc. are all just perfectly created. The book simply colors in the black and white sketch of the initial murder from the off and allows your mind to keep coloring, keeping creating the landscape as you progress deeper.

Now, for those not in the Hamish Macbeth know, Police Sergeant Macbeth lives in Lockdubh, a small town on the northern Scottish coast. Living with him at the police station are his blue-eyed dog Lugs and large wild cat Sonsie, and his policeman helper, Dick Fraser. A man who has a rich instinct for winning quiz show prizes galore, we soon discover his want for pastures new; as it comes into play sooner rather than later.

Although Hamish solves all of the murders on his rather large patch of rural Scotland, he tries to avoid promotion because it would mean having to leave the lazy lifestyle that he loves in Lockdubh. Hamish would like to get married, and he feels that having Dick in the police station is somehow responsible for keeping away any available women. That and the fact that his immediate superior, Blair is totally against him and backstabbing him on an hourly basis. His two former fiancees, Priscilla and Elspeth, manage to remain in his life though and yet, one or the other always seems to become very helpful in a case.

And so, in 'Death of a Liar,' Hamish and Dick quickly discover that the body of a woman known throughout the neighboring town as a pathological liar has herself now been found dead in her garden. Things spiral from one presumption to another, especially when some strange tenants come to stay at a large house that doesn't seem to fit / suit them at all. Add to that the appearance of some French characters, a small tattooed man, a rogue Church leader, a weird religious cult, and a fabulous baker named Anka and, well, you've got the ingredients for one incredible thirteenth Hamish Macbeth mystery!

Personally, I loved the way M.C. Beaton does the slow reveal of the new characters, whilst at the same time allowing the older ones to still show us new edges to their game. The only ongoing, yet still going-nowhere-fast saga that weighed things down for me was Dick Fraser and his seemingly speedy desire to leave the police force, move in with Anka, and get up early to bake buns every morning thereafter! Especially when a) she was always to be a person of interest in the ongoing case and b) he had only known her for a few weeks! Oh, and the way that Macbeth constantly tried to undermine his always-was-stout, and now baker ex-police pal by going over to their small bakery and always asking Anka on a date with him, and him alone, got a little "icky" very quickly.

Regardless, 'Death of a Liar' (A Hamish Macbeth Mystery) is another incredible book in an incredible series ... and so please, please go out and buy this book TODAY!

Reviewed by: Russell A. Trunk

Grand Central Publishing Website

'Cure Back Pain: 80 Personalized Easy Exercises'
By: Jean-François Harvey
(Paperback / Robert Rose / 256 pages / $24.95)

Description: Using the latest advances in the science of movement, this book offers the unique and innovative Spinal Training method to help prevent and alleviate back pain. And in addition to strengthening your back, Spinal Training will also improve your posture, eliminate tension, reduce your stress response and diminish pain.

Verdict: Personally, after three (3) back surgeries and a broken left ankle that still shifts my lower back weight from good, to bad, to ugly some days, this new book was a Blessed dream to have arrive - let alone for review! Drawing from Pilates, yoga, physical therapy and others and based on the principles of osteopathy, biomechanics and kinesiology, 'Cure Back Pain: 80 Personalized Easy Exercises' incorporates a well-documented (and most times frowned upon by surgeons - of course) holistic approach to curing your/our back pain.

We all know, especially those that suffer from back pain (or pain of any kind, really) that there are tons of treatments aimed at alleviating back pain. Indeed, according to the latest research, most all of the suggestions incorporated within this new book are methods that really work. Ergo, en masse of these suggestions inside make it possible for effective and gentle work to be done on the areas that are the most important for reducing back pain and enhancing good posture for a healthy back.

Full-color throughout with lavish and clear illustrations of the back's anatomy, this book features step-by-step photos with 80 exercise routines that meet the requirements for a healthy back. These routines can be customized with the self-assessment exercise provided. Thus the exercises can focus precisely on each person's specific needs and desired outcome.

For me, given my aforementioned back surgeries, the Spinal Training method section was of high importance to me. That said, it can be used by anyone, regardless of age or fitness level, or whether it is an actual acute spinal injury / pain you are feeling. Each training plan can be individually adapted to the nature of the specific pain, for any type of posture, degree of flexibility, muscle strength, or the time available to regain normal back strength.

Whether the goal is to simply maintain a healthy and happy back or to reduce and eliminate pain, this books offers the right tools to make the back feel better, no matter what the condition may be. As for who wrote it, well, Jean-François Harvey, BSc, DO, is a kinesiogist, a respected osteopath and an athlete. He has been studying back-related issues for more than 25 years and is a professor of osteopathy.

'Juice Guru: Transform Your Life ...'
By: Steve & Julie Prussack
(Paperback / Robert Rose / 240 Pages / $19.95)

Description: This book illustrates and explains how just one, well-timed, fresh juice a day can transform health. Going one step further, it helps unravel and apply the science of creating a habit, assuring that juicing becomes easy and enjoyable for life.

Verdict: Now that farmers markets are opening up and the onslaught of fresh fruits and vegetables—like rainbow chard, strawberries, mango, and Meyer lemons—are filling up the stalls, it’s time to break out your juicer. While some traditional fruit juices contain as much sugar as a candy bar (beware!), the right mix of high-fiber greens, citrus, and herbs can produce a vitamin-rich concoction that doesn’t taste like lawn clippings!

So, here we have it. 'Juice Guru: Transform Your Life by Adding One Juice a Day is a book on Juice that is all you need to know ... and more! Indeed, this book illustrates (and explains) how a simple little daily juice from these recipes can provide boundless energy, a youthful vibrancy, a slimmer figure, sharper focus, improved health and the desire to make healthier and improved food choices in general. The best thing about juicing is that anyone can do it and the results are almost immediate. Using the simple and easy-to-follow protocols in this book is a huge step towards improving every aspect of life without a personality change or altering how your time is spent.

The 100 flavorful, bursting-with-goodness fruit and vegetable juices here are full of nutritious phytonutrients that promote a healthy lifestyle at home, work or play. This comprehensive book demystifies juicing and helps to remove all the barriers that stand in the way of incorporating this regime for a healthy lifestyle.

As for who wrote it, well, Steve Prussack is the founder of Juice Guru, a business dedicated to spreading the message about juicing for healthy living. He is also the founder of the accredited Juice Guru Academy, which offers courses in juice therapy and health education, and trains juice coaches around the world.

Julie Prussack is an environmental lawyer and administrative law judge who became an avid juicer when she reunited with her high school sweetheart, Steve. Julie became the first certified Juice Guru Practitioner at the age of 40, and has partnered with Steve to grow the Juice Guru brand.

'200 Best Smoothie Bowl Recipes'
By: Alison Lewis
(Paperback / Robert Rose / 240 Pages / $24.95)

Description: Smoothie bowls are the perfect way to add fresh fruits, superfoods and proteins to everyday fare. Adding a smoothie bowl to morning routines guarantees a great start to the day and for lunch too. Smoothie bowls are thicker than regular smoothies - thick enough to eat with a spoon. These 200 recipes can be enjoyed anytime for a refreshing, filling and healthy meal or even a delicious dessert.

Verdict: Fruit, undeniably healthy in its whole-food form, is immensely more palatable to many of us when sliced up and pulverized into a smoothie. But are those sweet and delicious concoctions really good for you? Our group of experts offer a caveated yes.

Drinking smoothies, especially for breakfast, is one of the easiest way to add some fruit to your diet, of this we all know. Which is far better than no fruit at all, I think we would all agree, even if it is a "cheats way" of getting our vitamins and such. Calories from fruit can add up quickly, so it’s good to add protein and veggies, and so what better way than to create your very own Smoothie Bowls!

Whether a smoothie bowl is packed with fruit, leafy greens, nuts or a base of coffee or tea, there is a recipe here perfectly suited for any occasion. The colors, textures and crunch are incredible and all sorts of delicious toppings can be added that will take a meal to a whole new level.

Here's just a small sampling of the sumptuous smoothie bowl recipes found within the new book, '200 Best Smoothie Bowl Recipes':

Breakfast Smoothie Bowls: Breakfast Harvest Bowl, Frosty French Toast, Breakfast Starter, Pear Pleaser, Sunrise Smoothie Bowl, Energy Buster, Peanut Butter Oat Bowl

Green Creations: Clean Green Bowl, Blueberry Flaxseed Bowl, Strawberry Avocado Bowl, Green Zinger, Citrus Kale Bowl, Parsley Pear Bowl, Spinach Almond Bowl

Kid-Friendly Smoothie Bowls: Almond Butter and Jelly Bowl, Berry Crunch, Nutella Banana Bowl, Peach Paradise, Mocha Smoothie Bowl, Grape Ape, Peanut Butter Cup

Anytime Smoothie Bowls: Pistachio Vanilla Bowl, Pick-Me-Up Bowl, Watermelon Strawberry Bowl, Dreamsicle, Chocolate Cherry Bowl, Pumpkin Pie Bowl, Afternoon Delight

These thick, creamy and delicious smoothie bowls will undoubtedly become a welcome addition for any family. As for who wrote it, well, Alison Lewis is a recipe developer, food and travel journalist, and a photographer. She is the author of 150 Best Grilled Cheese Sandwiches and 400 Best Sandwich Recipes.

'150 Best Recipes for Cooking in Foil'
By: Marilyn Haugen
(Paperback / Robert Rose / 208 Pages / $19.95)

Description: '150 Best Recipes for Cooking in Foil: Ovens, BBQ, Camping' is for campers, backyard grillers, hosts of tailgate parties and home cooks feeding a hungry family. These creative recipes for meals wrapped in foil packs will be a welcome additions to a cooking repertoire.

Verdict: For camping, the recipes are designed for a 4- to 7-day trip with fresh staples used first in multiple recipes, followed by canned or dry-packaged items. Minimal packing and easy storage are features of these great recipes: Hill Country Hash Brown Breakfast, Peach and Ginger Glazed Pork Chops, Candied Ham and Cranberry Sweet Potatoes and Salted Caramel Pears for dessert.

For delicious and easy-to-prepare grilling and oven recipes, all are "one pot" and need minimal clean up. Many of the recipes can be made ahead of time and refrigerated or frozen for a quick and easy weeknight meal, lunch or morning breakfast. All of these are perfect for the busy weeknight cook or the tailgate chef: Bacon, Onion and Ale Glazed Flank Steak, Belgian Style Marinated Chicken or Beef Tenderloin with Glazed Carrots and Parsnips.

For convenience, these 150 recipes can be easily resized for one or two people. And versatility is the key to these recipes as they include breakfasts and lunches plus main courses, side dishes and desserts.

Foil wrap cooking is ideal for so many occasions when minimal time and optimal convenience is prime. As for who wrote it, well, Marilyn Haugen is a food writer and the author of 150 Best Spiralizer Recipes. Her blog is

'200 Best Sheet Pan Meals: Quick and Easy'
By: Camilla V. Saulsbury
(Paperback / Robert Rose / 208 Pages / $24.95)

Description: '200 Best Sheet Pan Meals: Quick and Easy Oven Recipes One Pan, No Fuss!' shows how to make great meals more conveniently using a single sheet pan. These 200 recipes allow for individual ingredients to intensify flavors, and clean up is a breeze.

Verdict: One pot meals are trending, but there’s something even easier than a one pot meal: a full meal made on a single sheet pan from start to finish. And if you line your pan with foil, then you really have nothing to clean after dinner!

All that is needed is a sheet pan, an oven, and expert instructions and recipes from Camilla V. Saulsbury for creating some of these extraordinary meals (and desserts). The chapters included in this truly eye-opening new book of Sheet Pan Meals are:

The 25 Extra-Simple Pantry Meals - Green Eggs and Ham Strata, Pesto Chicken Thighs with Roasted Baby Carrots, Oven-Fried Rice and Flatbread Mini Pizzas

The Meatless Main Dishes - vegetarian and vegan favorites like Persian Rice-Stuffed Butternut Squash, Chili-Glazed Tofu with Asparagus Rice and Frittata

Great fish and seafood main dishes include Coconut Lime Fish and Roasted Plaintains. For poultry dishes, Rosemary Chicken with Balsamic-Roasted Brussel Sprouts or Dijon Chicken with Crisp Parsnip Fries give humble chicken a whole new twist. The sweets with a simple sheet pan are simply sumptuous - from Chewy Coconut Trail Mix Bars and Sour Cream Vanilla Pound Cake to Cinnamon Sugar Phyllo Fruit Crisp.

'200 Best Sheet Pan Meals: Quick and Easy' is simple, fast, and ideal for any home cook pressed for time. But, as has since been pointed out to me, and as much as the featured ingredients are all economical and easy to find at your local supermarket, be fully aware that, yes, for many of the recipes, you simply can arrange everything in the pan, place it in the oven and walk away. That said, most of the Sheet Pan suggestions require that you bake the meal in several steps, starting with the protein ingredient first, then adding the side dishes at different times.

As for who wrote it, well, Camilla V. Saulsbury is a freelance food writer, recipe developer, cooking instructor and creator of the healthy cooking blog She's been featured on Today, Good Morning America, The Food Network, and in the New York Times. She is also the author of The Complete Coconut Cookbook, 500 Best Quinoa Recipes, Piece of Cake! and 5 Easy Steps to Healthy Cooking.

'The Complete Art and Science of Sausage Making'
By: Tonia Reinhard, Brendan Reinhard & Brent Mitchell
(Paperback / Robert Rose / 272 Pages / $24.95)

Description: There are techniques and secrets to learning how to make sausage in the home kitchen. Making sausages is an ancient art that has made a remarkable comeback in recent years. Tania Reinhard explains the science to making sausages, taking all the guesswork out of it, making it a fun, safe and exciting project for any aspiring sausage maker.

Verdict: 'The Complete Art and Science of Sausage Making: 150 Healthy Homemade Recipes from Chorizo to Hot Dogs' is a truly fabulous book with great information and wonderful photos. This book is fun to read even if you never have plans to make any sausages. The writing is clear, entertaining and really interesting to read. I mean, who knew there was so much to sausage making?

There are lots of recipes as well as clear instructions on how to make your own links. The book is well laid out and easy to understand with a glance at the table of contents. Starting with the right tools and equipment there are step-by-step instructions that explain just how healthy sausages can be made simply by using the right ingredients and seasonings.

The book has an extraordinary variety of recipes with the best techniques from all over the world. Ingredients range from the classic pork, beef, lamb, chicken, and turkey, to wild game, fish and even vegetarian and vegan sausages. Here are some of these tantalizing recipes:

Classics like Chorizo, Frankfurters, Salami, Keilbasa, Liverwurst, and Breakfast Sausage.

Pork recipes include Sicilian Sausage, Sage Potato Sausage, American Brat, Pesto Pork Sausage and Jamaican Jerk Sausage.

There is also a huge variety of chicken and turkey recipes like Chicken Parmesan Sausage, Persian Chicken, Turkey de Provence, Thanksgiving Turkey and Athenian Chicken.

The vegetarian and vegan recipes include Malaysian Satay, Sausage de Bologna, Greek Sausage, The Nutty Vegan and Lebanese Majadra.

Meal planning is easy with complete menus and the perfect pairings for sausage. The expert instructions, techniques and tips are crucial for any home sausage maker.

As for who wrote it, well, Tonia Reinhard is the Director of the Coordinated Program in Dietetics and a Senior Lecturer at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan. She is also the Course Director for Clinical Nutrition at the School of Medicine at Wayne State and has authored several publications ranging from technical papers to articles for dietitians, health practitioners and consumers. She is the author of the bestseller Superjuicing and Superfoods.

Brendan Reinhard is the manager of the sausage department at Country Smoke House in Almont, Michigan. Brent Mitchell is the head chef at Country Smoke House, which specializes in sausage making, barbecue, butchery, smoked meats and catering.

'Bob's Burgers Burger Book: Real Recipes for ...'
By: Loren Bouchard
(Hardback / Universe Publishing / 128 Pages / $19.95)

Description: 'The Bob’s Burgers Burger Book' gives hungry fans their best chance to eat one of Bob Belcher’s beloved specialty Burgers of the Day in seventy-five original, practical recipes.

Verdict: With its warm, edgy humor, outstanding vocal cast, and signature musical numbers, Bob’s Burgers has become one of the most acclaimed and popular animated series on television, winning the 2014 Emmy Award for Outstanding Animated Program and inspiring a hit ongoing comic book and original sound track album.

Now fans can get the ultimate Bob’s Burgers experience at home with seventy-five straight from the show but actually edible Burgers of the Day. Recipes include the "Bleu is the Warmest Cheese Burger," the "Bruschetta-Bout-It Burger," and the "Shoot-Out at the OK-ra Corral Burger (comes with Fried Okra)."

Serve the "Sweaty Palms Burger (comes with Hearts of Palm)" to your ultimate crush, just like Tina Belcher, or ponder modern American literature with the "I Know Why the Cajun Burger Sings Burger." Fully illustrated with all-new art in the series’s signature style, The Bob’s Burgers Burger Book showcases the entire Belcher family as well as beloved characters including Teddy, Jimmy Pesto Jr., and Aunt Gayle. All recipes come from the fan-created and heavily followed blog "The Bob’s Burger Experiment."

So, what can you expect from this "cook" book? Well, clever and cute burgers with awesome artwork that's faithful to the series, that's what. Although, I must fully admit, it's a slightly different art direction for Americas favorite animated family. Inclusive of some decent recipes that will expand your burger horizons, along with some that are less exciting, less needed, so to speak, 'The Bob's Burgers Burger Book: Real Recipes for Joke Burgers' is a worthy addition to your favorite "cook" books.

And that's what counts the most here, for this book has a relaxed, conversational tone very reminiscent of Bob's Burgers (the TV show) itself. I've prepared the Hit Me With Your Best Shallot Burger and the A. Good Manchego Is Hard To Find Burger to recipe, though I personally omitted arugula on the shallot burger. Certain flavor combinations feel more ambitious than savory, but the tips at the beginning for choosing proper ingredients and preparation methods provide a sound basis for good burgers.

Oh, I also tried the Blondes Have More Fun-gus burger and, man, who would have thought that peanut butter would go well with a burger?! Also, there are a handful of vegetarian options, so this is a good general book for Bob's Burgers fans who want to try a few recipes.

Complete Guide to Natural Homemade Beauty Products
By: Amelia Ruiz
(Paperback / Robert Rose / 368 Pages / $24.95)

Description: These beauty-enhancing and soothing cosmetics and treatments use only completely chemical-free ingredients. Amelia Ruiz guides the reader to effective use of all of nature's possibilities in homemade beauty treatments for complete skin, body and hair care. From aromatic and medicinal plants to flowers, fruits and essential oils, these incredible recipes and lifestyle tips enhance beauty inside and out.

Verdict: Want great skin and hair? Just look in your refrigerator! Sure, we all know that beauty comes from within — but from within your refrigerator? Here, we get to share in some "secret" formulas for a more beautiful you. The bonus: These recipes can be made with items found in your fridge and cabinets. Getting gorgeous has never been easier.

The 175 recipes contained within this fabulous book are, for the most part all rather helpfully sorted into six main categories: face products, hair products, body products, bath products, scents & sun-care products, and eye, mouth, hand & nail products. Most recipes are accompanied by a photo and boy, are they colorful, vibrant photos at that!

There are also some expanded-on tips that author, Amelia Ruiz has included in each section. Such as explaining how tooth decay occurs within the eye, mouth, hand and nail section and her discussion of healthy hair within the hair products chapter.

Indeed, the expert step-by-step instructions for preparing all kinds of cosmetics are simple and easy, plus it saves money for any consumer. Knowing what your skin needs and controlling the ingredients in these recipes assures the ultimate in skin pampering.

There is also a wealth of information on sunbathing safely with natural products. Even personal perfumes and home cleaning products can be made with essential oils, fruits, plants and other natural products. So yeah, 'The Complete Guide to Natural Homemade Beauty Products and Treatments: 175 Recipes from Scrubs and Masks to Moisturizers and Shampoo' (to give it its full title) is a very well-presented book, with tons of helpful tips and more recipes of this ilk than I've ever seen in one place!

As for who wrote it, well, Amelia Ruiz is a cosmetologist, an esthetician and the technical director of Fahle Ecolines, a distributor of natural and organic cosmetics. She trained in Germany in the natural esthetic methods of the world renowned Dr. Hauschka Skin Care. Since 2000, she has taught these holistic beauty treatments to estheticians in Spain.

'The Essential Home-Ground Flour Book'
By: Sue Becker
(Paperback / Robert Rose / 288 Pages / $24.95)

Description: The many benefits of home flour milling include taste and flavor and the appeal of making a healthy food that tastes good and is seriously nutritous. Home ground flour milling can also save countless dollars just in the cost of bread alone, especially for those with special dietary needs and restrictions, and improved health leads to reduced medical costs.

Verdict: Having been a home baker for a few years now, this book arriving was a God send to me, if truth be told. For not everything I had made over the years had turned out well, so this was the perfect time to discover what I was doing wrong, so to speak. Indeed, baking with fresh milled flour you’ve ground at home is quite different than store bought flour. Grinding my own flour at home makes me feel like a real pioneer woman - I say with a casual wink, of course.

You see, taking you quickly back into my recent past, the first few weeks of baking with my fresh ground flour left me more than a little frustrated - with dense breads and spread out pancake cookies en masse! I’ve now been grinding my own flour and using fresh flour in all of our baking for almost four years and I’ve learned some tips to save me some time. However, 'The Essential Home-Ground Flour Book: Learn Complete Milling and Baking Techniques, Includes 100 Delicious Recipes' takes that and multiplies it hundred fold, trust me!

This comprehensive how-to details the whole process behind home flour milling with features such as:

The history of whole grains and grain anatomy
Benefits of commercially milled flour vs home milled flour
Tools and equipment for home flour milling
Baking basics including mixing methods and techniques -- the importance of gluten and moisture
Going with the grains -- a thorough description of grains such as barley, rye, kamut and buckwheat
Nut flours such as almond
Baking with freshly milled grains

There are also 100 recipes for tasty quick breads, rolls and buns, muffins, pancakes, coffee cakes, biscuit and scones, cookies, brownies and pastries, plus others that are gluten-free, dairy-free and vegan.

As for what is buried here within the nitty gritty of the book, well, for each type of grain, from wheat to rye, millet, and even legumes, there is a section on how to mill; and what is the best use for the resulting flour depending on gluten content, how well it absorbs water and other factors, and how the flour might behave in yeast bread. Most of the highlight is given to wheat, obviously, with information on different kinds and it is the main ingredient in the most recipes provided. I was expecting more varieties with adding other grains to wheat, but there is not that many recipes with other grains. Oh well, we can't have everything, now can we, she winks again, jokingly. Honestly though, this is a fab book and well worth shelf space in your kitchen. Millers unite!

As for who wrote it, well, Sue Becker is a popular speaker and teacher. Since 1992, she has been teaching others the healthful benefits of whole grain nutrition and baking with freshly milled flour. She is a business owner and has a degree in Food Science from the University of Georgia.

'The Complete 10-Day Detox Diet Plan and Cookbook'
By: Karen Barnes MSc, ND
(Paperback / Robert Rose / 352 Pages / $19.55)

Description: This incredible book offers a complete diet plan with recipes that are easy-to-follow, practical and realistic. The program detoxifies the body for optimizing weight, improving digestion, skin, joints, energy levels, hormones, immune system and overall vitality.

Verdict: In truth, I think we've all tried something much the same as this book in our lives. Especially as we've gotten older - and yes, that means you too - it's easier (to our minds) to knock out a "quick" 10-Day Detox plan, rather than force our way through a new, and rigorous work out routine each morning (that eventually leads nowhere, save for carpet burns and donuts!)

Myself, well, each morning whilst on my own 10-Day Detox, I weighed in and did a measurement check of my waist and hips. This would have been an easy part to skip over, sure, but it was an amazing process to see how small, incremental shifts really add up by Day 10. On the plan I was on, I was encouraged to also make note of how long and how effective my sleep the night before was. This was a real eye opener for me and as the Detox went on, I needed slightly less sleep because I was waking up less frequently during the night.

Good food, better eating, was also suggested by my plan, but if I had had this book with me at the same time, well, it would have made the combined process so much more easier to handle. For 'The Complete 10-Day Detox Diet Plan and Cookbook' includes 150 Recipes that enable you to not have to look elsewhere for your meals and food influences.

The author provides the most recent research and information on common toxins, pesticides and heavy metals that create health problems, and more importantly includes an action plan designed to help avoid and eliminate them completely.

Part 1: Exposure to Toxins - Environmental toxins, pesticides, radiofrequency electromagnetic fields, heavy metals Part 2: Food Allergies, Sensitivities and Intolerances - Understanding the differences, toxicity reaction, celiac disease, MSG/gluten/sulfite/salicylate sensitivity/aspartame sensitivity, identifying allergies, sensitivities and intolerances
Part 3: The Detox Diet - Bowel and liver detoxification, cleansing foods, cleansing vitamins and minerals, 10-day detox diet plan, meal plans
Part 4: Recipes for The Detox Diet - Recipes for everything from breakfasts to juices, breads and muffins, soups, vegetables and grains, to soups, salads and dressings and desserts.

The recipes are simple to prepare and above all delicious and satisfying and as for who wrote it all, well, Karen Barnes MSc, ND, appears monthly on a live phone-in show and she makes frequent television and magazine appearances. Karen is passionate about finding the underlying cause of disease and empowering people to take the natural path to wellness. She lives in Burlington, Ontario.

By: Jeff Beck
(Hard Cover / Genesis Publications / 352 Pages / £345)

Description: In 'BECK01', Jeff Beck takes us on the journey of a lifetime. Over five decades, he has blazed a trail forging a unique style lauded by critics, fans and fellow guitar legends. Telling the story behind the music, Beck's twin inspirations - hot rodding and rock'n'roll - are now bound together in his official signed limited edition book.

Verdict: This incredible, truly incredible 'BECK01' is a full-to-bustin' volume of rare images from top photographers all documenting Beck's career-charting opus. Also containing unseen items from his own archives, is narrated with his original manuscript. Oh, and if all that weren't enough, each lovingly hand-crafted book is numbered and personally signed by the author, Jeff Beck.

• Signed by Jeff Beck
• 2,000 Copies Worldwide
• Hand-bound in Leather
• Pressed Aluminum Cover
• Archival Case

OK, and just to add the cherry on the cake to this magnificent book, 'BECK01' we know that it is being made available in a limited run of 2000 copies worldwide, but the first 350 of these will ship in a Deluxe Edition that includes an extra collector’s print and packaging “inspired by the sleek curves, luxurious finish and iconic imagery of his hot rods!

I kid you not, for these Deluxe Edition's are fully bound by hand in Italian leather with silver page edging and hand tooling. A stamped metal number plate — based on a Californian model from the year Beck was born — is inset into the cover. The large format book (280 mm x 320mm; 11 in x 12.5 in) is housed in a felt-lined solander case. Bound in ‘Corvette blue’ cloth, the case features a foil-blocked illustration inspired by Von Dutch’s legendary pinstriping designs.

But, as one would expect, all this attention to detail doesn’t come cheap. Available now for pre-order through Genesis Publications, 'BECK01' is selling for £345 — a little more than $500 at current exchange rates. Still, if you’ve got the money, it makes for a fine conversation piece, of that have no doubt, my friends.

As for Jeff Beck himself, well, I think we're all well aware by now that he is, by far, one of music's true innovators. Indeed, the release of 'BECK01' celebrates the anniversary of his debut solo album, Blow by Blow, produced by George Martin some 40 years ago.

As for whats inside, well, of course it is stocked full with glorious shots of our guitar legend, Mr. Jeff Beck, but the assembled shots are not all about its main focal point. Also included are other guitar icons such as both Les Paul and B.B. King, which simply goes a long way in reaffirming the British guitarist’s loyalty to whence where his musical desires were first born.

With over three-hundred pages of cars, guitars, and famous faces to peruse, you won't get bored, that's for sure. But yes, you have to be a Beck fan, because being a generic guitar fan is not gonna cut it here. I mean, the man sleeps with one hand on his damn guitar, that's who Jeff Beck is! As for those guitars, classic fretboard instruments of Fender, Gibson and Gretsch make are lovingly shown alongside vintage autos, many of which (as we watch and learn) Beck worked on himself.

As for who helped put all this together, aside from contemporary guitar icon John McLaughlin composing a forward to 'Beck01' (at Beck's very own request), it was Beck himself who selected most all the photos and letters. Letters such as a highly complimentary one from jazz great Charles Mingus. That all said, 'BECK01' showcases a guitar legend, a music legend whose career has taken him from the cold, dusty, grimy days of black and white hot licks and cranky autos to the present day, well, much the same, save for it all being in color now, I guess.

'BECK01' Book Pre-order Purchase Link

'Rock 'N' Roll and UFOs'
By: Gregg Kofi Brown
(Paperback / Gonzo Multimedia / 132 Pages / $19.89)

Description: Gregg Kofi-Brown is, of course best known for his work with seminal African funk rock pioneers Osibisa. they were one of the first, if not THE first African band to achieve popular success in the West. With conscience laden lyrics and funky afro-rhythms Gregg has a created a multi-national musical platform with his guest artists that speaks to many peoples across the world. Gregg Kofi Brown was executive producer of the 2003 Evening Standard cover-mount CD give away in memory of Damilola Taylor which featured the likes of Robbie Williams, Craig David, Gorillaz, Blue and Ms.Dynamite. This is his story.

Verdict: A fascinating and prolific artist, Gregg Kofi Brown has made an invaluable contribution to the popularity and evolution of world music. Now with the release of his brand new autobiography, 'Rock 'N' Roll and UFOs' we get to delve into the mind of the man himself, discovering things about him along the way that were only ever once laid tracks within his own mind, now allowing us to take this journey of a lifetime alongside him.

As the book unfolds, the Preface brings us swiftly into the headlights of Brown. Indeed, Ghanaian musician Gregg Kofi Brown spent nearly twenty years with pioneering world music outfit Osibisa before releasing his first solo album, Together As One, in 2005. Formed in London in 1969 by a group of African and Caribbean musicians, Osibisa fused the sounds of the various band members’ homelands with elements of R&B, rock, jazz, and funk to create an entirely new genre of music.

It was one that found a small, but loyal cult audience in both the U.K. and the U.S. as the band landed albums like 1971’s self-titled Osibisa and its follow-up, Woyaya, onto the Billboard magazine charts.

Brown subsequently joined Osibisa in the mid-80s and continues to make great music with the band, helping to expand its audience and influence worldwide while also recording solo music with friends like jazz legends Billy Cobham and Stanley Jordan, both of whom appeared on Together As One.

Having already released a new music album of the same title, Rock 'N' Roll and UFOs on June 24th, 2016 via Gonzo Multimedia UK, that incredible career-spanning anthology is just the most perfect accompaniment to Brown’s autobiography (released March 28th, 2016).

Brown’s autobiography is not only an indepth look into Brown's life, his upbringing, the well that houses his musical inspirations, but a darn fun read too. From the first Chapter, "Beginning the Journey" on through to the very last one, "Rock Opera", each of the ten Chapters are well written, never clogged, and always light enough to enable you to easily read one after another.

It really is an easy read and yet, at all times, you feel like you are standing alongside Brown as his journey builds to the here and now. Whether it was ghost written is not even a concern (to me, at least) as Brown's tight paragraphs of informative insight are mesmerizing at times. Even if you're not a fan of the man (but why not?), one read of this musical fare will be enough to have you searching for his library of work, trust me.

Personally, and knowing his history, I think my favorite Chapter is number 7, entitled "Number 1 in America!" He relates how an unknown Italian singer Alisha had covered one of his songs and was getting some major radio airplay with it in the US. Produced by Mark Berry, remixed by the legendary Shep Pettibone (Madonna), the song 'Baby Talk' actually struck Gold and hit #1 on the Billboard Singles Chart that year. His documented meeting with Alisha is priceless, and inclusive of his family, turns out to be yet another pivotal moment in Brown's career.

'Rock ‘n’ Roll and UFOs' is also chock full of wonderful stories, tales of globetrotting as part of Osibisa, and as a solo artist, but also from his work as a studio bassist and producer with artists like Joe Cocker, Eric Burdon, Hanoi Rocks, and Bomb da Bass. Brown has also enjoyed a modicum of success as an actor, performing as Jellyroll Morton at London’s prestigious Royal Court Theatre as well as in the hit musical Tribute to the Blues Brothers. The book also reveals the "truth" behind the title, documenting “three strange encounters” experienced by Brown in the California desert!

Also containing reflective black and white photos midway through, and combined with his educated speech (which still comes across nicely in the written form), Gregg Kofi Brown promises a lot with the release of this book - and delivers, hook, like and sinker with each passing Chapter.

'Rock 'N' Roll and UFOs' - Gregg Kofi Brown Book Purchase Link

CD Purchase Link

'Rockin' The City of Angels'
By: Douglas Harr
(Hard Cover / Diego Spade Productions, Inc. / 396 Pages / $79.95)

Description: 'Rockin' The City of Angels' celebrates the sensational albums and spectacular live concert performances staged in Los Angeles, the “City of Angels” during the 1970s by more than thirty classic and progressive rock bands of the era.

Verdict: 'Rockin' The City of Angels' shares memories from such prolific bands of the era as AC/DC, David Bowie, Camel, Alice Cooper, Eagles, ELO, Emerson, Lake & Palmer, Genesis, Heart, Jethro Tull, Elton John, Kansas, King Crimson, Led Zeppelin, McCartney/Wings, Pink Floyd, Queen, Rolling Stones, Rush, Supertramp, The Who, Yes (and so many others) of their legendary albums and concerts along with reviews of the best video documents of the era; each band illuminated by a hand-picked collection of brilliant images—some never-before seen—by the best photo-journalists of that time, so long ago.

Beautifully presented as a deluxe, stunningly-colorful coffee-table book, and which marketing have wisely designed as nearly the size of an LP album cover, has 396 pages, over 600 images, and was written by Douglas Harr. Designed by Tilman Reitzle with a Foreword by Armando Gallo, 'Rockin' The City of Angels' is the be all and end all of anything remotely connected to such a project as this. Simply put, 'Rockin' The City of Angels' is the ONLY book on this subject that you will ever need.

“The 1970s were a time when rock bands made expansive concept records with sweeping themes,” recalls author Douglas Harr. “Rock albums back then promised ‘theater of the mind,’ and their creators were inspired to mount elaborate stage shows that brought these dreams to life. I caught many of these concerts in Los Angeles. They were almost religion to me and masses of fellow concert-goers.”

“I spent 2 years in basements, agencies, and sometimes bands' homes, combing through hundreds of slides to find the best concert photos from that time, now so long ago,” Harr shares.

"Although some of these bands are still touring, their time is waning, and soon these films will be the only way to recapture their extraordinary live performances," Barr adds. "I believe these films are important documents of rock music performance in our life times. Those of us who were there found more than just good times at these concerts. Those shows brought us together to share profound, even life-changing experiences that bonded us forever."

Harr is a staff writer for Gonzo Weekly magazine, part of the Gonzo Multimedia label in England. In addition, he has contributed articles and photographs to Expose Magazine and Something Else Reviews in the U.S.

Again, presented as if it were a delicious multi-album vinyl LP box set, 'Rockin' The City of Angels' by Douglas Barr is a literal Who's Who of '70s musicians. Chock full of incredible photos of the artists, most all I had personally never even seen before, and linked to some truly revealing, and fascinating insights and inside information about the shows being discussed, if you were there it will flash you right back; if you weren't, you'll wish you had been.

'Rockin' The City of Angels' Book Purchase Link

'A Love Like Texas Weather'
By:Fehmi Nuhoglu
(Paperback / CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform / 130 Pages / $9.95)

Description: The novella that inspired Austin Texas The Rock Opera, chock full of lyrics of all 13 songs included free, 'A Love Like Texas Weather' is a love story with a humorous, sexy twist to make you laugh and cry at the same time! Wanna be a Hollywood star like Texy? Better find yourself a Travis? Wanna musical break like cowboy Travis? Gotta find a Texy! No matter what your dreams are, you will certainly need a Shadow Queen, a fortuneteller to read Texas weather to predict your future!

Verdict: For those not in the know, this new book, together with the partnered-release of the Austin Texas the Rock Opera album, is a loving tribute to Austin, TX. Written by novelist, songwriter, composer, arranger, producer, and engineer by day Fehmi Nuhoglu, the himself Austin, TX-based creator first wrote this novella - "A Love Like Texas Weather" - but soon realized that, as a slew of new ides continued to come to mind, that a whole musical album also needed to be created.

Performed by Franky (aka Nuhoglu) And The Band, the audio album is a fascinating journey through Austin, TX as is this thoroughly captivating book. In 'A Love Like Texas Weather', Nuhoglu has written a story through which he describes the city in a better way than just one would visually, creating characters like Travis and Texy, using the tale of their love to promote the city.

Ergo, this love story to Austin, TX, a place that deeply inspired Nuhoglu with its diversity in music, unique lifestyle and tranquility, is most assuredly a short read at just 115 pages, but come those final pages you'll find yourself wishing that the book/novella was much, much longer, trust me.

Dedicated to his wife, Irem, and their daughter, Eda, 'A Love Like Texas Weather' from The Beginning we are brought into the world of Travis, a man "born with his name written in his eyes". Living in the midst of a small Hill Country town, his mom may well be settled, but Travis is far from it. Sure he puts on a good show, but from the age of ten he was slipping on a guitar, slowly learning how to play it week after month.

Without taking the unfolding story too far here, and so's not to ruin it for y'all, Travis' heart always yearns for life in Austin, TX and so after finally arriving there, and being told that "this is the live music capital" he also gets to meet the gal of his dreams - Texy.

Not meeting her in the most conventional manner, it's at a rodeo when he spots her out there, the golden-haired gal hanging precariously upside down underneath the belly of a horse! Vaulting from the float he was playing guitar on at the time, our hero (who had grown up around horse, remember) doesn't give a second thought to approaching the panicked horse. Once he gets the filly settled, he untangles Texy and gets her upright.

Of course, the cowgirl captures his heart instantly, and from then on in both Travis and Texy take themselves, and us, on a wild Austin, TX cinematic love story of a ride.

Two editors worked on the written words put down by Nuhoglu with Dick Reeves, the 2016 Grammy winner from Austin, TX, being commissioned to design artwork for the whole project; including the CD album cover and the novella cover.

Now, and as if he hadn't donated enough time and love to this city of his dreams, Nuhoglu is taking his authentic story and diversely-driven music to a whole new level - he's writing the musical play version now!

About the Author: Fehmi Nuhoglu, aka Franky, has been a member and songwriter of several rock bands, composed many songs, and performed in Europe with many local artists. As a college sophomore in engineering school, he had to put his musical career aside, but Franky remained a private composer/songwriter until he arrived in Austin, TX, in 2008 - when his wife, Irem, a UT professor, made her home there. Affected by the city's unique lifestyle and finding new peace of mind in Austin, Franky returned to music composition - which he now balances with his work in engineering.

'A Love Like Texas Weather' Book Purchase Link

'Austin Texas the Rock Opera' CD Purchase Link

'Hard Core Love: Sex, Football, and Rock and Roll'
By: Jim Pons & Neale Donald Walsch.
(Paperback / Waterfront Press / 222 Pages / $14.95)

Description: From the Sunset Strip to the White House and stadiums throughout the NFL, Jim Pons’ journey through rock and roll to filming professional football becomes a one-of-a kind spiritual autobiography.

'Hard Core Love: Sex, Football, and Rock and Roll in the Kingdom of God,' connects the dots behind the scenes of Jim’s years with The Turtles, Frank Zappa and The New York Jets, all of which lead to his finest achievement, a long-sought peace with God.

Verdict: For those not in the know, Jim Pons is a former bass guitarist and singer for several 1960s rock bands, including The Leaves, The Turtles, and The Mothers of Invention.

In 1973 Pons left the music industry to become the film and video director for the New York Jets football club. He held this position until his retirement in 2000.

Pons and his family subsequently moved to Jacksonville, Florida in 2005, where he found his niche as a game day video presenter for the Jacksonville Jaguars. He also plays upright bass in a bluegrass band called Lonesome Ride and even with all that going on has found time to write a book.

Entitled 'Hard Core Love: Sex, Football, and Rock and Roll in the Kingdom of God,' it's a really interesting insight into a man you all might think you know, but until he release of this book, I can bet you will still be amazed to learn "new" things about.

The book, which contains a foreword by Neale Donald Walsch (an American actor, screenwriter, speaker and the author of the series Conversations with God), takes ahold of your hand and walks you gently through his world. Sharing stories of his time caught within the rock and roll world through to his involvement within major league football, his revelations are personal, honest at all times, and decidedly emotive.

In what quickly became apparent to be a one-of-a kind spiritual autobiography, 'Hard Core Love: Sex, Football, and Rock and Roll in the Kingdom of God' is a perfectly orchestrated paint by numbers story that bobs and weaves behind the scenes of Jim's years with The Turtles, Frank Zappa and The New York Jets. Ultimately culminating in his self-proclaimed finest achievement, a long-sought peace with God, the book is a must-read for any one and every one with, or looking for a deeper connection to God.

As deep in reveal as you would hope it would/should be, and as raw, open and honest as any autobiography I've read in the past decade, Pons' life is made very transparent here to us all. His life-long spiritual journey to find enlightenment and a sense of being, a sense of purpose is astounding, and with a life seemingly plagued by naysayers and wannabe's, Pons still managed to allow what he felt within his heart and soul to come forth to take center stage.

In closing, and for me, 'Hard Core Love: Sex, Football, and Rock and Roll in the Kingdom of God' (out now via Waterfront Press) is a genuinely powerful storytelling of the link between between religious concepts and what we feel in our hearts has always been ingrained within us to do the right thing; follow the right path.

As Pons himself explains, he had habits and interests that he felt were at odds with his spiritual inclinations, but that it took time, and an awakening to finally be able to admit that some hurdles are simply mental. And that once you learn that, you can not only overcome them, but move forward; onward and upward in a way quite like never before.