Aja Raden – Gem

aja-raden-of-gemgem-coverIt is hard not to pull out all the stops and employ every superlative in your vocabulary when describing Gem.  Quite simply, the book effortlessly manages to be both endlessly captivating and extraordinarily thorough as a reference.  The photography is superb and the stories are delicious. There is a reason that the book is subtitled “The Definitive Visual Guide,” without a hint of hyperbole.  I cannot imagine any jeweler in the country who would not want one of these as a sales aid for his customers. Below is the publisher’s description. To listen to our interview with introduction writer Aja Raden, click the grey podcast bar at the very bottom of the page.

From diamonds to sapphires to limestone, GEM profiles all major gem types and other precious materials, revealing the riches of the Earth, from raw minerals to exquisite jewelry. Crystal-clear photography and illustrations abound on each page to showcase the gems’ different cuts, colors, and uses.

GEM goes beyond other reference books by featuring some of the rarest and most valuable stones and jewel-laden artifacts in history, describing in rich detail the stories and legends that surround them, from their journeys in the company of royalty, film stars, and thieves to the curse of the Hope Diamond and Ludwig II’s pocket watch. Gem concludes with an 80-page illustrated directory that provides all necessary comprehensive data to a variety of other rocks and nonprecious stones.



Beth Pratt-Bergstrom – When Mountain Lions are Neighbors

beth-pratt-bergstromwhen-mountain-lions-are-neighbos-coverW1lderness beats in the heart of California’s urban areas. A mountain lion known as P-22 lives in the heart of Los Angeles. Porpoises cavort in San Francisco Bay after a 65 year
absence. And on the Facebook campus in Silicon Valley, Mark Zuckerberg and his staff have provided a home for an endearing family of wild gray foxes. A movement of diverse individuals and communities is taking action to recast wildlife as an integral part of our everyday lives.

When Mountain Lions Are Neighbors explores this evolving dynamic between humans and animals, including remarkable stories, like how Californians are welcoming wolves back to the state after the incredible journey of wolf OR-7; how park staff and millions of visitors rallied to keep Yosemite’s famed bears wild; and many more tales from across the state. Written by Beth Pratt-Bergstrom of the National Wildlife Federation, these inspiring stories celebrate a new paradigm for wildlife conservation: coexistence.

Not only will you find great stories, but beautiful photos as well.  To hear our interview with Beth, click on the grey podcast bar below.

Bonus:  Ten Remarkable Wildlife Moments in 2015, Beth’s post on the National Wildlife Federation blog HERE

And you’ll find her website HERE.

Elisa Kleven – The Horribly Hungry Gingerbread Boy: A San Francisco Story

hhgb-coverelisa-with-bookHere’s what Amazon has to say about The Horribly Hungry Gingerbread Boy: A San Francisco Story:

For this gingerbread boy, it’s eat or be eaten!

When Shirley bakes herself a gingerbread treat to bring to school, the last thing she expects is for him to leap out of her lunchbox and begin gobbling everything in sight. A wild chase ensues—on foot and by cable car—through iconic San Francisco neighborhoods including the Mission, Chinatown, North Beach, and Fisherman’s Wharf. Will Shirley be able to catch the gingerbread boy before he eats up the whole city? Friendship is at the heart of this retelling of the classic folktale. A recipe for (non-magical) gingerbread treats is included.

That’s a neat summation, but it doesn’t begin to convey the charm of Elisa Kleven’s illustrations, or the perfect rhyme scheme of the words in this gorgeous volume. To listen to our interview with her, click on the grey podcast bar below. Among other things, you’ll hear her tell how rhyming narration is both harder to write and harder to sell. We also talk about the unique goals of the publisher, Heyday Books.

Elisa Kleven’s website HERE.   Heyday Books’ website HERE.



Michelle Beber – Angels, Angels, Everywhere

Angels Cover medium fileMichelle Beber medium fileFor the child in your life or the young at heart, Angels, Angels, Everywhere, is sure to please. With its brightly illustrated pages and positive messages, kids of all ages will love this book. And during these troubled times, it’s uplifting to know that angels are always with us.
Angels, Angels, Everywhere is an award-winning, non-denominational, and racially diverse picture book written in playful rhythm and rhyme. The themes are constant support and unconditional love. By developing children’s faith in knowing that they are never alone and building their trust that they are always cared for and loved, children will become empowered to deal with life’s challenges. Also, children will be delighted to learn that angels share in their happiness.
&Finalist – National Indie Excellence Awards
&Finalist – USA Best Book Awards
&Winner, Poetry – Purple Dragonfly Book Awards
Amazon VINE VOICE Reviewer Cheryl C. Malandrinos: 5/5* Beautifully Illustrated Book about Angels
Angels, Angels Everywhere is a wonderful way to share the gift of angels with your child. Featuring angels that are culturally diverse allows the reader to feel that these spiritual beings are like them in many ways. The melodic prose flows along with the story and the illustrations are lovely. A great book that can be a source of comfort and joy for many.”
Angels, Angels, Everywhere was a heavenly writing assignment…literally. Michelle Beber knows her book was divinely orchestrated from its inception to its entry into the marketplace. “When you believe in angels, anything’s possible,” said Michelle. Her interest in angels started in 2008 at a spiritual retreat where she learned how angels communicate with us through repetitive number sequences known as “angel numbers.” She opened herself up to believe, acknowledged the messages she received, and followed the guidance she was given. Michelle didn’t realize it then, but the angels were leading her to her life purpose.
To find out more, check out her website at LINK.
To hear our interview, click on the grey podcast bar below:

Drew Magary – The Hike

“It’s kind of a more cynical version of The Phantom Tollbooth mixed with a game of Dungeons & Dragons from Community creator Dan Harmon’s podcast Harmontown.”
—Wired, chosen as one of “This Summer’s 14 Must-Read Books”

Drew MagaryThe HikeA recent study by the makers of the Read It Later app determined that the articles written by Drew Magary—columnist for Deadspin, correspondent for GQ, and author of the critically acclaimed sci-fi novel The Postmortal—are saved, shared, and read more than any other writer on the Internet. Tabbed the Internet’s Ranter-in-Chief, Magary is known by his loyal and far-reaching readership for his brash commentary on everything from professional football to politics. Assigned to cover the Republican National Convention for GQ, Magary’s article on presidential hopeful Ben Carson, aptly titled “F*ck Ben Carson,” went viral last fall. “Why Your Team Sucks,” Magary’s cult-hitDeadspin column, spares no punches in bashing every NFL team and their fan base.

THE HIKE, however, might surprise many of his loyal readers. No doubt the novel was penned in his trademark, hilarious, no-holds-bard prose, but Magary was as inspired byclassic fairy tales, The Odyssey, and children’s books like The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe as he was by old King’s Quest PC games when he wrote THE HIKE. The result is utterly imaginative, deeply felt novel—like a Salvador Dali painting on amphetamines.

A caffeinated, metaphysical thrill ride that evokes some of literature’s greatest tales and gaming’s most classic video games, THE HIKE is truly a unique addition to fantasy genre, written by one of today’s most hilarious and unmistakable authors.


Drew Magary is a correspondent for GQ and a columnist for Deadspin. He is the author of the memoir Someone Could Get Hurt and the novel The Postmortal, which was a finalist for the Philip K. Dick and Arthur C. Clark Awards. His writing has appeared in MaximNew York, NPR, NBC, The AtlanticBon AppétitThe Huffington Postthe AwlGawkerPenthousePlayboy, Yahoo!, ESPN, Rolling Stone, Comedy Central, and more. He’s been featured on Good Morning America and has been interviewed by the AV Club, the New York ObserverUSA TodayUS News, and many others. He lives in Maryland with his wife and three kids, and is a Chopped champion.

To hear our interview, click on the grey podcast bar below:

Carolyn Parkhurst – Harmony

Harmony cover88127_parkhurst_carolyn-r-1000x1000HARMONY centers on the Hammond family, whose oldest daughter, Tilly, is on the autism spectrum. After Tilly’s mother, Alexandra, meets the magnetic Scott Bean, she and husband Josh pack up their life to become full time of Camp Harmony, Bean’s residential camp for families with special needs children. Youngest child Iris is distraught at leaving her life behind, but Tilly seems to finally be improving. But cracks start to appear in Scott’s calm demeanor as he goes from intense to borderline fanatical.
With HARMONY, Parkhurst accomplishes something extraordinary: a compelling page-turner that’s also a master-class in character work. Booksellers, writers, and the media have all praised HARMONY, but perhaps the most important positive review came from Parkhurst’s son, who is 14 and is on the spectrum himself. When he read it for a class book report, he wrote: “Not only was it beautifully put together, but the book also gave me some great insights on who I was and how it was like living with me. I did not take it the wrong way, either. In general, it was an amazing work.” HARMONY is not only a beautifully written novel, it sheds light on the incredible dedication of parents with autistic children, and how they will do anything to create a world where their child can grow to their fullest potential.
Carolyn Parkhurst is the New York Times bestselling author of the novels The Dogs of Babel, Lost and Found, and The Nobodies Album.  She lives in Washington, D.C., with her husband and two children.
To listen to our interview, click on the grey podcast bar below:

Paul Leinwand and Cesare Mainardi – Strategy That Works

Strategy that Works coverPaul-LeinwandSTRATEGY THAT WORKS, a new book out of Harvard Press, explores the question of how to close the gap between strategy and successful results. In “Strategy That Works,” Paul Leinwand and Cesare Mainardi explain how. They show how some of the best companies in the world consistently leap ahead of their competitors.

Based on new research, the authors reveal five practices for connectingstrategy and execution used by highly successful enterprises such as IKEA, Natura, Danaher, Haier, and Lego. These companies commit to what they do best instead of chasing multiple opportunities:

1) They build their own unique winning capabilities instead of copying others
2) They put their culture to work instead of struggling to change it
3) They invest where it matters instead of going lean across the board
4) They shape the future instead of reacting to it.

Paul Leinwand, is a principal with PwC US. PwC, formerly known as Price Waterhouse, has a long history of delivering professional services to their clients helping to resolve complex issues and identify opportunities.

To listen to our interview, click on the grey podcast bar below.