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Seven Books To Give As Holidays Gifts

Not too sure what to give your favorite bibliophiles this year? Here's a list that will suit all kinds of readers--humor, historical fiction, self-help, health and wellness, action and adventure, literary fiction, and art. Happy reading and happy holidays!

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The Awakened Introvert: Practical Mindfulness Skills to Help You Maximize Your Strengths and Thrive in a Loud and Crazy World by Arne Kozak (New Harbinger Publications, May 2015)

New Harbinger Publications / Via exquisitemind.com

For the self-help/psychology/wellness reader:

Introverts are powerful observers and creators. If you are an introvert, this book will show you how to tap into your inherent introvert strengths and “awaken” your potential using mindfulness meditations and cognitive behavioral techniques.

In a world that favors the outgoing, gregarious extrovert, being an introvert can be difficult. But the truth is that introverts have distinct advantages—as long as they know how to use them. Unlike extroverts, who draw their energy from social interaction, your energy comes from quiet reflection. Is it any wonder then, that mindfulness can help you hone your natural talents?

In The Awakened Introvert, mindfulness expert and card-carrying introvert Arnie Kozak provides a comprehensive set of mindfulness and cognitive behavioral tools to help you maximize your introvert strengths (such as rich access to your interior) while minimizing your introvert weaknesses (such as a tendency toward worry and rumination). In the book, you’ll learn powerful strategies to help you monitor your energy; recharge after social interactions; improve social and communication skills; and take advantage of your capacity for quiet reflection, and sweet, sweet solitude.

Praise for The Awakend Introvert:

“There are two reasons why this book is important. The first is obvious: introverts can hugely benefit from the focus strategies provided here. The second reason is perhaps less obvious. After practicing mindfulness for a while, some people become hypersensitive and resistant to interacting with the ‘normal world.’ It’s important to know that this is merely a temporary situation, an awkward intermediate stage between semi-coping (through tighten up and turn away) and super-coping (through open up and turn toward). Arnie’s suggestions and encouragements can help speed people through that transition.” —Shinzen Young, author of The Science of Enlightenment

A Very New York Christmas by Michael Storrings (St. Martin's Press, November 2015)

St. Martin's Press / Via amazon.com

For the art reader and die-hard New Yorkers:

The experience of New York City at Christmas time has enthralled residents and visitors alike since Clement C. Moore wrote The Night Before Christmas in his house in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan in 1823, inspiring tributes to the city in words and images. In A Very New York Christmas, Michael Storrings captures the magical landscape and excitement of the holiday season in dozens of watercolors, which since 2003 have been turned into bestselling Christmas ornaments. Sold in major retail venues across the country, his limited edition ornaments have a worldwide fan base and sell out performances in such stores as Saks, Bloomingdale's, and Bergdorf Goodman. This year a special ornament will be produced to coordinate with the book.

Portraying both famous traditions like Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, the lighting of the Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Angel Tree to less well-known ones like the Christmas lights in Brooklyn's Dyker Heights, the Boys Choir of Harlem, and the Holiday Train show at The New York Botanical Garden, A Very New York Christmas crisscrosses Manhattan and the four outer boroughs to bring us a Christmas for all New Yorkers--whether residents or just fans.

Including a delightful foreword from Cynthia Nixon (Miranda from Sex and the City) this jewel-like book combines festive quotations from literature and popular culture with Storrings's charming watercolors of forty cherished New York holiday scenes making this a perfect gift and yuletide keepsake.

Praise for A Very New York Christmas:

“Nobody celebrates Christmas like New Yorkers. And no town gets dressed up like New York at Christmastime. It's a feast for the eyes. It's happiness and good cheer on every corner and Michael Storrings has captured it all for you in this book---A Very New York Christmas.” ―Regis Philbin

Maroon Rising (Buck Reilly Adventure Series Book 5) by John H. Cunningham (Greene Street LLC, November 2015)

Greene Street LLC / Via amazon.com

For action/adventure and mystery readers:

Buck Reilly's in Jamaica and back in the treasure hunting business—until some old enemies ace him out. Fortunately for Buck, a beautiful University professor with ancient Maroon secrets about the missing riches of captain Henry Morgan lures him back to the chase. Thrust into turbulent waters where trust is as elusive as the treasure itself, Buck's knocked further off course with the appearance of the once love-of-his-life. The heat of Maroon Rising jumps off the page as Buck ricochets from the pirate enclave of Port Royal—once the Wickedest City on Earth—to the Blue Mountains, GoldenEye Resort, white sand beaches and the lush Cockpit Country of Jamaica. The conclusion will leave you breathless and change Buck's life forever.

**Bonus: Red Right Return (Buck Reilly Adventure Series Book 1) is currently free on Amazon.**

Praise for Maroon Rising:

"As much as I fancy myself a teller of stories, a chaser of adventures and a man who uses words as my magic, I admit that I have fallen under the spell of John H. Cunningham, as he is a master of all three."--Amazon review.

The Edge of Lost by Kristina McMorris (Kensington, November 2015)

Kensington / Via amazon.com

For historical fiction readers:

On a cold night in October 1937, searchlights cut through the darkness around Alcatraz. A prison guard's only daughter--one of the youngest civilians who lives on the island--has gone missing. Tending the warden's greenhouse, convicted bank robber Tommy Capello waits anxiously. Only he knows the truth about the little girl's whereabouts, and that both of their lives depend on the search's outcome.

Almost two decades earlier and thousands of miles away, a young boy named Shanley Keagan ekes out a living as an aspiring vaudevillian in Dublin pubs. Talented and shrewd, Shan dreams of shedding his dingy existence and finding his real father in America. The chance finally comes to cross the Atlantic, but when tragedy strikes, Shan must summon all his ingenuity to forge a new life in a volatile and foreign world.

Skillfully weaving these two stories, Kristina McMorris delivers a compelling novel that moves from Ireland to New York to San Francisco Bay. As her finely crafted characters discover the true nature of loyalty, sacrifice, and betrayal, they are forced to confront the lies we tell--and believe--in order to survive.

Praise for The Edge of Lost:

"Compelling, resonant and deeply moving, The Edge of Lost is an absorbing tale of deceit and self-deception, survival and second chances, the ties that bind and the lure of the unknown."

--Christina Baker Kline, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Orphan Train

The Vitamin Solution: Two Doctors Clear the Confusion about Vitamins and Your Health by Dr. Romy Block and Dr. Arielle Levitan (She Writes Press, November 2015)

She Writes Press / Via amazon.com

For health and wellness readers:

Are you confused about vitamins? Unsure of which ones you need for optimal health, and what levels are safe? You’re not alone. Many people’s health issues could be improved with vitamins—if they only knew how to use them.

In The Vitamin Solution, Drs. Romy Block and Arielle Levitan provide a common-sense, medically sound approach to using vitamins to improve your diet, exercise plan, and overall health. In clear, accessible, language, they explain which vitamins and supplements can be helpful, which can be harmful, and which are altogether unnecessary; explore health topics including migraine, hair loss, fatigue, irritable bowel syndrome, hot flashes, and more; and address preventive care, providing insights on topics such as screening tests, weight loss, and preserving memory. Illuminating and accessible, The Vitamin Solution is an indispensable guide to safely incorporating vitamins and supplements into any lifestyle—one that will leave readers educated, informed, and armed with simple, everyday strategies for bettering their health.

Praise for The Vitamin Solution:

"This book is well worth reading - it reviews recent medical research and health recommendations in a concise, easily readable format. Topics include the latest research on vitamins, exercise, and general nutrition - a must-read for anyone interested in a healthy lifestyle instead of a quick-fix, unsustainable health fad. The authors provide fun anecdotes and dashes of humor, which make the book an enjoyable read." Amazon review.

City on Fire by Garth Risk Hallberg (Knopf, October 2015)

Knopf / Via amazon.com

For literary fiction readers:

New York City, 1976. Meet Regan and William Hamilton-Sweeney, estranged heirs to one of the city’s great fortunes; Keith and Mercer, the men who, for better or worse, love them; Charlie and Samantha, two suburban teenagers seduced by downtown’s punk scene; an obsessive magazine reporter and his idealistic neighbor—and the detective trying to figure out what any of them have to do with a shooting in Central Park on New Year’s Eve.

The mystery, as it reverberates through families, friendships, and the corridors of power, will open up even the loneliest-seeming corners of the crowded city. And when the blackout of July 13, 1977, plunges this world into darkness, each of these lives will be changed forever.

City on Fire is an unforgettable novel about love and betrayal and forgiveness, about art and truth and rock ’n’ roll: about what people need from each other in order to live . . . and about what makes the living worth doing in the first place.

Praise for City on Fire:

“Locating the best of times within the worst of times is no mean trick, especially in a historical novel where the history is recent enough that many readers remember firsthand just how bad those times were. That’s the delicate and ultimately moving balancing act that Garth Risk Hallberg pulls off in City on Fire . . . His talent is as conspicuous as the book’s heft. There’s rarely a less than finely honed sentence or a moment when you don’t feel that a sophisticated intelligence is at work . . . [The climax] is a tour de force.” —Frank Rich, New York Times Book Review

Don't Jump: Sex, Drugs, Rock 'N Roll... And My F**king Mother by Vicki Abelson (Random Content, 2015)

Random Content / Via Goodreads.com

For humor readers:

Meet Andi Stone, actress, waitress, club promoter, stand-up comic, fickle in love and a serious pothead in Don’t Jump: Sex, Drugs, Rock ’n Roll and My F**king Mother.

Published by funny man Carl’s Reiner’s Random Content, Don’t Jump gives readers a behind-the-scenes-inside-view to stand-up comedy in its heyday, rock ’n roll in New York during the 80s and 90s, late night TV during the ratings wars––with, a guessing-game-who’s-who in the worlds of tennis, comedy, radio, film and television.  

Don’t Jump introduces Andi Stone’s up and downs, her happenstance relationships with celebrities she forms along the way--whilst climbing her way up, sideways and down in the fast world of rock ’n roll promotion—with a few acting and stand-up comedy detours.

Filled with Andi’s sassy observations in this fast-paced narrative, she projects confidence and success despite the challenges of some questionable dating decisions, a disintegrating marriage, the trials and tribulations of a career in show biz, her addictions and struggles with recovery, until ultimately, she creates a life she can embrace and respect.

Don’t Jump is a hilarious and tasty tale told a la Carrie Fisher with the kick in the stomach panache of a Sandra Bernhardt. It is a story of a good Jewish girl’s redemption told with a wink of the eye, a sly sense of humor and a toke.

Praise for Don’t Jump: Sex, Drugs, Rock ’n Roll and My F**king Mother:

"Don't Jump is a delicious roman à clef ala Carrie Fisher, with the emotional honesty and deft writing of a modern Dorothy Parker. It has an intelligence without snobbery, a wit beyond crudity, a sensitivity without preachiness .. and is funny as all hell."

Hubert O'Hearn, San Francisco Book Review

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