Looking for a last-minute stocking-stuffer? Perhaps one of these books will fit the bill:

Hanford Dixon: Day of the Dawg - A football memoir

by Hanford Dixon with Randy Nyerges

Published by Gray & Company, Publishers

Cost: $14.95

Former Cleveland Browns star cornerback Hanford Dixon, who played with the team from 1981-1989, provides details about his memorable career.

Dixon is credited with naming the Browns' "Dawg Pound" at the old Cleveland Municipal Stadium and for inspiring his teammates, especially fellow cornerback Frank Minnifield -- along with Browns fans -- to bark.

Dixon's inspiration came because he wanted his defensive teammates to pursue opposing ball carriers like a dog chasing a cat.

In the book, Dixon said the barking began in 1985 after Dixon and Minnifield painted the words "Dog Pound" on a large banner and hung it in front of the stadium bleachers prior to a preseason game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

"Even though the game was a bust, the Dawg Pound was born," Dixon wrote.

Although they originally spelled it "dog," Dixon said the nickname "Dawg" evolved in the media.

And Dixon became known as the "Top Dawg."

-- Mike Lesko, reporter

Tales of the Clam Club -- Turtle Soup

by Robert Raun


$6.95 Kindle-Nook

RELAR Publishing, LLC


Hudsonite Robert Raun recently published his first fantasy-adventure novel -- Tales of the Clam Club -- Turtle Soup. The first in a series of fantasy- adventure books, Turtle Soup follows teenager Alex as he yearns for more excitement in life. Alex's beliefs and familiar relationships are challenged when he and his friend Amy must learn to survive in an unfamiliar place.

Tales of the Clam Club -- Turtle Soup is for those ages 11 to 111. The book also is targeted to Christian youth groups and book clubs. The cover design and inside illustrations were done by Haley Pickard of Wadsworth, Ohio.

-- Stephanie Fellenstein, Hudson Magazine editor

The Serpent-Sea

by Linda Lehmann Masek


Fireside Publications


Northfield author Linda Lehmann Masek recently published her fourth novel, "The Serpent-Sea," what she describes as a romantic-suspense work.

The story, set in Florida, centers on Anne Gordon, who receives a letter from her estranged grandfather summoning her to Islamorada. She arrives to find that the wreck of a Spanish galleon has been discovered directly off the coast and a movie company from Hollywood is looking to make a film on location. Things have been complicated by a string of fatalities, and the police, led by Alex Stryker, are trying to figure out who has committed the crimes.

Masek's three previous novels are Mag-ni-fi-cat, a children's book, The Poison Tree and Soul Dance.

-- April Helms, Special Products Editor

It Came From Ohio

by James Renner


Gray and Co. Publishers


Readers who enjoy stories on UFOs, Bigfoot and other strange and unexplained phenomenon may like James Renner's "It Came from Ohio," which has several short and creepy stories with Ohio roots. Many people may be familiar with the story of The Mothman because of the movie "The Mothman Prophecies," and movie buffs might be aware that a reported UFO encounter here inspired a scene from "Close Encounters of the Third Kind." But the tale of the Loveland Frog or the Melon Heads of Kirtland may not be as well known. The short, highly entertaining stories range from plausible and documented to at least one campfire myth. Also throughout the book are little asides with other related facts and notes.

-- April Helms, Special Products Editor

Damn Right I'm From Cleveland

by Mike Polk


Gray and Co. Publishers


If you are looking for a straightforward guide that waxes eloquent on Cleveland's cultural attractions -- look elsewhere. But if you are looking for a funny tongue in cheek view of the nation's 47th largest city, you've found the right book. Polk's book is more for the residents of Cleveland, who can appreciate the humor of this often-beleaguered area, with its recommendation for a better Cleveland flag, cheap places to take a date, advice on what streets to avoid (by using rap song lyrics as reference), and a listing of favorite pubs. The funniest section was Polk's reenactments of the various Cleveland sports teams' major mistakes (like The Drive, The Fumble, The Shot and 10 Cent Beer Night). Fair warning: keep this one out of the reach of the small fry; the humor is adult (and often sophomoric) in nature.

-- April Helms, Special Products Editor

Faith and You: Vol. 2

by Terry Pluto


Gray and Co. Publishers


Fans of columnist Terry Pluto's first book, Faith and You, will be happy to hear that a second installment of Pluto's reflections on his faith are now out. Faith and You, Vol. 2" contains several short essays on Pluto's personal thoughts, and where he thinks he can do better, as well as thoughts on family ties, relationships and friendships. The book never comes across as preachy, and Pluto states that his aim is not to convert someone, but rather to make them think and reflect on life's various issues. Pluto has an easy-to-read writing style, and his essays are an honest reflection of his thoughts and feelings. The book also quotes from several local religious leaders and former religious leaders in the Akron and Cleveland area.

- April Helms, Special Products Editor

Young and Courageous: American Girls Who Made History

by Marilyn Weymouth Seguin


Branden Publishing Co.


A young schoolteacher who risked her life to save her students when a freak snowstorm hits. A Confederate supporter who risked imprisonment - and even getting shot -- to support the Confederate cause. Two sisters, and slaves, who make a dangerous journey by boat for the chance to live as free women. Nearly a century earlier, two other sisters work together to fool an approaching British army.

Cuyahoga Falls resident Marilyn Weymouth Seguin has compiled these stories and more in a quick and easy read for gradeschool age and for history fans. Most readers will have heard the story of Sacagawea, who lead Lewis and Clark across the American continent. But the stories of Minnie Freeman, Belle Boyd and Abbie and Rebecca Bates are not as well known. The individual stories are fictionalized but based on documented historical events, Seguin said. Each story has an afterwards, which relates the lives of the young women after the events that put them in the record books.

-- April Helms, Special Products Editor

His Date for the Dance Was His Science Project

by David Kenneth Mull


Royal Fireworks Press


Former Akron City School district teacher David Kenneth Mull has penned another book in his Charlie Cliche series, "His Date for the Dance was His Science Project." In this story, Elmo Burfoot II, otherwise known as Charlie Cliche, strikes up a friendship with Gilbert O'Shay, a science genius who seems to lack the social graces needed to navigate school. Gilbert is mercilessly teased by the others -- until he shows up at a school dance with a stunningly beautiful date.

-- April Helms, Special Products Editor

Sister Said

by Lee a. friend


Xulon Press


Cuyahoga Falls resident Lee a friend penned her memories of growing up with the Catholic schools, starting from her first grade year with Sister Stella Marie through her senior year in high school. Throughout the book are friend's interpretations of what "sister said."

-- April Helms, Special Products Editor

The Heart of Religion

by Matthew T. Lee, Margaret M. Poloma, and Stephen G. Post


Oxford University Press



Drawing on an extensive random survey of 1,200 men and women across the United States, Matthew Lee, Margaret Poloma of Silver Lake, and Stephen Post here shed new light on how Americans wake up to the reality of divine love and how that transformative experience expresses itself in concrete acts of benevolence.

-- April Helms, Special Products Editor

The Rancher's Wife

by Sharon Hunter


CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform


Streetsboro resident Sharon Hunter recently debuted her novel, "The Rancher's Wife." In this contemporary romance, top rated culinary chef Aubrey Hunter steps outside her comfort zone of the kitchen and asks the rugged rancher Nic Ravenwood for a dance. With the back drop of the Big Easy a week-long wildfire of a romance quickly brews. By week's end, Aubrey is presented with a marriage proposal. But swapping the glitz, glam, and convenience of city life for the wilds of a Wyoming ranch comes with difficulties. Aubrey relished her life of privacy, but now finds herself the center of attention on the ranch.

-- April Helms, Special Products Editor

Sarah's Secret: Civil War Deserter at Fredricksburg

by Shawneen Orzechowski


White Mane Kids


Sagamore Hills resident Shawneen Orzechowski has penned her second book, "Sarah's Secret: Civil War Deserter at Fredricksburg." The book takes place in 1862, when the Civil War is raging. The Civil War battle at Fredericksburg looms too close to home for Sarah, a teenage farm girl who has lost her twin brothers in the war. Frightened and angry, Sarah wonders how much closer the fighting will get and how much more her family will lose before the Yankees finally leave Virginia. Then Sarah discovers Matthew, a young Union soldier who reminds her of her own brothers, sleeping in her hayloft. Sarah faces a big dilemma: Should she tell her parents about the enemy deserter or keep this dangerous secret to herself?

-- April Helms, Special Products Editor

The Seneca Scourge

by Carrie Rubin


Whiskey Creek Press



Hudson resident recently debuted her novel, "The Seneca Scourge." In this book, Dr. Sydney McKnight, a young physician, is battling the deadliest influenza pandemic of all time. She joins forces with Dr. Casper Jones, an odd new research virologist whose arrival coincides with the virus's advent, and whose presence raises more questions than answers. As scientists around the world search for an explanation for the virus's high mortality rate, Sydney's distrust of Casper grows, especially after she discovers him injecting an unidentified substance into her patient. Despite a heavy patient load, rebuttals from her boss, and an increasingly strained relationship with her boyfriend, Sydney is determined to learn the truth.

-- April Helms, Special Products Editor

Syria and Summer

by Samar Nouri


Tate Publishing


Samar Nouri, a Syrian refugee who now resides in Ravenna, sets her story in Damascus, where she had always dreamed of a life of freedom; free from the oppression of her people, her father, even her husband. She dreams of the day when she and her children can live in peace, far from the flying bullets, crashing car bombs, and the weight of a man's hand. Samar shows the true spirit of motherhood: protecting her children, preserving her family, and trying to create a happy life. However, she is doing so on the backdrop of the war-torn Syrian city of Damascus.

-- April Helms, Special Products Editor