Monday, December 17, 2007

Crisis Intervention Training for Disaster Workers: An Introduction by Geroge W. Doherty

ISBN: 9781932690422 - Imprint of Loving Healing Press (2007)
Reviewed by Irene Watson for Reader Views (10/07)




As a certified first responder with the City of Austin Emergency Measures Office I was delighted to find more information to add to my training. (The City of Austin provided training as a result of 9/11 in the event Austin, Texas, experiences a disaster from terrorists or other incidents of major concern.) George W. Doherty’s book certainly presents a concise and informative addition.

Doherty explains it all, from psychological aspects to dealing with stress, trauma, and repercussions as well as how to deal with children, adults, elderly, and those with special needs during a crisis. He also covers societal and cultural aspects; however, he did not cover religious/spiritual beliefs of various groups. (The training I took covered this facet and I believe would be a good addition to Doherty’s detailed information. Knowing one’s beliefs gives direction to the responder of how to deal with the individual under duress.) But, there is more – he not only covers disasters and critical incidents, he covers war and terrorism. In addition, one extremely important aspect Doherty discusses is self-care. He gives in-depth suggestions for debriefing and follow-up.

The back of the book gives selected references for further reading as well as a list of websites where more information is available. I felt this was an extremely good list and was amazed to see how much information was actually offered. Doherty also includes a “victims’ needs” assessment and a course test. Reading this book and passing the course test will grant you a certificate with Contact Hours for approved organizations.

The only downfall of the book is the cover. When I looked at the cover I was taken back because, aside from the title, it doesn’t indicate the content of the book. Although a lovely photo of mountains and a lake is displayed, for marketing purposes I don’t believe this cover gives the book justice. The cover is more inclined to look like a coffee table book rather than an informative training manual. From a marketing perspective, I highly recommend that the cover be changed for future printings.

With all that said, I believe Doherty is providing a great addition to the library of a first responder, either beginner or one that is experienced. The information is well-researched and appropriate. Furthermore, I believe “Crisis Intervention Training for Disaster Workers” could be used by trainers when creating first responder to disaster training courses and be part of the study material.



The review above was used with permission from ReaderViews.com. Reader Views provides a one-stop service for authors. Besides providing reviews of books, they provide publicity packages, editing services, live interviews, book videos, and book proposal coaching. Their services and staff are highly recommended by the Polka Dot Banner.


The Polka Dot Banner (PDB) is an author's web community especially designed for busy authors looking for Internet exposure but who lack the time or know how. The PDB is a great starter web home that can serve as a stand-alone website promoting your book(s). Or, as a fast-growing author community, the PDB can help direct web traffic to a site you already own. Better yet, they do all the work for you, saving you time and effort.

Spartan Slave, Spartan Queen: A Tale of Four Women in Sparta by Helena P. Schrader

ISBN: 9780595470679 - iUniverse (2007)
Reviewed by Regan Windsor for Reader Views (11/07)




Set in Sparta during the Second Messenian War, “Spartan Slave, Spartan Queen” builds on characters introduced in Helena P. Schrader’s previous novel “Are they Singing in Sparta?” What is so intriguing about this “series” is that each novel is successfully separate and distinct, and yet they complement each other beautifully. While “Are they Singing in Sparta?” focuses on war and politics of the time, “Spartan Slave, Spartan Queen” sways to the historical romance side, while still immersing the reader in the history, especially that of the households and women.

“Spartan Slave, Spartan Queen” opens with Agesandros successfully raiding his rival Aristimenes’s palace and capturing his slaves and concubine Niobe who is taken by the Spartan prince Anaxilas as his prize. Niobe, used to her life as a princess, refuses to give in to her new place as slave (helot), diminishing her value to the households she finds herself serving.

Mika, who served the beautiful princess Niobe before the raid, has easily adapted to her new surroundings. Considered ugly and unwanted due to her cover of warts, she finds shelter in the house of the kind Alethea. Leon, a slave serving Agesandros, has taken Mika as his prize and sent her to the safety of his master Alethea for work and safekeeping. Mika instantly falls in love with her captor Leon, but his eyes are on Niobe, who finds him beneath her.

As Kassia, daughter of Alethea, is chosen by Analixas to be his wife, Niobe desperately clings to her only hope of re-establishing her place as his concubine. Kassia, disgusted with Analixas lust toward her beauty and not what is beneath it, finds herself desperate to avoid his hand in marriage.

As power struggles and love triangles ensue the tension builds. Schrader adds an additional element when Parax, a physician’s apprentice, takes an interest in the mechanics of childbirth. Tired of seeing his patients die on the birthing bed, he is desperate to understand how to use his surgical knowledge and save both mother and child. An opportunity soon presents itself, but the pressure of the task at hand seems too much to bear.

“Spartan Slave, Spartan Queen” takes the readers on an intriguing and multi-layered journey through the world of Sparta. Helena P. Schrader’s ability to fuse the Spartan and modern world make this a truly remarkable read. This novel is sure to captivate a wide range of readers.



The review above was used with permission from ReaderViews.com. Reader Views provides a one-stop service for authors. Besides providing reviews of books, they provide publicity packages, editing services, live interviews, book videos, and book proposal coaching. Their services and staff are highly recommended by the Polka Dot Banner.


The Polka Dot Banner (PDB) is an author's web community especially designed for busy authors looking for Internet exposure but who lack the time or know how. The PDB is a great starter web home that can serve as a stand-alone website promoting your book(s). Or, as a fast-growing author community, the PDB can help direct web traffic to a site you already own. Better yet, they do all the work for you, saving you time and effort.

Beyond Adam & Eve: 50 Things You Need to Know Before You Get to Heaven by Marion H. Williams

ISBN: 9780979784507 - Recamier Publishing (2007)
Reviewed by Richard R. Blake for Reader Views (11/07)




In “Beyond Adam & Eve” Marion H. Williams has compiled a remarkable combination of Bible trivia, solid, thought-provoking questions, inspirational verses, important facts, and background material on the Old and New Testaments, the Deuterocanonical books, and the Apocrypha.

Williams writes in concise, easy-to-understand style. The book, as the subtitle suggests, includes: “50 Things You Need To Know Before You Get to Heaven.” The format includes 50 questions, followed by suggested summary answers. The material covers the Old Testament timeline from Noah, Abraham, Moses, and David, and traces the history of the nation Israel through Old Testament times.

The book is packed with practical, helpful information for personal or group use and is ideal for family times. The book includes important, often-quoted and well-loved scriptures verses that provide impetus for self-reflection, repentance, and inspiration to live according to God’s will and instruction.

The fun facts section is both entertaining and informational. I learned some valuable information about the Tanakh, and the Torah, the Jesus Tree, the Holy Grail, and the Twelve Days of Christmas.

I enjoyed Marion’s concept of a “Remedial Heaven School” which prepares the Christian for a quiz at the gates of heaven. A Bible study curriculum is available to supplement the book itself. Participants are referred back to the book for important discoveries on the Apostle’s Creed, the Nicene Creed, the Gospels, Epiphany and a myriad of other interesting and important Bible-related subjects This guide can be used to assist the leader in a classroom discussion of the book to encourage further study and review of the material covered. The book is designed for class use for students from 5th grade to adult. The material is designed for an eight-week period and includes suggestions from the book for an opening hymn, a suggested prayer, Bible Search, verses for memorization, and a quiz time, and other Bible learning games.

“Beyond Adam & Eve” is an excellent primer to expand your Bible knowledge and to master the basics of the teaching of Jesus, the parables, the beatitudes, His miracles, and the ministry of the Apostles.

I was amazed at the simplicity and enjoyment I received from Marion's book. It is far more than just Bible trivia. It is a book that should be in every Christian's family library for frequent review and a reaffirmation of commitment to personal faith. I found the book enjoyable, informational, and inspirational. “Beyond Adam & Eve: 50 Things You Need to Know Before You Get to Heaven” is an amazing accomplishment of developing a combination of religion, theology, and history.



The review above was used with permission from ReaderViews.com. Reader Views provides a one-stop service for authors. Besides providing reviews of books, they provide publicity packages, editing services, live interviews, book videos, and book proposal coaching. Their services and staff are highly recommended by the Polka Dot Banner.


The Polka Dot Banner (PDB) is an author's web community especially designed for busy authors looking for Internet exposure but who lack the time or know how. The PDB is a great starter web home that can serve as a stand-alone website promoting your book(s). Or, as a fast-growing author community, the PDB can help direct web traffic to a site you already own. Better yet, they do all the work for you, saving you time and effort.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Remember the Aloe, Moe: Book Two in the Out of Texas Series with James Hold

ISBN: 9780595441242 - iUniverse (2007)
Reviewed by Cherie Fisher for Reader Views (11/07)





James Hold second installment in the "Out of Texas Series," "Remember the Aloe, Moe," is one of the strangest books that I have ever read, but surprisingly entertaining.   The back cover describes the book as a modern day retelling of the Old Testament story about Jacob, Rachel and Leah.  The story was so far out there that I had a hard time making that connection.  The author obviously has a funny and quirky sense of humor.  He begins the book with a note that encourages readers to seek out Book One in the series.
 
The adventures in this story are about J, a radioactive cat turned human living in the great state of Texas.  J becomes J-Man, a professional wrestler who finds himself in one absurd circumstance after another.  The novel opens when a college professor gives J an injection to remember his past.  He recalls meeting his love, the beautiful Princess Sibelle who is trapped in  Rapunzel's tower by Merlin.  Of course it turns out that she could have left by the back entrance but that would have meant she would have had to use the servant's entrance.
 
In today's time, J is competing in a wrestling match when he rescues Josie (who he feels strangely itchy around – she turns out to be a mosquito) and is transported out of town.   From there it takes many bizarre twists in his quest to win acceptance in the wrestling world. 
 
You have to wonder what kind of person writes this kind of book. He writes that he is a lifelong fan of Godzilla and lucha libre wrestling.  I am not sure but I do know that James Hold would be the person I would want to be seated next to at a dinner party or charity event, but I am guessing he probably does not spend much time at those events.  "Remember the Aloe, Moe" is definitely for the quirky reader with a good sense of humor.  But you have been warned – you will probably be left with the feeling that you just read something very good, but you are just not sure what it was. 

The review above was used with permission from ReaderViews.com. Reader Views provides a one-stop service for authors. Besides providing reviews of books, they provide publicity packages, editing services, live interviews, book videos, and book proposal coaching. Their services and staff are highly recommended by the Polka Dot Banner.


The Polka Dot Banner (PDB) is an author's web community especially designed for busy authors looking for Internet exposure but who lack the time or know how. The PDB is a great starter web home that can serve as a stand-alone website promoting your book(s). Or, as a fast-growing author community, the PDB can help direct web traffic to a site you already own. Better yet, they do all the work for you, saving you time and effort.

Kendra Kandlestar and the Door to Unger by Lee Edward Fodi

ISBN: 9781933285832 - Brown Books Publishing Group (2007)
Reviewed by Brianne Plach (age 10) for Reader Views (11/07)





Do you think going to a fantasy world with fauns and dwarves would be fun? You know like Lucy did in "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe." This is not a trip to Narnia, but instead a trip to a different fantasy world. It's not Lucy that is visiting this strange land but the main girl character, named Kendra Kandlestar.
She is drawn into this mysterious land when she receives a cryptic message. The meaning of the message makes her so curious. She goes to Unger to discover the answer to a question that she has been wondering about her whole life. There is a secret about her family; will going through the door of Unger bring her the answer she wants? Or is she better off staying on one side of the door? But if she doesn't go through the door, she wouldn't get to meet a bunch of interesting characters and the book wouldn't be nearly as exciting.
Around every corner, it seems like Kendra is meeting someone different. The characters are interesting but also sometimes very funny. A lot of kids need to have something funny happening in books to keep them reading.  Funny things happen every few pages in this book.  "Kendra Kandlestar and the Door to Unger" is a surefire hit to attract young readers. This is a second book in a series, but there is no reason why you wouldn't be able to read this one first and then the other one. The door to Unger opens when you open the pages of this book. You will certainly have a trip you won't soon forget!

Listen to interview on Inside Scoop Live
Read interview with author


The review above was used with permission from ReaderViews.com. Reader Views provides a one-stop service for authors. Besides providing reviews of books, they provide publicity packages, editing services, live interviews, book videos, and book proposal coaching. Their services and staff are highly recommended by the Polka Dot Banner.


The Polka Dot Banner (PDB) is an author's web community especially designed for busy authors looking for Internet exposure but who lack the time or know how. The PDB is a great starter web home that can serve as a stand-alone website promoting your book(s). Or, as a fast-growing author community, the PDB can help direct web traffic to a site you already own. Better yet, they do all the work for you, saving you time and effort.

Monday, November 26, 2007

No Experts Needed: The Meaning of Life According to You! by Louise Lewis

ISBN: 9780595429714 - iUniverse, Inc. (2007)
Reviewed by Lori Plach for Reader Views (10/07)




Losing a job has probably happened to everyone at least once in their lifetime.  Do you see losing your job as devastating or an opportunity to discover something different in your life?  It all depends on how you look at it.  Louise Lewis had lost her job of eleven years. There were all the emotional and financial concerns to get through.  She had a mortgage which required payment and needed to get back on her feet again.  Where do you go for comfort when a blow likes one gets delivered to you?
 
Louise decides to embrace life and find out just what life means.  Through many interviews with people and getting their definitions of life, a book is born. Sometimes people are brought into our life for just a time and for a specific purpose. There is comfort in the scriptures as noted many times throughout the text of this book.
 
"No Experts Needed" is more than just a book in dealing with job loss.  It is a book of self-discovery, insights into what life is, and how to make the most of every opportunity as it is presented. The book doesn't bring out the expert's advice, but rather everyday people who share what they believe, and how they face the bumps along the road of life. If you catch yourself wondering just what life means, you can come to your own decisions.  There are truly "no experts needed" when making life what you want it to be.


The review above was used with permission from ReaderViews.com. Reader Views provides a one-stop service for authors. Besides providing reviews of books, they provide publicity packages, editing services, live interviews, book videos, and book proposal coaching. Their services and staff are highly recommended by the Polka Dot Banner.


The Polka Dot Banner (PDB) is an author's web community especially designed for busy authors looking for Internet exposure but who lack the time or know how. The PDB is a great starter web home that can serve as a stand-alone website promoting your book(s). Or, as a fast-growing author community, the PDB can help direct web traffic to a site you already own. Better yet, they do all the work for you, saving you time and effort.

Bones of the Dead: A Novel, by Elle Newmark

ISBN: 9780595417391 - iUniverse, Inc. (2007)
Reviewed by Paige Lovitt for Reader Views (10/07)




"Bones of the Dead" is set in Venice during the Renaissance Period.  Luciano is an orphaned street urchin who has been rescued from the streets by a chef, Amato Ferrero.  Luciano is to be apprenticed to him.  Amato sees something special in Luciano and plans on teaching him more than just culinary skills.  Luciano senses a mystery about his background and why Amato took him in.  He also wonders about the doge that he works for.  Early on in his apprenticeship, Luciano witnesses the doge killing a peasant and then pouring an elixir down his throat.  He doesn't understand why he would do that to a corpse, but sets out to find out.  Along the way, he learns that the doge is seeking a mysterious book that some believe has the recipe for the elixir of immortality, others believe it reveals the alchemy behind how to turn objects into gold.
 
The chef Amato knows of the mysteries in this book.  He is more than a chef, he is also a guardian.  Guardians hide secrets in their recipes.  They also create concoctions with their recipes that can affect the outcome of decisions that are made in politics.  The food sets the mood for how the guardian feels the outcome of a meeting should be.  The chef Amato says, "…the prep of food was a tool to illuminate the mysteries of life."  In Luciano's haste to find the answers to secrets, he reveals information to untrustworthy sources, this puts himself and Amato in danger.  The answers are revealed to him, but at a great cost.
 
"Bones of the Dead" is an incredibly written novel.  I found myself hooked immediately.  The author traveled to Venice to create this story.  She has a gift for describing the sights, sounds and smells of Venice exactly how you would imagine at that time.  She also draws upon the political intrigue and drama that involved The Church.  I really liked that the Chef had a great deal of integrity within himself.  Under his guidance Luciano was destined to become a great man with integrity, however, because of his background and human nature, it was a struggle.  I cannot imagine anyone not enjoying this novel; however, I highly recommend it to people that enjoy historical intrigues.  If you like books like "The Da Vinci Code," you will be thrilled to discover "Bones of the Dead."  I look forward to reading other novels by Elle Newmark.

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The review above was used with permission from ReaderViews.com. Reader Views provides a one-stop service for authors. Besides providing reviews of books, they provide publicity packages, editing services, live interviews, book videos, and book proposal coaching. Their services and staff are highly recommended by the Polka Dot Banner.


The Polka Dot Banner (PDB) is an author's web community especially designed for busy authors looking for Internet exposure but who lack the time or know how. The PDB is a great starter web home that can serve as a stand-alone website promoting your book(s). Or, as a fast-growing author community, the PDB can help direct web traffic to a site you already own. Better yet, they do all the work for you, saving you time and effort.

Monday, November 19, 2007

My Journey to Peace with PTSD, by Lady Cerelli

ISBN: 9780979888304 - Peace Publishers (2007)
Reviewed by Paige Lovitt for Reader Views (10/07)




In "My Journey to Peace with PTSD" Lady Cerelli tells her life story.  She experienced a great deal of abuse in her life.  It began with her stepfather raping her as a child, and her mother's refusal to acknowledge that it really happened.  It continues on through her life where she continues to encounter men who brutally victimize her.  Along the way, Lady tries to have a "normal" life, but finds herself drawn into inappropriate, self-defeating behavior.  It seems like Lady was acting out so that the wounded child within her could be heard.  Instead, she encounters more abusive types of people and continues a downward spiral. 


Lady's behavior follows a pattern that is common for people with PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder).  As an adult, she is finally diagnosed with this after she has some seriously traumatic memories surface.  While getting help, Lady discovers how her behaviors have been caused by traumas that she has experienced.  On the difficult road to recovery she begins making positive changes in her life.  Her relationship with her husband also deepens.  She learns about real love.
 
In many ways, it was difficult for me to read "My Journey to Peace with PTSD."  It is always hard to read about a child experiencing abuse and not being helped.  Lady did have a special older lady touch her life.  This made me think about being more careful with the emotionally fragile students that I work with.  If I can touch someone's life like she did, I can really make a difference.  It was also hard for me to read because it drug up some painful personal memories of my own childhood.  These were memories I buried.  Lady helped me to understand a lot of my past and why I react like I do.  She also provides information about exactly what PTSD is, and will help others determine if they have it and need help. She also answered a question that I had about why people who have been abused seem to attract abusers.  This was really informative and thought-provoking.
 
"My Journey to Peace with PTSD" came into my life at the perfect time.  Not the easiest time, but the perfect time.  I am very grateful to Lady Cerelli for telling her story.  I know that it couldn't have been easy.  By doing so, she brings something good into something that was bad.  In the six hours that her book has sat on my desk, she has touched three additional lives including my own because people have asked me about it and we start talking.  I went to her website and discovered more useful information.  This is a book for people who have abusive pasts and those that work with them.  It will really open your eyes and help you understand who you are and what you can do to make a difference, either in your life or someone else's.


The review above was used with permission from ReaderViews.com. Reader Views provides a one-stop service for authors. Besides providing reviews of books, they provide publicity packages, editing services, live interviews, book videos, and book proposal coaching. Their services and staff are highly recommended by the Polka Dot Banner.


The Polka Dot Banner (PDB) is an author's web community especially designed for busy authors looking for Internet exposure but who lack the time or know how. The PDB is a great starter web home that can serve as a stand-alone website promoting your book(s). Or, as a fast-growing author community, the PDB can help direct web traffic to a site you already own. Better yet, they do all the work for you, saving you time and effort.

Damselflies: An Ancient Mirrors Tale by Jayel Gibson

ISBN: 9781933538648 - Synergy Books (2007)
Reviewed by Paige Lovitt for Reader Views (10/07)




Set during a time of magic, "Damselflies" begins with the story of Arcinae and her mate Ilerion.  Arcinae is the last of the Damselflies.  Her race was destroyed by a warlord who feared them and their magic.  Barely surviving herself, she is aided by others who want to save her magic.  Ilerion rescues her and teaches her to defend herself.  This totally goes against her nature, but she must be willing to be violent to survive.  In time, they fall in love and have two daughters.  The second part of the book tells the story of the two Halfling daughters.
 
J'yorie is the strong one.  She is a warrior like her father.  She has been born without wings and therefore is able to hide her Damselfly blood.  Her sister A'Janae has the wings of a damselfly.  She is the gentler of the two.  When she is kidnapped, J'yorie goes in search of her. She goes with trusted friends, but along the way she encounters others that are willing to help. She has to decide whom to trust.  Not everyone is what they appear to be.
 
Jayel Gibson has written an incredible, timeless fantasy novel.  I had such a hard time putting this book down.  I was disappointed when it ended and it is over four-hundred pages!  Since the story is written in a different place, she supplies maps that help the reader understand the lay of the land.  Ms. Gibson also includes an extensive glossary that makes it easier to understand some of the terms and the names of the people being discussed.
 
In spite of this being a fantasy tale, there are undercurrents of prejudice, suspicion, and distrust that we see among different cultures in our mundane world.  As in the novel, what is not understood by one race tends to be feared and hated by another.  The people in this novel, who were not prejudiced, greatly benefited from their relationships with those of the other races.  Except for the trolls and a few other creatures, the supernatural races all seemed to be able to work together; they did not fear each others gifts such as man did.
I highly recommend "Damselfies" to people who enjoy fantasy fiction.  This is a well-written, quality novel.  I look forward to other books that will be a part of "The Ancient Mirrors Tale" series.  


The review above was used with permission from ReaderViews.com. Reader Views provides a one-stop service for authors. Besides providing reviews of books, they provide publicity packages, editing services, live interviews, book videos, and book proposal coaching. Their services and staff are highly recommended by the Polka Dot Banner.


The Polka Dot Banner (PDB) is an author's web community especially designed for busy authors looking for Internet exposure but who lack the time or know how. The PDB is a great starter web home that can serve as a stand-alone website promoting your book(s). Or, as a fast-growing author community, the PDB can help direct web traffic to a site you already own. Better yet, they do all the work for you, saving you time and effort.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Back to the Garden: Getting From Shadow to Joy by Patrice Dickey

ISBN: 9780977086511 - PD Communications (2006)
Reviewed by Joanne Benham for Lori Plach (9/07)

*Writers Digest Independent Publishers 2006, Honorable Mention, Inspirational
*Independent Publishers (IPPY) Awards 2006, Honorable Mention Spiritual/Inspirational category
*Best Books 2006 Book Awards Finalist, Spirituality
*Best Books 2006 Book Awards Finalist, Aging/Death & Dying
*Atlanta Writers Club Competition 2006, First Place Non-Fiction




(Click the title link to view Patrice's Polka Dot Banner Page.)

Imagine coming to a beautiful garden. You need peace and tranquility. You desire to take in the beauty and peace of knowing that you are not there alone. You have entered a garden with many paths within its borders. Once visiting this garden, you will want to return often -- coming "Back to the Garden" is very simple -- all you need to do is open the pages of this book.
 
Like in a garden, where the grass and flowers grow, you will grow when inside its pages. You will find the different paths to self-awareness, self-discovery and self-acceptance. You can be at peace with your thoughts. "Back to the Garden" is a collection of many different stories about people from a wide range of walks of life. These stories will encourage you and give you an opportunity to take on a different perspective. When you read some of these stories, you will find that others have fought incredible odds and won.
 
Patrice Dickey has won numerous awards for her educational excellence. She shares how you can break from the shadows and come into the light of a happier life. With the many short stories in their own individual sections, you can come "Back to the Garden" and find just the morsel that will help you at any given time. This book is a must have for anyone who desires to feel true joy. Patrice Dickey has been truly blessed with a way of educating others into seeing the joy and contentment in life. She is very encouraging and helpful. Joy definitely flows throughout the pages and your life will seem different after being here.  There is an accompanying CD by the same name where Patrice has selected stories so you can visit the garden when riding in your vehicle between appointments or anytime you need a pick-me-up.
 
The garden gate is open. Read "Back to the Garden," and come in and savor the time you have in this beautiful place!


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The review above was used with permission from ReaderViews.com. Reader Views provides a one-stop service for authors. Besides providing reviews of books, they provide publicity packages, editing services, live interviews, book videos, and book proposal coaching. Their services and staff are highly recommended by the Polka Dot Banner.


The Polka Dot Banner (PDB) is an author's web community especially designed for busy authors looking for Internet exposure but who lack the time or know how. The PDB is a great starter web home that can serve as a stand-alone website promoting your book(s). Or, as a fast-growing author community, the PDB can help direct web traffic to a site you already own. Better yet, they do all the work for you, saving you time and effort.

Specific Gravity by J. Matthew Neal

ISBN: 9780615141374 - Dunn Avenue Press (2007)
Reviewed by Cherie Fisher for Reader Views (11/07)




The author J. Matthew Neal has a winner with his first book.  This thriller has it all:  murder, espionage and romance, all in a high-technology setting.  I was almost instantly engaged by the book and did not want to put it down until the very end.  Neal's experience as a physician gives him the insight that leads to this first-class thriller. 
Dr. Alex Darkkin, a brilliant oncology radiologist, is very unsatisfied with his life.  To make a change he decides to take a temporary position at a hospital in San Diego where his sister Wendy is a pediatrician.  He quickly gets more than he bargained for.  As he is reviewing past cases, he decides to take a look at test results from the recently deceased pharmaceutical executive John Markham.  What he finds is very disturbing – the test results have been altered to cover something up.  Alex joins forces with his sister's best friend, Bonnie Mendoza, who is very gifted even though she is hearing impaired.  She has won international physical competitions, is renowned as a forensic scientist, an accomplished escapist to raise funds for charity.  Whew!  That's a lot to put into one character.  
The story is one of the most bizarre murder plots that I have ever read.  I won't ruin the story by telling you what the murder weapon was, but the cast of characters involved were very colorful to say the least.   The only shortfall I found in the story was that sometimes the terminology was a little over my head.  The author could probably have explained a little less and the story would still have been just as engaging.  I was able to quickly go through these parts and still find the story very engaging. 
Overall, I found this to be a very well-written book for the first time author.  I really hope he plans to expand on these characters and that we will see them again in another thriller.  I would highly recommend this people who enjoy thrillers, especially techno thrillers.  If "Specific Gravity" is an example of the author's talent, I think that this will be the beginning of a long successful career. 

The review above was used with permission from ReaderViews.com. Reader Views provides a one-stop service for authors. Besides providing reviews of books, they provide publicity packages, editing services, live interviews, book videos, and book proposal coaching. Their services and staff are highly recommended by the Polka Dot Banner.


The Polka Dot Banner (PDB) is an author's web community especially designed for busy authors looking for Internet exposure but who lack the time or know how. The PDB is a great starter web home that can serve as a stand-alone website promoting your book(s). Or, as a fast-growing author community, the PDB can help direct web traffic to a site you already own. Better yet, they do all the work for you, saving you time and effort.

Monday, November 5, 2007

C. S. Marks - Elfhunter: A Tale of Alterra, The World That Is

ISBN: 9781420894608 - AuthorHouse (2007)
Reviewed by Cherie Fisher for Reader Views (10/07)




When I first picked up the "Elfhunter" I had mixed feelings as I am a huge fan of the J.R. Tolkien series.  Would this be a knock-off of J.R. Tolkien's trilogy as most books that followed it have been?  I will be the first to admit that this brilliantly written book is absolutely not a knock-off.  The author does an amazing job with character development and I was also very pleased to see that the main characters were heroines.  "Elfhunter" is the first book in the trilogy and I am very much looking forward to reading the other two books in the series. 
 
Gaelen and her cousin, Nelwyn are on a mission for the Elf King when they come across the hideous murders of their fellow elf friends.  Determined to catch whoever committed this atrocity they follow the clues left behind.  This leads them into danger as they take on Gorgon, the Elfhunter.  Gorgon, who is in league with the dark forces, is determined to rid the world of elves and anybody else who gets in his way.  As they pursue this formidable opponent, they meet up with the elf Galador and his human friend Orogond who join them on the hunt.  Even though they doubt Orogond's usefulness on this journey as a mortal man he is able to prove himself when the time is right. 
 
C.S. Marks also does an excellent job in describing the terrain that the elves travel over as they visit mortal dwellings, dwarf trails under the mountains, and live in enlightened elven dwellings.  I also really enjoyed the author's character development of Galador and Orogond's horses. 
 
The author also does an excellent job with the appendices in the book.  She includes a glossary of terms that I found myself referring to throughout the book when I was unsure of a term.  The other appendix includes background information on Alterra that is also very helpful. 
 
I would highly recommend it to people who enjoy a good fantasy.  Be forewarned to not pick it up to read if you are planning to get anything else accomplished in the near future.  I had a really hard time putting "Elfhunter" down once I started reading it. 

The review above was used with permission from ReaderViews.com. Reader Views provides a one-stop service for authors. Besides providing reviews of books, they provide publicity packages, editing services, live interviews, book videos, and book proposal coaching. Their services and staff are highly recommended by the Polka Dot Banner.


The Polka Dot Banner (PDB) is an author's web community especially designed for busy authors looking for Internet exposure but who lack the time or know how. The PDB is a great starter web home that can serve as a stand-alone website promoting your book(s). Or, as a fast-growing author community, the PDB can help direct web traffic to a site you already own. Better yet, they do all the work for you, saving you time and effort.

Leandro Herrero / Viral Change: The alternative to slow, painful and unsuccessful management of change in organizations

ISBN: 9781905776016- Meetingminds (2006)
Reviewed by Cherie Fisher for Reader Views (10/07)




So many large corporations spend millions of dollars on programs that they think will create positive change in their organization.  As the change vehicle gets bogged down in committees and long-term commitments and strategies, the originals goals are often lost.  Leandro Herrero's approach in "Viral Change" is completely different.  This well-written, easy-to-follow book will teach you how to create lasting change in the corporate world.  The author, a psychiatrist, debunks many myths about creating change in the corporate structure and outlines the process in very simple and straightforward steps. 
 
The author begins the book by getting you to think about your position on fifteen assumptions.  These are:  Big changes requires big actions, only change at the top can ensure change within the organization, people are resistant to change, cultural change is a slow and painful long-term affair, everybody needs to be involved in the change, communication and training are the vital components of change, new processes and systems create the new necessary behaviors, people are rational and will react to logical and rational requests for change, there is no point in creating change in one division without the rest of the company participating, skeptical people and enemies of change need to be sidelined, vision for change needs to come from the top and cascade down, after change, you need a period of stability and consolidation, short-term wins are tactical, but they do not usually represent real change, there will always be casualties – people not accepting change – and you need to identify and deal with them and people used to not complying with norms will be even worse at accepting change.  These same assumptions are revisited at the end of the book with very different outcomes when using viral change principles. 
 
The bottom line in "Viral Change" is that change does not have to be a long, drawn-out and painful process.  It can happen very quickly by using small, incremental steps.  And it does not have to have the buy-in of all the "top brass" and committees.  One person, not necessarily at the top, can effect positive change by using this process.  Large corporations, for-profit and not-for- profit, often get in trouble because they become inflexible and unable to change quickly to meet the increasing demands in their industries.  It does not have to be this way and Leandro Herrero proves that in this insightful book "Viral Change."


The review above was used with permission from ReaderViews.com. Reader Views provides a one-stop service for authors. Besides providing reviews of books, they provide publicity packages, editing services, live interviews, book videos, and book proposal coaching. Their services and staff are highly recommended by the Polka Dot Banner.


The Polka Dot Banner (PDB) is an author's web community especially designed for busy authors looking for Internet exposure but who lack the time or know how. The PDB is a great starter web home that can serve as a stand-alone website promoting your book(s). Or, as a fast-growing author community, the PDB can help direct web traffic to a site you already own. Better yet, they do all the work for you, saving you time and effort.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Necessary Evil by Aaron Baker Cole

ISBN: 9780595358991 - iUniverse (2005)
Reviewed by William Phenn for Reader Views (7/07)




Not much is known about Aaron Baker Cole; he is as much a mystery as the book he wrote. Some things I did manage to find out. Aaron Baker Cole cut his teeth on technical writing in the fields of space technology and national security. So I was not surprised that there was not a lot of information available. I'm sure the sensitive nature of his previous assignments warranted a classified cloak. I do know he lives and writes somewhere in southern California and has written another book, "Forms of Madness."
"Necessary Evil" has a most intriguing plot. It deals with a young man's crusade to rid the world of pedophiles. But the strange twist is that it is not about your average, street-version pedophile; it deals with pedophiles within the clergy, those that the Catholic Church has either elected to relocate or turn a blind eye to.

Aaron begins by telling us about William (Billy) Hawkins, a young man who lost his father at an early age and had to contend with a stepfather that would beat up on his mother. So after putting up with this violence for quite some time, Billy decides to do something about it. What he does propels Billy into a maze of intrigue. The story of Billy Hawkins just gets better and better from here on in.

What Billy does to an attacker outside his girlfriend's dorm is just another stepping stone in his quest. For Billy, that quest becomes an almost obsessive compulsion to rid the world of bad priests. Mr. Cole has not held back any good traits in the development of his main character Billy Hawkins. Billy has charisma; he is very likeable, but he is also cunning and very cold. He has no mercy on the pedophiles in the clergy and is ruthless in his judgment of these sick individuals.

With a very sad ending (in my opinion), Billy achieves what he started out to do, with the unexpected help of a most unlikely accomplice. The ending, though sad, was most righteous and very welcomed. Different from what you'd see in a movie or in today's society, it was the "Icing on the cake."   I thought "Necessary Evil" was a most-talented exhibition of mystery writing that I have read in a long time. It was very enjoyable and compelled me to read more with every turn of a page.

I highly recommend "Necessary Evil" to all that like a good detective novel. This book had quality printing and great content I gave it my highest rating of an A+.



The review above was used with permission from ReaderViews.com. Reader Views provides a one-stop service for authors. Besides providing reviews of books, they provide publicity packages, editing services, live interviews, book videos, and book proposal coaching. Their services and staff are highly recommended by the Polka Dot Banner.


The Polka Dot Banner (PDB) is an author's web community especially designed for busy authors looking for Internet exposure but who lack the time or know how. The PDB is a great starter web home that can serve as a stand-alone website promoting your book(s). Or, as a fast-growing author community, the PDB can help direct web traffic to a site you already own. Better yet, they do all the work for you, saving you time and effort.

The Praetorian File by Allan McLeod

ISBN: 9780615150666 - Duchess Publishing (2007)
Reviewed by Paige Lovitt for Reader Views (7/07)




I thought about titling my review, "Red-Heads Named Paige Rule," but since I am a red-head named Paige, like the main character, I was afraid that I might appear to be biased!  "The Praetorian File," is the second book in the Paige Harrington Mystery series.  It was the first one for me to read.  You can definitely read it by itself and understand the characters and what is going on.  McLeod managed to hook me on this one, so I plan to go back and read the first one. 
The main character, Paige Harrington, is an international free-lance journalist.  When the scientist that she is assigned to interview is murdered the day before she gets to meet her, Paige starts investigating.  The more she discovers, the more she gets hooked on trying to solve the mystery of what happened.   As she is trying to find out what happened, more people are murdered and she discovers the dangerous secret Praetorian society that involves worldwide corruption.  Paige is unsure of who she can trust and has to put herself in further danger by reaching out to people who might be players in this society.

When a close friend of Paige's is kidnapped and tortured, she becomes further determined to bring this society down.  Her life and the lives of her friends and families are in jeopardy.  As long as her friend is in the hands of the enemy, she will not give up.  As she goes deeper in, she learns about the evilness of some very high-standing members of society.  Along with trying to solve this mystery, there is a romance brewing between Paige and a man on the police force. 

"The Praetorian File," is an excellent fast-paced story.  Once again, as in his book, "Death Spirits," Allan McLeod does an excellent job of coming up with an intriguing detailed plot and compelling characters.  He incorporates some touches of romance and humor in the story that keep it from becoming too dark.  The relationships are also well-developed in the book.  I enjoyed the camaraderie that Paige shares with other people, some of whom aren't so trustworthy. 

I highly recommend "The Praetorian File."  If you have not read any of Mr. McLeod's books yet, you are in for a real treat.  It would also make an excellent gift for mystery/suspense fans.  I look forward to the books that will follow in the "Paige Harrington" series.




The review above was used with permission from ReaderViews.com. Reader Views provides a one-stop service for authors. Besides providing reviews of books, they provide publicity packages, editing services, live interviews, book videos, and book proposal coaching. Their services and staff are highly recommended by the Polka Dot Banner.


The Polka Dot Banner (PDB) is an author's web community especially designed for busy authors looking for Internet exposure but who lack the time or know how. The PDB is a great starter web home that can serve as a stand-alone website promoting your book(s). Or, as a fast-growing author community, the PDB can help direct web traffic to a site you already own. Better yet, they do all the work for you, saving you time and effort.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Loss of Innocence by Anne Newton Walther

ISBN: 9780967670348 - Tapestries Publishing (2007)
Reviewed by William Phenn for Reader Views (7/07)




Well-known psychologist, author and speaker Anne Newton Walther's passion for history led to the writing of her first book "A Time of Treason." A native of Atlanta, Georgia, Anne grew up in Virginia and now lives in San Francisco with her husband.

She has been on national talk shows, local television and radio and is head of a psychological counseling firm.
 
Ms. Walther has taken her very colorful character the French Countess Eugenie Devereux (that she introduced in "A Time of Treason") on another adventure through history. This time, however, the beautiful Madam Devereux is back in France and is in the midst of the French Revolution. Her loyalty to the royal family is torn because of her love of her country and its people. Eugenie and her Chateau are caught in the middle and it becomes a popular place for nobles, military men and commoners. Then one day, the Queen herself pays a visit to the Chateau.
 
Eugenie Devereux has built alliances and has many friends throughout the world. One such friend, an American, proposes to exile the royal family to America. This little-known fact is in very few history books and is not easy to Google. The plans that are discussed would bring the royal family to America and set them up in their own little kingdom. There they would live their lives in peace and tranquility while still maintaining their status as the Royal French Family. The plan is made and ready to proceed when tragedy strikes in the form of a visitor.
 
What happens then is history, but the way Ms. Walther presents it is most intriguing. "Loss of Innocence" is a compelling book that details the struggles of the revolution and the emotions of the people that went through it.
If you are a history buff and like your history a little more personalized, then this is a must read. I must say "had it not been for my knowledge of the French language, I may have not understood certain remarks made." If that is the case with you, then I suggest that you have a pocket French translation book handy. It will make some of the passages much more interesting. I enjoyed the sparse peppering of French in the dialog but it may be a slight irritant to others. I gave it an A+ and considered it an excellent read. The binding is quality, the art work of high caliber and the content superior.



The review above was used with permission from ReaderViews.com. Reader Views provides a one-stop service for authors. Besides providing reviews of books, they provide publicity packages, editing services, live interviews, book videos, and book proposal coaching. Their services and staff are highly recommended by the Polka Dot Banner.


The Polka Dot Banner (PDB) is an author's web community especially designed for busy authors looking for Internet exposure but who lack the time or know how. The PDB is a great starter web home that can serve as a stand-alone website promoting your book(s). Or, as a fast-growing author community, the PDB can help direct web traffic to a site you already own. Better yet, they do all the work for you, saving you time and effort.

How Best to Avoid Dying by Owen Egerton

ISBN: 9780974070377 - Dalton Publishing (2007)
Reviewed by Cherie Fisher for Reader Views (7/07)




Owen Egerton has compiled a book of small stories in "How Best to Avoid Dying."  I have to say that I had mixed feelings as I read through some of the stories.  It is very difficult to describe my feelings about them as they had the strangest affect on me.  I was very disturbed by many of them, but something about them compelled me to read on.  I don't think a book has ever had quite that affect on me before.  The author is an excellent writer and definitely knows how to draw a reader in. 
  
I often wondered as I was reading "How Best to Avoid Dying" what motivates an author to come up with this brand of writing.  Egerton often employed dark humor to get his point across in the stories.  He seemed to be poking fun at mankind in an insightful way by writing about human eccentricities.  What compels a person to write a book like this?  I guess the even bigger question is, what compelled me to not to put it down until I was done?  

"How Best to Avoid Dying" primarily explores the painful side of life, and facing up to the realization that we all will die.  The book starts with a seemingly innocent spelling bee where the children are eliminated for spelling errors by being dropped through a trap door to meet an awful fate.  The strange stories include the author's biblical interpretation of the story of Lazarus to the bizarre summer camp counselor story of the Martyrs of Mountain Peak.  Then there was "The Fecalist" -- I will leave the description of this story to your imagination. 
 
Overall, "How Best to Avoid Dying" was very well written and I would recommend it to people who enjoy bizarre stories like the Stephen King and Dean Koontz crowd.  I think you will feel like I did at the end of the book – I am still trying to figure out what makes this author tick and think it would be great fun to sit and have an in-depth conversation with him on the meaning of life. 



The review above was used with permission from ReaderViews.com. Reader Views provides a one-stop service for authors. Besides providing reviews of books, they provide publicity packages, editing services, live interviews, book videos, and book proposal coaching. Their services and staff are highly recommended by the Polka Dot Banner.


The Polka Dot Banner (PDB) is an author's web community especially designed for busy authors looking for Internet exposure but who lack the time or know how. The PDB is a great starter web home that can serve as a stand-alone website promoting your book(s). Or, as a fast-growing author community, the PDB can help direct web traffic to a site you already own. Better yet, they do all the work for you, saving you time and effort.