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.

Sentinel of the Seas by Dennis M. Powers

ISBN: 9780806528427 - Citadel
Reviewed by Richard R. Blake for Reader Views (5/07)




"Sentinel of the Seas" reads like a novel.  Dennis Powers has written another classic masterpiece which chronicles man battling the sea.  As in his earlier works "Treasure Ship" and "The Raging Sea," Powers has thoroughly researched his work. He spent five years in preparation, searching archives, original journals, dairies, ship logs, Lighthouse Board Reports, and doing personal interviews of survivors, and their families. The lighthouse was built on St. George Reef which is one of the most hazardous reefs off the West Coast.
Powers recounts the history, engineering and construction of the lighthouse.  He also explains the various lighting and sound warning devices used over the history of the lighthouse. Powers masterfully weaves into the record heroic stories of the men and women who designed, built, and maintained the St. George Reef Lighthouse from it's completion in 1892 until it's abandonment in 1975, and renewal in 2002.
 
"Sentinel of the Seas" heralds the career of Alexander Ballantyne, who supervised the project, as well as the careers of George Roux, and Fred Permenter the lighthouse keepers. Powers details the work of the "wickies," lighthouse life, the history and the development of other U. S. lighthouses. He shows a deep appreciation for the courage the lighthouse keepers demonstrated in the midst of crashing waves, tumultuous storms, and hurricane force winds which they faced on a recurring basis.
 
Turnover among the personal was significant.  Powers explained it this way: "This station was one of the least sought-after assignments in the service.  Potential wickies had already heard what duty would be like on Dragon Rocks.  It had earned its reputation."  I personally enjoyed the insight into the contrast between routine work and boredom of the assignment with hazardous way of life of the lighthouse keepers.  Powers uses descriptive phrases that made me feel "the enveloping curtains of cold mists" or hear the "barks of the seals, cries of the seagulls, and the crashing surf."
 
This is great adventure reading, brilliantly written. I highly recommend "Sentinel of the Seas" to everyone who loves epic adventure stories of the adventure of the sea, shipwreck, and nautical 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.

The Vampire Within: New Blood by Drew Silver

ISBN: 9781419667794 - BookSurge Publishing
Reviewed by Paige Lovitt for Reader Views (7/07)




"The Vampire Within:  New Blood," is the second book in the "The Vampire Within" trilogy.  It begins immediately where "The Vampire Within: The Beginning," left off.  As in the first one, the action is constant and keeps you sitting on the edge of your seat. I hated having to put this book down.  The little things in life like eating and going to work were an annoyance, because I didn't want to have to stop reading this story!
 
The trilogy continues in Triton City, California, where students have been injected with a serum that is to help them mentally and physically.  In this story, we learn that the serum has been derived from the DNA of the remains of a vampire found buried in Romania.  The adversary of the doctor who began administering this serum is now injecting his own group of students.  The recipients of an earlier strain of this serum have turned into blood hungry creatures.  Supposedly, the formula has been improved.  The heroes in this story who have been injected with the new version still find themselves fighting the desire to feed.  They also continue to have an aversion to sunlight and wooden stakes in their hearts.  Their physical strength and speed, and their ability to heal are their gifts.
 
The students injected with the new strain are at battle with the recipients of the old strain.  The old recipients are now scary, rotting creatures with no humanity left in them.  The heroes are saddened to discover that they can recognize who some of these creatures used to be.  They also learn a lot more about the people behind this travesty and about the betrayal involved.
 
I totally enjoyed this novel – "The Vampire Within: New Blood."  Unlike most movies, the sequel is just as good if not better than the first book.  You can read it on its own, but I know that if you do, you will be drawn to read the first one.   So buy both books, enjoy reading them and then join me while I wait for the third in the trilogy.



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.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Paula Petrovic - Sand Play for the Soul

Sand Play for the Soul: Awakening the Power of YOU to New Worlds of Possibility
ISBN: 0-9777914-0-8 - Soul House Press (2006)
Reviewed by Paige Lovitt for Reader Views (8/06)



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

I had the pleasure of reading “Sand Play for the Soul” while I was camping in Flagstaff. Flagstaff is nearby Sedona, where the book was created and where Paula Petrovic does her Sand Play sessions. Her writings really touched me on a deep level. It made it feel more special to know that I was nearby where this incredible work takes place.

My initial thought about reading the book was based on my ego. I felt that it would enhance my counseling background to read about a different form of communication. I was familiar with play therapy, but Sand Play goes so much deeper than that. My heart knew that I needed to read this book for myself and for the work that I needed to do on healing and connecting with my soul.

Through Sand Play, you use a tray filled with sand and small objects to make this connection. How you place meanings on these objects and where you place them in your tray gives you answers that you need to understand yourself and to see where you need to heal. You communicate with your soul, and allow it to tell you what work needs to be done. Petrovic says, “There is nothing you cannot accomplish when you and your soul are in league as ‘One.’”

The purpose of the sand tray and objects is to provide a three dimensional means in which to have this communication. She believes, “releasing set beliefs and habitual patterns which often hold us captive and causes mental, emotional, and physical suffering is no easy feat. However, being able to see your life story symbolically laid out before you helps you to put things into perspective and to be able to respond with clarity." What I really like about this form of communication is that it is something that you can do on your own and continue to benefit from over time.

Sand Play helps you to discover what is right and true for you coming from, “the knowing place within your soul.” You can open communication up with your soul in a way that is “supportive, empowering and respectful.” Sand Play is meant to be enjoyable and enriching. I would love to attend one of Petrovic’s workshops, but for now I can practice this on my own.

In addition to providing a wealth of information about how and why Sand Play works, Petrovic also has a large section in the book called, “Sand Play Stories.” In this section she writes about the healing experiences of her clients. The people whose stories are told come from a variety of ages and backgrounds. Each story will touch your heart in a different way. The healing experiences that these people encounter are incredible. I recommend this book to readers that are looking for a deeper means to connect with their souls and who are seeking answers that really can only be found within themselves. I also recommend “Sand Play for the Soul” to counselors who would like to teach their clients to engage in self-discovery.

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.

Ken Fink - Unbuttoned: Who Says Men Can't Change

ISBN: 978-09727391-0-8 - Transformational Press (2006)
Reviewed by David Peters for Reader Views (8/06)



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

Imagine growing up to become exactly what you felt you were supposed to be: Perfect career, perfect wife and family. Only to one day, have every dream shattered and your perfect life come crashing down around you. Sounds like your typical horror movie plot, right? It’s not, It’s actually your life. Imagine waking up one morning with a fever and not being able to move a muscle. No calls for help because nobody is there. A mysterious illness has taken hold of your body and the only thing you can do is lay there and wait for enough strength to come back so you can call someone for help.

That’s how Ken Fink begins his book of self exploration and healing “Unbuttoned: Who Says Men Can’t Change”. Ken grabs hold of you and leads you through his struggles to find a name for what was wrong with him, and finally accepting that there is no name for it. He then begins his journey of healing that takes him to some unexpected places where he meets many wise and helpful people.

This book forces you to take a hard look at your life. I highly recommend it for every man and anyone who may find that worldly things are more important than the things we are given and often take advantage of.

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.