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.