Monday, December 8, 2008

BRAVE: Be Ready and Victory is Easy, a Story About Social Anxiety

 

Marjie Braun Knudsen & Jenne R. Henderson, PhD
Summertime Press (2008)
ISBN 9780981575902
Reviewed by Matthew Feliciano (age 8) for Reader Views (11/08)

 

"BRAVE" is about a boy named Danny.  He has trouble with a lot of things at school and with life.  He is ten-years-old, but age doesn't matter because he has the same problems a lot of kids have.  His problems were that whenever he had a test or something, he either had a headache, or had a stomachache and tried to stay home from school.  He got bullied a lot and was pretty much afraid of everything.  One day, his teacher said that they had to give a speech and the only way to get out of giving the speech was to win the science fair.  Danny was really looking forward to being able to get out of the speech and was certain he would be able to win the science fair.
 
Danny was paired for the science project with the class clown, Jack.  Jack invited Danny to come over to his house and work on the project with Jack's grandpa.  He doesn't want to go but his mom forces him to because he has trouble making new friends.  When he gets there, Jack's grandpa tells him something that helped him a lot.  Grandpa tells Danny to be BRAVE: Be Ready and Victory is Easy.  Jack's grandpa noticed that Danny was shy and that is why he told him about BRAVE.  The characteristics of BRAVE are something that helped Grandpa as a kid and he thinks this will help Danny deal with things.
           
With the technique that Grandpa showed Danny, Danny was able to be ready for tests and other things in life that scared him. For example, he wrote the explanation for BRAVE on a piece of paper to remind himself of what to do.  He used this when his brother was being mean and instead of losing his cool, Danny said "So" or "Whatever" and didn't let his brother get to him.  The more he used BRAVE, the happier he became.  With the technique, he went on to work with Jack and win the science fair.
 
I would recommend "BRAVE: Be Ready and Victory is Easy" by Marjie Braun Knudsen and Jenne R. Henderson, PhD, for anybody who has trouble in their life.  I know that I have some struggles that are similar to Danny's and reading this book helped give me a new way to deal with things. This book was written to help and teach kids, but instead of sounding like a grownup telling you what to do, this book read just like a regular story with a regular kid showing the way.  Teachers and counselors at schools would also benefit from this book, too.  I liked it a lot and am going to bring it to share with my class.

Claus: A Christmas Incarnation (Volume 1)

 

C. John Coombes
Self-published Digital e-Book (2008)
Reviewed by Paige Lovitt for Reader Views (11/08)

 
The tale begins in 1854, when fifty-six-year-old Elizabeth Dennison Claussen is preparing to meet a woman who shared an important childhood experience with her.  When Elizabeth's guest arrives, they reminisce about the eventful voyage that they took from Europe to America in the early 1800s.  Elizabeth tells the tale of her life beginning with becoming a maidservant for Rebecca Claussen when her own mother died.  Through her story we learn about the Claussens, who became her adoptive parents.  Even at the present time in which they are reminiscing, Christopher Claussen held a special fascination for both women.  Elizabeth remembers him as seeming to have extraordinary abilities.  She felt he could do anything.  His love for Rebecca was also very special and rare. 
           
As Elizabeth reminisces, we get to travel through time with her and share her memories.  This includes the pain she suffered upon losing her mother, the excitement that she felt when preparing for her voyage across the sea, being attacked by pirates, and then her experiences upon arriving in the Americas.  All of her memories are brought to life for us by her vivid recollections. 
           
"Claus: A Christmas Incarnation" is an incredible novel.  The author, C.John Coombes, did a wonderful job of bringing his story to life and making it seem real.  He also provided beautiful illustrations.  In addition to being an artist that can draw, he is also an artist that can paint with his words.  Everything in the story seemed so real, from the descriptions of the era, to the emotions that the characters were experiencing. Their imperfections also show their humanity.  I found myself totally being caught up in the tale, caught up to the point that I read over 400 pages in one sitting.  I cannot recommend this novel enough. I truly believe that "Claus" is destined to be a classic. 

Mental Illness and Your Town: 37 Ways for Communities to Help and Heal

 

Larry Hayes
Loving Healing Press (2008)
ISBN 9781932690767
Reviewed by Carol Hoyer, PhD, for Reader Views (10/08)
 
Larry Hayes has finally taken mental illness out of the closet and set a blueprint into place that will help millions of families and individuals with mental illness get the help they need. From his own experiences, Mr. Hayes shares ways in which each of us can reduce the stigma of having a mental illness with excellent examples and ideas of how to set up programs/services to help regain dignity.
 
As Mr. Hayes states, throughout history treatment of, and regard for individuals with mental illness, has changed dramatically. The problem I see as I read this book is that many do not understand mental illness and many professionals, including medical staff, do not care to know. With today's medical and psychology businesses it is about herding people through the system as fast as they can. The problem is, with some types of mental illness you can't do that. Some individuals need long-term therapy, medication and community support.
 
His first chapter discusses how mental illness is not caused by mothers but mental illness can be fostered through things like postpartum depression, abuse, neglect and environment. He suggests that more professionals need to have better training in the area of mental illness to include medical, psychology, childcare workers and town administrators. It takes little time to set up these awareness training programs.  One area that really sparked a fire in me was many children going into foster homes and the juvenile system are not given assessments to see if something might be causing their problems. Do their parents even get help?
 
Having grown up in, married to, and worked for the military, we are now seeing more and more soldiers return from war with post traumatic stress syndrome and our system is overloaded and those who need help are not getting it. Not to mention Vietnam Vets.
Each chapter is filled with examples of how our mentally ill are getting passed over, and what individuals and professionals can do to help--even from the smallest event, learn to know what resources are in your town--to writing grants and getting the government to provide more funding. There are many ideas given in each chapter on what you or I can do. Mr. Hayes has given excellent information on mental illness and enlightened everyone. He does it in a compassionate and sincere way. After reading this book, which I think is a must for everyone, it should spark a fire in you-- after all, one day it could be you or someone you love.
 
As a Psychology and Nursing instructor at two colleges, "Mental Illness and Your Town" by Larry Hayes is a must read and have for all my students.

Monday, December 1, 2008

A Pig in the Rumble Seat and other short stories

 

Edward Hujsak
Mina-Helwig Publishing (2008)
ISBN 9781886133105
Reviewed by Richard R Blake for Reader Views (10/08)

 

Edward Hujsak has assembled an amazing collection of stories from his own life as well as a broad range of tales of the 1930s depression era in his book "A Pig in the Rumble Seat." His short stories showcase his highly imaginative creative side. He is laugh-out-loud funny, highly intelligent, and a skillful writer. These attributes came through in his stories, "Escape" and "The Toy."  I especially enjoyed his insights into human nature in "Tatiana." I was not ready for the unexpected surprised ending in "The Sub."
 
Set in the Northeast in New England and in the Southwest in San Diego, Hujsak has included well-crafted personal experiences from his engineering career in the field of rocketry. His specialty was in propulsion. He has also included a wide range of subject matter, and varied writing styles. His writing includes science fiction, poetry, and parody. As a gifted story teller, Hujsak has taken time to hone his skill in the art and craft of writing.
 
The book is a melding of memories I could identify with: the ice truck with the ice tongs, and the old kitchen ice box, the quick war-time marriages, and the off-key choirs of aging men and women singing their hearts out during Sunday worship.
 
I found the first-person accounts of life on the farm especially enjoyable, "The Still," The Ubiquitous Fordson Tractor," and "Trucks." The ongoing effort of Pa trying to appease Ma was humorous and so true of most marriages. I was very touched with the account of Carl in "The Parting." "A Pig in the Rumble Seat" highlights Hujsak's subtle humor and genius for using word pictures that enhance the reader's visualization of every detail of the each incident in the story.
 
Hujsak's poetry is well worth pondering, beautiful, contemplative thoughts on nature, the Cuban Missle Crisis, the results of applied force, and the promise of life. His care for details in his fictional pieces and his use of regional and ethnic dialects in his dialog add realism to his stories.
 
I was awed by the photos included of the Tiger team, standing in front of Atlas with the first Centaur upper stage and the liftoff of Atlas Model "E" from Vandenberg Air Force Base and found the accounts of this era filled with interesting facts new to me.
 
Articulate and brilliant, Hujsak is a natural communicator with a gift for telling stories that keep you "listening" or in this case reading. "A Pig in the Rumble Seat" is excellent entertainment, refreshing, and skillfully packed with a balance of information and story.

Nicky the Flying Fish

 

Madlen Krushev (1998)
The Magical Realm of Books
ISBN 9780982042601
Reviewed by Madeline (age 7) and Sophia (age 5.5) McElroy for Reader Views (9/08)


MP3 File
 
 
Madeline: I thought this was an interesting short story book about Nicky the flying fish. It was fun to read. I learned a lot about rainbow fish. I think I liked the drawings as much as the story. It was funny when Nicky started flying to reach the sun, she kept jumping and jumping. I really like all the designs in the inside covers and front page. I think both boys and girls would like to read this book. If you like fish and the ocean you would enjoy this book. Nicky's Mom, Rainbow is really colorful; she has pretty eyelashes. I like her a lot. I hope there are more books about Nicky!
 
Sophia: This is an awesome, happy book about rainbow fish. My favorite part is when Nicky started flying; it looked like fun. I thought the pictures were nice. This book was a little hard to read, but it wasn't too long, it was just right.
 
Parent Comment: "Nicky the Flying Fish" by Madlen Krushev is very colorful (a bit busy) -- the girls really enjoyed the artwork as one can tell from the comments above. I wasn't too excited about the content, but they seemed delighted with it.  I felt the quality of the book (paper choice for cover), binding and the typesetting was sub-par.
 

Monday, November 24, 2008

Sixtyfive Roses: A Sister’s Memoir

 

Heather Summerhayes Cariou
McArthur & Company (2008)
ISBN 9781552786789                
Reviewed by Olivera Baumgartner-Jackson for Reader Views (9/08) 


Siblings – if you have one or more, you probably know how that goes… Can't live with them sometimes, and can't live without them for sure. So often they are our mirrors – in which we see ourselves the way others see us, and at times the way we wish we would truly be. I just cannot imagine losing any of mine, and I realize all too well that they have helped shape me into the human being that I became, in many ways even more than my parents have.
 
Reading "Sixtyfive Roses" was incredibly sobering. I cannot imagine the courage Heather Summerhayes Cariou had to have to actually write this unbelievable story and have it published. But then, she had a lifelong training in "above-and-beyond" courageous behavior. Imagine knowing since early childhood that your baby sister is ill – and that she will never get better. Imagine promising her not to leave, and not to let her die alone. Imagine being her lifelong protector. Imagine living with this impenetrable black cloud surrounding you and your family. And yet, you have to grow up. And you realize all too well that one day your sister will be gone. Imagine the rage, the despair, the jealousy for not being the center of attention, the desperate desire to make your sister's life easier… all those conflicting, oftentimes violent emotions. And one day the unthinkable happens… and your sister takes the last, labored breath. She is gone. And you are still here.
 
The story of how Pam, Heather's younger sister, was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis at the age of four, and how her family fought for her and other children with this debilitating disease is not a happy one, but definitely a positive and hopeful one. The strength and courage of everybody involved, from Pam herself to her family, her doctors and others with the same disease shows the world at least two perennial truths: that good does not necessarily win and that courage and fighting spirit can make an unbelievable difference. Back in those days children with CF tended to die very young, and Pammy's prognosis was no better, yet she kept fighting for over two decades and lived to the age of twenty-six. And she did not merely exist in this world, she lived her life as fully as possible and she made a difference in many other lives.
 
Heather Summerhayes Cariou's "Sixtyfive Roses" is a memoir, a tribute and a love poem, written in a clear, sometimes brutally honest and always sincere fashion. Her words are beautifully crafted, and her voice is distinct and unique. I have no doubt that Pammy is smiling at her big sister right now, and feeling mighty proud of her.
 
"Sixtyfive Roses" should be required reading for anybody dealing with a seriously ill person in their life, as well as anybody with any kind of a big or small problem. It certainly puts a lot of things in perspective, and it made me so very glad that I can go, pick up a phone and talk to my siblings right now, which is exactly what I am going to do tonight.

Little Stories

 

Jeff Roberts
Outskirts Press (2008)
ISBN 9781432727277
Reviewed by Paige Lovitt for Reader Views (10/08)


"Little Stories" contains a collection of eleven short stories about human nature.  The author, Jeff Roberts, did an incredible job with writing these tales.  He brings each one to life and is able to vividly describe them in a way that makes them appear real.  The stories range from a tale about a mischievous boy who gets in trouble, to one about an elderly grandfather who is preparing to die as his great-granddaughter is welcomed into the world.  Other stories involve relationship issues and making decisions without integrity.
The personal issues tend to deal with being disappointed about the ending of the relationship.  Loneliness and betrayal are often felt.  However, there is a feeling that the persons experiencing the loss of a relationship will find their own strengths in the end that don't involve being with someone else.   This comes from our evolution through personal growth. 
 
I really enjoyed these compelling stories.  I found myself wishing that there were more.  It really takes a lot of talent on the part of an author to be able to fully pull a reader into a story, especially when it is a short story.  Mr. Roberts is an exceptionally talented writer.  I was very impressed with his ability to write.  I wish I had adequate words to truly describe his talent, but I don't.  I suspect he could easily come up with them though.  While I am sure that these tales took a great deal of work to write, especially since he wrote them as a college student, his words do appear like they just flowed across the page.
 
I am trying to decide which story had the most impact on me.  I think it would be the last one, called "Cosette," that deals with the loss of a precious pet.  Having been in this situation several times myself, I found myself really feeling for the character as he had to deal with the loss for himself and for his daughter.  This story was especially poignant to me because it brought back many of my memories of being in this situation.  Fortunately for me, I had to deal with them alone, and have not had to watch a child suffer through it. 
I think that "Little Stories" by Jeff Roberts will make an excellent addition to the collections of people who enjoy quality fiction.  It would also be a great book for a college-level reading course and it would be a great selection for reader's groups.  I truly hope that more stories will be forthcoming from Mr. Roberts.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Trent the Racing Turtle

 

Bill Franklin
BookSurge (2007)
ISBN 9781419679940
Reviewed by Matthew Feliciano (age 8) for Reader Views (10/08)
 
"Trent the Racing Turtle" is about a turtle named Trent who has wheels instead of feet.  He likes the wheels because he can go really fast.  He has two best friends that he has all sorts of adventures with; they are Jesse and Mina.  One day, Jesse got Trent into a race against Vane, an evil treasure hunter.  He was also the commander of the Scorchies, who are little red creatures who do not listen very well (just like me!).  The winner of the race gets the golden Isols statue.
 
Mina's uncle once worked with Vane and knew that one day Vane would find the third Isols statue.  If Vane won the race, he would melt all of the gold and make himself more jewelry.  He was trying to get rid of Trent so that Trent couldn't race by having the Scorchies build a monstrous racing machine.  Mina's uncle told stories to help give them guidance.
 
Trent won the race and saved everyone from the bad guy.  The end of the book made me look forward to more books with these characters.  The only two things that need to be fixed a little is the way the book is typed because it doesn't look like a real book. It looks like something just printed off a computer.  There is no space when a new chapter starts.  Also, the cover is cute but it looks like it could be for a little kid's book and this is a book for big kids. 
 
I liked "Trent the Racing Turtle," by Bill Franklin, a lot and Trent and his wheels were fun to read about.

A Case of Wild Justice?

 

Yvonne Jerrold
Troubador Publishing (2008)
ISBN 9781906510718
Reviewed by Richard Blake for Reader Views (10/08)


Hannah Meadows finds herself in a traumatic dilemma. Her sister won't talk to her. Her grandson,  Billy, is in police custody and she has been diagnosed with a terminal illness. The neighborhood is overrun with intimidating young hoodlums, gangs of uncontrolled teenagers. Plagued recently with the nagging guilt of a well-kept secret of her past Hannah becomes restless and confused.
Hannah needs an action plan to rescue her family and save the community. A group of concerned seniors are fighting back against this crime and vandalism in a concerted effort to right the wrongs. Hannah joins the cause of the "silver bees."
 
Jerrold uses a unique technique for developing her plot through back flashes into the past that introduce the reader both to the incidents surrounding the characters and the personality of the characters. She allows the reader to see glimpses into their innermost feelings. This results in a kind of mystical insight into, and empathy for, an amazing cast of likeable characters.  Readers will recognize the friction of sibling rivalry and the differences in parental reactions in discipline philosophies and the resultant frustrations that, spoken and unspoken, can fester unresolved for years.
 
As the story unfolds, Hannah is confronted with the fact that her grandson Billy has an unexplainable, dark, evil fascination with inflicting pain on others. She saw this first when she observed Billy capturing insects, later small animals and, more recently, suspected him of being a gang leader spreading fear and terror among the elderly. Hannah describes it this way, "Behind his casual insouciance, behind his inscrutable smile, lay a dangerously antisocial intelligence unfettered by ties of human affection."
 
After several incidents of deaths of an elder victim and a young hoodlum, due to unexplained accidents, arson, and bombings, with accompanying suicide notes from the elderly victims, "the silver bees" issue a statement to the newspapers. "We are determined to fight back against the wave of crime and intimidation currently being directly against the elderly…" This statement leads to a newspaper report stating, "…the current bombing campaign is being masterminded…by our own frail elderly citizens."
 
Watching her family disintegrate with the news that Billy is being released from custody, Hannah is torn as she experiences the curse of old age and the knowledge that her illness could end her life at any time. Her thoughts turn to violence, to murder as self-defense, even though she believes that no one is beyond redemption.
 
The story is geographically set in a small English neighborhood but is universal in its appeal. Every preceding paragraph, page and chapter leads to the suspenseful build up of the final chapters. In this masterfully crafted, haunting novel, "A Case of Wild Justice?," Yvonne Jerrold has captured the plight of the aging citizen and the psychological warfare that often exists within the family circle.


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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

PTSD Blog Tour for Lady Cerelli



Lady Cerelli is an incredible woman who I had the opportunity to meet last year during the production of her book "My Journey to Peace with PTSD." Until that time, I had little knowledge about PTSD or exactly what happened to a person who experienced it. While I had heard of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in conjunction with soldiers of war, particularly Viet Nam, I only knew how movies portrayed this dis-function with violent dreams, night sweats, and distressed conduct. I did not yet know that a violent memory could be suppressed to the point of non-existence such as in Lady's case of nearly 40 years.

I think the most surprising thing about Lady's book was to learn that anyone might have such a memory and that it could be a hidden symptom in other life situations. Lady's book will cause you to turn pages faster than you know while you read in disbelief of her memories and how they surfaced. More importantly, you will learn the signs and symptoms of PTSD, which could be vital for you or someone you love.

When I learned that Lady would be taking part in a blog tour, I readily agreed to participate since I whole-heartedly believe in the work she is doing and wanted to help her spread the word about available support and services. You will find a few words below about Lady's book. There is also a review on this blog in November of 2007, and you can read her profile on the Polka Dot Banner by clicking the title link.


Lady, what did you learn about yourself from writing this book? I learned who I am and what I needed to do to change into the person I am today. It was truly devastating to discover that 40 years of my life had been built on a lie. I had suppressed the military rape for over 40 years and was not aware of why I had behaved the way I did until I was nearly 60 years old. The hardest part of this journey was sifting through the various aspects and parts of my life and my inner core to discern what I wanted to keep, what I wanted to change, and what I needed to let go. The biggest surprise was after carrying around the incest memory for over 50 years; I had to refer to the book for a piece of information that had faded. I knew this to be a major sign of healing. When you have dealt with what caused the inner anger, the trauma no longer retraumatizes. The trauma actually becomes just a memory that eventually fades away or can be put into a place in the brain where we can see it but it doesn't affect us. The biggest pleasure is after the anger I had carried around with me for over over 50 years, I discovered the love of self. Not only have I forgiven my abusers and all those who have harmed me, I have learned to love them, including my rapist. I despise what they did to me and would not allow it today, but I now know they were hurting also. The impact of this revelation is even more phenomenal when I know that because I was pregnant at the time of the rape, it had caused me to psychologically abort 6 babies over a 10-year period.

What makes this book unique? Every counselor or therapist who has read the book has learned information that was not available to them. Over 30 years ago, my methods of treating traumas through journaling and connecting with the senses during the trauma has been discovered by very few. I was told this method was cutting-edge. A couple weeks ago, CNN had a severe PTSD victim share his ability to heal by journaling. Several have learned to do this from inner direction. I have other readers journaling their life right now and have amazed their therapists with their rapid healing. There is a technique in connecting the journaling to the senses and is shared through one-on-one. Once shared, the client can use it with their friends, family, etc. It's a tool that can be used throughout their lifetime for addressing traumas immediately after they happen to help prevent the trauma from cementing into the psyche. The book also helps family members of a PTSD victim to understand what is going on. Relationships often break up more often because of the inability to understand what is going on or if it is felt there is no hope. The book offers hope and understanding.


Aside from this book, what other products and services do you offer?
My path has taken me back to natural healing and have enrolled into a school of natural medicine, specializing in trauma - past and present. We have a DVD, Dance of Release (DOR), for sale on Amazon and soon, also on our website. The DOR, through Qi Gong movements, opens doors of the Chakras to allow one to express themselves, not only through stress-releasing movements, but through heart, throat, and emotions, etc. We are looking to offering weekend retreats beginning in 2009 that will include using the third-view perspective of dealing with traumas and finish the retreat by making masks of empowerment. Tentatively, it will be a weekend of sharing, looking at and empowering oneself. The actual dates will depend on my two other staff members and their schedules. I shall also hope to be offering alternative methods to dealing with stress and trauma, through other websites, blogs, our site, etc. A lot of options are opening up right now and I'm looking at each one.


Click here to purchase your own copy of "My Journey to Peace with PTSD" * Disclaimer: The information provided herein this book should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition, or during any medical emergency. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Boys Should Be Boys: A Headmaster’s Reflections

 

Brian R. Walsh
TMC Books (2008)
ISBN 9780972030762
Reviewed by Dr. Michael Philliber for Reader Views (10/08)


How often mothers, sisters, aunts and female teachers have wondered, "What's wrong with those boys?" How many times have parents of either sex fretted over their sons' underdevelopment and strange interests, asking themselves, "Is my son normal?" Their reactions may range from seeking professional help to simply grinning and bearing it hoping for the best. Well help is here! Brian R. Walsh brings his 42 years of experience as a Headmaster of both a co-ed and a boys K through 9 school, together in his hardback book, "Boys Should Be Boys: A Headmaster's Reflections." This short, 213-page piece is chock full of wonderfully humorous and insightful anecdotal stories, experiences and observations of boys, their antics and their growth from kindergarten to 9th grade.
 
The format of "Boys Should Be Boys" follows a fairly helpful order. The first two chapters deal with simple aspects of what makes boys tick and how they develop friendships. Walsh brings out some very basic, wholesome clarifications that should calm many a troubled mother's heart. For example, how a boy's self-esteem grows and is strengthened as he gains competence in a given skill. Therefore competition, which is usually not from malice, is a fairly normal aspect of a boy's mindset, whether in math or games. Humor also plays a big role for a boy to deflect vulnerability in themselves, as well as to encourage competence in other boys.
 
The next section of the book approaches the actions and growth of boys from a more developmental line. Walsh covers in three chapters the boys in primary grades, then intermediate years, and finally on into early adolescence. He lays out the fairly typical places of boys at each stage, giving loads of examples. Walsh also passes on several observations with regard to their academic progress.
 
The third set of chapters covers relationships with parents, teachers and girls, as well as in regard to leadership and physical contact. Much of the material in these chapters is already anticipated in the early ones, but here Walsh widens his analysis and helpful suggestions. Most parents will be encouraged as they read these chapters, and will simultaneously start seeing how to strengthen their own approach to the boys in their life.
 
The final two chapters of "Boys Should Be Boys" are more about Walsh's concepts of what manhood means and how it is often distorted in professional sports, movies, and video games.  It is here that the reader will meet Walsh's underlying aim for boys. The idea of being a man, for Walsh, is not ham-fisted bullying, or macho rooster strutting, but having strength and restraint in serving others, and protecting those less powerful.
 
One of the immediate ideas in "Boys Should Be Boys" is that there really are differences between the sexes, in how they develop, process things, view relationships, and competition. But Walsh has clearly and successfully distinguished the differing traits between boys and girls without falling into sexist stereotypes. Having raised two daughters and now raising two sons myself, his observations have been very helpful for my comprehension of the differences that have perplexed me for years. "Boys Should Be Boys" by Brian R. Walsh is a must-read book for parents, scout masters, teachers, aunts, uncles, sisters, and anyone else who cares about the boys in their life. It will encourage, inspire, correct, lead, and enhance your perception and relationship with your boys.


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Mickey Mantle: Rookie in Pinstripes

 

Fred Glueckstein
iUniverse (2008)
ISBN 9780595469215
Reviewed by Dr. Michael Philliber for Reader Views (8/08)


Most people have heard of the great ball player Mickey Mantle, but few know the story of his rapid rise from obscurity to distinction, and the hurdles he had to overcome to get there and stay there. Fred Glueckstein has masterfully captured part of the famous baseball player's life in his short book "Mickey Mantle: Rookie in Pinstripes." This book, written for young adults, will be enjoyed by anyone desiring to learn about Mantle's early years, and how he rose from out of the Depression and Dust Bowl to the 1951 World Series.
Though Glueckstein could have written a full biography of Mantle's life, he has intelligently limited his scope to the baseball star's rookie year with the New York Yankees, and all that led up to that formative time. By narrowing his range, Glueckstein has been able to both focus his attention to the important parts of Mantle's early years in Oklahoma, Kansas and his first year with the Yankees, and to provide young adults an easily readable book that will inspire their desire to succeed and never give up.
 
"Mickey Mantle: Rookie in Pinstripes" is the story of a young Oklahoma boy whose father and grandfather worked hard in the zinc and lead mines by day, and then at night poured themselves into helping Mickey become a superb switch hitter, able to hit solid homeruns from either the left or right side of home plate. This is the story of a young man who learned that he had a serious bone disease while in high school, and yet never let it stop him. This is a story of a developing success that failed and then overcame his failure to soar high in baseball history. This is a story of a father's encouraging drive and a son's determined love.
 
In this nicely-bound, well-edited book, "Mickey Mantle: Rookie in Pinstripes," Glueckstein has pulled together loads of batting averages and other important statistics for the baseball fanatic. And yet the author has also woven in the personal side which makes the story come alive before the reader's eyes. Everything from snippets of personal dialogues, to snatches from his personal letters to his future wife, Merlyn Johnson, the humanness of a Major League Baseball star comes out.
 
If the reader is looking for an easy, inspiring, well-written book that will encourage both younger and older, then I recommend "Mickey Mantle: Rookie in Pinstripes," by Fred Glueckstein.
 


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Monday, November 3, 2008

Creation Theory Revised

 

Stacey T. Pollock
Wordclay (2008)
ISBN 9781604812169
Reviewed by Irene Watson for Reader Views (10/08)


When I took this book on to review I knew it wasn't going to be a breeze-through task and I was right.  "Creation Theory Revised" by Stacey T. Pollock is intense, thought-provoking, and deep. It takes you on a journey deep into yourself to explore your beliefs, and possibly took at other concepts, of creation of physical bodies and how they are formed within matter.
Pollock's model is of her own perception as is in her mind, and her personal journey to understand science and belief of human creation.  She says "Often God is seen as creating humans as a model of his perfected state, that then leads to the idea that he is trying to achieve something…..Is this a goal to achieve, to be one with God….?"  Questions like this transcend on one's belief system and Pollock gives reason to question and come to terms with beliefs.
She separates the mind and the brain and contends they are their own place in creation. Her concept is:  the brain and the body conjoin as does the mind and the spirit. But, there is more.  Pollock explains duality, energy, and vibration as well as bio-cylindrical creation.  She touches on dimensions, time and travel, and the third dimension.
Interspersed with illustrations, "Creation Theory Revised" is very concise, straightforward, and definitely deep. Stacey Pollock doesn't mince her writing, she powers her words with intensity and directness, guiding the reader to go within themselves and question their own beliefs and knowledge by providing a creation model that may be a new concept to him or her.  In the end, the reader will be able to create their own understanding of what the meaning of life is for them.


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The Money Washers: A Paige Harrington Mystery

 

Allan McLeod
Lulu Publishing (2008)
ISBN 9780557007417
Reviewed by Paige Lovitt for Reader Views (9/08)


Free-lance journalist Paige Harrington is at it again in the third book of her mystery series.  Her latest adventure involves the banking industry and money laundering.  Paige's interest is sparked when two female bankers are murdered.  She fears for her banker friend Emily, because Emily's profile is very similar to these women.  Emily isn't as worried as Paige is.  However, when a tragedy occurs to someone mistaken for her, she definitely realizes that she has to be very concerned.  Paige's involvement is also taken very seriously and her life becomes endangered as well. 
The further that Paige investigates, the more she discovers the depth of the corruption.  High ranking United States officials, the CIA, and influential corporate executives are all involved.  They aren't all good guys either.  These are people that will stop at nothing to get what they want.  Paige really has her hands full, but it seems like the more they try to thwart her, the more determined she becomes.  That is one of the things that I love about her character, she does not let anything dissuade her.
Once again, I loved being able to get my hands one of Allan McLeod's books.  "The Money Washers" will draw you in and make you feel like you are sharing the adventure with the heroine.  I really enjoyed the creative ideas that are interwoven into the plot.  When something unexpected happens, McLeod builds the story up around the event, so that while surprising, it seems plausible and makes sense.  I like that he can keep me guessing what the characters are going to do next.  McLeod also sparked an interest in me to learn more about money laundering and corruption that has already occurred in the United States.  I found out some really interesting information on this subject, which also made the story seem even more real.  "The Money Washers" is definitely a book for your must-read pile!


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Monday, October 27, 2008

Water Voices from Around the World

 

William E. Marks, Editor
Water Voices, Inc. (2007)
ISBN 9780979304606
Reviewed by Irene Watson for Reader Views (9/08)


Mesmerizing!  That is my first comment as I flip through the book.  However, that said, this is not a "flip-through" book.  "Water Voices from Around the World" is a coffee-table book that takes you on a journey of many hours and days through 400 photographs and over 100 biographies of writers around the world.  The letters are from well-known authors, politicians, religious leaders, and water scientists and researchers. Each has their own distinctive water knowledge and shares it with the reader.
But, there is more to this journey. It's not just another coffee table book with pictures and some text, it is a compilation of science; philosophy; politics; history; art; economics; religion; society; music and culture.  As I kept reading through "Water Voices" my constant comments were "wow, I didn't know that."  For me, this book is an eye-opener indeed.
My first "wow" came at the beginning of the book when I saw the beautiful photo of Lake Sarez in Tajikistan, a natural dam named Usoi Dam, created by an earthquake in 1911.  The dam is considered the largest natural dam in the world and if it fails, it will jeopardize the lives of 5 million people. The letter written by Emomali Rakhmonaov, president of the Republic of Tajikistan, explains his country is "the source of freshwater for most of Central Asia and possesses more than sixty percent of the water resources in the region."  He further explains even though the country has a large number of rivers, lakes, and glaciers, they still experience difficulties with their drinking water supply.  Personally, I have never heard of Tajikistan before and had no idea of the issues this country has surrounding their water supply.
This is only one example of the impact "Water Voices from Around the World" has. William E. Marks, in his three years of compilation of the photographs and information, takes the reader to another realm of understanding of issues surrounding our world fresh water supply.  He sums up the concerns as "If we fail to awaken to a new water consciousness – our surviving civilization will only have stories of mythological proportion about the Living Age of Water – an Age when clean water and life once existed in abundance." What a scary thought!
"Water Voices from Around the World" edited by William E. Marks awakens us to a point where we, as collective readers and concerned citizens, must make a distinctive effort to save our planet from fresh water destruction.  Until I pursued Marks' book, I had no idea of the devastation that is occurring worldwide. Personally I am committing to doing my part in conserving our fresh water supply and if each one of us is mindful, jointly we can make the difference.

Little Boy Broken

 

Jeremy Todd
Modern History Press (2008)
ISBN 9781932690712
Reviewed by Richard Blake for Reader Views (9/08)


"Little Boy Broken" is Jeremy Todd's story.  This is a case study of a victim of child abuse and the long-term impact on his life. This is not simply a story of a dysfunctional family.  It is a story of unimaginable and unspeakable brutality to a young child. It is all the more appalling by the shocking acts of abuse, physical, verbal, and sexual over a period of twelve years.
The story begins as Jeremy tells of awaking from a nightmare screaming.  He goes on to introduce his family and develops a picture of his father's background, demand for dominance, and cruelty to his children. This background gives credence to the story that follows.
Jeremy was a top student always doing his work until the day he was molested by his father.  His grades dropped, his behavior changed. His teacher badgered him instead of looking for the root cause for this change in behavior. The school principal joined in the cycle of abuse by getting permission from Jeremy's parents to punish him by "paddling" for his uncooperative conduct.
 
Educators, teachers, and school administrators did not recognize the symptoms of abuse and the traumatic devastation this played on a child's mind. The haughty school administrator missed or intentionally ignored the signs of physical abuse and "stole" the one thing Jeremy had left, the solace and peace he found through his school classroom and his friends.
Twenty-one years later Jeremy visited a mental health expert, a therapist, Dr. Sam Donaldson. Through the dialog between Dr. Donaldson and Jeremy as he revealed his story, the reader gains a deeper understanding of the long-term effects of child abuse, and a hope for the future. Jeremy learned that the feelings of shame, pain, and embarrassment he endured could be transformed into personal strength through these new insights he began putting his life back together again.
Dr. Donaldson helped Jeremy understand that his flashback experiences as well as hearing voices were a result of blocking out painful childhood experiences. Dr. Sam explained these as symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and disassociation resulting from the images burned in his memory, stored away to be revealed at another time.
Jeremy has been accused by his family of fabricating his story based on an alcohol-induced fantasy. Although Jeremy turned to alcohol to find momentary peace he remained optimistic throughout his ordeal. For a time he lost faith. He later identified his life with the sufferings of Job of the Old Testament.
Jeremy has been encouraged by therapists for years to share his experience in writing to help others face their issues.
The story of Shawn H., a fifteen-year-old boy, kidnapped by a pedophile predator at age 11, was the motivation Jeremy needed to publish his story. Shawn was put through the same brainwashing Jeremy had experienced. Jeremy identified in Shawn "an uncommon will and inner strength" to face each new day.
This true life story reads like a novel. The characters are well developed and become the real people they are. The bitter truth is horrific and unbelievable; however, it is repeatedly happening all around us. "Little Boy Broken" is an important book for parents, educators, counselors, mental health therapists, pastors, and first responders, to family related emergency calls. Heart wrenching!

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Monday, October 20, 2008

Projected History: A Catalog of the National Stories Produced by Universal Newsreel, Volume One, 1929-1930

 

Phillip W. Stewart
pms press (2008)
ISBN 9780979324383
Reviewed by Richard R. Blake for Reader Views (09/08)


"Projected History: A Catalog of the National Stories Produced by Universal Newsreel, Volume One, 1929-1930" is a comprehensive compilation of information based on Universal's textual records and microfilm documentation.
This and subsequent volumes of the series are compiled and edited by Phillip 'Phil' W. Stewart, retired U.S. Air Force officer, historical film consultant, and video and TV producer. Stewart is also an award-winning author of three previous books: "Battlefilm," "War Wings," and "America's Film Vault."
Phil focuses on the documented history of the U.S. and around the world as recorded by Universal Newsreel movie cameras. This edition contains all the stories nationally released during the first two years of production and distribution.
The Universal Newspaper Newsreel was released twice weekly during 1929 and 1930. The productions included highlights from the week's news, thought to be important or entertaining, including such topics as: developments of the aircraft and shipping industry, beauty pageants, sports, politics, and celebrities. The format of the book includes short descriptions written at the time for the newsreel's synopsis sheets. Stewart has also provided a comprehensive and exhaustive title and subject indices.
I enjoyed the frequent inclusion of "News Oddities" in the earlier editions. This was a kind of predecessor to " America's Funniest Home Videos." Another feature appeared in late-1929 called "News Paragraphs." These were human interest stories with intriguing titles that captured my curiosity. The sketches included catchy phrases like: "Stockholm, Sweden - Fancy Steppers meet" - Novel `hoofing' features 10th anniversary of Folk Dancers' League." Volume 2, Number 95, Monday, November 24, 1930 included this holiday tidbit: "New York, NY - Turkey pluckers compete! Establish feather-denuding record of 30 birds in 50 minutes."

Phil Stewart has created an important work. The book includes all the Universal Newsreel stories released nationally in the U.S. This is the first time that a Universal Newsreel story title, description, and availability have been compiled in one single reference work.
"Projected History" will quickly become recognized as an invaluable resource for students of film, U.S. and world history enthusiasts, genealogy aficionados, and by those involved in TV, video and multimedia communications services.

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What the Church Does Not Want You to Know

 

Greg Espinosa
Cereb Press (2008)
ISBN 9780979757235
Reviewed by Paige Lovitt for Reader Views (9/08)


"What the Church Does Not Want You to Know" contains an in-depth discussion about how churches have evolved into corporate-like money making entities. As a result of this, the followers are the ones paying the true price.  Church members are threatened with damnation if they choose to leave.  Espinosa was not just disillusioned by the ministers; he was also disgusted by the behavior of the congregation.  There is also a lot of peer pressure among them for people to behave and even dress a certain way.    This could include tithing, or even with going to services.  I have seen some of this myself.  A church that I grew up in used to post member's contributions annually in the bulletin.  Another church used to have a priest that expected members to turn in copies of their tax returns so that he could make sure that they were tithing appropriate amounts.  
To my own observation, cult-like behavior is promoted among many congregations.  Another example of this is of a church, in my town, that admonishes its members if they do not attend mid-week services and two services on Sunday.  It appears that God is only present in that church and if you do not attend, you miss out on seeing Him.  There are also collections at both services.  Unfortunately, Espinosa has experienced similar events in his own life.  How disillusioning this is.  Turning to the Bible, he discovered that it is not necessary to go to church to have a close relationship with God. He found that he can go to God directly and experience the Holy Spirit in his life, without having a middle man.  He fills his book with biblical quotes to back up his beliefs.  He also enjoys living his life based upon his relationship with God, and not living in fear of retribution by what someone else tells him, especially if that person stands to profit from what they say.  He hopes that readers will find their way to a close relationship with the Holy Spirit by reading the Bible on their own.
I found "What the Church Does Not Want You to Know" to be very interesting and well-supported with biblical references.  I have seen so much of the negative experiences that Espinosa writes about, either in churches that I have attended, or from watching what my friends have gone through. Though I have to say I have not had this experience with every church that I have attended.  This book made me really appreciate the church that I currently attend.  I have not had any of the negative experiences that have been discussed in the book.  So I will keep going where I go.  I do read the Bible and pray on my own, but I enjoy the music and fellowship of the services.
"What the Church Does Not Want You to Know," is an eye opener that will make its readers become more aware of the traps that religions can put out to snare their members. I think it a very important book that should be read by people who find their relationship with God to be very important (hopefully everybody).  It should definitely be read by those who have feelings that things are not right with their religion.  It will help them overcome fears of damnation because they are having doubts.  Churches and religion are manmade; it is our relationship with God that we should have no doubts about.

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Monday, October 13, 2008

Crossing 13: Memoir of a Father’s Suicide

 

Carrie Stark Hugus
Affirm Publications (2008)
ISBN 9780981593807
Reviewed by Neha Kashmiri (age 14) for Reader Views (9/08) 


What would you do if your mother or father suddenly committed suicide? In today's world a teenager has to deal with looks, friends, school and family. How could you manage with a felo-de-se?
"Crossing 13" is an authentic account of a thirteen-year-old survivor of a father's suicide. Carrie Stark Hugus writes honestly and courageously about her experience. "Crossing 13" is an incredible book relating to the events before and after the suicide. Suicide is always a touchy topic and Carrie Stark Hugus handles it with care.
The book includes several sections in the end like: Grief Support Tips, Understanding Suicide, and Facts and Statistics.
I have never had anything like a suicide of a loved one happen to me, so I can't relate.  All I know, as a blissfully unaware person, is that something like that happening to me would be terrifying and traumatic. It must have taken a lot for Ms. Hugus to cope and, more so, publish her experience. I recommend "Crossing 13" to everyone and especially anyone who has had this happen to them.


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The Bag Lady War: A Novel

 

Carol Leonard SeCoy
iUniverse (2007)
ISBN 9780595470358
Reviewed by Olivera Baumgartner-Jackson for Reader Views (9/08) 

Imagine working hard your entire life, and upon retiring you find yourself alone, a tiny step from financial ruin and scared out of your wits. Your husband has been shot to death by a burglar, your neighborhood is being terrorized by a gang of hoodlums, the apartment you are renting feels like a prison and your social security is in jeopardy, since the local political bigwigs clearly believe that the money would be better spent on more jails and other "corrective measures" for criminals. What in the world is a senior citizen in such a dire situation supposed to do?
Well, if your name is Josie, Mabel or Mil, you might come up with a truly ingenious plan: spending the rest of your life in a safe and secure place, with free meals, clothes and medical services for the rest of your life, and surrounded with lots of other women, most of them young. The catch? Well, the only such place for them is the prison. With government spending forty-thousand-dollars a year per prisoner, the three elderly widows come up with a fantastic plan – they will remove enough criminals from the street to save the government an appropriate amount of money, which would cover their care until they die. So they get guns and get to work, very efficiently dispatching an impressive number of thugs and covering their dead faces with grocery bags. The detectives in charge are utterly stumped by this latest crime wave, until the ladies give themselves up and explain their motives.
Carol Leonard SeCoy's "The Bag Lady War" touches many a raw nerve. The three heroines might possess a peculiarly twisted logic, but the reader has to ask him or herself what is wrong with our society if the criminals are treated better than the honest senior citizens; and the amounts spent on them are so much higher than the available funds for seniors. Josie, Mabel and Mil also touch on many other problems of today's society, from lack of parental involvement, the question of euthanasia and better use for abandoned military bases to low self-esteem bringing certain people into serious trouble. They do not mince their words and they have something to say on just about every topic. Lovable, wacky and incredibly real, those three are some of the most endearing heroines I've encountered in a long time.
Crazily funny and written in an engaging, fluid style, "The Bag Lady War" by Carol Leonard SeCoy forces the reader to stop and reexamine the world we are living in. Although labeled as a satire, this is a book that hits close to home, and it packs a punch.


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Monday, October 6, 2008

Moving Your Aging Parents: Fulfilling Their Needs and Yours Before, During, and After the Move

 

Nancy Daniel Wesson
Loving Healing Press (2008)
ISBN 9781932690545
Reviewed by Olivera Baumgartner-Jackson for Reader Views (8/08) 


There are very few certainties in life. We are born and we die. If we are lucky, we age. If we are very lucky, our parents live to a ripe old age as well. When that happens, the traditional roles of children and parents become somewhat reversed. The oh-so-strong, capable and never-wrong person of our youth all of a sudden finds him- or herself in need of our assistance - their child!  This is always a difficult position to be in, and usually it is true for both of the involved parties. So how does one handle such delicate situations without "putting down" one's parents?
 
Wesson's "Moving Your Aging Parents" is a true gem of a book. It is rarely gentle, compassionate, but utterly useful and practical at the same time. Wesson seems to have thought of every aspect of moving – from the very initial stages of planning and mapping things out, to the practicalities of the actual moving activities, packing, unpacking and settling in to the ways to create a "new home" quickly and efficiently. Wesson understands very clearly that a house is not a home, and she guides the reader into making it a home quickly, suggesting the essential activities, key pieces and rituals to achieve that. She is forever attentive to the fact that it is the parent's comfort, safety and happiness that count the most and she suggests ways of respecting their wishes, while maintaining a level of practicality and feasibility.
 
Having read "Moving Your Aging Parents," I found it an invaluable resource not only for those who have to help parents move, but really for anybody contemplating a move in general. The advice contained within those pages is incredibly practical and well thought out. I wish I would have read it sooner; or at least before our last cross-country move. If there is one piece of advice I could not agree with more, it would be the one about hanging the artwork you own as soon as possible. Nothing says home more than that as far as I am concerned.
 
I could not recommend this book highly enough to anybody who is lucky enough to be in the position to help their aging parents move. "Moving Your Aging Parents" provides all the advice on the technicalities of moving you'll ever need; and it will also teach you some valuable lessons in patience, understanding and compassion.

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.

Letters Between Us

 

Linda Rader Overman
Plain View Press (2008)
ISBN 9781891386626
Reviewed by Paige Lovitt for Reader Views (6/08)


Thirty-nine-year-old Laura is not having an easy time in her life right now.  Her mother is suffering from dementia and her once happy marriage is on the rocks.  Life has definitely gotten in the way of her happiness.  Totally destroying any sense of contentment, she gets a telephone call notifying her that Katharine, her best friend since childhood, has been found dead.  Her body was discovered dumped in a trash bin after she disappeared while on a picnic outing for hospital psychiatric patients. 
 
Putting her life on hold, Laura goes to Katharine's funeral.  Afterwards, she begins going through a box of diaries and letters from Katharine's life. Combining them with her personal collection, she takes refuge in a hotel room, away from everybody, and begins reading.  As she reads, she also remembers. This novel is written about the information in those diaries and the letters that were written between the girls starting twenty-six years ago.  The current time in this story is 1989.  Laura tells her story to us through her current journal writings.  
 
Neither one of them had a very stable upbringing, yet it was Laura who was both promiscuous and heavily involved in experimentation with drugs and alcohol.  Katharine, in spite of her mental health issues, was more reserved and restrained.  Katharine's first hospitalization in a mental health facility began in 1969.  Being a child of alcoholic parents and a father that was abusive and unemployed left a huge scar on her psyche.  As she grew into adulthood, her psychosis worsened.   Towards the end, her psychotic behavior was turning her into a person that Laura had trouble recognizing as her friend.
 
As Laura looks back over the years, she sees clues about Katharine's life that she missed while knowing her.  This is also the first time that she has stopped and taken the time to evaluate her own life.  Laura's young adulthood was more focused on sex, drugs and alcohol than self-examination.  Now that she is taking time, she also finds clues as to when things started happening in her own life, such as when her marriage died.  It also hits her hard that these mementos are the end of her memories with her dear friend.  With Katharine gone, there will not be any new memories to make. 
 
"Letters Between Us" is one of those books that leaves you sitting quietly and contemplatively after you are done reading it.  Initially, all that I could say about the novel was, "Wow."  This is definitely one of the most realistic fictional stories that I have ever read.  As a matter of fact, the story was so real to me, that while I was reading it, I kept checking the category it was listed under to make sure that it really was a fictional story.  Linda Rader Overman has such a talent with words.  Using similes and metaphors she does a wonderful job of imparting a visual picture over everything, including emotions.  Part of me feels like I just finished watching a movie, instead of having read a book.  This novel is about looking back and contemplating life, not death.

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, September 29, 2008

Shattered Reality

 

Kimberly Cheryl
CreateSpace (2008)
ISBN 9781440404597
Reviewed by Irene Watson for Reader Views (9/08)


Kimberly Cheryl, in "Shattered Reality," recounts her traumatic experience and emotional journey after finding out her daughter had been sexually assaulted by her uncle; an uncle that was like a second parent to her immediate family.   Once out in the open, she was ostracized by the uncle's family, as well as other members of the family.  However, Kimberly goes on a mission, with the support of her immediate family, to expose her well-known, community-minded uncle.
 
The author describes the long struggles with the legal system, court battles, and prosecuting attorney to no avail.  The case keeps getting thrown out even though there are five witnesses as well as testimonies from authorities that her daughter is telling the truth; indeed she was sexually molested over a three-year period by this man.
 
"Shattered Reality" contains a testimonial letter from Kimberly's daughter expressing her emotions and the outcome.  It also contains statistics, signs on spotting an abused child, fact sheet, tips, and resources.
 
Kimberly and her daughter must be commended.  They took the risk and are now advocates against sexual assault of children.  Kimberly's daughter volunteers in the community by helping others to overcome the traumatic experience.  Kimberly herself is continuing to work for the cause and is engaged in the third round, this time a civil suit, against her uncle.
 
Kimberly has tenacity and it shows in her writing in "Shattered Reality."  The story is gripping and heart-rending. One can't help but cheer Kimberly and her daughter on by supporting the cause – bring to justice the perpetrator and show that sexual assault of a child is not acceptable.



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 Masada Stones: A Novel

 

E.W. Bonadio
iUniverse (2008)
ISBN 9780595527564
Reviewed by Richard R. Blake for Reader Views (9/08)


E. W. Bonadio brilliantly combines ancient history, fast-paced adventure, mythology, and deception in his novel "The Masada Stones." Aaron Skorsky, an American professor and archeologist, has spent his entire career intrigued by the story of the Masada stones and the legend purporting that Josephus, the Jewish first-century historian had written a retraction of his account regarding a Roman plan for the annihilation of Hebrew zealots and the alchemy of the Masada stones. 
 
Tension, excitement, academic rivalry, terrorism, and romance move the plot forward as Aaron seeks to find and proclaim the truth behind the myth of the power of the stones. 
 
Bonadio weaves his plot around a politically-charged environment of the Middle East and a specific period of Israeli and Roman history. He intricately and realistically brings to life the possible explanations for the effort to change the veracity of the reporting of an historical event.
 
The great non-stop action and strong character development take the reader on an archeological student dig at Masada. A bright, young, American coed uncovers scrolls that lead to the discovery of a box containing the mysterious Masada Stones. The Israeli Army, the government secret service, a Palestinian spy, and a terrorist cell group in Jerusalem compete to retrieve the stones to use in surreptitious operations as weapons against their enemy.
 
A rich widow, and benefactor of the Masada dig, mother of the coed that made the discovery of the scrolls, is kidnapped by the Palestinians. Skorsky saves her life and becomes emotionally and romantically involved. He discovers that he has missed an important purpose in life in his pursuit to resolve the myth of the Masada stones.
 
Bonadio's writing is creative and ingenious. He takes the reader on a wonderful, imaginative, and vicarious journey. His dialog is strong and intelligent. The descriptive settings are vivid and realistic. The quest for the academic truth is convincing and challenging. The dramatic climax is thought provoking haunting, and memorable. The message behind the "Masada Stones" will linger, long, in the subconscious mind of the reader.
 
"The Masada Stones," by E. W. Bonadio, is a truly great read.



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, September 22, 2008

A Matter of Revenge (Five Star Mystery Series)

 

I. Michael Koontz
Five Star (2008)
ISBN 9781594146749
Reviewed by Olivera Baumgartner-Jackson for Reader Views (6/08)


I. Michael Koontz's "A Matter of Revenge" follows John Apparite, an extremely successful and resourceful Superagent, through a series of missions set in 1956, the ruthless time of Cold War. Moving seamlessly from New York to London, followed by the French countryside, the divided city of Berlin and then to Belgium, Apparite is not only dealing with the dangers of his missions, but also with the matters of his heart and mind.
 
John Apparite's last mission was not a success, to put it mildly. Not only does he blame himself for the death of his best, and possibly only real friend, Agent J; but also for the fact that due to his decision to save somebody's life he allowed his nemesis, the Soviet assassin Viktor, to escape. Drowning his sorrows in beer, sitting in New York City, Apparite does not manage to stay out of trouble; and it takes a quick action by his supervisor, the Director, to get Apparite out of town and back into the spying game.
 
Thwarting assassins and dispatching a couple of bad boys along the way, John Apparite makes his way to the hub of the spy activity, the city of Berlin. On the train ride there he meets a young lady, Christiane, who lives in the Soviet-occupied East Berlin and actually works for Russians at a strategically important telephone exchange. John and Christiane have a whirlwind romance, during which John persuades her to bring him some sensitive documents from work, in exchange for which he will help her to defect to the West.
 
Unbeknownst to Christiane this is actually part of a larger plot, one designed to bring the downfall of Viktor, the hated and feared Russian assassin. Will John Apparite manage to finally kill his biggest enemy and revenge the death of his best friend, and if so, at what cost?
 
Super fast-paced, filled with scenes of great fights and imaginative weapons as well as fast-acting poisons, this is a well-researched and surprisingly realistic-sounding spy story. While I found the romantic interludes a bit less convincing than the rest of the story, overall I really enjoyed reading I. Michael Koontz's "A Matter of Revenge." It is extremely well researched and filled with great details on the Cold War era as well as very compelling as a story of a struggle between one agent's duty and his desires.
 
If you are one of those readers who enjoy intense, violent, fast-paced and very American spy stories, I have no doubt that "A Matter of Revenge," by I. Michael Koontz, will rank high on your list. If in addition to that you happen to be a boxing or baseball fan, you'll find quite a bit of additional enjoyment in the references to those two sports as well.



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.

Make a Joyful Noise: Searching for a Spiritual Path in a Material World

 

Chariss K. Walker
iUniverse (2008)
ISBN 9759548119480
Reviewed by Cherie Fisher for Reader Views (8/08)


Are you one of those people who are thinking about living a more spiritual life but do not know how to go about it?  Then this book is definitely for you.  A person new to the spiritual path as well as a person already well into their journey would benefit from reading this book.  The author knows the topic well as she has spent the last thirty years studying the subject. 
 
The author, Chariss K. Walker, truly understands that we are spiritual beings having a human experience.  God wants to give us what we want but it is our humanness that often precludes us from asking the right way for something or understanding God s response when it is given.  The first section of the book lays the foundation of spirituality by exploring what spiritual laws really are.
 
The second section of the book delves into the different spiritual laws.  These fourteen laws include the laws of oneness, vibration, attraction, action and very importantly the law of forgiveness.   It is very important to read and understand all of the laws as they build upon each other.  
 
The third section explores how to put the spiritual laws into practice.  This can be done through prayer, meditation, thanksgiving and visualization to name just a few. A combination of these practices will also strengthen what you are looking to accomplish.  Chapter Thirty was particularly valuable as it discusses how this information can be beneficial to you.
 
I really enjoyed every aspect of this book.  The author's approach was easy to read and comprehend; it drew me in from the first page to the very end.  The quotes and affirmations used were inspiring and relevant to the topic at hand.  Make a Joyful Noise" by Chariss K. Walker is an excellent resource for anyone who is on the spiritual path or contemplating 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.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Fire Fish (Invisible Tails)

 

Davy Liu
Kendu Films, Inc. (2008)
ISBN 9780615192338
Reviewed by Brianne Plach (age 10) by Reader Views (9/08)


Do you like to watch a race? Sarai the perch fish never missed it! Her brother Sesom liked watching the race too. It was a real family affair when Momma and Papa Perch watched it too. However, Momma and Papa Perch have been caught in a net.
 
The youngsters aren't sure when they will ever see their parents again. They can only hope that they will be reunited safely. They have to keep their hopes alive. But with the parents gone they have many adventures on their own to discover. They have heard many stories about the Bright Beyond and Fire Fish. Sarai hopes to someday become one of the famed Fire Fish.  Like any parents should, they arrange a place to meet their children again; in this case, it is the Turtle Pool.
 
"Fire Fish" is a well-written story with adventures of what happens under the water and the life that many fish live in the ocean. The glossy pages and delightful characters make this an excellent book for kids. I especially liked the way the parents and kids showed their concerns for each other while they were being separated. The kids never gave up hope on seeing their parents again. Fire Fish are supposed to be the best of the best fish and I liked learning about them. I recommend "Fire Fish" by Davy Liu for any kids who would like to see under the sea and read a great story of perseverance and love no matter what the situation. I can't wait until I can read "The Giant Leaf" which is the first book in the Invisible Tails 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.

Scattered Leaves

 

Richard E. Roach
Multi-Media Publications Inc. (2008)
ISBN 9781591461463
Reviewed by Olivera Baumgartner-Jackson for Reader Views (8/08)


Following a spectacular explosion on a drilling rig, from which he escaped unscathed, Ben McCord returns home only to find his beloved wife June brutally raped and murdered. The main suspect at first, he is cleared of any suspicion after the police verified his presence at the explosion site, yet he quickly nearly becomes the next victim. After several more direct attacks on his life it becomes abundantly clear that somebody is out to get him. Ben rapidly discovers that this somebody is obviously a government agent, but the motives remain unclear. He decides to pursue justice on his own, wanting to avenge June's death and if possible, stay alive in the process. The following events develop briskly, and Ben is soon thrown together with another victim of the same gang, a young dentist, nicknamed PJ. Although it's been only a few short days since his wife's death, it is obvious that Ben immediately becomes preoccupied with PJ and his quest for his wife murderer really becomes secondary. He is much more focused on staying with PJ and helping her avenge the terrible fate she suffered at the hands of this unsavory bunch. Will they succeed and will the mystery of June's killer ever be revealed?
 
There is absolutely no doubt that Richard E. Roach can write. His prose hits you right in the stomach, and it hits hard. I felt totally desensitized. The violence never stopped. The main story, the one of June's murder and Ben's quest for vengeance, was graphic. When PJ entered the story, the description of what happened to her at the hands of the sleazy guys was vivid. The addition of several scenes from her past, involving ongoing sexual abuse of a child by a family member, pushed me over the edge. Yet the violence never stopped.
 
There was much more to come, from castrations to recounting of news stories involving different horrible crimes, other rapes, even one of a child, marital rape and more. Although this is all probably very close to the realities of today's world, the reader needs to be warned of the content. And while we all mourn in different ways, I found it disturbing that one would remarry so quickly after the death of a beloved spouse who died in such a violent way. Undoubtedly well written, "Scattered Leaves" by Richard E. Roach is a book I would recommend to anybody who loves scenes of death, destruction, violation and obliteration.


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.