Monday, August 25, 2008

Leisure Daze by Mike Mihalek

ISBN: 9780980150452 - RoseHeart Publishing
Reviewed by Richard R. Blake for Reader Views (6/08)




An octogenarian lawyer, his vivacious Russian emigrant wife, a younger retired widower, a registered nurse, and two teenagers are pitted against members of a Colombian Cartel drug ring and the president of the homeowners association of a Florida coastal community, in Mike Milhalek's facetious new comedic novel "Leisure Daze."
While fishing off the central coast of Florida Phil Seibert and his neighbor Kyle Walker came across a large bundle of marijuana.  Assuming it to be from an aborted overnight drug-smuggling operation, and with no other boats in sight they made the decision to haul in the contraband.
Upon returning to their homes in their nearby retirement community Phil took possession of the large quantity of illegal drugs and apportioned a generous amount to Kyle. They made plans to research Florida laws to determine what amount of the substance was considered a felony to have in possession before deciding what to do with their find and headed to their respective homes.  Phil and his wife and Kyle and his sister-in-law were all high on the marijuana before the evening was over.
Self-appointed leader of a crusade to get the community involved in a ballot measure to ban continued dumping of waste materials into the river Phil was attempting to get signatures from Homeowner Association members on his petition.  Kyle came up with a plan to help get votes at the annual Memorial Day picnic by having Kim, his sister-in-law, bake a batch of marijuana-laced brownies for the pot luck dessert table.
Homeowner's Association president, retired Army General, Stan Ross, stood in opposition the plan.  The drugged brownies had a snowball effect and soon suspicions were confirmed that illegal drugs were being smuggled into the community on a regular basis.
Mihalek skillfully creates an incredulous plot as he adds new characters into the action. The story builds to a crescendo of fast-moving action leading up to a brilliant climax.
Mike's writing is filled with insights into human nature and personal insecurity. Engaging dialog reveals a divergence of opinions and values on a broad spectrum of information which enhance and give credibility to a far-fetched plot on subjects ranging from art, world cultures, philosophy, religion, and politics, to classic cars.

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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.

Essentials of Premarital Counseling by Sandra L. Ceren, PhD

ISBN: 9781932690668 - Loving Healing Press (2008)
Reviewed by Richard R. Blake for Reader Views (7/08)




"Essential Premarital Counseling" is the seventh book in the New Horizons in Therapy Series published by Loving Healing Press.  Dr. Sandra L. Ceren presents a complete ten session premarital program with case studies for discussion, and suggested resolutions. The program uses a proactive group approach with opportunity for extended sessions for individual counseling when needed.
The material in the book includes material for an intake interview, thought-provoking and probing self-examination questions with follow-up discussion suggestions. Dr. Ceren also provides a tool for personality testing and a relationship quiz. Conflict resolution training is an essential part of the subject matter of the program and provides instructions for the practitioner.
Role playing is another important part of the program. Challenging situations and scenarios are given to the participants based on material covered in earlier sessions.  These role plays are followed up with suggested conflict resolutions and provide insight for impending warning signs in a premarital relationship.
The case studies dealing with personality disorders and doomed relationships are especially significant in building a long-term relationship resulting in marriage.  I particularly appreciated the case studies with illustrated key and lasting, inflexible personality basics that form patterns not easily broken. 
These personality characteristics hold back social and career performance and need to be considered in decisions of the magnitude of marriage. Ceren also noted the importance of values, goals, interests, and hobbies in a relationship. The case studies include numerous unresolved conflicts with suggested solutions. 
The premarital questionnaire provided in the appendix is an exceptional tool for the couple considering marriage and for use in evaluation and counseling by the therapist.  The recommended resource list is comprehensive and includes books--both fiction and non-fiction, as well as suggested cinematherapy.
This hands-on guide is an excellent program resource for clinical practitioners, marriage and family therapists, premarital counselors, and trained lay counselors. "Essential Premarital Counseling" by Dr. Sandra L. Ceren has received high acclaim from leaders in the field of premarital counseling.



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


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

Monday, August 18, 2008

Window Boy by Andrea White

ISBN: 9781933979144 - Bright Sky Press (2008)
Reviewed by Neha Kashmiri (age 13) for Reader Views (7/08)




To me, "Window Boy" was a sad, but strangely uplifting, novel in hectic times. Sam Davis is a twelve-year-old boy with cerebral palsy. His father has abandoned him; his mother is too absorbed with her new boyfriend to notice Sam most of the time. In all this, his three beams of light are his prim, if talkative nurse, Miss Perkins, the imaginary voice of Winston "Winnie" Churchill, and the basketball court almost in his backyard.
 
Sam gets the chance to go to school with the other children. At first it is a disaster but Winnie tells Sam to keep a stiff upper lip. Soon, as his teacher starts to understand him, Sam writes an essay on his hero, Winston Churchill, for a contest. On his twentieth and last day of school, he gets out the words to tell the captain of the basketball team to appoint Micky Kostov, a Russian boy no one likes, as point guard. Then he is taken to an institution by his mother who is leaving to Europe to marry her boyfriend.
 
Sam starts to slowly fade away when the news reporter comes to take his picture and write an article about him. The essay he had written long ago had won him the contest and $1,000. Finally, his mother, betrayed and deceived by the man she was about to marry, comes back and saves him. Later Sam goes on to become a basketball coach to the team he helped become tournament champs.
 
No words I could say or write could convey the impact of the book on me. As a librarian's assistant, I had read to special-need children and this book made me feel incredible guilt and anger at myself for the revulsion I felt at the sight of some of them. "Window Boy" by Andrea White is meant for kids and teenagers, but I think adults could benefit just as greatly from it.  I give a high, high recommendation to someone looking for a break from action/horror/fantasy.

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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.

The Sitting Swing: Finding the Wisdom to Know the Difference

by Irene Watson
ISBN: 9781932690675 - Loving Healing Press (2008)
Reviewed by Tyler R. Tichelaar for Reader Views (8/08)




Childhood trauma. Honesty about one's personal faults. A dramatic recovery program. These elements all add up to make Irene Watson's "The Sitting Swing: Finding the Wisdom to Know the Difference" an eventful, meaningful, and poignant tale of one woman's struggle to overcome her repressive family background, the anger that arises from her treatment in childhood, and her own deepest inner faults, so she can become whole, successful, positive, and ultimately a resource of help to others.
 
The story begins when the author, Irene Watson, attends Avalon, a recovery center. As a practicing therapist, Irene goes to Avalon to learn more about addictions and codependency. She wants to help her clients, but she has no idea how the experience will help her personally. When she arrives at the center, she soon realizes she will be spied upon by cameras, the counselors are aggressive and in her face, and she has issues she did not want to admit before. This unexpected situation causes her to question why she has come at all. The narrative then flashes back to Irene's memories of her childhood to explain what ultimately brought her to Avalon.
 
Irene begins telling her story by detailing her family background. Her parents and grandparents were Ukrainian immigrants to early nineteenth-century Canada. Their culture and language make Irene isolated when she begins to attend an English-speaking school. She tries to melt into the crowd by befriending the other children, but her family continually stands in her way when she tries to have a "normal" childhood.
 
Irene's biggest struggle is with her over-protective and irrational mother. Irene's brother, Alexander, died before she was born. The loss of this child and her mother's sense of guilt over his death cause Irene to live a protected life. The memoir's title refers to the swing Irene could barely move because of the rose bushes surrounding it. This forced confinement is a metaphor for her life with a mother who denies her playing with other children or even allowing her to be herself.
As Irene reaches her teenage years, the narrative becomes quite frightening since the very real possibility exists that Irene could have become a juvenile delinquent, and some of the angry actions she contemplates taking toward the narrow-minded people of her town could have had irrecoverable consequences. Fortunately, Irene had one friend, Margie, to confide in and who helps her see the irrationality of some of her proposed actions. I found this section painfully honest because it suggests how badly children need attention and role models and the consequences to a society that mistreats its children. Eventually, Irene finds the strength to stand up to her mother when she falls in love and gets married. However, even when she has moved out of her parents' house, the trauma of her childhood continues to haunt her.
 
Irene's experiences at the Avalon Center are told with equal frankness. She finds herself forced to confront her deepest shortcomings, realize she must forgive her mother, and take responsibility for herself, rather than blaming her past. She also finds the courage to make changes to her marriage. The final chapter of the book is not a warm and fuzzy conclusion but rather a very honest and realistic summary of how she has grown from the frightened and repressed little girl she was into a mature woman.
 
"The Sitting Swing" is an inspiring story. Readers will empathize with Irene, and they will be motivated to begin their own spiritual journeys of recovery. While the path is not easy, Irene is proof that serenity is achievable. More than anything, readers will be impressed with Irene Watson's honest voice and her straightforward colloquial writing style that makes us realize we are a lot like her, and consequently, if she could recover from her past, then anything is possible for us as well.
Swing" also includes a new afterword and appendices to provide additional resources for people seeking to recover. Anyone, whether a recovering addict or co-dependent, or victim of abuse, will find strength in this narrative. "The Sitting Swing: Finding the Wisdom to Know the Difference" is highly recommended!



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


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

Monday, August 11, 2008

Jack Jacobs and the Doomsday Time Machine (3rd edition)

by Albert S. Abraham
ISBN: 9780976974420 - Blue Comet Books (2008)
Reviewed by Richard R. Blake for Reader Views (7/08)




In the year 2177 Jack Jacobs worked in Area 51 and was assigned as lead scientist to the top secret Advanced Gravity Drive (AGD) project code-named Orion Nine.  Jacobs was recognized as one of the top gravity propulsion experts in this field even before he finished his first doctorate.  Dr. Brad Gilmore, another Area 51 scientist, was secretly working on interfacing his lab's prototype organic supercomputer into the spaceship's systems and subsystems, alongside Jack Jacobs's secret quantum gravity drive technology.
After concurring with Dr. Gilmore, it was agreed that Jack should take an unauthorized trial test on the day before the scheduled lift off.  Unexpected and unexplained, the forces of gravity, light, and time-formulation caused a malfunction.
 
Jack found himself off-course with the soft-spoken organic supercomputer named Jennifer, created by Dr. Gilmore.  Together with her pretty holographic images they traveled through space for a period of sixteen years. Finally arriving back at earth, they had expected to be in the year 2199. They discovered that their spaceship's quantum gravity drive was caught up in a series of time distortions. They found themselves 100 years into the past. Jennifer explained it this way: "The harmonic of their distortion pulsated backwards moving them back in time."
 
The complex plot takes the reader on a journey through space that includes the critical predicaments faced by Jack Jacobs and Jennifer, as well as the solutions they accomplish though intricate quantum mathematical hieroglyphics, formulations and systems whose accuracy are futuristic.
As a reader I did find it hard to identify with Jack's intelligence, however, other glimpses of Jack's personality came through in flashbacks, daydreams, and feelings expressed for Jennifer as her personality continued to emerge.
I personally have gained a new respect for members of the NASA team and those in the aeronautical industry. I stand in awe of the dedication and giftedness of these men and women. It is interesting to reflect that during my lifetime I have seen the fulfillment of many futuristic dreams that came from books like this classified as fantasy and science fiction. Kudos' to Albert Abraham and others like him who can articulate in imaginative story form the outer reaches of our galaxies.
 
Albert Abraham combines his experience, education, and training in the field of aerospace engineering with a gifted ability to dream and to put those dreams on paper in the form of an imaginative, futuristic, fantasy novel that is both informational and entertaining. His writing is convincing, and credible in futuristic possibilities, yet, impossible in light of today's research and scientific schemes.
 
A few unanswered questions, unresolved problems, and the unexpected, exciting final chapter leave the door open for a promised sequel to "Jack Jacobs and the Doomsday Time Machine," by Albert S. Abraham.



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


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

Monday, August 4, 2008

Honeycomb

by Israel del Rio
ISBN: 9781434809544 - CreateSpace (2008)
Reviewed by Paige Lovitt for Reader Views (6/08)




Having done something redeeming in a former life, a man is given the gift of being able to choose his next life by a spirit guide.  He has to randomly choose five scrolls from thousands.  Each scroll represents a life.  He is allowed to peek into each life to see which one that he wants.  Viewing pieces of each life, he discovers that all five are linked in some way.  He has to decide which one would be the best fit for him.
 
Each life that he views is completely different from the other, yet still connected.  He gets to glimpse into the life of a materialistic rich man; a Native American old man who is preparing to die; a desperate man who has lost everything including his wife, and is now about to lose his daughter; a beautiful woman who is finding herself; and a software programmer who has to discover the importance of his family.
 
By itself, "Honeycomb" is a great work of fiction.  Israel del Rio takes you right into the lives of each person and their thoughts and emotions.  Some of these feelings seem to leap right at you, off the pages.  Greed, grief, and loneliness are a few.  Their lives seem very real.  The way that the five relate to each other is very interesting.  Readers will enjoy this book just for the story, however, those seeking deeper meaning will find themselves totally captivated by the profound messages of wisdom that are contained within these pages.
First of all, the book is about being able to choose your next incarnation when you are reincarnated.  What I found to be meaningful is that I don't have to wait until I die to choose my next life.  I can make that choice right now.  As a matter of fact, tonight I can choose how I want to live tomorrow.  Ultimately, I make choices that create the life that I am living right now.  The second aspect of the book that impressed me is that the character got a glimpse into the lives of those around him.  These people were going through some difficult times.  Some involved pretty deep soul-searching.  Their connections to each other would give each one a better understanding of what issues they had to deal with. 
 
In our lives, we don't really get to do this.  However, after reading this, I think it is incredibly important to treat each person as someone special.  We really don't know kinds of issues that the people, who we encountered daily, have to struggle with.  Treating each person with compassion and respect can make a difference in making their lives more positive.
I highly recommend "Honeycomb," by Israel del Rio.  What a wonderful gift is was to have the opportunity to read it.  What a wonderful gift it would make for someone.  Enjoy.
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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.

A Prince in Need: Volume 2 of the Myrridian Cycle

by Debra Killeen
ISBN: 9780980178050 - Helm Publishing (2008)
Reviewed by Ian McCurley (age14) for Reader Views (3/08)





"A Prince in Need" begins when Reginald Claybourne, the king of the medieval country of Myrridia is murdered in a brothel.  His son Robert who was there unwillingly will now inherit the throne.  Unfortunately for Robert, Reginald's sins had caught up with him.  A mysterious woman and her brother may be behind the murder and what's worse they may want to kill Robert too.  Then there's Christopher McCabe, a man who has been masquerading as the Duke of Saelym.  While Chris is a time traveler from the future, the real Duke, Christian, was evil and is now dead.  Things do not get any better when Chris's former girlfriend Nicole and her friend Naomi come through a portal into Myrridia.  This causes Chris's relationship with his wife Helen to falter.  When the murderous woman captures Nicole and uses magic to set a magic trigger in her mind to kill Chris, they discover how evil and powerful this woman it truly is.  When a challenge is issued, they must rely on the magical skills of Allyson, Prince Roberts' sister.  With the royal treasury in a state of falter, and the arrival of time travelers from the future and the threat of attack from evil people looming over his head, Robert is truly 'A Prince in Need.'
 
Debra Killeen's writing style is full of character development and excitement.  While lacking in action, "A Prince in Need" makes up for it with plenty of romance, plot twists and feminist humor.  "A Prince in Need" is for teens 16 and older who enjoy medieval fantasy, romance and medieval politics.  Be sure to read "Volume 1 of the Myrridian Cycle.

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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.