Monday, June 29, 2009


K. Lippi
Mirror Publishing (2009)
ISBN 9781936046140
Reviewed by Neha N. Kashmiri (age 14) for Reader Views (6/09)

"Awakening" begins when Emilia, Mia to her friends and family, is attacked by a horrific demon called Craze. When she returns home nothing is the same as she left it. A Kistune demon disguised as a human will not leave her alone, wanting something more than to just steal her soul. She finds out that she is the successor to her grandfather's position as a death angel. A death angel is a human appointed by either God or Lucifer to collect souls for them. In Mia's case, though, things get complicated because both powers are working together.

But at the same time she is pursued by Markus, a dangerous being who wants to destroy every death angel in the world so that he may become a god. Mia cannot let that happen, but first she has to learn how to use her powers. And then the stakes rise higher when she finds out that her blood is toxic to everything it touches -- including herself. There is only one way to slow its venom, but that would require turning someone she loves into something he hates.

"Awakening" is part romance, part supernatural adventure, and part mystery with an end that leaves you wanting more.

I really enjoyed the plot of "Awakening" though to be honest the writing wasn't the best. Mia is a stubborn, sarcastic and funny heroine. I loved learning about Japanese creatures and even the mythology in the book is interesting. I recommend "Awakening" by K. Lippi to anyone who likes Japanese culture or someone who loves supernatural romances.

Got An Angry Kid? Parenting Spike: A Seriously Difficult Child

Andrew D. Gibson, PhD
Loving Healing Press (2009)
ISBN 9781932690897
Reviewed by Paige Lovitt for Reader Views (5/09)

The first reaction that I felt after reading "Got An Angry Kid?" was "Wow!"  This book teaches parents how to effectively regain control of their family when dealing with a child or teen that is angry and disruptive.  Changing how a parent interacts with their child is a key to success.  The book is written very concisely and organized in a manner that will make it easy for parents to follow, in spite of there being many steps in the process.  There are also appendices that contain charts for parents to track their goals and their children's goals.

Initially, the book helps parents identify behaviors that their child or children are exhibiting that need to be dealt with.  When the author wrote this book, he based much of it on his own personal childhood and parenting experiences.  Then throughout the book he uses the story of Spike as his main example of how to apply the principles.  He also uses other case examples of families from a variety of backgrounds who are dealing with angry children.  This variety of examples and experiences will help parents relate them to what is happening in their own lives.

The program to be followed is referred to as PACT.  It stands for Parenting Angry Children and Teens.  PACT is a self-help program designed for parents dealing with angry children. It consists of a total of 28 goals that take about eight weeks for changes to begin and a year for the program to be completed.  Parents are to apply goals to every aspect of their lives.  The first three goals are very basic.  The next twenty-five goals are advanced.  Parents are not to progress to the next goal until they succeed with the previous one.  They can use the charts provided for recording their progress.

I think that every parent who has an angry and disruptive child will benefit from following this program.  For some, it won't be easy because they are going to have to take a close look at how they are currently interacting with their children and recognize their own dysfunctional behavior.  For some people, they might see that the pattern of dysfunctional behaviors has been passed down from generation to generation.  Perhaps in addition to improving their relationship with their child, they will also be able to improve other relationships in their lives.  I highly recommend "Got An Angry Child" by Andrew D. Gibson, PhD, to parents, grandparents and counselors who work with children.
Interview with Andrew D. Gibson

Monday, June 22, 2009

Beneath Rock Bottom: The Ugly Side of Las Vegas Revealed

D. J. Rino
AuthorHouse (2008)
ISBN 9781438910444
Reviewed by Richard R. Blake for Reader Views (5/09)

"Beneath Rock Bottom" is the memoir of a compulsive gambler. D. J. Rino tells his story in hopes of helping other pathological gamblers recognize their compulsions as a disease, to admit their addiction and to seek help.

As Rino looks back on his earlier life he sees his life as fairly normal. He cannot pinpoint any one thing that turned him into a problem gambler. He relates details of his childhood, teen years, and his Air Force experiences to show how, although they may appear unusual or dysfunctional, there is no direct or dramatic cause relationship for his developing an addiction to gambling.

An alternate title for the book might well have been "All of My Greatest Screw Ups." Even though Rino has conquered addictions of cigarettes, alcohol, and drugs, he has been unable to win over his addiction to gambling. Broken relationships, a divorce, expensive moves across country, and the danger of losing the respect of his three devoted daughters have not provided sufficient motivation to break the cycle.

Rino writes to warn others, by the telling of his failures and the results of his thirty years of being plagued with gambling, to steer them to take action to make better choices than he did. Often, victims of addiction to gambling and the resulting debts, resort to suicide to escape their shame and feelings of guilt. He expresses deep concern about the spreading of gambling in America and throughout the world and the results of the havoc in the destruction of individuals and on their families.

The book does not promise "Ten Easy Steps to Overcome Gambling" but is an honest attempt to help others identify their problem. In Rino's words, "I am not a creative writer…" however he writes from his heart in a conversational style and in language familiar to his peers in the construction trade or in the casino bars. His story is genuine, well told, and poignant.

"Beneath Rock Bottom: The Ugly Side of Las Vegas Revealed" by D. J. Rino is a story that needed to be written. The book is a wakeup call and a warning to America of an increasing hidden pandemic. It should be in the hands of every member of Gambler's Anonymous and in the waiting rooms of family counselors. This is an important and timely story.

Read interview with D.J. Rino

Addiction: What's Really Going On? Inside a Heroin Treatment Program

Deborah McCloskey, CADC & Barbara Sinor, PhD
Loving Healing Press (2009)
ISBN 9781932690934
Reviewed by Paige Lovitt for Reader Views (5/09)

In "Addiction: What is Really Going On?," substance abuse counselor Deborah McCloskey takes us inside a southern California treatment program for heroin addicts.  By reading her story, which was fascinating, we learn about the ins and outs of methadone treatment.  We also learn about the counselors and addicts.  Each person has their own story.  If the addicts don't deal with their issues, their chances of staying clean are nil.  If the substance abuse counselors don't deal with their own personal issues as well, then they have a harder time being effective counselors.  It was sad to learn that many of them, who are in recovery themselves, also relapse.

Through her experiences and compassion, Ms. McCloskey learned how to work with addicts.  Even though she didn't always find success with them, she was able to gain their respect and learn how they might try to trick her.  I learned a lot from her counseling style.  Even though she didn't let her clients get away with anything, she still was able to gain their respect. Dealing effectively with some of her co-workers and a supervisor also took some skill on her part.
As a graduate of a Master of Science program in Vocational Rehabilitation Counseling, part of which involved training in Substance Abuse Counseling, I truly wished that I had had a book like this when I was learning about addictions.  I think that every student in the program would have benefited.  By reading about the clients, their games, their addiction, and what worked, my classmates and I would have benefited hugely.  This in turn would have helped the people with whom we were doing our practicum hours.
Heroin addiction is an insidious problem in our society.  Ms. McCloskey was successful in finding some alternative ways of dealing with treatment.  She didn't like how the system functioned because it definitely was not working for everyone, and so she made some changes on her own caseload to find out how she could achieve success.  I really think that "Addiction: What's Really Going On? Inside a Heroin Treatment Program" should be read by all people who are involved in some form of substance abuse, whether they are counselors, addicts, or family members of addicts.  Sadly because of her passing, Ms. McCloskey will no longer be able to directly help others in this field; however, by assisting with telling her story, Barbara Sinor, PhD, has stepped in as a co-author on this book and in doing so, allows her work to carry on.

Listen to interview on Inside Scoop Live

Read interview with Barbara Sinor

Monday, June 15, 2009

Surviving A House Full of Whispers

Sharon Wallace
Modern History Press (2009)
ISBN 9781932690903
Reviewed by Paige Lovitt for Reader Views

The author, Sharon Wallace, was the victim of both physical and sexual abuse of her stepfather while her mother was in denial and contributed emotional abuse as well. No one would believe her story.  Tired of being treated like an outcast by her family and friends, she goes to Social Services for assistance.  Feeling totally frustrated because they also don't believe her story, she presents herself as a very angry, volatile teenager.  Inside, she is a child screaming for someone to rescue her and to believe her story.

To escape, Sharon takes on several jobs; most of them involve being a nanny.  Not all of her experiences are positive; however, she is relieved to be out of her house.  Not knowing how to recover from being abused, she takes on some negative behaviors such as cutting herself and eating disorders.  Sharon also learns that she can defend herself.  This makes her stronger, however, the intensity of anger that she feels when she is attacked, also scares her. 

Down the road, Sharon finds a wonderful, patient man that loves her.  He believes her story.  His love and support help her on her path to healing and finding herself.  When she becomes a mother, she is fearful for her children and initially finds herself being overprotective.  Learning to trust her own judgment, she learns who she can trust to be around her and her family.  Along the way, Sharon continues to try to salvage her relationships with her family.  She realizes that her mother is a very sick woman.  Her stepfather is still around, which is horrible for Sharon.  This man, whom she refers to as "The Night Devil" delights in the fact that he got away with his abuse. 

When Sharon's husband develops a disabling health issue, the family is rocked by having to watch him decline and their financial situation becomes dire.  Still Sharon is able to hold them together.  When she experiences her own health crises she suffers greatly.  Still Sharon stays strong.

I found Sharon's story painful to read.  It is horrible that both the family and the whole system would fail to protect an innocent child from abuse..  It was heart wrenching to feel the pain that she was experiencing.  I was so happy when she found a wonderful man to love her.  I truly feel that people experiencing abuse, survivors of abuse, abusers and people who work with these people, should read "Surviving a House Full of Whispers."  Sharon's story needs to be read, so that people learn from it. 

Upon realizing that history does not have to be repeated, Sharon says, " …we don't have to own the misery of our childhoods.  We can refuse it and return it to its rightful owner, the abuser."   I am thankful that Sharon Wallace is willing to share her story in "Surviving a House Full of Whispers."

Listen to interview on Inside Scoop Live
Read interview with Sharon Wallace

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood: From the Secret Files of Harry Pennypacker

Michael B. Druxman
Wheatmark (2009)
ISBN 9781604941883
Reviewed by Irene Watson for Reader Views (5/09)

Author Michael B. Druxman was fortunate enough to connect with Stuart Bloomberg, a young film maker who discovered files of deceased top newspaper columnist Harry Pennypacker. Bloomberg promised the stories were sensational and Druxman found they certainly were.  Inspired by the sensationalism and possible exposure of well-known Hollywood entities, Druxman compiled the stories into his book "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood: From the Secret Files of Harry Pennypacker."

I was totally amazed at what "truths" came out about well-known legends such as Elvis, John Wayne, Marilyn Monroe, and others. Did you know in reality John Wayne, was not Marion Morrison but Mendel Skulnick? Yes, that's right.  According to Harry Pennypacker and his extensive knowledge of the Hollywood scene, Mendal Skulnick was John Wayne.  Mind you, Skulnick was nowhere near the size of The Duke but with prosthetics, padding and makeup he was able to emulate the figure we know as John Wayne.

And, did you know Elvis was…and James Dean didn't die young as we know it to be.  In reality he ….  Well, I'm actually not going to tell you what happened to these two; you'll just have to find out for yourself.

Druxman is a great storyteller, or is he?  Did he actually copy the stories that Pennybacker wrote?  Who knows, but, "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood: From the Secret Files of Harry Pennypacker" is a great read.  You'll laugh, you'll ponder, and you'll wonder. Are these truths? Embellished truths? Or, are they some stories concocted in the mind of Druxman.  You will have to decide for yourself.

Listen to interview on Inside Scoop Live
Read interview with Michael Druxman

Monday, June 8, 2009

Lose the Diet: Transform Your Body by Connecting with Your Soul

Kathy Balland
Blissful Publications (2009)
ISBN 9780982183106
Reviewed by Carol Hoyer, PhD, for Reader Views (4/09)

Author Kathy Balland has written a very informative and educational book for those of us who continue to diet with and without success. She provides great insight on the mind-body connection, which most dieters don't even consider.

A very important point in this book is that we as a society have lost connection to others, our inner feelings and ourselves. The author provides us with many scenarios that show we are not taking care of ourselves emotionally. We eat when we are stressed, depressed or just because we live in a fast-paced world and want instant gratification.

Many try to starve themselves to lose weight and others skip meals thinking this will help. Ms. Balland addresses several topics in her book to include: sleep or lack of, meditation, exercise and loving ourselves.

In the chapter on No Pain, No Gain the author discusses becoming mindful- connect with what is going on with us and look at why we are eating. She recommends that individuals write down what they are feeling emotionally when having cravings.

Although the subject matter is not new, the author approaches weight and happiness in a new way. She does not lecture, but gives straightforward guidance and makes one look at making changes in their life.

Her final chapter deals with a higher power- for some that might be God, family or friends - whatever keeps you going. She gives suggestions on several poems or books to read when one is feeling the need to binge eat. "Lose the Diet: Transform Your Body by Connecting with Your Soul" by Kathy Balland is a very good, easy to read book with a lot of great insight.

Listen to interview on Inside Scoop Live
Read interview with Kathy Balland

Monday, June 1, 2009

Indigo Awakening: A Doctor's Memoir of Forging an Authentic Life in a Turbulent World

Dr. Janine Talty, DO
Energy Psychology Press (2009)
ISBN 9781600700637
Reviewed by Carol Hoyer, PhD, for Reader Views

Dr. Talty has written one of the most exceptional books I have ever read on Indigo children and adults. It is revealing, drives ones curiosity and makes readers wonder how we could misread individuals so much.

Written through her own life experiences, it details the life that Indigo's live on a daily basis, as no one understands them. It really breaks my heart to read how the general public and education system places those who dance to a different drummer in the misunderstood category and places children in the special education system.

Each chapter of this book explains how Indigo individuals see the world and how others respond to them. It really is as if you were sitting in the room with the author and she was having a conversation with you. She writes just as if she were talking directly to you. She then gives examples in her own life of what she was saying.

Indigo children and adults are advanced in their thinking, they see in 3-D, which is why they often have trouble excelling in school in the current way it is taught. They have natural talents in music, art and sciences. They can communicate with others without words. The author discusses past lives and how before one can truly find their mission on earth, they must first learn the ways of the Universe. The goal of Indigo's is to correct the imbalances that humans have created from greed and lack of concern beyond their own needs.

As a prior teacher, I have always felt there were children who worked out of a different wave length and were much more in-tune with the world, animals and healing. A friend of mine who is also a teacher says she has had Indigo children in her class and they are a challenge.

The author, in her own words and detailed accounts, gives the readers a true insight into the world of Indigo children and adults. I'm sure many people will find this book to be unbelievable and possibly bunk, but as a psychologist for over twenty-five years, I am a firm believer in Indigo children and adults. You may not, at this point believe, but once you have read "Indigo Awakening" by Dr. Janine Talty, DO, you will question and you will see these unique individuals.