Monday, June 21, 2010

The Sweet Distraction

Tim Smith
Extasy Books (2010)
ISBN 9781554875771
Reviewed by Marty Shaw for Reader Views

"The Sweet Distraction" is a book that covers all the bases. Want a story about a down-on-his-luck writer in need of a comeback? Got it. Looking for a mobster with a good heart? You'll find it here. How about sex? In the mood for some steamy, erotic, romantic, kinky, rockin'-your-world sex? This book delivers.

Tim Smith brings us a simple story of a guy (George) meeting a girl (Cookie), with both of them immediately falling head over heels for each other. The story takes a twist because Cookie isn't your everyday girl. Daddy happens to be a mobster, but more than that, he's THE mobster - The Boss of Bosses.

Understandably, George is a little slowed down by this, but Cookie knows what she wants and George's willpower (and fear of Daddy) can't compete with the sultry woman's passions. Soon, the two of them are meeting up, and heating up. The sex scenes are well written, with just the right amount of description to let you feel like you're there. If you don't feel their heat, then you might want to check your pulse. You could be dead.

I was pleasantly surprised to find George and Cookie written as real-life people. No shallow stereotypes just going through the paces here. Both of them have personality, and a history explaining why each is the way they are. Cookie's dad, Don Vito, might have a passing resemblance to a certain Godfather depicted on the big screen, but the similarities seem to diminish as his own personality is revealed. More businessman than Mafioso, Don Vito provides a light comedic touch even as he shares his wisdom with two people who desperately need it.

The story is well paced and the erotic scenes are written in a realistic way. The sex is frequent but not gratuitous, and it's established early on that George has some old-fashioned values, even explaining to Cookie at one point that she might know how to screw but he's going to show her how to make love. After the initial heat slows to a low boil, they're even able to plan, and enjoy, a few outings that don't end up in the sack.

I suppose every silver lining has a cloud, and the cloud in this book has to be Special Agent Monday of the FBI. I can understand the feds showing up in a book that has a mafia Don as a main character, but I can't figure out why it's Agent Monday. He appears to be a caricature of Joe Friday from the old Dragnet television show. The similarity is so profound that I soon found myself picturing Dan Akroyd as the character because he portrayed a caricature of Joe Friday in the Dragnet movie. If you've seen that movie, then you have met Special Agent Monday. The caricature has a partner, Agent Phelps, who says exactly one word in the story.

Monday isn't actually a bad character, just in irritating one. I believe the author wanted to provide a little comic relief in the story, and the character falls flat because no comic relief is needed. The story functions just fine without him and, thankfully, his appearances are brief.

"The Sweet Distraction" is the perfect 'distraction' if you're looking for a good story with some great sex. As Cookie would say, "It's a sweet treat?"

Follow the Money: A collection of interconnected short stories

Ross Cavins
RCG Publishing (2010)
ISBN 9780982772003
Reviewed by Paige Lovitt for Reader Views

"Follow the Money" is a hysterical collection of short stories that share a connection about a cache of stolen money.  The stories begin with two bumbling brothers who get outwitted by their kidnapped victim.  The adventure escalates when she takes off with their money.  Well, it really is her money, since her dad paid it for her ransom.  As she embarks on her new life, she encounters some scammers who manage to talk her into letting them invest it for her.  In spite of her worldliness, especially for a teen, she learns a hard lesson about something being too good to be true.

Each story tells a quirky, hysterical tale about where the money goes. The author, Ross Cavins, gets an A+ for creativity.  How he manages to connect all of his ideas into one book, I will never figure out.  The only thing that comes to mind is that he randomly opens a dictionary and chooses topics from the words that are on the pages that fall open.  I love this aspect of the stories, because nothing is predictable, except that the money will soon end up in someone else's hands.  As the stories progress, things seem to come around full circle, demonstrating the interconnection of all things in life.  This of course is not always a good thing though.

I am truly glad that I didn't read "Follow the Money" in a public place because my inability to hold in my laughter would have strangers assuming that I am in serious need of some kind of psychotropic medication.  I highly recommend this novel to people who enjoy a good, laugh out loud adventure, and who are not offended easily!

Listen to interview on Inside Scoop Live

Monday, June 14, 2010

Tales of Addiction and Inspiration for Recovery: Twenty True Stories from the Soul

Barbara Sinor, PhD
Modern History Press (2010)
ISBN 9781615990375
Reviewed by Carol Hoyer, PhD, for Reader Views


This is the second book of Barbara Sinor's that I have had the privilege to read. As a Psychologist I am a firm believer in letting others share their stories in the hope that it may spark recovery in others.  Many of those who are attempting recovery, or are in recovery, don't like being told what to do or be lectured to. Stories like these are gut-wrenching, sad and hopeful, with many ups and downs. Recovery, for whatever the reason, is not an easy process. Many think that just stopping the negative behavior will lead them to be happy and as you read these stories that the author has collected, you will see this is not so.

I loved the way the author decided to get her information to include for this book, "A Call for Stories," what a great way to get others to share. As I read some of these stories I thought to myself "I know this- have I read this book before?" No I had not; some of the contributors are authors I have read and done reviews for. 

The other part of the book which I really loved was the author sharing her own experiences about her son Richard. She wasn't asking for pity- she was letting the readers know of her own experiences with trying to save someone we love from falling into the depths of substance addiction. In her own thoughts and those of her husband, she discusses enabling, begging, pleading and making threats to finally cutting her son off.  Mothers are supposed to take care of their kids till the day they pass; they are supposed to protect them from the evil world- yet as the author says- "you can only change yourself."  I certainly can relate to what she speaks of as my own brother drank himself to death. My family expected me the "therapist" to save him and couldn't understand why I wouldn't.

Dr. Sinor also discusses the dreaded "system" that really didn't seem to care.  There were so many hurdles to pass through that one just gave up.  For those who are in recovery, or thinking about going into recovery, it will not be easy; you will fight, stay clean of your addiction and fall into it again. This might happen time after time.

"Tales of Addiction and Inspiration for Recovery: Twenty True Stories from the Soul" is another great book that I have recommended to my college students who are going into the field of Psychology. We learn more by listening to others experiences.

Listen to interview on Inside Scoop Live

Monday, June 7, 2010

Being There When It Counts: Proceedings of the 8th Rocky Mountain Region Disaster Mental Health Conference

Edited by George W. Doherty
Loving Healing Press (2010)
ISBN 9781615990399
Reviewed by Vicki Landes for Reader Views (06/10)

"Being There When It Counts: Proceedings of the 8th Rocky Mountain Region Disaster Mental Health Conference" is the latest release from Editor George W. Doherty in a series dedicated to highlighting the focus and activities of the Rocky Mountain Region Disaster Mental Health Institute.  Their latest conference, held in November 2009 in Cheyenne, Wyoming presents valuable information for others in the mental health field to absorb and apply to their own preparations for disaster.  Aside from some minor spelling, grammatical, and punctuation errors, the book provides a wealth of knowledge for the emergency management professional.

Doherty organizes his book by the authors and their respective presentations given at the conference.  Subjects and discussions include linking victims to necessary resources for optimal recovery, considerations for affected persons with mobility and functional issues (i.e., the physically and mentally handicapped portion of a population), group therapy, deployments and reintegration into normal life, recovery with regard to ethnic and socioeconomic status, and mental health considerations for Emergency Operations Center personnel.  I found the chapter on deployments, titled, "Healing the Wounds of Deployment: The 'Art' of Coming Home" by Sandi J. Lloyd was exceptionally applicable during these modern times of troop deployment and war in foreign countries.  Each and every family with a deployment member has been through the growing pains of being left behind, adjusting to a new life routine, and later having to readjust (sometimes with great difficulty) when the deployment is over.  Speaking from personal experience, the military does a grossly inadequate job of preparing families for reintegration and finding that 'new' normal.  The community service offices and family support groups in each of the military branches would greatly benefit by utilizing and distributing Lloyd's information in their standard family packets/propaganda material.

"Being There When It Counts" should be read by every emergency management professional but especially by those operating in a mental health related capacity.  While returning a community to its pre-disaster condition is the goal of response and recovery, it must include not only the physical but the mental aspects for recovery to be truly effective.  George W. Doherty provides this in "Being There When It Counts" while continuing to offer additional subjects and presentations in disaster mental health in previously published conference proceedings.