Saturday, July 18, 2015

More Reviews...



Ugly Baby by Kim Duke opens with a comment attributed to JK Rowling, “It takes great deal of courage to stand up to your enemies, but even more to stand up to ones friends” Most of the times, you see, what is affecting us, or what usually upsets us is our friends’ opinions. That, as the author puts it is “the ugly baby experience”, which, “everyone has had” some time in their life. Kim begins with the need to over come ones own resistance and goes on to discuss the ways to defeat the bad habit of getting stuck. She points to the importance of thinking big and to stir the pot to let creativity flourish. “If people are talking about you in the back”, she says, “it is because you are in the front” This, above all, should prepare one to accept criticism and gossip and discard fear when launching anything new.
Ugly Baby by Kim Duke is an encouraging book. Her exhortations call upon all in possession of ideas to let go of their fears. It echoes the sentiments expressed by a poet, “Doubts are traitors, and they make us lose. The good we oft might win, by fearing to attempt” Whether one is starting a business, launching a new product, marketing in new and untested ways, aiming a different target audience or letting ones imagination run wild, the thoughts contained in these pages shall be a great asset in preparing oneself to meet any challenge, however contorted.

 Reviewed by Roy T James for Reader's Favorite _____________________________________________________________________


‘Twisting Darkness’ by JR Gridley is a collection of five short stories, each, better than the other. If the reader is going to find goblins in the story Sleeping Madness, priests, Lucifer, demons and God play their part in Unending Faith. And the story Virus narrates a detective and a virus chasing each other. All stories thus deal with unique and interesting themes. Black Swan takes place in an asylum of ‘nuts’, where, Chelsea, a patient on the verge of discharge is given new pills by nurse and narrates how, that lands her up with her last freedom. The end game is the last story of this collection, which is about experimenting with mind and its alteration. It is about introducing a new drink ‘Euphoria’ with such capabilities.
Twisting Darkness’ by JR Gridley is difficult to review since I can’t decide which one needs improvement, they all being equally well written. Most of the stories of this collection are themed around a new drug, Lucid Dreaming Synthetic or LDS for short, which as one of the experimenters say “..was working so perfectly at first”.  I’m sure you saw how much happier everyone was, saw the drop in crime, wars, and bigotry.  Even after all the tests and all the safe guards humanity still found a way to destroy itself”   A cross section of our society finds its place among the other characters of this collection. For example, one story talks about “The bureaucrats who kept pissing and moaning about the amount of money being dumped into overtime” A good read, enjoyable and stimulating.

 Reviewed by Roy T James for Reader's Favorite
_____________________________________________________________________


The Twisted Diary by Anne Roberts is the story of an independent woman Kate, her boyfriend Harrison and scores of people, colleagues, friends and others. The protagonists break off leaving Kate with many unanswered questions. She is forced to undergo an STD examination to clear her doubts, while he continues his affair with some of her co-workers and brags about. A lion’s share of this book is taken by these, as well as her efforts to rekindle the fire between them. Her silent efforts can be seen to be encouraged by the favorable comments from a colleague that he, Harrison, held her in high esteem. This makes her forget much of the rancor, his keeping away from her did cause.
The Twisted Diary by Anne Roberts is an account of a blow-hot, blow-cold relationship. The factors that play in changing its rhythm are many, which include the perceived threat from women coworkers. Explicit mention of sexual encounters is made at frequent intervals, that too in flowery prose, which in a not so short novel as this filled quite a few pages. The inclusion of sex as an element of plot, I think, is natural, since man-woman affairs are blown hot or cold by the presence or absence of the same element, sex. But for these, this book is replete with picturesque presentation of scenes, and sharp conversational exchanges to support a good plot. Extensive use is made of new strategies of communication and messages as conversational elements. One thing I must mention though, the plot is lacking a good climax.

 Reviewed by Roy T James for Reader's Favorite
_____________________________________________________________________


Survival Secrets of Turkey Vultures by Debra Toor is a concise, short introduction to a bird of prey that is the most widespread of the New World vultures, popular in North America. Illustrated with lovely photographs showing a lot, of the peculiar and learnable aspects of this bird, this guide covers the many and varied features of this bird, like brooding, feeding the chicks, flight characteristics to soar the sky, the techniques adopted to collect her fleshy food and the tricks used to keep enemies at bay. The ecological importance of these birds also finds special mention. Over and above all these is the inclusion of important and helpful data in the form of tables and lists, making this into a ready reference.
Survival Secrets of Turkey Vultures by Debra Toor is in fact, a romantic discourse on this bird and its habitat. While reading the book introducing the vulture as a royal bird, I felt that whatever information I could gather from it is additional in value. Though written with children in mind, the author’s approach to the topic and its presentation, and the high quality artwork makes it suitable for all. A couple of exercises given at the end of the book, some of them of having the potential to help bird watching enthusiasts, certainly add to its value, making, learning easy and fun. Not to be left unmentioned of course is the ‘vulture’ crossword with which the book ends and completes its stature, as an all in one guide.
 Reviewed by Roy T James for Reader's Favorite
_____________________________________________________________________


‘TRICKLOCK: Operation Powerful Vendetta’ by WILLIAM F. SINE begins with air force para rescueman Jake Tricklock racing his truck to an awaiting helicopter, already manned and ready for a search and rescue mission. Highly successful in rescue missions as well as in neutralizing their attack plans, Tricklock becomes a target when an operation is launched by the enemy, Al Qaeda, with a dreaded schemer Khalid at the helm. Tricklock is joined by his son, a budding engineer who is adept with the latest in technology and, who is also in an excited state of mind thanks to watching TV shows with his father in many graphic scenes of action. In inclement weather and an unfriendly terrain, the team has to spend the last drop of energy, determination and grit to surpass an equally determined enemy that is also blind with indoctrination, to everything except their aim.
‘TRICKLOCK: Operation Powerful Vendetta’ by WILLIAM F. SINE is action, and more action, from the word go. The hardships of living in forward area, the difficulties of arranging medical help and the need to be always on ones toes are shown in this book remarkably well. To be always one up on the enemy, the basic ingredient of success in any mission, is there for all to see, in the way actions are planned and executed by both the sides. A good book, fast paced action and well planned moves, but, in some places, thorough description got better of crisp narrative, the natural element of a thriller.

 Reviewed by Roy T James for Reader's Favorite
_____________________________________________________________________


Thrown Again into the Frazzle Machine by Margaret Dubay Mikus is a collection of poems reflecting a rough patch of the author’s life, a period jolted by surgeries, the collection ‘intended to act as a life-boat in the journey through rough seas. The collection begins with a feeling of hopelessness, “One day when I am gone, the sky will be ordinary blue and the stars will shine true’, in between the author questions herself “Put down the sword of self-destruction, stop stalling myself..”, forays into abstract notions in poems like Empress of Inertia and True Yoga as well as reflecting on her state of abject weakness in many of the poems. As the author mentions in the beginning, the emotion she wanted to paint through these lines is one of the ‘lows’ of her life.
Thrown Again into the Frazzle Machine by Margaret Dubay Mikus truly reflects all that the author planned for. A sense of loss permeates through the lines of this collection, which, even a few poems reflecting happier thoughts is not able to counter. Some of the poems, like Pam or Burning a Candle at Both Ends stand apart in their beauty of words. Some others like, Err on the Side of Caution, can lead one to deeper thoughts. In short, this collection can represent many facets of the emotional trauma that the author went through, if we are to consider that each and every poem is a subtle image of the author’s volcanic state of mind.

 Reviewed by Roy T James for Reader's Favorite
_____________________________________________________________________



Three Hellenic Cypriots by Andreas Antoniou Melas tells the history and achievements of Cyprus, through the examples of a political leader, a religious leader and a sportsman, how the turn of the events in their lifetime reflect the high points in Cypric history. Discussions, more philosophical than mere factual, about the desires and aspirations of Cypriots, both Greek and Turkish, power struggle with the Ottoman Empire, influences of the British empire and other less known facets of middle east history are contained in these pages. It was interesting to read about the athlete who was spared from death, by the Nazis, for his Berlin Olympics credentials. From mention of the part played by Cyprus in Trojan War to the important role it enacted in solving the Jewish problem, no event of significance is left untouched by the author.
Three Hellenic Cypriots by Andreas Antoniou Melas brings many less known areas of Cypric history to fore through biographical sketches. It was surprising for me to learn that Cyprus was the originally selected area for establishing a Jewish state, with a plan to accommodate Cypriots elsewhere. The fine line existed between Greek and Turkish Cypriots, the different proposals regarding ceding Cyprus to other states, originated after each world war, how a win in marathon by Kyriakides, the Cypriot, resulted in US aid to the country and many other interesting fragments are there in this book to hold ones interest. Easy to read and mostly dealing with humane topics, this book is a welcome addition to any collection of good books.
Reviewed by Roy T James for Reader's Favorite
_____________________________________________________________________


Three Decades of Lily by Diane C Smyth is the story of five women, who, grown up and blossomed in differing circumstances, each exciting in its own right, happen to join together in life and flourish. The story starts at the funeral of one of the five friends, Liora, an adopted child who rose to become a name in the fashion world and the ‘glue that held all of them together’. Sunny, who worked hard to become a seamstress but reaches greater heights by her ambition, Shiela, an epitome of hard work and struggle, the self confident Sunny who is raised to the position of a store manager from the humble beginnings of an assistant and Emily, a talented girl from a flourishing background whose life has already become a playground with an unusual affair, complete the crowd. How events bring together each of them by chance, how they find help fro each other and how the challenges of setting up an empire are faced by them, is what unfolds through the narrative. The story ends with an unexpected and intriguing twist.
Three Decades of Lily by Diane C Smyth kept me immersed in full, the desire to know what is going to come taking better of me most of the times, I had a tough time, not to turn pages before I finish reading. Deeply enjoyable, I found it natural to identify with many of the male characters of this story and I suppose, the female characters, almost all of them strong personalities, also shall be appropriately owned! Fast action and a deft narration make this a good read.

 Reviewed by Roy T James for Reader's Favorite
_____________________________________________________________________


Having seen in forward of ‘Thoughts on Life: Random and Otherwise’ by Jennifer Rego that “most of which I knew extremely well have already been penned and hence these thoughts”, it was with a bit of apprehension that I approached the book. My fears were unfounded; this book is wisdom from the very first page to the last. Jennifer covers a broad range of topics; from finance, where she tells about the stock broker as the only beneficiary of short term investment, to human destiny, where she pontificates on the importance of taking risks in the accomplishment of our dreams, there is nothing where her attention does not fall. Sometimes she bats for green tea, or makes new adages like “every purchase you make is a vote with your dollar”. She also feels intimidated and silenced by food libel laws, reasonably so.
‘Thoughts on Life: Random and Otherwise’ by Jennifer Rego is a repository of good sense. It can successfully replace all the wisdom we would have been retaining from quite a few books. From light hearted remarks about the demise of post offices to well considered opinions about the health care imbroglio, this book houses them all. Though Jennifer is attracted to many streams of philosophy, especially of Indian background, the obscurity permeating such thoughts is noticeable by its absence. Most of the discussions are on real, day to day issues, like, the ones mentioned above, is definitely of practical applicability. That makes this book a worthy companion or a recommended daily read. Well done Jennifer!

 Reviewed by Roy T James for Reader's Favorite
_____________________________________________________________________


Think Less, Live More by Shelley Row  depicts the writers journey to feel successful and worthy, which begins with the authors visit to a counselor and ends with the authors counsels for the reader, ‘Think less. Listen more…’. In between, the book looks at the subject of attaining ones dreams, in a different light, with greater attention paid to feeling and less to thinking. It implores one to lead by heart to live more with courage. It comes down to this, lead with your heart; manage with your head.  But you can’t lead with your heart and manage with your head if you don’t develop the habit of hearing both voices and this boo k dwells on ways to connect with the persona of feeling. Moreover, it is a practical guide with helpful reminders and tables to effectively plan ones sojourn with ones feelings.

Think Less, Live More by Shelley Row is written in conversational style with greater impetus on practical adaptability of its content. Towards this, many charts, lists and tables are provided, in addition to a structured routine one is recommended to follow, for each of them. In short, for those who wish to adopt the instructions in their life, hardly any efforts are needed in addition to the instructions it contain.  Simple and easy to follow, this book converts the rather obscure topics of emotional trespass, meditation, affirmation, calming and energy recovery into a child’s play for the grown ups, culminating in the titular theme of the book, think less, live more.

 Reviewed by Roy T James for Reader's Favorite
_____________________________________________________________________


Thinking Finance by Dimitrios V Syskos is an illustrated book on accountants, an opportunity to see the many facets of their work through humor. Through twenty three cartoons, which are really humorous, the author presents some of the widely acknowledged traits of this species of professionals. The accountant shipwrecked in a lonely island, when offered a boon, replying that he needs a pc to continue his calculations exemplifying the deep affinity accountants have with numbers, or, the dying girl with only six months to live is advised to marry an accountant as that would make the six months look longer, showing the rather boring nature inherent in them, as well as the one when asked what is 2 + 2, replying by asking ‘What you would like it to be?’ exposing ones nature  of always keeping the client well pleased, are examples of the intellectual acuity behind these cartoons.
Thinking Finance by Dimitrios V Syskos do contain a good collection of cartoons with a professional appearance and of a funny nature. This is a good book for light reading, while conveying the generally acclaimed behavioral patterns of such professionals around the world, which, through humorous quotes, stories and cartoons are already familiar to us. As an example of a common refrain, one question comes to my mind, why do accountants make good lovers? They have a way with figures. This book can certainly act as filler during protracted discussions or meetings, which accounting professionals usually have as part of their routine work. 
Reviewed by Roy T James for Reader's Favorite
_____________________________________________________________________


‘The Wisdom of Perfection’ by L. M. McDowall, MSSc is a set of corrective directions to get over the feeling of ‘being dumped’, by a male friend or companion. Seven different techniques for achieving this is discussed here, which essentially, is substituting ones chagrin with a flaw or other weaknesses of the boyfriend. For example, Logic Perspective, one such technique consists of magnifying the imperfections seen in the gentleman (no one in there without a flaw!) to hide ones disappointment. Similarly, Experience Perspective, another approach, is nothing but reliving the past to remember any incident which can show him in bad light. Concentrate on those and very soon you will find that he doesn’t deserve you. The other five techniques also are aimed to achieve similar ends, successfully freeing one to meet the next right guy.
‘The Wisdom of Perfection’ by L. M. McDowall, MSSc prepares one to face the ‘thumbs down’ in dating. I felt all that is mentioned, the advice to get over being dumped by ones boyfriend, is applicable to gentlemen as well. (girl friends can also discard!) The defensive strategy discussed in this book covers almost all eventualities making it a complete guide to forlorn lovers. Though I am not able to vouch for its effectiveness, having never been dumped (There was no occasion!), this guide certainly has the potential to become a ‘must’ read for young people in preparing them to face a heartbreak. Simple and effective steps, quite easy to follow too, as can be shown by this example
 “Am I not worth more than this?
Do I not deserve better than this?
Yes you do and yes you are! He just wasn’t good enough for you, if he was, you would still be together”
 Reviewed by Roy T James for Reader's Favorite
_____________________________________________________________________

‘The Seven Deadly Sins of Business Valuation—Entrepreneurs, Small Businesses & Government Guaranteed Lenders’ by Robert M. Clinger III, after a good introduction to the concept of valuation of a business, discusses the methods practically used by businesses for such calculations, namely, the income approach, market approach or the asset approach. The significant pitfalls one might experience in this are deliberated at length, beginning with the first deadly sin in this regard, confusing fair market value with strategic value. Others which have the potential for errors (sins) follow, like, incorrect adjustment of financial statements, unreasonable forecasts and a few more. In each of these, through sample business data relating to many actual cases, the underlying concept and the relevant calculation steps is analyzed threadbare.
‘The Seven Deadly Sins of Business Valuation—Entrepreneurs, Small Businesses & Government Guaranteed Lenders’ by Robert M. Clinger III discusses about a crucial element of an important part of US economy, Small and medium businesses. In this, value creation is a key financial metric in measuring both the success of the business and the entrepreneur. This book, which is a part of a series devoted to familiarizing with such areas, does a good job of presenting the matter in simple and easy to grasp form. As the book is providing a lot of examples from real life scenarios, understanding the subject matter becomes a simple task. One observation though, a quick review of the other volumes of this series, if included in this book, would have enabled even better grasping, by maintaining continuity.
 Reviewed by Roy T James for Reader's Favorite
_____________________________________________________________________


There and Back Again by Timothy Imhoff is about adventures. The very first one happens to begin when a travel hungry gentleman falls in love with his first date, who also is made for adventure. Adventures continue with the author’s trip to Costa Rica for a private wedding in secluded beach in a Pacific Ocean island, where their honeymoon is filled with exciting encounters with howler monkeys, followed by a visit to an active volcano, a rarity, by any scale. Further adventures happen in succession, another trip to Costa Rica to celebrate their third wedding anniversary, one to Uganda, where they brush with crocodiles, and to Rwanda, where they learn to appear docile and at standstill to avoid exciting, passing gorillas.
Their adventures at home are more civil, like the visit to a nudist resort and taking part in a naked run! Or the trip to New England and how, his next book is born from a page of the guest journal kept in a country inn.
There and Back Again by Timothy Imhoff is adventure at every turn of the page. It can also boast of a short but very moving description of some of the most exciting parts of nature, like erupting volcanoes or angry gorillas. Many parts of the book, like the role of Peace Corps in Africa, are in addition, informative to readers. It is certainly interesting to note that the author has selected for his journey, places, Mr. Bilbo Baggins, his inspiration, would have been frequenting in the unseen and amazing book by his favorite author, J. R. R. Tolkien. A good book, readers can benefit a lot.
 Reviewed by Roy T James for Reader's Favorite
_____________________________________________________________________


Attack on a virus company specializing in related research by an out fit named ARF (Animal Rights Front) and subsequent release of a large number of animals, many of them infected, marks the beginning of the thriller, ‘The Quiet Way’, by ROBIN MELHUISH. There are some persons of British origin who are in clandestine operations with Bin Laden on matters of biological terrorism, who progress research, especially of H1N1 derivatives. Also, urgent discussions are on, at all levels of government, regarding the threat posed by the release of hundreds of lab animals as well as the danger posed by a splurge in industrial accidents. In this scenario, the security agencies have to face a challenging task to locate the source of trouble, some of which is hiding in their own backyard, before the society is torn to pieces.
‘The Quiet Way’, by ROBIN MELHUISH can boast of an action packed plot, quite imaginative selection of events, places and the proponents, as well as a gripping narrative. Whether in the form of riots, or as people attempting to flee the nation, the disruptions of a terrorist attack is shown in its fullest extent, the prime roles of security agencies presented with elan`. Professionally sound plot, for example, the difficulty of dealing with such a biological agent is shown clearly in the remarks by investigator, “to infect the  terror  cells,  the  lapse between infection and outbreak is too short.’ A worthy attempt and indeed a good addition to our literary wealth, especially of thriller genre.

 Reviewed by Roy T James for Reader's Favorite
_____________________________________________________________________


‘THE PROTOCOL, A PRESCRIPTION TO DIE’ by John P. Goetz begins with Evan Anderson Teague or Eat collecting the remains of his late father from Aequalis Health, the pioneer in distributive healthcare policies. This new approach is based, incidentally, is based on the premise that medical care to be provided by the society to any individual should depend on measurable benefits the society is receiving from that individual. Barbara Nordstrom, who is in charge of this medical policy, is in the process of issuing certain strict directives, called protocols, for effective implementation of this. Eat, in his quest for finding further information regarding his father’s death finds a helpful companion in his girl friend Andy, who is a forensic scientist, and both of them come across a bunch of findings leading them more and more into a vortex of intrigue and mystery.
‘THE PROTOCOL, A PRESCRIPTION TO DIE’ by John P. Goetz is a medical thriller of great proportions. The manipulative techniques and other controls proposed in this story are not at all an impossibility in the real world. Deft handling of exchanges and other interactions and fast action make could be observed throughout the story, like, “Eat lurched towards his knees as rapidly, and as hard as he could. He landed on the floor with a thump. He opened his eyes. As he focused on the carpet fibers in front of his eyes, he heard the distinctive pop of silencer-equipped gun” John has given enough attention in bringing all aspects of the plot to its final conclusion. 

 Reviewed by Roy T James for Reader's Favorite
_____________________________________________________________________


‘Phone Life‘ by Paris Gamble begins when David, a young and successful software engineer, is led to reminiscing his past affairs with the present companion. He recalls his childhood, growing up, vagaries of classes, a feminine (cute) attraction and all. The reluctance David felt to ask his classmate, Carlie, out, how great was the romantic attraction he felt, how he always chickened out at the last moment in taking her out, and how they used to meet for tutoring as he couldn’t bring up any other question other than their lessons, are some of the tales of the romantic past, the memories contain. Even an audacious plan brought by his close friends and classmates to unite them amorously, happen to backfire, ultimately ensuring that the two shall not meet amicably till they graduate. However good luck is waiting for them, as they enter into the world of independent living…
‘Phone Life‘ by Paris Gamble contains elements of autobiography of anyone who ever was an adolescent. Every twist and turn hides some event from ones own school days, a reader may feel. Like the fears, David has in choosing between his pals and his flame could have been there with any of us. However, the allegory of the old cell phone held safely for years, succeeds in showing the true feelings that was always kept hidden in David. A novel made for the age of dreaming, this is a good read for all those, who would like to be with sweet memories.

 Reviewed by Roy T James for Reader's Favorite
___________________________________________________________________________________


‘The Perpetual Paycheck’ by Lori B. Rassas begins by identifying the fact that ‘in the workplace, there are only short term commitments - An absence of mutual obligation between employer and the employee.’  Introducing the topic with a short discussion on paycheck and the necessity that one has to fend for oneself, Lori jumps to Secret #1-Cash is the king. Because of the transient nature of today’s workplace, one cannot hope for seeing it existing for a long time, let alone being a permanent part. Lori thereafter discusses Secret #2, remembering who the Boss is. Other secrets follow, Turning troubles into triumphs where focus is on advantages, Expanding ones hunting grounds which talks about a more rational job search, and ending with How to develop and use the benefits of networking which examines the potential of modern ‘communities’.
‘The Perpetual Paycheck’ by Lori B. Rassas is a book made for the present. Because of the fast pace of technological changes, the society overall is facing certain shifts everywhere, one of most notable areas being our workplace.  This book has the potential to greatly increase ones self-confidence, an invaluable asset, in leading a happy life in such an environment of transience. I wish I read this book many years earlier which would have prepared me in dealing with all the unsettling changes I faced, better. The book follows a simple and easy style of narration. Replete with humor, cartoons and anecdotes this book is a light read conveying however, more important ideas.

 Reviewed by Roy T James for Reader's Favorite
_____________________________________________________________________


‘The Path to Job Search Success’ by Tom Payne begins with an interesting observation that human is psychologically wired to move in the wrong direction down the job-search path. He therefore emphasizes the need to be well prepared with the correct approach at all times. We may be clear that in an interview, how well one presents ones achievements matter more than the achievements themselves. It is also essential that we give due allowance to the human weakness of having a stubborn faith in the meaningfulness of our achievements and a disregard for our failures. Especially in this, the importance of body language and the necessity to assume a high power pose cannot be over-emphasized. Also, mastering the subconscious speech of non-verbal behavior is one of the most important job search tasks. One should be able to articulate ones strength in a compelling way, ie. create a sentence that contains the strengths most relevant to the hiring organization. Tom rates some questions in an interview as suicide questions. A few examples are, What are your weaknesses, Tell me about your worst boss etc, and he discusses techniques for answering these as well. Tom completes the book with the most crucial take “…Always be positive. Always! And no excuses. Ever”
‘The Path to Job Search Success’ by Tom Payne is in fact a practical manual to prepare for any interview. Wise suggestions, inspiring real life stories and helpful tips make this book a worthy guide and reference. The book can boast of many new and valuable tips to make one a sure winner.

 Reviewed by Roy T James for Reader's Favorite
_____________________________________________________________________


Listen Up!  The Other Side is  Talking by Kelle Sutliff, as the author says is Pearls of Wisdom and inspirational  ideas for a fuller life. The book begins with her journey in search of the person inside her, how she held nature with reverence, the many facets of identifying and directing psychic energy and its use, the way it helped her in identifying others’ needs and desires and above all, how it helped her in getting answers to each and every question. She talks about events and the signs pointing to them, for example how, even the horrific happenings of 9/11 could be identified in a few signs she and others of psychic power had to feel or witness.
Listen Up!  The Other Side is  Talking by Kelle Sutliff is not an easy read, especially for people like me, uninitiated into the dark world of the psyche. Quite candid is her treatment of the portion regarding her initiation into the spiritual world, and also of the necessity to accept this calling willingly. Using the metaphor of a ‘Psychic Coffee’ the author emphasizes the need for continuous, daily preparations to make this as ones second nature. The part her Grandmother played in her career as well as the helpful support from her mother stand apart in her sojourn through the alleys of the spirit. I, having no such background to make one capable of appreciating the realm of the spirit and consequently in no position to examine the content critically, did find this useful in understanding something new. 
 Reviewed by Roy T James for Reader's Favorite
_____________________________________________________________________


 The Mystic High Adventures of Fannie Flame & Crew by Claudia Hagen introduces ballooning, as a ‘form of flight where the destination is irrelevant and the journey is everything’. How the author developed an instant liking to this ‘costly’ game, what all difficulties she had to undergo while learning this, the travails of becoming the proud owner of a balloon while being someone living from paycheck to paycheck and the journey thereafter ending in her name becoming one to reckon with, as far as balloon flying go, are described in this extremely interesting book. The 40th psalm, always revered by the balloonists and the AIDS, the balloonists need to be afraid of (Aeronaut Induced Divorce Syndrome!) are some of the topics contained in other chapters. The near fatal accident at Albuquerque, from which the crew escaped by jumping up in the balloon, gives one Goosebumps.
  The Mystic High Adventures of Fannie Flame & Crew by Claudia Hagen is a treat from the word go till the end. The commotion, the lady pilot with her three kids must have caused in and around the ballooning world as well as the competence the children showed in handling the ballooning machinery, comes alive in these pages. The troubles, the author must have faced from a philanthropic husband and the difficulty of clearing FAA tests, is overshadowed by the fact that the author has more than 400 hours of balloon flying to her credit. One of the best books I have read for many a year, the content as well as the presentation of this book leaves no room for any comment.

 Reviewed by Roy T James for Reader's Favorite
_____________________________________________________________________


‘The Mindful Lifestyle’ by Gary Green is about teaching mindfulness techniques and concepts to enable those who use these principles to improve the quality of their lives and relationships. The book begins with an illuminating discussion about transcendental meditation and approaches the question of mindfulness, loosely put as, reflecting about the present. Gary goes on to introduce the techniques for achieving concentration, and here, using mundane day to day tasks like knitting, painting, washing dishes or playing, as a mindfulness exercise is elucidated. Mindfulness is then examined in various, different hues of its occurrence. The functional aspects of the mind, logical versus the emotional parts, willfulness versus willingness, compassionate versus a pullover, feeling versus expressing gratitude, as well as, the relevance of these aspects in self healing are elaborated.
‘The Mindful Lifestyle’ by Gary Green is a simple, easy and practical guide to a rather complex subject. I found it hard to believe that meditation and the many facets of self healing are in fact is so effortless. This is thus a good guide, especially for those who would like to get an introduction to this line of thinking. The book is also replete with helpful lists and stepwise procedures, enhancing its usability. The result of using ones wise mind and living the mindful lifestyle will result in one becoming more adept I living. Or, as Gary mentions “You will become more willing to accept what life throws at you. You will be healthier both physically and mentally, and you will live longer.” An interesting book, indeed.

 Reviewed by Roy T James for Reader's Favorite
_____________________________________________________________________


‘The Last Cigarette: Five Steps to Quitting for Good’ by Carol Savoie attacks smoking is an intuitive way. Step one, Carol explains is to find for yourself a really big reason to quit, the bigger, the better. The next step is to form a strategy. For example, the seven stage strategy she recommends contain, choosing a date, using powerful words to specify ones decision (the more powerful the word, the more likely the adherence!), providing support tools as well as, a reward system for yourself. The next three steps, lighting up a support team (someone to remind, if you forget that you are off cigarette), inhaling continuously the progress, as well as sharing the health benefits suffice, to turn one into a complete nonsmoker, that too for good.
‘The Last Cigarette: Five Steps to Quitting for Good’ by Carol Savoie can boast of five instinctive and shrewd steps. Each of those incorporating a feedback mechanism, it can be easily seen that this set of strategy is bound to win. She has explained each of these in good detail, mentioning the rationale behind the idea in use, which also looks plausible. For example, she mentions about the importance of rewarding oneself for success achieved at each stage or its part, suitably so that ones mind does not deviate from the decision to quit. So also is the possibility of the synergy brought in by the support system (well wishers!) augmenting ones effort. A good book, a thorough guide covering all aspects of the issue, with assured after sales support for implementing the suggestions.

 Reviewed by Roy T James for Reader's Favorite
_____________________________________________________________________


‘The Hypnotist’ by Alyssa Devine is a YA novel, specially printed in a font appropriate for readers with dyslexia, which has the beginnings of its plot, when Kylie Decker, a young woman, is stopped by police and found murdered thereafter. Amanda, Tom and Phil are classmates and Tom, a budding hypnotist, is on to trying his special abilities of psychologically manipulating people frequently on them and with much success. Though this is amusement to Tom, causes much distress to Phil. Tom is interested in trying his abilities on Amanda, especially so, she being charming, bright and intelligent. When Tom manages, on one occasion to hypnotize her, strange stories of her past life comes out, which perplexes him and he continues to do that on a few more occasions. Each time, her reminiscences of past life results in exposing many forgotten incidents, unknown details and other expositions, including the one involving Kylie. Tom also confirms these instances with the help of a search on internet. And such exposures go on…
‘The Hypnotist’ by Alyssa Devine can boast of physical attributes necessary in a book specially written for the dyslexia affected, like a wide margin, ragged right, frequent paragraph breaks and a single special font. The plot is also drawn with quite many situations needing resolution, thereby calling for earnest involvement from the readers, another facet of interest to such an audience. For example, the heroine, Amanda, appears as different personalities on different occasions of hypnosis, and providing befitting answer to each and every question, leaving Tom, as well as some of the readers in a quandary with too many mysteries. Weaving rich stories about the past leading to solution of each mystery a different colorful tale, this action packed novel is also an entertaining read.

 Reviewed by Roy T James for Reader's Favorite
_____________________________________________________________________


‘THE DOOM MURDERS’ by Brian O’Hare is a story of a few murders. To begin with, a bishop is killed in a grotesque manner and the only notable clue from the naked body is an alphanumeric word. During the resulting police investigation itself, more deaths take place of comparable nature. Even after many days of the dastardly incidents, as a clue fail to emerge pointing to a plausible theory as to the criminal, the investigators turn to all possible help, one of that being religious doctrines. With the help of biblical experts, the investigators manage to decode the writings retrieved from the scene of the crime, especially the alphanumeric word and its possible relevance, which leads the police to a totally unexpected direction.
‘THE DOOM MURDERS’ by Brian O’Hare is mystery at every turn of the page. The painstaking, repetitive and dry nature of detective work of solving a murder is shown in its real depth. Towards that, O’Hare writes with a keen eye for detail with his tale evolving at a surprisingly fast pace. The stereotypes that dominate popular crime thrillers, especially of these days, are notable by their absence and O’Hare leans toward the human side of his characters, imbuing them with a real world presence that is by turn witty and passionate. This is most evident in his lead, Jim Sheehan, who in his introspection, wrestles with the conflicts of faith as his investigations progress. It’s cleverly connived and highly thought provoking. A great crime thriller and an enthralling read.

 Reviewed by Roy T James for Reader's Favorite
_____________________________________________________________________


‘The Corridor of Uncertainty’ by Nihar Suthar begins with a recap about the many enjoyable parts of the game following with a brief overview of the Afghan political situation since the 1970’s. After discussing the power struggles within as well as the presence of the Soviet forces, the rise of Taliban and the departure of Soviets are mentioned. The proliferation of relief camps and in one such camp when the topic of interest turns to the recent victory of a friendly country, Pakistan, in the cricket world cup, how the idea of forming an Afghan cricket team is originated in a few daring young friends looks too good to be true! However they manage to organize a team and find time to practice. The travails of achieving all this, while adhering to the extremely restricted life style imposed by the Taliban, reverberates in every page of this book.
‘The Corridor of Uncertainty’ by Nihar Suthar is a chronicle of the determination and hard work of a few ardent followers of the game of cricket. How the involvement and sincerity shown by the young people resulted in the most extreme adherents of the repressive policies changing their stand and becoming more and more accommodating, makes interesting reading. The unfortunate events of 9/11, the impact, that lead to in Afghanistan, the severe impact, that caused to Afghan cricket, and the dismay it caused for the these young enthusiasts come alive in these pages. A good read and aptly titled to reflect the prevailing insecurity, this is a first hand description of the healing effect of sports and games. 

 Reviewed by Roy T James for Reader's Favorite
_____________________________________________________________________




‘Summer versus School: The Possibilities of the Year-Round School’ by JAMES PEDERSEN re-examines the education pattern of America. James, with many years of experience in this field feels an urgent need ponder about the changes that are likely to happen, a major one being the ongoing debates on year round schooling, especially in view of certain improvements, like, Introduction of common standards of instruction, Evaluation and teachers and performance pay as well as Vast advances in technology. One major stumbling block to overcome was the incorrect assumption that year-round schooling could only be achieved by increasing the number of days in the school calendar.
In this dissertation, by analyzing the effect of year round education for each group of students, elementary, middle school and high school, separately, he advocates year round school, accommodating coursework, community service, and job experience wherever necessary.
‘Summer versus School: The Possibilities of the Year-Round School’ by JAMES PEDERSEN identifies that, the reasons that caused a ten-month calendar were mainly due to agrarian needs. However as this rationale no more seems applicable as before and in light of global competition and America’s consistently poor international rankings, it would seem like a logical conclusion to extend the school year to increase instructional time, if the prime position America holds in learning, is to continue. James presents his arguments to support this school of thought, forcefully, and well supported by data. But the move forward, as he warns, isn’t so easy, nor is it unanimously embraced by parents, community members, businesses, or politicians. A well presented study.

 Reviewed by Roy T James for Reader's Favorite
_____________________________________________________________________


Subtle Annihilation: How to Survive the Ongoing Genocide? By Pablo H is a journey through the many facets of Christian theology and examining in detail, the tenets dear to each and every Christian. He has devoted one chapter each to examine them, like The Satanic Technique, Idolatry, Finding the Name of the Son to end with the examination of Great Deception, the trick Satan uses for exterminating men. In each of these chapters, he examines one of the critical questions of Christian faith, from finding a name for Father to union of souls. Controversial at some places, his handling of the subject is with subtle mastery and obvious care.
Subtle Annihilation: How to Survive the Ongoing Genocide? By Pablo H covers almost all important ‘twists’ of Christian faith, prodding readers into thinking. Proposing an alternate view of the beginning, which includes creation of humans by god as well as Lucifer and the scuffle between descendants of both, he initiates further debates. Borrowing profusely from other religions to support his arguments and taking the help of modern science wherever necessary, he conclusively examines each and every issue at hand. However, chapter headings could have bee shown with character set for easy recognition. Copious quotes from bible, that too with appropriate selection reconfirms his arguments. Like he says while discussing quantum science “Yes, the presence of God is everywhere. That is why the protons remain at the center of the atom and the electrons remain in their orbit around it. That is why the moon, the planets and the stars and the galaxies maintain the order of their movements”.

 Reviewed by Roy T James for Reader's Favorite
_____________________________________________________________________


‘Sound Is Not Enough: Captioning as Universal Design’ by Svetlana Kouznetsova aims to increase awareness about quality speech-to-text translation as universal access and to illustrate how it benefits many of us, regardless of our hearing abilities. The author, as a prelude to the discussions about various communication needs and abilities of people with hearing issues, gives a brief insight into the nature of hearing loss, especially, how loud noises and listening to portable music devices, has increased the number of deaf and hard-of-hearing people in the past few years, especially among the youth. Solutions to this is then dealt with, the reader introduced to different styles of captioning, like realtime, steno or offtime methods, movie and sports captioning, as well as various phone relay services.
‘Sound Is Not Enough: Captioning as Universal Design’ by Svetlana Kouznetsova examines all aspects of communication for the deaf and dumb. The author’s suggestion to the non-deaf non-dumb people to let go of their reservations and text using their cell phone while sitting face to face with people like her, was thought provoking.  The necessity of same-language captions, for deaf and hard-of-hearing people living abroad to watch international channels in their own language, problem of insufficient and bad captioning are some of the issues yet to be solved. As she tells in the end, let us hope that the day comes soon, when all TV sets and video players have two buttons—one for volume and another for captions. I found this a good book, introduced me to a lot I did not know.

 Reviewed by Roy T James for Reader's Favorite
_____________________________________________________________________


‘Soul of the Eagle: A Chaplain Assistant's Recollection of the Vietnam War’ by Philip V. Bulone begins in 1967, when he joins the 101 Airborne Division Chaplain Unit of a well known group, notable as a rapid reaction force since the invasion of Normandy. After a brief foray into the historical relevance of chaplains in warfront as well as introducing a few colorful ones among them, he describes the role, the chaplain plays in preparing the soldiers for their fights and the experiences, of living with them. Conducting prayer services, praying over wounded and dying men who cry out for absolution and, escorting some really adventurous chaplains who chose to join the patrol teams and be in the field, where, the basic lesson of gun handling he received during orientation days is put to test, makes interesting reading.
‘Soul of the Eagle: A Chaplain Assistant's Recollection of the Vietnam War’ by Philip V. Bulone is as absorbing as a thriller. Preparing the fighting men before their moves and tending to the hurt, the injured and the badly mutilated ones among both the American and South Vietnamese combatants are portrayed realistically. So is also the threat from the Vietcong guerillas and their merciless attacks, on US troops as well as on the defenseless civilians. The experiences, Philip gained in handling God’s ministry with the chaplains as well as in their absence, and how that enabled him in his duties back at home, is described in these pages. The shock, of not being welcomed as heroes but rather as killers, ‘who would be greeted by cries of “baby killers,” “go back, murderers,” and other horrific chants by young and older people dressed in tie-dyed shirts, with ribbons in their hair, and long-haired men smoking marijuana’, also reverberate in this book.
 Reviewed by Roy T James for Reader's Favorite
_____________________________________________________________________



THE SOLOMON TWIST by Dan Hammond Jr begins with a confusion. About an expecting baby, whether the ‘exed out’ husband or the defacto-man deserve credit, and come delivery, it happens to be twins, to keep the hither to unsettled differences, fresh for re-use. The story continues through the dimly lit alleys and underground to the unraveling of hopelessness, despair, hope, aspiration and other facets of life and living. Both of them, a boy and a girl grow up accustomed to knowing their fathers as Daddy One and Daddy Two and one of them is found dead. The associated queries confront them throughout, of course, the question as to who the real daddy is, taking the prime position.
THE SOLOMON TWIST by Dan Hammond Jr is quite a bit of story condensed into a couple of hundred pages. Each and every actor in this drama has their own plot in the many twists and turns, the story takes, the narrative is easy, with light hearted humor, (one may laugh, if so wish!) and fairly unconventional. The plot, a case of naturally conceived twins being accorded a multi-father connection, in itself is mystifying, not to say anything about the resulting brouhaha, which, the author has managed to retain till almost the end, by careful manipulation of scenes and its makeup. The question, “Who shot Daddy Two?” remains in the air, while many and varied characters make their entry and exit through this book. This is an entertaining novel; adventure, suspense, thrill and drama with due share of sentimental transactions fill the pages.

 Reviewed by Roy T James for Reader's Favorite
_____________________________________________________________________


‘SMART TALK-The Public Speaker’s Guide to Success in Every Situation’      by     LISA B. MARSHALL begins by taking the hell out of hello – How to introduce yourself or to make a first impression. Lisa discuses many points here including the oft forgotten, but very important dictum, the introduction should be relevant to them. The magic of conversation, next topic discussed, focuses on what to say when, and how to say it with tact and grace. Lisa also devotes a full chapter to discuss difficult people to talk to, the procrastinators, the chatterboxes, the bullies and other such misfits. How to give feedback, how to receive criticism as well as practicing responses to handle criticism, are then discussed. Lisa explains nine models of saying no, a vital part of any talk, as well as the fourteen rules of negotiating, a rather difficult skill to master, without damaging important relationships.
‘SMART TALK-The Public Speaker’s Guide to Success in Every Situation’    by     LISA B. MARSHALL is a Godsend, especially when it comes to the problems that we are most often faced with in connection with our work, resolving conflicts, strengthening natural charisma, or persuading others. This book can prepare us to face any trouble, unannounced or otherwise. With bulleted lists, prominent display of points to remember and practice exercises, this is a complete manual to master the art of communication. A helpful index, references of real life instances of many of the concepts introduced and a chapter summary, make this an invaluable reference for anyone involved in public speaking.


 Reviewed by Roy T James for Reader's Favorite
_____________________________________________________________________


SISTERHOOD IN SPORTS by Joan Steidinger tells the stories of all kinds of female athletes in a variety of sports. The author begins with a primary concern in female athletes’ lives - intimate (emotional) relationships that are necessary to meet the three imperatives for female athletes, seeing, hearing, and speaking. Spliced beautifully with anecdotes, experiences of well known athletes, conversations with other sportswomen and, observations of connected individuals including coaches, this convincing analysis discusses issues of special significance to female athletes, like, importance of relationships, differences in communication style between male and female, the conflict between competing and collaborating as well as the impact, romance can have on sports. The significance, the female brain places on emotional factors and the effect that will have on an athlete’s performance is also discussed.
SISTERHOOD IN SPORTS by Joan Steidinger is not only for reading. At almost every turn of page, a helpful hint, or a bulleted list with many hints, appear with the potential to adapt the recommended strategy in practice. An exhaustive list is also provided at the end, as notes, to make further study on any of the aspects mentioned, easy. I found most of the experiences and strategies mentioned in the book, though new (I am not a sportsman!) to me, clearly understandable. After reading this, I am in a better position to appreciate the quandary, when newspapers speak of unexplained and sudden shift in caliber or unreliable performance graph of female athletes. This is an excellent read for all, sportsmen, sportswomen or all those, who ever will watch sports.

 Reviewed by Roy T James for Reader's Favorite
_____________________________________________________________________







 ‘Shattered by the Wars: But Sustained by Love’ by Hi Dong, is the story a Korean boy told by his own words, his childhood at the time of World War II, Korean War, communism and associated turbulence. The disturbances in his life are further accentuated by his religious background and the constant interference by the authorities. To compound the miseries further, Dong’s brother, the smartest and the brightest one in the family, decides to become a communist. One day Dong finds his father being abducted. Both mother and son are forced to abandon home. Adding to this is the uncertainty of future. Dong’s excitement of finding s job for himself, though non-paying, as a fish cleaner, searching for his mother and finally reuniting with her, teaching Korean to an American boy and many other incidents are there in this, capable of giving one Goosebumps.
‘Shattered by the Wars: But Sustained by Love’ by Hi Dong, is a story celebrating the hope of future. It is highly unlikely that the indomitable human spirit of the mother and her son is not able to leave a long lasting impression on the reader. This dangers of  totalitarian thinking, supported by whatever form of government, can be identified in the events and occurrences described in this book and all those who read this are alerted to the possibility that any one could have been in Hi Dong’s position. The narration and the honest rendition of events are quite absorbing. I found it difficult to put down the book.

 Reviewed by Roy T James for Reader's Favorite
_____________________________________________________________________

‘Second Wave Spirituality: Passion for Peace, Passion for Justice’ by CHRIS SAADE begins by acknowledging the changes that are happening to our spirituality, which should have been taking place along with developments in other areas. All over the world, there is understanding that the most urgent question facing mankind is not how individual can be saved, but how the planet can be saved. Thus a new wave of spirituality is emerging, no longer confined to prayer or meditation, for action on a global level. Just as the first wave of spirituality liberated our spirits from religious dogmatization, this wave shall remove the dualism of spirit or the divine and our planet. This book examines the many facets of this change, like unification of different and mostly opposing characteristics of our social transactions and, the implication of all this to the individual.
‘Second Wave Spirituality: Passion for Peace, Passion for Justice’ by CHRIS SAADE makes a subtle observation that “you and I are part of one of the greatest evolutionary leaps of consciousness” to explain the many changes visible on the social and political horizon. He quotes the passing of a law by Ecuador ‘granting constitutional rights to nature’, as one such move. Clear and lucid presentation of a relatively novel concept is one of the high points of this book. A good discussion on ‘The First Wave’ of spirituality, included in this book, makes the job of understanding this, relatively easy. An exhaustive list of references, other notes and an index make it even more useful as a reference.

 Reviewed by Roy T James for Reader's Favorite
_____________________________________________________________________


‘SAFE NOWHERE’ by Tom Bleakley begins with Katie Hornsby, a law graduate who is beautiful, suave and having an ice-breaker of a surname, surname being same as that of a great entertainer, is on the lookout for a job. She runs into Dr Newton, presently handling cases related to a drug, Lorital, that it is unsafe for humans. She is hired by the firm and is tasked with preparations of impending hearings as well as meeting victims of Enpact, the drug maker. In connection with Lorital, inappropriate handling of statutory tests as well as, substituting test samples with products from established manufacturers, comes to light. More and more deaths are reported daily, followed by painstaking preparation of the case, protracted sessions with the courts, and settlement of disputes, threats, defeats and arguments. Her case progresses with the help of imaginative writ pleas registered appropriately by Katie…
‘SAFE NOWHERE’ by Tom Bleakley is a legal thriller and a scintillating courtroom drama. As the litigant’s attorney, Katie is a shining example of dedication, hard work and the eye for details, which is a must, for all desirous of following this profession. The troubles she is to face in each court in the appellate chain, having different rules and guidelines to be followed to prevent the brief from being rejected, makes interesting reading. So also as is the predicament, she is happily under, to keep all her suitors at bay. Tom has taken special care to keep a very important part of this story, the court room exchanges, witty and sharp. Altogether a good read, a plot leaving a lot to cherish. 

 Reviewed by Roy T James for Reader's Favorite
_____________________________________________________________________
Rc FOR RETIREMENT-BOOMER’S GUIDE TO SURVIVING DOWNSIZING by Sandra W. Evans is a guide written with the Baby Boomer generation, the period before, say 2009. Those, who may find difficulty in adjusting to the downsizing of life, to be coped with, during post retirement years as one prepared oneself for the youth ahead during adolescence. Approaching the issue in a logical and dispassionate manner, the recipe put forth by the author takes Maslow’s views on contentment, the five stages of grief at the loss of something dear, and the need to plan, while suggesting an endless list of sources of companionship, hobbies, pastimes and other useful ventures. The author implores us to see retirement as the beginning of a two-stage process where the preparation is done in the retirement zone. “There is still a zone to go where you will enjoy all the fruits of your retirement preparation”.


Rc FOR RETIREMENT-BOOMER’S GUIDE TO SURVIVING DOWNSIZING by Sandra W. Evans is also a collection of practical notes to take on the retirement life fruitfully. “Your future is in front of you, full of all the possibilities and opportunities that you have chosen to embrace, You now feel a sense of pride in everything that you have accomplished up to this point in your life”, she says. With impetus on the holistic conduct of life’s later years and emphasis placed on the gainful utilization of ones abilities and experiences for living a fuller, happy life, this book can greatly assist in self-actualization. With helpful forms, diagrams and lists to adopt the author’s suggestions in real life, this guide can go a long way in empowering one in taking that inevitable leap into retirement, with ease.

 Reviewed by Roy T James for Reader's Favorite
_____________________________________________________________________





Anthony Simolia, in The Roving Mind: A Modern Approach to Cognitive Enhancement deals with a subject that involves all streams of science, medicine and other areas like holistic healing. His explanations are simple and elegant, like Mind is what brains do or the analysis of brain as a chemical machine.
The book begins with an attempt to understand what intelligence in general and human intelligence in particular is, by inversion—looking at what they are not. He dwells on the topics of cognitive enhancement by suitable diet and type of food to avoid, what habits are good for health, what type of food are cognitive enhancers, discussion on racetams, how to sharpen the mind, techniques of active recall as well as other methods of stimulation of memory. He also introduces the concepts of lucid dreaming, describes recent advancements in neuroscience and discusses the pros and cons of cognitive enhancement. He however warns readers that sifting through endless inferior informational resources is not the optimal way to go about acquiring specific knowledge or improving cognitive performance.
Though the subjects covered is more or less specific and narrow in nature, the tone and tenor of presentation makes it fit for a more general audience. However, a short outline of the contents to follow, at the beginning of the chapter would have been a great help, if a suggestion for improvement is a must.
Almost every page introducing a novel concept for the reader, this book has the potential to satiate the book hungry.

 Reviewed by Roy T James for Reader's Favorite
_____________________________________________________________________


Round the Bend by Alistair McGuinness is the story of the couple, Alistair McGuiness and his wife Fran, from their home town of Luton, UK to one edge of the world, Australia enjoying many of the unchartered tourist sites en route. First they headed to the jungles where Amazon flow, scaled the mountains, made friendship with the villager people, became their teacher of sorts, scaled more of the lands, Bolivia, Peru and others. Thereafter travel to Tanzania, trek up Kilimanjaro and then fly to Zimbabwe to pick up an organized tour. The hired truck would weave a path through southern Africa, arriving at Cape Town eight weeks later. Then they travel to their final destination, Australia.

Round the Bend by Alistair McGuinness is full of excitement, whether the glitch with immigration for Fran, the stay in the wild in makeshift tents, or getting caught wearing underpants on the head, the honeymooning non-swimmers caught in a ship, rolling and pitching in the stormy sea, there is never a dull moment, with this travelogue. They both finally make it to Australia, where they still reside.
I have read many travel books, but while reading Around the Bend, I felt part of that team, sharing equally with them, all the drama and excitement. In Round the Bend Alistair shares his travels with the reader in such a way that the reader will find great difficulty to remind himself, that he is not part of the travelling team. As the author quotes in the end “Once you have travelled, the voyage never ends, but is played out
over and over again in the quietest chambers. The mind can never break off from the journey.” Highly recommended!

 Reviewed by Roy T James for Reader's Favorite
_____________________________________________________________________


‘RE-WIRED’ by Greg Dragon tells the story of Brad Barkley, who is a student busy with creating his new android, Tricia. His only break is a few exchanges with his college mate Mika, with whom he is unsuccessful in making a romantic connection. Tricia, in the meantime is slowly coming to life, connecting herself to internet, recharging herself with the laws extant on robotics and becoming livelier. For meeting the expenses of completing Tricia and her costly skin to make his robot as close to the human as feasible, Brad agrees to take part in a drug testing program, of a mysterious drug, lightning, which can alter ones reality. He also gets arrested for mechanophilia, improper relation between a human and a robot, leaving Tricia with the opportunity of coming to the rescue of her creator.
‘RE-WIRED’ by Greg Dragon, while providing the reader with a good literary feast, asks some basic questions in the realm of Artificial Intelligence. The legal validity of creating a robot to be appropriated as ones girlfriend, whether considering robots as another species of life is ok, causing death to a robot (of course, this involves mechanical dismantling) is a cognizable offence, and the possibility of robots getting a new attribute, amorousness, are some of the rather hazy topics, the story handles. The main character, the nerd who is always unlucky with women, reminds me about my college days, especially of the studious ones amongst us. Greg has a fertile imagination and, together with an easy flowing narration has produced a very good read. 


 Reviewed by Roy T James for Reader's Favorite
_____________________________________________________________________


‘Rescued Out of the Shadows’ by B. K. Stubblefield is a collection of short stories inspired by real events, of rescued dogs coming “out of the shadows” and into light and love. It begins with two abandoned puppies. How those puppies, Hannah Mae and Honey Bea, find their way to a loving veterinarian and reach a perfect home. Them there is this bubbly two year old pup Frodo and its adventures with police. Ellie May, an abused dog which finds a good home and Rosie, which managed to recover after being shot badly join the group. Homer, an old dog which finds a sympathetic home and a rescued puppy Ottis complete the crowd. Mention also is made about Pet Smart Charities, which has partnered with the shelter; an organization to help homeless pets all over the country.
‘Rescued Out of the Shadows’ by B. K. Stubblefield presents the stories associated with each pet, evoking sympathy and candor. In each and every case, the rescue act has been made possible by the constant involvement and selfless service of some animal lover with the issue, constant interaction between them being a prerequisite, which is described poignantly in this book. That is to say, as much important was the receptive character of the person who recued the dog, as adorable was the nature of the dog. The narrative gives equal importance to both and is a light, refreshing read, the rescuers coming out deserving applause and the recued, recipient of bountiful love. A Good read. 


 Reviewed by Roy T James for Reader's Favorite
_____________________________________________________________________________



'True Story of PROMISING FORECAST - a Miracle Rescue at Sea'  by Daniel David Jones is the story of Dave, ‘who never missed a chance to make a dollar’, how he goes on a canyon trip with four other buddies, at least one of them, Joe, a good fisherman. Their adventure really begins when the sea turns rough and their boat sinks, it continues when the mayday responses by the coast guard fails in locating them, turns into a horrifying experience when they are forced to spent the better part of night at sea, hanging to a lobster pot and thereafter.  How, they pass time by taking turns to recite their life story, the danger of a cargo ship going straight over them, sighting search helicopters that happen to miss them, and many other events and experiences of desperation fills the pages of this book.
'True Story of PROMISING FORECAST - a Miracle Rescue at Sea' by Daniel David Jones is a gripping narrative of a few horrendous moments in the life of the protagonists. They have shown remarkable degree of survival instinct in combating the dangers faced and have lived to tell their tale. The mental, physical and spiritual strength of each one is visible throughout; especially the difficulty, the ‘born again’ faces in admitting fear of death is depicted in poignant words. With fast paced action and a very interesting depiction of events, many a time I had to remind myself that this is a real life story. 

 Reviewed by Roy T James for Reader's Favorite
_____________________________________________________________________


'Relapse' by Jake Anderson begins with an admission that like a good fisherman, he would have become a proud alcoholic. But how, before he could become addicted to alcohol, skate board became his close companion, and his “first addiction”. A horrible accident separates him from skateboard for ever and he gets involved with fishing more and more to save his life from despair. He tells about the tragic loss of his father, how he goes more into fishing. How in that process, he becomes an ace in handling such vessels and joins part of a popular TV show, falls in love, and of course with a few more events to follow more or less on expected lines and some otherwise, is told with √©lan and makes interesting reading.
'Relapse' by Jake Anderson is an honest narration, of a life unlucky to have had personal tragedies, but lucky enough to be always linked with action. Relapse also, is a true reflection of that fast pace, clearly visible in this written picture. The compulsions that the author is always haunted with, (“ I wonder if I’ll have the courage to stay sober”) thoughts about his inadequacy popping up whenever he is in pensive mood, his penchant to involve in action whenever the demand so arose, and other facets of his adventurous life makes good reading. Descriptive just enough and mostly sticking to the point, honest and fast paced, this collection of experiences tells us a lot about the man and his environs.

 Reviewed by Roy T James for Reader's Favorite
_____________________________________________________________________



 ‘Reconciliation & Suffering:  A Brief Perspective on Western Culture ‘ by  Frederick Karl Van Patten is an examination of western culture from the philosophical angle. The author, as someone fascinated by questions such as, Who am I?, Why is there evil? Or, Is there a god?, was drawn to a study of religion and philosophy, to recognize as the main themes permeating the western culture, reconciliation and suffering. Examining the writings of religious thinkers, of philosophers from ancient Greece, Middle Ages and modern times, Frederick identifies the essence of western culture as an impulse to reconcile, with a commitment to suffering. He finds that in eastern culture also, “suffering” is considered existential. However, In the West, suffering is the by-product of existence— and it’s inevitable, in the East, the root cause of suffering is deeper. Suffering exists because of ignorance—ignorance of the true nature of reality.
‘Reconciliation & Suffering:  A Brief Perspective on Western Culture ‘ by  Frederick Karl Van Patten presents the gist of eastern as well as western ideas about this particular aspect of life. No philosopher of some significance is left without being critically probed, in aligning the perspective with the theme presented in the book, reconciliation and suffering. This enabled me to have a new and interesting look at many of the questions of life, our philosophers generally relish. Simple and easy to read, this book is a good addition to anyone interested in learning more about humankind, and, as the author mentions, to answer many a question from curious minds.

 Reviewed by Roy T James for Reader's Favorite
_____________________________________________________________________


'YouTube : TheRealYouTubeStory.com' by EricSkaggs.com is the true story, as the author puts it, of how he, Eric Skaggs, gave Chad Hurley the entire idea for YouTube from domain name in exchange for a promise of one percent of the $40 billion company. It begins when a chance encounter with ‘a tall guy wearing a baseball cap with a bag slung over his shoulder’, turns into something more than casual discussions on creating websites, and, other possibilities and ideas. In the ensuing discussion, the author mentions of the possibility of creating a website to do many things with videos, which could potentially become a good earner, thanks to the proliferation of videos and related development likely to happen in this field. The author readily parts with the idea, proposing that ‘1% of whatever profit you make, is mine’. This is accepted, and the idea is taken to its fruition and beyond by Chad Hurley, who conveniently is forgetful about the 1%, ever since.
'YouTube : TheRealYouTubeStory.com' by EricSkaggs.com is a well researched work. Each and every loose end about the ‘1% of profit’ agreement and other communications with Chad Hurley seem to have been well tied up, except for period between the seeding of the idea and, youtube becoming famous. Scores of phone calls and visits made by the author to establish the factual position regarding his involvement with youtube makes interesting reading. Even as a reviewer, I sympathize with the author for his loss of gain and wish for a speedy settlement.

 Reviewed by Roy T James for Reader's Favorite
_____________________________________________________________________


'Random Thoughts' by Jennifer Johnson is made up of Random Thoughts, Poetry, and Inspirational Quotes. The random thoughts of the author grace such varied subjects as, ‘What could be keeping my dog’s mind busy’, or, ‘What, writing really means to me’. Then comes poetic thoughts of similar vein, ‘Where there is death, there is also life….’, ‘Walls of stone with history within’ becoming a castle, or, ‘Soul selects her own society’. The inspirational quotes also cover a lot of topics, from the mundane to the sublime, for example, “A lie is a lie even if everyone believes it. The truth is the truth even if no one believes it.”
'Random Thoughts' by Jennifer Johnson are thoughts from ever racing mind of an author. Truly random and therefore truly interesting, I found almost all the topics covered offered something new to ponder. Take her take on prisons. “They get to not work and watch TV and read all day. Nap when they want to and take more naps… Our justice system needs to be harsher” Prisons definitely should be harsher than life outside, where, for everything one has to struggle. However like most other literary giants, the author has chosen more topics of negative emotions or sardonic humor than what we encounter in regular writings and with our simple lives. But for these, this is an easy read, entertaining and educating. The poems, most of which on emotional bonding, the quotes, many of them inspirational in nature and the author’s unique views on a bunch of topics, are a real treat.

 Reviewed by Roy T James for Reader's Favorite
_____________________________________________________________________



'Ralph Pincus, Occultist Extraordinaire' by Marcus Lambert does not fit into an established branch of writing. Like all acknowledged supernatural thrillers, many of the identifiable components of such work, like, hidden diabolism, supernatural horrors, other powers of darkness and exotically beautiful women reside in these pages. But, these are also intertwined with more earthly and natural human encounters, much of which being related to sexual exchanges.
'Ralph Pincus, Occultist Extraordinaire' by Marcus Lambert is a story of beyond the world experiences of humans, vampires and other earthly and unearthly beings. As can be expected from a book of this genre, the author has succeeded in transporting the reader to a glamorous era of aristocratic manners, exotically beautiful women, regally-appointed apartments and other accompaniments. Much of the ambience provided by the unearthly elements of this story, in fact has been neutralized by the rather raw exchanges in the sex domain.


 Reviewed by Roy T James for Reader's Favorite
_____________________________________________________________________

















Featured post

All my Books and all my Hubs

Sometimes I wonder , how is that each one of my friends happen to be so memorable a character? One among them, who is also a little mor...