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Author: Paul T. Martin
Title - Pivot Points: Creating a Culture of Preparedness & Resiliency in America
Those who seriously prepare in advance for (any type) of disaster have been granted many nicknames from Society. This book mainly covers the ones labeled as the Preppers or Survivalists. The signs of possible crisis are all around us. Few people are so sheltered that they have not seen them. However, human nature lets people believe that nothing so dire could ever actually happen to them. Mr. Martin’s book is an attempt to educate American readers as to why it is wise to be prepared. It does not matter if you believe that zombies will walk the land someday or in the possibility of civil unrest. It could be the fear of pandemics, economic crisis, or any other dozen types of unwanted problems. The author urges people to prepare for any and all problems that they believe could happen in their lifetime.
In the Introduction, the author clearly admits that most of the things in this book are not new. We have simply forgotten them over time. He also tells you up front that he will talk about God, guns, citizenship, charity, politics and will be critical of certain government actions and policies. As I read on, I found myself disagreeing with one or two things; however, I was warned in advance that the author did not expect me (or you) to agree with everything. In fact, I grinned whenever I remembered the warning. I prefer someone to be up front and honest with me – and for that someone to realize/respect that I will not bow down and simply agree with everything he says.
The deeper I delved into this book, the more often I would recall little words of wisdom from my mother. One was “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Another was “Think ahead. Try to be prepared, because it is better to be safe than sorry.” I have always thought that our Elders were encyclopedias of knowledge. This includes anyone older than you. Of example, I am the baby (and only girl) of my family. I grew up with two older brothers. By watching my elder siblings make mistakes and get punished by our parents, I learned NOT to repeat their mistakes. Therefore, my parents told everyone that I was easy to raise or that I seldom got into trouble. I was prepared and avoided disaster.
For myself, I found the most interesting sections of this book involved:
1. A Time Magazine article entitled “Why We Don’t Prepare.”
3. What is a “Culture of Preparedness?”
4. The top ten causes of death in America
5. At what point do someone’s disaster preparedness efforts become a symptom of a mental illness?
***** FOUR & A HALF STARS! It all boils down to the fact that it is not the government’s job or the church’s job to take care of you. You are ultimately responsible for your own safety, well-being and happiness. This book can help you begin. ***** (I borrowed this book from Amazon’s Kindle lending library.)
Author: Siegfried Kra, M.D.
Title - Twilight in Danzig
(A Privileged Jewish Childhood During the Third Reich)
Our Book began in the year 1932. Siegfried Kra was about to reach the age of six. Though Siegfried was a Jewish child, his father, Henry, was a famous industrialist which gave the boy a privileged status. With an important father and lots of money, Siegfried had a governess, Fraulein Marlow. He loved his parents, but they had often been busy being attending parties and doing business (mostly involving coal).
Fraulein Marlow came from a noble but impoverished family and was devoted to her charge; however, she also belonged to the Nazi Party and was scheming to convert Siegfried. Unknown to the parents, the governess took the boy to Nazi meetings and encouraged him to join the German Youth group (that Siegfried imagined to be like the Boy Scouts).
While out with his parents at various times, Siegfried witnessed several terrible things happen to people he knew, simply because they had been Jewish. So when the “Brownshirts” began forming a group during an opera they had been attending, Siegfried pointed them out to his father – who immediately got his family out. Siegfried and his parents watched the horrific beatings from outside, flat on the grass, and being quiet as possible.
**** FOUR STARS! My synopsis only gives a small glimpse into Siegfried Kra’s young life in Danzig. Over half of the book deals with events around the year 1932. Adolf Hitler was on the rise to the Chancellery. By the year 1938, the Nazification of Danzig was completed and Siegfried’s father had finally realized that he had to get his family out of Danzig before they joined the list of rapidly growing casualties. Siegfried details how they managed to escape the Gestapo.
This autobiography is a must for history buffs. The only real flaw of this book is the poor editing, especially toward the beginning. Most of the author’s childhood had been spent daydreaming of becoming a Captain someday. Yet when a doctor saved his life, Siegfried changed his mind about what he wanted to be. (On a side note: It was during the trip to the doctor that Siegfried’s family met Hitler and, not knowing the family to be Jewish, Hitler patted the boy on his head, spoke to Siegfried, and shook hands. Reporters caught it on camera. When it appeared in the newspaper, his family was ostracized from the Jewish community. This too, is detailed.)
Most publishers know that I do not review non-fiction books, due to what I see and hear about during my job at a local hospital. I read to escape real life and to have a “happily ever after” ending; however, I made an exception for this book because (while scanning the inside) it was well written and seemed very interesting. I am now very happy that gave this book a chance. I found it to be enthralling. Had the editing been better, it would have gotten the full five stars from me. ****
Author: Dr. Christina Schlachter
Title - Critical Conversations for Dummies
This book is a step-by-step reference manual to help one deal with various difficult conversations. Though the workforce is its main topic, I believe the techniques offered could also be transferred to be of use outside the office.
Schlachter’s writing style is clear and easy to understand. She gives examples of Dos and Don’ts and Why. Whether you are dealing with someone on the phone/email, attending a business meeting, dealing with a hostile client or employee, or one of numerable other situations, this book has sound advice on how to handle, not only the conversation, but your own actions.
***** FIVE STARS! My job is clerical in a hospital (after hours.) Much of my time is spent on the phone with patients or their loved ones. This book helped me visualize why someone may start yelling and what I can do to defuse the situation. I learned about nonverbal cues, how to react to the reactions of others, reducing stress before a conversation begins, making decisions during conflict, and so much more. I cannot recommend this book highly enough and will be keeping my copy close at hand. ****
Author: Karen Wiesner
Title - The World of Author Karen Wiesner
(A Compendium of Fiction)
When it comes to romance, I mostly enjoy authors who seem to have eclectic tastes. Author Karen Wiesner is such a writer. Though Wiesner has written non-fiction, it is her romances that intrigue me. (Contemporary Romance, Holiday Romance, Historical Romance, Inspirational Romance, and even some Romantic Suspense.) Sometimes Wiesner adds in some mystery and/or paranormal elements. To me, the author just seems to enjoy tasting various subgenres whenever she cooks up a new story.
You like romances that are no longer than a single book? How about a series, but each title can stand alone? Do you enjoy anthologies? How about holiday themes? No problem. Wiesner has written them all! Oh, perhaps you are an aspiring author and you need to learn how to make your story more interesting to today’s fickle readers. You need to know how to market your story or just where to start? Again, Wiesner has written it.
This thick, oversized book will give you a close look into Karen Wiesner’s world. Here is every title Wiesner has done since the year 1998. Also enclosed are the upcoming releases for the next few years. Each book has a thumbnail picture of its cover and a synopsis of the story. Then Wiesner gives various types of information; which publisher was used, the cover blurb, information about the cover, honors/awards received, what inspired the story, interesting things that happened while she was working on the book, the status of the book, and even upcoming releases if the title is part of a series. Aspiring authors should strongly consider picking up a copy of this book. Use it to compare which publishing companies accepted what types of genre.
***** FIVE STARS! Wonderful resources can be found within these pages. However, if you are simply a fan of Karen Wiesner – as I am – then you need this compendium more than anyone else. Not only can you reminisce about the stories you have already read and enjoyed, but you will get inside information about reissues, upcoming stories, and so much more. *****
Author: Jeff Ashton with Lisa Pulitzer
Title - Imperfect Justice (Prosecuting Casey Anthony)
(Set in Florida.)
Not quite three-years-old, little Caylee Marie Anthony was last seen on Monday, June 16, 2008. Her mother, Casey, did not report Caylee’s disappearance for (let’s say) thirty-one days. During this time, Casey told numerous people various lies as to where her daughter was. All the while, Casey partied as if there were no tomorrow. She was eventually accused of killing her daughter. On July 5, 2011, nearly three years after her initial arrest, Casey Anthony walked away, virtually scot-free. It was the trial and verdict that shocked America.
Linda Drane Burdick, the chief of the sexcrimes/child abuse unit, had the Caylee Anthony case since the beginning. Frank George, a ten-year veteran of the State Attorney’s Office, was already on board with her, but as this shaped up to be a homicide, Linda wanted Jeff Ashton on her prosecuting team. She got him too.
In this book, prosecutor Jeff Ashton explains how Casey Anthony was (finally) forced by her mother, Cindy, to admit the disappearance of her daughter, Caylee. Ashton then begins to tell the behind-the-scenes story of the investigation, the trial, and the stunning verdict.
**** FOUR STARS! If you are looking for a neutral book about the case, go elsewhere. Prosecutor Jeff Ashton’s version is very biased. Though (personally) I totally agree with Ashton, there are sections in the book that I feel turned into lectures and got off topic. These areas happened too often for me, but I eventually managed to consider these sections as static or filler. However, when it comes to stating facts, showing how conclusions are reached, and explaining the science used in research, Ashton did wonderfully. Ashton goes into detail about how the crime scene is handled, the various lies and mood-swings of Casey, Decomposition Odor Analysis, DNA, forensics, and so much more. Through it all, Ashton’s wording ensures that the reader can easily comprehend everything.
I have a problem with one description (beginning at the bottom of page forty-three) where Casey enters Universal Studios to lead the officers with her through the gate and to her fictional office. This section reads, “She took a left at the first building, walked to the end of the roadway, and took them left again at the next intersection…” One of the photos in this book uses arrow marks showing the route taken. Unless I am viewing it totally wrong, they entered the gate and took a right at the first building. (I had someone else read the section and compare it to the photo. That person agrees that I am not mistaken.) Yes, it may be a minor point, but it still bothered me enough to mention it because I was doing my best to pay strict attention to all the evidence. Still, I found this True Crime novel to be utterly fascinating. (And that is saying something since I seldom read non-fiction.) Well worth your time and money. ****
Author: Gus Pelagatti
Title - The Wicked Wives
(Based on the true story of the 1938 Philadelphia murder scandals)
As the novel begins, the setting is Philadelphia. It is September, 1937. Every year Lillian Stoner and her husband, Reggie, celebrate her birthday with a lavish dinner at the Ritz Carlton. But they are no longer a happy couple. After nine years of marriage, Lillian regrets much. Mostly, Lillian regrets her actions which caused her rich father to leave most everything to her brother.
A pneumonia epidemic is plaguing the city. Several weeks after their dinner at the Ritz Carlton, Reggie dies in bed. The doctor has full confidence that Reggie died of pneumonia, but his mother, Nancy, believes otherwise and demands an autopsy. Nancy had caught Lillian, high on opium, with another man the year before. Reggie may have forgiven Lillian, but Nancy did not. Knowing that Lillian's uncle is Deputy Mayor Bill Evans, Nancy insists that the district attorney's office conduct an independent investigation into the cause of Reggie's death.
District Attorney Pat Connors calls in Thomas "Tom" Rossi. As first assistant district attorney, Tom is respected by his peers and has the complete trust of his superiors. Viewing Reggie's body, Tom notices signs of possible poisoning. Evans wants Tom to not agree to recommend an autopsy. Evans all but promises to make Tom the next D.A. The bribe backfires and Tom decides to treat the investigation no differently than any other. By doing so, Tom places his future political career on the line.
**** FOUR STARS! "The Wicked Wives" is based on the true story of the 1938 Philadelphia murder scandals. The story relates events from 1937-1941, including the trials.
Set during the Depression, several Philadelphia wives were convinced to take out (forged) insurance policies on their husbands before killing them with poison. Most, if not all, of these persuasible ladies were egged-on by Giorgio DiSipio. Giorgio ran a tailor shop in South Philly and built himself quite the menagerie of local married women. Many of the women knew each other through him. Even though each lady knew Giorgio was sleeping with the others, every single one believed he would eventually dump the others and marry her. Other people were also involved in the murders and insurance scams, but Giorgio seemed to be at the center of it all.
I, as the reader, received a glimpse into the lives of these women. I was astonished at how easily this oily con man convinced each woman to push aside the love she had for her husband, commit adultery, and then murder her spouse.
The author, Gus Pelagatti, has experience as a trial lawyer and uses his knowledge to bring the South Philly poison ring to vivid life. At the same time, Pelagatti keeps the speech patterns, forensics, and Philadelphia's scenery true to the Depression era. This is a fantastic story for fans of True Crime and/or Psychology! ****
Author: Mark Seal
Title - The Man in the Rockefeller Suit (True Crime)
In July 2008, Clark Rockefeller kidnaps his seven-years-old daughter during a supervised visitation. The ultimate failure of his elaborate plan is the last solid brick removed from a purely fabricated 'wall'....30 years of carefully crafted lies and brazen deceit all come tumbling down. Author Mark Seal sifts through the rubble, trying to piece together who is/was Clark Rockefeller--serial impostor.
***** FIVE STARS! This isn't the type of book I would ordinarily go looking for, but from the very beginning I was hooked! At age seventeen, a young German arrives in America on a dubious student visa; he re-invents himself and begins an unbelievable journey. From the incredibly tapestry of woven lies that was James Frederick Mills Clark Rockefeller to the gullibility of the wealthy and highly educated upper-class (including his wife of twelve years!), I was amazed again and again with how readily this man spun stories and how quick others were to accept them. It left me wondering how in the world could anyone live a lie for their entire lifetime. with no one knowing who you really are? And when that life falls apart, who are you then?
The fact that Rockefeller has since been charged with murder adds yet another dimension to this jaw-dropping story. Even if you are not a true crime-type of reader, this book will blow your mind! Mr. Seal's meticulous research combined with a gripping ability to tell the story brings this real-life drama back to life--only this time, the truth is told! *****
Edited by: Karina and Robert Fabian
Title - Infinite Space, Infinite God
*** Father Andrew Greeley has been quoted as saying that science fiction/fantasy writers are the philosophers of today. This point is proven true in this diverse collection of stories wherein issues such as cloning, bio-engineering, space flight, evangelism, time travel, and aliens are viewed through the eyes of faith. In particular, I was struck by the stories of a young priest realizing that all it takes to be human is to have a soul, a teen-aged girl finding her purpose in life carrying the gospel to the stars, and a time traveler being given a glimpse of the pivotal moment of human history. The characters are in no way white-washed saints, but flawed humans, though some stretch the definition, who struggle with what is right and even use curse words, something rare in inspirational books, despite the fact that it does happen in reality. The anthology's message can be summed up in one line - paraphrased -from a story near the end, the message of Jesus is for all beings, no matter what planet they are from.
Also, if you prefer print, be sure to mark this book down for purchase from Amazon and B&N online book stores after August 15, 2007! ***
Author: Robin Cohen Westmiller
Title - Blood Tastes Lousy With Scotch
I read to escape reality and to assure myself that there will be a "happily ever after" ending. I let other reviewers tackle the non-fiction novels. However, on rare occasions, a non-fiction book captures my attention. Such is the case with "Blood Tastes Lousy With Scotch".
What can one person do when the justice system is set up in such a way that distant relatives, lawyers, and state approved organizations can LEGALLY STEAL your parents' entire life savings and financial assets? The answer is nothing, unless that one person is ready to step up to the plate, chance losing everything they own, and happen to have a miracle or two occur. If your parents live over 3,000 miles away, the chances are worse. This is exactly what Robin Cohen Westmiller faced and won.
Ruby and Reginia Cohen grew up during the Depression Era. They worked hard all their lives tending their bakery business in Ellenville, New York. Robin Cohen Westmiller was their only child. Robin, her husband Bill, and their daughters lived in California; totally across country. As the events in this book were happening, the daughters were in school. Robin, herself, was enrolled in college, as a law student.
In the spring of 2002, Robin's mother called to inform her that Ruby had suffered a minor stroke while working at the bakery. Seventy-nine-year-old Reginia was able to take care of her husband though and did not want Robin to fly all the way to New York. The stroke forced them to sell the family business. Ruby had little or no damage physically, but his memory and mental faculties were severely impaired. Robin had no idea how badly her father was impaired though. The beginning of the end occurred in March 2004 when Ruby flew to Florida, against Reginia's urgent pleas, to visit his niece, Gail. Gail immediately began using Florida's weak justice system to imprison Ruby within the state of Florida, begin stealing all of Ruby and Reginia's financial assets, keep Ruby hidden from his immediate family, get his Power of Attorney, become his beneficiary, and more! Of course, Robin took it all to court. But Florida's court system only ended up giving guardianship to Florida's Jewish Family Service. This did NOT take Gail out of the picture, as hoped. The Jewish Family Service and several different attorneys could now begin legally draining all financial avenues. Ruby never had any idea that the people holding him in Florida were attempting to have him divorced from Reginia, take all his money, hide him from his closest family members, take possession of his home in New York, and so much more! Robin often had no idea where her father was being held or how his health was doing.
***** In this book, the author is exposing everything and everyone involved. Readers will find copies of all the documents that support Robin's experiences. All names and agencies in Florida are revealed. This includes full names of Robin's cousins, the judges, the attorneys and the names of their companies, as well as all the organizations and employees that either helped legally steal from Ruby and Reginia or helped free Ruby from being imprisoned within the state of Florida. Hopefully, this story will offer help and support to those who have been victimized so that no other family has to suffer the same. I found this to be an eye opening experience that chilled me to the core. Look out all you heartless agencies and attorneys! Author Robin Cohen Westmiller is taking names and kicking butts! *****
Author: Margaret L Carter
Title: Different Blood: The Vampire As Alien
*** On Forever Knight, Janette once described her people, the vampires as walking among humans, but apart from them. Though this line is not quoted directly, it does sum up nicely the theme of this book. Alien in this sense means apart more than actually from another planet. From the earliest stories of Vlad and Elizabeth Bathory down to the Carpathians of Christine Feehan's series and Spike of Buffy fame, the vampire's history is traced and examined, leading to a variety of discoveries, among them, that the vampire's greatest use is to give authors a semi human character who is apart enough from humanity to act as a lens through which to observe. Though some descriptions of how the vampire is portrayed may be rather repulsive, others are not. If nothing else, the reader who wants a road map of which books of the genre to buy and which to avoid, will find this utile. ***
Compiled & Edited by: Dorothy Thompson
Title: Romancing The Soul: True Stories & Verse Of The Existence Of Soul Mates From Around The World & Beyond
This is an anthology of about sixty true stories from various people. The book opens up with information about what is called "the soul mate phenomenon". It shows ten traits in determining a soul mate relationship, the need for timing, and the three different types of soul mates. Yes, there seem to be three different kinds of soul mates, with a possible forth! You would need to read this book to understand. Then the sixty stories appear. Many stories are short, some are of moderate length, and some are simply poems that tell the tale. It is all brought together and edited by Dorothy Thompson.
**** At the end, each person who contributed their story has a brief paragraph about them. Sort of like an "About The Author" section. Readers also get to see if the authors are still with their soul mates today. (Think Epilogue.) All-in-all, I found the book to be very interesting. I warn you, there are some very touching tales. Yet, I must admit that a few of them were just beyond my believing. They may have really happened. Who am I to say? But you need to read this novel with an open mind. After all, everyone is different. One thing is for sure, you will not be bored. It is very interesting reading. ****
Author: Rita Y. Toews
Illustrator: Jon Ljungberg
Title - The Bully (Ages 6-12)
This is a FREE book that anyone can read about dealing with bullies. You can either download to your computer, it takes only seconds, or open it up from the site. It looks like a picture book! Simply click the arrow to turn each page. And just like a "print" book, the reader sees the page flip. COOL!
The story is set in an elementary school and teaches how a bully operates and what your child and you can do to stop it all. There is also a multiple choice quiz for parents/teachers and children to do together. For the younger kids, there are lots of wonderful drawings that can be printed out for coloring.
Highly recommended reading for ages 6 - 12.
Title - Brush Country: A Collection Of Western Poetry
***** This is a terrific collection of poetry with a western flavor. There are eighty-one poems in all.
Some touch upon the wildness and harshness of the wild, such as "Brush Country" and "Hide & Seek" ...
Some touch upon nature, such as "Wild Flowers" and "Rebirth" ...
Quite a few are filled with humor, such as "Midwife" and "Jake" ...
But most of these will make the reader picture the Wild West and the towns of long ago, such as "Simon and Seth" and "Sam". Highly recommended for all fans of poetry, western novels, or historical romance novels. *****
Rik Feeney: title - Gymnastics: A Guide For Parents & Athletes (Self Help)
***** Here is a book that seems to cover just about everything pertaining to gymnastics. It begins with the benefits and where to look in your area (or online) for a suitable site. The readers get a heads up on what to look for while touring various possible gyms and an estimate on the costs. Just because the person teaches the class does not mean they are really qualified. So this book tells you what to ask the instructor to make sure he/she is worthy.
Next the book goes into basic maneuvers on mats, balance beams, bars, vaults, etc. Several pictures are included to help illustrate moves and procedures. The terms used in gymnastics will not frighten you because they are listed in a glossary for your use.
If you decide to become advanced or to compete, the rest of the book is for you! It covers what to expect, costs, and about travel. There is even a section of the Dos and Don'ts at a competition and how the judges score. Even better, there is detailed information of how to get a gymnastics scholarship for college! A sample resume and cover letter are enclosed as well.
I am happy to be able to recommend this book to anyone interested in the field of gymnastics for themselves or their children. Why? Because the author, Rik Feeney, is a former gymnast. He coached in the U.S.A., Australia, and Bermuda so he knows what he is writing about. To find a resource, such as this one, that is straight from someone who has been there and done that is invaluable! *****
Shayna Lilley: title - Accepting Invitations: A Collection of Inviting Poems
**** This book is a collection of thirty-eight poems by author, Shayna Lilley. Many poems are interlaced with lovely works of art for extra pleasure. The poet's style varies, creating a welcome mix so the reader never gets bored. Many of the poems seemed to be pain filled memories or reflections of youth. But quite a few were uplifting.
On a personal note, my favorite is titled "My Lady". It is different from the others since it tells a story of ruler who sent her warriors into battle. But amusing whimsical poetry has always been a weakness of mine.
For those who enjoy their poetry to be fictional or to have complex meanings, this book is not for you. But for those who enjoy mainly non-fictional poems of childhood memories, lost love, tragic history, and life after death, buy this book! You will love it. ****
Tabatha Yeatts: title - The Legendary Mae West
The story of the life and times of the legendary Mae West. Follow her life through many changes. Good, bad, indifferent. How she got her first start in show business. Her future career. Her marriage. Her travels. How she got her ideas for the shows she was in. A surprising fact to this reader, her arrest!!! And her subsequent career as an article writer. She donated the money she made from her article, to charity, which one, read and find out. I learned a lot about this woman. I never knew she was a play write. Very interesting, to hear someone's name all your life, but not know much about that person.And for her ''time'', her plays were controversial, to say the least, and the one quoted as being the most controversial, The Pleasure Man, was shut down numerous times and the cast along with Mae, arrested. What was their crime, read and find out. This story covers the death of Mae's mother, whom she was very close to, and Mae was devastated over the death. Learn how Mae got her start in the movies, and who had a hand in helping make this a reality.Do you know what kind of pet Mae had? No, it was not a dog, nor a cat, if you want to know, read the story.
Mae West, a gutsy lady that testified against the men that robbed her. The life and times of Mae West, a truly interesting read. On a last note, in 1998, with Mae no longer with us, she was listed as number 44 in Playboys sexiest stars of the century, can you guess what she would have said? Read this story to find out. I cried, and I laughed and I enjoyed it very very much. Gave me a new insight to this delightful woman with a mind of her own,during a time when this was not traditionally observed.
For your convenience you may read more about, or purchase this book, from the author by clicking HERE!