Thursday, November 14, 2013

What is Your What by Steve Olsher

Given the fact that I've been an avid pursuer of life purpose since the beginning of my own life, I couldn't wait to pick up Steve's book and see what advice he had for me. Though I've learned a lot along my own personal path, Steve actually had a few tricks up his sleeve.

First, most of the concepts in this book are simple enough for most people to understand.  It's strongly recommended that you  not sit and attempt to read the entire book at once.  Honestly, take one concept at a time and really mull it over in your brain before you move on to the next.  Otherwise you're going to find yourself inundated with an overload of information that you cannot process.

Nearly everything I read in this book I agreed with.  For me, it was a rehashing of knowledge I had already gained.  There were a few key points that I hadn't previously picked up on that definitely pertain to my day to day living and psyche and I'm thankful I grabbed them now for future use.  It was interesting though because these few points had me wondering why I hadn't realized them before.  They're simple enough and completely logical, just for some reason they hadn't come to my attention.

This book isn't just about discovering your life's purpose, it's also about teaching you what to do with it.  Just the simple knowledge of what you were born to do and what will fill your soul with joy isn't enough.  You have to then take the next steps towards a life of fulfillment.

Different than other self-help books I've read, this one actually gives firm instruction for getting the results you want. Usually, I'm given the thought process behind finding the information I want, but not how to actually find it.  This has step by step instructions as well as a recapping session and true stories to back it up.

This is a definite read for everyone out there who is self-aware and interested in learning more.  Even a seasoned journeyman will come away with new information.  Those who are new to the idea, it may take a little longer to get through the book, but it's not about how long it takes, it's about how much you learn.

Daughter Cell by Jay Hartlove

Leading genetic researcher Randolph Macklin wakes up in Malaysia to find a four month gap in his memory, his wife dead, and his daughter in a coma.  As he and his psychiatrist, Sanantha Mauwad unravel the mystery, they find nothing and no one are what they appear to be.  Ancient cults collide with cutting edge science in this tale of too much power driven by too much passion. (taken from the back of the book)

This is the second book in the trilogy of Sanantha Mauwad.  If you've already read The Chosen, then you know that you need to read this book and don't need to read any further.  Also, look forward to the release of Isis Rising, which will be the third and final book and is schedule to be released in 2014.

Though it started out a little slow and clichéd, I found myself falling into the story pretty rapidly.  The use of genetics is simplified enough that anyone reading it will understand what's going on and it's actually quite fascinating.  For me, the fascinating part is that I can comprehend how this could easily happen in a medical paradigm where ethics and morals do not exist.  Scary! 

Though I was fascinated by the genetics, what got me even more was the spiritual/paranormal content in the book.  Again, we have items that push the boundaries of possibility, but are definitely possible.  I'm not explaining that well. Basically, things you wouldn't think of being done...but you realize that it could be if someone had the mental instability and the correct knowledge and ambition. 

This was a thrilling and compelling read for me.  The only complaint I have is that I really didn't like the character of Sanantha Mauwad.  She is the only reason I won't seek out the first and third book.  I'm not saying if they fell in my lap I wouldn't hungrily gobble them up, but she really annoyed me.  She had little character and depth.  I found her inane and dull.  The visual in my head for her as I was reading was that of a large grey blob.  The intensity of the story and the feelings I had for the other characters made up for it though.

Ten Healthy Teas by Valerie B. Lull

On top of being a time-honored beverage of choice for many, many teas have health benefits as well.  Being an avid tea drinker, I was really excited to get a peek at this book!

You'll find recipes for tea bags, loose tea, and nice tea mixtures.  Each tea has a few recipes after it.  Preceding that, you'll find information on the type of tea as well as it's medicinal and health uses and it's history.  Even if you aren't a tea drinker, it's a pretty fascinating book.

The ten main teas are:  ginger, garlic, green/black, chamomile, cranberry, peppermint, raspberry, goldenseal, Echinacea and lemon.

My copy is going in my kitchen with the cookbooks, but I've given some serious thought to making up gift baskets with this book and one of each type of tea.

On an extremely personal note:  I've suffered with severe arthritis for years.  Using ginger tea, I was able to alleviate pain enough that I could actually sleep!  I'm not suggesting this for any of you.  Follow doctor's orders.  For me, though, it feels good to have another pain management option.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Colette by Michelina Vinter

With impending WWII and being fresh from secretarial school, the world is open for Colette.  When she agrees to be a tour guide for an agent named Adam, her future takes on a different color.  Once she agrees to marry him, she sets herself on a path of heartbreak, intrigue and adventure.

Starting out as a naïve teen, it's really interesting to watch Colette mature.  She doesn't let anything hold her back or keep her down.  She finds in herself the need to be a superhero of sorts and goes after any knowledge that may help her.  As a character study, she's fascinating.  We can watch each moment she go through shape the person that she's becoming.

This was a surprisingly quick-paced read.  I couldn't seem to put it down.  Even when it seemed like the main storyline was in a lull, I just knew something unexpected was about to occur.  For me, this was like reading a sweet true love story, with added twists.  Just when you found your heart 'aaww'ing at something sweet that just happened, you find your brain going 'well where did that come from?  how horrible!  is this really happening?'  In a world that most of us are thankful to not have to live in, Colette takes traumatic situations and turns them into something to make her stronger and better.

Whether you're looking for  a quick read or something that'll make you think about your own life, Colette is a sure fire winner.  Packed with romance, passion and intrigue, this book is sure to satisfy.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Pinned by Charles W. Massie

I actually picked up this book after reading it's sequel Stains on the GavelStains tells the story of Mark, who has been wrongfully incarcerated.  Pinned is the back story.  It's the story of how Mark fell in love with a woman, Roxie, over the internet, moved to Kentucky, and became 'pinned'.  Keep in mind that this is all based on a true story.  It's one man's fight against a woman who 'done him wrong' and the 'good ole boys' in the Kentucky judicial system. 

For me, I was fascinated with the second book, but I couldn't quite put my finger on why.  It wasn't a bad book, but I've read better.  Something about it just kept me hooked, addicted.  I was interested in finding out Mark's back story and how he ended up in his situation in Stained, but I also was hoping for further insight on exactly what it was that made Stained so fascinating to me.  I found it!

First of all, this is an intriguing story.  If you read one of the books, you simply have to pick up the other and read either the back story or the continuation.  It really is an interesting saga.  You'll find yourself flipping page after page to find out what happens next, even though it really isn't an edge of your seat kind of thrill.

So, here's the fascination.  I've never read a character like Mark before.  The entire story is told from Mark's point of view.  The thing is, that we really get to see Mark's perception of himself, which is unusual to this degree.  For example,  Mark and Roxie will be having an argument.  Mark will say or do something that will make me cringe.  Usually, it's something that I would never put up with.  Then Roxie would retaliate and say something hateful or go off pouting.  Sounds like a normal argument, right?  The interesting thing is that Mark then can't figure out why Roxie is so upset and begins to think she's 8 crayons short of a box.  As readers, we get to see Mark from our point of view, but also from his point of view, which can be two drastically different things.

Also, once I picked up Pinned and read it, it changed how I felt about the second book.  In the second one, I felt a modicum of sympathy for Mark and just couldn't comprehend how people like Roxie get away with it, or live with themselves.  After reading the first book and finding out how everything really went down, I actually felt a little sorry for Roxie.  I'm not saying she's in the right, or the wrong, just that I didn't see her as the cold and calculating woman that I found in the second book. 

Read it for yourself and judge!  Who's at fault here?  Is Roxie a psychotic people user or did Mark really do the things he's accused of?  Though this book was originally written to warn people of what can happen, if you look at it from a fictional perspective, it turns into a fascinating 'well, who's the bad guy?' sort of book.

Friday, November 1, 2013

The Hanging Tree by Michael Phillip Cash


Seventeen year old Arielle is at a crossroads in her life.  Disenchanted with her father, she is testing the boundaries of his trust by dating someone he does not approve.  Under the moonlit sky in Long Island, Arielle and her boyfriend meet under the infamous hanging tree.  The couple's destiny is rooted to the five spirits in the tree whose lives and deaths are determined by an ancient curse.  Will her future be determined by the past or will Arielle's choices alter the course of her life?  (taken from the back of the book)

I would have to consider myself a Cash fan.  I adored Brood XStillwell was a little predictable for me, but I still enjoyed it.  I was really anxious to find out how I'd feel about this one.  Would I find it predictable or would I find it the fascinating read of Brood X?

I was pleasantly surprised.  Though it didn't have the gruesome scenes I loved about Cash's work, it was still gripping.  The over all story was predictable, but written in such a way that I just didn't care.  The characters are easy to identify with and you find yourself sucked in immediately.  Goody Bennett in herself is a fascinating character study.  I'm hoping Cash goes back and writes a book just about her. 

You'll find yourself stuck in several different time periods, with all of the characters from the hanging tree.  Each has his own story to tell and you'll want to hungrily lap it up until you've heard them all.  Though it's a novella, which for me means a quick read, it was a wonderful escape from reality and a great way to pass the time.

If you've read any of Cash's other works, then you know that he improves with everything he puts out.  I'd love to see him delve even deeper into the thrilling sci-fi/fantasy world and I can't wait to see what he comes up with next. 

And Let There Be A Hero by R.M. Kidwell

Dayton, Ohio, is stunned by a series of savage deaths.  Is it a vigilante murderer?  A heartless assassin?  Is it two different serial killers?  That is the dilemma facing Detective Kalen Gatt.  Added pressure comes from Chief Danforth, who was a personal friend of one of the victims.  The friend was an icon whose coattails the Chief planned to ride in order to fulfill his political aspirations  Kale does not need an even more disgruntled boss with all that is facing him.  An when he is unexpectedly drawn into a horrifying terrorist plt...it just may be too much for "Special K" to handle. (taken from the back of the book)

I admit it, I'm a mystery junkie.  This is definitely a series for my keeper shelf.  Well, it will be once I get the rest of them!  The first book in the series, The Wailin' Beaver, sets the stage for Kale to become the hero he's destined in And Let There Be A Hero.  Though I haven't read the first book, it wasn't integral in reading the second.  We start out with Kale returning to work after a horrible accident has disfigured him.  If you want to find out exactly what happened, there's an excerpt at the back of the book, but I suggest you not read it until after you've read the book.  In my opinion, it was more fun to read about Kale's 'adventures' and then go back and find out how he was disfigured.  Then again, those that have read the first book already know all about it.  But, I digress.

As characters go, this book has it all.  I'll  admit, in the beginning I found Kale to be a total jerk, but at least he was a jerk in a funny way.  Towards the end of the book he actually had me laughing out loud, and not exactly in appropriate spots of the story to be laughing.  You really become invested in Kale and his crack team as well as his family.  The outlying characters are forces to be reckoned with as well. I love that I wanted to climb into the book several times to smack the funk out of somebody.  

Since this is a mystery book, I have to rate that as well. And it gets 30 ladders high in the air!  Yeah, that doesn't make sense, but seriously, as mysteries go, this one is pretty high up there.  See, the book is separated into sections and each one is a different crime for Kale to solve.  Sometimes I had a clue who the culprit was, but more often than not I was completely stumped and found myself screaming, 'WHO KALE?  WHO?  COME ON!  WHO DID IT?'  Let me tell you, a fun read all the way through!  Just when you think you have a handle on who did what, the unthinkable happens and you have to readjust yourself.

Honestly, this is one of the most thrilling rides I've had in a long time.  I can't wait for A Day in the Darkness to be released.  In the meantime, I'm going to see if I can hunt down a Wailin' Beaver!  This is a must read for you mystery fans out there!

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