Sunday, November 23, 2014

Review: The Conscious Leader by Shelley Reciniello

Why do things go wrong in companies that shouldn’t? 

The answer, according to Dr. Shelley Reciniello, often lies deep beneath the surface in the unconscious processes of leaders and their employees. 

Working as a sort of psychological detective, her job has been to consult with organizations and individuals to figure out what the real problem is when a poised for success corporate initiative fails, when a promising individual or team can’t perform, or when a well-conceived departmental project doesn’t deliver. When what has gone wrong doesn’t make sense, she looks for the unrecognized, underlying psychological issues that caused the problem. What’s going on unconsciously, out of awareness, is often more important than what is happening on the surface. 

How can you wake-up and become conscious of secret motivations, unrecognized Achilles heels, and hidden agendas in yourself and your employees? 

The Conscious Leader describes the nine most fundamental but often neglected truths about human beings and their workplace behavior in jargon-free, accessible concepts and examples. With humor and inspiration, Dr. Reciniello provides you with the principles and practices necessary for conscious leadership which you can immediately apply in your organizations.

Received for review.

If you enjoy psychological studies then this is the perfect book for you.  It delves into the reasons why people do things and will give any supervisor reading it a lovely warm, fuzzy feeling that he now understands the people under his control.  

However, this was written both by and for people who have never actually had lower positions in the workplace so they have clue what it's actually like for the people working for them.  The book presents some nice ideas and they are clearly well thought out, but they are simply not effective.  Yes, they sound wonderful but they just aren't applicable in the real world.

So, if you are a manager looking for some insight into manipulating your employees this may be a good read, but just don't expect it to actually translate into real results in your organization.

★★★☆☆ = Liked It

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Saturday, November 22, 2014

Featured Book: A Christmas Embrace by Margarita Felices

About the book:

A Model Christmas. Did Ashley make a terrible mistake leaving the man she loved to pursue her career? She’s home for Christmas and about to find out. 

A Christmas Dance. Christmas is the time to be with your loved ones, but not for Jane this year. Christmas will never be the same when you’re left alone. But this year a promise will come true. 

The Christmas Gift. Maya didn’t do Christmas, but this year she’s met Nick and it feels like he’s the perfect gift. But Nick holds a very dark secret and after he leaves Maya with a special gift, she’s anxious to repay him for it.

About the author:

I live in Cardiff with my partner and three little mad dogs and I work for a well-known TV broadcasting company. I love living in Cardiff because, for all its modernisation, there are still remnants of an old Victorian city. I love writing and base my stories in Cardiff because it has such character. When I can, I go out to the coast and take photographs, mind you, we have a lovely castle in the city centre and a fairytale one just on the outskirts, so when I feel I can't write anything, I take a ramble to those locations and it clears my head.

I suppose it was inevitable that some day I would write a novel. My teachers at school used to limit me to no more than ten pages. When I left school, I wrote short stories for magazines, and it paid my way through college. I am Gothic, I love the fashion, the architecture and the music. The club in my novel is real. When I was writing book one, I got all my club material and clientele from here, I wouldn't have finished that section without it.

Review: Dead Behind the Eyes by Brock Car

Newly promoted CEO Max Riley boards the corporate jet in Denver. When it lands in Omaha he is dead - murdered by an unseen assailant. As the people closest to Max are investigated we learn relationships are rarely what they seem. While police compile the hard evidence, private investigator Claudia Sullivan seeks answers she will find only by examining the deeper psychological mysteries that are more difficult to solve. Like why Max - a good man and loving father - put his children through such mental torture. Or, what turns bad behavior for some into chronic obsessions for others? 

The stories of infidelity, sexual addiction, devoted spouses, and the privilege that comes with power are both touching and tragic. As much a whydunit as a whodunit, Dead Behind the Eyes weaves a patchwork of compelling stories and relatable characters that explore why some of us are strengthened by adversity and others fold.

Received for review.

I liked the idea of this book more than the actual reality.  The story was intriguing and very well done but it did not create any sort of emotional connection with the characters.  It felt like reading about a true crime story or watching a documentary.  It was interesting, but easy to put down.  There was nothing compelling enough to keep me reading.

I did enjoy that the story covered everything from the circumstances before the murder to the murder itself, and through to the trial and its aftermath.  It was an interesting choice and added to the story.

The resolution was quite unexpected but, frankly, rather disappointing.  By that point I just didn't care anymore.  I didn't care who murdered Max or why, I just wanted the book to end.

Overall, this was a decent read but not one that will keep you up late at night reading past your bedtime.

★★☆☆☆ = Just Okay

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Friday, November 21, 2014

Featured Book: Tame the Wild Land by Patrick Shannon

About the book:

In the year 1700, a young French Army Captain sets foot on the Gulf Coast of our continent, trudges off into the wilderness and becomes one of this country's overlooked Founding Fathers. Warrior, explorer, intimate friend of the Indian nations, imprisoned twice for smuggling, Louis Juchereau de St. Denis was the driving force in the settlement of French Louisiana and Spanish Texas. In the Novel, "Tame the Wild Land", the drama of his remarkable life is portrayed. After enduring extreme hardships and risking his life for the King of France, he becomes disillusioned and dedicates the rest of his life to his two remaining loves: Louisiana and the beautiful Manuela. But the impetus that repeatedly places him in harm's way is the dilemma his colony faces: to keep Louisiana French, he must insure that Texas remains in the hands of his Spanish adversaries. The book is a fictional treatment of a period in our history that is somewhat neglected: the role played by France and Spain in the taming of wild America.

About the author:

Patrick Shannon is a direct descendant of his book’s protagonist, Louis de St. Denis, which gave special meaning to the writing of Tame the Wild Land. His three previous books have won five literary awards. Born and raised in Southern California, he currently resides in Montana. He is 82 years old and still writing.

*This post may contain affiliate links*

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Featured Book: A Holiday From Time by John Mero

About the book:

Turtle is desperate for a holiday. He has been holding the world’s timepiece, a clock, on his back for so long that it is now stuck to his shell. 

His friend Frog agrees to carry the clock while Turtle is away on vacation. But Frog catches a terrible cold, and each time he sneezes, the clock jumps forward—causing utter chaos in People Land. 

Meanwhile, Professor Hare, whose job it is to keep the clock running smoothly, races to find a cure for Frog’s cold, but can he set things right before Turtle returns? 

Find out in this delightfully illustrated story, where time has gone mad!

About the author:

John Mero is a writer and storyteller who enjoys creating characters kids can identify with and a sense of excitement and action. A Holiday From Time was co-written by his wife Ros and two children, Bonnie and Cal.

*This post may contain affiliate links*

Monday, November 17, 2014

Author Interview: Ritoban Chakrabarti author of When She Smiled

Ritoban Chakrabarti, author of the book When She Smiled, stopped by for an interview.

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

I like to call myself a jack of all trades. I want to live a complete life following the goals I've set in my dream board. I don't believe in making lots of money. I don't believe happiness depends on my bank balance. I believe in leaving a legacy in this short life of mine. In the last eight years, I've taken up several roles. Programmer, Manager, Entrepreneur, HR, PR, Editor, Marketer, and now, a writer. Writing a novel has been on my dreamboard for a while, and its checked off now. 

What do you do when you're not writing?

When I'm not writing, I'm working on new technologies and marketing strategies that we implement in my startup, MarkAce; apart from managing my team, and handling operations. I love travelling, and try to get as many vacations as possible.

I also love karaoke, and I'm seriously considering taking that seriously and release a music album in 2015. Let's hope that goes well.

When did your first start writing?

I have written a couple of marketing books that were released as ebooks a few years ago. I also frequently write official company communications, press releases and blog posts. I also write on my personal blog, but not too frequently. On my blog, I typically write about motivation and ideas. 

Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?

While growing up, I was heavily influenced by Enid Blyton's works. I used to read one novel a day as a child. As a teen, Harry Potter played a big role in my life and I have JK Rowling to thank for that. My recent favourite is Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger. I read it a few months ago, and it gave me the push I needed to write my own novel. I really liked how Holden Caulfield's character developed as the pages turned. 

What inspired you to write this particular book?

I grew up in Shimla, which is a little hill station nestled in the Himalayas. Life is very different there compared to major cities and metros. I had an interesting set of characters based on the people around me, and there was a story waiting to be written. So I wrote.

What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why?

My favourite part is the ending. That's when all the feelings and actions of Mrityunjoy Roy's character reach a decisive point and that's when he makes the choices he's supposed to make.

When She Smiled is book that relays how important little decisions and choices influence our destiny and I believe everyone can relate to that. 

What is best writing advice you can give?

Hustle. Take time out, drown down all the noise, take yourself out of your comfort zone, and just write. Writer's block is merely an old wives tale. If you have something to write about, anything to write about, just go ahead and write it down. It doesn't matter how bad you write. Putting down your thoughts into words is the only way good writing is done. If you keep writing every day, soon your book will be finished.

Is there anything else you'd like your readers to know about the book?

Its coming out in February next year, in digital and paperback. It will be available worldwide in all major ecommerce stores and in major bookstores.

If you'd like to win a free copy, then you may sign up for the Goodreads giveaway here.

To get the latest updates and developments before the launch of the book, you may sign up here.

About the book:

Mrityunjoy Roy is a fifteen year old Bengali who has spent the last ten years of his life growing up in Shimla. 

While his family is completely academically oriented, he wants something more. 

Finally he meets Akanksha in school, who turns his world upside down with her gorgeous looks and mind boggling smile. 

As fate would have it, she joins his tuition, and thus begins the torrid year of puppy love, romance, heartbreak, tragedy, and self discovery. 

Set among the scenic Shivalik hills of Shimla when mobile phones and internet were non-existent, this is a story of how an average young teenager comes to terms with his destiny. 

About the author:

Hi. My name is Ritoban Chakrabarti and I am a full time Internet Marketer… That was easy.

Well, I haven’t shared my past anywhere else, so I’ll try to be as clear as possible.

I used to be a good student in school because my parents forced me to study long hours (I’m glad they did). As I reached 9th and 10th grade, my main motive was to get in the Armed Forces, but somehow I had a big fracture that shattered those dreams.
So, I did my Computer Science Engg from UIET in the beautiful city Chandigarh. My college days are fully responsible for what I am today.

I have loved the internet since I got my internet connection in 2005. Earlier, I used to just surf and chat and make friends in social networks. But, slowly I started developing websites for fun. I love creating things and therefore I used to build websites without any motive of earning.

By some twisted change of fate, I somehow got a few people who wanted me to build/code their websites for them and were willing to pay me good money for doing so. Now that’s what I liked: ‘People were paying me for doing something I loved’. So, I got involved in freelancing and used to charge a nominal amount for my work. I always overdelivered on my projects and got amazing ratings/reviews.

After doing that for about 6 months, I suddenly thought of launching my own product on Joomla (I love this CMS). So, after about 3-4 weeks of effort, I launched ReadyMadeJoomla with no marketing knowledge, no launch tactics, no list, no planning, no affiliates, no nothing! It was just me and the product in the Clickbank marketplace.

Somehow, people started buying the product and affiliates started promoting it. So, I made quite a lot of sales (which gave me the initial capital to invest further) and it still sells a few copies each week.
In November 2008, I had my CAT exam (MBA Entrance) for which I got a few calls for great colleges in India. But, I didn’t appear for any interviews because I had decided I would get totally involved in Internet Marketing.

I always hated ‘working for somebody’ because I wanted to do what I wanted to do, and when I wanted to do it. There is a sort of magic when you don’t work under somebody: ‘You have a freedom and peace of mind unlike any other job’.

I like experimenting and discovering new techniques that I can implement and also teach others. I believe information should be free.

Visit me on Twitter and Facebook.

Featured Book: Property Cop, the Patrol: My Time in the Concrete Jungle of Phoenix, Arizona by Timothy W. Newton

About the book:

When criminal justice student Timothy Newton applied for work in private policing of a group of apartment complexes, he found himself in an abyss of urban warfare, pitting law enforcement against gangs, and law and order against out-of-control crime. Newton became a man on a mission: to create a safe and crime-free environment for honest, law-abiding citizens in the most violent policing precinct in Phoenix. In Property Cop, Newton shows how the war on drugs can be won and how urban apartment complexes can be made safe. With fascinating, suspenseful, and even humorous tales of his patrol experience, Newton’s book offers an entertaining and fast-paced ride on the wild side of urban policing. “If you feel you missed your calling in law enforcement, then look no further than this book for an arresting read. Follow the adventures and see the challenges which drugs, gangs, and prostitution brought to one neighborhood, through the eyes of one courageous officer.” —Sharon Dancu, WPC, Gloucestershire Constabulary (UK), (Ret.). “In an entertaining and informative fashion, Newton brings to life the dark side, light side, and realities of crime prevention from the unique perspective of private policing/security, a valuable, yet often unacknowledged industry over a million strong.” —Coy Johnston, Professor of Criminal Justice, Arizona State University. Book Signing Event Schedule: September 2, 2014- Carroll County Memorial Hospital Lifestyle Fitness Center at 1pm-? Posters and Books will be available.

About the author:

Timothy W. Newton was born in Chillicothe, Missouri, but has lived and worked in Kansas, Oklahoma, and England for the last ten years. He presently resides in Arizona, where he works as a patrol sergeant and supervising overnight patrol for a master-planned community and is enrolled in a graduate degree program in Law Enforcement Management. His first published work was an article on his experiences in the private security industry in Careers in Criminal Justice (2014). He has two sons and a daughter, who reside in Missouri and Arizona.

*This post may contain affiliate links*

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Guest Post: Jeannine Wiest author of The Alchemy of Self Healing

Jeannine Wiest, author of the book The Alchemy of Self Healing, stopped by to share with us a piece she wrote.

About the book:

We have more power to heal ourselves than we have been led to believe.

Your body is "Instant Messaging" you all the time.

These messages contain a unique cellular treasure waiting to be accessed. The discovery that your body (not your mind) is listening to you will transform your life. Your mind runs old programs, "defaults" to all that is familiar in your life, even when what's familiar is pain. The Alchemy of Self Healing will show you how to tap into your body wisdom that craves health and joy.

Take the Alchemy Quiz, follow the exercises, read the essays. At the end of 30 days, when you retake the quiz, you'll discover you have new resources and tools at your fingertips.

Jeannine Wiest, CMT, CST has created a week-by-week guidebook for tuning into the body so you can:

  • Transform old stories energetically lodged in your body that drain your well-being.
  • Reconnect with your body wisdom to access your creative resources.
  • Develop habits to navigate the cellular information your body communicates.
  • Respond to challenges with calm, focused energy.
  • Transform into the extraordinary version of you.

About the author:

Wiest is an advanced certified craniosacral therapist, Reiki master, and holistic coach. She has danced on Broadway, dissected a human cadaver, and today works with a wide variety of clientele from movie stars, stressed-out executives to clients who are living anxiety-ridden lives.

*This post may contain affiliate links*

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Featured Book: The Village of Dead Souls by Michael G. Wallace

About the book:

Killed in battle, the ancient Athenian Prometheus, awakes inside a body that is not his, in a future world unfamiliar to him. 

Trapped in modern day Denver during the annual Zombie Pub Crawl, he is surrounded by humans with their strange language of moans and hisses. 

Joined by a growing number of living dead, the new arrival helps them form into a well organized army during the zombie uprising. 

Only they are not here to destroy the living, they have come to save their species. 

The future of the human race relies on necromantic secrets inside the shadows of The Village of Dead Souls.

About the author:

Michael Wallace grew up reading all the history texts and novels he could find. His library shelves are filled with a range of genres from H.G Wells and Jules Verne to Michael Crichton and Tom Clancy. It is only natural he writes thriller time travel adventures with some history thrown in for fun. At the point the reader becomes comfortable with the pace of his stories, he will hit you with a plot twist which will change the game.

His first novel The Red Fire Fly, broke new ground when it was released with its own soundtrack. The combination of music with a novel adds a third dimension by letting the readers hear the background of the scenes. His second novel, Eternal Patrol, tells the story of a submarine that disappeared during WWII and resurfaced 70 years later. A story so detailed, it will make the reader feel as though they are inside a navy sub during the war. His first venture into zombie apocalypse is The Village of Dead Souls. A different perspective recounted through the eyes of the undead.

Review: The Universe Builders by Steve LeBel

We have all heard of the fabled perfect being, the Greek God. 

Well, how about a geek god? Named Bernie, yet. Fresh with his diploma from God School, determined but unsure, bright but without confidence, Bernie faces the challenge of building his own universe. If only it were that easy... 

An old school rival will do whatever it takes to ensure Bernie's failure, even if it means destroying his world. 

Get ready for a battle of good and evil between gods where only one of them plays by the rules. The noose tightens around Bernie's neck as the stakes are driven higher, threatening to cost him everything unless he can outwit his evil foe. 

A fascinating tale of good vs. evil and a young hero on a journey of self-discovery in an original, humorous, fantastic wrapper.

Received for review.

With a bumbling universe builder and his fellow god who just wants to see him fail this sounded like a fun read and it was.  It's basically the story of one jealous boy trying to hurt another (the standard good versus evil) but it has elements of humor and kindness that are missing in many books of this sort.

This was an entertaining and worthwhile read and I certainly recommend it.

★★★☆☆ = Liked It

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