Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Featured Book: Omniverse by Liam Parker



About the book:

What if you were haunted by strange and terrible dreams in the night? But what if they were not dreams, but preludes of the truth? What if you met the woman of your dreams in a nightmare? What if you learned that you were doomed to a terrible destiny, and that there was nothing that you could do to escape it? This is the fate that befalls Jack Thornton, a former Marine lieutenant who served with the famed “Walking Dead” in Vietnam and who is now a lawyer in San Francisco. His quiet, ordered life begins to unravel, however, when his nightmares begin to shape his waking hours. The grim images that haunt Jack’s sleep are not of Vietnam, but of things and beings not of this earth. Foremost among them is an adversary older than time and evil beyond imagining: the Yarvaak Golu, The-God-Who-Waits. Jack comes to realize that he is something far more than human. He is a Hero, an undying servant of the Absolute, doomed to an endless cycle of violent death and rebirth. Jack Thornton finally accepts not only what he is, but that his very soul and our world are in more than merely mortal danger. Jack’s journey of discovery leads him down a dangerous and uncharted path to a deadly meeting with his eternal enemy, Heinrich Kuhl; who, like Jack, is also more than merely human. Kuhl is a Servant of Death: a willing pawn of far greater and vastly more malevolent entities than himself. But Jack Thornton will find friends as well as enemies. He will meet the hauntingly beautiful Aiyanna, whom he encounters in a terrifying dream; and Brighid, the fiery red-haired goddess who loved him in a far-off time and place where he bore a storied name. He will also meet Sean Plunkett, once a feared IRA gunman and soldier of fortune, and now his guide on the Way of the Hero. This then, is the beginning of Jack Thornton’s tale, the first book of The Omniverse Chronicles.



About the author:

Liam Parker has been a busboy, a bank messenger, a bartender, an editor, a history teacher, a trial lawyer, and a United States Marine.

A lifelong martial artist, he holds the rank of 4th Degree Black Belt in Okinawa Shorin-Ryu Karate.

He lives in the Pacific Northwest, where he is currently at work on the sequel to Omniverse.





Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Review: The Messy Baker by Charmian Christie

Since when did every cookie on the plate have to be just like the next? Or each layer of cake exactly the same height? Each piecrust an impeccable work of art and encircled by stunningly perfect pastry leaves? To the uninitiated, all that fastidious, spotless baking is intimidating, not to mention exhausting. The Messy Baker celebrates baking as it happens in the real world—sweet, messy, fun, not always gorgeous, but a way to show love. Which doesn’t make it any less delicious; to the contrary, Charmian Christie’s flavor combinations rise far above the ordinary. Why have a raspberry galette when you can enjoy a raspberry-rhubarb galette with drippy, unctuous walnut frangipane? Or how about a Brie and walnut whiskey tart? It’s all yours without the rigid perfectionism or complicated instructions of other gourmet cookbooks.

Christie’s warm, irreverent voice brings the fun back into baking at a time when home cooks—pulled from pillar to post by jobs and errands—need to have fun. The Messy Baker is a full-service book that not only guides the reader through simple, delicious recipes but is also there to help out when things go wrong. For anyone who gave in frustration when that cake collapsed or the frosting smeared, Christie’s practical advice is here to rescue even the worst disaster and inspire the baker to try the next recipe.



E-galley received for review.

I love flipping through cookbooks and when I saw the gorgeous dark chocolate brownies pictured on the cover of this book I simply could not pass it by.

I was a little bit surprised to discover that nearly 50 pages of the book were devoted to a lengthy introduction detailing the ingredients and pans needed to make the recipes.  I was expecting a simpler cookbook with down-to-earth recipes, but this was a bit more involved.

I was pleasantly surprised that once I actually made it to the recipes there were a combination of both sweet and savory options.  "Baking" usually means sweet recipes so it was nice to see savory recipes.  The sweet to savory recipe ratio was about 1:1 which I felt made it a little heavy on the savories.

I liked that each recipe had an accompanying photograph so you knew what it was supposed to look like.  That's always immensely helpful when trying to achieve the desired result.

Overall, I was not particularly impressed with the recipes.  There was nothing simple and many seemed to have entirely too many things going on, like the Cherry and Lemon Macaroon Meringues.  Are they macaroons or meringues?  Why combine them?  It was strange.

So, while the premise was interesting and there were a couple recipes that I'd like to try I wasn't blown away.  If you can find it at your library it's worth a look but I wouldn't rush out to buy a copy.

★★☆☆ = Liked It



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Monday, April 28, 2014

Featured Book: The Last Neanderthal Clan by Lisa Lareau and Charlie Boring



About the book:

Lisa M. Lareau and her father Charlie Boring share a lifelong interest in prehistoric civilizations.

Lisa grew up listening to Charlie’s tales about cave-dwelling clans, and the characters in those stories have been developed and expanded in The Last Neanderthal Clan.

Charlie and Lisa live in Virginia, but have traveled extensively in Europe, where they set their novel.

They hope that you enjoy reading their novel packed full of Neanderthal fiction as much as they enjoyed writing it.




Excerpt

As the man and woman arrived at the base of the cliffs, the man stopped and rolled a large boulder, that seemed to be leaning against the cliff, to the right behind a clump of bushes. The boulder had hidden an opening to a small grotto which was about twelve yards deep and six yards wide. The opening was only about four feet wide and four feet tall. As they entered the grotto and Kardi’s eyes adjusted to the poor light, she saw that there was a small pool of water at the back of the grotto. The man had a pre-prepared fire circle near the right grotto wall. Kardi saw that any smoke from the fire would exit the grotto through a crack along the top of that wall.



About the authors:

Lisa Lareau is the daughter of her co-author, Charlie Boring.

She is a professional analyst that developed an interest in story telling from the stories her father told her as a young girl.

The stories were of cavemen and women and the animals that roamed the earth with them.

Charlie Boring contributed ideas that led Lisa to write "The Last Neanderthal Clan."

Contact Authors at thelastneanderthalclan@gmail.com




Friday, April 25, 2014

Featured Book: Remnants of the Gods by Erich von Daniken



About the book:

Controversial New Evidence that E.T.’s Directed Prehistoric Construction

The author of books that have sold more than 63 million copies, Erich von Däniken now reveals startling new evidence that extraterrestrials with superior technology directed the design and construction of built complexes long before the pyramids of Egypt and Mayaland, the temples of Delphi and thousands of years before the ancient civilizations with which contemporary archeologists are familiar. The third in a series of five titles about previously unknown facts of prehistory, Remnants of the Gods: A Visual Tour of Alien Influence in Egypt, Spain, France, Turkey, and Italy lays out compelling proof of how whole continents were surveyed thousands of years ago and hundreds of Stone Age holy places were located at equal distances from one another, forming giant squares and triangles.

Where did the master builders of the massive 1,200 BC Phoenician cities learn complex architectural techniques? Von Däniken finds examples across the entire Mediterranean region and Europe of precisely chiseled and erected megalithic temples, pyramids, obelisks, cities and a vast network of grid lines connecting them, that the people of those times could not have possibly have known how to build.

Within this book, the author answers the question: From whom did primitive Stone Age builders receive this sophisticated architectural and structural engineering knowledge?



About the author:

Erich von Däniken is arguably the most widely read and most-copied nonfiction author in the world. He published his first (and best-known) book, Chariots of the Gods, in 1968. The worldwide best-seller and was followed by 32 more books, including the recent best-sellers Twilight of the Gods, History Is Wrong, Evidence of the Gods, and Odyssey of the Gods (all published by New Page Books). His works have been translated into 28 languages and have sold more than 63 million copies. Several have also been made into films. Von Däniken's ideas have been the inspiration for a wide range of TV series, including the History Channel's hit Ancient Aliens. He lives in Switzerland but is an ever-present figure on the international lecture circuit.



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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Featured Book: Cold Warrior by Greg Johns



About the book:

Upwards of 20 million Americans served in the military during the Cold War. Few of those have been lauded, honored or even remembered.

One of these unsung Cold Warriors stands his watch from midnight to six in the morning on a nuclear powered ballistic missile submarine.

As he fights against boredom and weariness, he reflects back on how he got here and his experiences in Vietnam.

All this is intermingled with the very serious business of being in charge of one of the country’s most lethal deterrents, trying to keep the Cold War from becoming hot.




About the author:

Greg Johns was a Cold Warrior having served as a Naval officer from 1970 to 1975.

He had tours of duty with the Brown Water Navy and Naval Advisory Group in Vietnam and later served on a nuclear powered ballistic missile submarine.

The incidents and experiences in this book are fictional but are based on some of his own experiences.




Monday, April 21, 2014

Featured Book: Zoe Lucky and the Mystery of the Pink Pearl Necklace by M. Carol Coffey



About the book:

Zoe Lucky is a red-headed, freckle-faced seventh grader at the Winston-Thurston School in Shadyside, a suburb of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. But this 13-year-old is no typical teen. After helping Detective Tracy crack the Green Gables Mystery last summer, she and two of her classmates formed a sleuth group named ZINGERZ—and they’ve already solved two problems at school. But when one of their member’s family is involved in a violent crime, the group shifts its focus to more serious matters. A pink pearl necklace is the main piece of evidence, and it keeps reappearing as the mystery unfolds. Join Zoe Lucky and her constant companion Paki, a plucky African Gray parrot who speaks both Swahili and English, as they come face to face with danger and try to solve this multicultural mystery. A final, shocking revelation will sweeten, deepen, and complicate the lives of Zoe and her friends, bringing them closer than ever before.



About the author:

M Carol Coffey brings her love of “The Burgh” to life in the Zoe Lucky Mysteries, a series set in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and its suburbs. The Green Gables Mystery highlights Oakland, a cultural center of libraries, museums, concert halls, and higher learning, and The Mystery of the Pink Pearl Necklace focuses on Shadyside, Oakland, downtown Pittsburgh, and Mount Washington. Carol attended Tam O’Shanter Art Classes at the Carnegie Library of Oakland. She sang in the gospel choir at Saint Benedict the Moor Church in the lower Hill District and traveled with the choir to Rome to sing for Pope John Paul II. Carol wrote a monthly column as editor for the Pittsburgh Woman’s Magazine, and she is a member of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, the Audubon Society, and the National Wildlife Federation. Carol has been a public speaker for 20 years. She has also entertained and sang professionally and been a guest on TV and radio shows.




Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Featured Book: The Atlantian Chronicles by Gary English



About the book:

What if there were still living survivors from the sunken island of Atlantis, and what if they find themselves suddenly thrust back to the surface and into a world they know little about? Survival is the force which guides their actions, and humankind only a means to an end. What will happen? Who decides who lives and who dies? Between these pages lie the answers to these questions and more. The Atlantian Chronicles is a story of survival, mystery, betrayal, and of two mismatched lovers whose accidental encounter becomes a means for humankind’s survival. The initial encounter puts the whole planet on edge, altering our concept of the world and the universe itself. What happens next may surprise you, yet one question still remains to be answered. Would you make the same desperate choices these Atlantians made in order to survive?



About the author:

Gary English spent over 10 years in the Navy where he served on both a Submarine and Destroyer. It was while he was working for a contractor in Saudi Arabia (with much time on his hands) that he wrote his first book.

Currently this 61 year old student is attending Mott Community College where is is working on updating his electronic skills and attaining a Computer Engineering degree.




Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Review: Leverage Your Laziness! by Steve Bookbinder and Jeff Goldberg

Because 4 hours is just too much work!

Jeff Goldberg and Steve Bookbinder combine their wit, intellect, and common sense in this entertaining, data packed instructional manual. They draw on their personal insight, diversified experiences, and passion for life coaching in the writing and production of Leverage Your Laziness!

In this collaboration they introduce an approach designed to use leverage and laziness as a strategy for attaining effective performance with the least work and the added bonus of sensing the enjoyment of accomplishment. Steve helps the reader discover how to recognize and utilize their strongest strengths in their personal strategy for success. Jeff introduces keys to focus on those things you enjoy most in your work to increase your personal productivity with the least effort.

Sixteen principles, dozens of motivational quotes from dozens of recognized leaders, and the opportunity for individual readers to get specific in applying these principles personally make up the format of this humorous, practical, and powerful guidebook. Concise, and compact, yet comprehensive Leverage Your Laziness! is an important tool for the established entrepreneur, for successful leaders, for life coaches, and for those who "wanna be"rich and famous.



Received for review.

Despite my high hopes for this book it wasn't particularly helpful or inspiring.  It is essentially for the "lazy" high paid professional (such as lawyers, accountants, etc.) and not for the other 99.9% of the population.

It provides worn out ideas such as outsourcing everything possible to someone who will do it cheaper.  They give as an example a lawyer who makes $350 an hour making her own copies, and how she can hire an assistant to do that for her for $18 an hour.  The person who helps her realize this is her life coach who she pays $200 an hour.  So, if you are the assistant who makes the $18 an hour this book is clearly not meant for you.  The authors do not deign to address such "low paid" peons and apparently consider anyone working for that amount of money to be unworthy of their advice.

So, unless you are a lawyer or other professional looking for a collection of rather standard advice on how to streamline your "tough" life to slip into your Birkin bag then give this a pass.

☆☆☆ = Just Okay



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Monday, April 14, 2014

Featured Book: An African Student in Russia by Onesphor Kyara Ph.D.



About the book:

In 1975, Dr. Onesphor Kyara left Tanzanian, East Africa, for Russia. He spent one year learning Russian at Donetsk State University, Ukraine. In 1976, he transferred to Kuban State University, Russian Republic, to pursue a five-year degree in universal history. He graduated with MA (History) in 1981.

The book presents his life experience in the communist society and its education system. It includes his education both inside and outside the classroom. Shortage of goods and inadequate finances necessitated participation in the black market, relying on goods from the West. His trips to London, Stockholm, West Berlin, Paris, Rome and New York are touched upon.

Among notable observations are, ignorance is a logical legal defense; the UN should have come up with a universal language; English is a tough and polluting language; space exploration is a necessity the world cannot yet afford; original revolutions have taken place in two nations; democracy has yet to exist; communism does not work anywhere, and capitalism does not work everywhere. Super power Cold War has been replaced by "Super Religion" covert wars. Bongo (Swahili for brain, mind, and consciousness) is the ultimate creator, and destroyer. Nourishing bongo is the purpose of life. We all need to read the Bible, Koran, and Torah. Religious organizations should participate in government. Natural selection stopped with the first bullet; it will resume with the last one. The future of the world hinges on universal language, true democracy, disarmament, and Bongoism. 



About the author:

Dr. Kyara left Tanzania for United States in 1985 to pursue post-graduate studies at Brown University, Providence, RI. He earned MA (Anthropology) in 1988. He transferred to Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ, for doctoral studies, earning Ph. D. (Anthropology) in 1999. He teaches anthropology, sociology, and related studies for Thomas Edison State College, Trenton, NJ, and University of Phoenix, Phoenix, AZ. Three Russian observers contributed toward his "energy concentration hypothesis" of race origins that stipulates humans are black, or six color reductions from it across the latitudes. Lastly, education system that is not ecologically contextualized is irrelevant.




Friday, April 11, 2014

Review: The Sister Season by Jennifer Scott

Sometimes coming home for the holidays isn’t as easy as it seems….

It’s December 21, and the Yancey sisters have been called home. When the girls were young, holidays at their family farm meant a tinsel-garnished tree, the scent of simmering food, and laughter ringing through the house. But as the years unfolded, family bonds fractured, and the three sisters scattered and settled into separate lives. Until now. The Yancey sisters are coming to spend the holidays with their mother. They’re also coming to bury their father.

Claire, the youngest, a free spirit who journeyed to California, returns first. Then comes Julia, the eldest, a college professor with a teenage son of her own. And finally there’s Maya, the middle child, who works so hard to be the perfect mother and wife.

During the sisters’ week together, old conflicts surface, new secrets emerge, and the limits and definitions of family are tested. And as the longest night of the year slips by and brightening days beckon, the sisters will have to answer one question: When you’re a sister, aren’t you a sister forever?



Received for review.

I'm not normally a big Chick Lit fan but this looked intriguing so I decided to give it a try.  I was quite pleasantly surprised.

Although I didn't particularly like any of the three sisters or their manipulative mother as people their stories were compelling and the author did a beautiful job of weaving them together and making you hope for a happy ending for the family.

If you're a Chick Lit fan you are sure to enjoy this well written family drama novel.

★★☆☆ = Liked It



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Thursday, April 10, 2014

Review: Coaching for Caregivers by Yosaif August

This book promotes caregivers' resiliency and helps them sustain themselves by reaching out for the love and support they and their loved ones need. It addresses the paradox of how difficult it is to help people who are stressed out and overwhelmed without, inadvertently, adding to their stress. This is especially so with caregivers who are at risk of burning out.

This lively and easy to use how-to manual coaches caregivers - family and friends who are providing care to a loved one - to reach out for help before they, themselves, get so depleted that they burn out (and, in turn, need caregivers for themselves!). It does it in a way that their reaching out does not become just another item on their to-do list.

In his introduction, Yosaif August, the author, invites caregivers to use the book as a just-in-time resource - to leaf through it, find topics that speak to them and then use it in a series of ten minute reads.

Part One of the book coaches them to take stock of what they need, what their strengths and resources are, and any beliefs they have that may be holding them back from reaching out for love and support. Part Two coaches them in finding the best ways for them to do it, including using the new caresites i.e. free websites for them to use in communicating with people who care about them. The third section provides resources for them to use to help sustain them in providing care for their loved one.

Mr. August is an award-winning healthcare innovator (inventor of Bedscapes®), life coach and keynote presenter. He was a family caregiver for his own parents and mother-in-law. In this book he draws on what he learned from those experiences, from his life coaching clients and research interviews he conducted with family caregivers who have been especially effective in reaching out for what they and their loved ones needed.

Besides the caregivers themselves, it is also a valuable resource for friends, neighbors, professional colleagues, fellow congregants and others who are concerned that these caregivers are at risk of burning out but haven't yet found a way to help them. As the author says, "friends don't let friends burn out any more than friends let friends drive drunk." With this book in hand, they can reach out to the caregiver and offer to help them use it.

This book is endorsed by a wide range of respected experts in the world of caregiving, spirituality and medicine - and by the leaders of the three major caresites (CarePages, Caring Bridge and Lotsa Helping Hands) - who also recommend its use by professionals: social workers, therapists, nurses, healthcare chaplains, physicians and others.



Received for review.

This is a must read for anyone who is in a caregiver position.  It may seem overwhelming to even consider reading this at a time when you feel your focus needs to be 100% upon your loved one but it's a very important read.

The book helps you learn to dial down your panic and fear and help you cope and adjust to your role.  It provides valuable resources for caregivers and gently helps to remind you to create a balance in your new life.  This is especially helpful for those who are at the beginning of a long term caregiving journey.

The author's gentle, calm, caring demeanor really comes through in the writing and you can just feel how he wants the very best for you and your loved one.

I definitely recommend this to everyone in a caregiving role.  It can provide the guidance you need during difficult times.

If you are concerned about the time investment it will take to read and how that may interfere with time spent with your loved one be assured that this is a fast read with very short chapters that take only a few minutes to read so you can read it while sitting at your loved one's bedside while they are sleeping and can put it down as soon as they awake without losing the flow.

★★★★ = Really Liked It



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Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Featured Book: Affairs of Another American Revolution by William Clark Gayton



About the book:

The Petrolian Man brings the British Empire to its knees, entangling a General, a Slave, and Sky-Captains, in the Affairs of Another American Revolution.

The American Revolution failed. Great Britain is in the Industrial era, and has consolidated its rule by taking to the air with its airships.


However, British influence is being thwarted by the affairs of the colonial resistance led by an ambitious general, a rivalry within the British Imperial Naval SkyFleet, slave revolts ignited by the empire’s most barbaric experiment, a Sky-Captain's family, the Petrolian Man's quarrel with society, and an untimely dispute with an industrialized Asia.


An uncultured and godforsaken Imperial Society is on a downward spiral along with civilization itself.


Invasion is imminent



About the author:

William Clark Gayton was born in the Philippines on August 6, 1994. He is the son of William Anthony and Hildegarde Gayton. Since 1995, he was raised and is currently residing in Jacksonville, North Carolina. Other than writing his hobbies include Piano, Chess, Video Games, listening to Music, Tennis, watching movies and reading books, and hanging out with his friends. Star Wars is the most influential story to his work. He has recently graduated from Northside High School, and is currently attending college to get a Creative Writing degree.




Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Review: Orbit Shifting Innovation by Rajiv Narang and Devika Devaiah

Orbit-shifting innovation happens when an area that needs transformation meets an innovator with the will and the desire to create, and not follow, history.  At the heart of every orbit-shifting innovation is the breakthrough that achieves a transformative impact.

Business, social enterprises and even governments need orbit-shifting ideas to create a transformative impact.  But how does that groundbreaking idea come about, and what translates it into actuality?  Charting the vast global landscape of orbit-shifting innovation and using unique examples from prominent businesses, the social sector, entrepreneurs and public services -- spread across the United States, the United Kingdom, Europe, Africa and Asia -- the authors build insight into the key drivers behind taking on a transformative challenge and provide a unique framework to navigate the pitfalls and challenges in making it happen.

Orbit-Shifting Innovation empowers everyone to overcome the obstacles to innovation and provides the tools to maximize the impact of transformative change.  The inspirational examples and tools for success compel leaders and entrepreneurs not only to pursue impossible challenges but to lead the successful journey from conception of an orbit-shifting idea to actually creating history.



Received for review.

This is an incredibly dense book that reads more like a textbook so if you're expecting light, motivational business ideas this is not for you.  It is also unfortunately printed in rather small text which is packed onto the page with very small margins which can quickly lead to a loss of focus for the reader.  Thankfully the chapters are split into smaller sections so it is relatively easy to find your place again when you pause and then pick the book back up.

If you ignore the book's physical shortcomings this is a very thought provoking discussion of innovation and what it means for people and business.  It covers topics ranging from healthcare to technology and provides numerous examples of innovation in the world.

If you can keep your focus through the many challenges to reading that this book presents it's really a very good read and well worth the time investment.

★★★★ = Really Liked It



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Monday, April 7, 2014

Featured Book: Deadly Provocation by T.F. Coleman



About the book:

When obsessive power meets paranoia.

Jake Conley is thrust into the spotlight after stopping a deranged gunman at an L.A. theater, his new-found fame gets the attention of a private surveillance consulting company that recruits him to be a public relations asset and field consultant working in the world of data mining, hidden cameras, and drones. The benefits are overwhelming and seem to include a beautiful young woman from Venezuela, Medalia Mendoza, daughter of one of the company’s biggest financial contributors, and whose mother has been missing for the last five years. Questions about the company’s integrity and Conley’s role with it mount until he is faced with the life and death decisions that affect everyone involved.




About the author:

T. F. Coleman is a world traveler, adventurer, engineer and author. He is also a computer programmer with extensive experience in data warehousing and data mining. He can be reached by e-mail at tfcoleman(at)yahoo.com.




Friday, April 4, 2014

Giveaway: Death on Eat Street by J. J. Cook

Zoe Chase always wanted to own her own restaurant—but first, she’ll have to serve up a heaping helping of meals on wheels, with a side of mystery…

When she’s once again passed over for a promotion at work, Zoe decides to take the big leap and go for her dream. She quits, gives up her fancy digs, and buys a fixer-upper diner in a shady part of town. To keep above water during the renovation, she buys a used food truck to serve the downtown and waterfront of Mobile, Alabama.

Zoe starts to dish out classic Southern food—but her specialty is her deep-fried biscuit bowls that blow traditional bread bowls away.

After a promising start, things start to go downhill faster than a food truck without brakes. First, someone tries to rob the cash register. Next, Zoe is threatened by the owner of a competing food truck for taking their spot. And when the owner ends up dead inside Zoe’s rolling restaurant, Zoe and her sole employee, Ollie, find themselves hopping out of the frying pan into the fryer. They need to find the real killer, before both of them get burned.



Thanks to the tour I have one copy to give away!

Enter via the Rafflecopter form below.

US Only, No PO Boxes.


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Thursday, April 3, 2014

Review: The Polaris Protocol by Brad Taylor

Taskforce operators Pike Logan and Jennifer Cahill are used to putting their lives at risk, but in The Polaris Protocol it’s Jennifer’s brother and countless more innocents who face unfathomable violence and bloodshed.

Pike and Jennifer are in Turkmenistan with the Taskforce—a top-secret antiterrorist unit that operates outside US law—when Jennifer gets a call from her brother, Jack. Working on an investigative report into the Mexican drug cartels, Jack Cahill has unknowingly gotten caught between two rival groups. His desperate call to his sister is his last before he’s kidnapped.


In their efforts to rescue Jack, Pike and Jennifer uncover a plot much more insidious than illegal drug trafficking—the cartel that put a target on Jack’s back has discovered a GPS hack with the power to effectively debilitate the United States. The hack allows a user to send false GPS signals, making it possible to manipulate everything from traffic signals and banking wire transfers to cruise missiles, but only while the system’s loophole remains in place.


With the GPS hack about to be exploited and Jack’s life at stake, Jennifer and Pike must find a way to infiltrate the cartel’s inner circle and eliminate the impending threat. The price of failure, for both the Taskforce and the country, is higher than ever.



Received for review.

Brad Taylor is right up there with Vince Flynn as one of the top military themed suspense novel writers.  This is another great addition to his Pike Logan series.

This was not my first experience with Pike Logan so I was prepared for the unrelenting action and suspense worthy of a Jason Bourne novel.  While it is a nice addition to the series it works quite well as a standalone novel for those new to the series.  The book quickly brings up to speed with the characters and situations so you don't feel left behind if you haven't read the other books.

I wasn't overly fond of Pike and Jennifer as people but they were excellent characters and their lives as Taskforce members were reminiscent of Nikita.

The story was timely and clearly well researched.  It was fascinating to read about the very real weaknesses in the UAV infrastructure.

I highly recommend this very well written novel to all military fiction fans who are sure to enjoy it.

★★★★ = Really Liked It



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Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Featured Book: Model III: The Longitudinal Star Gate 14 Model: An In-Depth Perspective of Sequential Conglomerates Informatics. Edition 1 by Siafa B. Neal



About the book:

Reminiscing through the quiet contemplations in the corners of my mind, like the gentle meandering streams of viscous channel flow, with its ever so fluid twists, turns and churns, along the seemingly endless river banks, where the streams erode the land, I cannot help but find my true self, in an endless barrage of possibilities and problematic probabilities, yet, while enjoying those inspirational moments in time while contemplating my next move, I cannot help but sigh, at the momentous capacity of knowing the seemingly endless, in-fathomable depths of my learning capacities. The game in question, yet, as you may surmise, without doubt, is not the conventional game of classical Chess, but rather, the beginnings of an exponential conglomerate of the space-age game of 3-Dimensional Chess, where the contenders are more likely to be closely human resembling programmable Robots or Androids that have human-like response, action-reaction behavioral inter-phases. It is without doubt, in order to be ahead of the curve of Advance Chess engagements, purchasing this book and the Board Game Model, which incidentally sells separately due to logistics problems of distribution, storage, marketing and advertising, as well as the supplemental Compact Disc (C.D.), does ignite an oasis of pragmatic knowledge gravitating towards and promoting upwards an individual’s Advance Chess playing Skills. It is at this juncture, in reference to the connecting issues of Advance 3-D Chess and artificial Robotic Intelligence, I pose the following questions to you, the Reader, “Are we there yet?” and “How long does it take?”



About the author:

I dedicate the entirety of this book to my Savior, Jesus Christ for His tender Divine Mercies for sparing my life. I also dedicate this book to my loving mother, Anna B. Neal, through whose unconditional love and compassion allows me to complete this book. My fond memories jolt back to my youthful days when my dad, David Franklin Neal, Sr., taught me my first lessons in the etiquettes of classical chess. Unfortunately, my junior brother Franklin never seem to respect those etiquettes in those times when he was about to lose the game. He would simply scatter the pieces across the chess board. I am not sure if he would still do the same today. HA, HA. It is funny that old habits or inclinations to those habits sometimes never seem to fade away. The fascination of International Chess Competitions among professional players, like the Grand Masters from Russia, Gary Karpov, Kasparov and Vladimir Kraminik and the Grand Masters from the U.S.A. , Bobby Fisher and Paul Morphy, intuitively spark my desire to design chess games that require higher degrees of cognitive elasticity. My experiences in past chess games at the noncompetitive levels reflects a state of boredom. I find that by raising the levels of cognitive techniques, rules and applications of this mental warfare, an avid chess enthusiast would find no comparison to the scope, brevity, depth, dexterity and richness this Advance Chess game offers, to which may I add, was my design and may someday be marketable world wide. This brings into mind how little, we, as masters of the planet, use our mental capabilities for our daily decision making processes. We only use a minuscule fraction of our total mental capacities and thus cease to develop our minds to their full potentials thereby leaving it to remain in its infancy. The brevity of computers or application robotics, in conjunction with artificial intelligence, in comparison to the human mind is comparable to just a speck of sand along a vast ocean floor. The link to today’s progressive technologies has only widened the expanse of our understanding of the human mind and its network complexities. An adaptable developing mind is capable of adjusting and surviving the pressures of today’s rapid technological progression. The frequent use of the techniques that apply to the games of Advance Chess does produce, from my understanding of the biological synaptic composition of our minds, an alert conscious mind which is relatively free from the drawbacks of Attention Deficit Hypertension Disorder (A.D.H.D.) that is an ailment of many people globally. Thus, the techniques of play in the Advance Chess games require the use of a keen sense of concentration and a awareness of the rules and regulations pertaining to the model in question. This follows a common phrase, “Use it, or lose it.” The key to a successful completion for any Player in the Advance Chess Games is the willingness to have an open mind and a particularly keen awareness of the techniques, rules and applications that apply to that particular model. When I play Advance Chess whether it is solitaire (with an imaginary opponent) or with a challenger, I almost always apply the motto: “When you have exhausted all the possibilities, whatever remains, however infintesimal, then becomes a possibility.” Enjoy and have fun while at play because, “You are what you think.” After all, it is not so much about the thrill of winning games as it is about the ardent quality of play as it relates to the rules and applications that precedes the Patterns and Processes of the logic sequential premise that Advance Chess offers.



Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Review: There is a God! by Richard Smith and Marueen McElheron

“There is a God!” Who hasn’t uttered these words in response to life’s true miracles? A glorious sunset. Watching your toddler take her first wobbly steps. And that supreme blessing: a hospital gown that closes all the way. In this book, New York Times–bestselling author Richard Smith and Maureen McElheron identify 1,001 miracles that prove that there is in fact a God, including:

- Watching your little girl struggle with an ice-cream cone that appears bigger than she is

- Fireflies on a June night

- Knowing that your ability to explain the difference between hollandaise sauce and béchamel impresses the hell out of your date

There Is a God! will remind you of all the many things that make life wonderful.



Received for review.

I'll admit that when I first saw the book's title I didn't immediately fall in love but as I worked my way through it, reading a few items each day as I brushed my teeth, I grew to really like it.

The authors do a lovely job of presenting a collection of things that just make you smile.  A few of my favorites were:

8.  Your cat, sitting motionless, listening to classical music.
375.  The person you kill over and over again in your thoughts just ate bad shrimp.
618.  Making the last car payment.

If you're looking for a fun, fast read that will remind you of the best things in life this is it.  Whether you read it in a single sitting or just a few each day it is almost guaranteed to make you smile.  I definitely recommend it!

★★★★ = Really Liked It