Monday, April 26, 2010

Blow Dart: The Abduction Book Review...

Blow Dart: The Abduction
Patricia Gayle
Publisher: Dog Ear Publishing
Published: 2009
ISBN: 97816084431347
Pages: 232

In a word, brilliant! I am a fast reader when I'm interested in a book but my pace is faster when the book is extremely good. I finished this book which shall now be classified as one of my favorite books, in only a day and a half! This book is a fast paced thriller that grabs your attention from the first page never letting go until the very last word. My anticipation for the next one was heightened after reading the epilogue. Ms. Gayle leaves readers thirsty for more!

Patricia Dawson is an extremely good friend and because of that she is thrust into a position she does not deserve to be in. She is happily married and innocently offers relationship advice to two of her closest friends. As a result, she ends up fighting for her life as well as that of her best friend. Patricia is left in the woods barely alive and is rescued by a man that she eventually falls in love with.

Ms. Gayle's amazing storytelling ability allowed me to feel a range of emotions that mirrored those that Patricia felt-- fear, anxiety, sadness, anger, rage-- toward her captor. In addition, I was pulled so deeply into the story that I also felt anger towards her rescuer for allowing her to continue to forget her past. His selfishness mirrored that of the murderer/captor although he was the hero for bringing her to safety after finding her initially. I know the story would've been extremely short if the author didn't allow this to happen but his behavior angered me just the same.

Without telling the story I must say from start to finish, Ms. Gayle captured my attention providing twists and turns that left me astonished. Each time I thought I knew what was going happen the story took another turn. Each scene more vivid than the next, I felt like I was there when each person was fighting for their life or running to safety. I was clearly able to see the black van, its license plate and smell the sweat of the captor and basement. It is hard to believe that this is Ms. Gayle's first book. I look forward to reading her next book and liken her work to that of one of my favorite authors--Patricia Cornwell.

Well done and I eagerly await the next masterpiece!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Magically Delicious Cookbook Review...

Magically Delicious
Felicia Martin
Publisher: Create Space
Published: 2010
ISBN: 9781438232935
Pages: 240

This book was filled with meals that could be prepared easily on a daily basis. It wasn't a book filled with ingredients that were foreign to me. The lists that were provided included food that I was familiar with. However, the author did inform you of where to find certain ingredients in the grocery store that were less commonly used ingredients. She included a list of spices, cleaning tips, a recipe index and a glossary of terms used in the recipes and for cooking as well. This was an added touch.

I wish the author would have included a table of contents to guide the book easier. I am big on presentation. Most cookbooks are usually bright, colorful and inviting and I feel this book would be better received if the books color scheme was different. Most importantly I wish the pictures of the food were in color. The food would be more inviting when the pictures jump out at you. In black and white it is hard to appreciate the finished products. I hope if the author is planning on writing a second cookbook that there are color photos in the next one. Color explodes off the page whereas the current photos don't allow you to enjoy what the food could look like.

This book has recipes that can be used in any home and I recommend readers add it to their collection.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Foreva' Young

I wrote this song and made this on my camera. I am looking for someone to help me write the music so that I can make a demo. I am not looking to sing it but want to find the right artist to do so... Serious inquiries ONLY, please... thanks!!

Monday, April 19, 2010

A diet book like no other!!

Title: The Diet Joke
By: Lisa Pedace
Publisher: Big Shot Press
Published: 2010
ISBN: 9780982340417
Pages: 226 (excluding bibliography)

Like many Americans I have tried various weight loss regimens in an attempt to get to a desired weight. However, like many folks, I arrived back at the same place many times. I wanted to read this book not because I’m on a particular diet currently but because I recently realized that if I wanted a healthier lifestyle that I had the power to change it, and could only maintain that lifestyle for the rest of my life if my thought process changed along the way. This author has written a book suggesting that as the key to successful dieting. Basically, reprogramming results in success.

This author offers different suggestions than most diet books in that they generally focus on specific recipes and exercise regimens whereas she goes one step further and discusses reprogramming—changing your way of thinking. She ventures away from the norm of diet books and is extremely successful in her delivery. I get extremely bored when reading dieting books or magazines, however, I eagerly flipped through the pages of this book trying to comprehend reprogramming in its entirety. Although it was educational Ms. Pedace, offers up a great deal of humor and sarcasm making the book easier to digest. There are cartoons in the book and when she sums up each section, she does so in a laughing out loud kind of way. For example, “Some people don’t have enough to eat. You are not one of them,” or “Calories are not the enemy, but that doesn’t mean you can turn your back on them,” and “If your gas tank was as stretchy as your stomach you could hardly afford to drive to work.”

There are diaries and food journals, reprogramming activities, and science that bring this book full circle. There are no recipes or exercise regimens although she does mention walking exercises and the amount of calories burned. This book is full of knowledge that will help readers modify their thinking thus resulting in weight loss that they will be able to maintain. There aren’t any weight loss diet tricks anywhere in this book, but what you will find is an honest, hilarious, sarcastic look at dieting and the key to success—reprogramming. It encourages us to establish and maintain a healthy lifestyle, which is easier to do when it is explained to you in a humorous way allowing you to laugh at a serious and sometimes difficult situation.

I highly recommend this book for readers whether they are dieting or not. Reprogramming is the key to survival in every aspect of our lives… well done!!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Sotherton Abbey Book Review...

Title: Sotherton Abbey: Jane Austen Meets Sante Fe
By: Inez Ross
Publisher: Ashley House
Published: 2010
ISBN: 9780966433746
Pages: 173

Each chapter begins with a quote from Jane Austen and other prominent authors including C.S. Lewis, Lord Chesterfield and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. This book is a pocket companion small enough to fit in your back pocket but large enough to tell a great coming of age story. It’s a small book with a lot of suspense and excitement as Christina Dashwood leaves her Michigan farm home travelling to Sante Fe to take six weeks of summer classes at the Regency Seminar.

Introduced to Jane Austen in her final year of high school by her classroom teacher, Mr. Saxon, she is eager to attend this seminar. Christina has never left her home town alone and her parents are not exactly excited about the trip to New Mexico. At first, her father denies her the opportunity by telling her that they don’t have the money for her to go. However, her teacher informs the class of the trip and the scholarship that comes through a writing contest that Christina eagerly enters. The contest winner receives a free trip for the seminar which Christina ultimately wins. A real journey begins as soon as Christina boards the train for her trip. Christina arrives at the seminar but not without setbacks that occurred on her journey. Despite the challenges, she triumphed and arrived in Sante Fe while becoming friends with a young girl, Jane Fairfax, along the way.

Christina and Jane become close friends which directs the suspense and mystery of the story. Jane’s family has some secrets that are shared throughout adding to the suspense and mystery that begin to arrive in Christina's life. Christina becomes a heroine as she helps Jane solve the mystery. That is exciting for Christina as she has secretly desired to be a heroine. This book is a great, faced paced story that could be read anywhere as it is small enough to fit in your pocket or purse. The difficulty is that you will want to sneak a peek at it every chance you get because it is hard to put down. Ms. Ross is an established author and this is her eighth book which is reflected in her great storytelling ability. If you are a fan of Jane Austen or have never had an opportunity to read anything from her time, now is your chance. Good stuff!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Another shot at spoken word...

I've always been the type of person to call someone on their mess. Am I perfect? Not even close nor would I want to be. You may call it "being politically correct," but I refer to it as respect. I make every effort to treat each person as I would like to be treated unless I am given a reason not to.

I read a Facebook post that an old classmate put up in regard to the earned income credit. He remarked that it wasn't a tax return but it was welfare. At what point in life do people exhibit compassion? The great thing about life is one day you can be on the bottom and the next you can stand on top. What you also have to remember though is that you fall from grace faster than you arrived. Another words, it is really easy to return back to where your journey began.

This statement annoyed me but even more it allowed me to realize how thankful I am for who I am. I do my best not to pass judgment because I don't want to be judged. I cringe when blanket statements about people are made. We don't know what situations led anyone to the current place they are in life. Poverty like homelessness, addiction and disease crosses all boundaries. How do we simply disregard each other because "we made it?"

Out of my disgust for his comments I was inspired to take another shot at spoken word. I wrote something which of course is called, Earned Income Credit. I won't call him out because my intent is to encourage folks to look beyond our differences and not encourage hate. If I called him out publicly, I'd be no better than him. The "I" that I speak about is not me but it can be anyone you'd like it to be...

Earned Income Credit

Earned income credit
Not everyone qualifies or can even get it,
Wake up each morning wiping sleep from their eyes
Searching for the American dream
Chasing each opportunity with every sun rise,
But for whatever reason the bootstraps never make it to the top
Falling short despite how many hours they manage to clock.
Despite their efforts the money doesn’t flow
You think they like qualifying?
Then there’s something you should know--
We all have the same opportunities their presentation may be disguised
It may be just beyond the horizon where an absent father lies,
Or in the bend where a mother’s life has abruptly come to an end,
Along the river aside the job that unexpectedly washed away
Or next to a sick child in need of medical treatment
As each hospital bill arrives a bank account becomes nonexistent.
Each situation presents itself differently
Not packaged and perfectly placed attainable on a shelf.
Maybe your parents had some type of wealth
Or have never been struck by poor health.
My opportunities aren’t as overt as yours
I’ve faced numerous slamming closed doors
Requiring me to work harder than you’ve had to
So, does that make me less than you?
I am as strong as you with a different foundation
I work hard, fall short and suffer your condemnation.
Your world overflows with perfection oozing out of your pores
In my eyes I see your reflection as you stand behind a glass door
In this life things can change in an instant knocking all dreams aside-
Your positive turning into negative right before your eyes.
What would happen then if you qualified?
Would you think about the words you spoke and I heard?
“It’s not a tax return, its welfare.”
Is it then that you’ll care?
Dear sir-- I may have less than you but in my heart I have more
I work hard every day to better my situation
Building for my children, a better foundation but…
Earned income credit it's a small price for what I originally put in it.
Each day I fall short wishing someone would care
I want success I don’t want welfare.

© 2010 by Stacey Pierce
© 2010 by 2sistaspublishing

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

My next two book reviews...

My next reviews will be on Sotherton Abbey by Inez Ross and The Diet Joke by Lisa Pedace. The Diet Joke is a sarcastic reprogramming guide that encourages the readers to lighten up their dieting routine. We are encouraged to modify our thinking to get better dieting results. In essence, we are encouraged to see the lighter side of dieting instead of taking it so serious. If you are watching your weight like most people, this book seems to have the same information as most diet books, but the author’s humor and sarcasm allows readers to ingest it a little easier.

Sotherton Abbey: Jane Austin meets Santa Fe is a pocket companion that touches the heart, is full of suspense with sprinkles of history throughout. It tells the story of Christina Dashwood who leaves her Michigan farm home for the first time to attend a pre-college seminar in New Mexico. This is Ms. Inez’s eighth book and thus far it is a great read. It is fast paced and fun.

I will have these reviews completed by the end of the week. My schedule has changed and I am a lot busier than I have been in the past few months. That’s a good thing, right? I think it is but at the same time it is taking me away from some of the goals I have set. I think the key will be to look at things, revamp and get back on track. I am looking forward to completing so many things on my goal list. I just need to make it all work for me so that I get it all done.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Rainbow Eyes Book Review... highly recommended!

Rainbow Eyes:Chakramid Reflections
Author: Mary Jo Shaffer
Publisher: Heart Projects
Published: 2009
ISBN: 9780984263806
Pages: 152

Rainbow Eyes is a work of visionary fiction based on one woman’s journey to a Chakra Energy Awakening. Chakra is defined as a “wheel” or “circle.” The author suggests that, balanced Chakra “creates a free-flowing subtle energy network in your body that promotes physical and mental health, vitality and harmony, as well as spiritual and psychological awareness and energy.” In short, to me, Chakra is being comfortable in one’s space. Jessica, the main character, who is not in a particularly good place in her life spiritually and psychologically, accepts an invitation for an all expense paid trip to an exclusive penthouse. Unsure of her destination, Jessica tossed a few items into a suitcase without giving much thought to the contents. She has no idea what to expect or where the invitation even came from. Upon her arrival to the address on the invitation, Jessica sees a large pyramid that she assumes may be a casino. She becomes upset and confused standing in the empty parking lot but enters the building anyway.

Once she enters the building she rides the elevator looking for someone to give her direction. The elevator doors open to a large white empty room. She is the only person there. Jessica’s frustration increases and is combined with fear as she rapidly pushes buttons to return downstairs. Despite her efforts, the elevator won’t budge thus catapulting Jessica on her Chakra Journey.

Rainbow Eyes is informative and explains each Chakra in detail via Jessica’s journey through the Chakra Pyramid and her new beginning. She journeys through each of the seven Chakra on the pyramid. This book gives the reader insight into their personal journey as well. The journal pages in the back of the book with the definitions of each Chakra outlined in the appendix is an added bonus. This allows the reader to align with Jessica travelling on their own personal journey.

I have read self-help books before and have never truly understood them in the way that I did this one. The fact that the book is interactive in nature promotes a better understanding in the reader as their journey parallels with Jessica’s. I highly recommend this book to anyone stepping out on a personal journey to release or find their Chakra energy. The fact that there is an underlying story—Jessica’s journey—behind the lesson on the Chakra energy awakening disguises the fact that this is a self-help book. Although self-help books are informative and interesting, this author guides the reader to a personal transformation when its least expected. This is a clear reflection of her amazing storytelling ability because the reader sets out reading about Jessica’s journey and before long, gets lost on their own journey. Well done!!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Pond Punkies Book Review...

Title: Pond Punkies Book One: The Arrival
Author (s): Lisa Riebe and Cynthia Nunn
Publisher: Ravine Publishing
Published: 2009
ISBN: 9780981949338
Pages: 147

I thought this book was superb and feel it will be a quite entertaining science fiction read for middle grade readers. This is the first book in a series. Blaze, is the main character, and is a Pond Punkie from the Larissan Clan. This clan has the power of fire. Blaze’s best friend, Ace, is a Pond Punkie from the Naiadan Clan. Their power is controlling water. Although they are from different clans these boys are best friends. They are attending the Neptune Training Academy. They both go to Earth when a geyser erupts on graduation day. However, they weren’t the only ones blasted to Earth—the evil Tritonan’s went as well.

A bully from the academy, Kroiser, is a Tritonan. The Tritonan’s wreak havoc on Earth and it’s up to Blaze and his friends to conquer them. Blaze and the others use their powers to battle Kroiser and the other Tritonan’s. The battle ensues and the fast paced story taps into one’s imagination. The story is vivid and encourages one to get lost in it. The pictures are an added touch as is the idea that Ace invented hair gel. The idea of the hair gel makes these Pond Punkies like other young boys in their creative pursuits. In addition, there is a great deal of humor in the book making the story complete.

The book is a great read and I know it will evolve into a successful middle grade series. I encourage educators, parents and other adults to buy this book for their young readers. I think these two authors are on to something.

Two Reviews... Both are great reads!

Title: Speak Up Don’t Slouch
Author: Margaret Cmelik
Publisher: Margaret Cmelik
Published: 2009
ISBN: 2009780982145111

This book is what I would consider a table book. It is small in design and is quite hysterical. I love the author’s take on the issue of following your dreams. The pictures that went with the tips made the tips even funnier. I am a big believer in following your dreams despite what others tell you. This author’s take on following your dreams offers lighthearted suggestions on following your dreams rather than the normal way advice is generally given. You won’t fall asleep reading this book because each page makes the reader laugh louder and louder.

Tip#45 encourages the reader to try e-praying if they need to speak with a higher power but are in a hurry. The author even gives directions on the next page for completing the e-prayer request form. Another one of my favorite tips was #78. “Take a logics class. It will allow you to remove emotional traps along your path. But don’t correct other people’s logic. It really pisses them off.” I laughed out loud through out the entire book and shared the tips with others in the room.

This book can be kept on the coffee table, used as a motivational tool for employees, and as a gift. I must say that I am a stickler when it comes to presentation. My only wish for this book is in its design. I think it would be better received if it were done in color. It is a great book and I hope the author has the success she deserves. I highly recommend this funny, lighthearted book filled with advice encouraging us to not take life too seriously.

Ttile: Food Stories
Author: Denny Stanz
Publisher: American Book Publishing
Published: 2010
ISBN: 97815898258888
Pages: 72

Food Stories is a book written for men. This book takes real life situations coupled with humor to encourage men to cook and feel confident about their cooking. It is a series of short stories providing recipes for tasty meals. It discusses recipes for a poker game, first date, single dad, etc. It is a lighthearted look at what might be quite stressful for a divorced, married, single or widowed man and is useful despite the age or circumstance.

One example is for Valentine’s Day where the author shares a recipe for Filet Mignon. It also tells you where to purchase the best steak. However, this recipe goes a little further when it discusses the ambience including a bubble bath, lingerie gift and providing an unforgettable evening for your date. This short story is for the man in a new relationship.

The short stories vary widely in scenarios. They range from the single dad cooking for his daughter to a new relationship or break-up dinner. This book was funny, an easy read and I hope it encourages men to get up off of the couch and cook as opposed to dialing take-out. Well done!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The Past and Future King Book Review....

Book: The Past and Future King
Author: Warren Mueller
Publisher: American Book Publishing
Published: 2010
ISBN: 9781589825208
Pages: 192

This book is a well-written, fast paced fantastical saga that entwines religion with fantasy. This is a new approach in this genre and Mr. Mueller’s story telling ability allows the story to flow successfully. Tom is a young boy and hero of the book, left with the task of saving Earth and its inhabitants from destruction.

Tom loves to read fantasy books and becomes engrossed in them but his parents encourage him to return the books to Willet, an old scribe. Thus Tom’s exciting journey begins as his dreams mesh with his reality. This book takes the reader on a journey with Tom as he negatively interacts with the very people looking to destroy Earth. These people are in search of world domination and it’s up to Tom and his new found friends--Willet, Wini, Win, Cearl and Penda--to prevent that from happening.

Each scene in the story is as vivid as the next. I can see the stones that aid Tom on his journey as readily as I can visualize those attacking or chasing him, and those walking alongside him on his journey. I can feel the anxiety, fear and sadness portrayed in each character throughout this amazing journey. The transformation of the sadness Tom feels missing his parents being replaced by the comfort he finds in his new friends is evident as well. The characters mesh together making the story a good one and an easy read. I recommend this story for readers looking to get lost in a fantasy world filled with elves, dwarfs, and werewolves.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Another week ahead...

Another week ahead and I am closer to my goals being attained. I have to finish writing my business plan, write a few reviews, and write, write, write. I have a busy week ahead and am looking forward to it. I am trying to research different studios to lay down a few songs that I have written. I have also done some networking as well. I am going to do some collaborations with some friends to get some melodies to go along with my lyrics. I am excited about it!

Today I realized how much I wanted things to change. I am grateful for my job but am ready to work solely for myself. I want to "love" my job and what I do. I love to write and am enjoying learning about the music business. That is where my heart has always been. I enjoy social work but it is time for my profession to change because I have changed. I look at people and am jealous that they have jobs that they love. I've had a few jobs that I love and want to feel that way again. I want to jump out of the bed before my alarm goes off. I used to do that but that hasn't happened in a while. It will come so I must keep working at it while exhibiting patience. Hard work always pays off. I have to remind myself of that daily. Success will come. I have to lay the foundation for it. Each effort I make is a brick in the foundation.

My next review will be done tomorrow or Tuesday. I have about three others that I can review this week as well as they are shorter books. I am going to do all that I can to get them all done this week. I hope I am successful in that. The key to them being completed is staying focused. And I am...