Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Unexpected Union

Can anyone be a mother? The answer to that is a resounding "yes".  However, the critical question that should be asked is "what kind of mother will you be?"

Will you stay up at night to assist your daughter with her studies for a major exam or will you go partying at the latest nightclub trying to recapture your youth?

Will you listen to your step children when they confide in you that they are scared of your new boyfriend or will you put them on ignore and do what you feel like because you are in charge?

In the book entitled Miss Carrie, a little boy called Ben met Miss Carrie who later adopted him as her own son.  This book written by author Judson Hout emphasizes the fact that all good parents are not necessarily biological parents. Possessing a caring heart is an important criteria for this important role.

I wrote this review on 12 June 2014.  Keep reading to see my analysis.

Miss Carrie is a delightful tale which chronicles the early childhood years of Ben Williams. Ben gets involved in the usual childhood pranks with his buddies. After succumbing to a dare with his friends, he encounters Carrie Stephens who is known to be an “old witch.” Nothing could be further from the truth. Miss Carrie, as she is affectionately called, befriends Ben and she becomes an important fixture in his life. He realizes that he can confide in Miss Carrie and he visits her every day. She was a pillar of strength for Ben, especially when his father died after going to war and when his grandmother passed away. Author Judson Hout also reveals the growing friendship between Ben and his schoolmate Amy and their eventual marriage. Ben goes on to become a responsible citizen who supports his family and never forgets his roots.

Miss Carrie is a very intriguing story. I loved the aura of suspense involved when Ben is  so consumed with fear in the beginning when he met Carrie. This is very realistic because at times we might hear a rumour about someone, but in essence we should walk a mile in his or her shoes before we cast judgment. Mr. Hout has done a great job developing his characters, especially the adorable Lounicey and her husband Mashal. They treat Ben as their own child. I loved the caring way in which Miss Carrie pulled out all the stops to adopt Ben after he was forced into the children’s home. Mr. Hout smartly paved the way for the twist at the end. Miss Carrie is a refreshing tale detailing Ben’s passage to adulthood. I recommend it to all readers.

What kind of mother will you be?
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Sunday, 19 July 2015

Missing Pieces?

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Do you feel depressed occasionally? Do you compare yourself to your co-worker and wish that you were smart like him with wavy hair?

At times, we all have been plagued with these feelings of self-doubt and inadequacy. According to author Arabah Joy, her solution is to place trust in God.

This christian book is formatted like a daily journal.  It provides practical solutions to assist us in our daily lives for example thinking positively.

I wrote this review on 26 May 2014.  I gave it 5 stars!

Here is my review of her inspirational book:-

Reviewed by  for Readers' Favorite

Complete is a Christian focused journal dedicated to all persons seeking to live an abundant life. Author Arabah Joy engages her readers with a practical insight into the most effective ways to change our thought patterns, self-defeating behavior and negative self-talk. In her book, Ms. Joy explains that God has provided us with the tools that we need to combat the daily struggles of life. We need to believe and trust in God and know that His grace is sufficient for us to be victorious. She goes on to say that as humans, we need to get up and do what we have to do instead of just planning. We must take action! Another important piece of advice is that we need to focus on one goal at a time so as to avoid becoming overwhelmed. 

Costume DiscountersComplete is a very practical handbook for everyday living. I love the format where you can focus on one chapter each day. The exercises are very inspiring, especially the one relating to visualization. At times, I have felt overwhelmed with errands and household chores. In my opinion, this piece of advice is like a gold nugget. I appreciate the chapter about abolishing fear. The inclusion about the study by Dr. Caroline Leaf is very relevant and insightful. It ties in beautifully with the biblical proverb, “as a man thinks within himself, so is he”. According to Ms. Joy, having a healthy thought pattern is imperative in order to succeed in life. This will surely assist in overcoming negative behavior like procrastination and anxiety. I recommend this inspiring book to all readers so that they can become pros in life.

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Friday, 17 July 2015

Dangerous Frontier

The realm of space has been getting lots of attention these days. NASA recently released the first colour images of the planet Pluto which was first discovered in 1930.

This intriguing subject matter has also been a popular stomping ground for authors as well. Connor Stone: Space Detective was written by author P.J. Lawton.  It practically describes a galactic world specifically Grega where a space detective, Connor solves various crimes.

It really makes you wonder if it would be possible for us to travel to these outer planets someday.

I completed this review on 23 May 2014. Here is my review:-

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Connor Stone: Space Detective is a fast paced story involving a dedicated detective who lives in outer space on a planet called Grega. Connor Stone was an Enforcement Officer in this galactic realm. Unfortunately, as a result of an injury during an assignment, Connor became a private detective. The story begins with Connor being interviewed by an avid news reporter who is very much interested in hearing Connor’s life stories as a private eye. Connor encountered a myriad of interesting clients and bad guys. Author P.J. Lawton also gives you a glimpse into Connor’s private life. He reveals that Connor still maintained an amicable relationship with his ex-wife, Sandy, and his daughter, Sissy. Connor was even forced to visit New Axon where Sandy and Sissy lived to rescue Sissy from the grip of a ruthless cartel leader. Connor fights criminals with the assistance of his old friend Stan, who is still employed as an Enforcement Officer. 

Mr. Lawton has done an excellent job portraying the characters in this book. I loved the interplay between Connor and the crooked criminals. At times I don’t even remember that most of the bodyguards and bouncers are droids! The intriguing, action packed story drew me in completely. The storyline is very realistic and exciting. It reminds me of a cowboy and Indian story where the cowboy reigns supreme at the end. In this scenario, the cowboy is Connor. The language is informal and anyone can follow the plot quite easily.  I love the little twist at the end. This tactic is a very smart one to utilize. Connor Stone: Space Detective is, in fact, a refreshing intergalactic book. I recommend it to all readers who need to escape to a different frontier of fun.

Reviewed by Valerie Rouse for Readers' Favorite

Birthday in a Box

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

You Are Going Where?

Most parents would tell you that they are really not comfortable with the idea that their teenagers are dating. Yes, as adults we passed through that phase but when it comes to our own children, its a different ballgame.

Parents might start to instill new rules and regulations for their teens.  For example, if you were in favour of them coming home at 9.30 pm, you might be tempted to tell them "get home by 8!" once you realize that they are dating.

Author Jeremy Davis wrote the book Life Lessons For My Brothas: Dating for teenagers and parents alike.  It is targeted for males, however girls can also benefit from the advice Mr. Davis offers.

I wrote this review on 10 April 2014.  Read my review below:-
                 Jacqui E
Life Lessons for my Brothas: Dating by Jeremy Davis is a practical book advising the average male teenager about dating. Mr. Davis gives a synopsis of his own school experiences. He relates how he was obsessed with a girl by the name of Sarah as a youngster. He used to have numerous daydreams about her. He reveals how his fantasies about a first kiss with Sarah were squashed abruptly. This occurred out of the blue when another female acquaintance, Samantha, just pulled him to her and placed a kiss on his lips. His romantic hopes surrounding his ideal first kiss were dashed. Mr. Davis also gives some interesting tips about ways to boost your self esteem. He even stressed the importance of being a confident person. This would assist most teenagers in terms of approaching females.

Life Lessons for my Brothas: Dating is a simple book designed to instill basic tips about dating. I appreciate the fact that Mr. Davis has included a journal, worksheets, and personal questions for his readers. This encourages interaction and introspection. The tone of the book is down to earth and personal. Mr. Davis is speaking as though he is communicating with his own son or relatives. The language is simple and colloquial and the reader can easily understand what is being said. I like the section on confidence. This value is very important in everyday life. Mr. Davis explains that being confident helps in situations where you might be rejected as a suitor. You would not feel like a loser in life if a girl does not care for your attention. I recommend this short, educational book that gives insight into the dating game.
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Saturday, 11 July 2015

Wishing On a Whale

Most of us dream or wish for a position in life, a material object or to achieve a goal.  You might wish that the boss give you a raise.  Or you might be exhausted from work and on your way home, see one of the cruise ships docked in port and dream of sailing off into the sunset on that ship!

The main characters Maya and Filippo in the book Maya & Filippo Look for Whales took a cruise ship to Alaska.  Author Alinka Rutkowska related that this brother and sister wanted to see whales on their trip.This children's book explores the discoveries that these children made on this exciting trip.

I did the review of this book on 7 April 2014.  I gave it 5 stars. Here is my review:-

Reviewed by Valerie Rouse for Readers' Favorite

Maya & Filippo Look for Whales is a delightful storybook for children.  It is colorfully illustrated and it educates persons about Alaska.  This travel log involves Maya and Filippo who are brother and sister.  They take a cruise on a cruise ship called the “Fun Princess”.  This ship docks at Ketchikan in Alaska.  They are both wondering what kind of fish they would love to see on their tour.  Both of them really wanted to see a whale!  They got more than they bargained for.  They were fortunate to see totem poles in a village called Saxman Native Village.  Filippo was very excited when he saw the totem poles but Maya was not enthused.  She only wanted to see a whale.  Whilst on the tour, the tour guide explained the story of the Salmon Chief.  It involved a fisherman who used his imagination to pretend that he was catching a lot of fish. The reality was the opposite for him at that time.  Eventually, the fisherman was successful and caught a lot of fish. According to Miss Rutkowska, Maya then used her imagination to pretend that she was seeing a whale.  Eventually, Maya and Filippo went on an excursion to watch whales in Snow Passage.

Maya & Filippo Look for Whales is a positive children’s book.  It relates the travel experiences of the two main characters thereby enticing readers to consider travelling to Alaska in the future.  I love the colorful illustrations.  It is evident that Miss Rutkowska loves to travel as well because everyone in the story is smiling.  This attention to detail actually makes the book rather appealing to all readers.  The theme is a simple one based on the joys of travel as a family affair.  There is a moral embedded in the story.  In essence, the pages reveal that if you maintain a positive outlook in life, your dreams may actually come true.  According to Miss Rutkowska, Maya had a so called “aha” moment and copied the actions of the fisherman that she heard about in the totem pole fable. This speaks volumes from a psychological standpoint because in these current harsh economic times, it is imperative to stay focused and maintain a positive outlook in life. I appreciate the fact that this simple children’s book contains this important value system for all readers to adopt in their daily lives.  I highly recommend this book to all readers especially those with small children who enjoy reading or listening to stories.

What are you wishing for today?

Thursday, 9 July 2015

Bridge Over What?

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What does a bridge mean to you?  It could signify a physical means of communication between two areas of land to cross over from one side to the other.  It could also represent verbal connectivity between two persons or a group of people.

Author Terrence J. Goodchild in his book The Bridge of Sorrel introduced Brad and Claudette who were trying to make a love connection. This development led them down a winding path of new discoveries and suspense.

I wrote this review on 7 April 2014.  I gave it 4 stars.  This is what author Goodchild said about my review:-

"great review. keep up the good work."

My review is as follows:-

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Reviewed by  for Readers' Favorite

The Bridge of Sorrel is an enjoyable story based on Brad, a bachelor who is searching for love. He meets an attractive lady, Claudette, whose grandfather is Brad’s boss. Ultimately, Brad is introduced to Claudette’s family and is invited to participate in a work assignment in his capacity as an architect. The task is to build a bridge across a river in a remote area called Sorrel. The aim is to reintegrate this district with the rest of society. When they reach Sorrel, Claudette and Brad encounter opposition from the locals to their well-intentioned desire to uplift the living standards. They later learnt that Sorrel was in fact a film set that was constructed for the filming of a movie called Sleepy Hollow. Further investigations by Brad and Claudette resulted in their capture by the Josef, the man in charge of the “village”. According to author Terrence Goodchild, these local people were in fact aliens who can travel through time.

The Bridge of Sorrel is a very interesting book that grabs a reader’s attention. I enjoyed the unexpected twist at the end. This book contains elements of romance and suspense and I believe that Mr. Goodchild has done a good job in combining the two to create a delightful reading experience. He also explored the importance of bonding in terms of relationships through his characters. Brad experienced love with two different women and he even felt a kinship with his buddies. The portrayal of Brad’s personal love interests exemplifies a realistic view of actual relationships that are formed. At some point in our lives, we might travel by public transport and like Brad it is possible to fall in love with someone you meet on the bus or train. I recommend The Bridge of Sorrel to anyone who loves to read a fast paced drama filled with suspense.

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Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Mirror Mirror

Do you look in the mirror everyday?  I hope you do! However, you might look in the bathroom mirror hoping to see a younger version of yourself. Or you might think that the figure looking back at you is not you at all!  

It all depends on your self-esteem.  If you are brimming with self-confidence, you would have no problem with the face looking back at you. On the other hand, if you are feeling out of sorts and depressed, you would obviously find fault with your self-image.

This dilemma is the basis of the book entitled Philip Roth - The Continuing Presence New Essays on Psychological Themes.  This book written by Jane Statlander-Slote is focused on Philip Roth, an American novelist. The essays in this book are mostly critiques of Philip Roth. Here is my review:-

Philip Roth – The Continuing Presence: New Essays on Psychological Themes is chock-full of psychological analyses of the main author Philip Roth. Sometimes life imitates art or vice versa. In the case of Mr. Roth, art really imitates life. His written works, including “I Married a Communist” and “The Human Stain,” all mirror some aspect of his personal life. For example, Roth’s wife Claire Bloom is represented in one of his books. However, he was forced to retract her name when the real Claire found out that she was the subject in one of his stories entitled “Deception”. This book also highlighted the eventual breakdown of the marriage, even his ultimatum for Claire to abandon her own daughter to be with him. According to Berman, Claire counteracted his poor treatment of her in her own novel “Leaving a Doll’s House”.

Jane Statlander-Slote compiled this collection of essays critiquing Philip Roth. Each essay is interesting, giving the reader an inner glimpse of this unique personality. I like the fact that Ms. Statlander-Slote utilized an interview format for a few of the chapters. You don’t feel as bogged down by the literary jargon utilized by some of the essay writers. This book is not for everyone. Persons who have a love for psychological issues would more appreciate this book. On a deeper level, I can understand the significance of the writings – to exemplify the narcissistic personality of Philip Roth. However, to the average reader, this literary work may be difficult to digest because of the type of intellectual language used. I recommend this book to readers who have a background in psychology or psychoanalysis.

Reviewed by Valerie Rouse for Readers Favorite

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Sunday, 5 July 2015

B is For Bubbles

How many of us blew bubbles as little children? Even as adults we might have indulged in this favorite activity with our own children or family members.  We need an excuse to engage in this fun again!

Well, one bubble that we don't normally think about is a concept or what I would call a creative bubble.  Every product ever created began with an idea. That is the basis of author Kenneth Thurber's book Trends Waves Windows & Bubbles. SEO 160x600 banner
He identified trends in technology and made the link to overall sales in business. Mention was also made of the advancements in computer technology.  He traced how computers evolved from huge bulky machines to lightweight tablets and ipads.

I wrote this review on 26 March 2014. Here is my review:

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Trends Waves Windows & Bubbles is a very informative book outlining the evolution of products and their resulting sales quota.  Products are essentially the end result of ideas.  For example, an inventor would have conceptualized the need for a word processor.  In years to come, another inventor tried to match this and come up with a much smaller and cheaper version – the personal computer.  Mr. Thurber further revealed that trends are in fact extensions of creative ideas.  Trends can be positive or detrimental to businesses in terms of sales.  Mr. Thurber also explained that as opportunities develop for products to be launched, these opportunities or windows represent this new phase.  One example of this is that an investor might see the need to pump some money into the production of a particular product.  However, sometimes many products that are similar can create a surplus on the market.  This in turn can lead to a loss of income or demand for a product.  According to Mr. Thurber, this resembles a bubble that has burst.

Mr. Thurber has done a good job in describing the business of supply and demand.  His analogy to water and sea imagery is very effective in getting his point across.  I also like the darker background of a few of the chapters.  This encourages you to continue reading.  It also lessens the boredom.  The references to well known businesses like Google and IBM are well placed.  This along with the insertion of graphs showing the demand for particular products makes the book more relevant to the reader.  If the reader is up to date with current trends, this book is a very interesting read.  I am impressed with the amount of research that Mr. Thurber has done.  The photographs of the CPT 8000 series machine and the 1965 data processing plant really portray how far technology has advanced.  It is unbelievable that nowadays a tablet is so light when compared to the CPT 8000 machine!  Trends Waves Windows & Bubbles is not for everyone.  It is geared towards readers who seek knowledge about things that are technologically oriented.

Reviewed by Valerie Rouse for Readers Favorite

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Friday, 3 July 2015

What A Loss

Losing a loved one or even a pet can be emotionally crippling.  I know because I have been there.  Feelings of inadequacy can overwhelm you, you don't have an appetite for food, you might even question God as to why did this happen.

Pierced in the Heart: The Miracle of Healing After GRIEF and LOSS explores similar emotions.  Author Bonnie Brooks gives an in depth glimpse into her world when her mother committed suicide.  She was just five years old when this tragedy struck like a bolt of lightning.

This book is clearly an attempt to help others cope in difficult circumstances.  I completed this review on 25 March 2014.  I gave it 4 stars.  You can get a snippet of my review on or just read my complete analysis below.

Reviewed by Valerie Rouse for Readers Favorite

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Pierced in the Heart: The Miracle of Healing After Grief and Loss is a personal litany which relates the impact of grief on the author Bonnie Brooks.  What is so heart rending is that she lost both her mother and brother as a result of suicide.  Compounded with these tragedies is the fact that Ms. Brooks also felt like a failure after her marriage collapsed.  She revealed that in essence, she gradually built a wall around her heart to protect herself emotionally from any more hurt she might encounter via relationships.  This proved to be an error on her part because she had difficulty sharing in therapeutic group sessions.  Finally, this wall caved in and she was able to release all the pent up anguish, hurt, loneliness and other raw emotions that she had held inside for so many years.  Ms. Brooks was able to let the love of God into her once impenetrable heart and seek continuous medical and psychiatric intervention.

Ms. Brooks really spoke to my heart with her written words.  I can identify with her painful journey due to the fact that I have a family member who is going through a similar experience.  Ms. Brooks was effective in telling her story by punctuating each chapter with a Bible verse or an appropriate quote.  Her stark and vivid descriptive details of her childhood experiences resonated with me as a reader.  I like the way that she combined her experiences with words representing a conversation between God and herself.  This tactic creates a very intimate aura.  You feel as though it is just you and God having a quiet reunion within the book.  I appreciate the fact that Ms. Brooks did not hold anything back and revealed all of the emotions she felt in the various stages in her life.  Pierced in the Heart: The Miracle of Healing After Grief and Loss is an excellent book highlighting mental illness.  There is in fact a light at the end of the tunnel in respect of attaining help for persons who suffer from mental disorders

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