Blood of the Assassin Thrillex Publishing copyright and written by Bill Brewer.
This second book in the series has the protagonist David Diegert, son of an Ojibwa woman in northern Minnesota who is married to an abusive drug dealer with another son who is similar and favored by by the husband. Both males ridicule David with the father adding harsh abusive tactics as well. The collective effect of this activity on the young boy, plus the scorn accrued by the social unacceptability at that time of being a ‘half-breed’, is accepted but eventually leads him to become a Special Forces soldier and then a paid Assassin. Not only is he a professional, but is the best as determined by a serial rotation of combat to the death set up by the consortium by which he has been hired. The group, headed by a German living in palatial splendor in London prominently includes a Latin American representative, a prominent Chinese businessman and a well-connected American who together represent some 20 % of the world’s wealth. The consortium is named Crepusculous and their agenda is devaluation of the American dollar and to push their own digital currency with a common value throughout the world. Thus ultimately, all ‘local’ rates would be eliminated making the globe one common market and voilà, their Omni Sphere would make them THE one power in the world. The tale here describes action up to and including their decision to begin the process with a four step sequence of activity in which David is intimately involved. The associated characters provide various activities that both aid and hinder his assignments and distrust, betrayal, deceit and treachery are the normal way of life as he attempts even to remain alive while attempting to save his mother as well as the whole world.
Discussion: The plot is credible considering the chaotic state of today’s world, its people and politics. From rumors extant, the characters are acceptable as is their activity. The early pace is hi-octane as the consortium’s first two steps are initiated. Following this, the sequence slows rapidly as the political action, by its convoluted nature, pretty much begins to take over. Regrettably, for this reviewer at least, this rapid deceleration and seemingly probable extension into the next awaited volume in the series produced an annoying and unwelcome distraction to this otherwise enjoyable thriller.
3* 5* story with disappointing feature the author hopefully will correct.
Tantamount Glass Spider Publishing copyright and written by CR Hruska.
The story opens in the year 550 in fragmentarily ruled Britain several centuries before larger tribes coalesced into the country of England. Although both the northern and southern sections were ruled by Germanic tribes that had immigrated earlier, the northern Angles were ruled by a man who wished to extend his kingdom to include a bordering particularly fertile section of southern Seaxe. Tolan Fising, a husky, hardworking 37-year-old farmer, his loving wife Leila, 10-year-old son Kenric and 7-year-old daughter Thea owned part of this fertile land. Along with their other animals, a particular large muscular horse called Stareyes was the favorite and became closely loved by the entire family. This is the tale of how the attempted invasion by the Anglican King affected this family, especially after their nearest neighbor, close family friend and loving husband of Avery Lawford is killed defending the country. The ensuing havoc initiated by roving bands from the north brutally kill Tolan’s family causing the fleeing Tolan to encounter a startling change in venue where he is saved and gradually introduced to an entirely new way of life and loving friends who he, in a split second, instinctively is moved to save at great personal sacrifice.
Discussion: The author has set forth a most interesting imaginative offering in a quite simplistic manner that seems most appropriate. The protagonist’s apparent ability to adjust to radical change without any seeming hesitation is a bit remarkable, but credible for an individual with a good intellect and a mind geared to constant change and the necessity to react quickly to changing conditions. For a first endeavor, this book is a most welcome addition to the fantasy/historical genre literature already published.
5* Unusual fantasy/historical tale most enjoyable to read.
Write Yourself out of This One ISBN: 9781951744106 Telemachus Press copyright and written by Peggy A. Edelheit.
This is Book 12 in the Samantha Jamison Mystery series. Once again it is characterized by her very active generic team of Martha, Hazel and Betty, providing backup along with PI Clay and ex-mobster Tony as they scramble through another scenario of mysterious activities. And once again, Sam is at risk, although this time she is pitted against another writer(s?) in a game which could end disastrously for our mystery author/sleuth. It begins with a macabre and inexplicable discovery on Sam’s well-maintained and secured property and proceeds though an equally strange series of ‘happenings’, all in turn, alternating with normal, albeit somewhat unusual social relationships. Many of the activities and their results occur because of Sam’s mental attitudes which someone appears to have been able to decipher quite accurately. The hi-octane concluding termination inevitably results.
Discussion: Actually, little need be said about this popular author’s tale that no doubt will present its usual appeal. The unusual plot is provocative, the characters react in their colorfully expected manner and the finale again is explosive. Regrettably for this reviewer who has read and enjoyed several of the author’s books, this one presented a few too many ‘leaps of faith’ for an admittedly pragmatic mindset to accept. But this is a personal attribute no doubt resultant from many years in empirical endeavors that occasionally override otherwise enjoyable flights of fancy.
3* 5* Another exciting mystery by this popular author; (-2 regrettably for this reader only?).
Brothers in War, Richter Publishing acknowledged for aid, copyright and written by Ginger Rodeghero.
Brett Chance, the protagonist is a soccer star in his senior year at his local Allendale High School. His sister to whom he has been closely attached had been murdered recently while providing ‘hands-on’ educational opportunities to girls in Afghanistan. Because of her great desire to engage in these endeavors, he had been helpful in convincing their parents to allow her to go. Now remorseful and full of self-blame, he is experiencing an extremely difficult period. He found concentration on his studies difficult and social relations with class mates nearly impossible. His 2-year relationship with Madison even was suffering considerably but was surviving with talks with her while grooming her Arabian at the stables in close-by Pittsford, N.Y. As the Allendale H.S. soccer star he gets some solace from the concentration required by this activity, especially when his goal is to obtain a scholarship from Syracuse University’ prominent program. His problem suddenly exacerbates when a new student joins the school. The new student, Rasheed, has moved here from, the now for him hated, country of Afghanistan. He also is an extremely accomplished soccer player who can affect Brett’s position of prominence. The plot develops as Brett discovers that Rasheed is haunted from experiencing brutal personal attacks magnified by a most recent family tragedy. The evolution and progression of these activities slowly evolve to provide the substance of the tale where with remembrance of discussions with his grandfather, mentoring by his understanding and very wise coach, and gradual mental maturation, Brett begins to adjust to his life as it evolves.
Discussion: In a brief Introduction, the author explains that she has written this book because she hopes that in some small manner her passion with respect to Human Rights and elimination of violations of individual rights that still exist today will aid this cause and “inspire you to make changes in this world around you with the truth about your human rights.” The ensuing story is an interesting, credible, plot based coming-of-age tale that can initiate worthwhile thoughts in young minds. To strengthen her position, the author includes at the end of the book a statement from the General Assembly of the United Nations. This Universal Declaration of Human Rights, with attendant Articles 1 through 30 is followed by a brief note from “About the Author’ that ends with “I write to communicate to the next generation in a way that they will hopefully strive to make our world a better place.”
Summary: Nicely presented tale that should be efficacious in advancing the author’s agenda.
5* Interesting, well-told coming-of-age tale advancing author’s agenda.
Radical Value ISBN: 9781733996303, Goodrich Publishing, copyright and written by Mark Boundy.
Sub-titled Elevate your company – and career – by unleashing the power within customer centricity, the author explains that “any company exists to generate higher value than it costs to deliver it.” Thus, “Customer satisfaction is a powerful, highly relevant metric. It’s just not a great in-game compass. Customer’s value is the important criteria.” He then proceeds with his 5 part evaluation. Part 1 contains 2 chapters where he initiates his proposal that the purpose of business is the creation of value and explains “what is value”. Part 2 follows explaining why value culture works with chapters 3 and 4 providing radically focused company basics and the critical aspects of focused customer conversations. Part 3 offers “to know your customer’s business, ye must know business” and proceeds in the next 3 chapters to describe the need to become an expert in your customer’s business, financial acumen for the “No-mathelte”, and how one must look for value through the customer’s eyes. Part 4 concentrates on practical ‘value-mining’ tools for customer-facing roles in chapter 8 by “finding value from your differentiation out” and 9 explaining that “probability happens at the top line”. Part 5 “Are you ready to be radical?” terminates the presentation with Chapters 10, 11 and 12 explaining how sellers are enabled to focus on value; “a day in the life” examining “what’s different about a radically focused organization”; and how this ‘different’ focus changes your customer relationships.
Discussion: The author states in several ways that “Customers don’t buy products or services, they buy the outcome they anticipate those products and/or services deliver. And, he has set forth his advice, as synopsized above, the manner in which this feature translates into the customer’s value and how to interpret and utilize it in what he describes as a radically different approach. From accompanying statements of praise for the author’s approach by individuals highly positioned in successful businesses, the author has been eminently successful in providing a ‘radical’ guide to focus on expectations of their customers. Or to rephrase, to re-align a business and all workers in each department to realize the basic need for every selling business to understand they are in business specifically to satisfy the values their customers possess. This reader concurs with their conclusions. However and apparently unfortunately, from my perspective as an individual not engaged in ‘business per se’ but rather one whose interests range eclectically, a certain personal disappointment results. If this basic message already exists, why does the author need to provide such lengthy description for justification of its use? And why is the material he has provided so radical? The material is interesting and seemingly delivers exactly what is needed, and assumingly considered radical, from the perspective of individuals who may be in the same old daily routine where poor habits develop unnoticed and the company’s main thrust ‘becomes somewhat frayed around the edges’. But from a total ‘outsider’s perspective, the message hardly seems ‘radical’ and especially if it is so essential. Thus, my apologies to the author and others closely involved in the activities described. My comments arise from the perspective of a reader whose wide range of interests include knowledge of ‘business’ and its various aspects, BUT from a complete unfamiliarity with the daily ‘grind’ it entails which seems, in turn, to lead to numerous ‘glitches’.
3* 5*material; -2 with apologies to author/others involved from an interested ‘outsider’.
LEAP ISBN: 9781946623651 ForbesBooks, copyright and written by Dr. Marta Wilson.
Sub-titled Master your Superpowers, Soar to the Leading Edge, this book’s author, an Industrial Organizational Psychologist, opens with a Preface providing information that her consulting firm (TSI – Transformation Systems, Inc.) has taught federal agencies and Fortune 500 companies and their members to “uncover the hidden gifts of executives, managers and employees to build morale, increase collaboration and enhance success”. “…includes achieving transformation goals such as cutting costs, increasing efficiency, and energizing the work-force” or in other words, “all of the message and work of TSI already shared with thousands of others.” She explains further that becoming Masterful in 4 areas tend to make the achiever become a ‘Super Hero’. These four are Personal, Interpersonal. Organizational and Motivational Mastery. Moreover, these 4 make up the LEAP title of the book and stand for Leadership Effectiveness and Potential. The profile is described in detail in Chapter 3 and an app is available at theLEAPapp.com that provides a fast-paced crash course in proven principles of individual effectiveness and guidance from science and industry to build these attributes. In the book she also includes inspirational examples of great leaders; i.e. Mastery in Action, along with experiences of some of her past and present clients plus her own story. The ensuing nine chapters provide individual information and recommendations on imagining yourself soaring; discovering your Masteries; your Superpowers; expanding your Personal Mastery; ways to amplify this personal attribute; boost your Organizational Mastery; raise your Motivational Mastery; Create your Own Opportunities; unleash your Inner Superhero and Soar. Each Chapter concludes with a list of pertinent questions for the reader.
Discussion: The author has set forth another in the burgeoning number of books with the intent of helping to further the growth of various established and new entrepreneurial businesses. She offers suggestions on how to overcome fear of public speaking, of failure, of engaging in change. The need not only to listen to people but to actually HEAR what they are saying, to empathize with them, to connect and have them engage, elevate and energize each other and how you can best accomplish this if you have learned to master yourself and teach by leading as a positive person who can innovate, create, interrelate and inspire, manage stress time and data. As with most books of this nature, there is much redundancy typically displayed as a result of a desire to emphasize facts delivered by lecturers repeatedly speaking to multiple audiences.
5* Excellent suggestions; some redundancy not unusual with lecturers use for emphasis.