Don’t Ever Look Behind Door 32

Don’t Ever Look Behind Door 32, TaleBlade Press, illustrations by Lenny Wen, copyright and written by B. C. R. Fegan.

The story opens with a strange figure leaning over a castle-like structure. He is Mr. Nickolas Noo welcoming the reader to the magical castle of Hoo. He states that he’s sure they will be happy in Room 1 and should feel free to “explore my hotel but whatever you do, don’t ever look behind door 32.” This is followed by the children moving from room to room with a description of what is in each room with constant admonishments “don’t ever look behind door 32”. Behind each door in turn are all matter of creatures including grumpy clowns, purple goblins, tea loving monsters, evil fairies, big-headed monkeys, “zombies who dance They’ll mend your shirts and help fix your pants” and even a room that has “nothing at all no roof, floor not even a wall”. Each room’s description is done in a simple rhyme and, as stated, repeatedly ends with the admonition “don’t ever look behind door 32.

The author and illustrator have combined to produce one of the more charming children’s books this reviewer has read. It stimulates the child’s interest and imagination by both word and picture and helps them to read and count in a very easy manner. Unfortunately, a very small font size has been employed, but is compensated for in part by the presentation of verbalization on each page in a repetitive ‘block’. Additionally, I should suggest that a hard copy would be preferable because many Kindles are restricted with respect to color – a matter that would seem quite important in presentation of this book.

Summary: This is a small book for young children that has been charmingly structured with adorable illustrations accompanying verbalization presented in a most enjoyable simple rhyming pattern that, in itself, adds another degree of appeal. A caveat is suggested for maximum enjoyment.

3* 5* charmingly produced children’s book; 3* to persuade reading suggestion to enhance enjoyment.

The Fearless Socialpreneur

The Fearless Socialpreneur ISBN: 9781946623033, ForbesBooks, an e-book by Dr. Bob Douk.

This book provides first a detailed enumeration of the author’s extensive list of credits, followed by Acknowledgements of help from individuals on several levels, Forwards again by other persons on several levels of importance businesswise (mostly an extension of material offered by the others before the book itself is begun). “A word from the author” then is set forth including his perhaps somewhat startling finalization of a belief in Jesus. Next, is an overall presentation of the substance of the book that is interspersed with descriptions of segments of his life from his birth in a labor camp during the Cambodian genocide of the late 1970’s. An Introduction explains his modus operandi interspersed with more biographical bits and pieces and how he shares his successes and failures with other successful entrepreneurs and offers aid to those with worthy ideas. Constant reference is made to switches between focus on health issues and those of a more personal nature and interchange of ideas with partners because “Each of us is a work in progress”. Emphasis is placed on the fact that all priorities must be straight and in order as “Socialpreneurs launch innovative enterprises that achieve not only financial returns but also social benefits.”

This rather lengthy introductory material, all individually titled in the Table of Contents (comprising slightly less than 1/5th of the book) is followed by an explanation that the actual book, consisting of “The 10 principles for business” is structured in two sections. The first, “The five Foundations (F’s)” of a Balanced Life. The second, “The five Principles (P’s)” of Business Success” are presented in this sequence because the author has discovered that business discussions more frequently than not, somehow move to include large sections of the other. Explanation/discussion of the five F’s follow with chapters entitled: “Faith in the Future; Family Foremost; Commitment; Fitness to Serve; Fellowship and Sharing.” Next, as stated, those relevant to business success are set forth with chapter titles: “Passion Within; Purpose to pursue; Plan of Action; PRIME time; Paying it forward.” These again are followed by a Conclusion entitled “Let’s get to work”, and an enumeration of “Our Services” that explains his company, what they do and how they function with others.

Discussion: The first noticeable feature of this book are the publisher’s opening statements that include unusual but pertinent material: 1) a statement proudly proclaiming to be part of the Tree Neutral program that “takes proactive steps’ to plant replacement for the number of trees consumed in the production and printing of this book” and 2) their mission (since 1917) to be “Global Champions of Entrepreneurial Capitalism” and to “further that aim by bringing the Stories, Passion, and Knowledge of top thought leaders to the forefront.”

The author’s presentation itself is by a man well versed and highly regarded as an accomplished entrepreneur and considered by contributors, as well as the publisher, to have provided a ‘must read’ for anyone interested in such endeavors. The principles set forth certainly seem applicable to business success and definitely are fundamental to creating a well-balanced faith-based life. Further, and perhaps more particularly important, is the story of an immigrant and his family who have demonstrated the courage and fortitude to prosper while engaging in fundamental activity to reach successful entrepreneurial goals while creating a well-balanced faith-based life committed to help others as well. In closing is a brief description of the temple of Angkor Wat that speaks of another era of the grandeur of the Khymer Empire and another prominent 200 foot monument containing human skulls situated on one of the Khymer Rouge “Killing Fields” situated several miles from the capitol of Phnom Penh. This also is of another era, but “honors the fortitude of humanity”. His most important statement perhaps: “The most enduring memorial of all is to build diligently and fearlessly toward a better world. Such is the goal of social entrepreneurship” and he is “honored to count myself in that corps of fearless socialpreneuers.”

Summary: A well-written book for the targeted audience that contains numerous somewhat repetitive statements no doubt important to the many entrepreneurial authorities who believe strongly in the message provided. Readers less interested in entrepreneurial activity still will find the “Five Foundations (F’s) of a Balanced Life to be most thought provoking.

3*      5* for targeted audience; 3* worthwhile material included for others.

 

 

Colt’s Justice

Colt’s Justice Chasing a shadow, Dusty Saddle Publishing, an e-book copyright and written by Cherokee Parks.

This volume is the first that follows the adventures of Coulton ‘Colt’ Raines, a veteran of numerous battles on the side of the South during the Civil War, now a happily married farmer. Unfortunately/fortunately, Colt also is a man blessed with natural instincts and lightning reflexes combined with learned abilities that have made him well-known as a relentless and lethal pursuer. The local Sheriff brings a Mr. Jack Devereaux around to see if Colt will help this man. His daughter Rachel had run away with a smooth talking gambler several years before and he will not allow him to see her or her young son Jackie, now six years old. He is a wealthy railroad executive, dying and would like to see them before he dies. He offers Colt $10,000 to find and return her and the boy within the next six months as that is the time he has to live and Rachel’s husband reportedly is treating them both badly as well. Colt agrees, only after consulting with Sissy, his wife, and sets off in a train provided by Devereaux and discovers the man has numerous aliases, is wanted in numerous towns, and finds that he seems now to have become involved in a vicious scheme that involves members of a travelling circus, train workers, station agents, and even Wells-Fargo and Pinkerton agents. The tale recounts the manner in which Colt conducts his investigation and pursuit.

Discussion: This a tale of the old west, but in a manner somewhat changed from the one usually encountered. Specifically, it adds a new ‘wrinkle’ quite different from the more usual ‘time honored’ plots. The action is non-stop and the author’s knowledge of his subject, terrain and era are excellent. The only really unfortunate aspect of the book, is that his proofreader has ‘let him down’. The first half of the book exhibits only very occasional repeats or missing words. However and most regrettably, they gradually grow in number as the reader moves toward the most interesting climax and perhaps is more annoying because of this unique ending offered. The proofing errors are NOT to be attributed to the dialect used throughout, which is far superior to almost anything I have read attempting to use this means of expression.

Conclusion: Uniquely plotted western with an unusual climax but most unfortunate and regrettable proofing.

4* Uniquely plotted western with an unusual climax; -1 for regrettable proofing.

The Golden Book of World’s Greatest Mysteries

The Golden Book of World’s Greatest Mysteries ISBN: 9788075832634, Musaicum Books in e-book by multiple authors.

This book, sub-titled 60+ Whodunit Tales & Detective Stories is a compilation of stories by the “World’s Greatest Authors” and is referred to as “The Ultimate Anthology”. Among the authors included are Edgar Allen Poe, A Conan Doyle, Nathaniel Hawthorn, Mark Twain and others perhaps lesser known to American readers such as Guy de Maupassant, Théopile Gautier, Helena Balavatsky and some lesser known stories of among other authors, Jack London and Anton Chekhov. The book is divided into five sections. The first is “Detective Stories” starting with Poe’s better known ‘The Purloined Letter’. The second is “Suspense Stories” with the opening tale ‘The Birth Mark’ by Hawthorne. The third, “Ghost Stories” with the first ‘Thrawn Janet’ by Robert Louis Stevenson. The fourth, “Paranormal Psychic Stories” opening with ‘When the World was Young’ by Jack London. The fifth, “Humorous Mystery Stories” is the shortest with nine selections leading off with ‘The Secret of Goresthorpe Grange’ by A. Conan Doyle followed by Mark Twain, de Maupassant, Théopile Gautier and others.

Discussion: This is a most interesting group of stories for several reasons. First, they all are interesting, occasionally for an unusual reason. Second, they all are well written. Third, many offer a selection or more from an author lesser known to many American readers and/or a tale from a well-known writer that most readers probably just have not read because it seems a little removed from the books for which the author is most well recognized. The writing style and verbalization frequently are dated, but somehow lends charm to the presentation. William Melmoth and Julian Hawthorne are the translators and have done well with their contributions.

Summary: A group of short stories that allow the busy person to ‘take a break’ from his/her abundant activities when needed and indulge in an enjoyable few minutes of reading.

5* Enjoyable book especially for the individual who is stressed for time.

Panther Across the Stars

Panther Across the Star, Fallen Leaf Books, e-book copyright and written by Lon Brett Coon.

Prologue: In a broken down house in Oklahoma in the year 2023 Myaka is at the height of frustration. He is the great grandson of the long line of Panther Across the Sky, Chief of the Shawnee Indian tribe. As hereditary leader, he is afraid for his people: “How many times can a peoples’ hope be torn from them before it goes out forever? I don’t know if I can bear that burden. It crushes my bones and chains my soul.” He is a desperate soul who drowned in a river of fear. He smashes the mirror with his fists as well as any other glass wear available. His mother tells him all eventually will be alright but too immersed within himself, he grabs a blanket against the chill and wanders out into the night. He encounters a group of people sharing fun, wine and talk around a campfire on the beach. They invite him over, are a little startled because easy relationships are difficult between people of their culture and his. However, they equate well and upon their urging he tells them a story. The tale is based fundamentally on the life of the purportedly wise Shawnee Indian chief Tecumseh and his attempts to form a confederacy of Indian nations to stop the encroaching white man. He is presented as a man who wanted peace for all with none overriding others in spite of seeing his father brutally killed by white men who had invaded Shawnee territory. The tale continues with numerous episodes of his life, some based on actual activities, others are conjecture including his saving the lives of three intergalactic persons who crash in their spaceship near his band of warriors – an incident purportedly to be found in Shawnee legend. This volume of the anticipated series ends with an epic white/Redman battle. An epilogue follows where Myaka finishes his story to the uneasy group of the rape of the Indian nations by the constantly encroaching white men with their incessant lies, retractions and overwhelming military resources and concludes: “The Reservation – a token gift to the savages that holds up American humanity.” He walks away, but the reader is given to understand that somehow with this catharsis, the fifteen year old boy has grown to become a man and the reader understands that the saga is about to continue.

Discussion: The author has provided a historical novel with a message somewhat similar to the earlier written books describing the fall of the Cherokee Nation but with an interesting sci-fi addition. The body of the tale is well-written, the action is abundant and graphically detailed and follows the life of the Shawnee Chief Tecumseh with a slight historical error, unnoticeable to other than a very few American Indian aficionados. From the viewpoint of a reader who has spent a fair amount of time in and around reservations, the housing description and Myaka’s actions are particularly well done. The epilogue does not seem to fit as well. It somehow seems to this reviewer like a prepared paper to enforce a point that already has been well presented in the body of story. (An aside perhaps of some interest to a few readers –the name Myaka means Turtle.)

4* Enjoyable historical with an interesting sci-fi inclusion.

Happiness and Success

Happiness and Success, Full Version, Edition originale: Bonheur et Réussite – Version intégrale, copyright and written by Raphaël Savoy.

The Preface states: “this book has one essential objective: to create the tiny spark that will light up your whole perspective and life.” Further that it “is suitable for anyone who is discouraged, weary, and or depressed by a life which can sometimes be stressful, harsh or unfair.” And a commitment: “I promise that you have in your hands a complete and very powerful method of personal development.” With respect to presentation: “I aimed for this book to be pragmatic, functional and useful.” Eleven chapters follow and provide discussions of varying length on individual components required to understand his method along with a Summary/conclusion and a short Bibliography.

Discussion: It is difficult to determine how successfully the reader can extract his/her individual requirements or needs from the author’s provision of this “complete and very powerful method of personal development.” Similarly to the plethora of other offers of help to the obviously disturbed population of today’s world, he has recited the problems most encounter and why; discussed the peculiarities of the manner in which the human brain is involved (humans have the unique inability to not think); the presence of reality and how to face it – facts, incidents, thoughts; the need to clarify and categorize the ideas; gain confidence; restore faith – a factor largely missing today; indulge in positive thinking and be able to change one’s point of view; then letting go of the bad and acceptance of the good; living in the moment (carpe diem) and mindfulness (practice NOT thinking); the importance of love (existing only on a lower level today), forgiveness, generosity and gratitude; and finally the action required to gather all of these elements together to reach the desired goal of peace and happiness. Pictograms are employed throughout to set apart statements the author considers particularly important for the reader to retain. Emphasis is placed on the importance of rereading the book to gain all of the important elements. Similarly, the action steps must constantly be repeated with the admonition that, as with sports or other endeavors, practice makes perfect. A number of helpful quotations, some amusing, e.g. Einstein – “Only two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity, and I’m not sure about the former” are included along with numerous helpful suggestions, e.g. “Love thy neighbor as thyself” (Jesus); “Much of our stress comes from living mentally in other people’s business.” In some ways the procedures are quite similar to one or more of the seven important types of the practice of meditation.

Summary: Another worthwhile addition to the growing number of self-help manuals to aid an obviously growing mass of disturbed individuals in the frenetic world we seem to have made. Individuals with two to three jobs to survive, need for constant telephone availability, constant upgrade of electronic equipment, need to fulfil requirements of one’s children plus one’s own, political/world unrest, road rage and more.

4* Worthwhile addition to growing number of self-help books for disturbed individuals.