Write Yourself Out of this One

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?).

LEAP

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.

A Coin for a Dream

Coin for a Dream published, copyright and written by Mae Adams.

This volume presents a series of short stories, the first fifteen of them told to the author in her early childhood growing up in Korea. They are simple tales, the significance of some perhaps even a little unusual for the uninitiated to absorb. Included are tales of egg ghosts, water ghosts, angels of death, servants of the underworld, a 9-tailed dragon shape-shifter and its nemesis, a 3-legged dog, also of the monstrous part lion, sheep and unicorn haechi with scales, feathers and horns who actually seek justice by punishing the wicked. Other tales, some provided a little later, detail the legends and folktales along with historical explanations of Korean beginnings, religions and practices. Included are tales of how shamans, these mediums between this and the spirit world are created, fascinating explanations of the differences among the Chinese, Japanese and Korean Dragons, discussions of their zodiac, and more. All of these later features gradually and ultimately fade into and join material of a bio- and autobiographical nature.

Discussion: This is the second book by the author of “Precious Silver Chopsticks” which I had reviewed approximately a year ago and stated “This autobiography/memoir is written by an eighty-four-year-old Korean woman of considerable intelligence, fortitude and an amazing ability to survive and prosper” and concluded: “Certainly a relieving catharsis for the author and a book of considerable interest for a diverse reading public.” Because I had witnessed the conditions and people of  Korea during the U.S. involvement, my conclusion with respect to this second book retains my admiration for the author and personally find considerable material she has provided to be quite interesting. But regrettably and in all honesty, I must narrow the scope of those for whom I believe this book will have appeal. There is much redundancy in her presentation and repetition within the body of the work as well as a considerable amount from her first book. Thus, I strongly recommend this book to readers who are interested in learning more about other people, their history, cultures, religions, activities, habits, individual beliefs, and their personal abilities to adapt and especially as depicted here, to survive. For readers with these interests, the subject matter most assuredly requires a 5*. The rating unfortunately must be reduced by 2 because of matters that judicious editing would have removed, plus the most regrettable fact its level of interest for others than those mentioned; i.e. general readership, probably would not be extensive.

3* 5* story regrettably reduced by 2 as explained in the discussion.

Let’s Pretend

Let’s Pretend a book published by Amazon, copyright and written by Christian Hagesth III.

The opening passages of this book induce a reader to believe the author has set forth a fantasy novel loosely based on the ‘genie in the bottle’ theme. The protagonist, Peter Andresen  is a retired psychiatrist whose wife died several years ago in an accident and he has two grown sons who are ‘too busy’ to bother seeing him. He believes he is in his sixties, suffers from Parkinson’s disease, has been bankrupt and now “scrapes by on Social Security and V.A. Benefits.” He is alone and lonely and walking aimlessly on a beach with no person or even buildings in sight. He spots a corked empty bottle that has drifted ashore, picks it up and sees a note inside. Amused by remembrance of the old tales, he attempts to remove it. The task is difficult so bringing it closer a faint voice seems to emanate from its depths requesting release. Shocked, he rapidly reverts to remembered Marine Drill Sargent’s marching orders continuing until encountering a lovely young woman. She greets him with no hint of a sexual come-on, which would be useless anyway because his Parkinson’s long ago had removed the possibility of any such activity. They do however, acquire what seems to be a deep mutual understanding and attachment, so continue walking together and the young woman appears to be able to provide all manner of ‘good things’ out of nowhere. Thus, the tale’s subtitle “A tale of Mind, Imagination, and Healing” quickly is recalled. Holly is able to cause welcome sleep, wonderful breakfasts, fine dining with all of the amenities, sessions of swimming with whales, functioning as partner of a raptor and of an entire flock of birds and more. She also facilitates visits with his Aunt Nora, participation in conversational gatherings with historical medical figures such as Hippocrates and Galen, another non-religious individual from whom he learns that “God needs to be experienced, not dissected”, and other pertinent individuals.  But eventually from this non-physical reality where everything he needs is provided by his mind because it is not limited in the more usual manner by attention to material reality, the reader witnesses the evolution of a physically ill individual, additionally suffering from a degree of PTSD, who ultimately re-emerges in the ‘real world’ as a truly empathetic individual who is a true ‘healer’.

Discussion: This is an engaging book. It literally forces a reader to return to the too-often forgotten thoughts first provided on the importance of the mind on bodily action centuries before Sigmund Freud. As quoted by the author, Hippocrates stated “It is more important to know what patient has the disease than what disease the patient has” i.e. the mind’s content fundamentally is the important factor in treatment. As an extension on his theme, the author provides examples of the many psychological burdens carried by the protagonist. Included are early strange thoughts arising from the child’s bedtime prayer “Now I lay me down to sleep…”, being recognized as a hated other young boy instead of as her son by his mother just being returned from a psychiatric facility, thoughts about shooting himself in college and a horrifying experience after being shot down on a mission over enemy territory. Many more compelling features of mind-body interrelationship along with additional pertinent details and thought compelling reaction are included. A reminder of medicine’s mortal conflict with ignorance not only is legendary but particularly relevant again today by the recent resistance to immunization and the cautionary admonition “The greater the ignorance, the greater the dogmatism” necessitating the cautionary remark “Be careful talking to people about your understanding of the infinite mind…you know it will be distorted. It will be seen as both heresy and gospel.” But enough! This is merely a review by a relatively knowledgeable reader who has been impressed by the author’s ability to bring forth, in a rather succinct manner, a basic tenet of the mind-body-disease relationship that, as stated, has appeared to have been lost for centuries. Granted, Freud, Jung and others resurrected a piece of it which H. Flanders Dunbar and others expanded to a degree. However, this particular treatise reestablishes the basic tenets and does so in a quite charming fictional tale that is highly recommended both as a simple fantasy, but even more importantly as a book to enjoy analyzing and absorbing its message.

5* Riveting dual level tale; enjoyable fantasy; crying for deeper analysis.

When Worms Abandon their Burrows

When Worms Abandon their Burrows a mystery thriller assumed published, copyright and written by Sean Parr.

After several years in St. Louis, the protagonist Emily Merton has returned home to the small town of Hannibal, Missouri where she had had spent her childhood. While in St Louis, she had established a reputation as an excellent investigative journalist and now was working freelance but with special assignments for the small but important local newspaper. As quite a talented sculptor, she also sells carved pieces from her small studio/shop and is commissioned to provide a piece for the reopening of Lover’s Leap, the well-known local attraction partly destroyed by recent flooding. The funding for the park’s refurbishing has been provided by Malcolm Spencer, a newly appointed CEO of a prominent New York City Investment Company. Unknown to the New Yorkers is the fact that he has served time for the rape of an 11-year-old girl seventeen years before in Hannibal. Actually, it was a crime he had NOT committed but lies, combined with poor police procedures and a poor lawyer with whom his family concurred were responsible. Ironically, the child raped had been Emily and now she was assigned to interview him. She, in turn decides to expose him at the dinner where he is invested with his new position. Her attempt at exposure backfires, but she unexpectedly overhears a private conversation (the content of which she alters when speaking later to Malcom) and the action moves back to Hannibal and the preparation for the park’s reopening ceremony. Presentation of more detail is unrealistic because of their number and convoluted interrelationship.

Discussion: An outright judgmental decision on this book is difficult in the extreme. It has an unusual plot, projects a suspenseful aspect that makes a reader  continue to look forward to a plausible resolution but regrettably really requires an editor, or perhaps a mentor, to bring attention to the following. The story begins slowly with what appears to be stereotypical young girls who seem to continue at that level as grown women. The police work, even accepting the long-standing belief that small town departments suffer from inadequate staffing, is woefully poor; the lawyer again is ‘typically small town’; the inability of most characters to be truthful; the seeming inability of anyone to make sensible decisions; naivety of all to believe that an investment firm would select a CEO without really knowing his/her background; difficulty for anyone to believe the ruse he provides for the belief that the interview would remain ‘local’; and perhaps a very minor, but necessary, criticism that layered white pine is suitable for the lasting piece of sculpture that was to be placed in a position where it would be the recipient of constant change in weather conditions.

Summary: A seemingly somewhat contrived but impressive idea for a mystery thriller as a first by an author who shows promise.

3* 4* Mystery/thriller idea. Regrettably much less for presentation.

The Daily Better

      The Daily Better ISBN: 9781628656992 Authors place Press, copyright and written by Henry Edwards.

In the Preface, the author explains that, although having been raised with all of the amenities available to a child born in this period in the United States, he acquired an obsession “with America’s hypocrisy and the “evils” of capitalism” with a “rotten Core of America – materialistic, militaristic, superficial, overweight…bloated both physically and metaphorically. I also started believing that all of humanity was doomed for decline and fall.” He moved into alcohol and drug abuse and “high school partying moved into an addiction.” Therapy turned things around and he began looking not only at America but also the rest of the world. With voracious reading he began to learn that humanity actually had progressed in fantastic proportions with the passage of time. “Pestilence, War, Famine and Death – the Four Horsemen of the Biblical Apocalypse – are all in retreat. I end up noting that there is a world-wide epidemic of anxiety, depression and suicide. The causes are many and complex, but I propose an additional cause: pessimism.” He expresses hope that by presenting here a full year’s 365 days of Reasons for Optimism others may gain a similar degree of overall optimism. An introduction provides a discussion of how a meeting with one of today’s more pessimistically inclined individuals might proceed and then the substance of the book begins with the list by date of occurrence and/or date of birth of the person responsible for the activity discussed. The first is a brief description of The Montreal Protocol of 1989 that set forth global agreement that stopped the use of chemicals contributing to ozone depletion. Another local/international/global beneficial action that benefits a particular part, or all, of mankind then is set forth in similar manner and the list continues for a complete 365 days. After each individual presentation, there is an accompanying “Thought for Today”.

An enormous number of highly varied actions, people, dates and global areas are presented to offer reasons for optimism. The dates range from antiquity and even before, to present day. The objects – TV, Web, Telephone, sonar, space, quantum theory and more. Coverage ranges through women’s rights, sexual freedom, racial relations, medical advances, and various aspects of children’s well-being, the poor, disabled, health issues and more. Individuals of note include Albert Schweitzer, Ford, Benz (Mercedes Benz), Andrew Carnegie, Jesse Owens, Walter Reed, Washington Roebling (Brooklyn Bridge), Jane Austin, Thomas Edison, Martin Luther King, Jr. and others. Places – Antarctica, various places in England, Africa, America, Apollo Theater in Harlem, Canary Islands, others.

Discussion: Turned off by the pessimism constantly encountered, the author has provided a monumental amount of ‘evidence’ to offer corroboration for his desire to create a basis for world-wide optimism. From this reviewer’s perspective, he has offered excellent material. Regrettably also from this reader’s perspective, the format; i.e. fitting occurrences into a 365 day pattern, although quite unique, results in inclusion of numerous repetitious episodes of the same basic material. The effect is a little ponderous that, at least for this reader, seems to result in an undesirable detraction from the main theme. Additionally, inclusion of his statement with respect to wars being less frequent and less costly in lives will be open to lengthy contemplation as will his comment with respect to Dr. Benjamin Spock’s teachings – a legacy the basic psychology of which along with its manner of application are particularly controversial in the minds of many today.

Conclusion: A bright light offered especially to Americans in this chaotic period of political struggle and questionable Department of Justice activity.

4* 5* Much needed optimism offered; -1 presentation as described.