Cycladic Girls

Cycladic Girls ISBN: 9781735123004 first published by Aegis Press copyright and written by Patrick Garner.

Sub-titled Celebrities, Deities, Love & Power; Greek Gods in the Modern World, this second book in a series (first, The Winnowing) states that the characters are not based on living persons. Rather, only the gods and goddesses are real. An author’s note explains that it is a ‘stand-alone’ volume but readers would find references to events in the first to appear frequently here in the second. For example here, Jackson Night is the story’s narrator and is an individual Lachesis, one of the three Fates who control life spans of mortals and gods alike made him a-mortal; e.g. he, like the gods, will live forever but is not immortal as are the gods, including his wife Danaë, who is a demi-God, daughter of the god of the seas, Poseidon and his human wife. The tale, as related by Jackson, follows the progress of Timessa, a nymph protected by Artemis (Apollo’s sister) who, feeling ‘controlled’ decides to leave and gradually evolves into what they know as ‘The Great One, Ishtar of Babylon and many other names. She preceded all of the other gods by perhaps a millennium and was the most powerful of all. She could bring fertility and she could kill by atomizing and scattering her selection to the winds.

The story follows her life as it emerges from her move as one of Artemis’ nymphs as she moves to the modern world where she attends college and enters a modern day life style. She has a spectacular type of beauty that draws her to modelling where she becomes an almost immediate sensation. As time passes, calls for her from all of the top designers become highly competitive, the fashion magazines pay top dollar for her shoots and she becomes an immensely wealthy worldwide sensation, attracts an almost cult-like following of girls and young women, revives the Ancient sacrifices, relabeling as Observances for pack of followers to be performed at the time of the girls’ period so that the shedding of blood was performed as a tribute to her, a gift they could bestow for those provided by her. The story’s breadth expands as more of the old Greek gods are re-awakened from their more than millennium of sleep and how this, along with Timessa’s discovery of Iole, an obscure French fashion designer, affects Timessa’s need for adulation that had mounted to the level described.

Discussion: The Series author might be thought of as somewhat of a Renaissance man in the breadth of his personal activities. He is a man with several degrees, a poet, playwright who also has established a theater, and author but also is involved as a wetlands scientist and hydrologist. His characters and ancient gods are fascinating and, as described in the author’s notes from the first book in the series, their “Sexual hunger, hubris, infatuation – these emanating combined with divine intellect drive the Winnowing’s key characters” and are carried over into this second in the series. Description of the old gods is supplied to the reader as a most helpful addition. It is suggested that reading the first book in the series will avoid a bit of ‘spinning of one’s wheels’ if beginning this volume.

4* 5* tale; -1 for struggle described if not beginning with the series’ first book.

Inherent Greed

Inherent Greed ISBN: 9781734436167 Authoraide Publications, copyright and written by Carney Vaughan.

The author opens with a synopsis of the story that explains a man by the name of Cameron Parmentor “a self-swerving, cunning, cold-blooded adult, matures with eyes upon a career in Australian federal politics” and describes the manner in which he achieves his desired position. It further introduces two police officers who are captured on film exchanging a large amount of cash in a situation deemed to be corrupt. One of them disappears and the other, Jack Penrose, is cashiered from the force with only his word to verify that is was in return for a debt owed to him. A battered housewife neighbor to whom he is kind is the only one who believes him but then both are declared murders when her husband is killed. The story follows their attempts to evade capture and brings into the tale a large number of other characters that play important roles leading to a most interesting and unexpected climax.

Discussion: This is an account of a sociopathic killer that begins slowly but gradually evolves into a circuitous trail of events that are unraveled only by the tenacity of a woman journalist of sorts along with help from her husband, a retired detective, the disgraced policeman and a couple of Parmentor’s heavily affected victims.

5* Absorbing tale mystery readers will not want to put down.

Harness the Power of the Invincible Mind

Harness the Power of the Invincible Mind ISBN: 9781999279479 Pearson Press, copyright and written by Alex Neumann, MSc.

The author’s intent has been to provide a strategy that will lead individuals plagued with anxiety, self-hate and/or lack of confidence to a position of success and happiness. His thoughts and suggestions are set forth in ten chapters and a conclusion. He begins by discussing diversity in general terms and provides examples of individuals who are taught how to control a perilous situation such as a Maasai boy or Khoisan children and follows with other famous persons including famous sports figures, such as Michael Jordan who had made numerous mistakes early in his career that he overcame with perseverance; Albert Einstein who was labeled as not too bright as a child, as was Sir Isaac Newton; Statesmen such as Winston Churchill, and music composer Beethoven. Also included are an author by the name of Richard Bach and his interesting story of a huge number of repetitive rejections through which he persevered finally to publish the book in 1970 that sold more than 7 million copies in the U.S. alone. The narrative continues and with succeeding chapters provides more complete stories of additional well-known individuals who conquered monumental odds to attain true success. The discussion additionally explains the difference between “market successes” and “true (inner) success” and how pursuit of the former can trample attainment of the latter. Again he illustrates with an example. This time with that of a simple fisherman who was confronted by a Harvard MBA who explained how he could grow his business and become wealthy before retiring when he then could do whatever he wished to do – something which the fisherman knew was exactly what he was doing The author’s discussion extends to stress how “marketing success” and what it is doing to the world, its forests, oil, water and its people is an “illusion success” rather than the “real success” that lies within. He further admonishes “Demagoguery is the new norm. Fascists, Nazis, racists, chauvinists, sexual harassers and other such dehumanizing malfeasants have been planted into the highest offices, albeit in disguise.” “Has our society lost its value?” and describes how marketing education is driven by the premium on labor that is based on “market” not “real” success. Instead you should play the game to enjoy. Love what you are doing to attain true success which is composed of four factors: compassionate service to others, a life fully lived, an achieved vision and eternal joy. Often you need to take risks, but if you fail, learn from your mistakes and attack the problem again. Originality often is lost by the time education has been finished. It is necessary to stop whining and start thriving. He describes further a time-frame within intent as being the critical ingredients that may be required to unwind mentally from entanglements in the matters that are causing the grief. He prescribes repeatedly the need to persevere and to turn obstacles into opportunities.

Discussion: The author has set forth a prescription for success that has been presented by many CEOs and entrepreneurs in numerous areas of endeavor. However, he has specifically targeted the individual plagued with anxiety, self-hate and/or lack of confidence. Here, he has suggested steps that such a person can, and actually must take to rid themselves of this overburdening weight that such persons carry. A weight that affects every part of the body both mental as well as physical. His thoughts, suggestions and advice are set forth in a simple straight forward, albeit repetitive manner that in itself may be helpful to the troubled reader looking for a way out of the morass in which he/she abides. Specifically, at least one of the messages with its different approach set forth with even different examples may provide the spark that is necessary to ignite the fire required ultimately to help the burdened person to throw off the oppressive yoke under which they have been carrying.

5* Advice for the angst-ridden; highly repetitive but helpful from different perspectives.

When She Touches

When She Touches ISBN: 9781688985490 assumed published by, copyright and written by Sheryl M. Frazer.

Subtitled “A Discovery of Destiny and a gift Like No Others” this is a novel extending from the mid-1900s to the present. It is an unusual story following Genevieve as she, recipient of abstract dreams beginning in childhood, experiences another informing that she ‘will understand once her daughter is born’. The young, newly married Mrs. Walker thought someday, but right now began recalling the fairy tale like, so wonderfully enjoyable romance and wedding to her most thoughtful and wonderful husband still sleeping beside her. From this moment the reader is taken on a strange journey where the young girl, born to a mother who seemed to want nothing to do with the child, is raised by her adoring grandparents and eventually discovers that she has a strange gift in that she can communicate with a person’s soul. This reviewer believes that providing even one more modicum of information would be a total disservice to the prospective reader.

Discussion: In spite of occasional minor glitches, this book and its anticipated sequel provide one of the more unique tales this reader has encountered. The plot about ‘a soul reader’ is nowhere even vaguely close to the tawdry image that may come to mind. The characters are engaging, even captivating at times and their interwoven nature intriguing. The pace is excellent and the anticipation set in motion by the idea of a sequel’s plot is one of the most compelling this reader has encountered.

5* If you enjoy the unusual, you will not want to miss this one.

52 Smart Habits to Manage your Money & Grow Wealth

52 Smart Habits to Manage Your Money and Grow wealth. Assumed published, copyright and written by Joann Lindsey.

Sub-titled “Discover how to improve your Finances in 10 minutes a day”, and after a lengthy disclaimer, the book opens with an introduction and eight chapters that contain 52 suggestions that provide substance to her proposal. A Conclusion, Resources and a listing of “My other books in This Series – ‘10 minute Habits for a Better Life’”, conclude the presentation. The Introduction explains that the first book aimed at achieving a better life and “discussed, in detail, the habit formation process, how your habits influence you, and how and why to form many small, 10-minute habits” to attain health, wealth, happiness and prosperity. It then explains that this present book provides a series of suggestions specifically focusing this process of ‘habit production’ on using money wisely, saving more, investing, getting out of debt, and achieving financial independence. She stresses that it is imperative to achieve financial independence “because it brings forth an enormous amount of freedom in your life”. AND she stresses how important it is to gradually build the right set of habits to achieve your goal. The succeeding chapters provide instruction on how to acquire habits for managing your cash flow, increase your savings, reduce your spending, decrease your debt, improve your investment portfolio and grow your net worth. Specific suggestions include importance of an emergency fund, spotting ‘money leaks’ and how to seal them, admonishments to plan shopping trips so as to not get ‘side-tracked’, importance of shopping alone to avoid ‘impulse buying’ and to wait for 30 days before buying something you want (to see if you still want it as much then as you did originally). Retirement considerations also are discussed as are a number of other, often unthought-of subjects especially if approaching the subject relatively early in your personal career. A short conclusion and number of references concludes the presentation.

Discussion: The author has set forth a set of suggestions that many individuals entering the work force will find to be most helpful. A word of caution with respect to Investing in the present volatile market – Obtain dependable advice!

5* Recommended especially for individuals entering the workforce.

Canvas of Time

Canvas of Time ISBN: 9798690817947 assumed published copyright and written by Amélie Pimont.

The story is a sci/fi fantasy/romance following the lives of two people, Sarah and Eli, who are consumed with eternally lasting love that surfaces again with each reincarnation. The reader first is introduced to the couple as they are picked up by a passing space ship in a galaxy far removed, find their true love and are brutally terminated shortly thereafter. They are reunited in Egypt where she is a thoroughly spoiled Princess and he her acquired slave. Once again fate steps in and the relationship is fatally terminated. More reunions follow in France during WW I, and again in WWII when their country is invaded, German soldiers are forcibly assigned to their home, and their fortunes again end unpleasantly. The last reincarnation presented occurs in Los Angeles where Sarah is a free-lance journalist whose photographs gain prominence while Eli is an extremely famous artist. Destiny again brings them together and they live a number of soul-satisfying years until one night while embraced in each other’s arms they fall asleep and once more ascend into the beyond.

Discussion: The author, originally a Parisian, now is living in Los Angeles where she is a free-lance film maker. I understand that this is her initial attempt at production of a novel. As such, it is commendable. Each plot is interesting, the characters are sufficiently fleshed-out to elicit empathetic reactions and the pace, for the most part is good, although slowed considerably in areas. The writing style is unusual, rather simplistic and almost stilted at times, possibly as a result of use of a second language?  There also is a considerable amount of redundancy and/or repetition of words. Some of these features are understandable because of the book’s basic theme. However, a considerable amount actually is disconcerting, if not exactly annoying. However, as a total presentation, the author has produced a most interesting story that deals with a subject that has fascinated people for years. Certainly, these individuals as well as fantasy devotes, will discover these stories to be ‘hard-to-put-down.

 

3* 5* Basic plot intriguing to most; -2* problems encountered for new writers