Back on Track

New reviews coming soon! I'll be importing my work from the past two years, but in the meantime,
I'm reclaiming my small place on the web.

Tuesday, November 25, 2003

Non-Fiction/Paranormal Review

My Proof Of Survival: Personal Accounts of Contact with the Hereafter
by Andy Honigman
ISBN-10: 0738702641
Review by Heather Froeschl

From the pages of FATE Magazine, Andrew Honigman has compiled a wonderful collection of true personal accounts of contact with the Hereafter. For the past 50 years, FATE has featured the letters of its readers in a most popular column, My Proof of Survival. Here, readers share their own stories of encounters with spirits of all kinds. In this collection of 145 stories, Andrew Honigman has collected the best of the best.

The book is broken into chapters that reflect the story messages, with topics from Messages - communications from the other side, to Blessings - gifts from the departed. The stories cover every imaginable spirit encounter - apparitions, signs, dreams, spirit heroes, haunted houses, and even animal spirits. Some of the stories are touching and sweet, while others are downright frightening. The publisher of FATE magazine insists that all stories in this selection are true; the policy is to have the authors sign an affidavit that they are. This fact lends credence to the book, offering a form of proof that these things do happen.

Readers will likely find several stories that they will connect with for various reasons; my own personal favorite being a story titled, "A Walk in the Park." With so many stories to choose from, it may be difficult to narrow it down. This is a book that you will pick up again and again and never grow tired of. Who doesn't love a good ghost story? Especially when they are from the files of FATE Magazine.

Wednesday, November 19, 2003

Business Review

The Fail-Proof Enterprise: A Success Model for Entrepreneurs
by Bob Thomas
ISBN-10: 0916308510
Review by Heather Froeschl

Bob Thomas has rewritten the definition of entrepreneur. He leads the reader through a very thorough process from concept to high productivity to selling the corporation. Thomas draws from over four decades of experience.

Immediately one recognizes that Mr. Thomas sees certain requirements as essential for a person who is considering an entrepreneurial venture. Personal sacrifice is critical for those wishing to follow his steps in corporate design. His expertise is in the field of chemical engineering and design. At times it was somewhat difficult sorting through the heavily detailed engineering stories. His passion for his field is obvious, but this can sometimes be confusing to the reader expecting a "how to" guide.

Thomas concludes his book with a comprehensive question and answer section. This tutorial is helpful for gaining a more complete understanding of his entrepreneurial process.

I admire Mr. Thomas for the success he has found in designing and running his own businesses. Anybody thinking about starting a business or is currently a business owner will benefit greatly from the experiences Bob Thomas shares in his book, The Fail-Proof Enterprise.

Tuesday, November 11, 2003

Autobiography Review

One Really Deep Breath
by Gary Van Nguyen
ISBN-10: 0974092223
Review by Heather Froeschl

In today's world, most of us are just as likely to get our news from the internet as from the television or newspaper. We look up our weather, our horoscopes, our job possibilities, (and book reviews) online. Many of us run our businesses strictly over the web. And many of us find our connections, our relationships, our friends, and peers through the click of a send button.

Is this reality? Are the people we "meet" online for real? Are the communities we are part of online as real as the ones in our backyards? Can they be more real than the physical? How do we know what is truth and what is someone's idea of a gag? I don't know. Do you?

Gary Van Nguyen began an online diary a few years ago. This is where you write what you want to, like a normal diary, but it is available for people to read online. He kept the journal going for two years. "One Really Deep Breath" is his compilation of that diary.

You might wonder how much people really share about themselves in these online diaries. Well, if Gary is any indication and he is being truthful, then it is possible to share a whole lot. You might feel that you intimately know the author. His diary readers did. I still question whether or not we can ever really know someone with whom our interaction is only through postings and emails, but that is my own opinion.

The book leads the reader through two years of Gary's overcoming depression, and a good deal more of life's lessons. His mission is to help people in the same situation. He likely will achieve that goal. I think though, that the most important thing is what he learned through his own writing.

Here is a book that will make you laugh, certainly, make you think, likely, and leave you appreciating the fact that we don't always know the people we think we do, in every way. It is a different sort of book...very unlike Bridget's Diary or The Diary of Anne Frank, but in a way it shows the male perspective of life and demonstrates how our current times and lifestyles have influenced everything we do. A unique and interesting read.

Friday, November 7, 2003

Non-Fiction/Spiritualism Review

Simplified Qabala Magic
by Ted Andrews
ISBN-10: 073870394X
Review by Heather Froeschl

What exactly is the Qabala? It can be a daunting undertaking to study something that may seem very complicated. With Ted Andrews as your guide, it is a delight to study this tradition called the Tree of Life. Ted Andrews is the author of 15 other titles in the paranormal / New Age categories. He is widely known for his wealth of knowledge and the ease in which he shares it with his readers.

Simplified Qabala Magic offers a primer to anyone wishing to realize their potential in manifesting the power of ourselves. Beginning with a brief history of Qabala and explaining that we are the masters of our own destiny, we are then led to remember that we are part of the universe, that the Tree of Life is the path to connecting our energies.

The next two chapters are the who, what and where of The Tree of Life: what archangels are there to help us to awaken our own abilities. Knowing who the powers that be are is helpful to understanding what they are and how we connect with them. Then we get to the details of how to make those connections; how to reach those levels of consciousness. Methods of meditation for reaching those levels and the ability to understand them are gone into in great guiding detail. This is the purpose, to help the reader reawaken these abilities.

It is said that we are in great times of change in the aspect of spirituality. Understanding the connections we have with the universe will help us deal with those changes and gain from them. Simplified Qabala Magic is a beginning to that understanding. I intend to reread and reread it until I have accomplished my own goals. This is a book that will become very important to those who seek the knowledge, and cherished for Ted Andrews' guiding voice.

Tuesday, November 4, 2003

Autobiography Review

The Purple Storm (One of The Bastards)
by Nicholas Tu
ISBN-10: 0974114006
Review by Heather Froeschl

There aren't many books that have touched me so deeply as The Purple Storm; I'll never be the same person I was before reading it. I have been shown things that I had no idea of and reminded of how very lucky I am to have been born in America.

This is the story of Nicholas Tu and his life in Vietnam after the Americans left. I say life but it should be: existence. His father was taken to "re-education" camp for ten years, leaving Nicholas' mother to fend for the family. Nicholas tried to help, and his childhood vanished. He thinks that he was a bad son, but I see only a soul trying desperately to survive in hell on earth.

Over the years the family struggled to live under communist regime. Simply feeding the family took illegal activity, such as smuggling rice. Nicholas took his turn in the trench digging for the "common farm fields" and almost died in the process. He was later sent to a hard labor camp but escaped...only to become homeless for the next six years, just blocks from his own home. To be found now would mean prison, to avoid capture meant living on the street and finding means for food. Refusing to beg or steal the leftover food on restaurant tables, Nicholas made himself opportunities. He cleaned the restaurant for a meal and later he found work at a molding factory. He lived in the factory under the grace of its owner and soon he found love. Thuy's parents weren't all too pleased with her choice, as her beloved was not seen as able to care for her as they'd hoped. He was not even able to attend his own wedding supper, for fear that the police would discover him and take him to prison.

Times were extremely difficult and the goal of most Vietnamese was to find a way out through illegal border crossings. Nicholas heard the details of one and tried to go along. The busload of people was discovered and while Nick and one other made it away from the group, they were later captured and held in a prison of torture box facility.

Eventually, Thuy's family was able to send her to America and this reinforced Nick's ultimate goal to reach his dreamland and live with her there. He had to go through so much more illegal and dangerous struggle before it would be possible, but my telling the details is nothing compared to the book.I can not do it justice. Nicholas' English is not the best, but he does a very good job in portraying the events that took place. His writing is deep and emotional and the story is gripping, adventurous and tragic.

As I mentioned, this book opened my eyes. As his story was taking place, I was growing up in suburbia. I was never put to bed hungry, and medical care was always available to me. I have always slept on a bed, while Nicholas was experiencing his first mattress, rescued from the ocean, aboard a ship on his way to a refugee camp. I cherished my childhood, while Nick lost his.

Every American should read this book; it should become required reading in college, and for every politician in office. And if that success does not show Nicholas Tu that he is a worthy man, I do not know what will. I hope that his life's mission will change to becoming an influence in the world by opening the eyes of every free person who reads this book, as he has done for me.

Saturday, November 1, 2003

Fiction Review

To Protect the Innocent
by Mark Locke Mills
ISBN-10: 1592864139
Review by Heather Froeschl

What does a parent do when their child disappears? Panic sets in. Doubt, worry, fear, frustration, and despair all wreak havoc. Anger might take over, and depression can set in. How does a parent feel when it is discovered that their missing child was sexually abused and murdered? What would you do?
Dan was a cop who left his job to spend more time with his son. He took an investigations desk job in order to work the 9 - 5 shift. He may have made this change in his life just a little too late. When her son Mike disappears, Jan frantically calls Dan for help. His instincts as an ex-cop tell him it is already too late. Jan dives into a deep depression and the strain of the whole tragedy puts their marriage in danger. But really, this danger is just an inkling of what is to come.

Running parallel to this plot is the career of Ross Huggins, an FBI researcher who wants desperately to be doing real fieldwork. He doesn't realize that fieldwork in the crime world of pedophiles is horrendous. Then there is the ongoing story of TV reporter Susan Jensen, who is trying to make her mark in the world be exposing the vile sadness of child rape and profiling pedophiles.

As in life, the plots all merge in the end, and in this case it is all to protect the children, or is it really about revenge? The author has woven the lives of his characters well and the result is a twisted, unique tale that demonstrates an understanding of various human shortfallings and defects, as well as the nicer side of things like marriage, parenting and love. This is a fast paced book that will find you engrossed and tempted to stay up late into the night reading.

"To Protect the Innocent" is a reminder to parents to be mindful of whom their children have contact with. It is also a reminder to us all that while we think our actions and plans are geared to one purpose, we may be fooling ourselves in justifying our feelings. This is a powerful book and one you will not soon forget.

Fiction Review

Jerome's Quest
by Debora ElizaBeth Hill
ISBN-10: 1929374208
Review by Heather Froeschl

Sir Jerome Kennington has been a ghost for 200 years. He is on a mission for which he has only one year to complete. At the end of that year he will be reborn. His quest: to find the soul of his soulmate Alicia in order to be reborn himself, near her. It won't be easy, but the powers that be have given him a locket that will lead him. Unfortunately it leads him to come to the aid of those in need, and puts him in the thick of confrontations with some scary people. Having been given a mortal body for the year, Jerome is gifted with exceptional, if not superhuman strength, which he uses to save a few damsels in distress.

Helping Jerome along are his descendant Robin and his on again off again love Dierdre, her dear friends Charlotte and Natalie and their men, Vladimir and Paul. Along the journey a few folks get married, Robin gets sucked into the world of limbo assumed to be Jerome, and a whole new mission is begun to save the runaway children of London. While Robin is missing to the living, Jerome fills his shoes on the stages of a tour with Robin's band, The Experimental Monkeys. For an Earl from the 1800's he learns to belt out rock songs rather quickly, and also learns that the affections of groupies are quite personal.

Will Jerome find his true love in time? Will Robin stop drinking and settle down? Only time will tell and a year passes quickly when you are on a quest of immense proportions.

Debora Hill has once again lent life to the characters of her work. Dierdre is one strong woman and Robin, an equally pig headed man. Jerome is endearing and a perfect protagonist. The lives of street kids are hard to portray but Debora has done a wonderful job. Overall her characterization is spot on realistic - even when dealing with the spirit world!

The plot is involved, yet easy to follow, much like real life. One feels as though they know these people and are involved in their lives. How delicious it would be to have a spirit to interact with in this way. With a quest as grand as reuniting two soulmates, "Jerome's Quest" is sure to be a hit. Debora Hill is a gifted storyteller with a grasp on things spiritual.