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.

Friday, December 31, 2004

Short Story Collection Review

Dreamtime: A Collection of Short Stories
by Robert F. Steiner
ISBN-10: 0595318673
Review by Heather Froeschl

Dreamtime is a term for the magical period of the creation of the grasps the meaning of mystery and mystical wonder. The title "Dreamtime" captures the essence of Robert Steiner's short story collection and gives the correct suggestion that this too is a thing of mystery and mystical wonder.

This collection offers stories of great variety, from an odd summer job of being a decoy for muggings to the consequences of space travel. All of the stories contain some sort of oddity, lending them all an air of the "Twilight Zone." Each is a short, satisfying episode of fiction that will be sure to please its readers.

Robert Steiner is a storyteller with a gift for description. He grabs the reader's attention from the first word and offers tidbits of uniqueness to carry you through to the end of each tale. "Dreamtime" is an interesting and enjoyable read that touches on the paranormal but also demonstrates the very human qualities of its characters.

Monday, December 27, 2004

Poetry Review

Picture Poetry On Parade!
by Joseph Sottile
ISBN-10: 1591134951
Review by Heather Froeschl

Picture Poetry on Parade is a humorous collection of poems that every school aged kid can relate to. Covering topics such as how to not make friends, brothers, sisters, teachers, dads, having to go to school and so much more.

Along the lines of Shel Silverstein, Joe Sottile has a good grasp on the viewpoint of kids and he's not afraid to show it. There are also poems where he offers the same subject from the view point of adults and kids and these make for funny comparisons if not friendly reminders to parents that we sometimes need to chill out.

The artwork is simplistic and kid friendly, just right for the accompanying text. The collection is a cute addition to a child's library and will be a well-checked book at school libraries, everywhere.

Fiction Review

Eenok and the Womb of Gods
by Andrew SkoroBogaty
Review by Heather Froeschl

An epic adventure awaits in the pages of "Eenok and The Womb of Gods." Open the book and open your mind to a vast world of guardians, giants, storytellers, servants and dragons. This is no light fantasy though. The deep, thought provoking side of the book touches on high intelligence, spirituality, and prejudices. "Eenok" is a book that will envelop you, if you allow it, and will leave you deeply touched.

The main character, Eenok, must overcome the prejudices against him, endure being a servant to the dragons where he is trapped among them and basically overcome great evils. He is guided by El (God, in this world) and the goodness of love and light. The plot is so much more involved than that, as the author has created an intensely multi-dimensional universe that nearly boggles the mind.

SkoroBogaty suggests that readers skip the first three chapters if they wish to simply dive into Eenok's adventures, though I hesitated to do so since I needed to review the whole book. It was difficult to get through the beginning and I found it hard to let go of reality and immerse myself in his world. Once I did, it all became a little clearer.

This book is deeply spiritual, yet full of sci. fi. appeal. Head hopping gets a bit tedious but the scenic descriptions more than make up for that distraction. The writing is well executed and obviously well planned. Christian Fiction readers, put Eenok on your Must Read list.

Monday, December 13, 2004

Mystery Review

Six to Five Against
by Jeff Sherratt
ISBN-10: 0975272101
Review by Heather Froeschl

Jimmie O'Brien, an ex-cop and a floundering new lawyer with a just-hung shingle, is about broke. He calls in the favor of an ex-cop buddy, a judge who has a few favors of his own he needs attended to. In fact, the judge has a big "favor" that is just right for Jimmie. The new lawyer becomes the appointed defense attorney for a murder suspect. It just so happens that the murder victim was the assistant to the state's Senator. Something smells fishy, and Jimmie jumps right into the ride of his life.

Hiring an Investigator friend for a buck, who eventually calls in a favor or two with the local Mafia, Jimmie is getting involved in his community in a big way. He's being followed, his office gets ransacked and he gets set up as a crooked, evidence-fabricating lawyer. However, Jimmie believes his client is innocent and he will do whatever it takes to prove it, thus saving an innocent man's life. On the side, he attends to fantasies he has in regards to the Assistant DA, encourages his dedicated secretary, and drinks a lot of coffee.

"Six to Five...Against" is a classic styled murder, scandal, investigative mystery suspense story. The plot is exquisitely cooked up and fed to the reader on a diner spoon. Jimmie is a down to earth hero who will keep your attention and make you feel good about reading his story. The dialogue is natural and flawless, and the settings are easily envisioned. Setting the story in the seventies is a nice addition, lending a basic police work feel to the book, leaving out the modern CSI-like forensics garble. Besides, I like living in the past a bit and the author gives authenticity to the decade portrayed with various mentions of then current affairs. My only minor problem was that there was a little too much atmospheric detail at the beginning of new locals, and I wanted to get to the nitty gritty faster. But that is just my reviewer need for speed, and I trust the average reader will enjoy the details.

I highly recommend Jeff Sherratt's work, and look forward to his next book.

Thursday, December 9, 2004

Poetry Review

Emotions: Love Made Courageous
by Milena Gomez
ISBN-10: 074141404X
Review by Heather Froeschl

"Emotions: Love Made Courageous," is a poetry book that touches deep the heart of the reader. It is our emotions that make us human, give our souls the lessons we need in life. Milena Gomez Alvarez has taken raw emotion and woven it into words of understanding.

Poetry is a language that speaks to everyone, if only they give it a chance. And what better topic to offer than that of emotion? Alvarez explores what love, the greatest human emotion, does to the heart and soul and shares her thoughts with the reader.

Her style is freeing and her grasp on rhythm and rhyme is well demonstrated. That she puts her own emotions into her writing is obvious and endearing. Here, an author offers up her self through her words and one cannot help but be moved. Expression of feelings is what this book is all about and, clearly, Alvarez has accomplished this. Life is, indeed, expressed in her prose.

Wednesday, December 8, 2004

Poetry Review

Emotions: Love Made Courageous
by Milena Gomez
ISBN-10: 074141404X
Review by Heather Froeschl

"Emotions: Love Made Courageous," is a poetry book that touches deep the heart of the reader. It is our emotions that make us human, give our souls the lessons we need in life. Milena Gomez Alvarez has taken raw emotion and woven it into words of understanding.

Poetry is a language that speaks to everyone, if only they give it a chance. And what better topic to offer than that of emotion? Alvarez explores what love, the greatest human emotion, does to the heart and soul and shares her thoughts with the reader.

Her style is freeing and her grasp on rhythm and rhyme is well demonstrated. That she puts her own emotions into her writing is obvious and endearing. Here, an author offers up her self through her words and one cannot help but be moved. Expression of feelings is what this book is all about and, clearly, Alvarez has accomplished this. Life is, indeed, expressed in her prose.

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Poetry Review

Tortoise Dances
by Dennis Goza
ISBN-10: 1411612493
Review by Heather Froeschl

"Tortoise Dances" is a unique book of poetry that found its inspiration in the ancient I Ching, or "Book of Changes." The poem's messages do not necessarily portray the I Ching, however, the format of the poems is reflective of the 64 hexagrams.

This author is quite the artist in his poetry. Each work is a six line poem that is broken into the patterns of the I Ching, meaning that for each solid line of the hexagrams there are nine syllables in that line of text, and so on. Each poem is titled for a hexagram and the author offers some of the translations, both literal and figurative, for the reader to ponder.

The poems are thought provoking for what they are alone, on topics varying from a soldier's march to a woman trying to control nature's growth, from the breaking of bread to the dance of the maypole. The poetry also provokes thought on the I Ching. The author professes that this was not the intention but I feel it is a happy result. The study of the I Ching is a great and rewarding endeavor.

Dennis Goza offers an interesting collection of poetry that is both entertaining and inspiring.

Monday, November 29, 2004

Historic Novel Review

ISBN-10: 1418412880
Review by Heather Froeschl

Never before have I been so deeply immersed in history. Like many modern girls I grew up with the fantasy image of a great white knight who would some day come for me. But this fantasy was built on true stories, one of which is exquisitely relayed in "My Truth Lies in the Ruins."

Having been a great fan of the movie "Braveheart" and the like I was thrilled to be able to review this epic tale of Scottish history. William Le Hardi Douglas, a Scottish Patriot and knight, healer and husband joined the forces of William Wallace for Scottish Independence. The book is not just a historic accounting of those times of war though; it is a story of love and life, adventure and murder.

I so appreciate thorough research and I dare say I have never before read a book so very well prepared. Deborah Foulkes has brought history to life and what's more, she has brought life to history. This is not your average novel of love, adventure and genealogy; it is a book that will immerse you in true historical fact, creating a very real experience.

The rear of the book includes a glossary of common terms as well as a "who's who" of historical figures that relate to the story. The text runs smoothly and the dialogue is natural. My only problem was in the lack of indentation when dialogue is used. However, this minor thing is far outweighed by the positive attributes of the book including the abundance of photographs that grace the text.

I look forward to reading the next installment, "In the Shadow of My Truth." Deborah Richmond Foulkes, led by Spirit, offers history lessons that will not soon be forgotten.

YA Fiction Review

Merlin's Kin
by Everett Coles
Review by Heather Froeschl

What greater legend to pay homage to than that of Merlin? Everett Coles has made tribute to the story that has inspired the world to hold onto the magic for just a bit longer. What if there were still descendants of the great Merlin out in the populace among us? What would happen if Merlin called to them from his soul's resting place? Would anyone answer the call?

In "Merlin's Kin," five young people do hear the call, and answer it, though they are not aware of their guided actions until they have traveled too far to turn back. One of them holds the key to the Seventh Way of travel, and together they must do Merlin's bidding, before it is too late.

There is an evil-minded ruler in power in the land of Greensward. Francis, Curtis, Zoe, Alison and Jude appear as visitors and are given refuge with a caravan of sorts. Before they can be delivered to the evil Calupsis though, they escape into the wilds that surround the town of Meander. They soon find friends who are willing to help them and devise a plan to find the Key Holder who can help them to return home. However, they were called to Greensward for a purpose, which is revealed to them through their dreams by the powers of Merlin himself.

This adventurous tale is a delight, full of twists and turns, surprises and wonderful creatures. Sure enough there are unicorns to be gazed upon but what is more magical is the legend of Merlin wound into a young adult story and the bond of friendship that grows among the characters. Various mystical creatures become integral parts of the plot and remnants of the Knights of the Round Table are brought into the light to be remembered.

Written for the young adult audience, this is a book that can be enjoyed by those aged 10 and up, adults included, boys and girls alike. Everett Coles has created a world you will long to revisit and a circle of friends who you will not soon forget.

Friday, November 26, 2004

Inspirational Review

Many Faces to Many Places
by Judy, Azar LeBlanc
ISBN-10: 1594678669
Review by Heather Froeschl

Every soul must follow its own path. In Many Faces to Many Places it is a path that allows for the freedom of happiness, the hard lessons of life and the reward of growth and understanding. It is our purpose to learn life's lessons and allow our souls to grow.

In a story that is full of beautifully descriptive moments, the reader is led through one soul's journey and is allowed to witness its transitions. "Many Faces" communicates with nature and her surrounding elements, she is guided by faith and truth, and eventually comes to find herself.

Judy Azar LeBlanc has written a memorable book that is inspirational and timeless. Her creativity abounds and her ability to impart words of wisdom through her characters is uniquely executed. You won't soon forget the journey in this tale and may be inspired to take a closer look at your own.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Non-Fiction/Self Help Review

Dare To Prepare..... 2nd Edition
by Holly Drennan Deyo
ISBN-10: 0908477066
Review by: Heather Froeschl

Emergency situations arise every day and, quite often, we are not prepared for them. From earthquakes to terrorist attacks, tornadoes to blizzards, we all could use some guidance in how to be prepared. You may recall laughing at your neighbors when in December of 1999 they went out and bought a generator in preparation for Y2K, or you may have been one of those mindful folks who emptied the shelves of home improvement depots of their generators. Whichever the case may be, there are things you could be doing to be prepared for any kind of threat, hyped up or not.

My great grandmother always had a basement stocked with canned goods. She lived through the depression and never forgot what it felt like to have empty cupboards. My grandmother always made sure her heating oil tank was topped off in November in preparation for the winter. We all know folks who seem to be prepared for anything that comes their way and we also know people who always seem to have to rush out to the grocery store when a storm is predicted.

Holly Drennan Deyo reminds us of all of the possible emergencies we might encounter, from flood warnings to nuclear war. She gives a guide for every situation and what you can do for yourself, your family and even your pets to stay safe. A lot of research has gone into this guide and Holly shares it all with us. Here you will find lists of items to pack in emergency kits of all kinds, tips on purifying water, heating your shelter, and building underground supply cellars. There are lists of how long you can store emergency supplies and when they expire, lists of handyman items that should be stored for use, lists of how to decipher codes on packaged foods and so much more.

Deyo has not left a single situation out of her guide to being prepared for disasters of all sorts. This is truly the modern person's resource for being prepared, whether we think the neighbors will laugh at us or not. If perchance you have a household member who is resistant to stocking up on food, water and supplies and storing them away, this book might just be the tool to sway them into thinking twice.

The text is introduced in a friendly, straightforward voice. The book is a must have for every mindful family. My only problem with it is the occasional suggestion that the Bible be in the emergency tool kit. Religion shouldn't be involved with this practical guide to survival, as it is purely a personal choice. Mention of prayer and dedication to her god only detracts from the guide that should be intended for folks of every religion. However it is a minor thing when compared to the abundance of good advice within the pages of the book.

Monday, November 15, 2004

Non-Fiction Review

Dare to Prepare
by Holly Drennan Deyo
ISBN-10: 0908477066
Review by Heather Froeschl

Emergency situations arise every day and, quite often, we are not prepared for them. From earthquakes to terrorist attacks, tornadoes to blizzards, we all could use some guidance in how to be prepared. You may recall laughing at your neighbors when in December of 1999 they went out and bought a generator in preparation for Y2K, or you may have been one of those mindful folks who emptied the shelves of home improvement depots of their generators. Whichever the case may be, there are things you could be doing to be prepared for any kind of threat, hyped up or not.

My great grandmother always had a basement stocked with canned goods. She lived through the depression and never forgot what it felt like to have empty cupboards. My grandmother always made sure her heating oil tank was topped off in November in preparation for the winter. We all know folks who seem to be prepared for anything that comes their way and we also know people who always seem to have to rush out to the grocery store when a storm is predicted.

Holly Drennan Deyo reminds us of all of the possible emergencies we might encounter, from flood warnings to nuclear war. She gives a guide for every situation and what you can do for yourself, your family and even your pets to stay safe. A lot of research has gone into this guide and Holly shares it all with us. Here you will find lists of items to pack in emergency kits of all kinds, tips on purifying water, heating your shelter, and building underground supply cellars. There are lists of how long you can store emergency supplies and when they expire, lists of handyman items that should be stored for use, lists of how to decipher codes on packaged foods and so much more.

Deyo has not left a single situation out of her guide to being prepared for disasters of all sorts. This is truly the modern person's resource for being prepared, whether we think the neighbors will laugh at us or not. If perchance you have a household member who is resistant to stocking up on food, water and supplies and storing them away, this book might just be the tool to sway them into thinking twice.

The text is introduced in a friendly, straightforward voice. The book is a must have for every mindful family. My only problem with it is the occasional suggestion that the Bible be in the emergency tool kit. Religion shouldn't be involved with this practical guide to survival, as it is purely a personal choice. Mention of prayer and dedication to her god only detracts from the guide that should be intended for folks of every religion. However it is a minor thing when compared to the abundance of good advice within the pages of the book.

Saturday, November 13, 2004

Business Review

The Benefits Performance Process
by Matthew T. Sears
ISBN-10: 0972200614
Review by Heather Froeschl

Every Human Resources Manager, CEO and CFO needs to read "The Benefits Performance Process" and implement the plans outlined within it. Without doing so, they are simply throwing away money and valuable employees. Every company that offers benefits to its employees will want to be sure that they are doing the best that they can when it comes to providing a competitive package while getting their money's worth. Matthew Sears offers the plan to do just that. Whether your company employs 50 or 3,550, you can benefit from this book.

By "Maximizing the Performance of Your Employee Benefit Plan" you will be learning how to assemble a benefits team, analyze current plans and problems, develop concrete objectives and plan for your company's long-term success. Through self-analysis and workshop exercises your team will develop guidelines to follow. From there you will have a plan to follow that will see you through staff changes, acquisitions, and changing regulations. "The Benefits Performance Process" is a workshop to go; it is a plan to help you develop a plan that will eventually benefit your company and your employees.

Matthew T. Sears is an Executive Vice President of Athens Benefits Insurance Services and a Fellow of the International Society of Certified Employee Benefits Specialists. You couldn't ask for a more qualified guru in the benefits performance process. Yet his book is an easy to read, understand and implement guide to improving your benefits plans. Sears is straightforward and concise, while being upbeat and friendly in his text. You likely won't find another business guide like this one and why would you want to? When it comes to improving your current plans, this is the guide to follow.

Don't put off thinking about your benefits plan until the day before your renewal is due. Don't wait until the premiums are upped once again to do something about it. Don't fear the CFO telling you to cut costs by 30%. You can be prepared. If you're not, you may lose the loyal employees you have to another company who has followed "The Benefits Performance Process."

Tuesday, November 9, 2004

True Story Review

In Contempt Of Fate
by Beatrice Fernando
ISBN-10: 0975945904
Review by Heather Froeschl

A young Sri Lankan woman leaves her son with her parents in order to fulfill an obligation of two years as a house servant in Lebanon. What was hoped to be an answer to monetary need becomes a living hell as young Ranga is beaten and starved, locked in her "employer's" home and eventually forced to make a decision that could have ended her life and most certainly changed it forever.

Growing up the youngest of thirteen children was not an easy life. Ranga and her family moved often, as they couldn't always pay the rent. Her parents tried to keep up appearances so that the family would not suffer from bad reputations. Ranga felt deprived of love in her early years and went looking for it in the hearts of boys...something that was terribly frowned upon, innocent as a friendship was. Later on, her divorce from her baby's father did not improve her reputation and this reflected upon her family. Leaving for a chance at monetary stability seemed to be the perfect answer.

This is the true story of one very brave and determined woman. The tale is told in her own voice and readers will come to love and adore Ranga, crying along with her and cheering for her success. While the plot is of real life events the book reads like a suspenseful and romantic novel that you will never forget. A bit of history lesson gives depth to a lesson learned in societal differences around the world. American readers will be shocked and intrigued by the cultural contrasts of their Sri Lankan counterparts. That this portion of a life story was lived while I happily led a carefree existence attending high school reminded me of how blessed I am.

The realization of mother's love is a universal lesson that we can shed a thankful tear for. The example of Ranga's determination to give that love is a hero's story that in "In Contempt of Fate" is eloquently and passionately told.

Friday, November 5, 2004

Children's Book Review

Buster Boppington & His Talking Dog: The Case of the Impossible Bank Robbery
by Bruce Caplan
ISBN-10: 0964461005
Review by Heather Froeschl

In the real world, kids deal with life's challenges in many ways. Some kids are able to make a real difference in their family's problems and Buster Boppington does just that. When his father is fired from his job, accused of stealing $100,000.00 from the bank's vault, Buster knows he has to do something to prove his father's innocence.

Even though he passes a lie detector test at the police department, Mr. Boppington is still under scrutiny and cannot get his job back. Times are hard and the family is quickly running out of money. For his tenth birthday his parents give Buster a French poodle. Napoleon, or Nappy for short, quickly becomes Buster's best friend. An experiment with a chemistry set inadvertently adds to that friendship and just might help to clear Buster's dad of wrongdoing.

Taking a normal everyday problem of a father being out of work and adding the mystery of a bank robbery along with the fantasy of a talking dog adds up to a successful story that children will be sure to enjoy. The plot is well developed and the story flows nicely. The characters are quite likable and conversations are natural, even those involving the dog! Readers can easily imagine Buster conversing with his pet, standing up to a congressman and waking up late for school. A bit of adventure, a bit of politics and a bit of good overcoming evil certainly make for an entertaining and enjoyable read. Kids aged 7 - 12 will surely have fun with this book.

Thursday, November 4, 2004

Children's Book Review

A Year of Jewish Stories: 52 Tales for Young Children and Their Families
by Grace Maisel
ISBN-10: 0807408956
Review by Heather Froeschl

This beautifully illustrated collection of stories is a must have for every Jewish home and would be highly recommended for any home with inquisitive children who wish to understand Jewish heritage.

The tales included draw from Jewish traditions and folklore while keeping today's modern child in mind. Stories borrowed from the Bible, Talmud and traditional teachings are freshened up, sprinkled with humor and kept company by a number of original writings. Virtuous tales abound as well as folklore of the holidays, Shabbat and Biblical characters. Children will delight in hearing entertaining stories and parents will be glad to be passing down traditions that might otherwise be forgotten in today's busy world.

Taking time to read even one story a week from this book will be an educating and heritage embracing experience. However, it is doubtful that children will be willing to hear just one story a week. The authors may need to publish a second collection!

The rich illustrations compliment the text with honor to the stories. The book will be hard to put down for a combination of its beauty, its messages and its very meaningful value. This well made, sturdy book will become a cherished addition to any library.

Monday, October 25, 2004

Children's Book Review

The Scepters of Time: The Adventures of Captain Stormbold
by Hugh Mannfield
ISBN-10: 1410777456
Review by Heather Froeschl

An adventure is about to begin. Jonathan Stormbold thought he was born to be a man of the sea...a merchant ship captain with destinies dealing in monstrous waves and perhaps a pirate or two. What the fates have in store for him are far greater adventures and far more dangerous perils.

In the year 1822, Stormbold is not quite the man in charge of the Cassiopeia, but when death threatens the captain he must take command of the ship. It is his birthright and in truth it is the path that was chosen for him. Sailing out of a dense fog Jonathan soon comes to realize that the world has changed. History is not as he knows it to be. With guidance from a mysterious man who appeared in the fog and a letter from his grandfather, Stormbold's true destiny is revealed, little by little.

In a hidden temple, high in the mountains of India, are the secrets that will guide Jonathan on his life's quest. He will learn the secrets of the temple, of his family and of the world as we know it. The wheels of time have gone off center and it is up to Jonathan to set them straight.

Hugh Mannfield shares a story that will leave you in wonder and appreciation for his work. I have not read a more thought provoking, intellectual, all the while entertaining and delightful book in a very long time. I delight in the ideas presented in this book and only wish that such a place, as the hidden temple and its mission were in fact a reality.

The author's use of technical descriptions aboard the ship provide an authenticity that adds much to the story. The plot is full of adventure and intrigue, enticing the reader to turn to the next page well into the night. "The Scepters of Time" will leave you wondering if perhaps it is possible and give you a new appreciation for moments of de'ja vu'. Written for the young adult audience the book is easily a recommended option for all readers ages 11 to 111. With a traditional theme of good vs. evil, this story is a fresh new classic that should be on every best seller list.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Fiction Review

by Wells Earl Draughon
ISBN-10: 0595240143
Review by Heather Froeschl

What would you do for the one that you love? How far would you go to ensure their safety? Would you risk your own life to save theirs? Would you build a 12-foot high wall topped with iron spikes to keep them safe? And what if the danger came from within yourself? Wells Earl Draughon explores these questions in his unforgettable book, "Always."

Ben first saw her when he was 10 years old. He scaled the security wall just to talk to her and together they climbed it to run free in the forest that surrounded them. Fate led him to her and he knew even then that she was something different, something very special. Eight years later he returns to find her still waiting, still in need of a hero. And he discovers that she is truly one of a kind. She knows nothing of the world and she holds no reservations when it comes to her body and soul. With him, she is free. With her, he is in grave danger.

The mansion in which Donella lives is a fortress, a prison. The rich old man who holds her there is a twisted individual whose mind is frayed; his actions lunatic. He is lost in an obsession and Donella is the key. When Ben helps her to escape the madness the old man seeks revenge and to reclaim his prize. Nothing will stand in his way.

Draughon has created a tortuous world of soulmate love, mortal danger, twisted mystery and sweet suspense. He has captured the exuberance of youth and the essence of intense and desperate love. The plot is full of twists and turns, like a torrid river carrying the reader to a waterfall crescendo. The characters are so full of life they will make you wonder who controlled the writing of the book - the author or them.

I couldn't put this one down and fully enjoyed the ride. If you have the desire to be fully immersed in fiction, "Always" is the book you seek.

Saturday, October 9, 2004

Poetry/Photography book Review

Learning to Dance With the Dragonfly: Healing Lessons of Nature
by Holly N. Fordyce
ISBN-10: 0972701346
Review by Heather Froeschl

Through nature walks and self-reflection, Holly N. Fordyce is learning to overcome the shadow of being a survivor of breast cancer. Through poetry and photography, she expresses what she learns while observing nature. In a journal-like book that explores all of these creative outputs, Holly is surely helping others learn that living in the moment is an enlightening experience.

A year in the life of the author is filled with wonderfully endless observations of the natural world around her. Daily walks with her dog around a cranberry bog and surrounding forest and fields are full of encounters, which many might overlook. It is clear that Holly's attention has been fine tuned to take in every detail of life around her. Through the year she will become a grandmother for the first time, take a safari-like trip that would set anyone's heart soaring, and come to understand herself and her soul's journey a bit more than before.

The writing is friendly and endearing, the photography exquisite and the poetry heart touching. This is a gorgeous book that will be cherished by everyone who reads it. A thoughtful gift for anyone who has lived through a life changing experience, but also a must read for anyone who needs a reminder to take a look around you every moment that you can. The message here is clear...make a connection with life and you will find happiness.

Wednesday, October 6, 2004

Children's Book Review

Aunt Puff and Missing Minerva
by David Whitewolf
ISBN-10: 0595666736
Review by Heather Froeschl

Alexandra is visiting her Aunt Puff when things start to get weird. Aunt Puff's friend Minerva stops by but soon vanishes through an open window. Does this have anything to do with the secrets of the Elcarim Foundation of which Aunt Puff and Minerva both belong? Why won't anyone tell Alexandra exactly what is going on?

Aunt Puff, Alexandra, the Great Dane Ludwig and Minerva's cockatoo Ciber all rush to save Minerva, but it just might take a miracle. It's a good thing that miracles run in the family. There are some others who need saving as well, and it looks like it is up to Alexandra to make the rescue.

The story is quite fantastical and full of twists and turns. The plot is somewhat like a dream in which anything, and I mean ANYTHING, can happen, and usually does. It may be a little too "out there" for some readers but most kids age 12 and up will enjoy the book immensely. Alexandra is easy to care for and readers will find themselves rooting for her. The book sends positive messages that are universal, dream world and real world alike.

David Whitewolf offers a well-written fantasy full of fairies, dragons, bubble gum and very helpful dogs.

Monday, October 4, 2004

Fiction Review

Lion of the Balkans
by Vladimir Chernozemsky
ISBN-10: 1932656014
Review by Heather Froeschl

How does a war begin? Is it possible to really get down to the very beginning of World War I? How does such conflict come to be? Vladimir Chernozemsky shows us in his Historical Fiction, "Lion of the Balkans."

The Ottoman Turks had occupied the Balkans for five hundred years, until finally, Bulgaria - the lion of the Balkans, and its neighbors pulled together and drove the Turks out. Triumph and peace at last...that did not last. Trouble broke out again when it came to deciding who got what of the territories they'd defended. Hence, the end of the Balkan War became the very beginning of WWI. Through it all though, people lived their lives. People overcame differences and developed friendships. People fell in love.

This epic novel tells of the lives behind the war...from the highest Bulgarian royalty to the simple houseboy. Chernozemsky is the real life grandson of the novel's hero. He has taken from family letters and diaries and the tales that his grandmother told him of the story, and created a fictionalized accounting that you will not soon forget.

Included in the book are several maps and a long list of characters and how they relate to one another. This is necessary as the book is quite involved. The beginning of the book may prove a struggle to some as there are so many people to get to know and numerous plots to follow, however, it is all worth it in the end. The dialogues flow naturally and the author's descriptiveness enchants the tale to life.

For a bit of understanding of our world's war history and perhaps some insight into today's conflicts as well, and a story that exudes the realities of living, "Lion of the Balkans" should be on your "to-read" list.

Friday, October 1, 2004

Art Review

Action Reaction
by Adrian Lee
ISBN-10: 0972857818
Review by Heather Froeschl

Newton's Third Law states that, "For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction." I don't wholly agree with that as concept as I feel that acts of war bring on reactive acts of war. So a better quote might be: For every action there is an equal reaction. One can't be certain that this is what Adrian Lee had in mind when creating his work "Action Reaction," but this is what came to my mind when viewing it.

"Action Reaction" is an artistic expression in the form of a 20-foot accordion book. The life size work took up an entire gallery, but in book form it just takes up your entire mind for a while. The work is captivating and raw in the sense that it is bold and truthful. What you see in it is up to you. What I see in it is a reaction to the world as it stands today. In the aftermath of 9-11, in the shadows of war in Iraq, in the depths of the Bush presidency and in the grasp of capitalism, we stand, and Adrian Lee has held a mirror up for us to see the world around us. It isn't pretty.

The artist's stated objective for "Action Reaction" is thus: "Assemble the incalculable bombardment of information that composes an infinite web of trip wires within the brain. Take these paranoid synapses and construct a visual panorama. Highlighting the obvious that is constantly subverted by corporate and governmental (same) interests. A visual display/panorama, the sum of which is fully intended to expose the underbelly of the beast."

The book comes in a box set, accompanied by an assortment of stickers and a patch sporting the logo of skull and crossbones, along with a DVD documentary of the artistic endeavor, two gallery receptions and a time lapsed viewing of the actual painting of the work. All in all it is quite an eyeful...a mind full.

Thought provoking doesn't quite grasp the power of the work. This is more of a call for reaction. In any event, you won't soon forget your experience with this book, nor the name of Adrian Lee. This is a powerful glimpse into one person's political views and his expression of the same in art form.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Biography Review

Photographer of the Early West: The Story of Arundel Hull
by Eugene A. Miller
ISBN-10: 0972851100
Review by Heather Froeschl

Early photographs have always intrigued me. Who were the people staring with solemn face into the camera and who was the person under the black cloth working so diligently to preserve history? One of America's earliest photographers was Arundel Hull. He captured images of the western frontier in the late 1800's, following the construction of the Union Pacific Railroad through Nebraska, Wyoming and Utah.

Hull was an adventurous fellow, an industrious man who set out into the brand new territories and made a buck doing it. He worked with William H. Jackson for a time and while Jackson ultimately gained more fame in the art world it is thought that Hull actually took many of the Pacific Railroad Photos that are attributed to Jackson. However, saving the images of everyday people became a career that Hull embraced amongst his various community involvements in Fremont, Nebraska where he married, put down roots and raised a fine family.

The book is biographical and most interesting. Using the diary entries of Hull's wife Florence, newspaper articles and more than seventy historic photographs, the author truly transports the reader back in time to witness the exciting times of early American growth. Eugene Miller happens to be the youngest grandson of Arundel Hull; he is the son of Arundel's youngest daughter, Nina. I am quite sure that Mr. Miller has done justice and paid tribute to his family, but also he has done great service to America by reminding us of those individuals who made our country what it is today.

Monday, September 27, 2004

Fiction Review

by David L. Fey
ISBN-10: 0974695912
Review by Heather Froeschl

The world of drug trafficking is paved with the blood and souls of its victims and quite often, the players themselves. Yet another new drug ring is under the ever-watchful eye of the DEA and things are about to get very complicated. During a planned drop some things go awry...intense explosions, shootings, missing people and missing cash in the amount of two million, not to mention the disappearance of 40 kilos of pure cocaine. The players are left scratching their heads and blaming each other, eventually losing a great deal more than a future drug deal.

Meanwhile, down in Texas, Deke Tanner is enjoying the great outdoors until a shadow from his past pays a visit. Compelled to clear the threat of exposure Deke hires a Private Investigator to do some digging. What he finds does not put his mind at ease and leads him to take actions that he wishes he didn't have to.

The character list now becomes full with diversity. From a small town cop to a mob family boss, an innocent young woman who can speak to the animals of the swamp, to her sister who is through with her lowlife criminal husband, from good old boy Deke Turner who may end up paying for his loyalty to friendship, to a mysterious female operative who is a wiz with explosives and stealth, the protagonists are anything but boring. The plot is twisted and complicated but full of suspense and intrigue.

There is a bit of repetitiveness in regards to the facts of the story. I felt that the author was trying to be sure that everyone understood what had happened, what was going on and what was coming. It would have been better to spell this all out exactly as it unfolded when it occurred rather than rehashing the facts from every main character's viewpoint, but this approach still worked and in the end the reader is pretty clear on what all happened. At least as sure as the main character is.

"Catspaw" is a fast paced, well thought out adventure that will have you smiling at the power of small town family and wondering what might really be going on out in the big world in which we live.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Non-Fiction/Self Help Review

How To Get What You Most Want In Life: Achieve Worldly And Emotional Career Success
by Richard S. Guha
ISBN-10: 0595310850
Review by Heather Froeschl

While life's lessons are best learned and better remembered when experienced first hand, Richard Guha offers a book full of lesson plans that will likely help anyone to be more successful in life and career. "How To Get What You Most Want In Life" is a quick read that will produce long lasting effects, should you heed the advice within its covers.

From knowing what you want to being open to new ideas, and from dealing with difficult people to exploring the unconventional paths to success, this guide will help you steer clear of common pitfalls and happily reach your goals. Demonstrating lessons that he has learned the hard way, giving examples of real live success stories and just as real sob stories, and spelling things out in every day language, Guha offers words of wisdom. It is up to you to pay heed, or not.

Through exercises you will do more than listen to Guha. Making the lessons your own is key to what you gain. Through his stories you will gain inspiration and understanding. Through his book you will surely come away better equipped to achieve what you desire. A career guide, life lesson plan book and an offering of wise words combined, "How To Get What You Most Want In Life" has something for everyone.

The writing is concise and direct, while friendly and fatherly. The evolution of the concepts offered is perfectly tuned to your average reader. Giving clear, helpful guidance seems to be Guha's goal here and he has achieved it.

Monday, September 20, 2004

Fiction Review

Into the Abyss
by David Marsh
ISBN-10: 0974290904
Review by Heather Froeschl

Ashlyn Miller is not your typical 14-year-old boy and he finds himself and his sister Autumn in not so typical circumstances that could change the world as we know it. Ashlyn has made contact with highly intelligent beings. They didn't come from outer space; they were here all along right under our noses.

Ashlyn and Autumn are orphaned, or so they think, and they go to live with their grandmother not far from where their father disappeared some 12 years prior. They say he went mad and then died in a tragic submersible accident under the sea. But what they say is wrong. Ashlyn is drawn to the ocean and soon he learns that he is being beckoned there. Something is calling his name; something is whispering to him to return.

What he discovers is a being that teaches him to communicate telepathically, teaches him to see with his heart and tells him that he is a good energy. Later, Autumn discovers that the being is spiritual and believes that we are all part of a greater energy. It is this discovery that puts the beings, the teens, and finally, the beliefs of Christians in danger. There are hunters out there who will stop at nothing to capture the beings and there are others who will stop at nothing to eradicate the creatures who threaten their beliefs.

Ashlyn and Autumn confront a strange man who seems to know a good deal about the beings, they commandeer a small submersible craft in order for the being they've befriended to show them something no other human has ever seen, and they begin an adventure that will ultimately change the world for the better.

David Marsh has written a novel that will delight teens and adults everywhere. "Into the Abyss" will spawn thoughtful insight and numerous discussions, all the while providing an exciting and interesting read. Readers will witness Ashlyn's growth as a person and cheer for him along the way. They will come to long for the same goals and desires that the main characters reach for and that in itself is an inspiring reason to read the book.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Poetry Review

by Michael Indemaio
Edition: Paperback
ISBN-10: 0971350353
Review by Heather Froeschl

A fresh new look at poetry, "Sui," is a collection that proclaims nothing, but exudes a feeling of delicious youth. Michael Indemaio is a young New Yorker that shares his work with the world in a way that opens the mind to poetry and the reader to enjoyment of the words.

This collection is almost rebellious in its wonderfully modern style. Focusing on the feeling of the pieces rather than stuffy rules and formulas, each poem has its own emotion and evocation. With topics as varied as a night's dreaming, "Sui" will surely touch every person who reads it.

My personal favorite is titled 64 Crayons, where a red heart valentine awaits the embellishment of unnecessary borrowed silver and gold. Capturing this moment, this realization, and this innocence of childhood is an exquisite achievement.

I applaud Indemaio his writing.

For a new look at poetry and a breath of fresh air through the written word, I highly recommend "Sui."

Monday, September 13, 2004

Mystery Review

Banana Bay: A Mattie Maitlin Mystery
by Cindy Cody
ISBN-10: 1595070311
Review by Heather Froeschl

Enter the world of Matti Maitlin, Insurance Investigator, daughter, friend, co-worker, ex-wife and one tough cookie. Join her on a trip to Panama where things are not what they seem and the lush greenery is not always welcoming. "Banana Bay" is a mystery, adventure story with a twist of romance squeezed in for good taste.

Papi Cardoza, the head of Frutas Tropicales, a very large banana empire, disappears. Mattie's Insurance Company holds a policy on Mr. Cardoza, against kidnapping and accidental death. It appears that the family thinks that both may be the case. With no body, no ransom note and no clue where to find the missing man, Mattie takes it upon herself to investigate.

The son of Papi is in charge of the empire and takes charge of the investigation. He also takes the lead when it comes to Mattie's heart, for a little while anyway. Together the two of them search for answers and eventually find a lot more than they bargained for. Will they find Papi in time? Will they be able to produce two million dollars in ransom? And what exactly does all of this have to do with Mattie's co-worker Richard, whom happens to be an old Cardoza Family friend?

This book is full of adventure and suspense, but also appeals to a woman's need for thoughtful insight and romance. The dialogue flows naturally between the characters and the plot is a well thought out web of twists and turns. A delightful read you won't want to put down!

Friday, September 10, 2004

Fiction Review

by Wells Earl Draughon
ISBN-10: 0595262287
Review by Heather Froeschl

How is it that six people, some of whom are complete strangers to each other, affect each other's lives to the point of no return? Life happens, and for some it happens in a big way. Wells Earl Draughon has done it again. He has taken a storyline and created a world where the characters come to life and make you think about them until the last page has been read.

Steven Bates is minding his own business, falling in love with his attorney girlfriend, when out of the blue a young girl knocks on his door. She claims to be his long lost daughter, returned after eight years of being out of his life, virtually in hiding with her mother. Steve is thrilled if not flabbergasted that his daughter is back. But what happened to her mother? And why is it that this girl seems to be hiding something?

After eight years Steve jumps at the thought that this IS his daughter, Shirley, returned to him. However, Traci is really the daughter of a cold, selfish woman and a domineering, disgusting, controlling stepfather. The real Shirley Bates is still out there somewhere. Coincidentally, Shirley's mother is just about ready to return to the life she knew before they ran away. Her therapy is helping her to get over her issues and she takes the first step in reuniting Shirley and her dad and recreating the little family that they had. Is Steve desperate enough to get his daughter back into his home to put up with her crazy mother too? Is he unselfish enough to thwart the real love in his heart? And what will Traci's parents do about the situation, being that their 14-year-old daughter is living with a strange middle-aged man?

Draughon takes the raw emotions of his characters and makes them laugh, cry and wring their hands over the plot. He leaves the reader in a state of suspension when they dare put down the book to eat dinner. You will find yourself reading through the night in order to find out what happens to these people who have become all too real, if not a bit crazy. His descriptive writing and engaging dialogue make for an entertaining read. It is a short-lived distraction from the real world and our real lives to read one of Draughon's books. You won't be disappointed.

Tuesday, September 7, 2004

Fiction Review

Sex, Ghosts And Gumshoes
by Bob Gunn
ISBN-10: 1595263462
Review by Heather Froeschl

With a mixture of paranormal, sex and mystery, Bob Gunn offers a wild ride of a read with "Sex, Ghosts and Gumshoes." Beginning the story in 1933 with the life events of Kerby Brewster, a Cary Grant look-alike private investigator, and ending the tale in 2003 with a promise of more adventures to come, Gunn dishes up a heck of a story in between.

Kerby meets with an untimely demise and we meet him again as a spirit who has been lingering for 75 years in a brownstone building in New York City. Here, our protagonists get acquainted as Penny Albright has just inherited the old place from her late Aunt, whom she loved dearly. It all begins with a mid-night encounter with an Ouija board and is all quite exciting and ghostly.

Two other main characters in the book turn out to be rather bad. They are torturous, murdering, dominatrix females who have taken it upon themselves to avenge every wrong inflicted upon womankind. Kerby and Penny take it upon themselves to put a stop to the serial killings and set the lost spirits of the victims free. Getting to that point is all the fun though and Bob Gunn leads the reader through séances, historical tours of New York City, synopsis' of classic films starring Cary Grant, electrifying sexual foreplay, humorous scenes of haunting fun and gut churning episodes of murderous torture.

What research must have been done for the writing of this book! I thoroughly enjoyed the read. I was surprised to find a handful of typos, but gladly overlooked them for the content was so enthralling. I didn't want the adventures of Penny and Kerby to end, and as with a good striptease the reader is left wanting more. Fortunately, Gunn promises a series of books in the future. I look forward to that with tingles down my spine.

Monday, September 6, 2004

Non-Fiction Review

We Don't Agree, But.... How To Live In An Age Of Terrorism
by Paul Siegel
ISBN-10: 1591135044
Review by Heather Froeschl

In today's world of living with the threat of terrorism, here is a guide on how to live, love and make the world a better place. How can you defeat terrorists? How can you change our environment of terror? Live cooperatively and it will happen. Paul `the soaring' Siegel shows you how.

Historically we have been through some very trying times...times of competition and aggression that have hugely impacted the world and everyone on it. Faith against faith, rich against poor, "winners" against "losers," these conflicts have created the world of terrorism in which we now live. Through history lessons and biographies, Paul Siegel holds up a mirror for us to see what we have been. Section II of the book, Cooperation and Harmony, demonstrates the healthy relationships bring positive results, how cooperating we can make a difference.

This goal of cooperation infiltrates all aspects of our lives. From our own families to our jobs and careers, to our global infrastructure, cooperation contributes to global harmony. We really can counter terrorism right in our own homes. It all begins with you, and me.

This book is a guide to life, a reminder of what can happen and how we can change for the better. Captivating and interesting, "We Don't Agree, But..." is a must read for everyone who has been touched by terrorism and unfortunately, this is everyone - period.

Thursday, September 2, 2004

Fiction Review

By Wells Earl Draughon
ISBN-10: 0595288332
Review by Heather Froeschl

Linda cannot continue with her life as if it were normal. She can't give up like the police seem to have done. Her daughter's room is exactly the way she'd left it, with clothes on the floor and her favorite stuffed animal on the tussled bed. Only her daughter is missing, leaving a terrible emptiness behind.

Linda joins a nationwide underground organization that pulls parents together in battling kidnappers. They are trained in surveillance techniques and interrogations, self-defense and stealth. They go on missions that involve luring people, whom they are told are kidnappers, into houses run by the organization. From there the person is tortured, supposedly to get information about missing children. This leaves the parents trapped in the organization, as they have broken the law; they have hurt people in their efforts to find their children.

While she knows it is wrong, something about the organization doesn't seem right, it doesn�t add up and Linda wonders if there might be something else going on. She picks up clues here and there that lead her to further her investigation of the group. What she finds out leads her to understand how much danger she is really in. She continues her own personal search for her daughter and cautiously does her part with the organization. If she doesn't, she may disappear herself.

Wells Earl Draughon has done it again, creating a suspenseful, energetic tale that touches on the deepest fear of parents, while, in this case, also awakens a rage over white supremacy. The plot is well written and results in a page-turner that you will not soon forget. A handful of typos are easy for the reader to overlook but are frustrating to me as they do not need to be there. I trust we will be seeing more from this author in the future and look forward to that day.

"Lies" is a fast paced read that will suck you in and keep you up until the final page. From there you will be left wondering what sinister organizations are really out there and you'll likely check the locks on your doors. I highly recommend this book but I warn parents that it may haunt you.

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Non-Fiction Review

Reflections: Personalizing Life, Nature, Man and God
by Radenko Fanuka
ISBN-10: 1571973958
Review by Heather Froeschl

In a collection of essays that depict one man's philosophies on life, nature and his god, there are some simple truths that will apply to everyone who reads them. "Reflections: Personalizing Life, Nature Man and God," is an interesting book that reaches out to us all in effort to relay the lessons that author Radenko Fanuka has learned throughout his very interesting and full life.

Some of the essays left me a bit puzzled as to their point and meaning, while others were quite clear and concise and well understood. In particular, "How Could She Survive?" touched me deeply and demonstrated how simply one could live life and be quite happy in it, for it was about an elderly lady who loved her animals and lived off the land, alone and content. Another story that was touching was about another woman who endured being alone for her husband had gone off to America to earn a living. When he returned, he shunned her, not even knowing the person she had become due to her years of hard living.

Whether portraying a difficult life, or sharing a lesson learned at the side of his mother, the author has answered the call to write out his thoughts and ideals. With respect to his beliefs and hope for the world, he has put together a collection that will surely touch the lives and minds of many readers.

Thursday, August 5, 2004

Fiction Review

A Clean Passing
by Donald Carte
ISBN-10: 0970497423
Review by Heather Froeschl

The world of business meets marriage-counseling 101, with a twist of mystery and suspense thrown in, in this book of multi-genres. Donald Carte has created a believable plot with likable characters and keeps the reader entertained throughout.

Big business sometimes means big scandals, if the plot of naughtiness is uncovered. When Mike Reynolds is hired on to an aggressive software company's sales team he is in for much more than he bargained for. The boost in salary and unbelievable benefits package is just the tip of the huge iceberg beneath the surface. Should a moral person turn a blind eye to the clearly unmoral goings on at his new place of employment? What harm could it do? A good deal unfortunately. Mike's old college buddy is brought into the picture and since he has been with the company for a number of years, he is shocked at Mike's findings.

Meanwhile, Mike and his wife Wendy are going through some marital changes. Having two kids has been a joy but something is missing in Wendy's life. Mike develops an understanding of this and the two work on their marriage together. Learning to see things from another perspective helps Mike out a good deal, in his partnership with Wendy and in his career, including the troubles he has at work.

Donald Carte knows the world of business and has a promising start in the realm of fiction writing. A handful of typos and misprints throughout the book do not detract from quality of writing here. A Clean Passing is a good read.

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Children's Book Review

The Silver Creek Secret
by Christopher Doyle
ISBN-10: 1403392811
Review by Heather Froeschl

This roller coaster ride is fun and entertaining, July 20, 2004
On Kurt’s thirteenth birthday he beat his record time in climbing Mount Catawalla and took a little rest at the top. But when we wakes up, we is no longer overlooking the Milky Way Amusement Park, but rather a very flat desert with mountains in the distance. He can see a few buildings not too far away and soon stumbles into the town where things are not quite what they seem and neither is he.

The townspeople, a handful of adults and a bunch of kids, seem to think he is Roy Sharp, returned from whence he vanished to years before. Vanished into thin air while riding his donkey. Kurt finds all of it vaguely familiar, and he should, for his Grandfather’s stories of the old west revolved around these very people and the town of Silver Creek. But Silver Creek is not what old Pa’s stories made it out to be. This Silver Creek is dried up. The kids don’t know what fun is and the adults can’t seem to remember things. Something just isn’t right in this town where the children never grow older and the adults are never thirsty.

Kurt pieces together the puzzling circumstances around him and realizes that he must escape this place in order to find his way back home. The mountains seem to hold the answers he seeks. Will he make it back to his own life? Will the other kids do the same?

Christopher Doyle has created a mirage in the desert that is full of mystery and secrets. With a captivating plot and truly interesting characters, he grabs the reader’s attention and doesn’t let go until the end of the tale. This roller coaster ride is fun and entertaining, keeping the reader guessing to the last page. Part of the plot may be a little confusing to some readers but following through will clear things up and bring closure.

Fact Based Fiction Review

Hospital Privileges: The Harrowing Story of one Doctors Journey Through Conspiracy & Violence
by Dr. Mark D. Hopkins
ISBN-10: 1413710743
Review by Heather Froeschl

Corporate America enters the medical field. Rather, Capitalism runs the medical field. In a profession that should be ruled by compassion and medical care, the practice has turned into a purely moneymaking scheme for some. And it is a deadly game of competition for money. Based on real life events, Mark Hopkins has written a book that is a real eye opener for every American.

An assassin is hired to kill two orthopedic surgeons at a conference in Vail, Colorado. They die in an avalanche and it is initially chalked up to accidental circumstance. The local police don't get all that much to do most of the time and one officer, a former homicide detective from Chicago, has plenty of time to look into the recent deaths. Something just doesn't seem right. At the same time, Dr. Mark Adams is doing some investigating of his own. The two doctors that had died held the same beliefs as he, that corporate holdings should have nothing to do with medicine. He uncovers some very interesting information regarding a monster parent company that is making progress at taking over the entire medical practice of the country.

It seems that doctors who do not want to join the parent company are being killed off one by one in seemingly accidental tragedies. Mark sends an email off and eventually it comes to the attention of the FBI, CIA and the President. Can the truth be uncovered in time? Can someone put a stop to the insane empire that is being built of the basic needs of people for health care?

In a fast moving, attention grabbing plot, "Hospital Privileges" tells a story that every American needs to read in a way that is entertaining and thought provoking. A handful of typos and misprints do not detract from the author's good writing, though there are instances where the characters suddenly know facts without the reader being witness to the thought process of the situation. These are not major distractions and can be overlooked since the overall plot and conveyance of the story is well performed. I applaud Mark Hopkins, M.D. in his endeavor to provide a good read, and relay some disturbingly true events.

Wednesday, July 7, 2004

Fable Review

The Wisdom of Our Burdens, Vol. 1: From Debt to Deliverance
by Ruth Theobald Probst
ISBN-10: 0975342207
Review by Heather Froeschl

We all have burdens in our lives, it is from these burdens that we learn our life's lessons and discover the potential to grow. It is essential that we grow as human beings, thus we can assume that our burdens are really gifts of opportunity. At least that is the basic message of Ruth Theobold Probst's book, "The Wisdom of Our Burdens."

In a very unique style, Probst allows the reader to tag along on Avery Victoria Spencer's journey within. Avery is a very successful bank president who has some very big issues when it comes to her own personal finances. There are deeper problems, which fuel her immense debt, and no one can help her but herself. Avery must learn where her issues lie in order to deal with them. Her journey begins in a locked castle keep.

Through the fable of Avery's castle, the reader will become aware that these are problems that most of us face. The problem is making ourselves come face to face with our burdens, for unless we can do that, we will not learn from them and they will blossom into even bigger burdens to bear.

"The Wisdom of Our Burdens" is an interesting and helpful read. It will instill personal reflection and encourage the reader to look into their own castle dungeon.

Non-Fiction/Spirituality Review

Miracles: Inviting the Extraordinary Into Your Life
by Richard Webster
ISBN-10: 073870606X
Review by Heather Froeschl

Miracles happen every day. Some are major noteworthy events that the newscasters pick up on, and some are closer to home happenings that dearly effect the recipient. In a wonderful guide to Miracles, Richard Webster explores the history of such events and leads the reader to creating miracles of their own.

Religious and healing miracles always seem to get the biggest headlines and Richard begins his book recalling the big ones of Jesus, Buddha, and Muhhamad and healing miracles of Leprosy and other illness. Acknowledging that these are major events, Mr. Webster insists that everyone can have miracles in their lives by possessing the following qualities: contentment, serendipity, intuition, universal love, faith and a willingness to make any necessary changes in our attitude toward life.

In describing the philosophy of Huna of Hawaii, Richard shares the secrets of bringing miracles into our lives. Following the teachings brings incredible results. In addition to this chapter are more guides on using your intuition, the miracle of magic, understanding and balancing your Chakra system, and spell casting...all to bring about your own miracles.

Richard Webster is the author of more than twenty-five books on varying metaphysical topics. Who better to look to for guidance when exploring your inner power?

Sunday, July 4, 2004

Christian Fiction Review

Abram's Journey: Quest for the Man in the Stars
by Pamilla S Tolen, Kimberly Brouillette
ISBN-10: 1594675376
Review by Heather Froeschl

Look back into ancient Mesopotamia. 4,000 years ago the customs and lives of people were very different from what they are today. Through the eyes of Abram and his family we are introduced to a world of Gods and Goddesses and astrology, and then the introduction of a new religion.

Daily life is wonderfully described, from the lay of the land to the figs and goat milk. The reader is totally absorbed in a different culture. The Gods and Goddesses and rituals honoring them are relayed in great detail. This story of Abram's early life is told with honor and reverence and seemingly much anthropological research.

We cannot truly research the way in which Abram was led to his one God, but the speculations in this story make for good reading and understanding of what could have happened. The use of astrology in the book is fantastic and adds to the ancient feel of the read. A nicely done work.

Children's Book Interactive CD Review

Murphy's Safety Songs
by Tim Young
ISBN-10: 0974822604
Review by Heather Froeschl

This is a wonderful tool for families who have dogs or are considering getting one. Tim Young offers advice, instruction and good doggie fun in this book and accompanying CD. His "Tuneful Tips for Tots and 'Spots'" will surely be a hit with the younger set, and entertaining for any dog lover.

In eleven original songs, and narration by "Murphy", a Boston Terrier with an English accent, the CD captures the listener's attention with lighthearted humor and toe tapping music, while enlightening on such topics as: What to do about strange dogs, hot and cold weather, traveling pups, chow time and trips to the vet. The colorful, high quality book offers the lyrics to the songs in order for young readers to learn them well, and a section in the back for parents with tips regarding each of the song's topics, fun facts, warnings and statistics, and a health record. At the end of the CD there is a brief "quiz" regarding the important information. If your kids aren't screaming out the answers, they are instructed to listen to the music again.

This book should be mandatory reading for anyone adopting a dog, and never before has mandatory reading been so fun. Kids, ages 3 - 10 will enjoy learning about doggie behavior with this book almost as much as playing with the puppy itself. Teachers, day care providers and library story time tellers will love this book and CD, and so will dogs everywhere.

Thursday, July 1, 2004

Children's Book Review

Raising Cane with Cammie
by Elizabeth A. McMahan
ISBN-10: 0613745604
Review by Heather Froeschl

In 1934, in North Carolina, on a sorghum cane farm, ten-year-old Cammie learns what it really takes to be a member of a farm family. Nothing could be better and the air couldn't be sweeter than it is filled with the aroma of boiling molasses.

Through nearly a year of honest hard work, Cammie learns the ropes of raising cane, and in the process, so does the reader. In the early spring days, Cammie's dad readies the fields and Cammie finds a perfect quartz arrowhead. In a classic childhood fantasy tale, she and her cousin Ben create a buried treasure, complete with map. In the process they dig up an even greater treasure: an Indian axe head. Cammie and Ben help her father to thin the long rows of tiny plants and earn a good bit of money. Cammie opens a bank account for the first time and later uses some of her own money to put herself through 4-H camp.

All through the year Cammie learns the different jobs required on the farm and becomes a reliable family partner. This demonstrates the tight knit relationship that farming communities had and shows how families who farmed together really relied on each other. It makes the reader nostalgic for such opportunities.

The stories woven into the book are full of family times and strong characters. Children will love reading about Cammie's adventures and parents will enjoy the wholesomeness of the tales. In a plot that grows as the cane does, the reader will feel a satisfaction when the cycle is complete. Look for more from Elizabeth A. McMahan and young Cammie.

Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Fiction Review

Dry Sterile Thunder
by Jim Accardi
ISBN-10: 0595319084
Review by Heather Froeschl

It appears that there is a serial killer in a small Alabama community. The murders are horrible to begin with but the killer is leaving grotesque messages on the skin of the victims. Clues left to taunt investigators lead to the possibility of more murders, more victims and sheer panic in the air.

New District Attorney Katie O'Brien is quickly finding out that she?s not sure she really wants this job. The press is in her face, the public wants answers and the cops want to make an arrest. But she knows that making arrest just to do so would be wrong, and would not be helping the public in any way. The real killer would still be out there, hunting victims, fulfilling desires and getting the media coverage over it.

Jim Accardi has woven quite a tale of murder, suspense and brain teasing. "Dry Sterile Thunder" is a twisted story, full of puzzling plot and action and promises a good read. The author has paid great attention to detail and characterization and has succeeded in writing a well-done murder mystery. There are times when he goes a little too far into minor character?s backgrounds and motivations for my taste, but the positive far outweighs the negative. Look for more from this author and you won't be sorry!

Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Children's book Review

by Elizabeth A. McMahan
ISBN-10: 0759688613
Review by Heather Froeschl

In 1934, in the piedmont area of North Carolina, Cammie is turning ten. Looking forward to celebrating her first decade of living, she asks her parents for a hotdog roasting party. The whole family shows up, complete with both sets of Cammie's grandparents, her aunts, uncles and cousin Ben and her best friend Jessica. But the party isn't the focal point of the book. Growing up in the depression, crafting playthings, inventing games, and even being a bunny in the school play are all part of Cammie's life.

Cammie's stories are told in a friendly, easygoing way, which will be a joy to children to read. Every chapter shows this spunky, kind-hearted girl being creative and caring and enjoying life. From taking care of her little brother by playing every game she can think of to being the game master at her family's reunion, it is clear that Cammie knows how to entertain herself and others.

It is a simpler life than today's children are used to and the stories bring an air of innocence to the reader from those days gone by. Elizabeth McMahan has once again carried me back in time to more close-knit families, honest hard work, putting up stores for winter and the enjoyment of a hayride. "Cammie Turns Ten" stands alone, or could be read as the first, second or third in the Cammie series. In any event, readers aged 9 -12 will adore the books and if parents are allowed to share them it will bring back memories of their own childhood.

Friday, June 25, 2004

Fiction Review

Abram's Journey: Quest for the Man in the Stars
by Pamilla S Tolen
ISBN-10: 1594675376
Review by Heather Froeschl

Look back into ancient Mesopotamia. 4,000 years ago the customs and lives of people were very different from what they are today. Through the eyes of Abram and his family we are introduced to a world of Gods and Goddesses and astrology, and then the introduction of a new religion.

Daily life is wonderfully described, from the lay of the land to the figs and goat milk. The reader is totally absorbed in a different culture. The Gods and Goddesses and rituals honoring them are relayed in great detail. This story of Abram's early life is told with honor and reverence and seemingly much anthropological research.

We cannot truly research the way in which Abram was led to his one God, but the speculations in this story make for good reading and understanding of what could have happened. The use of astrology in the book is fantastic and adds to the ancient feel of the read. A nicely done work.

Thursday, June 17, 2004

Fiction Review

Eclipse of the Soul
by Olga Morales
ISBN-10: 1594573530
review by Heather Froeschl

Mia, a young mother and wife, disappears under the shadow of an eclipse. Her husband is left to challenge the theories of the local police in a land he is unfamiliar with, leaving his children with their Uncle. Mark knows that Mia did not run off with another man, he knows that something is terribly wrong, but he cannot believe what he is being told.

A skeptical man, Mark hesitates to listen to the shaman he is brought to for guidance. He ignores the signs he is shown and attributes his nightmares of Mia's demise to his stress and worry. It takes a bolt of lightning to show him the light of what is really going on, who he really is and how to find his wife. At the same time he realizes the peril that the souls of the world are in. Will he be able to do anything about it? Will he be able to find his wife in time?

In a book that combines mysticism and adventure, Olga Morales has also woven a story of soulmates, love, trust and the power of the light. Many occult topics are addressed and explained through the character's voices and blend well into a mystic brew of interest. Astrology, crystal use, astral travel, and shamanism are just a few of the mystic arts portrayed in the book. The writing is well done and the storyline compelling, overshadowing several typos. The author has introduced the reader to theories they might not otherwise read about and addressed a thoughtful plot.

Saturday, June 12, 2004

Fiction Review

Last Things, First Things
By Wells Earl Draughon
ISBN-10: 0595269427
Review by Heather Froeschl

What would you do if you had only a short time left to live? What if you did everything you thought you'd wanted to do but your life was just empty and lonely? Could you call your life complete if you had not accomplished what you thought was your life's work? Wells Earl Draughon has addressed some very deep topics in "Last Things, First Things." His characters confront issues that we all hope we won't ever have to. This makes for a heart touching, thought provoking read.

Val believes that he is dying of cancer. He saw the foreboding word on his medical charts. His mistrust of doctors convinces him that he has little time left and he takes matters into his own hands. He quits his job, sells everything he owns and is ready to embrace the world during his last weeks. But all he feels is empty and hopeless. Except for the memory of meeting someone at the hospital...someone who he feels drawn to in ways he never has felt before.

Erin is working on the plans of her dream house. As an architect she is successful yet her ambition drives her to fulfill her goal of designing the perfect house. She also wants a baby and a husband and is in the process of adopting a baby girl. But her fatigue is dragging her down and scaring her to no end in her worry over what it could be that is causing it. Her doctor tells her she is fine, and she believes him. She trusts him.

Taking a trip to the Greek islands seems to be the answer for much needed rest and inspiration. When Val and Erin find each other there, the draw between them is evident. Should he tell her that he is dying? Should she tell him she is adopting a child? She makes him feel alive and complete. He makes her forget her exhaustion. Is the love they have discovered enough to get them through their troubles? Or is it the very thing they live for?

Wells Earl Draughon has written a piece that will leave you wondering what you would do if you were faced with the end of your life. What things would come first for you? What would be the last things you ever do? He will also remind you to live as if you were dying - living to the fullest. With a plot that is fast paced and emotionally charged, "Last Things, First Things" will have you turning pages and looking for more from this author when you reach the end.

Friday, May 28, 2004

Fiction Review

I Like Ice Cream In My Coffee, Part Five
by Diney DeRuy
ISBN-10: 1418412759
review by Heather Froeschl

In Part Five of a series of books, Diney DeRuy has crafted a story that stands alone and effectively makes the reader's hair stand on end. Dr. Nick Demmy is given the chance to get in on a privately funded, family run research institution. The study of the brain and specifically in Demmy's case, phenomenology, is the focus of intensive research done by the Young family. It is highly confidential work and Demmy is truly blessed to be allowed to join the team.

Demmy has only one patient...a woman in a coma, effectively brain dead, who is showing signs of activity in a portion of the brain as yet unexplored. It looks like psychic phenomena is coming into play. This is right up Demmy's alley and he quickly becomes involved in his research. But there is more going on in this facility than Demmy's one patient. Much more. The head of the family, Chief of Staff Young, has a greater plan. He intends to be the Chief of the medical community at large. His research goes so far as to create a living brain and to communicate with the spirit world through it.

In his efforts to become this all-knowing medical giant, Chief Young has raised his sons to follow his rule. They live and breathe their research, each Doctor having an expertise that supports the end goal. There is no life outside of the facility. Once a Doctor becomes involved he remains so, and once he passes through the security systems, there is no returning to normal life.

DeRuy has a chilling imagination. The plot is intriguing and twisted, full of plans crazy enough to be possible in today's medical research world. The fact that this is part five of a series only means that there are four other parts to explore, but certainly this book stands on its own as a good piece of fiction.

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Non-Fiction/Self Help Review

by Virginia Bola
ISBN-10: 1410753174
Review by Heather Froeschl

Whether you are unemployed or unhappily working away, "The Wolf At The Door" may be your first step at taking meaningful strides towards positive change. Sometimes we need someone to take us by the hand and walk us through the baby steps that reap great benefits in life.

It all begins with getting our heads on straight. When we aren't happy in our work, very often we are not happy in our lives. We can change that though. We can always change things. Section one, on grieving job loss, depression, controlling anger, stress and change, I think, is the most important section in the book. It is a section we can all relate to, whether or not our jobs are pleasurable or not. It is a section about yourself and the first steps you need to take to be happy.

Section two is all about getting to know your working self, the person you need to find in order to find the perfect job for you. It will help you to hone in on the skills you have and focus on the positive. Section three is all about the job search and how to make it your own goal setting plan. Section four concentrates on the final lesson plans and going out there to get that job.

The book is a workbook, complete with forms to fill in, breaking down the work into baby steps that we can all handle and appreciate. It is a guide to follow and a hand to hold. It is inspiring and encouraging, like a good mentor. More than an unemployment survival manual, it is a planning guide for happiness in life. I recommend this title to anyone who is even slightly unhappy in their work. I am certain that anyone who reads it will come away having learned something.

Monday, May 24, 2004

Non-Fiction/Self Help Review

Zen Entrepreneurship: Walking the Path of the Career Warrior
by Rizwan Virk
ISBN-10: 1413434452
Review by Heather Froeschl

Are you aware of your `Warrior's Path?' Do you realize the lessons you are learning (your soul's development), and do you know what contribution you are here to make to the world (Your life's work)? Most of us catch glimpses of these things, clues from the spiritual world that we are on the right path, or not. Some of us know what path we are on, what we are there to do and what we are supposed to learn from it. But some of us have no clue and just walk along taking it as it comes.

How can you learn to understand the clues? How can you learn to focus on your true path? Sometimes it takes a teacher guiding us. And sometimes we learn that our life's purpose is to be the teacher. How does this relate to the business world? In "Zen Entrepreneurship," Rizwan Virk shares how he started a company when he was just 23 years old, and how he began his spiritual development, one goal feeding off the other.

Rizwan becomes the teacher in his publishing of this book. I suspect it is part of his life's purpose, sharing what he learned so that others may learn. I also suspect that he will gain more from this work than doing any other work in his life. Since we are speaking of a multi-million dollar business venture, that is saying a good deal.

Relaying his story of meeting with his teacher Ramaswami every month or so and sharing the lessons he learned, we are shown two paths. One deals with business lessons and successful entrepreneurship, and the other deals with spiritual awareness and growth. They both are one in the same though and prove that no matter what we think we are doing there is always a hidden lesson to be learned. One hand does wash the other but they both become clean.

The book is written as a story of interest. It shows the progress and growth of a business and a man. It is an interesting read that can be taken as lightly as a success story or it can be taken as a primer in your own development, complete with lessons and assignments that include watching some classic movies that prove a point or bring home a sentiment. It is a book that will likely be referred to time and time again.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who is thinking of starting a business and also to people who have an interest in developing their spiritual side. You will come away with insight to yourself, guidance in learning your own particular lessons, and knowledge that you may not be able to acquire anywhere else save the mountaintops of the Himalayas. Rizwan has answered his call to share the knowledge; he has brought the wisdom of the man on the mountain right into your own hands. All you have to do to begin is read the book.

Sunday, May 23, 2004

Short Story Collection Review

Afterlife and Other Stories
by Ed Krizek
ISBN-10: 1413440029
Review by Heather Froeschl

Ed Krizek offers an interesting collection of short stories. Written over a period of fifteen years, the topics cover a vast array of human emotions. From accepting the death of a loved one, to dealing with messages of impending doom from telemarketers, Krizek demonstrates that no topic is sacred when it comes to a work of fiction.

The author shows promise in descriptive writing. Typos and punctuation errors can be overlooked when experiencing the joy of being lost in a good story. Generally, collections of short stories relate to one another in a very obvious way. Krizek's assortment doesn't, but the basic theme of life's emotions runs throughout the book.

College romances, life changes, meeting goals, getting mugged, aliens running motels, winning the lottery...all of these tales are told and more. They are stories most people can relate to in one way or another, whether you laugh or cry over them is up to you.

A quick, yet sometimes deep read is waiting...

Children's Book Review

Cammie: A Girl for All Seasons
by Elizabeth A. McMahan
ISBN-10: 158500913X
Review by Heather Froeschl

Colorfully depicting a year in the life of a country girl growing up in the 1930's, Cammie: A Girl For All Seasons is a delightful read for all ages. There is something special about growing up on a farm and reading about 10 year old Cammie's adventures is something special in itself.

Follow Cammie through a year of ups and downs, trials and triumphs, smiles and sighs. Her life is full of lessons including being mindful of chicken hawks, bullies dressed as hobos and the dangers of hay forks. There are joyful stories of babysitting moments, adventures in the woods, and bug zoo success. Lessons are shared in making friends with roosters, being a friend to those in need and having a friendly day spent with a city cousin.

The bond of family is clearly demonstrated through out the book and seemingly simple country values are shared and exhibited. Parents will enjoy the positive role model that Cammie is and readers ages 9 and up will love the stories of a simpler time and place and a girl that they can relate to.

The author is gifted in descriptive writing and brings the world of a southern rural community to life. Look for more from Elizabeth A. McMahan in the future.

Monday, May 10, 2004

Fiction Review

by Barbara Anna Marjanovic
ISBN-10: 0595659543
Review by Heather Froeschl

Donna marries into the mob, but she has no idea. It could be that Matthew's family is just overprotective of him. It could be that Matthew is just an investment hound, dealing with stocks and bonds. It could be, but it isn't. Donna finds herself in a marriage fraught with all night drug parties in her home, intrusive aunts who criticize her every move and worse - in the company of a man who is not at all what he seems.

One night Matthew tells her what seems to be everything. He is part of the Mafia, a huge part, and the FBI is on to them. In fact, he tells her, he is helping the FBI. Life seems to change, and love is rekindled. Until...during a weekend trip to their cabin, Donna is almost killed. The FBI swoops in to save her and puts her into a sort of witness protection program. To the world, she is dead. To the FBI, she has become a Pawn. Donna is to gather evidence against her widower husband. But is this legit? Could it be that this branch of the FBI isn't what it seems either? Will life ever be normal again?

Barbara Anna Marjanovic has written an interesting tale. There are inconsistencies though, and at times it seems that the story was written backwards, with important details filled in at the last minute. There are numerous typos and errors that would have been easily caught by an editor. Overlooking these things may be difficult. However, the premise is intriguing and may be enough to carry some readers through to the end.

Suspense Review

Retired: A Suspense Novel
by Bill Vann
ISBN-10: 0972964207
Review by Heather Froeschl

When a man retires, there are times when his wife wishes he would find something to do outside of the house. Something, anything, except, I suppose, go jump in an almost frozen lake. Harry Jones, after 35 years as a bookkeeper for an automobile dealership, hits it big with some stock in Chrysler and retires. It doesn't take long though for the doldrums to set in and a need arises in Harry to get out of the house.

He finds an empty office to rent, and fools himself into thinking he is occupying himself with stock plans. His imaginary clients leave him to drink his peppermint schnapps and he is content to be out of his wife, Alice's, hair. Until one day he finds a note addressed to him, and he becomes wrapped up in a very interesting, if not deadly, investigation.

Not being an investigator, Harry wonders why this woman insists that he take her case. He wonders too, why he is doing it. As he finds himself in a small fishing boat in Lake Michigan, he wonders. As he gets off a plane and heads to Naples, Florida, he wonders. And when he finds himself almost at the mercy of two attack Dobermans, he really wonders.

Besides Harry, there is another retired man in this story who finds himself with nothing to do. Fate has a way of knocking though and he soon finds himself in an investigation to beat his entire career as a cop. Tom Morgan is searching for some answers. What he finds is a plot so warped and twisted that it could only be categorized as "As per usual", as he is known to say.

Bill Vann has written a fast paced suspense story that will find you turning pages. You'll never look at a retired gentleman in the same light. Bill shares an insider's knowledge of auto dealerships and a wealth of knowledge of the human psyche. "Retired" is one of the best books I have read lately.

Sunday, May 9, 2004

Non-Fiction/Self Help Review

Break Free From Burnout in 30 Days! Secrets of a Burnout Survivor
by Mary Lewis
ISBN-10: 0971423709
Review by Heather Froeschl

Exhausted? Frazzled? Can't stand to add even one more thing to your to-do list? You'll want to add following the advice of Mary me. In "Break FREE from Burnout in 30 Days!" she takes your hand and leads you through a month of life changing, stress relieving tasks that are simple and positive. You will walk away from this book with a better outlook on life.

In the beginning, there were the top ten signs of burnout. If you recognize these things in your life, Mary can help you. Then, taking it one step at a time, one day at a time for a month, you will let go of those top ten signs and be free once more. Steps like not listening to your inner critic, saying no more often, scratching out your to-do list (except for finishing the book!), changing your attitude, changing your peers if need be, stop gossiping and start receiving what you deserve. It's all simple really, and it's all good.

Mary shares her own burnout stories and lets you know that she understands. It happens. But she also challenges you to stop it from happening. You can stop the cycle and you can take your life back. The first step is picking up the book, the second is reading it, one day at a time.

Saturday, May 8, 2004

Humor Review

Boofalo: A Funny Book
by Richard S. Greene
ISBN-10: 0595312632
Review by Heather Froeschl

Clearly a man's fantasy, "Boofalo!" is entertaining in an offbeat, odd sort of way. A very odd sort. The book encompasses everything from space and time travel to evading the cops in good old O-hi-o. One man takes on the world, on another planet, and seems to have it all under control in a chaotic, frantic, kind of way. He fares better there, with all manner of beasts attacking him, then he does in his home town of Cleveland where he runs naked through the streets only to rummage through garbage for golf pants and break into his own apartment.

Dan Slam is a star. He has his own show, on the planet Ovula, where the Princess Vangi and her people follow Dan's every boring move, through images captured in his life of marathon television watching, chip eating, toilet using, paper pushing work days and pathetic attempts at love. Vangi decides he is the one who will save her planet from Draegon and she sends the bus to get him. The bus, an "alternity" travel machine, is driven by none other than the unemployed King of the land, and boasts a marquee that promises Ecstasy, Romance, Action and Thrills.

With each ride, Dan does experience those things, conquers strange beasts, makes friends with other beasts, has marathon sex adventures, saves the day, nearly dies and in fact meets death face to face, becomes the hero and signs autographs. Again, this is clearly a man's fantasy read.

The author's use of puns is over the top, and if you like this sort of thing you will have plenty of laughs. The formatting is unique in that nearly every thought, action and image begins a new paragraph, many of which are only a word or two long. This creates a jumpy, scattered feel to the read, almost as though you are reading the mind of the characters rather than reading the narrative. It is almost as though the entire book were written as poetry, but without the rhythm and rhyme.

"Boofalo!" is a book that is in a genre all its own, though I am not sure what that genre is. The author shows promise in his descriptiveness and creativity and I am sure his readers will wonder what he will come up with next.

Saturday, May 1, 2004

Non-Fiction Review

The Book of Love: Awaken Your Passion to be Your Higher Self
by Karen Bentley
ISBN-10: 0966696735
Review by Heather Froeschl

If I could look beyond this book's Christian slant I might agree with some of what other reviewers are saying about it. In truth, the subtitle should be "Awaken your passion to be your Higher Christ - Self." If you can overlook that and other references to God (assuming this is the Christian God since we already see the Christ influence) the messages in the book could be enlightening. I doubt that the author intentionally left out the other religions in the world, for if it were so it would imply that only those of Christ mind could find enlightenment.

The basic ideas of this book are that there are four obstacles to love: The illusion of a special relationship (soulmates, relationship love, parental love), Anger, Guilt, and a lack of awareness. But love does not refer to what you think of in everyday life, for that kind of love, we are told, is simply our ego. It is fairy tale and selfish. Karen Bentley might call me unenlightened but I don't agree with this concept.

According to Bentley, there are six spiritual tools you need to have to change your life: A strategy of Holiness, Forgiveness, Gratitude, The holy instant of peace, Communing with your higher self, and Praying. She goes on to explore and explain these tools in depth in a very easy to read tone, using anecdotes and numerous quotes from "A Course in Miracles." Again, the text is full of Christian influence and doesn't need to be so, in my opinion. Enlightenment is available to every soul.

The writing is well done, the tone is uplifting (though at times condemning of your humanness) and the basic premise of connecting with your higher self is positive. I can see Christians everywhere wanting a copy of "The Book of Love." For what it is, the book is an appropriate, useful tool; it just isn't for everyone.

Friday, April 30, 2004

Fiction Review

by Rowan Lore
ISBN-10: 1593301340
Review by Heather Froeschl

People react to life's changes in various ways; some people will do anything to stay in control of those changes.

Demen couldn't find a magazine that offered her everything she was looking for, so she started her own. After eight years of making it work, hiring people and expanding to a successful level of publishing, Orange is on the verge of going national. Demen has made it to the big leagues. So why does her office door remain closed with a note posted to "Go ask Jack"? Jack has had all the answers for some time now, acting as the boss and running the show. Karyn, Demen's friend and the Fashion consultant for Orange is worrying over Demen's distancing from the business. Dollar, Demen's best guy friend, decides to take off to find himself on a cross country road trip. A new man enters Demen's life and she finds a new place to hang out and make friends. But why does it feel like she is being consumed by these new distractions? Why does it feel like her whole life is about to change?

Thirteen years ago Demen's parents were killed in an airplane crash. Her efforts at developing Orange were an attempt to take control of her life. Now, when the magazine is growing so rapidly, Demen is faced with the reality that she is about to jump into a race that she might lose. She contemplates walking away from it before it can crumble in her hands. Her best friend has gone and she fears that he may not return. She has pushed her girlfriend nearly out of her life. Demen is struggling to control her life's changes out of her fear of losing those things that are most dear to her. It is a struggle we all deal with in life.

Rowan Lore has written a story that will hit home with many readers. Her characters are vividly true to life and very interesting to get to know. Their nuances will bring a smile to your face or a nod to your head as you recognize the quirks of your own life. The plot is well done with a neatly wrapped up crescendo to bring home the pinnacle of the story. A handful of overlooked typos do little to distract the reader from a great book. I would watch for more from Rowan Lore...a promising author on the way to the big leagues.

Tuesday, February 17, 2004

Spiritual Fiction Review

Soaring Eagle, Spirit of the Wind
by H. J. Courtright
ISBN-10: 0974486612
Review by Heather Froeschl

A journey of the spirit, three souls play out roles in this book about Shamanism, finding oneself, and helping others. It is a work of fiction based upon real experiences of the author; it is a novella of powerful message and great substance.

Rosalie is a wounded soul. She has never forgiven her parents for dying and she has taken to hurting herself in what seems to be a self destruct mode. She takes a hike with a friend in an effort to recapture her childhood memories at a camp in the woods, only to fall and hit her head in a cave behind the waterfall.

Soaring Eagle is a Shaman. On a spirit journey he witnesses the young woman's dangerous predicament. He is shown that he is needed, and makes his way to the wilderness where her body awaits. There he finds Rosalie's friend, desperate to find help, and she leads him, or rather he leads her, back to the waterfall. They attend to Roasalie's body with blankets and fire, but Soaring Eagle knows that he needs to help her spirit to find its way back.

Rosalie's soul leaves her body and is embraced by the spirit of the falls. The spirit leads her into the spirit world of Akasha and tells her that she must solve the Great Mystery or she will not be able to return to her body. Her task is to collect the four stones of the four corners, ask the cardinal spirits for help after proving her worthiness. Then she must solve the mystery. She must make peace with the dead so that they can move on. She must find herself and allow the child she was to breath again.

Soaring Eagle teaches Rosalie's friend to keep the beat of the drum in support of spiritual journey. He seeks to help Rosalie in the spirit world. With the help of animal guides he is able to do so. Will it be enough to bring Rosalie back to her body? Will the Shaman be successful in his attempt to rescue this lost soul? Will Rosalie accomplish her soulÆs task?

Throughout history and before, Shamans have had the calling to go out into the spirit world. Sometimes it is for guidance for their people, sometimes it is to save the souls of the people themselves. This gift is highly revered, as it should be, but many have forgotten the ways of the Shaman, and need a reminder. H.J. Courtright has provided that reminder in this tale.

A highly descriptive work, it befits the topic and emits a feeling of reverence for it. It is a soul touching book that you will read over and over again.