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, January 23, 2004

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 Lewis - trust 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.

Tuesday, January 13, 2004

Non-Fiction YA/teen Review

Goal Setting for Students
by John Bishop
ISBN-10: 0974370002
Review by Heather Froeschl

A workbook designed to help students in grades 5 - 12 to succeed, with a goal of changing lives, "Goal Setting for Students" is a must have for every teacher, troop leader, tutor and parent. If every educator utilized this program we would have a future filled with successful, responsible adults.

In eight chapters John Bishop has created a tool for helping students in understanding success, goal setting, stretching goals, positive attitude, taking responsibility, the value of determination, managing time and keeping goals in mind. In each chapter are key words and lessons on each topic, activities for the individual and for the class, home activities and reviews. All of this is presented in a concise and easy to follow format and written in such a way as to encourage the student's interest. Each page is eye-catching and interesting, certainly not boring nor childish but aimed at this precise age group.

Teachers will easily find ways to integrate this program into their lesson plans, and find that it does not take up time, but rather will help save valuable class time and alleviate frustrations. Students will come away from the program with a new attitude toward goals and responsibility. Through "real world examples" students are given something to think about in regards to the chapter topic that they can relate to and will set them thinking of their own dreams and goals. Famous quotes and proverbs are found throughout the book lending additional points to ponder, such as this one from Mahatma Ghandi, "Real education consists of drawing the best out of you."

"Goal Setting for Students" will help draw the best out of the students you know.

Monday, January 12, 2004

Non-Fiction/Spirituality Review

Everyday Magic: Spells & Rituals for Modern Living
by Dorothy Morrison
ISBN-10: 1567184693
Review by Heather Froeschl

Is there someone in your community that you can go to for a charm to help you get a job you so desperately want? Is there a corner store that sells spells for your cousin's arthritis pain? Is there a high priestess nearby who can give you a handfasting charm for your sister's wedding? Well there might be, but you may not know it yet. There may be a whole coven of witches in your hometown that you simply haven't been introduced to yet. Why wait?

Dorothy Morrison has written a wonderful book for you. If you want to live a magically modern life, look no further than "Everyday Magic." Dorothy is a Wiccan High Priestess and she has blessed us with her generosity in sharing the information in this book. She begins with the basics of the sun and moon phases and which are best for which type of workings, then explains the days of the week and their powers, what colors work best for certain desires, and emphasizes the power that words have for us. She then goes on to reveal the power of herbs, flowers, trees and stones.

But what of modern conveniences and the ancient ways? Do we have to choose one or the other? In a delightful chapter, Dorothy shares with us how she came to realize that there is no reason NOT to use her coffee maker in making potion teas. Blender, crock pot, potpourri simmer pot? Why not? We are modern people after all. On the serious side of the craft, Dorothy also reminds us of karmic law and of the ripple effects of practicing magic.

What follows then, is the meat of the book, the dessert of the mealàthe grimoire of modern magic for busy folks. Here, Dorothy provides an abundance of charms, chants, rituals, recipes and spells for us to use. Alphabetically listed, there is something here for almost any everyday need. From anger management to seeds of wisdom, from help for an employment search to finding a parking spot, you will find some assisting words here. What is even more appealing is that these spells call for everyday items, herbs and tools.

If you still cannot find a package of horehound to use, check out the herb appendix, which lists substitutions and suggestions for uses. Need to know which stone to use for a calming charm? There is a list of this information too. Do you know which Goddess to ask for romance help? An appendix of Deity Associations rounds out the collection very nicely and is much appreciated!

So is there a witch down the street you can go to for help? Certainly there is, and her name is Dorothy Morrison.

Friday, January 9, 2004

Non-Fiction/Spirituality Review

Discover Your Spiritual Life: Illuminate Your Soul's Path
by Elizabeth Owens
ISBN-10: 0738704237
Review by Heather Froeschl

No longer does one need to climb the highest mountain to speak to the guru who awaits. Most wise souls are not waiting on mountain peaks, but rather in the pages of their words of wisdom. One has only need to go as far as the local bookstore. Choosing which words to read can be a challenge. I have come to trust Llewellyn Publications for most of my spiritual reading, and I have not been sorry.

"Discover Your Spiritual Life," by Elizabeth Owens is a road map to the spiritual path. A certified medium and ordained Spiritualist minister, Elizabeth shares her wisdom openly. Oftentimes those seeking guidance in spirituality have had a trauma or life changing experience, some have encountered something of the paranormal and are led to discover more, and some have simply found they are lacking something they cannot put their finger on. Whatever the reason, seeking guidance is a very personal choice. You may want to start your path on a gentle slope. This is it.

Elizabeth offers a guided tour down a path of beauty, peace and balance. Beginning with helping the reader to understand what lies in store by reading the book, she assures that questioning is normal and natural. Then, like following a cherished aunt down a garden walk, we are led through the beginning of our journey. There is guidance in creating personal time and space, and preparing for meditation. Around the corner there are suggestions for giving thanks and exploring the being that you are. Down the path is a chapter on giving yourself affirmations and positive reinforcements for your goals, dreams and accomplishments. Always, there is the lesson to do no harm and the understanding of karma.

Through anecdotes and case histories, Elizabeth shows how the principles she speaks of have changed lives (and afterlives I am sure!). There is help here in forgiveness, understanding motivations and personal disappointments. The chapters on gratitude and focused energy are very helpful and in the end, she shows us how to become balanced observers of life. Throughout the book Elizabeth is careful to be nondenominational, gentle and caring, and nonjudgmental.

You will walk away from this book feeling as though you have a wonderful friend and spiritual advisor. You will walk away with understanding and knowledge and the ability to choose your own spiritual path. You will be able to acknowledge synchronistic events, see your present situation clearer and be receptive to what the universe has in store for you.

"Discover Your Spiritual Life" is an excellent primer to finding your spirituality. I highly recommend this book to anyone with the desire to grow or simply enjoy the journey of life.

Sunday, January 4, 2004

Horror/Thriller Review

Black Bird
by Greg Enslen
ISBN-10: 0595301762
Review by Heather Froeschl

This was the most disturbing book I have ever read. If you enjoy reading about serial killers this is the book for you. "Black Bird" is not just a thriller, but more like a manifesto of an intense character. It is an unforgettable read.

Jack Terrington gets away with murder for a very long time. Murder after murder after murder has gone unsolved as Jack continues to feed his Urge. He is a murderer, a "collector", and one sick twisted individual. One close call with law enforcement in a small town in Virginia has haunted him for years. He wants revenge on the sheriff that came close to beating him. However, the sheriff is long dead, having been killed by Jack himself, his star a trophy piece in Jack's collection.

Supporting characters in the book and subsequent plots, involve a promising FBI rookie and a mastermind FBI computer, the son of the sheriff and his supporting girlfriend, his drunkard aunt and just-cracked-open trust fund, a huge Hurricane named Mandy, and a whole cast of victims who fall prey to the murderous man in a white van.

The plot is intense and captivating though the head hopping can be distracting. I cannot see how it could have been done any other way. The author has a tendency to repeat important facts, perhaps thinking the reader may miss something if he doesn't. It is a bit of overkill but not the worst thing that could happen in a book. Numerous typos were more distracting to me.

There is an interesting bit of the mystical throughout the story, involving a blackbird and later a whole flock of various bird species. This added a nice touch to the otherwise dark and troubling plot.

Greg Enslen seems to be a mastermind at characterization. You will not soon forget this book.