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.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Travel Review

Travel Guide to the World: Providing the Essentials to Get You the Best Value and Most from Your Travel Experience
by Susan Kimmel
ISBN-10: 0942893069
Review by Heather Froeschl

A travel agent that you keep in your carry-on luggage? That's a description I would give of Susan Kimmel's "Travel Guide to the World." This isn't a How To Travel The World in 80 Days book, nor is it a budget guru's guide to travel, but rather, it is a book that will steer you clear of some pitfalls and point you down the path to getting what you pay for.

Leisure travel is once again a growing hobby the world over. Kimmel focuses on great leisure travel, the stuff that she says memories are made of. So what makes for great leisure travel? Getting the leisure experiences that you want, not what those in the business want to sell you, is the key. This book is packed full of information and it is indeed like carrying around a travel agent with you - to guide you through options and plans and remind you that you just need to ask for what you want.

Whether traveling by train, plane or automobile, bus, backpacking or biking, whether you are staying in a castle, mom & pop roadside, or tent, whether you are heading down to the Florida Keys or the Great Wall of China, Kimmel has advice for you. If you are accompanied by children, pets, or just your shadow, if you are concerned about travel hazards, health concerns, or security, if you just want to know what to expect, "Travel Guide to the World" just might come in handy. Save some room in the carry-on.

Written in a friendly, common sense tone, the book is easy to read, easy to understand, and easy to appreciate.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Southern Inspiration Review

Life. Be There at Ten Til.: A Collection of Homegrown Wisdom
by R. Dean Johnson
ISBN-10: 1583482326
Review by Heather Froeschl

And you are? A product of your parents? A compilation of society? A being filled with hopes and dreams? All that and more, I am sure. R. Dean Johnson examines himself, how he got that way, and even dares to ask his mother who she really is. "Life. Be There At Ten "Til," is a hilarious, thoughtful collection of homegrown wisdom.

With life lessons on topics such as showing up on time, and doing what you are supposed to do rather than what you want to do, this book is just right for a society that sometimes forgets the simple, yet very important things in life. Johnson's thoughtful commentary on condolence casseroles, feeling taken care of, realizing his parents need some assistance now and then like all humans, and a special wish list for Santa that means so much more than his childhood dream of spending a year with St. Nick, examines the meaning behind his beliefs, the traditions of his Southern family, and gives readers something vital to think about - the human condition.

His writing is so open and honest that you will feel you are reading the blog of a long lost friend, or the letters of a cousin you grew up with. The stories are simple, yet deep in purpose and reflection of life in America. The book is a feel good read that will have you smiling, thinking back to those sandwich-packing days of your own, and wanting to pick up the phone to call home. This piece of Southern inspiration is a well-written, charming collection that is sure to be a cherished hit.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Science Review

The Race to Cure Parkinson's Disease: How Science Will Defeat Evangelism
by Steven A. Zecola
ISBN-10: 0977950905
Review by Heather Froeschl

Steven A. Zecola has written a must read book that will open your eyes and hopefully instigate very important response. How many books have you read lately that can save lives? In my case, just one, and it is titled, "The Race to Cure Parkinson's Disease: How Science Will Defeat Evangelism." Let us all hope so.

This book is not just for those who are affected in some way by Parkinson's, but in truth it is for every American who cares if our government, our sciences, our economy, and our health is being directed by those who wish to control it all, control us all, through their narrow-minded evangelism. The book explains clearly what Parkinson's is, what it does, and the hopes and strides for a cure. It also describes the medical research that is underway, is possible but is being restricted, and the other avenues being taken. The book examines the evangelical onslaught against embryonic stem cell research, brings up the past and the way these same people protested against invitro fertilization - something that has become very mainstream, and most importantly, looks at the influence of evangelicals on our political society. Just who is running the government anyway? Who is controlling your mind?

So many strides towards cures have been made, but it is like the old adage of one step forward and two steps back. If the people who stand in the way would just step aside, we would be walking towards the cure of so many diseases in no time at all. Steven Zecola brings all of the pertinent information to his readers, from history to potential cures, research and studies to public opinion on evolution. Who is supposed to be in charge of what science can achieve? Why should one group of people with one group of beliefs be able to control what affects the world? It shouldn't.

The book is written in a straightforward, down to earth voice. This is not a scientific textbook; it is a manuscript about the truth of what is happening all around us. If you want to know the truth, use your voice as a world citizen, be informed, and read this book. I've never wanted to shake the hand of an author more in my life.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Fiction Review

The Road to the White House
by Tom Parnell
ISBN-10: 1598002708
Review by Heather Froeschl

Do you believe in miracles? Would you elect a President to the United States who was running purely on the goal to examine the miraculous healing power of a river in Iraq? What if there were powers of great wealth behind his election you think he could win? Tom Parnell's book, "The Road to the White House" is a work of fiction about just that.

Captain David Bishop is diagnosed with terminal lung cancer. Very soon after this diagnosis, on one last mission run, his fighter plane crashes into the Euphrates River. He is paralyzed from the neck down and cannot get himself out of the river. Hours later he is rescued and brought to the hospital where it is confirmed by x-ray that his neck is broken. However, he is soon able to move his arms and legs, read his bible, and boggle the minds of the doctors around him. Testing also reveals that his cancer is gone. He is healed.

Word gets out and soon after, Bishop retires. Back at home a committee of very influential corporate executives who want him to run for president approaches him. Unable to get the miracle of his being healed out of his mind, he makes a vow to bring peace to the Middle East and allow scientists to discover the miracle cure in the Euphrates River. He accepts the idea of running for president, and the race begins. Will people believe his story? Will Americans elect a man who is running for office based on just one goal? Would America support someone who seems to be so wrapped up in the Bible and a miracle cure as to see no other issues that affect the citizens he is sworn to protect?

I am still not quite sure what the gist behind the plot is. It may be how the public is often duped by those who want power, or it may be that belief in miracles can bring on great rewards. There were some interesting subplots in the book that certainly added to the novel as a whole. The main plot though, was a bit slow. The text was often repetitive to the point of becoming a bit boring. The characterization was sometimes very good, and other times not so vibrant. It is an easy read, with dialogue appropriately placed and narrative flowing naturally. Some portions of the book were fast paced and action packed, adding a balance to the slower details of the campaign trail. "The Road to the White House" offers compelling possibilities.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Non-Fiction Review

Tactical Entrepreneur: The Entrepreneurs Game Plan
by Brian J. Hazelgren
ISBN-10: 0977202518
Review by Heather Froeschl

Have you been dreaming for years of building your own business and being your own boss? Have you yearned to set out on your own but have been just a bit hesitant to begin? Brian Hazelgren understands and with his book "Tactical Entrepreneur" reaches out to you with a helping hand.
The author of six books on starting and operating a small business, Brian knows what he is talking about. His guide will take you from discovering the work you were born to do, developing goals and objectives, to expanding the business you've worked hard to build. All the steps in between, from targeting your market, insurance coverage, recruiting and hiring help, and understanding all of the roles you'll have to play as business owner, are clearly described for you.

Written in a down to earth, easy to read fashion, "Tactical Entrepreneur" is a guide that will enhance your plan to start or maintain your own business. With examples to study, lists to consider, charts and worksheets to help bring the information to life for you, Brian Hazelgren offers a great deal of information that you can actually and immediately use in your endeavors. This book is a must read for every entrepreneur.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Non-Fiction/Memoir Review

Enjoying the Ride
by Win Straube
Review by Heather Froeschl

Is the purpose of life the end result or is it enjoying the journey? Win Straube will entice readers to come to this question on their own with his book "Enjoying the Ride." Readers will feel as though they have made a dear friend or perhaps been introduced to a distant, yet friendly relative.

Beginning with the roots of his life and ending the book on tips to enrich your own, Straube tells the tale of who he is, who his family is, what the world is like from his perspective, and so much more. With vivid detail of the bombing days of Germany, the massive struggles afterward, his coming to America where the Statue of Liberty welcomes the tired and poor, building a business in Canada, and building a life with his wife Hildegard, Straube passes on the stories that we all should learn from. To have this history is an intense thing, to share it with the world is his legacy, and he has done it well.

Written in such a friendly tone, the book is an ease to read. Pages will be turned in effort to learn more of first hand history, romance, life lessons, and personal thoughts. Readers will become immersed in the mind of a man who is the portrait of the American Dream. I've come away admiring Win Straube and I am sure countless others will too.

This well written autobiography is a gem. Win Straube shares his life, and even his current pleasure in Hawaiian music with the CD that comes with the book. Who could ask for more from any author?

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

True Story/Paranormal Review

House of Spirits and Whispers: The True Story of a Haunted House
by Annie Wilder
ISBN-10: 0738707775
Review by Heather Froeschl

Some houses call to us and we just know it will become our home; some houses have spirits that do the calling. Can a haunted house be home? Of course it can, and probably more so than some others if you can get along with the previous residents. After all, the spirits don’t want to leave their home so it must be the perfect place! Annie Wilder finds out just how haunted her new home is, and shares her experiences with readers in her book “House of Spirits and Whispers.”

Leon was the previous owner of the house and he wasn’t ready to move out when he passed on. It seems Leon was quite picky about who was to move in because out of all the people who were shown the house, Annie was the chosen one. She respected Leon’s presence right from the beginning and in the end was grateful for his being there. A good number of spirits frequented Annie’s house. Some were former residents of the 100-year-old home, and others were just passersby, perhaps visiting from the funeral home across the way. Annie gives testament to the numerous goings on that she and her children, and her friends and family experienced.

From knocks on the wall in the middle of the night, to whispers coming through the radiators (even in the summer), from a timely touch on the shoulder to appearances at parties, spiritual happenings were frequent. Through the years Annie developed her own abilities and even astral traveled in the house only to meet up with two sister spirits who apparently disapproved of her practice. If you realize that you live among spirits you become more attuned to them, and Annie certainly did.

The story is quite interesting. Who doesn’t wish to discover the secrets of their home? The author openly shares what she finds and right from the beginning readers will be hooked. A fascinating tale, well told.