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.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Fiction Review

Cassiopeia Rising: Metamorphosis
by K. f. Hawver
ISBN-10: 1593303971
review by Heather Froeschl

A hot young woman wants to play with the boys of the Marines? That caught this reader's attention. In the end though, I was impressed with the book, "Cassiopeia Rising" for its action and well-rounded story.

Cassiopeia Rising is 18 and has always dreamt of joining the Marines. Actually, she seems to have been raised to be a good soldier by her widowed father. She is an expert in arms, from the shooting range to knife throwing. Her fellow recruits have nothing on her. Don't judge this book by its cover - Cassiopeia is a drop-dead looker but she's just as capable of dropping the enemy dead in their tracks.

The book follows Cassy through her training and proving herself to everyone she encounters, and then to the far reaches of the galaxy as she is given an assignment of interest. There may be more to this young woman than everyone knows though, even with mandatory DNA registration of every human born on Earth.

This futuristic tale is much so as Cassy seems to be. It is kept real with common issues, military pranks and bravado, while also effectively portraying a not too distant future. I enjoyed the book and feel both males and females will be drawn to Cassiopeia.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Fiction Review

Monroe's Redemption
by Elijah Bruce
ISBN-10: 1411621913
Review by Heather Froeschl

Where does madness lie? In the depths of despair, in the panic of failure, or in the shame of self-loathing? For Monroe Goolynabura, likely it is all three of these and more that pushes him into the darkness of madness. The black syrup that oozes around him is the sign that he's arrived. In "Monroe's Redemption," Elijah Bruce opens the door to a place none of us wish to be. Dare you come in for a visit?

Failure, in the form of making hundreds of people sick at last year's prestigious Union Square Fair, New York City's Chef olympics, haunts Monroe. He must redeem himself. His boss, the owner of Café Pacifica, is near financial ruin because of this blunderous Chef. Docking his pay was the beginning of the punishment, but verbal lashings and moral degradation continues to haunt him. One instance truly pushes him over the edge and the nightmares begin. His added stress at home, to put it mildly, is enough to make anyone crazy.

A chance for redemption seems impossible, yet his boss once again intends to have Monroe prepare an entry for this year's Union Square Fair. Trying to focus on his training, Monroe seeks the perfectly pure meat for his dish. The Utopia is a difficult goal but it is possible when beginning with the purest of ingredients. So pure, yet so horribly wicked. Monroe's madness goes beyond any acceptable behavior. Yet, what people will do for a taste of The Utopia is downright astounding.

This book is disturbing and raw. It is a twisted look at madness and intention; a written examination of a terrifying truth, that the brain is an unknown entity. What spurs triggers of insanity, or even focused evil sanity? Elijah Bruce seems to be giving an answer to that question. This is a strongly written work of fiction; it holds merit, but I can't say it is a relaxing or enjoyable read. It captures attention while smooth talking the reader to continue turning the pages.

Sunday, June 4, 2006

Non-Fiction Review

American Meth: A History of the Methamphetamine Epidemic in America
by Sterling R Braswell
ISBN-10: 0595380212
Review by Heather Froeschl

We are all being affected by the growth of Methamphetamines in America. Whether you need a cold capsule and have to present full proof of identity and sign a form to get it or you live near a neighboring house that frequently smells of cat urine (and no cats reside there) or you suddenly realize that your entire savings has disappeared along with your spouse's sanity, Meth is out there, everywhere. In Sterling Braswell's non-fiction book, "American Meth," we discover where it all started, where it is going, and how deeply this epidemic has spread through our culture. We also see the very personal and real story of Sterling's own life being controlled by the drug use of his wife.

The subtitle of the book, "A History of the Methamphetamine Epidemic in America," really describes it well. In alternating chapters, Sterling gives the relatively unknown and sordid details of how this drug came to be, and the story of his own life dealing with the use of it by his wife. The history is an eye opener, to be sure. The first commercial use came in the form of an inhaler for congestion - each containing the equivalent of fifty-six amphetamine tablets. As appetite suppressant and a boost to the metabolism, this substance found a purpose, and later was also found to help children with ADHD by helping them to concentrate more easily. The stage was set, healthy people were hooked, and the epidemic began.

Did this drug alter the course of history? I'd say, in more ways than one. Perhaps we are paying for that now. Hitler received daily shots of Amphetamines from his personal physician. In 1940, as England faced the onslaught of Germany, with a severe shortage of pilots and planes, Air Chief Marshal Sir Hugh Dowding understood that more could be gotten from each pilot if a measure of control over the body clock could be achieved. 73 million amphetamine tablets, "Bennies," and inhalers were made readily available. On the other side, similar measures were being taken for Kamikazie pilots and Japanese soldiers. By 1949 millions of inhalers were being dismantled by recreational drug users to get at the amphetamine soaked strips inside. Yet, the U.S. assistant Surgeon General testified in 1955, saying that as far as he knew, amphetamine was "not addicting in the true sense of the word."

The clock ticks on and the story evolves into the raging addiction that millions of Americans face today. The personal story of Sterling continues too, and we see how his wife found a source so close to home for her high that it was right under Sterling's nose. Her addiction affected every aspect of his life, and while mistakes were made along the way, he was truly helpless to change the course of events. Perhaps that is the purpose of the book, to change the course of events from here on out.

Every American who could become affected by Methamphetamine drug use, every spouse, brother, mother, cousin, co-worker or friend, should read this book. Every politician who claims to be on the front of the war on drugs, every police officer who IS on the front lines, and every judge hearing cases of possession, distribution, and the manufacture of these substances, absolutely need to read this book. One person at a time can again alter the course of history.

Thursday, June 1, 2006

Non-Fiction Review

Can You Hear Me Now?
by Kate Peters
ISBN-10: 0977640701
Review by Heather Froeschl

Are you being heard? How are people reacting when you speak? Do they tune you out, cringe, or do they pay attention and appreciate your words? You can make yourself be heard, lead your life, career and relationships to success, and come away having left a positive impact on those around you.

Kate Peters can help you to find the strengths in your voice and fine-tune it to suit your needs. Her unique book, "Can You Hear Me Now?" is all about harnessing the power of your vocal impact. Why would you want to do that? How other people perceive our voices is the beginning of how they perceive us as people. If you sound harsh, you just might be that way...if you sound meek, chances are that you will treated as such. The way we speak affects our jobs, our lives and our personal relationships. If you've never even thought about it then this book is definitely for you.

Kate will guide you through several lessons and a 31-day program that you control. The book is designed to help the reader to understand the voice, the impact the voice makes and the choices we have to control it. The first part of the book concentrates on what you should be concentrating on: the purpose behind your words. Are you conversing or expressing? The second part of the book focuses on ways to make changes through posture, practice, exercises for your voice, and breathing. Knowing how to make the changes is the key. The third part of the book is all about you. It is a daily prompt of things to focus on and a short journaling experience to help you claim ownership of what you are learning. This month of daily entries will help you to utilize what you have learned from Kate Peters throughout the book.

"Can You Hear Me Now?" is a wonderful tool whether you are in the business world, concerned about your relationships, or even a kindergarten teacher. Your voice is your initial outreach to those around want it to be representative of who you really are. I recommend this book to anyone seeking to positively speak his or her mind and be heard.

Fiction Review

by Richard E. Sall
ISBN-10: 1419630547
Review by Heather Froeschl

Joe Grady is about to complete his surgical residency when his hospital's penny pinching administrator decides that Joe must complete ten major surgeries in the next thirty days or he will be dismissed without certification. All those years of medical school and on the job training going to waste? Not likely. Joe just may pull it off, but the hospital has bigger problems. Patients who were on their way to recovery, are dying seemingly without reason. Joe Grady is given a case to look into. What pathology finds could probably save lives if Dr. Grady wasn't in the position he is in, and if the administration actually cared why these patients passed away.

Besides being on the look out for every major case he can work through, Dr. Grady is head over heels in love with a lovely nurse in ICU. The problem is, her nutcase mother doesn't take kindly to her daughter being attached to anyone...and starts making death threats. Other minor characters in the book undergo major events. Young Haley is in a coma but can see and hear everything going on around her, though her perspective is from the ceiling looking down. Dr. Sarafin, a highly qualified surgeon, is being sued for malpractice - this storyline seems to be a chance for the author to make commentary on the way things are today with the outrageous costs of malpractice insurance and the frequency of patients suing their doctors, but it works well with the story and he does have a point. The nurses in the hospital are seriously understaffed and are in need of a union. This point is brought home by the little things that go on, such as medications being distributed off schedule, under-qualified persons working directly with said medications, and 12 hour shifts working with eight patients at a time. Sound a little too real?

Richard E. Sall, MD is an author with an inside perspective. He willingly shares the craziness of his profession through a work of fiction that is seriously funny, dangerously close to reality, and downright captivating. It is a lighthearted read that is easy to get into, relate to, and enjoy. Throw in the romance factor, the crazy mom, some wild patient stories that just have to be based on reality, and you've got this great book that readers of all types, doctor, nurse and patient alike, will adore.