Monday, September 28, 2009

This Might Change Your View of our Criminal Justice System

We all know the terrible toll, financial and otherwise, that repeat offenders take on our lives, financially and emotionally. Daily, we read and hear about a person with a long criminal record, known for violence, being released from prision only to reoffend, usually in a horrible manner, only to return to jail again. Over and over, the pattern repeats itself, with heartbreaking results and impact to society and victims and their family members and friends.

Now, imagine you have worked tirelessly with offenders, trying to ensure that they have learned not to commit crimes again, and to return to society and live as law-abiding citizens. This is the case with this novel. A man has given a large portion of his life, emotions and energy to working with offenders, trying to keep them from reoffending. One night, he gets a call, one of the men he is working with has been picked up, charged with a horrendous and nightmarish rape and murder of a beautiful young teenager. When he arrives at the police station, he inadvertently meets the parents of this young girl, and is haunted by their grief and anger.

He decides it's time to change professions; he hasn't the heart to work with these inhuman offenders again. A wealthy and powerful man offers him another option-large sums of money, everything he needs to carry out the job, if he will kill these offenders before they can wreck havoc on society yet again. The people that will be killed are the worst of the worst, people who have committed horrendous crimes against innocent people over and over again, playing the "go to jail, get parolled, offend again" game for far too long.

It's a fascinating proposition. All that money, our taxes, that could be better spent on education, welfare, services for good and law-abiding citizens in need. Taking the wealthy man up on his offer, our main character begins their "novel" approach to crime fighting.

Highlighting long time societal issues and problems, this novel takes a unique and fascinating view of an alternative answer, and the ramifications.

Well written, and filled with suspense, this thought provoking novel will have you questioning the current judicial system, and the problems it has. Wonderful storyline, great characters, and a unique plot make this a great read.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Critical Conditions: Essential Hospital Guide

Critical Conditions: The Essential Hospital Guide to Get Your Loved One Out Alive

Author: Martine Ehrenclou, MA
Publisher: Lemon Grove Press LLC

It's an unfortunate fact of life; medical errors and misjudgements occur regularly. By reading this book, you can be prepared to advocate safe hospital care for yourself and your loved ones.

The book consists of over 100 interviews with people who were the victims of serious medical mistreatment and errors. The reader can learn how to best handle problems when they arise; and how to be proactive enough to possibly avoid the problems in the first place. Without undue blame or discrimination against the medical profession, the author shares information on questions to ask, being sure you understand the why and how of treatments and medications. You will learn who is responsible for specific areas of patient care within the hospital, and how to be sure your questions and concerns are addressed immediately and by the proper person.

My father is currently undergoing cancer treatments at a prestigious medical facility in our area. While I and other family members have confidence in the care he is receiving, we also realize that the major responsibility for his safe care rests with us. In today's world of rapidly changing health care, new technology and medicines, etc., it is more imperative than ever that we remain vigilant. This book will help those of us not involved in the medical profession understand how care works, and what to watch out for. I highly recommend this book as required reading for anyone who cares about the quality of healthcare they personally, as well as friends and family members are experiencing. A must read and great book to have on hand for future reference.

Now for something Different.......

Finding the Moon in Sugar

Author: Gint Aras
Publisher: Infinity

Written in a most unusual style; I found this book to be a real winner. The author, writing as our narrator and hero, Andrew Nowak, uses the language (profanity and poor grammar) that we would expect from a stoner and aimless drifter. I thought that was a great touch, although it did make it a bit more difficult at first. It just took me a little time to get into the style of the writing, but once I did, it added realism and a certain sort of grace to the story and the character.

Our hero, Andrew, is a down on his luck pot smoker and dealer, with the dysfunctional family that tends to go along with that lifestyle. I really loved the character of his Grandma, and actually enjoyed his Mom, who would be great on either the Jerry Sprenger show or an episode of Maury. I can enjoy characters without liking them, personally. However, I know some readers have a difficult time with characters that seem unlikeable. That may lead some people to have objections to the storyline. I would recommend they try to look past that, because the tale here is a gem.

Andrew mets up with a beautiful woman in a laundromat, where he waiting for his "connection" to arrive. His appointed purchaser is running late, and he and Audra, the woman strike up a conversation. She makes him an interesting proposition, and Andrew goes home with her for a little bit of boy-toy prostitution. She's beautiful, mysterious and wealthy. Needless to say, our hero falls for her in a big way. She's come to this country from Lithuania, as a mail order bride. When she takes off for her country of birth, Andrew is heartbroken. Using the logic only a stoner/idiot would have, he decides to come up with the money to follow her, and win her undying love.

Of course, Andrew hasn't thought this through very well. Upon his arrival in her hometown of Vilnuis, he realizes that he hasn't a clue how to find her, much less win her back. He finds a cheap place to stay, and decides to try his hand at detective work. He finds a bar and new friends to get high with; and through a comedy of errors manages to hook up with his beloved Audra.

Away from the stablizing forces of her husband and life in the US, Audra has returned to her real self-narcisistic, self absorbed, and spiraling out of control. Andrew finally realizes this, after numerous strange and weird, sometimes sad and alternately hilarious twists and turns. He decides to return to America, but needs some cash. From there, things take even larger unexpected turns, and change his life in a way he could never have imagined.

I took some interesting insights into human nature from this tale. It illustrates the sadness and aimlessness of some lives, and the amazing transformation that falling in love with the proper person can bring to a messed up soul. A very unusual story, written in an entertaining and provocative manner. While this book will not suit everyone, I think many people, myself included, will enjoy the unexpected direction and oddball characters.

Weird Wacky Wonderful Short Stories for Strange People

Return of the Dittos

Author: Dale Andrew White
Publisher: BookSurge Publishing

Dale Andrew White is very strange, dark and kind of "pervy" (in a good way!) . And we are so lucky that he is! This book, Return of the Dittos, is a collection of short stories. Be careful where you read them, because if it's in public, people around you will wonder about your sanity. I read it while waiting for my Dad to finish a doctor's appointment. I can't tell you how many times I realized I was laughing (actually snorting in a ladylike way) way too loudly. I know I got more than my share of stares, worried glances, and those looks you get from people who are watching to see if you are someone harmful.

His writing style varies from old school storytelling to broad satire, to rather bawdy and definitely R rated . The subjects of his 20 short stories are as varied as one can imagine. From the catfighting world of the junior leaguers, to lowly boxboys at the local grocer, to family life at it's most hilarious. There is something here for everyone, and it's all rowdy, raucous and fun. Whoever would think we could laugh at the end of the world? And I certainly didn't know the revisionist humor that was the voyage of Christopher Columbus.

Showcasing his variety of storytelling, I actually found myself tearing up with sentiment, not laughter, at one story. The Author of Moe Howard Died for Our Sins has done it again.

It's a Wild Ride, and nobody does the driving any better than Dale Andrew White!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

A Body To Bones A Great Read, 50's style!

A Body To Bones

Author: Donan Berg
Publisher: DOTDON Books

This was an excellent book! I have always enjoyed mysteries, especially the ones from the 1940s-1970s, written by authors like Doris Miles Disney, etc.. I always found them most enjoyable because it seems that the characters were more fleshed out, and the storyline was fuller; with more of the emphasis on the story and moving the plot along than with unnecessary sex scenes or graphic violence.

Author Donan Berg takes us back to that style of writing and mystery telling with this novel. A small town, where everyone seems to know everyone else's business. The town is shook to it's foundations when skeletal remains are found in an unused factory outside of town. All the mysteries of the last 20 years come to light, as people in town it the body of a well loved Catholic priest, who "left town" unexpectedly over 10 years ago? Or the remains of a woman who was thought to have left her husband around the same time....or maybe someone who just had wondered into town and met with trouble. The main characters include a likable newspaper editor/publisher, his wife and adopted daughter, her boyfriend, the local sheriff, and assorted town folk. The story builds well, and while the killer is a surprise, it all comes together nicely at the end. I found this to be a greatly enjoyable book, well written and filled with intrigue, suspense and drama.

I look forward to other materials by this author.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Like Suspense? Read this book, It'll keep you up all night!

Author Rick Wallace
Publisher Infinity Pub

Imagine planning your retirement for years. You are looking for an isolated, remote lake front property, building your own cabin, spending your golden years enjoying your spouse, your dog, fishing, boating and the great and beautiful outdoors.

This is where the story of Tim and Joan Henry begins. The couple, both educators, are searching for their dream property. Tim has just retired, and Joan is finishing up a final year. They despair finding a nice property that has everything they want at a price they can afford. Tim finds an ad for a property that sounds exactly right. It is being sold by a man who's father owned it and passed away. The son is anxious to get rid of the property, and the price is excellent. Tim can't believe their good fortune. Joan, trusting her intuition, thinks something is not quite right........and they soon discover she is correct. Was the former owner murdered? Is the local sheriff right in his belief that it was a drug ring, and the fellow was just in wrong place at the wrong time, or is there more to it than that? What about all the crazy stories Tim hears from local store owner, Ike? Not to mention a case of arson and mass murder some 50 years ago.

As Joan and Tim confront odd happenings and scary situations, they begin to wonder if they made the right decision........and if they can survive long enough to figure it all out.

The story is well written. I loved the descriptions of the property, the lake, the local characters and just the over all feeling of the author's view of Maine. The characters are well drawn, and extremely likeable. The plot is great, and moves to a climax that was unexpected, to say the least. At times, I thought I had it figured out, and the with a bit of foreshadowing, I was partially on track.

I think anyone who enjoys a good mystery would like this story. I really enjoyed it, and look forward to reading more from this author.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

A Death For Beauty
Author Alberto Rios Arias
Publisher Freedom Rivers Books

It is not often that I read a novel that I would personally consider to be a masterpiece. Alberto Rios Arias has done just that with A Death For Beauty. Making no apologizes for the character and lifestyle of Virginia Mae Mercy, her story is laid bare before the reader. Love her or hate her, you will definitely be moved by the story of her life.

Filled with rich imagery, I was totally enthralled through the whole story, laughing on some occasions, and actually weeping in others. The depth of the author's study and research of the particular time frame in American history is without equal. I found the situations and characters to be true to life, and no effort was made to "sanitize" or make allowances for the characters and their failings.

Life hands some of us some truly horrendous circumstances, and good or bad, we are shaped by them. I found Mr. Arias' ability to see into his character and bring her to life to be extraordinary.

There is a truly magical and redemptive quality to the novel. I found the actual autobiographical information about the author and his fight with Marfan's Syndrome to add an additional depth to the story, and I felt the personal journey of his own life added even more depth and character to his perception of Virginia Mae Mercy. I urge all readers to carefully and thoroughly read both the prologue of the story, and the additional information about the author.

Some readers will find this a difficult read, and in some cases, it is. However, you will find yourself moved and touched by the character of Virginia Mae Mercy in ways you can't truly understand until you read her story.

I strongly urge you read this book. It may very well change how you view certain aspects of life, hardship and death.

The Go To Guide for Metapsychology

Beyond Psychology: An Introduction to Metapsychology, 3rd Edition
Author Frank A. Gerbode
Publisher Inst for Research in Metapsychology

In reading this book, I discovered a true gem. I have done extensive research and study in metapsyhics and metapsychology. I believe this to be the absolute best foundation for the study of metapyschology I have ever read. I sincerely wish it had been available to me many years ago. There were certain aspects of the study that always seemed confusing to me, and I spent much time trying to grasp a better understanding.

Frank A. Gerbode has amassed a truly excellent and workable knowledge of the subject. It is offered in easy to comprehend, extremely readable style. The appendix, glossary and other additional information were stellar.

I have long believed that the practice of psychology was incomplete, in that it did not accurately take into account a person's life history and frame of reference for making personal decisions. The practice of metapsychology leads the practioner to use the personal frame of reference, history, experience and belief system of the individual client. Anyone with an interest in the study of psychology, or just in better understanding their loved ones' decision making processes, would find much helpful information here. I will definitely be using this book again and again in research and review.

Well done!