Friday, December 31, 2010

Think Like a Black Belt - Jim Bouchard

Publishers: San Chi Publishing
ISBN-10: 0578057506
ISBN-13: 978-0578057507
Copyright: 2010
Pages: 180
Quick Review: 5 stars (out of 5)
Why did I read it: The author contacted me though Goodreads and asked if I would read it. He sent me a copy.
Synopsis: Change the way you think about life, business and success forever. From now on, Think Like a Black Belt!Bestselling author Larry Winget says “Jim, a real black belt himself, does a great job teaching you to be your best by obtaining the mindset that will propel you towards excellence. Read this book!”Spencer Hughes, host of FOX Across America calls Think Like a Black Belt “a much needed roundhouse kick to laziness and complacency for those of us who need that spark to make our dreams come true.”Think Like a Black Belt is a full-contact look at the fundamental mindset characteristics we all need to achieve excellence in personal and professional life. The author, Jim Bouchard, shares the philosophy he developed as a professional martial artist to give the reader a look inside the mind of a black belt. Not another “quick fix” entry to the personal development genre, this book lays the foundation for success by examining the values and characteristics essential to the process of personal growth including discipline, focus, confidence and courage. The author freely shares his journey from college drop-out and drug abuser to black belt and professional martial artist.Often blunt, this book sometimes punches the reader in the face with the reality. At other times the author gently takes your hand and offers encouragement in a humorous, accessible “tough-love” format. If you’re looking for shortcuts, this book is not for you. If you’re ready to take control of your life and step into the ring with Black Belt Mindset you’ve found your “Sensei.”
Review: I loved this book, motivation is something I need as we come to the end of the year. I need to set goals and get ready for something new. I added my favorite quotes. The leadership chapter was great, "Leadership is the ultimate expression of sharing." He quoted Patton: "A good leader takes responsibility when things go bad and shares the credit when things go right." So true, who do you know that does that? And do you want to be like them? I do.
I agree with him on competition, it seems to have gotten a bad rap, but without it- we all fail. "Fair competition does not destroy; it makes both combatants stronger." What are we doing not letting our kids compete? My daughter was saying she was doing so well at flute she didn't need to practice as much, until the teacher moved her up a class and she was at the bottom. It made her mad, but then she started to work harder and practice more so she could be at the top of the class again. She is growing with the competition, not sitting complacent. She needs to be pushed like everyone else so she can find her true potential. "Complacent societies don't progress, they stagnate." Do we want to stagnate? I don't!!! But you can see that happening around you every day.
I agree with almost everything he says, we are responsible for ourselves, we cannot expect or wait for someone to pull us up by our boot straps. We need to put on our big boy or girl pants and get in the game. Sitting around waiting for someone to change your circumstance is wrong and not only that, its stupid, get off your lazy butt and do what you need to do to succeed. Be thankful for those who help you along the way, but remember it is you who is responsible for you. Not the government, not you parents and not society as a whole.
"Freedom is ultimately your decision to accept personal responsibly for your own success and happiness. The greatest responsibility you have is to continually improve yourself, Make yourself better and you bring more value to the world." Again, I loved this book.
What a wonderful world we would live in if everyone took responsibility for themselves. I plan to keep doing just that and to teach my children the same. You're the only one who can improve or change your situation, if you aren't happy then get out there and do something about it. It isn't education that makes people successful, its hard work and perseverance. If you have an education, its because you worked for it and deserve it and any success you gain from having it, but it doesn't change who you are. You are a motivated, hard working, disciplined, focused individual and that is what will win the race in the end. Now go get this book and read it, we all can use a little kick in the butt sometimes.

Author Biography: Martial arts transformed Jim’s self-perception from former drug abuser and failure to successful entrepreneur and Black Belt. As a speaker and author of Amazon bestseller Think Like a Black Belt, Jim tours nationally presenting his philosophy of Black Belt Mindset for coporate and conference audiences. He's a regular guest on TV and radio programs including FOX News, BBC Worldview and FOX Across America.
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Thursday, December 30, 2010

Stuff, compulsive hoarding and the meaning of things - Randy Frost and Gail Steketee

Title: Stuff, compulsive hoarding and the meaning of things

Author: Randy O. Frost and Gail Steketee.

Publisher: Boston : Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2010..

ISBN: 9780151014231

Copyright: 2010

Pages: 290

Quick Review: 3 stars (out of 5)

Why I Read It: David had it a pile of books to read and I was sick of the book I was reading.

Where I Obtained the Book: At my local library.

Synopsis: We've seen them in a Dateline story or an Oprah feature: homes that have become improbable repositories of 'literally' tons of stuff. The camera crews zoom in on rooms crammed floor-to-ceiling with stacks of newspapers and magazines. We watch, fascinated, as professional organizers attack the untidy rooms, or the host expresses horror at a filthy kitchen, but never ask the larger question: How did it come to this? STUFF is the first book to explore compulsive hoarding, a disorder that affects as many as six million people. Using the latest research, much of which they pioneered in their decade of study, along with vivid case histories of a range of hoarders (animal collectors, compulsive shoppers, elderly packrats, scavengers), Frost and Steketee describe the various causes of hoarding, psychological and biological, and the traits by which you can identify a hoarder. In a portrait that disproves many of our assumptions about the often-hidden disease (for example, most hoarders aren't reacting to childhood poverty or deprivation), they also examine the forces behind a hoarder's behavior and the ways in which they affect all of us, whether it's the passion of a collector, the rigor of someone whose desk is always clean, the sentimentality of the person who saves ticket stubs. For the sufferers, their relatives and friends, and all the rest of us with complicated relationships to our things, STUFF answers the question of what happens when our stuff starts to own us.

Review: Scary, scary…I saw so many people I know, including myself, in this book. We have so much now that storage is a problem, of course that is not hoarding. Hoarding is keeping everything, regardless of what it is. Piles of papers, clothes, garbage, junk so much that there is barely space to sit in your own home, or sleep in worse cases. Boy I need to be sure to throw away things I don’t need or use or I could start collecting useless items. I come from a grandfather who was a pack-rat, now I realize he was a hoarder. He grew up in the depression and it was a coping mechanism for him to keep everything for a rainy day.

Read this book if you keep things and start to see piles around your house, you may have a problem. Good news is that there is help out there, you don’t have to live in piles and piles of stuff scared someone might find out.

Author Biography: Dr. Randy O. Frost is the Harold and Elsa Siipola Israel Professor of Psychology at Smith College and author of "Stuff: Compulsive Hoarding and the Meaning of Things" (Houghton, Mifflin, Harcourt, 2010), a book about hoarding for the general public. He is an expert on obsessive-compulsive disorder and compulsive hoarding and has published more than 100 scientific articles on these topics. He other books include "Compulsive Hoarding and Acquiring: Therapist Guide and Workbook" as well as "Buried in Treasures: Help for Compulsive Acquiring, Saving, and Hoarding"

Gail Steketee, Ph.D. is Professor at the Boston University School of Social Work. Her recent research, funded by the National Institute of Mental Health, focuses on diagnostic and personality aspects of compulsive hoarding and on effective treatments. She and Dr. Frost have written the manual for mental health clinicians who treat hoarding problems.

Other Reviews:

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National Public Radio

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Fairest - Gail Carson Levine

Title: Fairest
Publisher: New York : HarperCollins, c2006
ISBN: 9780545111768
Copyright: 2006
Pages: 326
Quick Review: 3 stars (out of 5)

Why I Read It: Amanda gave it to me to read to Cenneidigh.
Where I Obtained the Book: Borrowed it from Amanda.

Synopsis: In the kingdom of Ayortha, who is the fairest of them all? Certainly not Aza. She is thoroughly convinced that she is ugly. What she may
lack in looks, though, she makes up for with a kind heart, and with something no one else has. She has a magical voice. Her vocal talents captivate all who hear them, and in Ontio Castle they attract the attention of a handsome prince; and a dangerous new queen. In this masterful novel filled with humour, adventure, romance, and song, Newbery Honor author Gail Carson Levine invites you to join Aza as she discovers how exquisite she truly is.
Review: The names in this book are not fun to pronounce out loud. I read this to Cenneidigh and we both enjoyed it. I would recommend Ella Enchanted first, then this one. The story was sweet and yet had its scary moments. A little Snow White meets Shrek.

Author Biography: I grew up in New York City and have been writing all my life. My first book for children, Ella Enchanted, was a 1998 Newbery Honor Book. My other books include Ever, Fairest,Dave at Night, an ALA Notable Book and Best Book for Young Adults; The Wish, The Fairy's Return, The Two Princesses of Bamarre, and the six Princess Tales books. I am also the author of the nonfiction book Writing Magic: Creating Stories That Fly and the picture books Betsy Who Cried Wolf and Betsy Red Hoodie, both illustrated by Scott Nash.
Other Reviews:
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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Naked Heat - Richard Castle

Title: Naked Heat

Author: Richard Castle

Publisher: New York : Hyperion, 2010.

ISBN: 9781401324025
Copyright: 2010
Pages: 290
Quick Review: 3 stars (out of 5)

Why I Read It: I love the TV series, so I thought I’d give the books a try.

Where I Obtained the Book: Got it at my local library.

Synopsis: In the thrilling sequel to the "New York Times" bestseller "Heat Wave," Richard Castle--from the hit ABC show "Castle"--continues the story of NYPD homicide detective Nikki Heat. Readers will once again follow Nikki and hotshot reporter Jameson Rook as they trade barbs and innuendos, all while on the trail of a murderer.

Review: Reading this is like watching one of the episodes, a very long episode. It was funny and cute, mixed with murder and deceit. Nikki and Jameson have great chemistry, much like Castle and Beckett . The book ties in with what Castle does on the show. Roach is the best. Nothing was naked in this book, it was just a clever title.

I hope the writers are having fun with the TV series and the books. I would love to watch more seasons and read more books.

Author Biography: Richard Castle is the author of numerous bestsellers, including the critically acclaimed Derrick Storm series. His first novel, In a Hail of Bullets, published while he was still in college, received the Nom DePlume Society's prestigious Tom Straw Award for Mystery Literature. Castle currently lives in Manhattan with his daughter and mother, both of whom infuse his life with humor and inspiration.

Note: Richard Castle is a fictional character from the ABC television show, Castle, played by Nathan Fillion. The biography below is of this character. His name is being used as a pseudonym for tie-in novels to the TV show. The actual author of the novels is currently unknown.

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Monday, December 27, 2010

Quote of the Month

"The person, whether it be a gentleman or a lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid"- Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

The Happiness Project - Gretchen Rubin

Publisher: Published January 1st 2010 by Harper
ISBN: 9780061583254
Copyright: 2010
Pages: 320.
Quick Review: 4 stars (out of 5)
Why I Read It: I saw this book and author on Oprah and it sounded interesting.
Where I Obtained the Book: At my local library.
Synopsis: Gretchen Rubin had an epiphany on e rainy afternoon in the unlikeliest of places: a city bus. "The days are long, but the years are short," she realized. "Time is passing, and I'm not focusing enough on the things that really matter." In that moment, she decided to dedicate a year to her happiness project.
In this lively and compelling account of that year, Rubin carves out her place alongside the authors of bestselling memoirs such as Julie and Julia, The Year of Living Biblically, and Eat, Pray, Love. With humor and insight, she chronicles her adventures during the twelve months she spent test-driving the wisdom of the ages, current scientific research, and lessons from popular culture about how to be happier.
Rubin didn't have the option to uproot herself, nor did she really want to; instead she focused on improving her life as it was. Each month she tackled a new set of resolutions: give proofs of love, ask for help, find more fun, keep a gratitude notebook, forget about results. She immersed herself in principles set forth by all manner of experts, from Epicurus to Thoreau to Oprah to Martin Seligman to the Dalai Lama to see what worked for her—and what didn't.
Her conclusions are sometimes surprising—she finds that money can buy happiness, when spent wisely; that novelty and challenge are powerful sources of happiness; that "treating" yourself can make you feel worse; that venting bad feelings doesn't relieve them; that the very smallest of changes can make the biggest difference—and they range from the practical to the profound.
Written with charm and wit, The Happiness Project is illuminating yet entertaining, thought-provoking yet compulsively readable. Gretchen Rubin's passion for her subject jumps off the page, and reading just a few chapters of this book will inspire you to start your own happiness project.
Review: Great book, I took each of her chapters and did a self analysis. I took each chapter and wrote down things I could do to be happier in that arear of my life. I think I'm a happy person, but I could be happier. It’s a choice, happiness, not something that just happens. Striving to be happier will also help those around you be happier. The old saying; ‘When mama aint happy, anit no one happy’ is so true. It is tough sometimes to be upbeat and pleasant, but it is so important for yourself and your loved ones.
A quote I love she brings up in this book. “The days are long, but the years are short.”

Author Biography:
Gretchen is a graduate of Yale Law School and was editor-in-chief of the Yale Law Journal. She was clerking for Justice Sandra Day O’Connor when she realized that she really wanted to be a writer.
Her bestselling Forty Ways to Look at Winston Churchill and Forty Ways to Look at JFK are succinct, provocative biographies. Power Money Fame Sex: A User’s Guide is biting social criticism in the form of a user’s manual. She also has three terrible novels safely locked in a desk drawer.
She lives in New York City with her husband and two young daughters.
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Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas

Look at all those books, what a great pile of gifts. I hope you Christmas is full of wonderful stories to share.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

My Nine Lives: A Memoir of Many Careers at the Keyboard - Leon Fleisher and Anne Midgette

Publisher: Published November 30th 2010 by Doubleday
ISBN: 9780385529181
Copyright: 2010
Pages: 240, photos and author notes, the book is over 300
Quick Review: 3 stars (out of 5)
Why I Read It: I won this on Goodreads giveaway, I read each and then review on the site.
Where I Obtained the Book: Doubleday sent it to me.
Synopsis: The pianist Leon Fleisher—whose student–teacher lineage linked him to Beethoven by way of his instructor, Artur Schnabel—displayed an exceptional gift from his earliest years. And then, like the hero of a Greek tragedy, he was struck down in his prime: at thirty-six years old, he suddenly and mysteri¬ously became unable to use two fingers of his right hand.
It is not just Fleisher’s thirty-year search for a cure that drives this remarkable memoir. With his coauthor, celebrated music critic Anne Midgette, the pianist explores the depression that engulfed him as his condition worsened and, perhaps most powerfully of all, the sheer love of music that rescued him from complete self-destruction.
Miraculously, at the age of sixty-six, Fleisher was diagnosed with focal dystonia, and cured by experimental Botox injections. In 2003, he returned to Carnegie Hall to give his first two-handed recital in over three decades, bringing down the house.
Sad, reflective, but ultimately triumphant, My Nine Lives combines the glamour, pathos, and courage of Fleisher’s life with real musical and intellectual substance. Fleisher embodies the resilience of the human spirit, and his memoir proves that true passion always finds a way.
Review: Interesting and lots of music talk. The people he met and trained with or trained, were impressive. I love that he can trace his teacher back, through teachers, to Beethoven. He seemed to have the same problems many celebrities have with personal relationships, three marriages and two families of children(opus 1 and opus 2). As most celebrities he felt the need to share his political views at the end of the book. He is disgusted with the current president and his policies, I had to agree with him. Of course he was talking of President Bush and I'm talking about President Obama.
It was a good book and fast to read, an interesting look at a music filled-life. Maybe not always the way he imagined, but music inspired and enjoyed all the same.

Author Biography: Anne Midgette is an American journalist and classical music critic. Her father was the painter Willard Midgette.
Midgette is a 1986 graduate of Yale University. After university, she lived for 11 years in Munich, Germany, reviewing opera, music and art throughout Europe for The Wall Street Journal, Opera News, and other publications. In 1998, she returned to New York City. After several other writing stints, she became the first woman to review classical music for The New York Times on a regular basis in 2001. She continued as a classical music critic, theater critic and arts writer for the newspaper from 2001 to 2007.
Together with Herbert Breslin, she wrote the book The King and I, about Breslin’s 36 years managing the tenor Luciano Pavarotti, which was published in 2004. She is currently working with the pianist Leon Fleisher on a book about his life, My Nine Lives, to be published on November 30, 2010.
In January 2008, Midgette took over as temporary classical music critic for The Washington Post. She replaced Tim Page as the newspaper's chief classical music critic in July 2008.
Midgette is married to the composer and music journalist Greg Sandow.
Leon Fleisher bio is in the summary section, his photo is on the cover of the book.
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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

My Husbands Woman - Dee Dee M. Scott

ISBN: 9780615327129
Copyright: 2009
Pages: 198
Quick Review: 2 stars (out of 5)

Why I Read It: I read and review any books I win on Goodreads.
Where I Obtained the Book: I won an autographed copy on Goodreads.
Synopsis: Young and beautiful twenty-year-old Meshia can have any man she wants, but who she can't get enough of is her thirty-eight-year-old married lover, Byron.

Successful attorney Byron enjoys being the world of two women:a wife he loves and a mistress he lust for.
Wife Alexandra has based her sanity on the faithfulness of her husband Byron. When she discovers their hidden affair, she takes Byron and Meshia into a bizarre world, one of which they could never have dreamed of, not even in their worst of nightmares.
Review: After reading about a quarter I began to wonder how this book got published. The writing was stilted along with the dialog and it was way too farfetched, maybe it would have been better if she had added a vampire or two(I don’t know, but it needed something.) I continued to read and at the end I looked up the publisher and it was self published.
The story was way out there and the writing needs work, I guess there is a sequel. I won’t be reading that. I put the book on Swap and the next day someone requested it, I hope they like it better then me.

Author Biography: Dee Dee M. Scott began writing songs at the age of six. By the time she was twelve, she was writing poetry. At the age of seventeen, four of her poems won first place in an International Poetry contest, and she was traveling throughout the U.S speaking on racial unity, diversity, and equality.

Dee Dee's poems, A Pile Of Beautiful Red Roses, God Is, and, An Angel Given Wings To Fly, were published in anthologies, After The Storm and Nature's Echo.

Dee Dee is a rising songwriter, poet, author, playwright, and motivational speaker. She is also the founder of Ahsyad Publications.

Recently, Dee Dee was chosen to represent Columbia, S.C as a member of the National Association Of Professional Women for 2010/2011.
She resides in Columbia with her children and husband of 13 years, Danny L. Scott.

Dee Dee's freshman book, My Husband's Woman, is available to order now.

Dee Dee has also written an inspirational poetry book titled; I've Never Seen A Hearse Pull A U-Haul. It will be released in 2010.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Indulgence in Death - JD Robb

Title: Indulgence in Death
Author: JD Robb
Publisher: GP Putnams
ISBN: 9780399156878
Copyright: 2010
Pages: 373

Quick Review: 3 stars (out of 5)

Why I Read It: This is book 31 in the "In Death" series and I still like them.

Where I Obtained the Book:
I reserved this from my library

Synopsis: First it was a limo driver shot through the neck with a crossbow. Then it was a high-priced escort found stabbed through the heart with a bayonet.

Random hits, thrill kills, murderers with a taste for the finer things in life-and death-are making NYPSD Lieutenant Eve Dallas angry. And an angry Eve can be just as an efficient and dangerous predator as the killer.

As time runs out on another innocent victim's life, Eve's investigation will take her into the rarefied circle that her husband, Roarke, travels in-and into the perverted heart of madness...

Review: I struggled a lot with this review because while this book added to the personal story lines of a very tight group of characters, characters which I enjoy, the actual mystery was non-existence. Basically we had a space filler mini mystery (i.e. a few chapters in the beginning) followed by a non-mystery. Essentially we meet a couple of assholes and then spend the next couple of hundred pages verifying that fact until, as always, Eve triumphs over the arrogant bastards with a serving of hot humility.

Just like some episodes of SNL are not winners, you can't have 31 books in a series with them all being the best one. But I do not want to sound negative. I love the characters, love the futuristic world, and love the writing style, and more often than not, the actual case is pretty good. This is a series you want to start at the beginning, because the relationships within the books are just as important, if not more so, than the individual mysteries themselves. I think that is a testament to Robb's (Nora Roberts) writing chops in the romance world.

Author Biography: J. D. Robb is the pseudonym for Nora Roberts. In this name, Nora Roberts has produced the bestselling series "In Death," which has 39 books in it to date. Nora Roberts has published more than 130 novels, which has been translated into more than 25 languages. She has been given the Romance Writers of America Lifetime Achievement Award and has been inducted into their Hall of Fame. Nora Roberts was born in Silver Spring Maryland.

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The Good, the bad, and the unread


Monday, December 20, 2010

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader - C.S. Lewis

Title: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

Author: C.S. Lewis

Publisher: New York : Collier, 1986, c1952.

ISBN: 0064471071

Copyright: 1952

Pages: 210

Quick Review: 4 stars (out of 5)

Why I Read It: I Love the Narnia Series.

Where I Obtained the Book: Got this at my local library.

Synopsis: Lucy and Edmund, accompanied by their peevish cousin Eustace, sail to the land of Narnia where Eustace is temporarily transformed into a green dragon because of his selfish behavior and skepticism.

Review: I’m reviewing this book because the movie is coming out and everyone should read this first and then go see the movie. The adventures the ship and its mates get into is interesting and a bit scary at times. What an amazing journey.

This is my favorite of the series. I really enjoyed the characters and especially the rat. The ending is the best and makes the book even better.

Author Biography: C. S. (Clive Staples) Lewis, "Jack" to his intimates, was born on November 29, 1898 in Belfast, Ireland. His mother died when he was 10 years old and his lawyer father allowed Lewis and his brother Warren extensive freedom. The pair were extremely close and they took full advantage of this freedom, learning on their own and frequently enjoying games of make-believe. These early activities led to Lewis's lifelong attraction to fantasy and mythology, often reflected in his writing. He enjoyed writing about, and reading, literature of the past, publishing such works as the award-winning The Allegory of Love (1936), about the period of history known as the Middle Ages. Although at one time Lewis considered himself an atheist, he soon became fascinated with religion. He is probably best known for his books for young adults, such as his Chronicles of Narnia series. This fantasy series, as well as such works as The Screwtape Letters (a collection of letters written by the devil), is typical of the author's interest in mixing religion and mythology, evident in both his fictional works and nonfiction articles. Lewis served with the Somerset Light Infantry in World War I; for nearly 30 years he served as Fellow and tutor of Magdalen College at Oxford University. Later, he became Professor of Medieval and Renaissance English at Cambridge University. C.S. Lewis married late in life, in 1957, and his wife, writer Joy Davidman, died of cancer in 1960. He remained at Cambridge until his death on November 22, 1963.

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