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A Sweeping Historical Fiction Epic

Burton Blake - Robert  Tucker

Burton Blake is a sweeping historical fiction epic that will also interest business novel readers because it focuses on corporate greed, family business involvements, historical conundrums revolving around financial decisions, and more. 

 

Historical fiction and business novel audiences receive an astute, compelling story that provides a sequel to Robert Tucker's The Revolutionist, but doesn't require prior familiarity with that book in order to prove satisfying. 

 

Burton's father, Elias Blake, fostered the rise of a real estate empire from his parents' initial efforts to start an international company. At a very young age, Elias has absorbed the drive for material gains which has helped him create a giant legacy for his son, Burton. 

 

Tucker takes the time to explore the entire dynamic of this inheritance, beginning with the roots of the financial behemoth in the 1940s, when a lower-class taxi dancer births a son who will never know his father. At a very early age, Burton inherits his stepfather's real estate fortune, made in the post war real estate boom of the 50's. 

 

This legacy comes with a price tag, as the usual youthful endeavors are set aside for business pursuits and a drive for financial success and stability that successfully answers many business challenges and keeps the company on an upward trajectory. But what is successfully won comes at a big cost. 

 

Burton inherits not only the company, but a wealth of problems. He also cultivates a different awareness about third world peoples and poverty when world travels bring him into contact with diverse peoples and economic struggles. Thanks to these journeys, he returns to the fold with a revised attitude about life's values. In many ways, a company cannot grow and change without the concurrent evolution of the leader at its helm. 

 

The entire process of empire-building, inheritances of attitudes and economic strengths, and the personal growth of moral and ethical considerations that come from outside the family fold and original business focus lends to a compelling saga, indeed. 

 

Another plus is that Burton Blake assumes no singular path. Subplots about immigrant perceptions and struggles in America, political influences such as the rise and threat of Nazism, and outdoors training and hunting by mentor Web, who teaches Elias how to survive, create a multifaceted story that melds the lives of several generations into an engrossing story of personal growth. 

 

The road to social corruption and financial greed isn't a linear one, so readers receive a satisfying juxtaposition of daily living and lifelong lessons, along with insights into how these translate into bigger-picture thinking. 

 

The result is a powerful study in generational attitudes, measures of financial and personal success, and the evolution of Burton, who inherits more wealth than he'd imagined. 

 

Tucker creates a vivid, engrossing story that's highly recommended for readers of historical fiction and business stories. These usually-disparate audiences will appreciate the attention to psychological development and evolutionary detail that place Burton Blake more than a cut above the usual historical novel or multi-generational business fiction read. 

A Rural Farmtown Under Siege

Road to Delano - John DeSimone

Jack Duncan lives in the small agricultural town of Delano, where he comes of age dreaming of escaping his roots. His father was a grape grower who died under questionable conditions, and his family struggles with poverty and losing the family property. Jack believes that struggle is an inherent part of his life until he stumbles upon evidence that his father was murdered, and that local corruption led to his demise.

 

The Road to Delano has solid roots in historical facts and Hispanic experience, but reaches out to readers who may have little prior familiarity with either California's Central Valley or early Hispanic grape worker activism.

 

The story opens in the 1930s as Sugar plans both his future as a farmer and his role as a husband to the beautiful Shirley. After setting its foundations in the family farm's origins, it quickly moves to son Jack's world as he investigates a missing combine, the threat to his mother's home, and a longtime process of political and social corruption that reaches into his life and those of everyone around him.

Under John DeSimone's hand, farm worker rights and history are revealed through the eyes of a non-activist who becomes embroiled in causes and challenges beyond his normal experience. Jack moves from being a high school senior who only wants to escape the politics and process of Delano's culture to someone with a vested interest in social change. John DeSimone crafts a powerful story about farm worker rights and struggles through the eyes of a young man who wants to be anything but politically involved.

 

The Road to Delano surveys the evolving politics of Chavez and those on both sides as DeSimone guides a compelling saga that juxtaposes big-stakes gambles (in more than one way) with threats not just to ranching and workers, but American integrity and morals.

 

When a plan is hatched between Jack and his activist friend Adrian to save the family farm—one that directly confronts those behind the widespread and powerful corruption—Jack discovers his true passions, commitment, and a form of involvement that he had eschewed in the past. This creates a gripping story of not only how Jack can truly escape Delano, but how he can preserve his integrity and roots in the process.

 

The Road to Delano is a compelling story that will leave readers thinking about its surprise ending long after the final confrontation comes to a head.

An Economic and Political Staple for All Ages

Capitalism for Democrats - Martin Lowy

Capitalism for Democrats: Why The Country Needs It Now is recommended reading for not just Democrats, but any American who needs a refresher course in what capitalism is, how it operates, and how to preserve its key elements.

 

Contrary to some popular beliefs, when organized and employed with a careful attention to its tenets, capitalism can be both a moral and ethical force for doing good in the world. Like any system, however, it needs regulation and attention to be sure that its underlying principles are preserved and not subverted or attacked.

 

Martin Lowy provides a concise primer that goes beyond reviewing the ideals of capitalism to examine the history and influence of business corporation processes and political regulations on capitalism's momentum. He considers the dangers of capitalist finance approaches, examines the history of its accomplishments and future, and analyzes the processes of economic justice in America. He supports these assessments and contentions with statistics and graphs, using them to consider changes in the nature of work and the composition of the workforce, pointing out that the "...fall in the earnings of lower-educated men is not peculiarly American; it has been occurring in many economically advanced nations."

 

Most importantly, Capitalism for Democrats encourages readers to not only better understand the system's origins, foundations, and processes; but to consider its future purposes with an eye to extending benefits to all under its umbrella: "Even if capitalism has been a major factor in accomplishing the enormous growth of the last two and a half centuries, is it necessary in order to accomplish continued growth of middle class incomes in the future? Or might there be a better system for allocating resources that would benefit a larger share of the population?"

 

Capitalism for Democrats is a wide-ranging consideration of temporary and permanent features of capitalism and other economic systems that contrasts moral hazards with ethical choice, reflecting on not just the economic organization and impact of capitalism, but its underlying ideals.

 

Because the title is Capitalism for Democrats, it's a shame to note that other political groups may bypass its important message. Really, the title should be Capitalism for All. It is just that inclusive—and just that important. Its coverage should be basic to American economic and political history collections from the high school level on up, and should be on the reading list of any American concerned about creating the kinds of institutions that ultimately lead to benefits and prosperity for everyone.

A Suspense Story That Crackles with Intrigue

Sizzler - Wolf Schimanski , B. J. Tiernan

A freelancer writer and a computer technician would hardly seem the sort of folk to become involved in the takeover of an American city, but Lexi-Jo and Herbert's investigation into the changing face of the small Florida city of Margate leads to uncovering a phenomenon that holds its roots in an amulet lost in the Everglades.

 

The race is on to find a small talisman in a vast swamp that holds the key to Margate's fate and future, but again—these two are hardly equipped to undertake this kind of search based on their skill sets.

 

It will take the involvement of an unusually savvy detective and the risk of both their lives in encounters with gators, snakes, and deadly forces to confront a psychic phenomenon and violence which leads them to move well outside their comfort zones and personalities.

 

Captivity and torture changes people, as Lexi-Jo discovers. It can also lead the victim to become as aggressive and violent as the aggressor, when positions change.

 

But, somehow, more than people are involved in this struggle. As a father discovers his daughter is dangerous, women uncover forbidden passions, and Lexi-Jo struggles to trust strangers in her life, the plot lives up to its name and, indeed, sizzles with unexpected nuances, twists, and turns.

 

Sizzler combines the atmosphere of an Indiana Jones-type adventure expedition with the cat-and-mouse intrigue of a thriller. It moves back and forth between the two and adds elements of tension and revelation that keep readers on their toes, but doesn't neatly fit into any predictable formula genre story.

 

Wolf Schimanski and B. J. Tiernan's approach keeps the writing fresh, the characters vivid and unique, and their relationships centered on growth-inducing discoveries and confrontations as they navigate an unfamiliar world embedded within their own.

 

Will the ordeal bring two disparate souls together, or ultimately drive them apart? This and many other questions give this thriller a multifaceted blanket of intrigue and depth designed to keep readers engaged and wondering right up to the surprise conclusion.

 

Fans of suspense stories and relationship explorations on many levels will find Sizzler crackles with nonstop action and intrigue.

A Powerful Novel of Personal and Professional Transformation

The Illuminating Occurrence of Maxine Porter  - Glenn Seerup

Hayden Carlisle is in his early 20s when he begins a job as a designer at The Plush Porcupine, a small Chicago toy design studio - but he's not the only new arrival to enter the shop and possibly change its downward trajectory.

Maxine Porter provides a major impetus for positive change, bringing with her an intense energy that nobody can quite define. Does she have genuine precognition and business savvy, or is something else lending to her ability to pull The Plush Porcupine - and Hayden - into new realms of possibility and success?

Hayden initially enters this job with a few ambitions.

 

As he experiences investor meetings that pick apart and question new product designs and dutifully chronicles a fateful turning point for the company in a journal replete with astute observations and mystery, perspectives shift between Hayden, Walter, and others who find themselves on a remarkable journey indeed.

These changing viewpoints are clearly documented in chapters which move between Hayden's journal reflections, third-person views of company owner Walter Keeler's first success (and possibly his first failure, as well), and the experiences of fellow designers Marty and Scott. A fine blend of mystery and business insight keeps readers engaged not just in business processes, but in personality clashes.

The Illuminating Occurrence of Maxine Porter
is a revealing, absorbing, engrossing story of budding relationships in the business and social design world. It ventures into unexpected territory by juxtaposing the personalities, dreams, and extraordinary abilities of more than just the powerful figurehead, Maxine Porter. The result is a fine survey of social awkwardness, business success, and the pressures upon owners and workers alike to re-brand a small company, among other topics.

To bill The Illuminating Occurrence of Maxine Porter a 'business novel', however, would be to limit its audience too strictly. There's a great deal of interplay between characters of various ages and experience levels, creating a psychological depth and insight rare in business novels which, tend to focus on company advancement processes alone.

 

This novel deserves a wider audience.

The Illuminating Occurrence of Maxine Porter will delight those seeking a multifaceted story of personal, professional, and business changes. It follows a young man's new entry into the workforce and his path to success, which is sparked by a relatively short encounter with a very extraordinary, visionary individual who changes his life.

The Illuminating Occurrence of Maxine Porter comes full circle in examining definitions of that success, and will prove engaging, surprising, and hard to put down as its characters and company dilemmas both come to life.

Life After a Best Friend Vanishes

Finding Lisa - Sigrid Macdonald

Tara is leading an unhappy but safe life, stuck in a career and marriage she doesn't like, until her best friend vanishes. Finding Lisa is about having everything, losing something important, and re-evaluating life, love, and purpose as a result.

It stands out from other stories of disappearance and searching because of its focus on a variety of themes beyond the event itself. These include women's connections and friendships, the kinds of shared interactions that keep such connections alive, and underlying issues of spousal abuse, midlife changes, and new possibilities.

 

The first step to making meaningful changes is to confront evidence that one's values, perceptions, and patterns are no longer serving their purpose. As long as Lisa is part of her life, Tara isn't compelled to take this step or make these realizations; but Lisa's disappearance prompts a cascade of grief, self-examination, and determination in ways than one, and this in turn fosters new experiences and choices.

 

Set against the backdrop of Canadian culture, Finding Lisa follows Tara's journey as she learns to trust strangers, runs into danger and even possible romance, and navigates strange new worlds in which her usual responses need revision.

 

Her shortcomings and failures are reassessed as her search leads to not only dead ends, but a passage of time that gives her the feeling that Lisa is being left behind as life moves forward without her.

 

As she faces questions about whether Lisa lost her sobriety and whether her boyfriend Ryan was involved, Tara confronts her own life decisions. Ultimately, Finding Lisa is about Tara finding herself, her place in the world, and her own willingness to accept pat answers and appearances that defy easy explanations.

 

The emotionally charged conclusion that takes an unexpected twist will delight readers who anticipated a very different ending from Tara's thought processes, making Finding Lisa a delightful study in surprises that holds the power to thoroughly engross right up to its stormy conclusion.

Romance, Suspense, and Odell's Legacy!

Odell's Fall - Norman Bacal

Odell's Fall is a story set against the background of racism in modern day Alabama, involving love, jealousy and deceit, culminating in a murder in a rich lawyer's apartment. But who did it?

 

Odell Moore leads his diverse team of hardworking lawyers in midtown Manhattan, based on trust. His moves come carefully calculated. He is the master of legally preying on adversaries; but in the game of romance, politics, and dangerous associations, who is the cat and who is the mouse?  In order to have Dee, the woman of his dreams, Odell, a successful African American, must break the ethical and social rules still governing southern life in order to have her.  He has risen from a troubled past to become a leader.  Can he and his new bride make a life in a big city with the past still haunting his choices?

 

This question, asked early on in the story, becomes one of its central pivot points as Odell faces challenges and changes that redirect the course of his career and life.

Readers anticipating a staid mystery, courtroom drama, or legal office political discussion will quickly discover that the tone, setting, and most of all, the ethical conundrums presented in Odell's Fall make it a little bit of all the above, but none of these, exclusively.

 

Dee's father, a racist Alabama senator, who opposes the marriage, joins forces with Odells's protege, Jackson Sherman, to unsettle this marriage  and change its course, and the entwining of political ambitions, wealth, devious plotting and murder create a complex, absorbing read that relies on no familiar genre atmosphere, but challenges its readers with delightful twists and thought-provoking confrontations.

 

As Odell's Fall unfolds, Odell is revealed to be a strategist, perfectionist, and clever man whose remorse changes everything in his life. 

 

Revelations are presented in chapters which capture almost moment-by-moment changes as Odell traverses an uncertain course into disaster, faces an internal rational response system which hits the wall over Dee's fate, and questions his own role in what really happened. Between his lack of memory, an unbelievable story and premise, and losing battles of credibility among his colleagues and mother-in-law, Odell faces not just a personal and professional downfall, but one of the biggest puzzles of his life.

 

From political deals to corporate takeovers, to detective investigations, clues about motivations and entwined lives, and the history of Odell's reactions to adversity, Odell's Fall does more than play cat-and-mouse games with the protagonist's psyche: it translates these matches into challenges for readers pulled into the complex interactions and motives of everyone around Odell.

 

Odell's Fall covers romance, partnerships, lives lost and won, the legacy of Odell's heritage and its influences, and the mystery surrounding his actions with a deft attention to detail.

 

Under another hand, these multifaceted subplots might have proved confusing; but Norman Bacal excels in seamlessly entwining different perspectives, motivations, and personal, political and legal affairs. His ability to capture the personal and professional conundrums of a man with a secret to hide not only from the world, but from himself, makes for a riveting production from beginning to end: a story that will leave readers thinking long after the final revelations come to light.

A Dramatic Biographical Exposé

Burt Reynolds, Put the Pedal to the Metal: How a Nude Centerfold Sex Symbol Seduced Hollywood - Darwin Porter and Danforth Prince

Burt Reynolds: Put the Pedal to the Metal combines biographical inspection with the dramatic flourishes of a gossip column based on fact and well-researched events, and is brought to life by colorful language surrounding a flamboyant character indeed. 

 

Blood Moon Productions creates examinations that are notable not just for their high drama and exposés, but for details that make them weighty and absorbing. Burt Reynolds is yet another example of their approach. It's no light read, but weighs in at 680 pages packed with black and white photos ranging from posters and ads to screen shots, candid images, magazine covers, and more. 

 

All this is the icing on the cake of detail, because Porter and Price focus on not just Burt Reynolds' life and notable (to shocking) actions, but his overall impact on Hollywood and celebrity productions themselves. 

 

Thus, the exposé that comes steeped in sensationalist facts also is tempered by psychological examination and insights, news reports, behind-the-scenes probes of his public image and private life, revelations of not just this hellraising character's powerful impact on the world, but the influences on his tumultuous life's development. 

 

Few other actors have captured the public imagination and eye like Burt Reynolds. And few (read: no) other books delve so deeply into the oddities, ironies, struggles, and controversies that swirled around Burt. 

 

These facets, combined with a solid attention to describing Hollywood politics and processes, sets Burt Reynolds: Put the Pedal to the Metal more than a notch above any other book about the man. It's a powerful survey based on source material research and comes packed with quotes, observations, insights and revelations. 

 

No Hollywood history or celebrity biography collection should be without Burt Reynolds: Put the Pedal to the Metal

Inspirational Life Notes for the Busy Reader!

Words to Live By: (A Not All Inclusive Look at Life in Words)  - Kenneth J. Kogut,  PhD

Words to Live By (a Not All Inclusive Look at Life in Words) gathers inspirational quotes and arranges them by subject for quick browsing, creating a daily reminder of different insights on life, captured in quick snippets of wisdom by a wide range of thinkers.

 

There are numerous quotation and inspirational books on the market already; but what makes Words to Live By special is its arrangement by thought-provoking (different) subject categories ('On Life', 'On Toasts', 'On Personal Care'), and how the chosen quotes often represent plays on words.

 

Many are contributions by Dr. Kogut himself ("Life is a piece of cake. It all depends on how you slice it."). Others are nuggets of wisdom by such diverse names as Will Rogers, Groucho Marx, Robert Frost, Mark Twain, and other literary and pop culture figureheads.

 

This inclusion and emphasis on names from popular culture also sets Words to Live By apart from other inspirational guides that tend to rest almost solely on the names of literary figures and philosophers.

 

There are also numerous citations from 'Anonymous' that are often just as hard-hitting as those penned by well-known personalities: "Why pay money to have your family tree traced; go into politics and your opponents will do it for you."

 

The last big note on this little collection is that it's not only easy to read and packed with surprises and wisdom, but every saying is linked to approaches to daily life that will leave readers reflecting on their own choices and values.

 

If a quick, inspirational read is desired, holding more broad appeal and wisdom than most, then Words to Live By is the item of choice, recommended for being a standout in its field, and quite accessible to literary and everyday audiences alike. 

A High-Spirited Picture Book Story of a Tough Cowfly!

Rowdy Randy - Casey Rislov

Rowdy Randy, the feisty heroine in Casey Rislov's picture book, is a cowgirl fly who has earned her name by being bravely annoying to others. The goal is to prove that she is the toughest cowgirl in flight, fancying herself as "the greatest outlaw." 

 

Her brazen cowgirl attitude defies cattle, fish, and any tough days, but what she really needs is to lead a team of outlaws, despite her pride in being a loner and her inability to rustle up some comrades. 

 

Kids with good reading skills or parental assistance will enjoy the story of a determined female fly who needs to solidify her life purpose beyond annoying others, but who really needs a lesson in humility to change her attitude about life. 

 

Beautiful, big, bright color illustrations will prove captivating to adult and child alike, providing a whimsical embellishment to the story of a fly who is too daring for her own good. Cowboy lingo pervades the tale and adds to the fun story, while the animal portraits of victims who resist Randy's rowdiness capture both physical images and psychological tales of resistance. 

 

Packed with action and the unexpected, Rowdy Randy is highly recommended for young buckaroos looking for something different in the way of Western-themed action.

A Wholesome Young Adult Story of Spirituality and Intrigue

Shards of Light (Healer #2) - Susan Miura

Book 2 in the Healer series, Shards of Light, opens where events left off in the first book after teen Shilo discovered she has the spiritual power of healing. That story ended with a sojourn to Italy to visit her great grandmother, who also possessed the power to heal, but lost it. In Shards of Light, Shilo arrives in Sicily and continues her spiritual and physical journey. 

 

Too many series titles rely heavily upon one another for background and fluidity of plot, but one of the pleasures of Shards of Light is its ability to stand alone as a complete novel unto itself. Knowledge of background events aren't a prerequisite for the complete enjoyment of Shilo's story. 

 

Another strength lies in its ability to cultivate intrigue right from the start, presenting Ricardo's plot to kidnap the young girls who were stolen from his brothel business by nuns. This would seem a rather mature subject for teen audiences, but Shards of Light will reach advanced teens to new adults and doesn't skimp on either describing deadly power plays or explaining the dark thinking behind them.

 

These elements successfully create a 'crossover' title that will appeal as much to adult as to young adult audiences as Shilo's foray into Italian culture presents a dangerous opportunity for healing in a new fashion. 

 

Under another hand, Shards of Light could all too easily have become a murder mystery or a novel of intrigue alone; but there's a larger purpose at work here, and romance enters into an already-complex equation to introduce Shilo not just to her newfound abilities, but her heart.

 

Broken shards are everywhere: in dreams, shattered trophies and lives, and even in the compassion that hurts as much as it heals. As Shilo learns different facets of healing on many levels, she explores not only her gift and its legacy, but also the darker forces at work in life and learns to field a host of special challenges as she grows not just healing powers, but better understanding. 

 

Another plus is that this story is narrated through different perspectives: injured ballet dancer Melody whose parents are pursuing financial compensation, and Shilo, who knows her gift is "all God" but doesn't quite understand the role she plays in disseminating it. 

 

With its different characters and their special focuses and its gentle exploration of a young woman's life and talents in flux, Shards of Light is a beautifully evocative story that stands well alone while enhancing a series. It invites readers to reflect long after Shilo's journey through faith and secrets comes to an end. 

A Tense, Superior Mystery!

Preacher Finds a Corpse (Evan Wycliff Mysteries #1) - Gerald Everett Jones Daboychik

If you found your best friend dead in a cornfield from suspected suicide, then discovered the cause of death might not be so obvious, what would you do? In Preacher Finds a Corpse, lapsed divinity student Evan Wycliff's discovery leads straight into danger when a turkey shoot turns into a murder investigation.

 

But, what could a dispute over land ownership that holds two centuries of history have to do with his friend's demise? Evan uncovers a series of clues that indicates these centuries of battle are not over and that his friend likely got mixed up in the modern version of the war, complicated further by plans to turn an aging, abandoned facility into a tourist attraction.

 

The first thing to note about Preacher Finds a Corpse is that it comes steeped in Ozark culture. Against the backdrop of turkey shoots and rural personalities lies the efforts of a man who has not only failed at being a full-fledged preacher, but who feels he has botched being a good friend.

Among the puzzles he uncovers is the role wife Edith Taggart played in that life, the possibility of Cora's involvement with his quiet friend, and a series of convoluted relationships among small-town individuals who may have had special influences on Bob Taggart's life or death.

 

Each clue opens the floodgate to historical connections, small-town facts, and secrets that might be worth killing for. As Evan begins to suspect that something more than suicide has occurred, he finds himself in the crosshairs of the sheriff's department, suspected of being a thief and possibly worse, when he winds up in an ambulance, having been clobbered by an investigator who suspected him of looting the local pharmacy during a storm.

 

From the secret contents in a rusty tin fishing box to clues that lead Evan further into danger, Gerald Everett Jones weaves a tense thriller peppered with references to Evan's ongoing relationship to God and prayer.

 

When the clues boil down to a final surprise, will forgiveness be possible?

 

Jones does an outstanding job of crafting a murder mystery that romps through a small town's secrets and various lives. His main protagonist is realistic and believable in every step of his investigative actions and setbacks; but so are characters he interacts with; from his boss Zip to a final service which holds some big surprises.

 

With its roots firmly grounded in an exceptional sense of place and purpose, Jones has created a murder mystery that lingers in the mind long after events have built to an unexpected crescendo. Murder mystery fans will find it more than a cut above the ordinary.

An Outstanding Book for Outstanding Writers!

Write to Influence! 2nd Edition - Carla Bass

From Midwest Book Review: "Want to improve your writing skills? Look no further than the 2nd edition of Write to Influence! The original is so widely endorsed, one might wonder, "Why a revision?" The answer, its wealth of new information from the author’s highly acclaimed workshops. Carla produced another winning blend of a preeminent how-to guide and an entertaining read. She demonstrates an intrinsic understanding of what makes the written word weak or powerful with an acuity many similarly sounding “how to write” guides don't begin to touch. If you want to produce sterling results, this is well worth your time and investment!" D. Donovan

How to Live a More Purposeful Life

It's Time to Start Living with Passion!: My Journey to Self Discovery - Jean Paul Paulynice

It’s Time to Start Living with Passion! My Journey to Self Discovery uses author Jean Paul Paulynice's own progression to delineate a route to better living. This autobiographical journey offers its readers an admonition about standing still in a dissatisfying life. This book is filled with insightful reflections on pitfalls, progressions, and the kinds of realizations one gains only from hard knocks in life.

 

This short, accessible read chronicles a hard-working family man's expectation that his efforts would translate to happiness and contentment and, after numerous struggles, the realization that this anticipation of rich rewards would not be seen to fruition without some attitude adjustments and a deep look within.

 

Why was Jean Paul working so hard at a 9-5 job while staring into an abyss of frustration and depression? He realized he needed "work that didn’t feel like work." Locating that passionate calling became his motivator for many adjustments towards living a more passionate life.

 

Readers will find a chronicle of a life-affirming journey and real-world examples of the processes of gaining insight, identity, and purpose. Those readers who are “stuck” may have pursued this goal again and again, only to find themselves at the same starting point. Jean Paul has "been there and done that," and his story promises the invaluable rewards of a successful pursuit.

 

His descriptions make very good points about adjusting one's life to allow the kind of time suitable for reflection and discovery and adjusting one’s perspective so that happiness can be allowed in.  Many of the truths revealed may come as a surprise in that they clearly delineate passion from other (sometimes worthy) pursuits.

 

Synthesizing autobiographical examples with wider psychological, social, and philosophical observations about finding happiness in daily living is not easy to do, especially in fewer than 100 pages, but Paulynice does it perfectly.

This book provides a very lively, readable, and inspiring account that is accessible to audiences who usually eschew weighty self-help reads. This roadmap to success circumvents the common problems of effecting lasting change and produces real results.

A Startling Examination of the Death Penalty, Guilt, and Innocence

The Deprived: Innocent On Death Row - Steffen Hou

True crime readers with a special interest in death row proceedings will especially appreciate the premise and developments in The Deprived: Innocent on Death Row, which collects the experiences of 10 Americans affected by wrongful convictions and the death penalty.

 

From what it's like to be on death row when innocent to how wrongful convictions happen, Steffen Hou goes beyond adopting a singular set of interview questions about experience to consider wider-ranging issues, from risks based on color, gender, and age to the circumstances surrounding evidence and convictions.

 

Since June 1790, almost 16,000 Americans have been executed. Modern support has waned for the death penalty in America, but many still feel it is a suitable punishment for murder. No matter what side of the issue the reader is on, Hou surveys many intriguing facts, from its financial burden to how many people have been exonerated from death row upon evidence of their innocence.

 

The heart of The Deprived lies not in a rehash of social debates around the death penalty's legality and issues, but on the personal toll it exacts from those involved, from family members who live with condemnation despite being good people themselves to how the innocent who have been wrongly convicted survive the violent, harsh atmosphere of prison.

 

Hou's intention is to personalize the death row experience from many different angles and to document just how innocent people become wrongfully convicted. His approach is more of a close examination of the justice system's failures than it is a social examination of the death penalty's validity. Even more eye-opening are numerous passages about those exonerated, who must live the rest of their lives with the badge of having been viewed as a dangerous criminal, with questions about the validity of their guilt or innocence continuing to impede their progress, test their families, and impact their lives.

 

Take the case of Nick Yarris, for one example: a long-time Pennsylvania inmate who spent over 20 years on death row before DNA absolved him of a heinous crime. Hou followed Yarris for four years after his release from prison, convinced that "...if one exonerated prisoner was to restore his life, it would be him."

 

Could anything be more challenging than life on Death Row with the likes of Ted Bundy in the cell beside you? Yes: release. The chapter 'Please Kill Me' covering his case, release, and ongoing challenges is a powerful testimony to a life that was ironically marked by crime and forever changed by accusations of two big crimes which he did not commit.

 

Lawmakers, justices of the court, and anyone concerned with the overall impact of the death penalty and its place in the criminal justice system will find The Deprived hard-hitting, with an unusual ability to juxtapose personal experience with bigger-picture thinking.

 

No debate or close examination of American justice or the death penalty would be complete without this highly recommended consideration of the many issues the death penalty ripples into society. Crafted on the shoulders of personal experience, this approach holds far more impact than any scholarly analysis could ever have achieved.

Easy Yoga for Desk-Bound Workers!

Yoga for Writers: Quick and Easy Fitness at Your Computer  - Taylore Daniel

Yoga for Writers: Quick and Easy Fitness at Your Computer addresses a common complaint among not just writers, but those who have desk jobs: the lack of activity and the concurrent dearth of time that lead to an inability to perform typical yoga or exercise regimens.

 

Taylore Daniel has crafted an alternative that leaves little room for either excuse: a series of yoga exercises that can be inserted into a busy sit-down day at computer or desk.

 

Daniel observes that "more and more of our lives are automated" and notes not only that "...there’s a paradox at work, because the more 'ease' we have in our lives, the more 'dis-ease' we have in our bodies," but that "According to recent studies, 'Sitting is the new smoking.' That is, it wreaks absolute havoc on our health."


With these thoughts in mind, all desk-bound individuals (not just writers) should keep Yoga for Writers close at hand. It offers an alternative that is easy, achievable, and requires no special time commitment, exercise equipment, or prior yoga savvy in order to prove accessible.

 

Chapters offer not only the anticipated step-by-step written instructions, but include a handy line drawing of the pose being described and introduce each with a "Why do it?" exploration of the pose's benefits.

 

60-second "micro-break" instructions offer additional instruction on duration, while a peppering of quotes from doctors and professionals reinforce health ideas.

 

The routines are organized by chapter heading covering health purpose and yoga stance, from 'Visual Agility' to 'Windmill', and each makes the most of 60-second "micro-breaks" that not only improve health, but supercharge the writer or worker's creative impulse.

 

The result is a book that can be used by any reader, but which is especially recommended for those who want to expand the notion of 'break time' to include productive revitalization.