Thursday, June 23, 2016
Monday, January 21, 2013
The Moon and Beyond
John E. Siers
Piloting the maiden voyage of an aircraft headed for new horizons would be any pilot’s dream. Creating a ship or vehicle that defies gravity to some might be impossible but to others just months away. Major Lorna Greenwood divorces her military career in lieu of joining The Deep Space Research Institute. Scientists, engineers and computer geniuses comprise some of the elite staff. High security checks, in-depth background information obtained on many working there including Lorna, prevent the information and research from getting into the wrong hands. Lorna Greenwood disenchanted with the U.S. government, loyal to only herself and one man named Ian Stevens, she would now join 5 other people and begin testing a new aircraft that would take them and many others to colonize the moon. As the author explains the procedures needed to test the aircraft he also explains the way it works, defines many terms as readers become familiar with more than just what the characters need to know to begin their journey.
Imagine being able to interface or have discussions with an artificial brain that is housed in a high level and high tech computer named “Iron Mike.” Your questions answered, your responses heard and this computer or Mike as it is called will present you with the information needed as long as no unauthorized person is present or within earshot. As Ian or Mike explains the design to Lorna she has many unanswered questions and meets with the three engineers who designed this craft to discuss her operational concerns. But, before I continue the author relates and would like readers to know that there are others who do not agree with what the Deep Space Research Institute is doing. There are some who would like to know more but upon investigating have found nothing.
Next we learn about a State Senator named Blackthorne who seems to have his own private agenda in mind. Defining the word Naturist, which refers to a conglomerate of many environmental causes the author, elaborates on the work done, the movement and how they hope to move forward in Chapter 2. But, the concern is what is going on behind the closed doors of Deep Space Research and the only way they will know is if the plant a mole on their staff. Blackthorne raised concerns about the DSRI and learned he would pay a heavy price is he continued.
MIC 77 is what most would call the most powerful computer system and the DSRI has one but it seems to be lying dormant as if it does not exist. The author explains the technology in detail as we meet the team that NCSA has in place and their connection to the Senator and one man named Mr. Malcolm. As this organization run by Mr. Malcolm hacks into the computer system of DSRI they learn a hard lesson. Able to access their emails, website, network and research data someone found out and burned them right in cyberspace. Just what can’t they see? What are they up to and where do they want to go are just some of the questions that this organization is trying to find out but with the computer technology and skill of one man named Charlie Bender they would hopefully never find out. Both sides able to hack into the systems of the other and yet only one succeeded undetected.
Next, we find Lorna and one young man testing out the new ship, learning how to remain afloat and trying to prevent the side effects from lingering. The author then introduces Carla who is to join this elite group but Charlie is not quite sure about Lorna and now needs to focus on her. The author then reveals the real reason behind Lorna’s military career, why she left, the orders she countermanded and did not follow and Charlie’s reaction as the real mission is revealed. How are they going to take all of the brilliant and independent thinkers working on this project and turn them into the Free Democratic State Of Luna? How about in 6 months time? As Ian, Charlie and Lorna discuss the structure of how their new government would be created the author reveals that the only way they can operate would be in a militaristic environment, status, ranks, uniforms and Charlie in command. The author then introduces Thomas Perry whose job to teach history just became history for him as the Principal of the School chastises him for educating the students, daring to give poor grades to those who do not meet his standards and teaches information about war. You have to hear the conversation between them as he learns his fate and why. The end result will make you shudder.
Carla has now become an integral part of the Alpha Management Group as she learns her new duties and roles the reader to get to know more about her and her organizational skills yet Charlie is still apprehensive about her. Is he right?
A sovereign nation living on the moon as the author and Ian takes Carla and introduces her to Iron Mike, allows her to understand how he operates, his knowledge and then reveals more about each member of the team to her. Added in Lorna confesses her feelings for Carla, Carla’s father is Thomas Perry who has decided to visit her and the members of the team discuss the project, their objectives and the reasons why they need to move fast, get everyone on the moon and the ramifications of what will or would happen if the United States Government learns what they are doing and tries to stop them. Just what will happen when the truth comes out? Added in what about the one person who is trying to find out more and present the other side with information? What happens to him if he fails?
The Exodus is next as they prepare to colonize the moon and more people are to follow to live in this military environment where everyone does their part and no one questions why. Things change and one man hacks into the computer system, his identity revealed, the government alerted and the need to leave their present location vital. As the author and Ian reveal along with Mike what they are truly planning, the lengths to which they will go to complete their project, those to be involved, the way the environment will be set up and the government they hope to establish. As they ready themselves to move to the next phase and hopefully land on the moon we learn about more of Mike’s capabilities, Carla’s concerns and just how many people are involved.
Imagine what happens when the NY Times is alerted and the truth comes out that a small group of people that are engineers, researchers and computer experts landed on the moon after working under the guise of the Deep Space Research Institute creating a small Lunar City. When Mr. Malcolm learns he was right and the ISA reveals what it knows the end result was Federal Agents from several agencies went to the DSRI with warrants for arrests, an international hunt is on for those missing and the end still remains to be seen.
News stories created for the public to read, no mention of his agency or him and sources revealed that hundreds are living on the moon as the Editor in Chief of the Times tells all, the President becomes involved and Blackthorne comes back into the picture hoping the President will take action stating these people have made them all look life fools and the President wants to retaliate as Chapter Ten relates the First Battle of Luna and then their fourteen are killed and funerals are planned and the damage is great and one of their leaders gone. Battles ensued, casualties many and their provisions low as they needed more skilled people possibly turning to Korea and the need for funds primary but where would they come from and who would support this Lunar Free State. Different countries involved, threat or supposed nuclear attack and the Lunar State Strikes back. Will they try to eliminate them? Are they really a threat to the earth? What is China’s role and Japan’s? Do they want their technology? Will they nuke them first? Just what will their final fate be as author John E. Siers takes us to the moon, shows us how a group of people can colonize and uninhabited land, work together, unify their resources and prove their loyalty to one another at the risk of being considered traitors to our country, leaving their families and exploring new frontiers. The Chinese Connection, the next battle to be fought and the end result you will have to learn for yourself. Who survives? Who survives the nuclear blast? What happens to those on the Moon? What happens to many cities will shock the reader as those that went to the Moon and Beyond new frontiers have yet to be explored but not before the new President and Ian Stevens come to terms with their differences. What ‘s next? Find out when you read book II: in the Saga of the Luna Free State. Can they survive a nuclear war? What happens to those on the moon? What is the fate of the world? Only author John E Siers knows what is in store for everyone and you will too when you read this book, take a seat on the next flight and join in the journey.
Fran Lewis: reviewer
The People In Between: Gregory S. Lamb
As the story opens you hear the voice of one young girl as she hopes to find her young sister. Running through the streets dodging the exploding bombs and the sounds of automatic rifles that filled the air, Hanife Yilmaz hopes to find her mother, father and younger sister before it was too late. Looking for her mother, she went in search of finding her but when the harsh reality set in what she found caused her to cry in horror, freeze in place and realize what she has lost forever. That was March 1964 as the author brings us to 2001 where we meet the two children born to this brave young woman who lost her battle in life during childbirth.
Kiraz Nora Johensson and her twin brother Nils never knew their mother because she died after giving birth to them. As Nora receives a call from her brother after so much time has passed between them she reunites with him to assist a friend in his gallery and hopefully reconnect with her brother. Hearing their banter, discussion and their short but brief conversation about their past, present and hopes for their futures Nora agrees to the post in the gallery that her brother brokered for her. Cyprus is the setting of this story and the author’s description makes the reader want to visit this enchanting place. The landscape, the history and the picturesque descriptions of so many places allows the reader to feel apart of the journey. Nora accepts the position to care for the gallery and meets Aydin Kostas a Cypriot. The author allows the reader to learn more about Nora’s father a Lieutenant Colonel, USAF who was on a fast track to become a General But, circumstances changed, his plane was shot down, his crewmate captured by the North Vietnamese and he spent the next two weeks evading capture. Fortunately for him he connected with a Special Operations Group and after Vietnam he was among the first U-2 pilots to arrive on Cyprus. But, her brother made some comments about their father and although he visits him in the home where he lives the answer to his comment, “What he didn’t do,” still remains to be revealed.
The history of this country is quite compelling as internal conflicts created fighting between two communities on this island causing the United Nations to have to send in peacekeeping forces in 1964 flashing back to where our story begins and why the young girl in the prologue lost her family and why. These forces are still in Cyprus today. Ten years later Greek Cypriots enacted a military coup with the help of military junta in Greece. However, Turkey used this coup to invade the northern part of the island where the Turkish forces stayed until after the cease-fire. The end result was in the partition of this Island. As a result the violence between these communities and the Turkish invasion that followed caused the unfortunate displacement of hundreds of thousands of people living in Cyprus. In 1975 the state of Northern Cyprus now became The Turkish Federated State of Northern Cyprus. The name was changed to its present one on November 15, 1983. The only country that recognized The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus is Turkey. Many Turkish settlers were given permission to live there illegally. Some chose to live and were given permission to live on Greek Cypriot land and property to slant the island’s population or demographics in favor of the Turkish Cypriots. In 2002 the UN Secretary General started new negotiations in order to unify the island and in 2004 both sides agreed on a plan for the island to be unified. Cyprus became a member of the European Union in 2004. Our story continues three years prior to this event in 2001 where Nora and her brother reconnect and begin to visit the many places her mother frequented when she met their father three decades before.
As Nora becomes more assimilated in the life of those living on this beautiful island she learns more about the tragic history, coup, the deaths and the dividing line or Green line that separates and divides the island. A line that marks where the clock stopped in 1974 and a line that divides this beautiful Island of Cyprus. The line stretches from 112 miles from east to west across the island where Greek-Cypriots people have not been allowed to pass or cross. There are some who come there to look to the other side hoping that someday the barbed wires will be lifted and removed so that what is left is not The People that Live In Between. Imagine what would happen if these people as Nora learns more about the island, the history of the family she visited, her brother’s hopes for his future would some day hear the words: You are free to go home to where you were born!
Nora’s time in Cyprus is about to end as her new friendship with a young man named Aydin has begun to bloom. But, there are some secrets not attributed to the island that many do not want revealed and if they were would change the course of many of the events that follow. Added in the knowledge of the human trafficking that is prevalent on one side of the island and the huge houses that are quite elaborate built by the Russians on the other trying to show the world what they have built. Nora and Nils listen to their father’s account about their mother, meeting her and take a final trip with him as he returns to America and passes away. Finding her way back to Aydin but not before commanding a position as the Press and Cultural Attaché to Cyprus, Nora finally make the decision her father knew she would to marry this amazing young man. But, Nils has many things in his past that he finally admits as he and Yosette, his wife begin their journey together once again. More dissention, more strife a referendum up to finally unite the people of Cyprus and what happens next allows the reader to know that not everything will change. Hoping to find her aunt the young child that disappeared at the start of the book, with the help of someone they meet in Cyprus will Nora get the answers she hopes to find about her family?
As Nora and Aydin’s time in Cyprus comes to an end, a new chapter in lives begins. Things are not always what they seem, the times still volatile and the search for answers yet to come. As you learn the final request of one man and you find out the hidden truths about another will these revelations tear them apart or bring them closer? When the final chapter is written and the author’s name revealed someone should definitely put this novel on the NYTIMES bestseller list. The history, the scenery vividly described, the story of an island, the people struggling to unite and the final outcome for some many call THE PEOPLE IN BETWEEN. Author Gregory S. Lamb reminds us of this beautiful and amazing place called Cyprus and will tempt the reader and tantalize you with the many descriptions of the places visited by each character and the hope that someday the Green Line will be lifted. Here’s to Freedom.
Fran Lewis: Reviewer
Η ελπίδα για την Ελευθερία or Özgürlük için umut
Bu kitap Yunan kahve beş altın kupa gets
Wednesday, January 2, 2013
Three young men created their own history in 1969 when they decided to attend a monumental and historical event called Woodstock. The memories precious, the songs, music and experiences a once in a lifetime occurrence where so many gathered to sings, search and hope for peace and enlighten the word to the many social, environmental and political causes of the times. Creative and freedom of expression has often been stifled but this event was so remarkable so amazing that those that attended would never forget what they saw and experienced. Meet Sparky, Buck and Josh, three close friends yet somehow strangers now who will take you back in time along with author Michael Murphy to a time when smoking joints, marijuana, drinking, living free and just enjoying life was more than just a pastime it was a way of life. Goodbye Emily is a novel that reminds us of how precious friendships are and how going back in time, remembering someone that was dear to us will help us deal with the life we forgot we still have in the present.
There is much more to this novel than just going to Woodstock and remembering the past. It is about a woman named Emily that meant more than the world to a Professor named Walt, his feelings of loss, despair and sadness associated with losing a spouse and not really knowing or having a real direction to move on. With a daughter that cares for him, encourages him to get out and do more than just smoke, drink and waste away his life, Walt needs to reassess not only his health which is in dire need or repair, his diet, his mental attitude but his personal goals in life. A trip to the doctor or ER proved to be quite enlightening and the end result made him realize he needed to make some changes or it might cost him his life. Deciding to make that list of life’s stresses suggested by the doctor, he decides to see an old friend, settle their differences and find out the answer to one question that has been bothering him for too long. When one friendship was renewed another would remain unsettled until two old friends decide to find out what happened to the third member team or in this case their band. Josh is the third friend and like my mom he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, which brings along with it a death sentence to the patient. Slowly and methodically this illness wears away at the brain if its intended victim showing absolutely no mercy. But, when family and friends like Buck and Walt come to see Josh at the assisted living where he now lives, it does make a difference and the sight of familiar faces, although they might not always recognize you does make a difference. Walt and Buck find different meaning in seeing Josh and what Walt realizes opens his own eyes to what he must do for himself.
Woodstock Music and Art Fair was amazing and for those that saw the billboards they were titled: “An Aquarian Exposition: 3 Days of Peace and Music,” from August 15-18, 1969. Imagine the crowds, the scents in the air, and the music of the Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell and many more. So, what would happen if these three friends decided to do it all over again? But, first the author takes us back to when Emily and Walt meet and allows the reader to experience their time at Woodstock, their romance and their life together. Then a special teenage girl comes into his life wanting to jam or play guitar with him and things change for Walt. Added in the job that he loved so much and was fired from has been reoffered to him again with many more responsibilities and salary. Just what he will do still remains to be seen.
Heather is a special teen and her mom; Meagan seems to have the right personality to deal with Walt. Living next door to someone does not make you their friend when you isolate yourself from the world and much more. As Walt has exactly 24 hours to show his daughter that he can fend for himself, eat properly hoping she will take the job she was offered and not worry about him. So, off to try the treadmill and his first effort at exercising as the author takes the reader back in time to Woodstock and Emily once again. The music, the artists, the drugs, the smoking and the love all embraced them both.
Three steps ahead yet one immovable as Walt, Buck and Heather manage to rekindle some of Josh’s memories with their music. Dealing with Alzheimer’s I know it has no cure but long memories can often come to light and for a short time the person just might have a great memory from their past. Not withstanding what the doctor at the facility said and not wanting to give up Walt decides to convince Buck to revisit Woodstock and find a way to bring Josh too. Just how they are going to pull this off you just won’t believe and will he convince his daughter that he has changed his ways, get rid of the bourbon first.
Reliving a special experience with Emily, the knowledge that she might be involved with someone else, the altercation with her friend Crystal and the hope of a future together as the present comes back into focus. Then, the memories, the shrine in his home and finally coming face to face with some realities as he finally agrees to take Emily’s ashes off the mantle and scatter them in Bethel at the site of the festival where it all began.
Taking Josh for an outing and trying to help him remember proved great for him but not for both Sparky and Buck as Josh’s mother refused to understand the good in their intentions. The end result was more than just a confrontation and Walt/Sparky would not give up. Everyone needs to feel useful, productive and treated as if they understand and not the way she was treating Josh. So, how will they get him out to join them on their road trip? What will the final outcome be? As we relive Josh’s past, his dealings with drugs, acid and his journey back to the present where his neighbor’s condition begins to mirror his own. Then learning more about Emily, the note she left and his initial disappointment. The author flashes back to the past in his dreams and then often when he reflects in the present doing it in such a way making the events in the past and the present blend so evenly together and easy to follow. As once again we hear Emily’s voice when Walt refuses to give up and goes in search of finding her. Meeting her family and learning why she left and did not wait for his return endears her even more to him as we hear his voice in the present with his scheme to kidnap Josh and take him along with Cloe and Buck to Woodstock and finally say Goodbye to Emily but not before we find out what happens when they break Josh out, get help from someone within the facility and the group in a van that is definitely right up there with those from the 60’s takes a road trip that no one including the reader will ever forget. But, not everything is cut and dry or even black and white when Buck and Walt get Josh into the van the police on their tail, an APB out for their arrest if they do not return Josh to the home within two hours what happens will definitely bring more than just smiles to your face and help you understanding the true meaning of friendship. But sometimes those that appear to be your friends are not and the final result was not what he expected. Accused of kidnapping and arrested Sparky just wanted to do something for Josh and the end result of his efforts have yet to be decided but the trip in itself is really quite comical, fun and the Buck Naked Band: Can you hear the music of the sixties? Can you hear them play?
An ending that will bring tears to your eyes and a smile on your face as Sparky, Buck, Cloe, Lady, Josh and even more make their way one more time to relive those special three days. What happens and if they really succeed? What will the final note be in Josh’s life? A farewell so fitting you won’t believe the ending. Goodbye Emily: Peace Out !
Fran Lewis: Reviewer : Five Golden Songs from the 60’s and One Gold Peace Sign.
Monday, October 29, 2012
http://www.santapaulaarc.org/)Proceeds go to this organization: Animal rescue
The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap:
Author: Paulette Mahurin
When the world allows people to live as they please maybe we might have chance to stop all the hatred, prejudice and injustices that are inflicted upon those that some feel are different or do not conform to the mores of their society. Same sex marriage is not something new to us today and same sex relationships are not just a thing of the preset. The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap begins with the arrest and imprisonment of a noted writer and playwright Oscar Wilde. Noted for writing The Picture of Dorian Gray, essays, short fiction and comedies this outstanding writer’s work was negated when he met Lord Alfred ‘Bosie’ Douglas the third son of the Marquis of Queensbury. Wilde’s novel the Picture of Dorian Gray was one that he was acquainted. Becoming lovers and totally enamored with each other they were together all the time until Wilde was arrested four years later for “gross indecency.” Attitudes back then in 1891 and even now have not changed in many respects. In April of 1895, Oscar sued Bosie’s father for libel as the Marquis had accused him of being homosexual and homosexuality. His arrest and conviction as our story relates included two years of hard labor. But, that was just the beginning as his wife too his children to Switzerland and as you might say disowned him by going back to her maiden name, Holland. This is where our story begins as we our main characters Mildred and Edra. The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap brings this issue to light and many more. Character assassinations by many of the townspeople, criticism and critical analysis of what they think a person’s life should be and how they should mold it to their way of thinking enables the reader to know just how narrow and close-minded the people of Red River Pass, Nevada are.
As we meet both Mildred and Edra we learn that they too have a close relationship that would be more than just frowned upon by people like Josie Perdue and the ladies Mildred encounters when she goes into town for medicine for a sick horse. Life is hard enough during this time period but to be forced to fit in and conform to what others think you should do makes it even harder for both Mildred and Edra to deal with life. Her masculine appearance, her strange demeanor and lack of femininity seemed to turn people off.
The author allows the reader to hear the thoughts of Josie first hand which she readily expresses to anyone that will stop and listen as well as doing her own appraisal of Mildred’s appearance and Mildred. But, the prejudice spreads as far as the sheriff’s office and even though Mildred is a kind woman he appearance turns off many and the words spoken, if she heard them, would definitely do more than just hurt her feelings. Status, class, sexual preferences, even how many live their lives and observe their religions are just some of the issues brought to light in this novel.
Gus Spivey’s story is the hub of information where notices and telegrams are posted keeping people informed. As Mildred places her order she hears voices rising and realizes that Josie is announcing to everyone that Homosexuality has been declared illegal. When people decide what you are allowed or not allowed to do that infringes on the meaning of democracy and freedom. But, while riding home Mildred formulates a plan in her mind that has yet to be revealed to the reader.
Meet Charley Spivey and Emma his wife was gravely ill. As Charley watched Emma slip away Mildred decided to try and ally all thoughts about her and pretend to be interested in this disheveled and ungroomed man. As the story moves on we learn more about the relationship between Edra and Mildred, what happened to Edra as a child the bond and love that formed between them at an early age. With the guidance and understanding of her father, Max, Mildred’s secret would stay hidden.
The characters blend in a very unique way, as Mildred’s plan seems to be working creating the illusion she hopes it will to take the heat off of her relationship with Edra. Added in we still here the gossip of so many of the townspeople regarding Oscar Wilde and his arrest. What I really love are the quotes at the start of each chapter. Oscar Wilde’s words are so profound and set the tone for each chapter that the reader knows what to expect from the characters by reading his words and his thoughts. Annalee proves that right when she continues her diatribe about Oscar Wilde and expands on her opinion. Next, she expounds on the relationship between Charley and Mildred letting you know that she is not only prejudice, narrow minded and just plain rude. So, why not voice her thoughts to the town’s biggest gossip, Josie and join forces. Why is it that the outer covering of a person is all anyone sees and the fact that Mildred helps so many in so many selfless ways, does not really count to any of these snobby and although rich, classless women. When Josie blames Emma, Charley’s late wife for bringing so many others misery causing the town to come down and help Charley, why does she resent it and why make the coldhearted comment she does on page 64 which you will have to read the book for yourself to find out just what she says and more.
But, Edra is upset when Mildred goes out with Charley and her reaction is quite telling and the end result eye opening. Loyal, trustworthy and kind Ben Thorndike keeps their secret and delivers the news about what others are saying about Mildred. When the women do their own assassination attack in words about Mildred, just why does Charley come to her defense? Why does he see the inner beauty in her and others do not?
This book deals with so many issues not just prevalent in 1895 but in the present too. Although Oscar Wilde went on trial and was convicted, Mildred Dunlap faced her own persecution and trial everyday just trying to deal with life, the words and gossip of others, the critical analysis because of her appearance and imagine if the truth came out, what kind of swords or daggers would they send flying at her?
The characters in this novel are vividly described and so well defined you can almost picture them in your mind and create a mental image of how they look, act and speak. Gus, the owner of the general store tries to mediate, is honest and tries not to take sides to be biased. Josie Perdue is single minded, hurtful, highly critical of others and totally opinionated valuing only hers alone. She is truly mean, coldhearted and yet she manages to have an audience to listen to her rants and raves. Vying for attention and having to be the focal point of every conversation she manipulates her friends, wants to control their lives and never really cares about how her words affect others. Edra our other main character, lives on the farm, prefers as we learn Mildred’s company alone, and vies to live her life just with her. Mildred might have a masculine outer appearance but her every word, and kindness negates her physical appearance. She might not be what most would say feminine, or ladylike but her heart and kind ways make up for it.
As Gus and Charley have dinner more about the community is brought to light as we learn about hate for Negroes, their feelings about Jews and the religious that feel everyone is beneath them. But, Gus has a secret that I will not share with you but when you learn it you will understand why he does not attend Church and much more. The prejudice that rears its head in this book is widespread not only there but also around the world.
As Josie has made it her vocation in life to destroy Mildred two friends make sure that she just might learn her lesson and more. What happens at the end and how all of this turns out you will have to learn for yourself. But, when one woman’s rumors, lies and statements cause a tragic ending in one family, then the action taken will surprise the reader and the end result will teach two women the meaning of trust, loyalty, friendship and understanding. When the truth behind Josie’s hate for Mildred is revealed the reasons lie deep within her stemming from the past. Will she ever learn her lesson? Will anyone finally stop her from speaking? Wait until you read the dramatic ending!
An ending that will bring tears to your eyes and maybe even some hope to the people that remain in Red River Pass, Nevada. Never judge a person or book by its outer cover before you read the pages in between. You just might like what you find out. Author Paulette Mahurin’s characters and story remind us of why there is so much hate in the world and why so many need the lessons taught within the pages of this outstanding book. Friendships are formed when you least expect them to be. Let’s give this book: FIVE CHARLIES
Fran Lewis: reviewer
http://www.santapaulaarc.org/)Proceeds go to this organization: Animal rescue
Friday, September 21, 2012
Reis’s Pieces: Karen Winters Schwartz
Lives intersect like the parts of a Venn Diagrams where we place the commonalities within the loop in the center. Brian and Reis: two educated men- different yet the same. Compartmentalizing their lives into neat sections almost like the bookshelves in a library neatly ordered, numbers and labeled allowing the reader to know exactly what lies beneath the cover of each book and temping them to want to know more. Brian, whose life revolves around working at his law firm, friends he socializes with relationships and daily routines, little if any time to deviate from his preplanned schedule. Reis Welling creates a different kind of persona or routine. Fearful of change, skeptical if not paranoid about people and their motives for approaching him, he hesitates to leave the cocoon of his private world filled with books, plants, leaving work at a set time, weekly dinner and walk in the park. See how all of these similarities fit into the center of the diagram? No let’s add Kelly.
As Kelly was walking her dog in the park she stopped cold when she saw a grown man climbing a tree. Curious about him she stops, stares, smiles and manages to engage him in a brief but telling conversation. Kelly is a researcher for a computer company. Reis works in a library. Reis love botany plants and used to teach. Their two worlds are about to blend or collide into one more commonality placed in the diagram. But, first author Karen Winters Schwartz allows the reader inside the mind of each character as we learn Reis has many mental issues to deal with as we join him for his meeting with his psychiatrist. Suspicious of everyone even the doctor, we learn that he fears change, hates confrontation yet does not hesitate to express himself when angered. We learn something about his early childhood, his relationship with his parents and his love of plants explaining why his parents created a shrine in the attic for him to preserve his treasures.
Kelly Adams is a loner too in many respects but seeking friendships in odd ways. The brunt of bullying and ridicule as a teen and young child she became enveloped in a world too filled with loneliness, suspicions and isolation until she met Phil= a friendship and job and then Brian. So, why was she so enamored or fascinated by Reis when they met at the library where he works and possibly a new friendship and alliance.
Enter Dr. Benson who belongs on Reis’s side of the Venn diagram in his area delineating what makes him unique in his own way. Once again concerned about time, structure and focusing and his attention to detail as we get to know Reis better. Each scene filled with pictures of farms, outside forests, and the beauty of nature, Reis so love with plants, trees and forest can he see the sun shining through or the realities of the world. Reminding me of Adrian Monk as he straightens a picture frame in the Dr’s office and relies on the secretary to keep the Doctor on time. As we hear Reis’s conversation with Dr. Benson we get to know more about his inner most thoughts, personality and fears. As he relates his 2 encounters with Kelly he states, “Maybe she was not sent there.” Adding he thinks is spying on him, information, and anger welling up. The doctor tried to ally his fears but Reis became slightly enraged.
Telling him, about their encounter thinking she’s a spy and then explaining he still hears voices directing him. Medications! More meds, resentment. Another place in the diagram, his parents, why the alienation, no acceptance. As the author takes us inside his childhood home for a brief visit and a trip with his father we learn more about Reis. Hiking is one passion that both father and son enjoy doing together. Organized to a fault, deciding where to go, which mountain to climb and the purpose of the trip sends a message to the reader like father almost like son. Add this to the center of the diagram as we now have Reis, Brian, Kelly and his father but we still need to find out what might bring them all together.
Entering the forest, uniting with nature and becoming one with the souls of living things he sees, the crisp air and the sounds is what Reis yearns and lives for. Yet, his father enjoys the outdoors but views it in a way quite different than Reis. The similarities are there, as they both love the forest, the walks, the trees and being outdoors. But, when comparing it to the city they both present different challenges that sustain and ignite his father and give him the drive to continue. Challenges and victories are looked at much differently by both of these men. Both contemplate the ecology of the forest, their hopes for the future as the author draws us back to the present where things change in a flash for Reis when he meets and falls in love with Ellen Sachs. A simple encounter, a hike in the woods and things heat up. Families met and time spent together and tenure might be in the near future for Reis. But, let’s not forget Kelly who is still prominent in his life as a friend who comes to draw him out and talk in the library.
Some things change as he reveals to Ellen he might get tenure and her whole demeanor changes. Why would she resent his successes? Why is he able to share more with Kelly? What happens to his perfect world? We begin to see where Reis is coming apart and the many pieces of his life that were once blended are falling apart like the ends of a frayed rope about to separate into tiny unusable pieces. From thinking his car was stolen, to realities about Ellen, to his life seeming useless and his hopes fading away we hear the voice of Dr. Benson suggest he up his meds, question his trip with Kelly trying to hide his illness. What would happen if Kelly knew he was schizophrenic? Would she leave?
Reis’s world falls back and forth from the past to the present. His realities change and his dreams might still be the same yet he struggles with his emotions, his truths and his job. Tenure announced. A hike/walk with Kelly and their lives once again intersect. Yet, Kelly has Brian but is he enough? We revisit his life with Ellen as he gets tenure, she begins to sound resentful and his perfect world seems fragile, her feelings about commitment the same and the end result remains to be seen as we move ahead to Kelly. But, his behavior is strange and at times uncontrollable. As we learn more about his time with Ellen and his father’s stroke that causes and takes a toll on him.
The plot moves back and forth between his life with Ellen and Kelly. Both seem to be separate but yet intersecting at some point as his realm of reality changes, his mind snaps, the truths come out and his ability to deal with many situations involving change, stress or even daily life seems to be faltering and diminishing right before the reader’s eyes and his too. But, the reader can see clearly the signs of paranoia, fear and depression but what about Reis? From his time with Dr. Rabin convincing him he took his meds, to confessing in the present to Dr. Benson he stopped, Reis’s world was definitely going to pieces and his behaviors warranted concern but how much he could fool everyone and how far would he go? Reis’s paranoia increased thinking Ellen and her friend Bob wanted to poison him. Fear of sleeping, taking pills, life in general and more when Ellen realized she needed to do something to change her life too.
Evolving into what he was before would never happen. Learning how to deal with his mental illness his choice but would he? Trying to end his life twice would bring things to light for not only Kelly when she learns about his illness but Reis too as he tries to hide from himself and not deal with the harsh reality of being schizophrenic. Meds that he refuses to take, outbursts that are violent, voices that control his actions and thoughts and what finally happens and the end result you will learn when you read Reis’s pieces yourself.
Life can change for someone in the flick of a moment. Reis decides to leave the world he knows and encounters someone that enlightens him to the true meaning of survival. Just what he learns and where he winds up you will not believe. Will he ever reconcile himself with his illness? Will he ever feel whole? Reis’s pieces: Find out where they all fit.
Author Karen Winters Schwartz’s research into this mental illness allows the reader to truly understand what happens in the mind of someone that is schizophrenic and the amazing breakthroughs made to help him or her. Brian, Reis, Kelly and Ellen: all intersecting in the center of the diagram yet each having their own separate sections and goals. This is a must read for everyone. Misunderstandings, misconceptions and distrust can lead to bad results when people do not understand that a person is ill and needs help. Find out what happens when Reis searches for his place in this world.
Fran Lewis: reviewer
Wednesday, September 19, 2012
Here Comes Pixie Pie
Barabara Bloom is an author whose name
You will surely learn as her claim to fame
Comes shining through for all children you see
When you learn about her latest release from me
Here Comes Pixie Pie is the title you how true
Filled with fun adventures and cute pictures just for you
Ma simply loves her as much as apple pie you know
Pixie is fun, loves pink and wants to attend a rodeo show
Her birthday is coming up and she has to decide what to do
Go to the rodeo or spend the day at the zoo
Deciding between the zoo and rodeo was not hard for her at all
Receiving a bicycle built for two and riding it with a friend would be a ball
So, who would she ask and what would she wear
How would they travel and get to the fair
Alexia is her choice and was excited to go and have fun
Riding around, playing the water balloon game and enjoying the sun
Ferris wheels are real high and up they went to the sky
Hoping that they could reach up and touch the blue sky
So, if you want to learn more about their adventure and more
Read Here Comes Pixie Pie and join in the fun galore.
The story is geared to children that are in grades K-2 and teaches friendship, kindness and one little girl named Pixie that is really quite special. The illustrations are colorful and you can feel the excitement in the faces of each character as you go along with Pixie and Alexia to the rodeo. Author Barbara Bloom can create more adventures for Pixie, Alexia and more friends.
As she states in the beginning of the book: This book was written for children around the world to enjoy and let’s not forget their parents.
Fran Lewis: reviewer This book gets FIVE PINK STARS
Thursday, September 13, 2012
Heavenly Gems for Earthly Jams
Reverends Faith and David McDonald
How do you define the help and love you receive from God? How do you define the work of a reverend and learn to ask for assistance when needed? How do you learn many lessons in life and embrace the love of God, understand his message and become a better person and lead a more productive life? As I read each of the amazing essays filled with honesty, humor, special messages and important insights for the reader, you take a seasonal journey through the many stories that authors Reverends Faith and David McDonald share in his thought-provoking book that will make you smile, think, and embrace God and his love for all of us. Heavenly Gems for Earthly Jams will take the reader on a journey through the many seasons we encounter and learn how to focus and deal with some of the most difficult spots we as humans get ourselves into, the ways we try to worm out of a mess and find joy within the pages of this book and much more. This is my review of Heavenly Gems for Earthly Jams by Reverends David and Faith McDonald.
The authors tell readers about Whole Heart Abundance Ministries( W.H.A.M.) and their work with them and receiving the word of God. In His Presence clarifies tit more and then Invisible Lines which will illuminate the reader’s understanding of social lines, learning lines, need lines, efficiency lines and much more. For further clarification you need to read the chapter. Next, “Three Stooges in Inner Space,” where the authors present a great dialogue among the Three Stooges: You have to love it. Imagine standing in a healing line and listen to these three discuss someone that came for help and needed to be healed. It’s hysterical yet sends a definite message: Point: If you ‘re not getting things done- who’s running things: GOD or the Three Stooges? You decide!
Winter has arrived and Christmas shopping is next on the author’s story list as they explain shopping for Christmas presents and your right to choose those you want to send gifts and those you should not. The explanations are simple, the thought expressed definitely correct as you should not buy presents because you have to or if you cannot afford them Don’t give gifts out of guilt or out of pride. Buy the person what they want or need and not want you think they want or need. The rest read page 69. Don’t make gift giving like Pulling Teeth! We more stories about W.H.A.M., Jack and the Beanstalk, Black Friday and “Are We Shopping for Gifts of Good Deals? “ the Perfect gift given is in perfect love is always the best deal.” My birthday video that my two nieces sent me for my birthday yesterday was more precious than anything anyone could have given me or bought. Read this story and understand the true meaning of the words giving and gift. They continue with stories about Santa, Blue Christmas, and include several original poems. “Are You A Smart Woman,” is great and I think after reading it you can figure out the answer for yourself. Moving ahead to Spring and the change of season with their favorite movie The Wizard of Oz, “Genie In a Bottle,” which brings back everyone’s memories about I Dream of Jeanie and when Major Nelson found the bottle and opened it. Allowing the genie to pop out and grant him whatever he wanted. But, God is not in a genie’s bottle and his job is not to grant you all of your wishes. But, he is walking on that beach line and he is carrying someone precious in his arms and that someone is YOU! I loved Ten Things God Wants You to Remember. This you have to read but I will whet your appetites and give you some hints as to why this short story is really special. “ I believe in you,” he says and “I will never fail you.” There is much more for you to learn and read.
Finally, Hot As Hell! Yes, you read it right! Dealing with daily stress, pressure and life can really heat things up for anyone at times. You need to deal with these three difficult factors of life and learn how to find you way. God: “What in the world are you doing to me?” One question we often ask or yell out loud or scream in the street or sticking your head out of the window and yelling these words. Find out the answer to dealing with life in general when you read this short story. I love Hope Happens When as the next essay I want to share with you in my review. Hope Happens when: I believe in promises again in God and humanity.” Hope happens when: I quit allowing hopeless people to dictate my frame of mind.” Next, let’s listen in as Billy and God have a really interesting conversation
There are many times that we find ourselves in a serious quandary over how we should handle certain situations. So, why is it when asked if we need help we shy away or turn it down. Some feel uncomfortable to accept help while others refuse to admit even to themselves that they could use assistance. Do we feel inadequate? Are you offended when asked if you need help? Those that ask to help you should be trained and equipped to handle the situation that requires their assistance. Ministers are asked for help and gladly give it upon request. As Reverend Faith McDonald states, “ Ministers can only do that which we are equipped, allowed and empowered to do.” Believe it or not the requester can handle most requests for help if they take the time and put the effort into it. But, some prefer to flounder, wander and drift in many directions and before finding where they are really supposed to go. In the second story this message is explained, as many need to find direction, many must learn that if “God is moving you in a new direction, then GO! Remember it is God who created his own GPS to help guide us and get us on the right path. (God Positioning Saints.) But, what about if God decided to show up in Mayberry leading Barney, Goober, Ernest T and Otis into having what they might consider a philosophical discussion or the rest of us a comedy of words. Imagine if Otis saw God dressed in a cop’s uniform. Now, that might be what he thinks he saw but then who knows the reality that Otis sees. Ernest T things that this might be possible and Barney chimes in with his own thoughts as Goober feels that God would not wear a regular uniform but that of a state patrol officer. Well, after careful deliberation and discussion they come to their own conclusion. Just whom they think God is? Read it to learn the answer.
Betrayals come easy to some. There are those that endear themselves to you, ingratiate themselves into our lives and then take it all away for some reason that gives them pleasure. Read “Judas,” Kiss”, but make sure you go not get too close or allow that person to plant one on you. Judas: You know his final outcome don’t let it be yours!
“Stranger that Fiction takes two young boys on a journey they will never forge. Fearless is next when our author relates the true meaning of the word, the reasons she was named Faith and what fear does to a person and how she learnt to cast it off.
Each story, essay or teaching poses a questions we all face in our lives, teaches us a lesson or explains “our relationships or lack of,” with God. Failures come and successes too, but how you work through them, embrace the victories knowing God himself, gave these victories to you, is just part of what the authors want to impart to all readers. Each offering in each chapter is unique, presents a situation that the author’s have lived, a proverb explained or an encounter they’ve shared adding in a real life experience and a strong touch of humor and you have the Heavenly Gems for Earthy Jams filled with just the right recipe for a five star book of priceless gems to read when you need to understand life’s mishaps and how to deal with them and work them out with God’s help.
Finding a place in this world for yourself and not feeling isolated or alone is what some feel each and every day. Read, “Where’s My Space,” to understand how to deal with this and more.
The authors tell the reader about W.H.A.M and their work with them and receiving the word of God. In His Presence clarifies it more and then Invisible Lines takes the reader inside the world of what we need each day to survive: Need Lines, Social Lines, Efficiency Lines and even Initiation Lines. Next, imagine seeing the Three Stooges in a healing line trying to help those in need of help! Picture Moe, Curly and Larry trying to help someone that needs help! This is hysterical. But, there is a definite message: If you’re not getting things done: Who’s running things: God or the Three Stooges? Think about it before you answer!
The season of winter is next and Christmas shopping is on everyone’s mind including the authors. So, you want to give presents and you are not sure what to do. Never buy a present or give one out of pride or guilt. Never buy someone something that you want him or her to have or think they need. Buy presents for a person that they need or you know they might want. Don’t buy what you cannot afford and if you cannot afford to buy gifts then don’t. The nest story dealing with this same issue is: “ Are We Shopping for Gifts of Good Deals?” The perfect gift given in perfect love is always the best deal! The video my two nieces made for me yesterday for my birthday just priceless and the best gift I have ever received. The rest read it. Read Blue Christmas, the many different original poems the authors include, “Are You a Smart Woman?” which asks this question of not just woman but men too! The answer you can figure out for yourself after reading it. Moving ahead to spring and the Wizard of Oz, “ Genie In A Bottle,” which reminds us and brings back memories of that beach where Major Nelson found Jeannie and all his wishes came true. God walked on that beach line too and he carried someone precious in his arms and that someone dear reader is YOU!
Finally, Ten Things God Wants You to Remember, which includes: I believe in you and I will never fail you. Hot as Hell tells how we need to deal with our daily stresses in life and when things get really tough. Ending with Hope is What Happens when: I quit allowing hopeless people to dictate my frame of mind. Or God is for me not against me. There is much more. What would this book be without a conversation between a young boy named Billy and God. Listen to the conversation and learn the most important lesson: Just open side the eyes of your faith and of your heart and you shall see me. GOD!
Finally: their websites, information about W.H.A.M. and final thoughts. Lessons that are invaluable that can be used in discussion groups, religious classes, character education and parents with children at home.
Let’s give this book: FIVE HEAVENLY GOLDEN ANGEL GEMS
Friday, September 7, 2012
Regrets often happen too late and sometimes our actions do not speak louder than words that often create situations that will come back and haunt us forever. Michael Embry presents a collection of short stories that will teach every reader many lessons in life and hopefully awaken you to the harsh realities of what happens when greed, lack of thought, regrets that are too late and rationalizing our wrong doings and lack of forethought will change the course of your life and others. Laments a book that will definitely give everyone much pause for thought.
Story One: A Brother’s Lament:
Families often go through difficult situations and when financial aid or help is needed some try to assist while others do not. Jack and Arnie were brothers. Arnie for some reason could not get a job nor keep one. Jack, being his brother, bailed him out when things got really tough. Arnie appreciated the help but when you hear this story and you learn what happens you might wonder if he didn’t have too many excuses not to forge ahead with this goal and get a job. As Jack bailed him out with 1000 dollars his friend Burl asked him to place a bet on the horses. But, Arnie did not think of the consequences involved of placing bets with money that his brother gave him to pay his bills and expecting it back from a friend that used him for his own financial purposes. When the debt was not paid and the bets were placed Burl made excuse after excuse to not pay him back. But, Arnie, in his own way, not really thinking, maybe somewhat too naïve pressed the issue and then made the biggest mistake of his life by going along with a scheme to get money that would change everything. Would you rob a bank to get money to pay your debts? Would you go along with a friend who never plans anything out and never really considers the end result?
When his brother gets him a job as a roofer, why does he forge ahead with Burl’s plan? When things get out of hand you won’t believe the end result and who winds up losing the most and how? Sometimes being in the wrong place at the wrong time can be costly. Sometimes listening to the wrong person can cost you more. Author Michael Embry presents the reader with a moral issue as to how this all might play out. When things went haywire one man left and the other went back to learn the truth about what really happened. Would you rob a bank to pay your bills? What would you do if you were Arnie once you learn the outcome of what he will be lamenting about for the rest of his life?
A Coach’s Lament
Some people are not cut out to work with kids while others are more understanding. Tommy is the captain of the basketball team and works really hard to do his best at every practice. So, why does the coach literally do a number on him during every practice that makes him rethink whether he wants to be on the team anymore? Running the practices like an army drill camp or boot camp can definitely dissuade anyone from wanting to continue working with that coach. Each time Tommy does his best and each time he thinks he is succeeding the coach not only criticizes him but puts him down in front of the rest of the team and claims if he cannot do better how will his teammates respect him. Even the assistant coach feels the strain and questions how Tommy is being treated.
Tommy decides to handle the situation head on and approaches the coach and asks to speak with him. But, this man shows his own bravado and depends he speaks in front of the team which proves to be a mistake for Tommy. With his mother on his side and definitely understanding the problem Tommy decides to quit the team and avoid the stress. What the end result is you will have to learn for yourself as Tommy and his mother decide to move to another town and live near her parents. What happens when the coach tracks him down and the end result will let the reader know that sometimes your treatment of others comes back to haunt you when you least expect it. Does the coach learn a lesson when Tommy’s decision is final? Will he ever understand that playing basketball is not army drills? Read story two: A Coach’s Lament and find out what this man will be thinking about for a long time.
A Dad’s Lament opens with a father telling his son that he should not allow another child to pick on him and he should stand his ground. There are many kids that would prefer backing away from a fight and others who will handle the situation head on. Doug is a really level headed 16 year old teen that would prefer not fighting but his father seems to feel that giving it back to the teen that is picking on him is the only way to prove he’s not a wimp. Asking for help and hoping his parents can come up with a better solution he learns that what you hope for is not what you always get. His father seems to brow beat him and comes down on him and the end result will not be what anyone expects or wants. As Doug goes to the park and sits on a swing and laments in his own way to solve the problem is mother approaches his father with other solutions that he would not consider. When things heat up in his own mind the solution will change not only his life but that of the bully too? Read this story and find out what happens when a teen has nowhere to turn and the end result is a Father who will do more than just lament over the bad choices made.
The stories in this book teach many lessons that adults and parents can learn. Money is something that can cause people to do things that are not smart. Bullying in school is wrong and handling a fight with a fight equally as wrong and parents need to listen to their kids when they ask for help. Coaches need to know that playing on a team can be competitive but basically kids should be having fun. When the element of fun turns into the element of disgrace and fear find out what one wise young man does. An ending that will certainly bring chills down your spine and a father that will never be the same. Pressuring young children/teens into using their hands inside of their minds and intelligence to deal with a bullying can sometimes being catastrophic results.
A Drinker’s Lament is next as we meet a group of friends that are drinking in a local bar and concerned over one friend named Dylan that had too much. Leaving the bar he gets into his car and speeds down the freeway not really focused. Traveling at a high speed another car comes around and he winds up flipped over and the car bursts into flames. The following morning Dylan goes to check on his friend Marty to learn that he died in a crash the night before. Not really focused on what happened and hoping to learn more he questions his friends and they await Marty’s parents. But, what happens next will surprise you as Dylan handles the situation, learns more about the accident and someone notices his car and what they realize you will have to learn for yourself. Dylan’s lesson in life might be short lived and those that might discover the truth will have to decide how to deal with it. Will they figure it out? Read A Drinker’s Lament and find out that will be thinking about what and why?
When someone expresses grief for or about something they lament. In the first story the brother will lament what happens to someone he cared about and was always there for him. In this last story when they realize the truth many will deplore or lament the senseless act that caused a young man’s death and in the Dad’s lament the father laments his grievous act towards his son and the sorrow he expresses and regret will linger on with him forever. The next story is a Father’s Lament. Not everyone is cut out to do every job. But, Jake is 22 and seems to be floundering and his father comes down hard and wants him to become responsible and a man. Thinking about his many options and not really finding anything he decides to join the military. The branch of choice the National Guard and that is where the rest of the story begins. Training camp goes well and then his unit is called up. His father is concerned about the bills, Jake helping his family with their expenses and never realizes the gravity of his decision. Jake is sent overseas and what happens will definitely make a father think about what he asked his son to do and the choices that some young men make at their own expense. Just what will be this man’s final lament find out when you read this story.
A Friend’s Lament is truly a heartbreaking story that will give readers much pause for thought as we meet Esther and Lorraine two best friends. Lorraine lives alone in a neighborhood that Esther thinks is dangerous. Geraldine, Lorraine’s daughter agrees and together they try and convince her to move. But, no one realizes that she is happy there and her life with her late husband was there and all of the memories too. When Esther decides to present Lorraine with something she hopes will keep her safe she never expects the outcome that will teach many a long and hard lesson. What happens next will definitely bring tears to your eyes and the end result might not be what it seems or appears to be. One woman just wants to live her life where she wants another thought she was being a friend. Find out the end result when you read this story and decide who should be lamenting and why.
A Grandpa’s Lament follows and the story focuses on smoking and a young child who emulates him. The next is a Husband’s Lament focusing on a family who seems to go out of their way ignoring each other and not really caring about the needs of anyone but themselves. The father seems preoccupied with his job, the mother with her new focus on losing weight and her children into their own things. When the father requests his son turn down the music or else find out what the response is and find out what happens when parents do not pay attention to their children or each other. The next story focuses on teenage pregnancy and what happens when one young teen tries to talk to her mother who seems unyielding in many respects. Wanting to make her parents understand that she would like to be allowed to take birth control pills, Becky’s argument for the most part is on deaf ears. With a father who seems to understand her and a mother who rarely listens except to her own side, the end result is definitely not uncommon but with one twist. Some girls in order to please a boyfriend give in to their wishes and demands. Becky is not different and she and she alone suffers more than just the consequences of her actions. When her parents learn the truth what happens will definitely not endear you one of them and harden you to the cold facts that some parents need to lift the barriers and really listen to their children when they speak. This is a story that should teach parents and teens some very important lessons. As the book closes with A Sister’s Lament. Hannah and Mildred are sisters and live together. Mildred seems self-centered and Hannah lets her know it. What happens between them is not uncommon as they bicker, yell and scream and one sister goes about her business and the other eats a sandwich. The end result of this simple act will surprise the reader and the final outcome will leave one sister thinking about her last words before learning the truth.
Each story is unique unto itself and each teaches a simple lesson in life yet one that many never realize needs to be learned. Read Laments and hopefully you will come away with the lessons imparted by the author and learn from the mistakes of those that lived them.
Fran Lewis: Reviewer