Friday, 16 June 2017

The Hand-The Mirror of the Soul - Talma Brill

                I’ve always been interested in things that can supposedly predict the future, even if I don’t always believe in the predictions. We all want to know the good things about our future and hope nothing bad is predicted. When I was younger, a “palm reader” said my life line was very short so I needed to be very cautious about things. That was the end of palm reading for me. Then I saw this book, The Hand, written by Talma Brill, who has been a chirologist (hand reader) for over thirty years. This lady knows what she is talking about and manages to write a 432 page book about reading the hand and makes it all very interesting. The style of writing is one I found perfect for this type of book. There’s a lot of information and Ms. Brill sets the book up in an easy to read manner that makes it easy to retain the information that has been read. There are four parts to the book plus a forward. I usually skim the forward but in this case I recommend not skipping any of it.
The first thing I read that I found interesting was that the lines of your palm can change over time. The author writes about each line and the difference between the right and left hand. The information (and there is a lot of it) is fascinating. There are helpful illustrations throughout the book that help the reader to understand what the author is referring to in the information. For example, when talking about a square palm and the characteristics of a person having one, there is a picture so that the reader can identify exactly what that would look like. By the way, most of the information is dead on. A square hand (not including the fingers) means the person is rational and wants order in their life. That pretty much describes me to a T.
                The author also includes studies done on people with schizophrenia, suicidal tendencies, and psychiatric patients, among others, and what their hands look like in comparison with their mental health issues. It is extremely fascinating to read these studies and learn just how much can be told by looking at a person’s hand. At the end of the book is a list of recommended reading provided by the author that looks quite interesting.
I have to admit, I was a bit hesitant about reading such a large book about something I didn’t really believe in but this whole book was entertaining to read and filled with an incredible amount of information. It’s a wonderful read!
I read this on my ereader and it formatted perfectly. The cover is eye-catching and pertains very well to the book.

Thursday, 15 June 2017

The Digital Now - Roland Allnach

                I’m not someone who reads a lot of science fiction so I wasn’t sure about whether or not I would enjoy The Digital Now. The cover didn’t really entice me although it does resemble how most science fiction covers tend to look to me. However, I read a review comparing this book to the television series Westworld so I thought I’d give it a try. It took me a while to get used to the vernacular, and the style of writing made me wonder if this book was a part of a series where I should have started with book one in order to understand the dystopian world much better. I think, though, if someone is a regular reader of sci-fi they would understand the wording and hecticness of the writing. I did get used to the style and, even though it’s not a style I would normally enjoy, it does work well for this particular book. It is representative of the storyline itself where the characters never really know who is real and who is just a “wipe”, someone whose mind has been wiped by Central and reprogrammed to be whomever Central chooses for them to be.
                Carly Westing’s everyday consists of patrolling and policing the streets and murdering the occasional “cone” (a regular human being) as the need arises. In this dystopian world, cones are considered no higher than cockroaches. Carly begins to have flickering memories that make no sense to her and they lead to trouble because in this world, you don’t ever have a unique thought, only those that Central gives you. It is definitely a complicated story and, although it turned out to be very enjoyable, it wasn’t the easiest book to read. Again, this could have been because I am not familiar with the science fiction world. There are numerous exciting twists and none of the characters are at all predictable. Just when I thought I had someone figured out, the author threw another spanner into the works and I discovered something new about them. I didn’t really root for anyone, except maybe a bit for Noel, and I didn’t like Carly at all but that’s only because the author wrote about this dystopian world so well that the characters became a part of a place I would never want to exist in.
For someone who doesn’t usually enjoy science fiction, I really found myself invested in this book. I read it in digital format on my ereader and it formatted perfectly. As I said, the cover didn’t really entice me but it works for the science fiction genre

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Ralphy the Rabbit Finds Himself - David L. Wallace

                Ralphy the Rabbit Finds Himself is a children’s book meant for kids ages six to ten. It’s an adventure story about a little floppy eared rabbit named Ralphy who wants nothing more than to find a home and have somebody to love him. A little girl named Marta falls in love with him at the pet store and, against her parents’ better judgement, takes him home. The adventure starts when Oscar, a stray cat, comes to live at the home and turns out to be a bad seed that wants to be top pet.
                One of the hard things about reviewing a children’s book is that it is difficult to write about what sort of characters there are because the books are so short to read. Mr. Wallace manages to make all of the characters, in particularly the animals, very individual and also very realistic. It is very easy to compare them to everyday people. Ralphy is the outcast and feels out of place because of his floppy ears. Oscar Is the misunderstood rebel from the wrong side of the tracks who really just wants to be loved and accepted. Goldie, the gold fish, is the wise friend who tries to help Ralphy regain his place in the house after Ralphy makes a mistake and gets banished to his cage. All of the characters that are expected in a good book are here, only they are in the form of animals. The writing style is perfect for those starting to read chapter books. The vocabulary is appropriate for the age level intended and this makes a great starter book for young readers. There are some great moral lessons in the story as well as a cute little lesson about crossing the road. The ending is sweet and positive.
                I only have a couple of nitpicky issues with the book. There are a few editing mistakes where a word is left out which could throw young readers off. Also, it would be nice if there were more illustrations and those that are there be in colour. I think it would keep a child’s attention better. Overall, this is a well written book that I would gladly give to my young reader to enjoy.
                I read the digital version of this book and it formatted to my ereader well, including the illustrations. The cover is eye catching for young readers.

Thursday, 1 June 2017

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy - Lawrence Wallace

                Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is a self-help manual about how to use CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) to deal with anxiety, depression and some phobias. It’s often done with therapists but this book provides a way to do it at home, for those more comfortable in that setting, as well as being a way to touch up on what you’ve already learned at therapy. The book breaks down exactly what CBT is, how it works, and gives the seven main steps needed to do the therapy. It also gives an in-depth look at how to incorporate CBT with various religions or with non-believers, depending on how you feel. One of the parts I found interesting was a section about sin and what it is, how it affects us and how it ties in with CBT. This section is not based so much on religion but how sin can affect us. There is also a list of additional books that can be read for further information and help, if needed or interested. At the back of the book, there is a workbook that goes along with what is discussed in the book. If you read the digital version of the book, as I did, you can always print off the pages needed or set the workbook up on your own. I found this part to be particularly helpful because it gives the reader a little nudge to do the work that the author discusses in the book.
                I’ve had experience with CBT through a therapist and, to be honest, found it useless. There’s nothing like trying to work through your issues while the therapist subtly looks at her watch constantly. This book allowed me to sit down at my own leisure in a comfortable setting and start to work on CBT. The author writes in a simple and understandable way that makes it easy and interesting reading. He makes it clear that this is not an overnight process and not an easy exercise but it is doable. I liked the fact that the author comes across as likeable and not over my head. He called it achieving a harmony in your mind and that is so true. The workbook is very simple and it is explained throughout the book as to how to do it. There are a lot of helpful quotes from various sources that also provided a lot of insight.
                I read this on my ereader and it formatted very well. The cover was eye-catching and grabbed my attention. This is truly a worthwhile read! 

Friday, 26 May 2017

Survivor - Samantha K. Duke

                There are so many things about this book that should make me give it a rather poor review but the thing is, there are so many things I like about it, too. The story has all of the bones of a really good young adult novel. There’s romance, the supernatural, a bit of mystery, and some humour. Unfortunately, the humour often leaves the characters looking ridiculous and unrealistic. Even though this is a work of fiction, I still want to find some realism in the characters and their dialogue.

                Amy and her group of friends are the oddballs of their age group and are often the butt of jokes made by the cool kids. A new boy moves to the school and Amy falls head over heels for him. Max, however, starts missing time, having blackouts and some of the jocks that he has had run-ins with have disappeared or, worse, are found dead. Is Max behind these strange events or does the ghost that Amy sees have something to do with it? Amy, Max and her friends are determined to save their school mates from the same fate that has happened to their peers but they may end up dead themselves.

                I understand the idea that this is supposed to be a bit tongue-in-cheek but coming back to school the day after students go missing and some are murdered seems a bit unbelievable to me. Also, Amy is attacked in quite a nasty way but casually goes back to school the next day and doesn’t bother to inform the authorities. The dialogue is not always at its best either. One kid states he doesn’t want to go to jail because they don’t have Nintendo. I know today’s kids are fairly materialistic but really?

                Having listed all of these complaints about the book, I still have to say that I really liked the overall story. The ending is sweet and I loved the character of Bobby who is sad and tragic even as he tries to be menacing. Amy and Max are also well written characters and I’d love to see them in a future book. This book has every bit of potential to be a great young adult novel and Ms. Duke has a lot of talent once the wrinkles get ironed out.

                I read the digital version of this book and it formatted well, although there were a few minor editing mistakes. The cover has significance to events in the book and pertains well to the young adult genre. 

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Escape to Death - Stephen Perkins

                It all starts with the murder of a young prostitute named Clover who is sacrificed by witches. Her ghost is set on returning to human form so she can get revenge on those who have killed her and those that helped to cover the crime up. Moving back and forth between the worlds of showbiz, law enforcement and the highest political office in the United States, Escape to Death is a book all about getting to the top by any means necessary and not caring who you step on (or kill) along the way. Add in some witchcraft and a bit of the supernatural and this really should have been a fast paced and entertaining book.  Instead, I spent most of the time trying to stay interested and had to stop myself from putting it down and not picking it up again. Don’t get me wrong, there are some good points to the book and maybe with a little bit of character development, a tweak to the storyline and some work on the editing, this could be a much better read. There are a lot of characters but none are likeable enough for me to actually care about remembering who any of them are so it got a little bit confusing. If even a couple of the main ones were a little more fleshed out then maybe I would have actually remembered them. The dialogue was a fairly big problem for me because most of it was not believable. For example, if two cops made as many derogatory comments about individuals, in a professional setting, as what was written in the book, they wouldn’t be on the job. It was all very “cheesy” and had a B-movie vibe to it. Also, the characters were often referred to by either their first names or their last names but not consistently so I was always confused as to who was being referred to or who was talking. I felt like I needed a spreadsheet to keep track of everything and that’s because the book didn’t keep me interested.
                The book starts with the sacrificial murder of Clover and I thought I would be diving into a fantastic book. Unfortunately, Clover’s ghost is rarely mentioned for the first chunk of the book. More of her would have really lent to the supernatural aspect of the story. Some of the scenes were quite humorous in their outlandishness however I don’t think they were meant to be taken that way. One scene in particular is a sex scene involving Vasquez that is just strange and made me laugh although I don’t think that was what the author intended for a reader to do.
                All in all, the idea for the book is a good one but it just didn’t work on paper. The cover is interesting but doesn’t really pertain a whole lot to the story. I read the digital version and it formatted well to my ereader.