Tuesday, April 26, 2011
Title: In Dreams
Author: Deanna Lee Warren
Publisher: Publish America
Release Date: 2007
Amazon link : http://www.amazon.com
Genre: (and sub-genre) Fiction, Relationships, Belief Systems, Personal Choices, Addictions, Abuse
In Dreams by Deanna Lee Warren
Predictability for some is a hindrance or mundane when it comes to fully appreciating and enjoying a story line. If you feel comfortable reading stories that follow a pattern of events…then this is the story for you. In this day of uncertainty and instability sometimes resting with a story that is new but familiar is reassuring. This story line is not over the top with a formulaic blueprint but it is calculated.
Do not confuse predictability with dull or mind numbing quite the contrary. For those who wish to read a story at the end of long hard day that contains romance, retribution and personal struggles. The story line does have it peaks and valleys and a few left turns but left turns use a signal and obey the green arrow. The comfort the reader knows is that the ending though not picture perfect will have minimal imperfections and this is one of the books strong draws.
This story is easily accessible. The characters are recognizable and even though some are meant to be harsh they are safe because we are able to foresee their behavior. The reader is never caught off guard by the actions of the characters. The characters are able to live through difficult and emotionally draining heartaches because we know the territory and we can foretell what is coming.
Libby, the main character, was adopted at the age of four and is a member of a multicultural family. By outward appearances all is first-rate with her and her family. But as the story unfolds the flawless handsome boyfriend Greg Garrison becomes dark and foreboding. Libby is faced with difficult decisions concerning love, loyalty and life. She meets Donovan Wade and they enter into a relationship that leads to unearthing brutal truths.
The actions of the characters are foreseeable and inevitable even as the story twists and turns. But as I said, it is the romance and the life struggles that captures the reader’s heart. The appeal of this story is not its volatility, impulsiveness or arbitrary nature. The allure of this piece of fiction is the charm of prophesy.
Readers read for a multitude of reasons and sometimes all we want to read is a story we already know the ending. We want to experience the struggles and the difficulties because we know in the end we will survive and be better for the experience. In Dreams by Deanna Lee Warren is that uplifting read.
Wednesday, April 20, 2011
Title: Sorrowed Souls
Author: Brenda Youngerman
Publisher: Eloquent Books
Release Date: 2009
Amazon link : here
Genre: (and sub-genre) Fiction, Relationships, Belief Systems, Personal Choices, Addictions
Sorrowed Souls by Brenda Youngerman
William Blake in his simple yet provocative statement concerning personal enlightenment encapsulates the general theme of the story, “…taking full responsibility for your own life.” From the beginning page the characters are slammed against the reality of losing absolutely everything in a split second. Their very own emotions become a weapon to be used against them on a daily basis.
Interested in severe life struggles - this story and characters will appeal to your sense of perseverance and conquest. The life learning lessons though frayed and unraveling do not ever disintegrate into nothingness. The souls of the characters become a tapestry of interwoven threads of past, present and future.
The story drives the characters. Brenda Youngerman in the footsteps of Leslie Marmon Silko uses a similar sense of time and space as a literary device and in turn this manner also defines characters in order to propel forward the story. This type of approach allows for the intriguing idea that no one character is more important than another because the emotionalism of the character is a righteous struggle to preserve sanity and dignity of the story. The struggle is fodder for a sanguine ending for an emotionally draining book.
Youngerman constantly puts forth throughout the story the concept everyone deserves a second chance plus one more chance. Never give up is an anthem screamed by each character though some scream louder than others. The characters are heavily in despair yet this pessimistic presence does not stop a few who are willing to extend a hand of help and comfort. The golden rule to treat others as you wish to be treated is practiced as well as the platinum rule to treat people the way they deserve even if they do not believe they deserve to be treated with love, care and value.
Faceless people are given significance, a name, food and a place to live. There are callous and ruthless consequences for the choices made by the characters. The characters for the most part will admit it was their choice to take the purposeful destructive walk to reach the end of their path. Their traveling was not a mishap or mistake.
Numerous times the characters see no way out. For example, the motherhood role is vital for the story. At least two of the characters express how poorly their own mothers were at showing love and affection. Knowing and realizing this they in turn mother their children in the same merciless fashion and do not even question why the same cycle continues. The tragedy they perpetuate makes them powerless to change completely. The tapestry is untangling and the loose ends are damaged but the remaining fabric is intact – there still is a chance.
The frequency surrounding the characters is not healthy. Knowledge does not initiate action for the characters it is the passion that influences the action to unleash their personal transformation. Once the characters are able to live in the present and to accept their own soul the more productive they seem to become. The innocence is a high commodity and it is needed to see the joy of a world that has long lost its sheen.
The ending of the story demonstrates the inspiration of one has the ability to sway others and that is exactly how Youngerman halts the story. The characters now tell the story instead of allowing the story to define them.
Sunday, March 6, 2011
Title: Limitless Mind
Author: Russell Targ
Publisher: New World Library
Release Date: 2004
Amazon link : http://www.amazon.com
Genre: (and sub-genre) Remote Viewing, Psychic Awareness, Self Awareness, Transformation,Distance Healing, Healing Prayer
Age Group: Adult
This is not a book for those who are looking for a step by step self improvement or how to influence others while gaining personal power. This book is a scientific examination of personal enlightenment and self awareness. But even more importantly it is also a book on how to attain a pathway of self awareness we innately possess but daily obstruct.
Targ is a scientist first and foremost. Unfortunately not until very end of the book does he allow his scientist facade to slowly drop and his compassionate side bubbles to the surface when he shares the experiences of his daughter Elizabeth Targ. She died from cancer close to the time he wrote this book.
This book has enormous amounts of information concerning physics. Targ’s background includes working in traditional aviation but he left this structured working environment to pursue a very nontraditional path which is remote reviewing and extrasensory perception. In 1972 he co-founded with Dr. Hal Puthoff the Stanford Research Institute program to investigate remote viewing and other psychic phenomena. His educational as well as his traditional employment credentials are impeccable.
He states, “As our personal knowledge egos are diminished by advances in scientific knowledge, however, our concept of who we are is greatly enhanced.”
His introduces the idea of Dzogchen (great perfection). He shares that with the understanding of trading fear and suffering of contemporary conditioned awareness for peace and freedom -- we may be able to obtain a timeless existence. The expanded awareness is not about self improvement it is about self realizing. He continually weaves and unravels material from the east and mysticism in the book.
Targ throughout the book says all people have psychic abilities. Once the person discovers who they really are then the journey begins. Remote viewing is just one of the ways to investigate how to expand your abilities. Through this discovery the person will then find the process of the flow of loving awareness. The underlying theme of the book in Targ’s words simply is “…loving awareness is available to us whenever we are quiet and peaceful.”
Targ is adamant that psychic abilities are natural and may be obtained by anyone who is of a mind to practice. He documents numerous experiments and studies. For example, with remote viewing the viewer was able to give a description prior to the site being chosen. Of course, the majority of the studies and experiments were conducted with experienced viewers. Targ does not cover up the fact he used mostly gifted or practiced viewers and he seemed to focus primarily on their more positive and interesting results.
"Limitless Mind," describes the content of the book and the feeling produced as well. The conclusions he reaches seem obvious and scientific. Targ pulls the reader along the pathway explaining how the ultimate goal for each human being is within reach. That each person has the innate PSI ability arrive at his or her goal.
He refers to many people two of which who are very well known and accessible - Edgar Cayce and The Dali Lama. Both of these men also were healers. One of the areas that I found very intriguing was the concept of Distant Healing. Targ explores the diverse ways healing can take place simply with the efforts of the mind.
Targ does give a step by step process for remote viewing but it is the practice that will enable the person to accomplish the ability. The book gave me an abundance of ideas and concepts to sift through. I very much enjoyed the scientific approach to an area of my life that did not have this sense of explanation.
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Author: Selena Montgomery
Publisher: Harper Collins Publishers
Release Date: April 2009
Genre: (and sub-genre) mystery / romance / detective
Age Group: adult
An ace female poker player, Fin Borders, is an arrogant, selfish and insecure pain in the butt. Her tough exterior is only a paper tiger façade because of her parents neglect and abandonment has never left her soul. Though, when it comes to her adopted family and personal honor she finds within herself the power to change. On a moment’s notice she is called away from her gallivanting and cavorting around the world to help Mrs. Eliza Farady. Mrs. Farady rescued Fin Borders when Fin was a child. Mrs. Farady made a vow to never give up on this wild child. The willingness of Fin Borders to change produces a ripple effect that in turn creates a family bond and a romantic commitment that she never believed she would be able to have in her life time.
Fin Borders returning to her past in Georgia brings with it an emotional joy and pain as well as the real possibility of death. Her two childhood friends Julia Warner (doctor) and Kelly Jameson (lawyer) who were also rescued by Mrs. Farady are loyal and devoted to Fin. Kelly and Julia both have careers that contribute to society and Fin is ever envious of their sense of belonging and purpose. These three characters are built as believable. The small talk and girl cat fights are realistic and honest in feeling. The only somewhat stretch of character construction is that all three women are the best in their careers. But then, who is to say that three women who are friends cannot be at the epitome of their career?
The mystery and suspense is created by the poker playing and drug trafficking of a ring of thugs going by the name of Stark. The romance filters in by way of the good guys who happen to be law enforcement. Fin Borders is immediately attracted to Caleb Matthews assistant district attorney / undercover FBI agent. Mathews law enforcement character is the predicable handsome, brooding and lonely soul. Then again, this predictability works because the attraction and tensions between Fin Borders and Caleb Mathews is intriguing. The routine or expected character actions are present but seem to only linger as an annoying afterthought.
This story is romantic with just enough danger tossed in to make the pot boil. If you appreciate usual or diverse characterization this story is not your cup of tea. But if romance, good guys versus bad guy and female heroines are of interest to you then defiantly this story has that recipe.
Title: The Ex Mrs. Hedgefund
Author: Jill Kargman
Release Date: April 2009
Genre: (and sub-genre) fiction / humor / women rebuilding life after divorce
Age Group: Adult
As Fitzgerald once said, the rich are different from the poor – he could not be more spot on than with this novel by Jill Kargman. Kargman gives a valiant attempt at trying to show that even rich people have feelings. The story is shown through the eyes of Holly Talbot soon to become the Ex- Mrs. Hedgefund. Holly wants us to believe that she is different from all the other spoiled, arrogant and condescending hedgefund wives. Holly Talbot wants us to believe she really has a pure non capitalist soul and she will still wears, at times, non designer clothing.
The story is a predictable saga of girl meets rich boy. A quick marriage, a baby, falling in love with money and baby and finally the gun fight at OK Corral. Divorce happens because - Holly has become the neurotic stay at home wife/mother and Tim has become the quintessential - I am interested in a younger version of my wife. Kargman brings no new spark to this age old story except the exorbitant spending excesses of the current hedgefund families.
Holly Talbot is self absorbed, whiny and insecure. Kargman places Holly in numerous situations some comedic and one extremely dangerous. It is obvious Kargman is attempting to connect with all women who have experienced the pain of divorce. Holly explores the feelings of losing friends, single parenting, extreme loneliness and finally the fear of entering the dating scene. But this falls short because Holly never experiences any true life change. She still lives in her cozy huge apartment, her young son is at the same private school and she does not need to work.
Though, her friend and ex-sister-in-law helps her to find employment. Holly lands a job that is a little more than three days a week and requires her to listen to music and write reviews for the hottest up and coming artists. Tough gig for a rich ex-hedgefund wife.
The story ends with Holly’s ex-sister-in-law finding the man of her dreams. Holly finds the man of her dreams. Oh, and did I forget to mention that both men are wealthier than the first husbands and of course just all around better guys.
Jill Kargman writes a fine story. It’s just that this story has been told many times before. This story takes place in the lives of the richest of the rich. But then, it’s very difficult to identify with and have empathy for people who pay a half a million dollars to have a 10 second spot as a corpse on the TV series Law & Order. But then again, that would sum up the type of people that Kargman is writing about – very rich and very emotionally dead.