Monday, April 28, 2008

Review - West of 16W by Dr. Mark Slomiany

Carrying only what fits in his rucksack, 27-year-old Mark buys a bus pass and travels across America in search of answers to life's questions.

Having just finished a doctorate in biology, Mark knows his parents are proud, yet filled with unspoken expectations about his future. He is confused about his personal life, but also about whether pursuing the profession he is now prepared for, or following his longing to write novels will be more fulfilling. He decides the answers can be found on a solo trip west of NJ and that now is a good time to travel.

Mark Slomiany's passion for Wiliam Carlos William's poetry nd Jack Kerouac's novels are apparent when reading West of 16W. The narrative reads more like poetry than prose with its verboses and descritive sentences. Slomiany's use of first person keeps the reader engaged as if in personal conversation. A novel touted to be for Generation X post 9/11 is applicable to all adults who realize life may not be all about the money.

The author grew up in Rutherford, NJ. He is a graduate of Washington and Lee University and the Medical University of South Carolin. He is an assistant professor at the state's medical university in Charleston. West of 16W is his first novel.

West of 16W is a good read for those interested in some descriptive adventures of travelling America by bus. One must also enjoy re-reading sentences for clarity.

Title: West of 16W
Author: Mark Slomiany
Publiser: Outskirts Press, Inc.
ISBN: 978-1-4327-0311-0
Pages: 404
Price: $12.95

Reviewed for Allbooks Review

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Review - The Truth (I'm a girl, I'm smart and I know everything) by Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein

The Truth (I’m a girl, I’m smart and I know everything)
Written by: Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein
Readers 9-12
Rated: Excellent (*****)
Review by: Lisa Haselton

The Truth is a glimpse into the diary and thoughts of a girl who is ten at the start of the story. We follow her through two school years and get a candid look at a ‘tween’s perspective of life.
Everyone can remember feeling that we knew more than our parents when we were kids.

In The Truth, the narrator gives us her opinion on falling in love, the damage done when parents argue, and her fears about getting older. She does so in a sincere and straightforward matter. She makes a list of truths that she wants to remember as she gets older because she fears aging has a negative effect. She knows adults must know the truths but that they somehow forgot, for how else can they possibly accept yelling at each other.

The unique voice along with the diary entry format make the book a quick read. It has an educational value which should be shared with all young girls and parents. The entries are direct and honest. The reader feels privy to the secret diary of the girl whose writing is personal, accessible. The observations made within the diary follow a natural progression of personal growth, which makes it feel more like non-fiction than fiction.

Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein is the originator of The Enchanted Self(R). She has been a positive psychologist in private practice and licensed in the states of New Jersey and Massachusetts since 1981. She is currently in private practice in Long Branch, New Jersey with her husband, Dr. Russell M. Holstein.

I highly recommend reading The Truth. It is great for women of any age, and can definitely be appreciated by tweens and teens. It’s interesting to have memories of the tween years conjured up that are a mixture of enjoyable and hard to deal with.

Title: The Truth (I’m a girl, I’m smart and I know everything)
Author: Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein
Publisher: Enchanted Self Press
ISBN: 978-09798952-0-3
Pages: 96
Price: $6.95

Friday, April 18, 2008

Review - Voice of Conscience by Behcet Kaya

(uploaded new cover 10/1/09, pricing, and ISBN after book's re-release)

Voice of Conscience
Written by: Behcet Kaya

Rated: Good (***)

Ramzi Ozcomert Junior is twelve. Being invited on the annual logging trip with his father means he is a step closer to manhood. Ramzi’s determination to prove his strength teaches him endurance. His father’s wisdom teaches him much more.

amzi’s sister, Erin, has their father’s support in marrying the man she loves instead of following tradition. Family and friends celebrate the nuptials according to custom. The wedding day is at hand and tainted by threats from the snubbed Kocdag family. As Ramzi’s entire life changes, he must rely on the knowledge he gained from his father to make sense of his life and aid him in survival. His travels introduce him to good, bad and devious people, and he quickly realizes he has the intelligence and strength to move on.

Behcet Kaya’s descriptive writing pulls the reader into the start of the story. The Turkish village comes alive and the reader is given a glimpse of beliefs and customs inherent for the times. The writing and tone shift as the story progresses and Ramzi ages. Philosophical narrative replaces dialogue. The point of view shifts to show the reader a large overall picture instead of a slice of life.

At sixteen, Behcet Kaya left his small Turkish village for England where he finished high school and pursued mechanical engineering. He became a US citizen in 1985. He and his wife currently live in southern California. Voice of Conscience is his first novel.

Voice of Conscience is a good read for historical appreciation of how culture and beliefs may affect personal choices; however, one must be able to overlook editorial issues.

Title: Voice of Conscience
Author: Behcet Kaya
Publisher: AuthorHouse
ISBN: 978-1449014537
Pages: 428
Price: $22.99

Reviewed for Allbooks Review

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Review - The Wildcat's Victory by Christopher Hoare

The Wildcat’s Victory
Written by: Christopher Hoare
Science fiction / Fiction / Time travel
Rated: Very Good (****)
Review by: Lisa Haselton

Gisel Matah is back! Still in her early 20s and now a Major, she’s still an Iskander operative to be reckoned with. Her hands are full with balancing a love life, dealing with an operative’s murder, and preparing soldiers for battle.

The Iskanders have an alliance with the Felgers, a Gaian merchant and banker family. Yet there are still areas where the trust wanes. Gisel’s engagement to Yohan Felger hasn’t helped matters. Each has to balance duty to their people with their desire to be honest with each other. The challenges they face on a daily basis test their limits. How can she fully trust Yohan, when he’s loyal to the Baron who has yet to accept her? What drew Yohan to Gisel is now the same thing he has the hardest time accepting, especially when her newest assignment has her directly reporting to her former lover.

Life on Gaia has improved and progress is being made, but with the murder of an undercover operative and a radical movement that needs tempering, Gisel is not bored. In addition, she is asked to command a cavalry to support the rear of a battle line which has recently lost its commander. She hesitates to accept, but is pulled into the role and quickly learns the challenges ahead of her. A sadistic Skathian prince uses the battlefield for his own enjoyment and strives to learn how to defeat both sides in order to obtain total control.

The story is engaging and intriguing. I liken it to an intense chess match. It’s interesting to see how actions cause reactions and know that there is a third party lingering on the sidelines about to blow all the strategies off the board. Gisel trains her young cavalry men as best she can with the limited time they have. At the climax, their lives hang on her quick thinking, negotiating skills and ability to remain calm under pressure.

Christopher Hoare’s second novel, The Wildcat’s Victory, picks up eighteen months after Deadly Enterprise. The strong female protagonist, Gisel, is solid and well-crafted. The author manages to keep the character’s voice true to a young female officer with a lot of responsibility in a male-dominated field. She comes off feminine yet also a strong warrior. The tight writing and focused attention to detail keeps the reader engaged.

I recommend reading The Wildcat’s Victory, especially if you are a strategist, chess player, or war enthusiast. The battle scenes are succinct, yet detailed enough to appreciate a commander’s skill needed for success. The pacing is quite in tune with the scenes so the reader feels part of the action, whether it’s calm or full of motion.

Title: The Wildcat’s Victory
Author: Christopher Hoare
Publisher: Double Dragon Publishing
ISBN: 978-1-55404-539-6
Pages: 320
Price: $16.99

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

4/23/08 - Book Tour Stop for Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein

Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein is on a Virtual Book Tour this month and she'll be stopping by here on the 23rd!

Her book, The Truth (I’m a girl, I’m smart and I know everything!) is an educational and fun read.

Here is a synopsis:

Every tween today faces social issues, questions about their parents’ relationships, gossip and crushes. In response to the crises young girls face today, positive psychologist Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein has written girls, and their moms, The Truth (I’m a girl, I’m smart and I know everything!) (Enchanted Self Press, Feb. 2008).

The Truth for young girls is that it’s OK to be unique individuals, have fun and delight in the wisdom of being young. Behind this fictional diary written by a young girl, are psychological messages about happiness for both daughters and mothers.

After reading The Truth it will be a perfect moment to discuss so many timely subjects, such as:
*Challenging behaviors, and issues such as being a victim of teasing, gossiping, the family relocating or parents fighting
*At what point parents should get involved if their child is being teased or not understood
*How technology can affect a tweens social life, and on the other hand how her talents can be nurtured and encouraged during these years
*What are the best ways to stay close to your tween
*The real emotions that girls struggle with, such as feeling not understood or having a serious crush on someone

Dr. Holstein merged her years of expertise as a classroom teacher, school psychologist, case study researcher and psychologist in private practice, and created this charming, wise and topically timely diary written by a girl. There are even discussion questions at the back of the book.

Along the likes of the candor of a Judy Blume book, this fun diary-format paperback gives girls 8-14 years old the knowledge they are not alone, while reminding mothers what it was like to be this critical age. The book is a win-win for girls and their moms, as better communication skills, honesty and fun are encouraged.