#BookReview: The Gift of Our Wounds: A Sikh and a Former White Supremacist Find Forgiveness after Hate by Arno Michaelis, Pardeep Kaleka @mylifeafterhate @PardeepKaleka @serve2unite ‏ @NetGalley ‏#TheGiftOfOurWounds

What does hate look like?  Hate looks like the bullet hole in the door frame leading into the prayer room at the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin—a vestige of the carnage that took place there on August 5, 2012, when a troubled man with a distorted view of what America should look like executed peaceful people inside.

Wow!  This book filled me with so many emotions.  I felt horror, anger, grief, disbelief, enlightenment, and hope all at the same time.  The story is not just about the horrible incident that happened on August 5, 2012, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, but about two unlikely men who came together to find answers, to find forgiveness, and to find ways to prevent this from happening again.

Pardeep Singh Kaleka’s father was one of the 6 victims who died at the Sikh Temple that day.  As a former policeman and as a teacher of at-risk kids he thought he had seen it all, but he was struggling to understand why someone would want to walk into a temple and gun down innocent men, women, and children.  So, to find some answers,  Pardeep met with Arno Michaelis, a former white supremacist who was one of the “founders of the same group that Pardeep’s father’s killer belonged to”. Continue reading “#BookReview: The Gift of Our Wounds: A Sikh and a Former White Supremacist Find Forgiveness after Hate by Arno Michaelis, Pardeep Kaleka @mylifeafterhate @PardeepKaleka @serve2unite ‏ @NetGalley ‏#TheGiftOfOurWounds”

#BookReview: A Dangerous Woman – The Life of Florence Gould by Susan Ronald @susanron @StMartinsPress

Florence understood instinctively that beauty, as well as money, was power; and she had both in abundance.

Florence Gould was an intelligent, conniving, self-centered, savvy business woman, but most of all she was a survivor.  She survived the San Francisco earthquake and fire as a child, a major flood in France, World War I and World War II.  Her survival skills came into play again with her questionable connections with top officials of The Third Reich which was a contention with FBI Director, J. Edgar Hoover, after the war.  Hoover tried everything to get her convicted for aiding and abetting the enemy to no avail.  She was definitely a force to be reckoned with.

Her open marriage to a very wealthy and shrewd American multimillionaire, Frank Gould, gave her the opportunities she needed to become an independent wealthy woman in her own right by investing in real estate and art, though obtained under dubious conditions.  It’s known that many of her art purchases were bought from collections taken by the Nazis from French Jews.  Though rumors said she was an anti-Semite, Ronald supposes that Florence didn’t care one way or another.  She preferred to have fun rather than worry about “political rumblings”, and being the self-serving woman she was, she chose to help both sides when it suited her. Continue reading “#BookReview: A Dangerous Woman – The Life of Florence Gould by Susan Ronald @susanron @StMartinsPress”

#BookReview: Permanent Happiness: The Only Way to Find Peace, Joy and your Life-Given Purpose by Iyabo Ojikutu @iyabomdauthor

35220706Peace is permanent happiness.

Dr. Ojikutu’s guide advises us that we have two lines: our spiritual  line and our physical line, and we have to simultaneously nourish them in order to achieve our goals of peace and permanent happiness.  She goes on to describe ways to balance our lines and to help balance our children’s lives as well.  For example, stop holding onto negative things and love others by being patient and using self-control.

Continue reading “#BookReview: Permanent Happiness: The Only Way to Find Peace, Joy and your Life-Given Purpose by Iyabo Ojikutu @iyabomdauthor”

#BookReview: STUFF: The Fortunes, Foibles, and Fiascos of Those Who Sought to Understand Matter by George Graybill @dgraybill8

415U+MMQi6LWhat is stuff made of?

Mr. Graybill gives a humorous, easy-to-follow,  history lesson in the study of matter.  He includes an extensive vocabulary of science terms from various theories, elements, and compounds to the explanation of wave-particle duality, quantum mechanics, and the Bohr model.

There are also profiles of various philosophers and scientists including Hermes Trismegistus, Galileo Galilei, Isaac Newton, Albert Einstein, and Dmitri Mendeleev and their noted scientific discoveries.

One will find answers to who discovered the element gallium (Ga), who created the periodic table, who had a crater on the Moon named after him, and what scientist lived with two wives?

Continue reading “#BookReview: STUFF: The Fortunes, Foibles, and Fiascos of Those Who Sought to Understand Matter by George Graybill @dgraybill8”

Book Review: Who Knew? Questions That Will Make You Think Again by Sarah Herman (9781684120475)

61Ykilnf9cLIf you want to be the life of the party, this is your book. You can fill your brain with as much “useless knowledge” (my affectionate moniker) as you can fit and impress people with how fast a sand dune can move, explain what watermelon snow is, and give in morbid detail why a barbershop pole is red and white.

A fun book with questions about weather and climate to film and theater. It also contains short quizzes at the end of each chapter (with answers in the back) to see how much you are retaining. My partner and I are always trying to one up each other on interesting facts and I can thankfully say this book has increased my odds of drawing and maintaining a crowd longer.  🙂

Thank you to Sarah Herman, Portable Press and NetGalley for giving me the opportunity to review this book!

Book Review: Violated-Exposing Rape at Baylor University Amid College Football’s Sexual Assault Crisis by Paula Lavigne and Mark Schlabach (9781478974086)

cover117931-mediumAccording to national statistics, at least one in five college women experience some type of sexual assault. 

Paula Lavigne and Mark Schlabach are ESPN reporters who have done a comprehensive investigation into injustices and cover ups of a prominent Christian college, Baylor University, in Waco, Texas.

The book contains many stories of Baylor female students who reported sexual assaults by athletes to their university over a period of several years which went unanswered until the administration had to confront the realities happening on its campus.  Not only did the university ignore the victims’ cries, but the city police department was inconsistent in their investigations and withheld police reports involving students and student athletes.  One case included five victim reports involving the same male football player, a serial rapist.  Once this sexual assault case came out, other cases (old and new) started surfacing.

Continue reading “Book Review: Violated-Exposing Rape at Baylor University Amid College Football’s Sexual Assault Crisis by Paula Lavigne and Mark Schlabach (9781478974086)”

Book Review: Way of the Wolf: Straight Line Selling- Master the Art of Persuasion, Influence, and Success by Jordan Belfort (Kindle book)

51pSCI+uD8L._SY346_Bestselling author of “The Wolf of Wall Street”, Jordan Belfort, shares step-by-step instructions on using his very successful Straight Line System for any business, industry and even your personal life.  He notes that you do not have to be in sales to use this system.  You can use it from selling your great qualities in a job interview to selling anyone on a great idea.

He teaches one how to use the Three Tens to influence a customer.  He discusses the five core elements of the Straight Line System and notes the three things that “absolutely must come across in the first four seconds of an encounter with a customer”.  There are many other great factors to consider of which he includes examples and links to his website.

Continue reading “Book Review: Way of the Wolf: Straight Line Selling- Master the Art of Persuasion, Influence, and Success by Jordan Belfort (Kindle book)”

Book Review: The Wedding Vows Chapbook: Sample Wedding Vows and Inspiration by Katharine Coggeshall (9781521361719)

51L-5mEOu2L._SX385_BO1,204,203,200_Planning a wedding these days is not easy and writing your wedding vows can be a daunting task.  Ms. Coggeshall makes that task much easier by providing romantic vows, Christian vows and bonuses such as a list of inspirational words and questions and tips on writing your own vows.

I believe there is a vow for everyone in this book whether one chooses something the author has already written, or one uses the words she offers as a basis for one’s own personal vows. The photos provided are beautiful and give that extra touch needed for this book.  A very beautiful book that would be a wonderful gift for a bridal shower.

For more information about the author and her books go to her Amazon page.

Thank you to Ms. Coggeshall for giving me the opportunity to review her book.



Book Review: Silver Hair: Say Goodbye to the Dye and Let Your Natural Light Shine: A Handbook by Lorraine Massey (Author), Michele Bender (Contributor) 9780761189299

61T+VUlg-ZL._SX410_BO1,204,203,200_Silver is the new black, blonde and brown… From the author of Curly Girl, Silver Hair,comes a guide to letting your hair go silver.  Massey, a hairstylist for three decades, includes testimonials and pictures from herself and from women of various ages who decided to bite the bullet and let their hair go natural.  Her message to those who want do it is to “embrace your natural hair and do it for you and no one else”.  One myth is that silver hair will age you or look unprofessional.  She says that as long as you take care of your hair and yourself you will look great.  In fact, she has many women who go silver who never go back to dying their hair again.  She also suggests some hair products and home remedies to make that transition easier from dyed to silver and to keep your hair in good condition.

Continue reading “Book Review: Silver Hair: Say Goodbye to the Dye and Let Your Natural Light Shine: A Handbook by Lorraine Massey (Author), Michele Bender (Contributor) 9780761189299”

Book review Scapegoat: A Flight Crews Journey from Heroes to Villains to Redemption by Emilio Corsetti III (9780997242119)

Scapegoat bookThis is a clear case of negligence.  After 3 years of interviews and research, the author tells the true story of Flight TWA 841 which almost had a near fatal crash on April 4, 1979.  After reading the pilots’ details of the event, the interviews of the pilots by FAA agents and others, the false allegations picked up by the media, and the investigation into the near crash, the biased investigators and review board found fault with the pilots.

After reviewing the documents that Corsetti provided in his book, the negligence would fall on Boeing, TWA and the media instead of the pilots.  After 37 years and finding the same mechanical flaws in other flights with fatal crashes, the board still stands with their decision against the pilots even though they have improved the flaws that almost caused Flight TWA 841 to crash.

An engaging read about pilots hoping to clear their names from an event where they should have gone down in history as heroes.  Instead, they are scapegoats for Boeing, and TWA to some extent, to hide a mechanical flaw that causes fatal crashes after the 1979 event so they can continue to make billions of dollars and save their reputation.

Book review: Learn French with Stories for Beginners Volume 2 by Frederic Bibard (eBook w/MP3 audiofiles)

THUMBNAIL_IMAGEI took two years of French in high school 30+ years ago and wanted to brush up on it for a trip to Quebec, Canada, this summer. After reading Mr. Bibard’s book, I found it easy and practical to use and also found the audio files to be especially helpful.

I was able to pick up the language again after so many years of not using it by using the short stories and new vocabulary words highlighted in each of them. I especially found the audio files to be most helpful since I will be speaking more with people face to face instead of reading the written word. The audio files were easy to download from both my PC and my Amazon Android App and the files were very clear and audible.

If that wasn’t enough, I also found a link (http://www.talkinfrench.com/french-free-package) to a free French learning package in my eBook that has a collection of free resources that will help me learn French must faster, and Mr. Bibard also has a Facebook page at http://facebook.com/talkinfrench with tips and information about interesting French topics such as French cuisine and of course, more new French vocabulary words.

In all, I hope to become more fluent in French before I leave for Canada in late July and I think this tool will assist me significantly in that goal.

Book review: It Was Me All Along by Andie Mitchell (9780770433246)

20484545All of us have something about our childhood that stands out and Andie Mitchell is no exception.  Food was her comfort and she found out at the age of 13 (weighing in at 200 lbs) that if she kept eating the way she had been, she would weigh close to 300 lbs by the time she was 20.  This is her journey of how she changed her life by losing the weight and making better choices to become a productive member of society.

Book review: With or Without You by Domenica Ruta (9780679645023) E-book

15998223“I will not become my mother.”

These were famous last words from Domenica (Nikki) Ruta. It was touch and go for a while.

Nikki’s mom, Kathi, was a drug addict who wanted her daughter to have more than she did. This book is not only about Nikki’s fight to try and find a “normal” life, but it is also a story of Kathi who truly loves her daughter and will fight tooth and nail to find the money to put her daughter in a private school and then on to college.

Your emotions are all over the place with this story. One minute you are laughing, the next you are crying and then you are angry. The ups and downs of Nikki’s life are like a roller coaster and when she finally realizes she needs to change or die, you breathe a sigh of relief.  This is a remarkable memoir that you won’t want to put down.

Thank you to Ms. Ruta, Random House Publishing Group and NetGalley for giving me the opportunity to review this book.

Book review: Cat Sayings: Wit & Wisdom from the Whiskered Ones by Bradford G. Wheler (9780982253847)

0982253842.01._SX140_SY224_SCLZZZZZZZ_This book is part of BookCollaborative.com’s Wit & Wisdom series which “provides artists with a platform through which they can gain exposure and recognition”.  The book contains a majority of oil paintings, watercolor paintings and photographs of cats, both domestic and wild, along with cat and animal quotes from Winston Churchill to Charles Dickens.  Mr. Wheler adds biographies at the back of the book for all of the artists and photographers whose art is featured in the book.

The illustrations and photographs are thoughtful, colorful and fun and I give Mr. Bradford much credit for helping new artists show their work.  Very well done and I hope to check out his other books at www.BookCollaborative.com.

Thank you to Mr. Wheler for giving me the opportunity to review his book.

Book review: Uncle John’s Fully Loaded 25th Anniversary Bathroom Reader (9781607105626) E-book

The first time I picked up an Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader was about 20 years ago when I was at a gift shop on vacation.  The book was a hoot and an eye opener and I had never learned so many fun facts in all of my life.  I thought to myself, “What fun it would be to find all those facts and make a book out of it” and they have been making them for 25 years.  Wow!

There is so much information in this 600+ page edition from great discoveries “The Origin of DNA Testing” which helped start “The Innocence Project” to crazy inventions of “High-Tech Underwear” using NASA technology.  There are stories of “Dumb Crooks” like the one in Portland, Oregon, who passed around neighborhood fliers saying “Heroin for Sale”, and then there are the things people actually do to themselves in “What Price Beauty?” to look younger or more attractive.  Really?

And don’t forget the lists containing bowling lingo, humorous epitaphs,  and, of course, toilet talk (to name a few) and the wonderful factoids at the bottom of each page such as what is the word for fear of palindromes?, which President of the United States was an orphan?, and what are half of the 6 million parts on a Boeing 747?   I could go on and on….

This book is filled with  information you didn’t know you wanted to know.  It is  great trivia for entertaining guests at  parties.

Thank you to Bathroom Reader’s Institute, Baker and Taylor Publishing and NetGalley for giving me the opportunity to review this book.

Book review: Six Weeks to OMG: Get Skinnier Than All Your Friends by Venice A. Fulton (9781455528264) E-book

I have tried my share of fad diets and this one was unique, but a little too “out there”  for someone of my age.  Taking a 20 minute cold bath every morning just doesn’t work with my schedule AND my climate and I don’t drink coffee at all, let alone on an empty stomach.  I also had to laugh at the suggestion of blowing up a balloon for tighter abs.  It may work, but I don’t like creating unnecessary waste for our landfills when one can get down on the floor and do a 15 minute ab workout without having to throw anything away afterwards.

I give Fulton credit for creating groundbreaking strategies that apparently have produced results for others, however it may not be for everyone.  He is a nutrition expert and personal trainer and  although this diet may have been created for his A-list clients, I guess I’m not in their league.  Perhaps if I had a personal trainer at my disposal….

Thank you to Mr. Fulton, Grand Central Publishing and NetGalley for giving me the opportunity to review this book.

Book review: Full Body Burden by Kristen Iversen (9780307955647) E-book

“Rocky Flats bills itself as one of the safest government facilities in the country…,  but “signs can lie”.   Kristen Iverson grew up in Arvarda, Colorado, near the Rocky Flats Nuclear Weapons Plant, operated by Dow Chemical, which made plutonium “triggers” for nuclear bombs.  She had grown up hearing about deformed animals and people dying of cancer, but as most Rocky Flats employees and nearby neighborhoods thought, “the Government would tell us if something was wrong.” Scientific study reveals that radioactive waste can remain toxic for vast lengths of time.  For example, plutonomum-239 has a half-life of 24,000 years.  Despite many attempts to expose Rocky Flats, it continued to poison people, places and things for 40+ years.  Ms. Iversen’s story details this travesty of justice along with her personal account of growing up with an alcoholic father, overally optimistic mother, siblings and pets near Rocky Flats.

This well-researched, heart-wrenching story is an eye opener and a must read for everyone who believes in democracy and who is tired of corruption with government and big corporations.  It is a coming of age story of a young girl, her family and thousands more in Colorado, kept in the dark about a death trap that is still simmering under the disguise of a public wildlife refuge for hiking and biking.

Please visit Kirsten Iversen’s web page at http://www.kristeniversen.com/ and please see the YouTube book trailer at

Thank you to Kristen Iversen, Crown Publishing Group and NetGalley for giving me the opportunity to read this very important book.

Book review: Lost + Found: Finding Myself By Getting Lost in an Affair by David Trotter (9781935798019)

This book is an autobiography about a pastor of a substantial California ministry who realizes while he is on a mission in India, that he is unhappy with his family life and has an affair with one of his parishioners. Then after he returns from India he faces the wrath of many while he destroys the lives of his family and of his mistress’s family.  The mistress then decides to go back to her family while he slides into a mental breakdown.  But, no, it’s not over.  He decides to go back to his wife, “Laura is an incredible woman, and I am choosing to deeply love her.”   Choosing?  Seriously?  He blew his choices.  She was choosing him.  Oh, and the kicker, when he returns to his family he goes out and buys a Mercedes after he has racked up a whopping $33,000 credit card bill in just a few months and he has no income to pay for it.

David Trotter bashes his job, his wife and his kids throughout most of this book, giving us a long drawn out description about his affair, and then not giving us anything about his wife’s side of the story.  Does the author deserve some praise for baring it all?  Does one really see much remorse from him?  Has he really changed?  Only time will tell.

From the back cover:  David Trotter is a creative communicator with over 10 years of experience leading non-profit organizations.  He now invests his time writing and speaking on the subjects of life motivation, marriage, and spirituality as well as consulting businesses and organizations on marketing communications.

One last thing:  He has a blog at http://www.davidtrotter.tv/ with a section on “Top 10 Reasons to Leave Your Wife”.  It’s everyone’s guess as to whether it is supposed to encourage someone to leave or stay.  Odd.  Very odd.

Book review: Color is Everything: Beginners to Advanced Painters Can Learn What All Great Artists Know by Dan Bartges (9781892538369)

This books claims that you can “master the use of color in oils, acrylics or watercolors”.

As an occasional watercolor painter myself with an informal background in art, I found Mr. Bartges’ suggested use of a color wheel to be an indispensable tool to choose colors whether you are painting or even decorating your home.  Mr. Bartges’ information on the six color schemes and how to accurately reproduce colors within a specific scheme is very helpful.  The many color photos and painting exercises within the book are useful and his Glossary of Colorful Terms and bibliography of even more works on color and art will be essential to those interested in painting and other forms of artwork.

I’ve always wanted to paint with oils and with the help of this guide, I feel confident that I can begin painting with a better knowledge of how to mix my colors, and with work, how to analyze and improve a good painting.

Thank you to Mr. Bartges and Bostick Communications for giving me the opportunity to review this book.

Book review: Whose Cartouche is That? by Artie Rae DeNoyer (9780615356389)

One of the best ways to learn hieroglyphs is to study the names of the kings.

Ms. DeNoyer’s study aide is a “compilation of ancient Egyptian king names from Dynasty 0 to the Ptolemaic Dynasty with hieroglyphs, transliteration, and translation”. Indeed the handbook is geared towards those people who are interested in Egyptian hieroglyphs whether they are students or travelers getting ready to embark on a trip to Egypt.

I had a fascination with hieroglyphs back in middle school when I did a presentation for class.  When I was asked to review this book, I was brought back to the time where I discovered hieroglyphs so many years ago and was excited about the opportunity to learn more.  I found the instructions easy to follow with color-coded translations and hieroglyphs that identify the designations of each reigning ancient Egyptian king.

Ms. DeNoyer has made a great guide for those interested in Egyptian hieroglyphs and includes a nice bibliography which contains works on hieroglyphs, Pharaohs, Gods of Egypt, Ancient Egypt, pyramids and mummies.  Information about more ArtiEgyptos learning tools can be found at http://www.artiegyptos.com.

Thank you to Ms. DeNoyer and Review Direct for giving me the opportunity to review this book.