Tag Archives: book reviews

Book Review: Union Hypocrisy by R.M. Smith

A former member of the Teamsters Union, author R. M. Smith writes how she discovered the union she believed in did not exist. Instead, she found groups that were more consumed with their own power than protecting the members they claimed to serve.

Union Hypocrisy is a revealing look into the motives and politics that flow through today’s unions. Smith provides numerous examples of how unions rally against corporations for anti-worker policies they themselves utilize. She also creates a compelling case that indicates they prevent their own staff from unionizing, but condemn companies like Walmart for doing the same.

I approached Union Hypocrisy with a bit of bias. While unions were vital in fighting for workers’ rights when they began, now they have become one part of a huge broken political system that has failed the middle class time and again. The little guy has been squeezed out of the game by a rich elite who can “buy” what it needs, all the while trying to convince the rest of us that they have our best interests at heart.

Much of what Smith discusses didn’t come as a shock. You can tell by the details she provides, the quoted material, and the works cited in the References section that she knows what she’s talking about and has performed additional research to back up her arguments. While the decision to resort to name calling in the book and  the use of certain colorful words did not win me over, one can’t deny the experience and knowledge the author brings to the table.

For some, including myself, the shock comes when certain celebrity names and politicians are mentioned as not being union-friendly when one would assume they are. That was the most interesting aspect of the book for me. I definitely felt Union Hypocrisy was an eye-opener from that perspective. I won’t reveal those names, since I feel it’s worth checking out the book for those sections alone.

Those following current events and politics would be interested in this book.

Paperback: 216 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (September 25, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1478275162
ISBN-13: 978-1478275169
SRP: $12.99
Also available in electronic formats
Purchase this book at Amazon!

I received a free copy of this book from the author through Pump Up Your Book. This review contains my honest opinions, for which I have not been compensated in any way.

This is the 61st book I’ve read for the following challenge:


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Filed under Current Events, Non-Fiction, Politics

New Book for Review: Frederico, the Mouse Violinist by Mayra Calvani

FredericoMayra Calvani is touring in June with her children’s picture book, Frederico, the Mouse Violinist.

Frederico is a little mouse with a big dream: he wants to become a violinist. Each day he watches as Stradivari makes his famous violins. Each night, he sneaks into the workshop to play. But the violins are too big! Then, unbeknown to Frederico, Stradivari sees him playing and begins carving a tiny device. Could it be a famous Strad especially for Frederico?

24 pages

You can visit Mayra’s website at www.mayracalvani.com.

Please Note: Frederico, the Mouse Violinist is only available in electronic format for review.

If you would like to review Frederico, the Mouse Violinist, email us by clicking here or email Dorothy Thompson at thewriterslife@yahoo.com. Deadline for inquiries end May 25 or until the tour is filled. Thank you!

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Filed under Children's Books

New Book for Review: Island Girl by Lynda Simmons

Island GirlLynda Simmons is touring in June 2011 with her fiction literary novel, Island Girl. What Would You Do If You Were Told You Had Alzheimer’s? Island Girl is the emotionally riveting story of a 55 year old mother, Ruby Donaldson, fighting to reunite her family as she struggles with the diagnosis of early on-set Alzheimer’s. Ruby refuses to let the disease control her future, but first she must find a way to convince her older daughter Liz to grow up and come home; to take her place as head of the family thereby securing the future of their home on the Island, and ensuring that Liz’s younger sister, Grace, will be cared for in the only place that is safe for her. But there are good reasons why Liz and Ruby have been estranged for years, and Liz can only wonder why she should forgive her mother a lifetime of sins just because she’s sick. Does Alzheimer’s grant Ruby instant immunity, a moral get-out-of-jail-free card? Ruby always thought she’d have a lifetime to make things right, but suddenly time is running out.

435 pages

You can visit her website at www.lyndasimmons.com.

If you would like to review Island Girl, email us by clicking here or email Dorothy Thompson at thewriterslife@yahoo.com. Deadline for inquiries end May 25 or until the tour is filled. Thank you!

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Filed under Literary Fiction

Homer’s Odyssey by Gwen Cooper

Homer's OdysseyTitle: Homer’s Odyssey
Author:  Gwen Cooper
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Pub. Date: August 2009
ISBN: 038534385X
304 pp
Rating: 
Reviewed by: Dorothy Thompson

Homer’s Odyssey is the beautiful account of one blind cat and a woman who learned about life through the sightless eyes of a cat that was doomed (or so it seemed) from the beginning. In this first person narrative written by Gwen Cooper, the reader is taken on a journey into Gwen’s life as a single woman dealing with an underpaying job and a recently broken heart.  Adopting another cat when she already had two was the last thing on her mind, especially a “special needs” cat.

But Homer turned out to be quite the opposite.  Of all the books about dogs and cats on the shelf today, Homer’s Odyssey has got to be not only the best book I have ever read but also the most memorable one. As the owner of many cats in my past, I understand the personalities of cats, but Homer was beyond extraordinary.  Take this for example:

“The first time I discovered his latest achievement was by accident.  I awoke early one morning and stumbled into the bathroom.  Flipping on the light, I fount that it was…already occupied.  Homer balancing one the edge of the toilet seat.”

Another hilarious part:

“Homer, in those days, was particularly enamored of playing with tampons.  Having encountered one by chance, he was fascinated by the way they’d roll around, and by the string at the end.  He liked them so much, he figured out where I kept them stored in teh cabinet below the bathroom sink and – with unerring patience and accuracy – mastered the task of forcing open the cabinet doow and rading the tampon box…When I walked in with my date, Homer rant to greet me at the door.  And there, hanging from his mouth, was a tampon.”

Keep in mind this is a blind cat and this is only a very small part of his amazing abilities.

One part that was rather miraculous was not only could he scale seven-foot bookcases and leap five feet into the air to catch flies, but he was incredibly adept at chasing burglers out of Gwen’s bedroom and saving Gwen’s life.

The part that really touched me was when he survived being trapped alone for days after 9/11 in an apartment near the World Trade Center.  Gwen frantically tried to get to him but no one was allowed in the area where the World Trace Centers went down.  Here’s a bit from that:

“…I walked for more than three miles, and that entire time I didn’t see or hear another living soul – not a car, not a person, not a bird in a tree.  It felt eerie, almost post-apocalyptic, as if I were the only living human left in Manhattan.  I had never seen or even heard of a completely deserted New York City street.  No matter how late the hour or how queit a neighborhood, there was always something or someone else – a woman walking a dog, a man delivering produce to a twenty-four-hour grocery stor, lights in windows.  You were never so far from a jamor thoroughfare as to be unable to hear cars whizzing by like comets in teh distance.  But now there was nothing but silence.  Smoke and silence.”

A truly remarkable book and one in which I enjoyed tremendously.

Homer’s Odyssey is the once-in-a-lifetime story of an extraordinary cat and his human companion. It celebrates the refusal to accept limits—on love, ability, or hope against overwhelming odds. By turns jubilant and moving, it’s a memoir for anybody who’s ever fallen completely and helplessly in love with a pet.

This book will not only bring a smile to your face, but a smile to your heart. Excellent book and highly recommended!

For more information, visit the author’s website at www.gwencooper.com.  To purchase your copy of Homer’s Odyssey, click here to take you to Amazon.

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On My Own Now

on_my_own_now_cover

On My Own Now:  Straight Talk from the Proverbs for Young Christian Women who Want to Remain Pure, Debt-free and Regret-free
Author: Donna Lee Schillinger
Publisher: The Quilldriver

Rating: 
Reviewed by:  Cheryl C. Malandrinos

Are you concerned over what decisions your daughter might make once she’s out on her own?

Are you a young woman searching for guidance now that you no longer live with your parents?

Are you a pastor seeking to guide young single women in your church?

Do you know a young woman living on her own or soon to be living on her own who would benefit from some Godly guidance?

If you answered yes to any of these, then you’ll want to pick up a copy of On My Own Now: Straight Talk from the Proverbs for Young Christian Women who Want to Remain Pure, Debt-free and Regret-free by Donna Lee Schillinger.

In this interesting and thought-provoking exploration of the book of Proverbs, Schillinger takes young women along a journey that will help them to make better, safer, and more sound decisions.

The author takes a unique approach to the book of Proverbs by reversing the gender in many of the proverbs from “he” to “she” and Schillinger includes a modern day translation of Proverbs 31:10-29 about the traits of a good woman at the back of the book.

Exploring such topics as how Proverbs applies today, staying pure until marriage, dealing with anger and jealousy, developing good habits, tithing, using passion to make a positive impact, and the importance of not making rash decisions, Schillinger shows how the book of Proverbs can guide young women to be the women they want to be and stay that way.

On My Own Now can easily be used as a daily devotional, each section concluding with a thought for the reader to hold on to, such as “What I can’t have honestly, I simply won’t have.”

Its hip cover and conversational style will attract young women, and Schillinger is careful to get her point across without being overly preachy. There are also word bubbles throughout the book that capture important portions of the text to focus the reader.

I have to admit that the overuse of the exclamation point made it lose its effectiveness for me; but in the hands of a younger woman, that may not be the case. I also found a portion of text where I stopped to ponder the impression a young woman would be left with when reading that passage.

It is found on pages 179 through 181. The chapters in this section deal with friendship, and these particular pages cover depression and finding help when you need it. Schillinger talks about chemical imbalances possibly being a cause of depression and how modern medicine can help if we aren’t too proud to ask. She first suggests creating good eating, sleeping, and exercising habits, and then if that doesn’t make the reader feel better after 21 days she should start taking multivitamins, St. John’s wort, and other supplements recommended by a pharmacist. She then goes on to say that if this works, “don’t stop taking them…vitamins are something our body needs every day for the rest of our lives.”

While the author does make a point to mention that St. John’s wort may interact poorly with some medication and to talk to a healthcare provider if the reader is on any prescription medication, it seems it would be safer and prudent to suggest the reader talk to her healthcare provider or a registered dietician about adding supplements to her diet prior to taking anything.

On My Own Now, is an excellent resource for young women on how to use proverbs to guide their lives. I am going to talk to our pastor about purchasing copies of this book for female high school graduates from our church.

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Filed under Christian nonfiction, Non-Fiction, Self-Help, Teen Non-Fiction, Women's Issues

Faith and Honor

faith-and-honoe

Faith and Honor
Author: Robin Maderich
Publisher: Blue Shutter Books

Rating: 
Reviewed by:  Cheryl C. Malandrinos

Forbidden love during the battle for independence is what historical fiction fans will find in Faith and Honor, Book 1 of the Honor Trilogy by Robin Maderich.

On the ride home to Boston, beautiful, red-headed widow Faith Ashley is assisted by a strong and elegant man in a dusty tricorne hat. Little does this dedicated patriot know, Mr. Irons is an officer in the British Army.

By rights they should be enemies; but their hearts are drawn to each other. As the battle for independence looms on the horizon, Faith and Fletcher Irons struggle to make sense of their feelings while still holding fast to their beliefs. What does loving the enemy cost? And can their love survive the rebellion?

Author Robin Maderich brings Colonial Boston alive for readers in this moving, romantic story of forbidden love. Maderich’s attention to detail, knowledge of the era, and her ability to develop complex and fascinating characters, are woven together to create a poignant tale of a man and woman who stand on opposite sides of a conflict.

This eloquently written story that captures the fashion, the language, and tense situation of Colonial Boston is sure to be a hit with historical fiction fans.

Faith is a strong, determined patriot, and Fletcher, believing that the British must squash the rebellion, continues to perform his duty despite his feelings for Faith. He is certainly an honorable hero. Other memorable characters are Ezra Briggs, a lawyer and loyalist who has known Faith for many years, and British Lieutenant Brian Upton, a fellow officer and good friend of Fletcher’s. John Colton, Faith’s father who lives in Longmeadow, will certainly leave an impression on readers, as will Elizabeth, Faith’s servant and fellow patriot.

This reader was totally captivated by Faith and Honor. The mingling of fictional characters with historical figures and events is so well done that I wanted immediately to dive back into the book as soon as I finished.

Faith and Honor by Robin Maderich is one book you won’t want to miss!

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Finding Faith in a Skeptical World

finding-faith-front-cover1

Finding Faith in a Skeptical World 
Author: Chet Galaska
Publisher: Triad Press

Rating: 
Reviewed by:  Cheryl C. Malandrinos

Some books about faith overwhelm you with complex theology and language. Some are so condescending that they turn you off. But that definitely isn’t the case with Finding Faith in a Skeptical World by Chet Galaska.

Finding Faith is a guide to what faith in God truly means. For the believer, it provides answers to questions they often feel inadequate to discuss. And for others, Finding Faith can help explain some of the most difficult concepts surrounding putting your faith in an all-knowing, all-powerful, loving God.

* Why doesn’t prayer always work?
* What is sin and why is it important?
* Why do bad things happen?
* How is the Bible relevant to me?
* Why are there so many different Christian churches?
* How are Christians expected to conduct themselves?
* Why doesn’t science prove there’s a God?

These and many more topics are discussed by a former atheist who became a Christian after several years of investigating the faith with an open mind. Christian churches should keep multiple copies on-hand and every Christian home will want to own a copy of a book that offers so much information in such an encouraging way.

An engaging and powerful book awaits you in Finding Faith in a Skeptical World by Chet Galaska.

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Filed under Christian nonfiction, Non-Fiction

ASHLEY’S UNFORGETTABLE SUMMER by Grace Reddick

Ashley’s Unforgettable Summer
Author: Grace Reddick
Publisher: Xlibris
Rating:
Reviewed by: Dorothy Thompson

Who wouldn’t love to own a monkey even though she sure could get into a lot of trouble! That’s the premise of Grace Reddick’s new children’s book, Ashley’s Unforgettable Summer.

Ashley goes on a trip with her parents, only it’s not quite the vacation she thought it was going to be. Instead of a tropical desert, it’s the wilds of Africa where Ashley has to stay in a hut instead of a nice, air-conditioned hotel room. But, Ashley rather enjoys her unfamiliar surroundings and makes the best of it.

Her dad takes her to the largest pet shop in the world and lets her pick out an animal to take back home. She chooses a cute chimpanzee and named her Tina.

Arriving back home, Tina turns out to be quite a handful, getting into all sorts of trouble and leaving Ashley scrambling to clean up her mess before her parents found out. All in all, Tina turns out to be Ashley’s best friend and that summer turns out to be Ashley’s most unforgettable summer.

I really enjoyed this book, but I didn’t want to stop finding out about more trouble the little chimp could get into. Perhaps there’s a second book so I can have my Tina fix? ;o)

Ashley’s Unforgettable Summer by Grace Reddick is sure to be a hit with the pre-school crowd and monkey lovers alike!

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Filed under Children's Books

Crash!

Crash!
Author: Mayra Calvani
Publisher: Guardian Angel Publishing
Rating: 
Reviewed by: Cheryl C. Malandrinos

 

 

Children will love reading about Marcelo and his new puppy in Crash! by Mayra Calvani.

Marcelo’s parents surprise him on his fifth birthday with a golden retriever puppy–the one thing he wanted more than anything in the world. Thrilled beyond all belief, Marcelo must now learn how to take care of his new puppy: feeding him, walking him, playing with him. But all that is easy compared to finding a name for him.

Crash! is a charming story about a boy and his dog and the special relationship that develops between a child and his pet. Author Mayra Calvani shows off her storytelling talents once again, as she did with The Magic Violin. Calvani has a way of getting right to the heart of children with her touching stories.

Kudos go out to young illustrator, Anna Pylypchuk, whose beautifully drawn illustrations bring Calvani’s story to life. My children each had their favorites drawings from the story.

I can’t wait to see what Mayra Calvani’s next children’s book is all about!

 

 

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The Truth (I’m a girl, I’m smart and I know everything)

The Truth (I’m a girl, I’m smart and I know everything)
Author: Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein
Publisher: Enchanted Self Press
Rating: 
Reviewed by: Elaine Raterman

The Girl is in fifth grade, she’s in love with the new boy in school, she hates it when her parents fight, and she’s here to tell us The Truth

The Truth is 115 pages of observations told from the perspective of a young girl on the verge of adolescence.  She isn’t a girl growing up in the 21st century, she is a girl of a past generation, but she still talks about many things young girls today can relate to – boys, school, parents, siblings, friends, teachers, growing up. 

This is also a wonderful book for the parents of girls.  Sometimes it’s hard for adults to remember what childhood feels like, this book helps bring some of that back, and helps build understanding across the generations. 

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Filed under Self-Help, Teen Non-Fiction