Month: November 2016

Psychology Book Review: “Mind” by Dr. Daniel J. Siegel

Psychology Book Review: “Mind” by Dr. Daniel J. Siegel

In this, his latest book, Dr. Daniel Siegel takes the reader on a journey into what the mind actually is and what it means to be human. The journey begins with Dr. Siegel’s own personal story and goes on to incorporate the latest findings that science has to offer on what the mind is and how it functions. The book sets out to answer the questions of what, where, why and when of the mind, and can we be both human and kind.

I found this book to be a very compelling read. I am a bit of a psychology buff, which is what drew me to the book in the first place. The material here is very dense at times and for a lay person like me, required close reading to understand all of the concepts. I believe the book is intended more for an audience of healthcare professionals and researchers, nevertheless, I was able to glean a lot of new information and understanding after reading it. I would recommend this book to mental health and other scientific professionals.

Alinefromabook’s rating: THUMBS-UP!

Happy Reading!

On Amazon

Legal Thriller Book Review: “A Case of Redemption” by Adam Mitzner

Legal Thriller Book Review: “A Case of Redemption” by Adam Mitzner

Dan Sorenson, NYC lawyer, has had a rough 18 months. He won a high-publicity case, his wife and daughter are killed in an auto accident, he quits his job with a prestigious firm, and then sinks himself into the bottle. Until he meets Nina. Nina has a high-profile case and she needs an experienced defense lawyer. The accused is Legally Dead, a rap artist, who is accused of killing his girlfriend Roxanne, another singing star. L.D. says he’s not guilty. After some persuasion, Dan agrees to take the case. He and Nina form their own firm and the battle lines are drawn. Together they have to sift through the lives of L.D. and Roxanne and build a defense. With a rising star ADA as the prosecutor and a camera hungry judge this trial is going to be a bumpy ride.

I was intrigued by Dan Sorenson from the first page. His story is tragic but I couldn’t help cheering him on. Nina is a beautiful young woman who just wants to pull him up out of his despair, while at the same time save a man she believes to be innocent from a life in prison. The dynamic between the two was very engaging. The courtroom drama was really well written and I liked how the author took the reader through Dan’s thought processes throughout the trial. He is constantly analyzing to determine his next move and how every word spoken will affect the jury’s opinion. I think this really helped me to feel a part of the action and kept the story moving forward at a good clip. This is the second book I’ve read from this author and it’s another winner for me.

Alinefromabook’s rating: THUMBS-UP!

Happy Reading!

Find it on Amazon  |  Find it on Goodreads

Cozy Mystery Book Review: “Strong Spirits” by Alice Duncan

Cozy Mystery Book Review: “Strong Spirits” by Alice Duncan

This is the first in the Daisy Gumm Majesty series. Daisy is a young woman with a big load on her shoulders. The setting is Pasadena, CA in the 1920’s just after the First World War has ended. Daisy married her high school sweetheart just before he went off to the war. He was returned to her disabled and confined to a wheelchair. Since he can’t work they live with her parents and her aunt. When Daisy was 10 she discovered that she was very good at pretending to tell fortunes and hold séances. Since then she has worked to hone her skills and now she is a favorite in the parlors of Pasadena’s wealthier citizens. She is an especial favorite of Mrs. Kincaid, for whom her Aunt Vi is the cook and her best friend is a maid. One evening Daisy holds a séance at Mrs. Kincaid’s and a whole sequence of mysterious events is kicked off. When Detective Sam Rotondo enters into the picture, Daisy may have met her match.

I found this book delightful. Daisy is not your typical psychic, rather she’s a good-hearted young lady to whom life has dealt a very challenging hand. The story is narrated by Daisy and I loved reading her about her life from her point of view. She struggles to stay upbeat for her husband, because even though he can’t give her a family she still loves the young man she married. The war has just ended and the economy is just starting to improve, but the prosperity hasn’t yet trickled down to the rank and file citizens and Daisy struggles with having to be the breadwinner for her family, especially since her profession is technically a crime. She does, however, have an indomitable spirit, a do-what-needs-to-be-done attitude, and a bright personality which just made this mystery a fun read. If you enjoy mysteries in an historical setting that you should really like this one.

Alinefromabook’s rating: THUMBS-UP!

Happy Reading!

Available on Amazon

Sci-fi Book Review: “From the Earth to the Moon” by Jules Verne

Sci-fi Book Review: “From the Earth to the Moon” by Jules Verne

I doubt if there is anything I can say about this book that hasn’t already been said, except that I loved this story much more than I thought I would. I’m never very confident going into science fiction because I tend to either love it or hate it more than any other genre. Jules Verne, of course, is classic science fiction and I found it thoroughly intriguing. The level of creativity and imagination displayed in this book astonishes me given the time period in which it was written. Perhaps that’s why I tend to enjoy the older science fiction more than the new stuff, because I can see how much of it has come to pass and realize the genius of the author who wrote it. This one has a pretty dramatic cliffhanger to boot, which is going to force me to adjust my reading schedule to fit in the sequel. I can hardly wait! In summary, this story deserves its place on the list of classic science fiction and I am sad only because it took me so long to get around to reading it.

Alinefromabook’s rating: TWO THUMBS-UP!!

Happy Reading!

Find it on Amazon or at your local library!

Thriller Book Review: “Lust, Money and Murder” by Mike Wells

Thriller Book Review: “Lust, Money and Murder” by Mike Wells

This is book 1 in a 9 book series. In this first installment we meet Elaine Brogan, Secret Service agent. We learn that Elaine had a pretty normal working-class childhood in Pittsburgh. Her father works multiple jobs to put her through private school. But when Elaine is 16, her father is arrested for passing counterfeit money. Though he is not guilty, while in jail he commits suicide. Elaine’s mission becomes seeking vengeance for her father. She determines to become a Secret Service agent in the counterfeit division so that she can track down the man who had passed the money to her father. Everything goes according to her plan until she ends up in Montana…

I really liked Elaine because even though she makes a big mistake in her life, she is determined to put things right. Her persistence is what keeps her going during the rigors of Secret Service training and in dealing with a boss who is a jerk. Her experiences with men do not turn out as well. This first book is obviously building a foundation for the series and gives the reader a thorough understanding of Elaine and the circumstances that have shaped her. Based on this story, I think the series will be a good one. I am definitely curious to see where Elaine is going to go next.

Alinefromabook’s rating: THUMBS-UP!

Happy Reading!

Available on Amazon!

Bedtime Stories #2

The Shepherd Boy and the Wolves

In summer time the shepherds used to drive their sheep out into the mountains some distance away from their homes, where the grass was green and tender and the sheep fattened rapidly.

But there was always some danger in this, for the wolves hid in the mountains and often came down and carried off the little lambs, and even killed the old sheep themselves. So the shepherds never thought it was safe to leave the flocks alone, and some young lad was always chosen to watch them during the day, while the shepherds worked on the little fields they cultivated near at hand. It wasn’t a hard task for the boy unless the wolves came in sight, and then he was so near that by calling loudly he could bring the shepherds to his aid.

One lad they sent out to do this work was a mischievous little chap, who thought it would be great sport to bring the shepherds about him even if no wolf was in sight. Accordingly, he ran up the side of a high rock, shouting at the top of his voice “Wolf! Wolf!” and swinging his arms wildly about.

The shepherds saw and heard him and came running to the spot, where they found nothing but the lively boy, laughing merrily. They reproved him for his mischief and went back to their work.

In a few days they had forgotten all about his prank, and when they saw him again upon the rock, swinging his arms and calling “Wolf! Wolf!” they ran a second time, with their hoes and spades in their hands to beat off the attack. Once more they found that the sheep were perfectly safe, and that no wolves were in sight, and the boy laughed noisily at their surprise. This time they were very angry and scolded the boy roundly for his deception.

More days passed, and nothing happened; but then, as the boy was lying idly in the warm sun, he saw the sheep huddle together in alarm and finally scamper off over the hill with wolves in close pursuit.

Frightened almost out of his wits at the very real danger, the boy climbed again upon the rock, shrieking “Wolf! Wolf!” at the top of his voice, waving his hands, stamping, and swinging his hat as though his very life depended on it.

The shepherds looked up and saw the boy, but returned to their work. They had been twice fooled and were not going to risk the chance again. No matter how loudly the boy called or how much he wept, they continued with their work, paying no further attention to what the lad said, even when he ran to them and assured them that he was telling the truth.

When the sheep did not return that night, the shepherds went out to find them, but though they hunted long and earnestly, they could discover nothing but torn and bleeding bodies, for every sheep had been killed.

Naturally they laid all the blame on the shoulders of the boy.

Good night boys and girls!

Happy Reading!

Story taken from Journeys Through Bookland, Volume I, 5th Edition

Paranormal Book Review: “Beyond” by Willow Rose

Paranormal Book Review: “Beyond” by Willow Rose

Ever wonder what happens when you die? In “Beyond” we get to accompany a teenage girl as she wakes up to find that she has died and is now on her way to the Academy to be trained as a spirit and learn how to live in the Afterlife. Meghan has no concrete memories of her life on Earth, just an impression that she had parents and went to school. As she progresses through the training at the Academy she learns fun things, like how to fly and walk through walls, but she will also learn that when spirits take action in the human world there will be consequences, and they are not always good. Meghan gets involved with a human named Jason, even though it is against school rules, and she finds herself learning a very hard lesson in the process.

“Beyond” is the first book in a series and the ending will leave you wanting more. I really liked Meghan and Jason. I work with teenagers every day and these two were so believable they reminded of some of the kids I know. The author has put them in a situation with some harsh realities which they will have to confront and work through. For Meghan, her time on earth has left her unprepared for Jason’s situation, but her intentions are good even if her methods are not well thought out. This is a relatively short book and would be a good read for a long winter weekend. I think the story will be enjoyed most by teens and young adults. I’m impressed by the world that the author has created in this book and I look forward to reading more by Willow Rose.

Alinefromabook’s rating: THUMBS-UP!

Happy Reading!

Available on Amazon for .99 cents!

Bedtime Stories #1

Nursery Rhymes

Rock-a-bye, baby, in the tree top:

When the winds blows, the cradle will rock;

When the bough breaks, the cradle will fall;

Down will come baby, cradle and all.

One-ery, two-ery, ickery ann,

Fillacy, fallacy, Nicholas Zann,

Queevy, Quavy, Irish navy,

Stingalum, stangalum, buck.

Juvenile Literature

The Dog and His Shadow

A big dog carrying a big piece of meat in his mouth was one day crossing a river on a narrow bridge. Chancing to look into the water, he saw his own image reflected there, but thought it was another dog with a bigger piece of meat. He opened his mouth to grab the other’s piece of meat and lost his own in the river.

Moral: People who try to get what their neighbors possess often lose their own things.

Tom Thumb

When Arthur was king of Great Britain, and his brave knights were seeking adventures in all parts of his kingdom, the greatest magician was Merlin, of whose deeds you may read a great many tales.

At one time, when this great enchanter was on a long journey, he became very tired and turned in at the cottage of a plowman, whose wife, with great kindness, gave him a couch on which to rest and treated him to a meal of rich milk and fine brown bread. The cottage was neat and well furnished, and the plowman seemed in good circumstances, but Merlin noticed that the wife wore a very sorrowful expression and seemed to find no enjoyment in anything she did. When Merlin met the plowman he saw that the farmer was as sad as his wife. Surprised at this in such people, he asked them the cause of their troubles.

The poor woman, with tears in her eyes, said, “There is but one thing we need to make us perfectly happy. You see we have no children, and the house is very lonely. Why, if I could have one boy, even if he were no bigger than his father’s thumb. I should be the happiest creature in the world.”

The idea pleased Merlin greatly, and after he left the plowman’s home he called the queen of the fairies to his assistance.

“I know,” he said, “a plowman’s wife who says she would be the happiest woman in the world if she had a son only the size of its father’s thumb. Cannot you help her?”

The fairy queen laughed at the idea of so small a man, and said, “Well, send word to the plowman’s wife that her wish shall be granted.”

Not long afterward the plowman’s wife did indeed have a little son, who was strong and healthy in every respect but not larger than her husband’s thumb; and strange to say, no matter how much he ate or how well he took care of himself, he never grew any larger.

The queen of the fairies came to see the little fellow very soon after he was born and gave him the name of Tom Thumb. At the same time she called several of her servants from fairyland, and together the made for Tom a wonderful suit of clothes. His hat was made of an oak leaf; his shirt from a spider’s web; his doublet of thistledown; his stockings of apple rind, and his shoes from the skin of a mouse nicely tanned with the hair inside.

Although Tom was not bigger than a man’s thumb, yet he was a bright-eyed, sharp-witted little fellow who became very cunning and sly as he grew older; and as he was a great favorite with his mother she never corrected him very severely, and some of his pranks were quite troublesome. He liked to play the games that other boys played, and even joined with them, but he was so little and mischievous that none of the boys liked him very well. Sometimes he would find his way into their lunch pails and steal their food, or even get into their pockets and take out their marbles and playthings. Some of his pranks, however, turned out as badly for himself as for the people he played them on, and a number of times he got into very serious danger.

One day while his mother was making pudding. Tom stood on the edge of the bowl to watch her. As he turned away to get some more flour to stir into the bowl, Tom fell in, and his mother, never missing him, stirred him up in the dough and put him in the pot to boil. When the water began to get hot, Tom jumped about madly, scattering the dough so that his mother thought the pudding was bewitched, and gave it to a tinker who passed by just at that time.

The tinker put the pudding into his bag and went on his way. After a while Tom got his head out of the dough, cleaned the batter from his mouth, and shouted as loud as he could, “Hello, Jack the tinker.”

The man was so frightened at the voice from the pudding that he tossed it hastily over a hedge into a field, where it was broken into a dozen pieces by its fall. This released Tom, who ran home to his mother. She was glad to see him, although it made her no little work to clean the dough and plums from his clothing.

Once Tom fell into the milk and was nearly drowned. Again, he fell over the edge of the salt box which hung on the wall, and could not get out until his mother heard his cries and lifted him down. It was not long after Tom fell into the saltcellar that his mother took him out into the field with her while she milked the cows. Fearing that he would be blown away by the wind, she tied him to a thistle with a piece of string. There Tom sat singing merrily while his mother did the milking.

When a big bumblebee came buzzing along Tom cried out, “Give me some of your honey.”

“I am sorry, but I cannot. I need it for my little ones at home,” replied the bee.

Next a beautiful butterfly came near Tom, and the little fellow called out, “Mrs. Butterfly, will you five me a ride on your back some day?”

But the butterfly went quickly away, saying over her shoulder, “I do not dare to have you on my back. You would brush the tiny scarlet and gold feathers from my wings.”

After a while a little field mouse came and blinked ut that Tom with his sharp little eyes.

Tom said, “May I come and rest in your house some day, Mr. Mouse?”

But the mouse ran away, and as he ran he said something which Tom could not understand, but which was, “If I should take you to my house I am afraid you would show the cats the way to it.”

The next animal that came along was an enormous cow, who savagely pulled up the thistle to which Tom was tied and gathered him in with it. Tom was terribly frightened by the big white teeth, the great red tongue and the yawning throat of the cow.

He shouted out at the very top of his shrill little voice, “Mother, mother.”

His mother heard and answered, “Where are you, Tom? Where are you, Tom?”

“Here, mother. I am in the red cow’s mouth,” said Tom.

Now his mother was frightened surely enough; but Tom kicked and scratched and bit the cow’s throat so savagely that she was glad to throw him out of her mouth again. His mother picked him up in a hurry, put him in her apron and ran back to the house, where she was a long time cleaning him up and changing his clothes.

Another day, when Tom was helping drive the cattle home, a raven caught him up with some kernels of corn and flew with him to the top of a giant’s great castle, where he left him. Very soon the giant, walking about on the terrace of his castle, saw Tom, and would quickly have eaten him; but Tom scratched and bit the giant’s tongue till the great fellow spit him out of his mouth, over the terrace and into the sea.

While Tom was struggling in the water a large fish came along and swallowed the little man in a jiffy. Tom was not big enough to satisfy the hunger of the fish, who almost immediately seized the bait of a fisherman, and was soon landed in the boat. The fish was so large and fine that it seemed git only for a king, and the fisherman took it as a present to King Arthur, who sent it to the kitchen to be cooked. You may imagine the surprise of the cook when she cut open the fish and found Tom alive and kicking within.

Of course so wonderful a prize was sent at once to the king, who with all his court was very much delighted with the little man. For a long time Tom Thumb was a favorite dwarf at the court, and amused the king and all his followers by merry pranks. The king used to take Tom hunting, and if a shower came up or the sun grew too hot he would drop Tom into his waistcoat pocket, where the tiny man slept till it was pleasant again.

Tom became such a favorite with the king that the latter dressed him up in rich clothes and sent him to pay a visit to his parents, telling him that he might have as much money as he could carry. Tom found a little purse, put into it as much as he could lift, shouldered his little bag and started on his journey. After traveling two days and nights and being almost worn out with the huge weight of silver on his back, he arrived at his father’s house. His parents were overjoyed to see him. Tom could scarcely wait to tell them about the money he had.

“O mother,” he said, “I have brought you a fortune. The king gave me all the money I could carry to bring home to you, and here it is.”

Then Tom opened the purse, and there rolled out upon the floor–a silver three-cent piece! The farmer and his wife were amazed at such a sum of money.

When Tom’s visit was over, his mother took him up, set him on the palm of her hand, and then with a strong puff of her breath blew him back to the king’s court, where everybody was glad to see him again.

King Arthur made Tom a knight, gave him elegant suits of clothes and a fine mouse to ride as a horse, and many are the stories told of Tom’s wonderful deeds.

We have no time to read more of them now, but they were so wonderful that people heard about them all over the world. All very naturally wished that Tom had lived in their own country. After a while they began to think that he did live among them; and now if you should go to Europe you would hear the German children, the French children, the Danish children and all the others telling and reading stories about Tom Thumb. But always the German children read and tell about a German Tom Thumb; the French children, about a French Tom Thumb, and so on; but we are going to believe that Tom Thumb really lived in England in the merry days of King Arthur.

Good night and may you all dream sweet dreams.

All stories taken from Journeys through Bookland, Volume I, Fifth Edition

Thriller Book Review: “Spider Games” by Helen Hanson

Thriller Book Review: “Spider Games” by Helen Hanson

Spider Games, book 2 in the Cruise FBI thriller series, really packs a punch. Once again, Helen Hanson has given us a story full of action and suspense. Baxter Cruise is a grad student and a drone genius. Having recently lost his mentor in an accident, and with no family to help him grieve, he uses his work on drones as an outlet. Claudia Seagal, FBI agent, and Baxter have recently starting seeing each other, but their budding relationship is in question when Baxter is accused of a bombing which almost took Claudia’s life. Meanwhile, Claudia is searching for two missing girls who were lured from their home only to become slaves to labor brokers. Is there a connection between the missing girls and the bomb? Claudia and Baxter will need all their skills to untangle this spider’s web.

I was instantly charmed by Baxter and his unassuming personality. However, it took me a little while to warm up to Claudia. I was very concerned in the beginning that she might be too jaded for Baxter, but I was proved wrong as the story progresses. I thought the appearance of Clint Masters, from the Clint Masters series, was pretty cool; I enjoy seeing an author’s characters overlapping with each other. The plotline was twisty and had bracing action scenes throughout. The story has a good flow and kept me completely engaged. This is the second book by this author that I have read and once again I am impressed by her storytelling skills. I look forward to reading more books in this series.

Alinefromabook’s rating: THUMBS-UP!

Happy Reading!

Available on Amazon!

Short Story Review: “The Lotto Lothario” by C.A Huggins

Short Story Review: “The Lotto Lothario” by C.A Huggins

This little story was a fascinating read for me. The author takes us into the mind of a young man who has just been dumped by his girlfriend. We first meet him as he is approaching a liquor store where he intends to buy enough alcohol to get really wasted. The story consists of his internal dialogue as he processes the break-up and speculates on whether or not he will win the lottery. I usually enjoy stories that have a psychological aspect to them, and this one definitely fit the bill. Although I didn’t really care for the guy as a person, I found his dialogue to be very believable. All in all, a nice little story if you just have a few minutes to spare.

Alinefromabook’s rating: THUMBS-UP!

Happy Reading!

Available on Amazon!