The Road Of Silk Book Review
The Road of Silk is an adventure fantasy, with mystical and magical elements and a high energy feel to it that any reader will enjoy. Although this novel is written for an adult audience, I believe anyone over the age of 10 could easily become immersed in its pages. This is a co-written work between Matt Afsahi and Barbara Dysonwilliams, who have written many of their own books in the past. In The Road of Silk, they successfully combined their wide range of knowledge in journalism, art, archaeology, literature and languages into a wonderful piece of work.
Six main characters play important parts in this battle of good against evil - where there is little hope of survival. Running is not an option, as it would only result in a gruesome war. Queen Yasmin, a stunningly beautiful young woman, is more than willing to sacrifice herself and marry an evil King whom she cannot love for something bigger than herself - the safety of her people. For her, war is a tragedy to be avoided at all costs, even if it means sacrificing love and happiness.
Queen Yasmin finds love where she did not expect it, and learns hidden family secrets that alter her future forever. She discovers a great power within herself and the journey helps her to find the strength and confidence that will help her rule justly and wisely. Along the way a deep friendship develops between unlikely characters that breaks through belief systems and ingrained feelings of duty.
Forced to make choices in challenging situations helps the six main characters grow into better (or sometimes worse) people. They all end up facing their greatest fears and their choices will determine their fate.
The Road of Silk was definitely an entertaining read. It had a smooth story line with interesting characters and had a sense of fun and energy to it throughout. I felt the authors were trying to tell readers that friendship and honor will seek us out when we live consciously. Living is about choices, after all - and few of the choices are easy.
Authors: Matt Afsahi and Barbara Dysonwilliams
Publisher: Synergy Books
Book Review Warriors Workers Whiners And Weasels
We all know a Weasel. You know, that person that threatens to take down your organization by using every sleazy tactic in the book to advance their careers regardless of how it effects others. Warriors, Workers, Whiners, and Weasels: The 4 Personality Types in Business and How to Manage Them to Your Advantage by entrepreneur Tim O'Leary takes a refreshing look at the different personalities we encounter and how to handle them.
The premise of the book is that essentially everyone fits into one of four personality groups - Warrior, Worker, Whiner, or Weasel. O'Leary defines each as the following:
Warriors, who confront change, see possibilities, innovate and manage to win!
Workers, who deal with the ups, downs and challenges of everyday corporate life dependably, and who can reliably implement the change and direction established by the Warriors.
Whiners, who get through life by complaining about everything they do, who profess negativism and dissatisfaction wherever they go, and blaming others for their own shortcomings.
Weasels, who lurk everywhere and threaten your career and life-goals through their own deception and insecurity and who spread these feelings quickly throughout the organization.
The book is designed to help you recognize what group you fit into, give you the necessary tools to get to the group you want to be in, and learn how to effectively deal with people in each group. The book really does a great job of forcing you to truthfully analyze yourself. O'Leary warns you that you might not like what you find, but also is quick to point reinforce that you are in control and that you can make the changes in your life to fit into the group that you desire.
Even more interesting (and fun) is visualizing the people you know and placing them into their appropriate categories. We have all encountered a Whiner or Weasel and it helps to know what makes them tick and how to effectively deal with them so that they don't negatively impact your life. O'Leary uses the analogy to the common cold - you can't completely eliminate Weasels from your life but you can take precautions to limit the frequency in which they enter your life and the damage that they do while they're a part of it.
O'Leary uses a mixes light-hearted humor with a fiercely intense attitude to combine a business book and a self-help book in an exciting fashion. One chapter might focus on a self-analysis, the next might be about personal stories from O'Leary's experiences, and the next about management. The book is well over 200 pages but reads at the speed of a book that's half that. I often found myself reading several chapters in a sitting, which is a testament to the writers' ability to hold readers interest. If there's a downside (and it's not much of one), it's that O'Leary is so brutally honest that it may rub some people wrong, especially those who fall into the Whiner and Weasel groups.
Warriors, Workers, Whiners, and Weasels: The 4 Personality Types in Business and How to Manage Them to Your Advantage by Tim O'Leary is a must read for every entrepreneur, business owner, manager, and worker wishing to learn more about themselves, take advantage of their best traits, and protect themselves from those who could sabotage their career.
The Latent Book Review
Marshall Frank, author of six books, has proved an exceptional ability to write absorbing who-dun-it's time and time again. According to his website he is able to do this by embellishing on real life experiences during his 30-year career investigating homicides in the Miami-Dade region of Florida. In doing so he creates a realistic, action-packed, suspenseful detective story with his recent release, The Latent - a fiction novel, that I found difficult to put down.
The Latent focuses on one main character - the completely stressed out, heart-broken police investigator, Rock Burgamy. Haunted by a childhood experience and the loss of his young son, Rock battles an inclination to numb his sorrow and stress with booze. And these are not his only secrets. Twice divorced, Rock is slammed regularly with alimony and child support payments for his two other children. In order to keep up with it all, Rock must take as much overtime as possible. Unfortunately, with all of this happening at once, he delves further and further into the bottle. But he is a good man, a stubborn man who will not let a case go unsolved without giving it his all - even if it means his life or sacrificing love.
A chain of gay men killings appear to have a connection and over-worked Burgamy is assigned the case. Plots thicken as the investigation deepens and poor Burgamy walks into several situations that set him up for a fall so big that he cannot get out alone.
Fantastic and intriguing insight into the underground street-sex establishments is only one of the many angles in this book. Problems within the police department from budget constraints and personal temptations to office politics is another. I am confident that The Latent will take readers inside this dark and dangerous world so smoothly that everything else fades away unnoticed.
Author: Marshall Frank
Publisher: Publish America
C S Lewis The Magician S Nephew
"The Magician's Nephew is chronologically the first book in the Narnia series by C. S. Lewis. Set about 50 Years before the events in "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe", it describes how the land of Narnia came into being.
If you watched the recent movie "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe", you might have wondered about two details: why does a wardrobe lead into the magical land of Narnia, and why does Lucy find a lantern burning in the middle of a forest?
"The Magician"s Nephew" answers these questions (though I will not give the answers away in this review) and many more. The novel contains the genesis (literally) of the entire Narnia cycle.
The story begins in late 19th-century London, when two children, Polly and Digory accidentally enter the secret study of Digory's eccentric uncle Andrew while exploring a passage that connects the attics of several houses.
The uncle is actually a magician, and he tricks Polly and his nephew into performing an experiment involving magic rings. These rings transport the children into the "Wood between the Worlds", a quiet forest that contains numerous small pools serving as gates to other worlds. Polly and Digory jump into one of the pools and explore the ruined city of Charn, where Digory is faced with a great temptation. A sign on a small bell next to a sleeping woman proclaims:
Make your choice, adventurous Stranger,
Strike the bell and bide the danger,
Or wonder, till it drives you mad,
What would have followed if you had.
Digory is unable to resist and strikes the bell, which has momentous consequences. The sound awakens the woman, Empress Jadis, who had destroyed the entire city of Charn with a curse thousands of years ago. She manages to follow the children to London, and scenes of hilarious mayhem ensue.
Eventually, the two children, the uncle, the cruel Empress and a cabbie and his horse are transported back to the Wood between the Worlds and from there to a new world that is just coming into being - Narnia.
The creation of Narnia is described in poetic detail, and afterwards Digory has to atone for his earlier mistake by resisting another temptation - the fruit from the forbidden tree. The history of Narnia begins, but the shadow of evil (the Empress will one day return as the White Witch) and the future necessity of Aslan's sacrifice are already hinted at.
Sound plays an important role in this novel: there is the drowsy stillness of the Wood between the Worlds, the barren silence of the city of Charn shattered by the bell, the harmony of the celestial spheres and the creative song of Aslan's voice. All this makes "The Magician"s Nephew" a true prelude to Narnia.
Keeping Current With Home Wiring Projects
Some people get a charge out of doing their own home electrical work. Others fear getting zapped or creating even bigger repair problems. No matter which category fits you, there's a handy guide that lets you get current with the latest techniques-which could save you a bundle on service calls, as well as increasing the wattage of your smile.
"The Black & Decker Complete Guide to Home Wiring: 3rd Edition" (Creative Publishing International, $24.95) expands on the popular volume that has sold more than half a million copies, with tried-and-true projects and the latest fixtures-and enough information to help do-it-yourselfers meet the requirements of the 2005 National Electrical Code.
For example, one of the biggest challenges facing homeowners today is hooking up the many electronic components they own-computers and printers, home theaters and surround-sound systems, CD and DVD and DVR units, to name a few. Getting electronics to operate together correctly has its own dedicated chapter on how to solve this common source of frustration. You'll learn everything you need to know about home media connections, including how to create a high-definition home theater with surround sound. The book also includes:
(*) A full range of repair and upgrade wiring projects;
(*) Special circuit maps that take all the guesswork out of wiring lights, switches, receptacles and appliances;
(*) A dedicated chapter on connecting and networking home electronics; and
(*) Descriptions of how to use state-of-the-art wireless technology, such as "Bluetooth" and "wi-fi."
This last item is essential because technology is helping create homes with fewer and fewer wires and greater and greater freedom of movement and communication. The final chapter in the book covers this exciting technology, and will show you how to integrate computers, printers, telephones, audio and video equipment and more-all with no wires attached.
Give Your Finances A Clean Sweep
Any time of year can be the right time to get your home office organized-and while you're at it, your finances, too. Here are some tips:
(*) Take out the garbage. Start with your desktop-not your computer, the real one. If your desk is covered in paperwork, weed out what's important and store key documents in a central place. This could be a good time to dust off your credit report as well. If you are the victim of identity theft, one of the first places it can show up is on your credit report.
Even though new legislation entitles you to one free report each year, it's estimated that only 10 percent of consumers are taking advantage of it. According to Money magazine, 33 percent of those who did get a report found errors.
To request a copy, visit annual creditreport.com or contact one of the major credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian or TransUnion.
(*) Make everything within reach. When organizing your office, it's important to keep frequently used items close at hand. The same applies to your financial goals. Set goals you can reach. For example, start your retirement fund by putting a set amount every month into an Individual Retirement Account (IRA).
(*) Have a backup plan for files and finances. If you have important documents stored on your computer, back them up onto CDs once a month and store them in a fireproof safe. When it comes to financial backup, create an emergency fund of at least three months' salary. Also, update your life insurance policy. Newsweek recently stated that for a married couple with two children, it is advisable to have life insurance protection that equals eight times your annual income. And while you're at it, make sure your will is current.
(*) Shred it and forget it. If you don't have a paper shredder, get one. Shred old quarterly statements on investments once you have the annual statements. Also, shredding anything you don't need that contains your Social Security number or birth date can be your first line of defense against identity theft.
(*) Make it automatic. One easy way to eliminate clutter may be to sign up for online banking and cut down on the need for paper statements. Plus, you can set up monthly withdrawals from your checking account that are deposited into an IRA-starting with as little as $25 a month.
The guidance of a financial professional can often be helpful when making changes such as these. For example, the financial professionals at Primerica have created a guide that shows you how to take control of your financial life.
New Book Describes Our Commitment To Service
In a year marked by war and natural disasters, there is good news: Americans are committed to service, charitable giving and volunteering.
For example, charities and philanthropic organizations are thriving-even after a period filled with an unusually high number of natural disasters. According to The Chronicle of Philanthropy, "Many of the nation's biggest charities are raising as much or more than they did in the late 1990s, when the strong economy and booming stock market boosted charitable donations a startling 50 percent."
In addition to record monetary contributions, volunteerism in certain population segments is booming, too. It's estimated that more than 64 million Americans annually volunteer their time, talent and energy to make a difference in their community and in the lives of those around them.
Some say that commitment to service is one of the more enduring legacies of President George H.W. Bush's presidency.
A new book, Points of Light: A Celebration of the American Spirit of Giving by Robert Goodwin and Thomas Kinkade, with a foreword by former President Bush ($19.95, Center Street), tells the story of this rise in philanthropy and volunteerism.
Each of the 12 chapters presents a different story of people making a real difference, from Timothy Miller, who organized the Texas EquuSearch Mounted Search and Recovery Team after the abduction and murder of his daughter, to Lt. Jim Mayer, who lost his arm in Vietnam but not his spirit to serve. Mayer dedicates his life to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and spends his spare time as a volunteer amputee peer adviser at Walter Reed Army Hospital.
The Points of Light Foundation & Volunteer Center National Network engages and mobilizes millions of volunteers who are helping to solve serious social problems in thousands of communities.
Robert Goodwin has served as president and CEO of the Points of Light Foundation since July 1, 1995.
Described as a "painter of light," Thomas Kinkade is said to be America's most collected living artist, according to CBS News.
Political Frugality Book Review
It is hard to specify exactly what genre Larry Roth's new book can fall into. Political, frugal living, gay rights, taking care of the body and more are covered in Political Frugality - Guerrilla Economics for the Demonized, Devalued and Disenfranchised.
Larry was a high income-earner who gave it up to be a relaxed gardener; he exercises, eats right and lives frugally. This retired professional walks-the-walk, and raises several interesting points of view on society and communities.
Discussions on how we dictate each other's belief system to one another without even realizing what we are doing were definitely thought provoking. Larry also brings to light the unrealistic discrimination that still slides in and out of our daily lives - and we find this normal.
I found the author's ideas on social security just fantastic. When you think about it, where does our money go if we die early and are not married? For that matter, why should the spouse left behind be penalized by receiving only a portion of the mate's coverage?
The true cost of climbing the social ladder is certainly a point well made by Larry and his thoughts on how consumerism is a vote with the wallet is enlightening. He talks about corporations that build items without replaceable parts or limited availability in order to force more consumer spending. According to Larry, it does not have to be like this.
Although Political Frugality begins a little heavy and political for my tastes, just past these first few pages the real life stories will entertain and shock the reader. Larry's nightmare situation with the credit bureau is pretty shocking. This is not another "victim of fraud" story folks, but rather a bureaucratic goof taken to an extreme!
Larry also makes some excellent arguments for the benefits of walking. It can be so much more than frugal and responsible transportation, exercise and meditation - it can actually bond communities. How? I can't tell you here, you'll have to read the book to find out!
So many beliefs and views on issues were similar to my own that I found myself thinking "Exactly!" repeatedly. Larry certainly brings attention to some very ironic and illogical social issues. Folks that read Political Frugality will learn new ideas on how to live in a more socially and fiscally responsible way.
Author: Larry Roth
Illustrated by: Andy Dandino
Publisher: Living Cheap Press
C S Lewis Prince Caspian
If you recently watched the very popular Disney movie "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe", you might be aware that C. S. Lewis wrote a total of seven books about Narnia. These are, in order of the internal chronology of events:
1 - The Magician's Nephew
2 - The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
3- The Horse and His Boy
4 - Prince Caspian
5 - The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
6 - The Silver Chair
7 - The Last Battle
The novel "Prince Caspian" begins one year after the events told in "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" on a railroad platform where Peter, Edmund, Susan and Lucy are waiting for trains that will take them to their boarding schools. Suddenly they feel themselves transported into another world, and after a few hours of wandering about they realize that it is Narnia, where many centuries have passed in the meantime.
The second plot line involves young Prince Caspian, heir to the throne of Narnia, who has to flee from his usurping uncle Miraz. Deep in a forest he discovers some of the "Old Narnians" - talking beasts and dwarfs - and later decides to challenge his uncle for the kingship.
Soon, though, the military situation deteriorates for Caspian and his small army, and they end up besieged on Aslan's How, a hill built over the site of the stone table that played a crucial role in "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe". When things look utterly bleak, Caspian uses his most precious object, Queen Susan's Horn, to summon help.
This review does not try to give away too much more of the plot and spoil the reader's enjoyment, so let me just say that the two plot lines intertwine, there are thrilling battle scenes (including a duel) and a wonderful celebration at the end.
Lewis does a good job of showing the gradual re-transformation of the four children, who once again turn from being English schoolchildren to becoming Kings and Queens of Narnia.
To me, "Prince Caspian" is one of the three best books in the Narnia series, together with "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" and "The Magician's Nephew". In many ways, it repeats themes from "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe", but adds an interesting perspective by having the events of the earlier book become the stuff of legend.
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