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    Innocent War (Revised Edition): Behind an Immigrant's Past Series Book 1
    by Susan Violante
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Saturday
Aug102013

Book Review of Salty Miss Tenderloin by Jacki Lyon

Book review first published by Reader Views

Salty Miss Tenderloin
Jacki Lyon
CreateSpace (2013)
ISBN 9781480152946
Reviewed by Carol Hoyer, PhD, for Reader Views (7/13)

In “Salty Miss Tenderloin” by Jacki Lyon, readers will be captured by Starlight Nox who was raised in San Francisco’s Tenderloin District. The very first moment readers meet her, she is hiding in a bus stop shelter where Starlight was told to stay and not move while her mom was “entertaining men.” Both parents were addicted to drugs and didn’t care how they got the money to obtain them. Luckily Starlight is rescued by a caring policeman who will become her friend for life.

After Starlight’s father dies and her mother disappears, she is adopted by her grandparents and is whisked away to Cincinnati. Still not trusting others, Starlight learns a lot from her grandmother and a newfound friend Leo. Leo has wisdom beyond words. Starlight thrives on their love and support while at the same time still being feisty.

Author Jacki Lyon has done an excellent job on the spellbinding story in “Salty Miss Tenderloin.” Her description of the characters and places make readers feel like they are right there in the action. There were so many twists and turns in this book that this reader couldn’t stop reading it.

 

Monday
Jul222013

Book Review of The Man Who Dared To Dream by Don. F. Zullo

Book review first published by Reader Views

The Man Who Dared To Dream
Don. F. Zullo
AuthorHouse (2013)
ISBN 9781481744492
Reviewed by Daryn Watson for Reader Views (7/13)

“The Man Who Dared to Dream” by Don F. Zullo is a well written story about a lonely elderly father of three grown children. After being absent from his children through divorce, the “old man” as he is known, lives a life of solitude and regret for the many poor choices he has made.

His existence is quite sad, consisting of lonely days in his tiny apartment or going out to the local park. The old man comes upon some black birds, with one in particular showing a small area of white on his feathers. This particular blackbird intrigues the old man to the point of obsession. He begins to feverously sketch his new winged friend.

Meanwhile, the old man begins to recall many deep-seated childhood memories of hurt and loss and regret. These include memories of how difficult he made his mother’s life by not obeying her and causing trouble, to the deep hurt his abandonment caused his children.

Eventually, the old man is institutionalized (with the initiation of one of his children) due to his fascination with the birds. The old man claims he does not belong in the institution, but no one will believe that his birds are real. Despite his insistence, the old man almost finds himself in a full-scale psychiatric hospital but a twist of fate saves him from going to live in a padded cell.

The old man also falls in love with a resident of the hospital named Cutie. His intense feelings for her give him hope that someday he and Cutie can leave the hospital and return to his home to live out their lives together. His excitement is tempered by his intense dreams of despair that he will be punished forever due to his past “sins.”

Despite the old man’s roller-coaster existence, he wins over the hearts of the hospital staff that goes to bat for him.

Don F. Zullo does a great job with the flow of the book and I found “The Man Who Dared to Dream” a fast read. I did have some trouble with understanding Cutie’s speech impediment but overall I would recommend this book. It is an inspirational story for those who have trouble letting go of the past.

Saturday
Jun082013

The Peacock Angel: Rise of the Decarchs by Glenn Dale Bridges

Book review first published by Reader Views

The Peacock Angel: Rise of the Decarchs
Glenn Dale Bridges
Outskirts Press (2013)
ISBN 9781478713890
Reviewed by William Hartgrove for Reader Views (5/13)

Angel racing a camel to safety! The prologue grabbed my attention and the book never let go.  Glenn Dale Bridges has created a storyline that is captivating, fast-paced and filled with fascinating characters.  The use of ancient Jewish mythology and apocrypha form the basis for the story.  At its heart “The Peacock Angel: Rise of the Decarchs” by Glenn Dale Bridges is a story of the forces of good opposing evil.  But that doesn’t do the writing justice.

The story centers around Thane Connally and his destiny.  Thane finds himself unexpectedly thrust into the middle of an ancient battle.  A blood feud that goes back thousands of years and a prophecy that was written before his ancestors were born.   The challenges facing Thane and the team that support him are great as they face an ancient enemy that has escaped from thousands of years of imprisonment.  Blah, blah, blah.  Okay, I’m telling you this character and the characters that support him are compelling and well written.   There are lots of books like that.  It is the other side of the coin that really made this book for me.

The other side of the coin is the story of the demons of Sheol.  Bridges splits the story between the development and education of Thane Connally, the story of the antagonist (he’s great), and the story of demons.  This is what makes the book for me.  The way “The Peacock Angel” weaves the story back and forth among the perspectives to create a full picture is well done and drew me into all sides of the story.  My favorite character rapidly became Hidimba a lesser demon - a sympathetic character that gives the reader a glimpse into demon hierarchy and existence.  I’ve read other books that flip the story between the separate tales of different characters and sometimes that gets distracting and breaks up the flow of the story; but not in this case.  The story flows wonderfully and each tale and different point of few only adds to the experience.

“The Peacock Angel: Rise of the Decarchs” by Glenn Dale Bridges is a well-written book that any reader would find hard to put down.  The characters and story are compelling.  It is exciting and thought-provoking.  But that’s what everyone says about a book.  So here it is.  I liked the book.  I would recommend the book to anyone.  I would recommend the book to my mother and my mother is a kind-hearted saint that is not afraid to let me know when I’ve made her read a bad book.

Friday
Jun072013

Book Review of Software and Mind: The Mechanistic Myth and its Consequences by Andrei Sorin, PhD

Book review first published by Reader Views

Software and Mind: The Mechanistic Myth and its Consequences
Andrei Sorin, PhD
Andsor Books (2013)
ISBN 9780986938900
Reviewed by William Hartgrove for Reader Views (4/13)

Dr. Andrei Sorin’s book “Software and Mind: The Mechanistic Myth and its Consequences,” on the current state of software development, should be required reading for anyone entering the programming field. Any programmer that is currently and dogmatically following any methodology should be handed a copy of this book.

In my almost 30 years of programming experience, I’ve lived through several of the changes he discusses. I know I’ve drunk from the kool-aid that was offered at the time and had to learn the lessons in this book the hard way - eventually accepting that deviations from the prescribed methodologies were the only viable option. I’ve had to fight people that are so absorbed into the various systems that they could not perceive where these systems were failing or how they were hurting projects. This book can help an old programmer win arguments over these ideas and may save some new programmers from falling into the traps.

I’m not saying I agree with everything that was written in the book. But, Andrei Sorin has obviously given this issue a lot of thought. He carefully develops the readers understanding of mechanism and the philosophies it was built upon. He shows where this philosophy can succeed and where it fails when it tries to describe more complex models, especially mechanism’s attempts to model human thought, intuition and capacity for learning. Using this argument as a foundation, he shows how mechanism is applied to the software industry and used to create software that fail and the industry elite that propagate these ideas.

In “Software and Mind” Dr. Sorin breaks down the various methodologies for programming that have come in and out of vogue and explains why they fall short of the promises made by the software industry, carefully breaking them down into various fallacies and shortcomings showing were they were modified to accommodate these shortfalls by adopting parts of programming that the methodology attempted to eliminate. For example, structured programming and the “GOTO superstition” and Object Oriented Programming and it’s shunning of process flow.

If you are in school learning to program, read the book. If you program for a living, read the book. If you manage programmers, read the book. If you are thinking of investing in a software system, read the book before you buy. Above all else, if you find yourself clinging to the dogma of some methodology, take the time to read “Software and Mind: The Mechanistic Myth and its Consequences” by Andrei Sorin, PhD. It may open your mind to some possibilities.

Thursday
Jun062013

Book Review of American Street Mack: Based on a True Story by Shwakeem De La Soussa

Book review first published by Reader Views

American Street Mack: Based on a True Story
Shwakeem De La Soussa
AuthorHouse (2013)
ISBN 9781481730921
Reviewed by Daryn Watson for Reader Views (5/13)

Shwakeem De La Soussa’s book, “American Street Mack,” is based on the true story of his life of survival. As a young boy, he and his younger brother were placed in foster care where the foster parents cared only about collecting government money, not for the well- being of the two young boys.

Growing up, the messages Shwakeem received were “You are not important, the money is what is important.” Shwakeem made his way through high school by participating in social events, sports and even being required to attend church (although his foster parents didn’t attend church very often).

He attended college with the help of government assistance but that did not cover all his other living expenses. By observing and schmoozing young, hot, naïve college girls, Shwakeem began making money by selling pizzas delivered by his hot “chicas.” The pizzas were only five bucks but the “delivery girls” would do extra favors for big tips.

Shwakeem evolves himself into being a full-blown pimp for young college women who want to earn more money than working at a grocery store or some other low paying retail job. By promising these women a lot of money for less hours and having sex (something they like already), he easily convinces them to come and work for him.

The book is very short and is filled with many pictures of scenery, musicians, money and several beautiful women, mostly from Brazil. I would have liked the author to have included captions along with the photos so the reader can identify who or what places they are looking at.

Additionally, I found the grammar and sentence structure for this book to be very poor. The punctuation and words that are not spelled correctly in the proper context is apparent throughout the book. I think some more effort could have been put into proper editing.

The author only describes his childhood with a total of two pages. I would have liked to have read more details on the struggles Shwakeem and his brother faced while growing up in foster care.

“American Street Mack” by Shwakeem De La Soussa seems to have the seeds of potentially being a great story but the lack of content and poor grammar make it fall far short of what this book could have been.