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    Innocent War (Revised Edition): Behind an Immigrant's Past Series Book 1
    by Susan Violante
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Thursday
May232013

Book Review of Shadow Game by Darryl Sollerh

Book review first published by Reader Views

Shadow Game
Darryl Sollerh
Del Oro (2013)
ISBN 9780988725409
Reviewed by Michel Violante for Reader Views (5/13)

In the “Shadow Game” by Darryl Sollerh, a professional killer, Jarret, decides he wants to retire; convinced by his middle contact for his jobs, Helen, he embarks on his last job in Jakarta, Indonesia. During his time in Indonesia while he makes preparations for executing his target, he discovers an unexpected and unbelievable revelation about himself that will shake him to his core. The suspense of his own internal battle, the challenges of his mission, and betrayal kept the plot moving and the pages turning.

Sollerh has written a fast-paced, easy-to-read and entertaining novella. As an avid reader of this type of story, I found its unique plot refreshing and very interesting. The character development was spot on. The dialogue, situations and setting felt real as Sollerh made use of all five senses to transport the reader into the story.  The only small complaint I have is with the formatting of dialogue. I just didn’t like the formatting of some dialogue, as I found the smaller italic font difficult to see on some occasions. But it didn’t take away from the story.

I definitely recommend “Shadow Game” by Darryl Sollerh to all who enjoy fast-paced, unique plots that keep the reader at the edge of their seat.

Tuesday
May212013

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.

Sunday
May192013

Book Review of Oliver Twist (5 CDS and 1 DVD) by Focus on the Family Radio Theatre Production

Book review first published by Reader Views

Oliver Twist (5 CDS and 1 DVD)
Focus on the Family Radio Theatre Production
Tyndale House Publishers (2012)
ISBN 9781589977136
Reviewed by Dr. Michael Philliber for Reader Views (1/13)

Charles Dickens’ “Oliver Twist” has been a classic for years. From printed editions, to plays, to movies, it has consistently captured hearts and minds. So it was with excitement that I received a DVD in the mail from Focus on the Family, describing their new Radio Theatre production, “Oliver Twist.” The DVD gave a lively, exciting, behind-the-scenes glimpse of how the radio theater put together their production of Dickens’ story. I was privileged to see some of the faces and people behind the voices; watching them laugh, cry, and swell with energy.

I have listened to Focus on the Family Radio Theatre before, and if they stay true to what they have done in the past, this is going to be a superbly done presentation of the story. I plan to obtain a copy, and listen to it with my family. I highly recommend this audio presentation of “Oliver Twist.”

Friday
May172013

Book Review of New York Roommates: Where Do These People Come From? by Howard Boger

Book review first published by Reader Views

New York Roommates: Where Do These People Come From?
Howard Boger
Outskirts Press (2012)
ISBN 9781432796815
Reviewed by Leslie Granier for Reader Views (1/13)

“New York Roommates: Where Do These People Come From?” by Howard Boger is a fictional story about Hank and the myriad roommates with whom he has shared his New York apartment. Hank, a photographer, has vowed to never again share his home with another male. However, his experiences with female roommates have ranged from bizarre to downright dangerous. As this story begins, he is actively seeking his latest roommate. After deciding to give Aurora a chance, he regales her with stories about his former tenants, completely unaware of the secret that she possesses. Will this relationship be able to last longer than the others?

There is also a subplot to this story involving politics and foreign affairs. One faction of Congress wants to strike the enemies of the United States before they decide to act first. However, the other members believe it would be unwise to antagonize countries that have done nothing to harm our nation. As they wrangle over this matter, terrorist plots and bombings are occurring in New York but it is uncertain who is behind them and what their agenda may be. As the days progress, deeper ramifications arise regarding the security of the city.

While the plot for this book was fairly interesting, many other aspects left me disappointed. The characters were not particularly well-developed. I could not picture them or relate to them in any way. The dialogue was stiff and filled with clichés. The stories about Hank's ex-roommates were randomly inserted and really did nothing to advance the plot. Instead, I felt the author used them in an attempt to infuse humor into the book. There are also some editing issues. Scene breaks are not clearly delineated and there are numerous punctuation and spelling errors. Lastly, the story ended too abruptly. An epilogue of possible events that occurred after the climax would have been appreciated.

“New York Roommates: Where Do These People Come From?” by Howard Boger would best be categorized as an action/adventure book with elements of science fiction. It is definitely intended for an adult audience. While my above comments may seem harsh, there are some positive aspects of this story including mystery, political infighting, and lively recollections of days past.

Wednesday
May152013

Book Review of In All Cases Whatsoever by Howard S. Ford

Book review first published by Reader Views

In All Cases Whatsoever
Howard S. Ford
AuthorHouse (2012)
ISBN 9781477280515
Reviewed by Daryn Watson for Reader Views (4/13)

Howard S. Ford’s novel entitled “In All Cases Whatsoever” is based during the early battles of the Revolutionary War between the British Empire and the separatists from the new colonies in America. While the British troops are determined to regain control of the colonial separatists, those who support the idea of separation from Great Britain are equally determined to keep their newfound freedom.

The first part of the book centers on James “Jamie” Claveraque, a stand-up member of the separatist movement. Jamie, a newlywed, with his wife Olivia celebrates their first anniversary together and dream of many more years of marriage. This is a risky endeavor due to the British army pillaging the homes of the separatists and also the threat of those loyal to the British government.

Claveraque must find balance between two higher ranking colonels who often give Jamie conflicting orders. Luckily for him, the colonel who is first in command protects Jamie over his nemesis counterpart.

Jamie proves his value upon the capture of a British deserter who is suspected as being a spy. Instead of using techniques of torture, he gains the trust of the “prisoner” by treating him as a human being. This method proves invaluable to the Separatists’ cause.

The second part of the book focuses on Trevor Shaw, a general store owner and real estate entrepreneur in New York City. He is also a stand-up person and he supports the Separatists. Due to the British troops who frequent his store, Trevor must appear to be neutral so he can keep his business while also allowing him to gain strategic plans the British are using to defeat the Americans.

Despite his efforts to appear neutral, Trevor endures several hardships and predicaments which almost cost him his business and his life. Fortunately, Trevor is wise and sly in many ways and he is able to survive many of his challenges.

“In All Cases Whatsoever” by Howard S. Ford is a well written and descriptive book that brings the reader back in time to the Revolutionary War. It shows the struggles of not only the Americans and the British, but it includes the interactive challenges of the various Native Indian tribes and their roles during the war. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good historic novel.