Sedition

Sedition, Road to Breaking, Book 3 ISBN: 9781733107983 published, copyright and written by Chris Bennett.

The story continues with huge changes involving Mountain Meadows, its inhabitants, and the entire country. Megs interrupts a meeting among the elder leaders of the cabin slaves detailing their misunderstanding of a difference between them and the house staff slaves. The results are most productive and effect almost immediate changes. Meanwhile, as a State Senator, Nathan must journey to Richmond for an important session as to whether Virginia will join the Southern states in the call for secession from the United States of America. Fort Sumter has been attacked and appearances seem to be growing more favorable for election of Abraham Lincoln and the impending freeing of the slaves. Individuals espousing one particular element of the south are especially desirous of maintaining their position of political power and will use any available means to win. When Nathan left home he was accompanied only by two of his men because he was afraid that his neighbor might attempt again to harm his mother and destroy their home. Lack of sufficient support along with particularly audacious moves from this southern component result in serious injury to him and a need to leave for home rapidly and secretly even though severely incapacitated. Evelyn again appears, but in an entirely new roll and the reader is introduced to two new elements of the era that played an enormous part during this chaotic period. And even the huge Irish wolfhound/English Mastiff who Nathan had of necessity left behind when departing for Richmond by train, again enters the picture.

Discussion: In this third book of the series, the author has managed to present a most intriguingly interesting and well-paced, suspenseful tale. Additionally, he has provided further informative material with respect to probably existent political activity as well as features such as the Underground railway in preparation for a hopefully as well-managed finalé.

Another 5* read.

Fresh Ink 2019 Short Story Collection

Fresh Ink 2019 Short Story Collection, published, copyright and written by Jamie Stone.

The book consists of seven stories. Perhaps all should be referred to as ‘on the dark side’. The first is about the protagonist chasing down the monster that torments almost every small child with problems by hiding under its bed every night. He finally destroys it making it safe for the small children until the next generation arrives. The next is of a Serial Killer finally arriving in Hell, his treatment there and his opportunity to obtain redemption along with a few others in a similar situation. The rest of the stories are of a similar dark nature. The entire book easily can be read in one sitting, thus having the advantage presented by most collections of this type. An individual selection can be consumed in a very short space of time.

Discussion: From this reviewer’s perspective, this is a volume that will appeal to a particular ‘mind set’, and for those readers I’m sure, will provide a high level of interest. For others, interest in this book probably will be minimal, except for the third story entitled “To Protect You”. This story opens as follows: “This is Report # 1,208,096, regarding Humanity’s loss of power, the end of machines, and the future of Planet Earth. May this be our final recollection.” The thoughts generated by the material presented are endless, and so closely relevant to life’s activities as they exist universally today, to be scarily mindboggling.

3* with a range from 5* to 2* as discussed.

Skinny House

Skinny House, a memoir of family ISBN: 9780995877718 Skinny House Productions copyright and written by Julie L. Seely.

In the Forward, the author very adroitly describes this book; “Despite its title, this book is no simple story about an odd, narrow-built dwelling. It’s about the family who lived in the house and the patriarch who built it.” The dwelling referred to is a ten foot wide, three story house among full-sized homes and now on the National Registry list, situated in Mamaroneck, N.Y. The basic story is of an ambitious black carpenter whose entrepreneurial abilities built a successful construction business in the early 1920’s with a grand house and all associated amenities for his wife to whom such ‘arrival’ met all of her expectations, only to have it snatched away by advent of the ‘Great Depression and subsequent devastation that followed well into the late ‘30’s. It follows the loss of the business, the house and all other amenities in a period when everyone was struggling just to survive in a time ‘when black men were the last to be hired and the first to be let go’. It also is of a period of time when ‘the man was the breadwinner, and the woman was the stay-at-home wife’ and a man was ashamed not to be able to work, and a wife should not be in a position to have to do so. The tale also provides quite graphic details of the carpenter’s attempts to salvage his pride and that of his wife, and of the gradual but insidious manner in which it failed and gradually slid into destruction of the family as a whole and to an extent, the individual personalities.

Discussion: Little more needs to be said. The author has used the house, how and why it was built and of what happened to the builder, his wife, children and grandchildren to provide a fascinating tale of a wild and highly explosive period in the history of America, its demoralizing fall-out and the residual effects on a man, his wife, children and grandchildren. The author readily admits her mistake of underestimating a family’s legacy. The lesser importance of physical versus “the colorful tapestry of memories and anecdotes handed down” and “intangible wisdom handed down from one generation to another”; “the spiritual binding”.

5* Captivating family memoir painstakingly, scholarly assembled by a loving granddaughter.

Like no other Boy

Like no other Boy a novel assumed published, copyright and written by Larry Eisman Center,

This book indeed is like its title. It is a story unlike any other. It is the story of parental love for a deeply troubled autistic child who is completely dependent upon both parents, a situation that has become hugely problematic. Chris, 8-year old Tommy’s father, is an extremely empathetic individual devoted to his elderly, ailing father, and still enamored of his wife who divorced him as the marriage dissolved under the continued pressure of the situation. Cheryl was from a wealthy family whose treatment apparently was such as to not allow her to cope with adversity, and had found another wealthy man with whom to bond. Chris had not been quite as fortunate, His parents were a devoted couple until his mother passed away, actually contributing greatly to his father’s physical degeneration and his vocation was as a prominent ‘voice over’ actor whose employment depended upon a spotty flow as is all ‘show business’. Thus, Tommy was awarded to Cheryl, but because of the child’s need for both parents, she consented to allow week-end visitation rights to the husband. There was a constant disagreement with respect to modes of treatment for the child and reached a pinnacle when Chris, on a trip to the Zoo, had discovered Tommy had been absorbed with the chimpanzees. He seemed to equate and even speak with them, at the same time demonstrating an advancement in speaking with his father. Additional trips strengthened the attachment and advancements in his speech and sentence formation with his father. Prominent scientists became involved and were willing to commit a huge amount of money to further study the interaction. Cheryl, would not even consider the relationship, preferring removal of the boy to another city where she, now pregnant, and her soon to be new husband both could also benefit from new vocational opportunities. The drama continues to escalate as it unfolds through the ensuing pages to a thoroughly fascinating conclusion.

Discussion: the author has done a remarkable job in depicting the activities of an autistic child and the excruciatingly painful situations repeatedly faced by parents who deeply love their child and constantly strive with little other than hope for some miracle to happen. The author also has learned and shared interesting facts about one branch of primates. A number of involved characters are well and believably described and the book’s flow is acceptable, although occasionally slightly irritating perhaps with Chris’s unwavering extension of empathy upon occasion.

5* Totally absorbing story about autism.

Redlined

Redlined, a novel of Boston ISBN: 978097282233Brunswick House Press, copyright and written by Richard W. Wise.

Jedediah Flynt is an ex-Marine with a considerable amount of hand-to-hand combat experience, an ex-wife and two small children for whom he pays support but seldom sees. Presently he is an ‘organizer’ in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts under contract to the Catholic Church for projects helping the poor and downtrodden in their fights against public projects such as a just completed victory against the Boston Building Commissioner. He still is a well-conditioned, attractive, somewhat charismatic individual who believes in what he is doing and has the ability to analyze and truthfully face a situation and manage it. Sandy Morgan is a newly hired young woman who he sends to watch a vacant building that he fears will be next for gutting by explosive arson in a developing pattern that, on the surface makes no sense. Sandy does not follow his orders and is killed by the arsonists. Thus begins a fascinating story that builds to a climax with involvement of: another new young woman replacement being heavily involved through excellent research activity and becoming threatened; a part of a local Chinese ‘tong’ group; a large Chinese Gambling Syndicate and representatives of a mainland Chinese ‘Mafia- like’ group; an immensely wealthy entrepreneur; several groups of local resident organizations; marine corps friends of Jed; and even several levels of the Catholic Church. The story builds to a fascinating climax that is logically thought producing on several levels.

Discussion: A tremendously well-written story with an excellent pace, well-developed characters and a plot that holds the reader enthralled until the end. A highly recommended thriller/mystery provided by an author who seems eminently qualified to produce such a tale.

5* Thriller/mystery highly recommended.

The Robot and Automation Almanac

The Robot and Automation Almanac 2021 ISBN: 9781946197719 Prestige Professional Publishing edited by Jason Schenker, Chairman of the Futurist Institute.

Sub-titled “Between Robocalypse and Robotopia COVID Edition” This volume is another in the series of Futurists Association attempting to keep readers abreast of the phenomenal yearly development in Robot technology and associated AI advances. It includes a Preface, Introduction. Discussions on “The Year Ahead and Beyond” and “The Future is for Futurists” by the Editor. Following his remarks are succeeding chapters of explanation and discussion of various aspects of the subject, each by ‘authorities’ on their version of the subject with pertinent references at the end of the presentation.

Discussion: This little volume presents a most worthwhile in depth update on Robots, their future, interaction with humans and with respect to the forward movement of artificial intelligence per se for the person not personally involved. From this reviewer’s perspective, one of the most illuminating remarks offered early in the book by one of the contributors was a simple example of how far we have travelled in a short time. Simply stated, he pointed out that today’s smart phone has a million times the memory and more than 100,000 times the processing power of the computer used in the Apollo 11 Mission. Another interesting fact is the belief in the necessity to next proceed to investigate in depth the neural networks in individuals in order to define how small nuances may be discerned and how they may be incorporated. A third point of interest is establishment of ‘boot camps’, along with ‘just-in-time’ learning from random opportunities – coffee break, commuting and similar – result in aptly termed “upskilling”, to provide somewhat knowledgeable people with further training so that often more ‘formal education’ is not required. Further fascinating subjects are extension of robotic usage in numerous different fields is predicted that will physically interact these ‘creations’ with humans directly and safely in a shared workspace. The great need that has been demonstrated for them by the covid-19 pandemic especially in the consumer and ‘cleaning/sanitizing’ areas and, especially in health fields where a true type of intellectual human-robot interaction is required. The book wraps-up with the book’s Editor explaining The New, New Normal; a brief description of The Futurist Institute; About the Editor that presents Mr. Schenker’s extensive qualifications; a list of Institutes’ publications and forthcoming titles;  Jobs for Robots; The Future after Covid; a disclaimer from the Publisher and the Institute and a repeat of the Copyright completes the book.

5* Easy to read, current/future status of Robotics and AI for the interested but uninvolved

Collateral Damage

Collateral Damage ISBN: 9780985370282, published, copyright and written by Susan Cory.

This is the 4th volume in the Iris Reid Mystery Series, a series that employs the world of architectural design for its plot. The protagonist, Iris Reid has discovered a source of deep love and committed to living with Luc Cormier, an excellent chief whose restaurant had gained sufficient recognition to be considered for the acclaimed James Beard Award for culinary arts attainment. The restaurant kitchen and dining room conveniently occupied the entire ground floor of an old place in Cambridge, Massachusetts that was available at a very affordable price. She had completely redesigned the building in this manner and utilized the entire 2nd floor to install their living quarters along with an office for her architectural activities. In continuing work in her own area of expertise, Iris began redesigning an old abandoned building for Ash, a very talented young artist who had been able to purchase it because ‘the price was right’. All is progressing nicely until a series of totally unexpected ‘happenings’ begin. A huge fire of suspicious origin destroys a portion of the young artist’s building and is followed by another at an abandoned well on the property that contains bones of a human that police are able to identify. As the building’s owner, he immediately becomes the main suspect until later on Ash, the young artist himself, is the victim of a gun shot from a passing vehicle. These developments tie in with other events already set forth and an almost unbelievably convoluted and interwoven tale of betrayal, deceit, treachery, self-preservation, lost and/or misplaced love all are combined to present a mystery for which further details would only serve as a disservice to a prospective reader.

Discussion: The author has introduced, at least for this reader, a new and unique area for a mystery tale. As a well-qualified and actively engaged architect, she has successfully endowed her protagonist with the same abilities and set forth a mystery that involves many emotions. Unfortunately I have not read the previously written books in the series and must say that most credibly, this volume can very easily stand completely on its own, providing a tale mystery lovers will not want to put down.

5* Most unusual mystery/suspense/love story readers should love.

Harness the Power of the Invincible Mind

Harness the Power of the Invincible Mind ISBN: 9781999279479 Pearson Press, copyright and written by Alex Neumann, MSc.

The author’s intent has been to provide a strategy that will lead individuals plagued with anxiety, self-hate and/or lack of confidence to a position of success and happiness. His thoughts and suggestions are set forth in ten chapters and a conclusion. He begins by discussing diversity in general terms and provides examples of individuals who are taught how to control a perilous situation such as a Maasai boy or Khoisan children and follows with other famous persons including famous sports figures, such as Michael Jordan who had made numerous mistakes early in his career that he overcame with perseverance; Albert Einstein who was labeled as not too bright as a child, as was Sir Isaac Newton; Statesmen such as Winston Churchill, and music composer Beethoven. Also included are an author by the name of Richard Bach and his interesting story of a huge number of repetitive rejections through which he persevered finally to publish the book in 1970 that sold more than 7 million copies in the U.S. alone. The narrative continues and with succeeding chapters provides more complete stories of additional well-known individuals who conquered monumental odds to attain true success. The discussion additionally explains the difference between “market successes” and “true (inner) success” and how pursuit of the former can trample attainment of the latter. Again he illustrates with an example. This time with that of a simple fisherman who was confronted by a Harvard MBA who explained how he could grow his business and become wealthy before retiring when he then could do whatever he wished to do – something which the fisherman knew was exactly what he was doing The author’s discussion extends to stress how “marketing success” and what it is doing to the world, its forests, oil, water and its people is an “illusion success” rather than the “real success” that lies within. He further admonishes “Demagoguery is the new norm. Fascists, Nazis, racists, chauvinists, sexual harassers and other such dehumanizing malfeasants have been planted into the highest offices, albeit in disguise.” “Has our society lost its value?” and describes how marketing education is driven by the premium on labor that is based on “market” not “real” success. Instead you should play the game to enjoy. Love what you are doing to attain true success which is composed of four factors: compassionate service to others, a life fully lived, an achieved vision and eternal joy. Often you need to take risks, but if you fail, learn from your mistakes and attack the problem again. Originality often is lost by the time education has been finished. It is necessary to stop whining and start thriving. He describes further a time-frame within intent as being the critical ingredients that may be required to unwind mentally from entanglements in the matters that are causing the grief. He prescribes repeatedly the need to persevere and to turn obstacles into opportunities.

Discussion: The author has set forth a prescription for success that has been presented by many CEOs and entrepreneurs in numerous areas of endeavor. However, he has specifically targeted the individual plagued with anxiety, self-hate and/or lack of confidence. Here, he has suggested steps that such a person can, and actually must take to rid themselves of this overburdening weight that such persons carry. A weight that affects every part of the body both mental as well as physical. His thoughts, suggestions and advice are set forth in a simple straight forward, albeit repetitive manner that in itself may be helpful to the troubled reader looking for a way out of the morass in which he/she abides. Specifically, at least one of the messages with its different approach set forth with even different examples may provide the spark that is necessary to ignite the fire required ultimately to help the burdened person to throw off the oppressive yoke under which they have been carrying.

5* Advice for the angst-ridden; highly repetitive but helpful from different perspectives.

Anti-Racist versus colorblind 2064: Woke Wars

Anti-Racist versus Colorblind 2064: Woke Wars assumed published copyright and written by Winthrop Rosenberg.

The story opens with the assumed protagonist introducing himself as Edmund Hsu in the year 2064. He explains that he always has felt like a human being. He has existed in a body and existed in a broader world but that his humanity has never been his body or station in life nor any other aspect that could define him. Thus, to rephrase, he might be characterized as an abstract wandering around observing and taking some part in this world that has become a strange place dominated by a society that now is racist in the extreme. He compares 1964 which basically promised freedom and opportunity to all if they worked hard and didn’t break laws with the present year of 2064 a land where social and economic opportunities are rationed out to members of different racial categories in accord with their race’s overall percentage of the nation’s population and where freedom, particularly in terms of speech, association and movement are significantly curtailed. The restrictions on speech are to minimize anyone hearing criticism of the system that those in power deem “racist”, and the restrictions on association and movement are to ensure that different institutions and geographic districts in nations borders are properly designated, unless one is in one of the sporadic designated racial “safe spaces” that have been established, which allow a race exclusivity in a particular area or organization. The new regime designates its population to consist of 7 categories for a population of 450 million with a dominant 51% Hispanics. The manner in which divisions are made is described and the resultant resentment against these “Wokes” who had “viciously perpetrated a despicable, patronizing, murderous, dehumanizing, and disgusting racial cast system” finally bubbled to overflowing and the “Third Civil War” begins. The attendant activity is provided in detail along with those of the protagonist and the total over viewed in the final Chapter 7 Epilogue dated 22 December, 2098.

Discussion: The author has presented a satire on the repetitive activity of governments that keep evolving into dystopia and/or complete self-destruction. The basic plot can be described perhaps as a ‘personalization of history with projection for the future’. For history buffs it provides recall of various activities of any number of governments going back to the Chinese Dynasties. Assignment of a specific rating level is difficult for this reviewer. The plot is especially pertinent to the present situation within this country of overabundance of the assignment of the term ‘racist’ or ‘racism’. If the author’s acceptable description of the protagonist’s mental attitude is loosely applied, the characters are adequate. The pace, although somewhat slowed at times by extended discourse, is acceptable. The overall message of each side attempting to justify the brutality and/or atrocities they undertake in the name of justice and fairness is a position that demands respectful thought.

4* Reasons as described in discussion.

Erasing the Past

Erasing the Past Assumed published, copyright and written by Geri L. Dreiling.     

There is a sub-title stating that this is “A novel about love, betrayal and second chances” and genre suggestions that include fiction, sci-fi, suspense and romance. Prologue opens in Forrest Park, St. Louis with the Art Museum setting atop the green hill that descends to an area providing a superb view of the Grand Basin. The day is beautiful, young lovers are strolling arm-in-arm with the occasional shy kiss and all appears to be well with the world, except for one old man with a badly affected left arm who disconsolately seats himself on a convenient bench. He opens a copy of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, spots a photograph of two people in the gossip column and begins to sob. A young woman asks if he is alright. He answers simply that he was alone, in his pain, his regret and his pain, but that was not always the way. Once upon a time he, and they, were happy but that all is changed. His “future has vanished, and the present laid waste; all because the past was erased”. The first chapter then opens in April of 2008, and thus begins a tale of seeming remorse by an old man who regrets his life-long self-centered activities and rigid thought patterns that have ruined his life and driven the love of his life into the arms of another man as well as ruining his career. His life possibly may not be as he believes at this point in time however, but providing further details of the story would be a huge disservice to potential readers.

Discussion: The author has set forth a story about a self-centered man with a deep love for a beautiful woman who basically and most unfortunately, places a great amount of emphasis on personal appearance although also with a driving internal need to have children. However, he is not without faults in that he is self-centered with a degree of paranoia and an underlying rigidity in the fundamental roles of the man and woman in a marital situation. These differences provide the basis of this well-written, only slightly flawed, tale of their impact upon an otherwise happy marriage of twenty plus years.

5* Interesting marital relationship the book’s subtitle well describes.