You Owe Me

You Owe Me, a mystery/thriller copyright, assumed published in e-book and written by Kerry J. Costello.
Plot: An American Serviceman saves the life of a British counterpart in an unusual situation during their mutual service in Iraq in 2003. It is a deed performed in passing with neither having previous knowledge even of the other’s existence. The ‘saved’ Frankie Armstrong, overwhelmed with gratitude, tells the American, Joe Nelson ‘He owes him and to call whenever he is in need”. In March of 2017 he receives a call from Joe, now the owner of a boat yard in Naples, FL, opening with “And remember the very last thing you said to me when we last met?” Frankie responds with “I remember I said I owe you if that’s what you mean?” He is answered in the affirmative simply pressuring him to come to Florida to help him find his young nephew Billy Ray who, with his friend Jerry are treasure-seeking divers, but has disappeared without a trace. Frankie, after drifting rather aimlessly for some period of time, joins with army buddie Derek Barnes (Barnsie), to become co-founders of a security agency in GB. He seems to be financially secure, his much-loved wife Penny has just left him for another woman and he is contemplating suicide. The call actually provides an opportunity for him to reconsider. He travels to Florida, meets Joe and begins his search. It seems the nephew, besides diving, also is quite a Lothario and has absconded with the wife of a notoriously vicious and extremely wealthy mobster and is assumed to be somewhere in hiding. The tale continues from this point, gradually building to a satisfying climax with all loose strings gathered together.
Discussion: The author has set forth an interesting fictional take on some historical facts. The resulting plot rambles a bit but offers sufficient interesting aspects to make the reader want to continue through to the end. From this reviewer’s perspective it should be of greatest interest to those who enjoy plot-based stories. Again perhaps for this reader alone, the characters are not particularly well-developed and it is most difficult, at least for this reader, to develop much empathy with other than unfortunately rather distasteful ones for Joe for reasons with which the reader may or not concur. Additionally, judicious editing would present a more coherent tale with far less repetitive material. So, to reiterate, this is a very imaginatively developed story that once begun, begs to be finished.
3* 4* imaginative story; 3* for flaws as described.

Island Terror

Island Terror, copyright, assumed published, and written by Jo Carey.

Dr. Gina Talbot is a herpetologist working in San Diego at one of the few positions available in the world studying the carnivorous Komodo Dragons. She and fellow worker Chris, like every person in the profession, has applied for and again been turned down in their annual request for advanced study of these reptiles in their native habitat. However, she learns about a former Navy Seal who reportedly had encountered a number of them on a small, apparently uncharted atoll relatively close to Hawaii. She is able to contact the man, Cooper, discovers that it not only is true, but that he had lost his entire compliment of men in the encounter. Because their existence was not believed, Cooper was retired as suffering from PTSD. She is intrigued with the thought of finding such a group of these reptiles and he would love to be able to verify that his report was true. So, with money left to her by a relative, she initiates a small investigative expedition. The story continues as the expedition gets under way, arrives at the small atoll after experiencing a horrific storm, encounters the Dragons with terrifying results, encounter a betrayal and finally evolves at a climax followed by a pertinent epilogue.

Discussion: This is a short, ‘quick’ read that has some difficulty getting to the basic plot. At first the reader is introduced to a protagonist whose ‘love life’ is non-existent until several prospects appear once the expedition begins to evolve. About half of the tale is preparatory to the actual major event, but once begun, it moves at a good pace. So, if one is looking for a tale that fills a few free hours and ultimately provides some suspense, you might enjoy this somewhat unusual tale.

3* Unusual tale to fill a few hours of free time.

The Bottomless Cloud

The Bottomless Cloud by Thomas Koulopoulos & David Friend.

Sub-titled “How AI the next generation of the cloud and abundance thinking will radically transform the way you do business” the authors have provided a small book with projections for the future that are as mind-boggling as others in the growing number of similar predictions; i.e., the fact that the world is being overwhelmed with data and that some means of dealing with it is mandatory. It is reported that Japan estimates that if data centers continue to grow, they will consume all of the country’s energy output by 2030. By 2200 “Even with most conservative estimates, we will exceed the capacity to store one bit on every atom that makes up the earth.” Even now, the authors tell us that two-thirds of companies claim data storage costs are their number one data challenge. According to those deeply involved in business, as well as those on the more forward reaches of innovation, the cloud has become a focal point of consideration and, as described by the authors, activities by Google, Amazon and others certainly are going to accelerate the much needed activity so we move quickly beyond the present early phase.

Discussion: This small book offers another interesting projection for the future. It also suggests ways of altering one’s procedures and a corporation must think about “How AI the next generation of the cloud and abundance thinking will radically transform the way you do business.” It provides a short “Cloud Assessment” that consists of two sets of questions believed to be helpful. One is for the ‘business-focused c-level exec (CEO/CFO). The second for the technology-focused c-level (CIO/CTO) as to “how well it is leveraging the benefits of the Cloud.” For the uninitiated with little understanding about the amount of data they are speaking, a table is included that lists “Just how much data is that” and in order defines Kilobyte, Megabyte and down through all 10 levels to and including “sexdecibyte – 10 ^51 Total number of atoms in the earth” with a Note – “Conservatively, the data storage requirements by 2020.”

Conclusion: This is not a book for the casual reader. The authors have presented material primarily useful to individuals involved in commercial and related activities. However, for those not so involved, the book offers another look at what we may be expected to experience much more rapidly than previously thought. Regrettably, and perhaps for some inane reason the fault may be with the older Kindle unto which this book was downloaded, but the format for this reader was one of the most difficult ever encountered. It is hoped others did not or will not suffer the same experience.

3*    5* Specific audience; others to be current; 3* general readership.

The Blueprint for Back Pain

The BLUEPRINT for Back Pain Relief, Non-surgical Solutions ISBN: 9781590249932, Advantage Media Group, copyright and written by Bradford T. Butler, DC.

This little book consists of an introduction explaining why ”There is a Better Way” for treating the huge number of individuals suffering from various forms of back and associated pain. This is followed by nine chapters, a Conclusion and Final Thoughts and 37 Endnotes of pertinent references. Chapter One explains in detail What You Don’t Know Will Hurt You. Two, describes how the “Real Costs” are emotional with such factors as fear, insecurity, anxiety and more actually resulting in more devastating loses than merely those of a monetary nature. Three, provides cogent reasons with respect to whether anticipated treatment is “too late”. Four, provides a much needed and very well-described description of the anatomy of the back so a patient can obtain the required knowledge to aid a care-taker by more specifically describing the position of the pain. Five, the importance of understanding that conventional treatment methods frequently treat only the symptoms and not the problem, It further explains the phases of degeneration and how other structures/functions become involved. Six, the need to set a goal. Seven, discussion of need for application of more than one therapeutic method at a time. Eight, the importance of indulging in physical fitness to stop back pain from even beginning. Nine, a particularly well done chapter on providing a template for the patient to employ when attempting to find the right care provider.

Discussion: The author has set forth for the layman perhaps one of the most easily read informational books on back pain this reviewer has seen. It describes the anatomy, how changes cause effects, and sets forth a totally rational treatment procedure. He further quite specifically describes much of the problem with conventional medical therapy that has descended to a quite low level where the patient’s health is secondary. Today, hospital/pharmaceutical/medical complexes, administered by individuals who have minimal or no knowledge of medicine or the human body and, aided and abetted by the government, are the health providers for most of the service. Often, initial examination/care even is provided specifically by non- medical personnel. The complex’s mantra is to treat as many bodies, as possible and make sure the bottom line is large. Don’t worry about individuals, or the origin of their symptoms. Just get a large number of bodies in and out as quickly as possible.

5* Easily understandable by all.

Book of Advice

Book of Advice, an e-book assumed to be published, copyright and written by Avishai Maimon.

This offering subtitled “All About Life’s Cycles: Love, Faith, Healing, Challenges, Self-esteem, Aging, Happiness and Successes” is a small book by a man with “extensive knowledge and experience regarding massaging techniques, stretching and magnetic therapy”. Since “Massage Therapists hear and listen to all of the problems in the world” he seems to have developed into a sensitive and thoughtful individual who empathizes and equates well with his patients and others. This is one of several written or ‘about-to-be-written’ books he believes will help his anticipated audience and states “I wrote this book for those who in need of guidance, encouragement, motivation, and inspiration.” Following the disclaimer and acknowledgements, the book consists of 13 chapters each containing a series of brief statements largely providing ‘uplifting’ thoughts with respect to the many areas listed. There is no expansion about what actual steps a reader might take to pursue the thought. The apparent idea is simply to provide a momentary ‘lift’ to one’s depressed attitude. A perhaps interesting observation from this reader’s perspective is the author’s remembrance and presentation of a few relevant observations made by an older patient who seemingly had developed a successful way of life.

Discussion/Conclusion: A simplistic presentation of mind elevating thoughts without follow-up suggestions for the reader who can benefit from receiving such a momentarily delivered ‘pick-up’..

4* Probably helpful for a particular type of reader.

We Are Voulhire

We Are Voulhire A new Arrival under Great Skies is an e-book assumed published, copyright and written by Matthew Tysz.

This is the first of two books that follow the fortunes of Galen, a young man who has escaped from a war torn society/country through help provided by a solicitor who was paid handsomely by his dying grandfather to accomplish this rather dangerous feat. He is totally naïve in the sophisticated ways of this new environment and gradually begins to learn in this first instalment. The country itself is wealthy but lacking in any cohesive identity. It embraces various levels of culture and a wide range of technologies but also various levels and types of magical performance that seem pervasive and often dominant as well. Numerous powerful individuals, several of whom are viciously destructive, appear to be rising into the more powerful positions as this episode ends and the reader must wait to discover whether the seemingly portended hope for the future the young Galen represents actually evolves.

Discussion/Conclusion: The author has set forth a fantasy containing all of the elements that should appeal to younger readers. It is a well-conceived fantasy set in ancient times of the restricted world knowledge of the day. It has a nicely conceived plot with thought-provoking philosophical features, nicely done descriptions and characters with whom some degree of empathy may be developed. Unfortunately however, from this reader’s perspective, there may be a few problems most of us reviewers overlook. We all are somewhat beyond an age group for which we are attempting to provide a meaningful review and we often forget to really observe the developing members of society for whom we cavalierly express our views of what they will or will not enjoy. This story opens slowly, even a little confusingly with new characters being rapidly introduced and the basic theme of good vs. evil actually does not become evident until pretty well into the book. It must be remembered that younger people are more inclined toward a faster mode of life with regrettably most often lesser involved in philosophical thoughts. One simply must observe their choices with respect to music, movies, games, conversation and their activities in general. An amusing aside perhaps is the fact that recent studies have shown that the average attention span level now resides at a mere eight seconds. Thus, long passages of description, even well-done avenues of thought, may present some cause for hesitation. The evolving generations also seem less likely to enjoy reading something for which the final note is designed to arrive sometime in the future. Most appear to prefer the ‘now’. In summation, this is a well-conceived fantasy that provides the usual philosophical thoughts so prevalent in stories in this genre and can appeal to the usual reviewer. However, one must occasionally indulge seriously in a little introspective activity to ascertain whether we are actually reviewing a book from our perspective rather than that of a member of today’s seemingly somewhat differently developing type of individual.

3*     4* Interesting well-written Fantasy; 3(?)* Apropos discussion.

Ex-Acute

Ex-Acute, What every American Needs to Know ISBN: 9781514470053, Xlibris, Copyright and written by Dr. Josh Luke.

Apropos its title, this book offers a quite extensive look at the American health system presented in 26 chapters split into 2 parts. Part 1 provides 11 chapters examining “The Fee-for-Service Merry-Go-Round.” It contains some provocatively captioned chapters that when read, amply explain why the author so nicely sums their collective value by a statement opening Part 2; viz. “it is clear that the care we receive is the result of a screwed-up-system with twisted methodologies and incentives between the patient and the provider that are not often aligned.” They are a summation of the system everyone has experienced to some degree if they have had a health problem and attempted to have it resolved. Part 2 continues and contains 15 chapters examining “Lessons from the Field: Assessing Care for Your Aging Parents, Your family and Your Children.” This part provides the reader with details of the evolving system and how best to approach the inevitability of living and/or dying within what is evolving as well as what might eventually evolve. A Glossary, interesting facts About the Author and a few End-Notes conclude the book.

Discussion: This is a book that everyone needs to read, or at least Part 2. Anyone who has experienced a healthcare episode is only too aware of the situation (s) discussed in Part 1, although the author may provide answers to a question or two for which the reader never had been able previously to obtain. The second part presents a cogent discussion of the evolving picture of treatment that the individual must know, along with numerous empathetic suggestions of how to deal with often heart-rending decisions. From this reviewer’s perspective, the only disappointing feature of this presentation is introduction of a particular form of government as the culprit – the repetitive shunting of blame for healthcare’s inadequacies totally to Capitalism. The author most assuredly IS correct about the importance of ‘the-bottom-line’ to many individuals as being rampant. However, because human nature NEVER will allow much more than a modicum of altruism to exert itself regardless of the method of health care being provided, it would seem to be an error to blame the ‘system’ whether it be capitalistic, socialistic or some other provider. My concern with its introduction here is that readers will not concentrate on the importance of his message. Instead, many may pounce upon another factor to add to the growing belief in the need for a more socialistic form of government. Recently Argentina and Venezuela, have shown this form of government has not demonstrated any improvement in healthcare for their countries. Health care under the Russia regimes has been abominable. Great Britain’s record is poor as is that of most other countries in Europe. Interestingly, even Sweden’s top listed health system is again changing because it has been found to suffer the exact problems encountered in the U.S. (Perhaps as a somewhat tangent related aside, in a trip to that country a few years back, I noticed a huge building some distance away and upon enquiry was informed it was one of the largest hospitals in their country and treated only mental patients.) Even Canada’s system is nowhere as adequate as that provided in the United States. Thus, if nothing better is available, that which is provided appears to be better than others touted. Furthermore as the author discusses, better healthcare models gradually are evolving. So, to reiterate and petition the prospective reader, PLEASE do not permit your attention to be redirected to a political theme, when the problem is one with which every form of government has been forced to accept – the existence of only a small amount of personal altruism.

Conclusion: This truly is a must read book for anyone and everyone in the United States who has, is, or will require any level of healthcare. I hope the reader as well as the author will understand and accept my apologies for my reaction to his repeated mentioning inadequacies of a manner of governing as the main culpable reason for the country’s healthcare problems. I sincerely believe that such placement of blame can only add to the horrendously and dangerously chaotic political situation now rampant within the country – one that certainly is not ‘healthy for the country’ nor those living there.

3*    5* Recommended as Must Read; 3* required sincere caveat.

Dogs of War

Dogs of War, A novella. Amazon Kindle Edition, Copyright 2011 and written by Bradley Convissar.

Gary Lettner and Caroline, his wife of six months discover and purchase a home in a nice suburban area and in true dog-lover fashion he decides to visit a small animal shelter to get a dog. Not exactly in a manner favored by Caroline, he obtains Molly, a close to mentally beaten-down eight-year-old Dachshund. For little explained reasons other than a purported incompatibility, they divorce and he and Molly settle into an enjoyable routine until one night Molly awakens him in the middle of the night with incessant barking and a desire to be let out into the garden. From this point, the story become a tale of ghostly dogs and their insistence upon gaining Molly’s aid, with Gary in attendance, to attempt to right vicious wrongs they, and others, had suffered at the hands of cruel developers of dogs to be used in illicit dog fighting.

Discussion: The author has presented a tale describing in some detail the inhuman atrocities a certain breed of individuals will inflict upon animals to satisfy their sick minds. It is a short book that may be classified in the ghost/horror genre with a revenge theme that dog lovers no doubt will love. The pace is good, the rather detailed plot moves well so the reader feels compelled to continue to its termination. As an aside, as once owner of dachshunds, the breed is subject to the infirmities listed, but Gary’s treatment of Molly seems a little overdone especially in light of some of her described activities. But then, when one reads a ghost story, it is necessary to pretty much ignore any pragmatic thoughts.

4* Short, easy read ghost story with unusual protagonists.

Healer’s Hands Healer’s Heart

Healer’s Hands, Healer’s Heart ISBN: 9780986124723, Healer’s Hands Publishing (2015) by Gloria Kaye, PhD.

Sub-titled “Sharing the Gift of Healing”, according to the author this book presents “in-depth insights, practical techniques and inspiring stories of success with non-traditional healing.” It is composed of two sections. I – My World as a Healer that sets forth in 7 chapters the author’s background; a series of dramatic healings of numerous individuals; description of various conditions successfully treated; recounting establishment of a holistic care establishment for an elderly population; successful treatment of a number of animals suffering from various conditions; a chapter dealing with professional athlete’s; and one on Progress with Forward-Thinking Physicians. Section II: Healing Basics and Insights with chapters providing Healing tips for Beginners; Uncommon Solutions to Common Complaints; Classroom Experiences describing activities during and following a lecture at UCLA School of Medicine; Distance Healing Vignettes literally describing how these are performed; Small Moments that discuss subjects such as Regarding Relationships, Decisions, Anger, Control and more and a Summary. Chapter.

Discussion: The author has provided a discussion of a subject that gradually is causing an increasing amount of attention within the field of medicine. This new direction stems directly from the populace in general. In spite of the magnificent advances in medical technology and treatment modality, the patient increasingly is feeling that he/she no longer is ‘a person’. ‘Health care’ and all of the accompanying considerations has caused patient care to grow so much the physician has become overwhelmed. Frequently a patient may not even be seen by one, but by a ‘nurse practitioner instead’, or he/she may ‘dial a number’ or to ‘chat’ with one on a web line. As a result, the patient frequently is attended to quickly by some ‘health care provider’. Why? The number seen/day, or similar. is the important ‘bottom line’ for the health care facilities which are administered more frequently than not by an administrator with little to no medical knowledge or understanding of a patient’s needs. The patient’s complaints frequently are listened to but not actually ‘heard’. The ‘unwell’ individual, rightly or wrongly, is disgruntled. Thus, an increasing number of voices asking for personal attention.

The range of alternative medical treatment is quite large. This author, interestingly having successfully defended a PhD thesis in Yoga, believes (and makes a good case for) the fact that she probably belongs to a group of Russian Healers known as Mystics. She represents one phase that favors a mode of treatment more favorably looked upon by Eastern therapists who concentrate on movement of body energy. They address “the physical, emotional and spiritual aspects of life” within the body. The Hindu tradition, for example, addresses the Chakras (specific control points in the body) that represent ideas rather than “something tangible that can be excised or palpated”.

Conclusion: The author has presented a most engaging discussion of one phase of the gradual rebirth of Alternative Medicine. From this reader’s perspective, she has spent too much time presenting different but similar case histories. Granted her desire is to show their authenticity through the variety and many glowing statements of corroboration. However, a smaller number would seem to have made the reading less redundant and still made her point. Part II is most informative and will stimulate interesting thoughts and conjectures.

4* Dichotomous 3* – 5* for reasons described.

The Promise of Blockchain

The Promise of Blockchain ISBN: 9781946197115 Prestige Publishing by Jason Schenker.

Sub-titled “Hope and Hype for an Emerging Disruptive Technology”, the book contains the usual Preface and Introduction followed by 18 Chapters describing, explaining and discussing Blockchain, it’s pluses and minuses, Bitcoin and assorted other cryptocurrencies for which it functions as ‘an engine’. The 18th chapter suggests eventual evolution of Quantum Computers (Subject of his next book already published and reviewed), a Conclusion chapter, an Appendix covering a glossary of terms used in the book that will no doubt be new to many, About the Author, Rankings, About the Publisher and Disclaimers.

Discussion: The author believes that his presentation is necessary because of the amount of misinformation, or incomprehension of it, that seemingly exists among individuals in the world of commerce today. Thus he offers this material: “For those strategists, economists and futurists who wish to be tech savvy without catching tech fever.” The explanations are enlightening, caveats well founded and all is most credibly set forth by a man eminently qualified to provide the material. The only disappointing feature of the book, possibly from this reader’s perspective alone, is the reader frequently being informed during the chapter discussions that more will be provided in a future chapter. The complexity of the subject under discussion is understood, but would more judicious editing have been able to provide a more cohesive presentation with less repetition of material?

4* 5* comments; -1* perhaps for this reader alone – see question.