Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Book with a View May 2010

Book Title: 27 Things to Feng Shui Your Home
Author: Tisha Morris
ISBN: 978-1-59652-567-2
Publisher: Turner Publishing Company 2010
Link to purchase: http://www.amazon.com/dp/1596525673/?tag=writeoncreati-20
Reviewer Byline: Vonnie Faroqui

In her book 27 Things to Feng Shui Your Home, author Tisha Morris seeks to share with the reader a modern and practical approach to using the ancient tradition of feng shui. From introduction to final page the author approaches her topic without the affectation or rhetoric commonly found in books on feng shui. She doesn’t oversell the concepts but instead walks you through 27 Things with the assumption that having picked the book up you inherently know the principles behind feng shui are sound.

The author brings her education as an interior designer and her experience as a certified life coach into play and is able to clearly relate the art of feng shui to the reader. She offers solid advice on clearing clutter and with each subsequent chapter clear, practical advice on how to implement the feng shui principles to make improvements, to change the flow of energy and ultimately manifest desires. Tisha echoes centuries of mothers by telling us to clean out the closet and keep doorways clear but, more importantly, she explains why these actions are necessary in relation to how energy flows in our homes, lives and in order for energy shifts and healing to occur. This is a strong practical guide book. The author has a pleasant writing style, presents the material in an easy manner and speaks to our core issues in a non threatening way. 27 Things to Feng Shui Your Home includes a chapter about creating a vision board, information on the Bagua map, easy to follow advice on using feng shui “cures,” and closes with a plan to implement the 27 Things.

For those readers unfamiliar with feng shui practices the author explains just enough about the concepts to allow a lay practitioner to receive solid reward for their time investment when applying the techniques, without planting confusion about the ins and outs of feng shui itself. For readers who have already been exposed to the art and mystery of feng shui, the author assists by leaving out confusing or contradictory information and the superstitions which often impede implementation of an action plan and the needed changes. She writes with confidence that following the feng shui principles and applying these techniques will have a powerful healing impact and her confidence is transferred to the reader.

After reviewing this book I am confident that I will be able to bring about some significant changes in my own life by following the 27 things that Tisha Morris recommends. I am also convinced that I could do so without spending a dime, simply using my current possessions in new ways or by letting go of things I no longer need. I recommend 27 Things to Feng Shui Your Home to anyone who wants to employ feng shui without becoming mired in research to do so. Tisha has done the home work for us and lays out the most important pieces in an easy to understand and follow format. This is one feng shui book you will pull off the shelf time and again.

Rewriting Life Scripts: Transformational Recovery for Families of Addicts
Liliane Desjardins, Nancy Oelklaus, Irene Watson
Life Scripts Press (2010)
ISBN 9781932690972
Reviewed by Carol Hoyer, PhD, for Reader Views (03/10)

I can honestly say that in all the time I have been a Psychologist working in the substance abuse field, I have never found a book that covered all the topics families need to know about recovery in one place. The authors have written this book in a format that is easy to understand and read. They cover so many topics about addiction, recovery, misconceptions and family roles that one would end up highlighting the whole book.

There are seventeen chapters in this book which cover topics such as the family process, psychological tendencies of the addicted to how families’ unrealistic expectations put everyone in the down spiral again. I am a firm believer, like the authors, that families do not understand the addiction process or the underlying problems that might start it. Nor do many families receive treatment for themselves. As the authors state, even if the addict gets help it is important for family members and friends to learn new ways of living their life. This book dispels the myth that I hear so many times from my college students that if the addict had willpower, they could stop.

There are several parts of the book that I really appreciated. One is Higher Power. Many of those going into treatment get upset with thinking they have to rely on God to help them in the process of becoming clean. In short, Higher Power is really what motivates a person to make changes. The information on co-dependency was very informative, as were the roles we take on in our families of origin which often follow us through our adult lives. Each role is broken down into what the addicted person is thinking and what they present to others in their outside appearance.

Chapter 7 discusses The Authentic Self. If we can’t be honest with ourselves, how are we going to be honest with the addict? This chapter also will have readers questioning: What need is met for me by keeping the dysfunction going? The authors also discuss boundaries, which many of us have a hard time putting into place.

Throughout the book, the authors provide simple exercises one can do in the privacy of their own home, and then discuss the impact these answers make on the family or individual. It is important to note that one important part of this chapter is the Grief Inventory, for when we lose a family member to addiction, regardless of what it is, we do go through a grief process.

The remainder of chapters discusses surrender- we cannot change others, we can only change ourselves. I think this is one of the hardest things for individuals to realize. I can say from my own personal experience of living with a family of alcoholics my family expected me to get my brothers to change and when I said “I can’t,” they would be angry with me. We have to learn that we can only change the things we have control over, we have to learn to let go and let the addicted person figure out situations on their own. It may cause many tears, anger and resentment; however, that individual needs to learn to be responsible for their choices.

There are so many things in this book that will help families become better informed and lead them to resources that will help them learn to live a peaceful life. We will always worry about family members or even friends who are addicted to something. But, this book gives us step-by-step tips on how to take care of ourselves as well as the addict.

I wish, as a Psychologist, I had this book years ago; not only would it have helped my clients, but my family as well. This is a book that I will recommend to my college students to have in their resource library, as well as make a recommendation for this to be a required book for my Substance Abuse classes. Readers will appreciate the honesty and information provided in an all-in-one book, “Rewriting Life Scripts: Transformational Recovery for Families of Addicts.”

Live Ringer
Lynda Fitzgerald
Crystal Dreams Publishing
ISBN 9781591463276
Reviewed by Olivera Baumgartner-Jackson for Reader Views (03/10)

Lynda Fitzgerald’s Live Ringer is one of those books that cannot be put down once you’ve started on it. I picked the book up in late afternoon after a long day at work, planning to read for an hour to relax. At midnight I was still up, turning the last pages of the book and holding my breath. I wanted to find out who was the villain. I also did not want it to end quite yet. But end it did, with one last, very final twist. Sleep did not come for many more hours that night. Part of my mind was churning around all of the twists and turns of this delightful read; part of it was revisiting Florida, so fascinatingly described by Ms. Fitzgerald. Even today, several days after turning that last page, I would be hard pressed to decide what I liked best – the plot, the characters, the vivid descriptions of Florida, the twisted and intertwined relationships between the characters or something else…

Allie, newly divorced and still very much unsure of herself, returns to Florida, where she used to spend some of the best times of her early life with her now deceased aunt. Having inherited her aunt’s home (and – as she will soon discover– quite a few other “things”), she decides to settle down there. On the first morning after her return she stumbles upon a body of a woman on a beach not far from her home. Soon she is entangled into a very complex web of deceit, old friendships, fear, new love and much more. Fearing for her own life, she decides to fight back and discover the truth. Will that truth set her free? Or will it destroy more lives?

There is nothing boring and predictable about this book. It has enough twists and turns to keep you holding your breath for hours. The characters are believable, complex and immensely human. The situations they face, the decisions they have to make, the people they love and hate will probably make it quite easy for you to identify with at least a couple of them. Then there are the paragraphs – and pages – devoted to Florida. Ms. Fitzgerald writes about the pre-condo, non-touristy Florida, the Florida that is fast disappearing and is already missed by many. Her Florida has everyday people who actually walk their dogs, garden and talk to their neighbors; people who live in houses and not in the concrete behemoths devouring so much of Florida nowadays. Slightly nostalgic and so charming, those were some of my favorite pages in the book.

I found Lynda Fitzgerald’s “Live Ringer” an altogether great read, which I would wholeheartedly recommend to anybody who enjoys a good book. A delightful mix of romance, thriller and mystery will keep most readers riveted for hours. So get a cold drink that will make you think of Florida and enjoy your journey.

The Adventures of Silly Kitty, Princess Jasmine, and First Puppy

Irene Brodsky
ISBN: 978-1-4327-5552-2
$23.95 USD
Full-color, children's picture book
Outskirts Press, March 2010
Reviewed by Yvonne Perry

I received this book as I was packing for a trip to South Carolina to visit my grandkids. I knew the older two, Keilie and Mac, would enjoy having a story read to them. They are both such good readers, I ended up listening to them read this book to me. There’s such a joy in sharing written words with children and Irene Brodsky seems to understand that as she provides a story on a topic that I’ve not previously seen in a children’s book—the first puppy of the White House, belonging to the Obama family.

The Adventures of Silly Kitty, Princess Jasmine and First Puppy is a two-part story in one book. In the first part, Princess Jasmine, who lived in an English castle, was strolling in her garden when she heard and found Silly Kitty. After some negotiation, they became friends.

In part two, the two friends were sitting in the garden, when Princess Jasmine got a call on her cell phone from First Puppy. He invited them to come to the White House for dinner and dancing under the stars. I loved the menu, which included such items as Milk Bones, Friskies tidbits, strawberry shortcake, sardine tidbits, and pasta alfredo and garlic bread. Of course, they accepted, and soon were packing their best clothes and jewels for the airplane trip to Washington.

This book carries a subtle message of world peace. Dog and cat, humans and animals, Black and White, American and English, we can all get along and enjoy one another’s company.

The hand-drawn pictures were a delight to my grandchildren. In fact, eight-year-old Keilie said this was her favorite part of the book! Rather than feeling intimidated by perfect and professional artwork, she was inspired to take out her pen and paper and draw her own picture of Princess Jasmine
and Silly Kitty.

We never know what will inspire the young ones in our lives. In reading this story and learning that I was going to write a book review for it, Keilie wanted to help. In doing so, she gained a better understanding of how to summarize a story without giving away the details.

The Sid Series ~ A Collection of Holistic Stories for Children
Author: Yvonne Perry
ISBN: 978-0982572207
Price: $15.95
Publisher: Write On!, 2009
Pages: 54
Reviewer: Dr. Caron Goode, author of the award-winning Raising Intuitive Children (2009) and Kids Who See Ghosts, Guide Them Through Their Fear (June 1, 2010), which won Best Parenting Book in US News Awards.

Author, Yvonne Perry, uses her experiences with her sensitive grandson Sid to write simple, easy-to-read stories with profound meaning for a child and parent who read together. Perry made a parent’s job easy by addressing some hot issues that all parents face with their children at some point: seeing a ghost in the closet, why a best friend has a different skin color, how to choose healthy foods, how to welcome a new brother, why Mother Nature thunders, why we recycle, and how to find and play with fairies.

I love the pages of different colors, and the bright illustrations are delightful eye candy. Perry’s authentic storytelling emphasizes the use of imagination, reasoning, problem-solving, acceptance, hugs, and connection. One volume of Sid’s stories allows any child to return to the book to discover Sid’s next adventure or to read a couple of pages before going to sleep. I highly recommend these wonderful stories!

Lost Angel Walkabout: One Traveler’ Tales
Reviewed by Barbara Milbourn for WITS

In roughly twenty short stories, travel writer Linda Ballou takes us with her up active volcanoes in Costa Rica, down hundred-mile rivers in the Yukon Territory, over combination jumps and oxers in Ireland, beneath the Sea of Cortez, and along unforgettable jaunts through deserts, woods, peaks, and valleys in both hemispheres. Her tales span years of traveling—sometimes alone, occasionally with her mother or life partner, and often with others in search of soft adventure. Brimming with action, intelligence, regional history, funny mishaps or tight squeezes, each story is set against a backdrop of nature’s jaw-dropping beauty. Ballou aims to share her world view, and through her Eco-alerts make the reader care more deeply about our vanishing resources and places of wild beauty.

Living in greater Los Angeles among millions of other lost angels keeping pace in a hurried world, Linda Ballou makes no bones about her need to seek equilibrium, solitude, and salvation in the sublimity of nature. Forget thousand-thread count sheets at luxury hotels or shopping for the latest bling. Like the great figures liberally noted in her pieces—Robert Frost, Jack London, John Steinbeck, John Muir—Ballou prefers the great outdoors and is intimately acquainted with it. She is a naturalist, a thoughtful traveler, one caring toward the environment and sensitive to local populations both near and far. And, she is a meticulous researcher.

Lost Angel Walkabout is richly detailed and poetic. It gifts the reader with the depth of observation in the clear and careful naming of the world around us—places, peoples, plants, birds, mountain ranges, animals, and sea creatures. More satisfying than naming is storytelling the authentic connection made with the inhabitants of land, sea, and sky; ravens and great spirits, fin whales the size of city buses, or Native Americans forced to flee their land. Because the author has connected deeply, so does the reader. Something is gathered from every place visited, and it seems impossible not to connect with our own highest and best self through Ballou’s experiences—not to mention wanting to get up and go there. Linda Ballou keeps good company too and includes interviews with renowned travel writer Tim Cahill and endurance rider Lari Shea. Like her travel writing hero Tim Cahill, Ballou sees humor in many of the predicaments she stumbles into, or out of, or overboard after. Don’t be surprised to find her on the back of a galloping horse yelling “Yee Haw!” and let out a yell yourself.


Linda Ballou said...

Thanks Yvonne
Lost Angel Walkabout is available on Amazon, and all other major online distributionsites. I readers buy it on my site they enjoy free shipping.

Virginia S Grenier said...

Wow, Yvonne you sure covered a wide range of books in this post. Thanks for sharing with us. There were a few I had never heard of before that I might just check out.

The Writing Mama