Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Book with a View April 2012

Title: Cold Eyes
Author: Romina Wilcox
Publisher: Xlibris Corporation (April 5, 2007)
ISBN-13: 978-1425731694
Reviewer: Dana Micheli

Romina Wilcox’s Cold Eyes Will Send a Cyber Chill Down Your Spine

Joanne Gravitz is used to being the smartest person in the room. Her new computer security program, Cold Eyes, has placed OmegaSoft, Inc. among the Silicon Valley elite, and solidified her role as one of the company’s rising stars. Therefore it is no surprise when the FBI asks for her help in solving a high profile cybercrime case. Gravitz agrees, but she has no idea that her orderly world is about to be shattered.

The case involves the murder of world renowned AIDS researcher, Professor Brett Russell. Russell’s lifeless body had washed ashore on the very morning he was to announce his groundbreaking medical discovery to the world. On the night of his death, his computer servers were also hacked into, and that’s where Joanne Gravitz comes in. The FBI believes the two crimes are connected and is hoping that Gravitz can use Cold Eyes to track down the culprit. Not one to turn down a challenge, Joanne is soon hot on the trail of a person known only as CyberGod, an evil genius that even she may not be able to outsmart.

Cold Eyes has all the components of a must-read thriller: murder, mayhem, lies and love. I felt like I was right there with Gravitz as she raced against time—and her fears—to catch CyberGod before he can kill again. And every time I thought I had the story figured out, that illusion was dispelled with the turn of the page.

Cold Eyes will leave you wanting more of Joanne Gravitz. Luckily, she returns in Wilcox’s follow up cyber-thriller, The Calendar, also currently available on Amazon.

Title: The Organic Nanny’s Guide to Raising Healthy Kids: How to Create a Natural Diet and Lifestyle for Your Child
Author: Barbara Rodriguez
Publisher: Da Capo Lifelong Books (February 28, 2012)
ISBN-13: 978-0738214894
Reviewer: Dana Micheli
The Organic Nanny’s New Book Will Not Only Improve Children’s Lives, It Will Save Them

Barbara Rodriguez, or the Organic Nanny as she has come to be called, lived an organic lifestyle decades before it became en vogue. Her grandmother, or Tata, was a pediatric nurse who combined her medical training with rich Cuban traditions to affect holistic healing. With Barbara serving as her apprentice, she created simple and very effective herbal teas and poultices. Fresh fruits, vegetables, and a connection to the soil, family and community were all essential components of their lives.

Barbara may not have known it at the time, but she was training for her life’s work as the Organic Nanny. Over the years she has cared for culturally diverse children from 11 months to 16 years, and whether the child has lagging energy levels or ADHD, she provides a holistic way to improve the issue. Using the acronym L.O.V.E. (Local, Organic, Vegetable-centric, and Environmentally Conscious) as a guide, Rodriguez has helped “her families” return to a more balanced, natural, authentic way—not just of eating, but of living. And now she brings generations of experiential wisdom to the rest of us through this book.

Her goal, she says, is not to pressure parents to be perfect, but a better version of themselves. To this end, she first asks them to assess the current state of their family’s heath, then to consider the future. For example, What do you envision for your child’s future?, and Who would you like them to become? These two seemingly simple questions open up entirely new ways of viewing their everyday habits. And that is the beginning of the shift.

Rodriquez not only discusses the known and unknown consequences of allowing your kids to eat junk food, she also exposes the bad things hiding in “good foods”. More importantly, she teaches us how to listen to the organic needs of your body, and to make changes when your family is already addicted to junk food.

This book is full of powerful epiphanies, yet offers simple, real world solutions. The best part is, she does not sugarcoat the challenges of living in today’s high tech society, namely less time spent exercising, being out in the sun, and hanging out with family—but meets them head on. Essentially, she is telling us that the more spoiled we get by modern conveniences, the further away we are getting from health and well-being.

But don’t worry, she’ll tell you how to change that too. The Organic Nanny’s Guide to Raising Healthy Kids: How to Create a Natural Diet and Lifestyle for Your Child is a must read for every parent.


Title: Fast Food and Gin on the Law
Author: Saira Viola
Publisher: FeedaRead.com (February 1, 2012)
ISBN-13: 978-1781760123
Reviewer: Dana Micheli
Fast Food and Gin on the Lawn.” It’s not your mother’s iambic pentameter.

Salman Rushdie once said, “A poet's work is to name the unnamable, to point at frauds, to take sides, start arguments, shape the world, and stop it going to sleep.”

Well, if that’s true, then Saira Viola has a job for life. Her collection of poems, “Fast Food and Gin on the Lawn” is a raw exploration of social ills that are as current as the latest blog and as timeless as humanity itself. From Baghdad to Brooklyn, London to Long Island, Viola takes us on a tour of underbelly of the human condition in all its forms: war, materialism, and gut-wrenching despair.

If you are thinking you can decide on a favorite, think again, for your choice will change with each turn of the page. I know mine did. “Duke Ellington Blues”, with its vivid imagery of a soldier turned down-and-out musician, immediately brought to mind Hughes’ “What Happens to a Dream Deferred?”, and when reading “The Chromatic Bliss” I could feel the agony of every woman whose looks have been stolen by the cruel march of time.

While all of the pieces in Fast Food and Gin are melodic, the book also features Viola’s original song lyrics. With lines like “Elegant thugs and Escort girls, With boudoir secrets to sell the world”, Trash City Blues conveys the growing wealth disparity so powerfully that even those with no musical ability (like myself) could hear its haunting sounds.

Saira Viola’s travels around the globe have shaped her writing into an experiential tour de force. She crafts her poems using a unique style she calls “sonic scatterscript”, which draws on the fusion of music, nature and pop culture. She also writes satirical news articles for Stirring Trouble Internationally, and her poems have appeared in several journal and magazines, including the prestigious Cannon Poets.

Title: The Two Agreements
Author: S.L. Brannon
Publisher: CreateSpace (October 15, 2011)
ISBN-13: 978-1461171591
Reviewer: Dana Micheli

The Christian that Came in From the Cold: Steve Brannon’s The Two Agreements offers a New Path to God

Historically, in times of crisis people have turned to their religion. But what happens when people have problems and questions that their church is either unable, or unwilling, to address? This impasse is the cause of the growing rift we are seeing in fundamentalist Christianity. Millions of people, particularly the young, are leaving the church in droves. They hunger for a closer relationship with God and are tired of being told “they don’t believe strongly enough” if they have questions about the traditional interpretation of the Bible. Some of these questions are nearly as old as humanity itself, and although many remain unanswerable to us on this plane, their exploration is something that must be attempted if we can hope to understand our Divine purpose.

In this incredible new book, The Two Agreements, Dr. Steve Brannon reinterprets the New Testament and sheds light on the true nature of Christ’s life and work on earth. Brannon explores Jesus’ journey as he walked between two worlds—the relative existence of human life, and the absolute world of love, unity, acceptance and perfection created by The Source. But perhaps even more important, the book also chronicles the origins of “the Lie”, introduced in the story of Adam and Eve, which has been used for centuries to illustrate man’s inherent “sinful” nature and his separation from God.

The Two Agreements is also a companion of sorts to Brannon’s work as a spiritual counselor/coach. Licensed as a minister at the age of 19, Steve planted a fundamentalist Christian church soon after. But over time, he began to feel a need to know Christ in a way that Christian dogma did not seem to allow. After much soul-searching, he began a slow, painful extrication from organized religion that led to his transformation as a true follower of Jesus.

Today, Steve’s interfaith ministry specializes in helping those with mental health challenges develop their spiritual lives. He hosts two weekly groups: one is for patients at a mental health facility; the other is open to the public, for individuals suffering with mood disorders, as well as their close friends and families. Both groups are comprised of a plurality of faiths.

The Two Agreements is an invitation to a new level of spiritual awareness. It opens a door to a new consciousness and most importantly, a deeper relationship with God and with each other. 

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