Review: Destined For Victory – 60 Days Of Inspiration

Destined For Victory –
60 Days Of Inspiration

Author: Arkevious Armstrong
Greater Working Women Publishing LLC
2018
ISBN #978-1-948829-06-9

Destined For Victory cover

“Destined For Victory – 60 Days Of Inspiration” is an amazing 93 page book from author, motivational speaker, entrepreneur, mentor and coach Arkevious “Arkinspire” Armstrong. Everything about this book is impressive – starting out with the lovely gold mailing envelope! The color was eye-catching, but I was also impressed that time had been taken to think about how this book would be sent out. The envelope itself was padded, so that no damage was inadvertently done to the book in shipping. Then we get to the book cover, which shows a very professional picture of Mr. Armstrong (looking confident and joyful!), with his name and the name of the book in purple lettering against a white background. I am so attracted to the color purple – if I saw this book in a bookstore, I would automatically pick it up.

Mr. Armstrong comes from a background of being incarcerated. He chose to use that time wisely – to earn his GED, and to complete other educational programs. He now has an Associates in Business Management from Strayer University, and, aside from his other work, has launched his own clothing line (Arkinspire/Inspire Apparel). He is a gentleman that has made something of his life, and aspires to help others make something of their lives.

This book acts as a personal challenge to the reader to take charge of their life. It covers a time period of 60 days, which are divided into weeks (the final week covering four days). It is presented in large type, which makes for easy reading for everyone. Each week starts out with a quote for the week, and each day starts out with a quote for the day, followed by inspirational words.

For example:

Week 1 Quote: “Choose to focus your time, energy, and conversation around people who inspire you, support you and help you to grow into your happiest, strongest, wisest self.”

Day 1 Quote: “Today you are coming for everything that belongs to you. You are going to be everything they thought you were not going to become.”

Day 1 Inspirational Words: “Trust yourself! Create the kind of self that you will be happy to live every single day. Have faith in yourself. You can, you will, and you should and if you are brave enough to start, you will!”

At the end of each week is an inspirational journal, with questions to focus on, and space to write in a response. Week 1 questions include: “How did you exercise your mind this week?”, “What are your current priorities?”, “What should your priorities be?”, and “What gifts do you need to unleash?”.

Committing to reading this material, accepting the energy into your life, and taking action on it will help you to see yourself in a different light, and motivate you to be the best person that you can be. Journaling – putting your thoughts on paper, is an excellent way to look at what may well be bottled up energy in a new light. You can go back to the inspiration of any day, at any time, to review the material, and to center and ground yourself. This book is a very strong tool for personal growth and transformation.

© September 2018 Bonnie Cehovet
Reproduction prohibited without written permission from the author.

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Review: Notes From The Bottom Of The World – A Life In Chile

Notes From The Bottom Of The World –
A Life In Chile

Author: Suzanne Adam
She Writes Press
2018
ISBN #978-1-63152-415-8

Notes From The Botom Of The World - cover

“Notes From The Bottom Of The World – A Life In Chile” is a lovely 225 page book that in small sound bites (sixty-three short personal essays) gives the reader a front row seat in viewing living as an American expat in Chile. Suzanne Adam, a native Californian, graduated from U.C. Berkley, then served in the Peace Corp in Columbia. After returning to California, Adam met her future husband, Santiago, and followed him back to his home country of Chile. She has lived there for over forty years, marrying Santiago, raising two boys, and working as a teacher. Now retired, she has turned to writing as a pastime.

I am drawn to the short essays – little sound bites that I can read here and there during the day, smiling as Adam’s words trigger memories within myself. Adam writes with depth and caring – a caring for the people in her world, and for the world at large. She is an avid reader, and sprinkles references to books throughout her stories.

Her story in this book begins with her American roots, and her fiftieth high school reunion – something that was a recent event for me too (only I chose not to go). She talks about how she found out about the reunion, classmates that have died, her decision to attend, and reconnecting with classmates. These are all things that as readers we can relate to, so at the very beginning of the book we are forming a bond with the author.

Adam moves easily into her memories – of moving to Chile, of her sons, of her father (and the things that she did with him), and of her mother (with whom she did not have a close relationship). She talks about her love for California, and its history, and references to people like author Ursula Le Guin. She talks about her time in Columbia, the people, and the culture, as well as her life in Chile. (Where gardeners have an aversion to pulling weeds!)

The energy that connects the essays is Adam’s love for life, her search for universal truths, and her ability to live in the moment. She talks about her role as a woman, friendships, the spiritual life, and how as we age life changes us. One of the most interesting series of essays are those that cover Adam returning to Columbia to revisit where she lived as a Peace Corp volunteer, and to reconnect with the people that she knew at that time.

Adam’s essays are from the heart – insightful, passionate, in the moment – a beautiful connection to the people and environment that surrounds her. This is a lovely book to be able to go back to from time to time, and reread the essays that act to bring back our own memories, reconnect us with ourselves, and bring peace and joy into our lives. It is a keeper!

© August 2018 Bonnie Cehovet
Reproduction prohibited without written permission from the author.

Here We Go Again!

All authors – please read! This is downright scary!

ladiesofmystery

by Janis Patterson

It never ends. Writers are the sitting ducks of the universe, and it seems that someone is always trying to figure out a way to profit off our work without fairly compensating us for it.

Back when I was a talent agent for film, TV and commercials everyone wanted to be an actor. No, the word should be ‘star.’ Everyone wanted to be a star. I had people come to me and ask me how much we would charge them to be in a film or television commercial. The concept that acting was a profession and that actors were professional people who deserved to be compensated like any other professional was totally alien to them.

And there were companies who catered to those warped dreams – at a price, however, and usually with either ghastly results or no results at all. I remember a movie, a western…

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Review: Island of the Mad

Island of the Mad

Author: Laurie R. King
Bantam Books
2018
ISBN #978-0804177962

 Island of the Mad cover

I absolutely adore all of Ms. King’s books, but her Sherlock Holmes/Mary Russell series is my favorite! “Island of the Mad” does not disappoint! I am not thrilled that Mrs. Hudson is taking a “side-trip”, but she would not have been in this book anyway, as it features Holmes and Russell in lovely Venice.

Russell has been asked by a friend to find her Aunt, while Holmes has been asked by his brother Mycroft to “check into things” in Venice re Benito Mussolini and the rising Fascist movement. Holmes is not quick to make that clear to Russell, however! We are looking at a post WW I, pre-WW II environment.

The missing Aunt, Lady Vivian Beaconsfield) by the way, has been in and out of insane asylums for many years. Her condition was said to have been brought on by the loss of her brother and father in the Great War – but is that really so? It is interesting to note that Lady Beaconsfield arranged to leave the asylum to attend her other brother’s birthday party, but she managed to disappear (after taking a large amount of money from her personal account, and having her brother get an expensive diamond necklace that is hers out of the vault). The nurse that was attending her has also conveniently disappeared!

Once in Venice the focus is on the Lido cabarets, wealthy, privileged individuals at play, and the ominous presence of the Fascist “Black Shirts”. Cole Porter, and a new (to Holmes) violin also come into play. There is also a strong LGBTQ theme, along with the rights of women – or rather, their lack of rights.

As always with Ms King, the characters are wonderfully bold, the storyline does not wander one iota, and the intensity of research shows through clearly. Thoroughly enjoyable, and highly recommended!

© July 2018 Bonnie Cehovet
Reproduction prohibited without written permission from the author.

Review: The President Is Missing

The President Is Missing

Author: Bill Clinton, James Patterson
Little, Brown and Company; Alfred A. Knopf
2018
ISBN # 978-0316412698

The President Is Missing - cover

I have looked forward to reading this book ever since I heard about it – and it did not disappoint! Very slow in the beginning, and dragged a bit, but it did pick up the pace wonderfully!

What we have here are two individuals (Bill Clinton, former president and co-founder of the Clinton Foundation, and James Patterson, renowned author and founder of the JIMMY book imprint for children) who shared their expertise to create a timely story about government (national and global), terrorism, cyberspace, and the need for cyber-security.

The story is based on fictional U.S. President Duncan, and how he deals with a crisis situation of critical proportions in a very humane manner, with all of the knowledge and wisdom gained through his life in the military, as a POW, and as a civilian. Between Clinton and Patterson, they create a believable (and functioning!) White House, a believable environment around the president (including the Secret Service), great descriptions of the White House, a unique location where a great deal of the action takes place, and strong global interaction.

We start out with the president dealing with a health crisis that underlies the entire story. But he has to be President – no time for doing the right thing medically! The national crisis is one of epic proportions – one that could take the entire U.S. down through a virus that was planted in it Internet three years before. And yes – there is a date when the virus will activate. A date that comes too soon, and a cyber security team that, while they are the best of the best, cannot locate the virus, and, when they finally do, cannot stop it. Every system in the U.S. that is connected to the Internet (and all systems are!) will go down. No clean water, no ability to purchase anything, no ability to keep hospitals operational – the list goes on!

So – we have a president with a health crisis, who needs to protect his country, who had been about to face an impeachment hearing, and who has now “gone missing”. He has the secret service with him, but he is still targeted. The person behind the virus (who did meet with the president) is killed. Her partner did not write the code, he simply hacked it into the U.S. systems. He is captured alive – and actually wants to help!

The President reaches out for help from the Israeli Prime Minister, the German Chancellor, and the Russian President. He gets two out of three in person – the Israeli Prime Minister and the German Chancellor. Russia comes up short, sending their second in command, Prime Minister Ivan Volkov.

Then there is the individual that might have been the cause for his impeachment – a global terrorist by the name of Suliman Cindoruk. Oh, and yes, one of the President’s six closest advisors, the only people that know about the virus, is a traitor.

I definitely recommend this book as representative of our times. Even though it starts slowly, and to me has an overwhelming amount of female primary characters (FBI Director, Vice President, the President’s personal physician, the President’s Chief of Staff, and Deputy Chief of Staff, and a female assassin who is pregnant), the characters are well written, the plot is fantastic, and the storyline moves quickly (after a slow start). I also recommend watching the accompanying video on Amazon featuring both authors. Definitely a history lesson within the covers of this book!

© June 2018 Bonnie Cehovet
Reproduction prohibited without written permission of the author.

Review: When Spirit Calls – A Healing Odysey

When Spirit Calls –
A Healing Odyssey

Author: Joan Diver
Monkfish Book Publishing Company
2018
ISBN #978-1-939681-68-3

When Spirit Calls - cover

Joan Diver was the first Executive Director of Boston’s Hyams Foundation, a position that she held for eighteen years, and for which she was recognized for her creative leadership in philanthropy and social justice. She and her husband Colin (Dean of Penn Law School, later to be President of Reed College) were featured in J. Anthony Lukas’ Pulitzer prize-winning book “Common Ground: A Turbulent Decade in the lives of Three American Families”.

This is an intensely personal story, revolving around personal growth, spiritual growth, the growth of a relationship, and the growth of a family. It is very detailed, with a good mix of family issues, personal issues (Diver suffered from intense back pain for many years), and both Joan and Colin Diver’s spiritual growth.

Even during the years that Diver served as Executive Director of the Hyams Foundation, she was following her spiritual path. Beginning with being a member of the congregation of preacher Howard Thurman (spiritual mentor to civil rights leaders), her spiritual life was important to her, and she followed where that path lead – even when she did not understand why. Speaking for those of us that grew up in the 60’s and 70’s, this was not an unusual thing. When we heard about a spiritual leader, we tried to see what they were all about. We have all been to lectures and retreats, sat on the floor listening to guru’s sitting in front of us on a raised dais. Diver’s journey is very much an East/West journey, as she visits gurus here in the U.S., in China, in India, and makes pilgrimages to Egyptian holy sites.

We are shown a world where spirit guides and unusual (out of body) experiences abound. It is all about being open to what we see, and what we hear. It is all about seeing where we are closed off as individuals, and about where we are blocking ourselves. It is about healing ourselves on all levels.

All the while Diver is dealing with a back that many times, and for long periods of time, is so excruciating that all she can do is lie down. The pain originates in the solar plexus, which is where the release and healing must occur. She deals with both Eastern and Western medicine, including past life regression and healing. Hers is an amazing story! I personally want to thank her for sharing the depth of her experiences, including the information that comes to her in her sessions, how it comes to her, the wisdom that comes from her teachers/guru’s, and in-depth detail of her surroundings/environment.

As a woman, I can appreciate her concern about how following her path might affect her marriage and her family. I loved the detail that she went into about her home(s), about social responsibilities (hers and her husband’s), and about the changes that they went through. She is transparent and honest in sharing her story (including the doubts that she has more than once along the way about whether she was doing the right thing).

Every reader will find their own version of personal growth through this story.

© June 2018 Bonnie Cehovet
Reproduction prohibited without written permission.

Review: Crazy Like A Fox

Crazy Like A Fox

Author: Rita Mae Brown
Ballantine Books
2017
ISBN #978-0399178344

Crazy Like A Fox

“Crazy Like A Fox”, by Rita Mae Brown, is part of the “Sister Jane” series. (Brown also writes the “Sneaky Pie Brown series, and has written several stand-alone books, including “Rubyfruit Jungle”.) As with Sister Jane, Brown is a Master of Foxhounds.

Sister finds herself in the middle of a very perplexing puzzle – a valuable cowhorn, belonging to Wesley Carruthers, has been stolen. Carruthers himself is an enigma, having disappeared in 1954 – presumed dead. However, someone looking and speaking very much like Carruthers (aka Weevil) let a video behind on the cell phone of one of Sister’s friends.  (The ladies had been visiting the exhibit, and the phone was accidentally left behind.)

The stolen cowhorn brings up issues from the past, including Weevil’s history with women (single and married), and an argument that has two brothers not talking to each other for over twenty years. Then there is the issue of jewelry that seemed to have disappeared about the same time that Weevil did.

I loved that Brown brought Tootie back as part of the Jefferson Hunt, as well as bringing Tootie’s mother deeper into the series. Per usual, everyone has a voice, including the animals: the foxhounds (Cora, Asa, Diana and Dasher), the foxes (Aunt Netty, Earl, Comet, Inky, and Georgia), the horses (Keepsake, Rickyroo, Showboat and Iota), the birds (Athena, Bitsy, and St. Just), and the house pets (Raleigh (a Doberman), Rooster (a Harrier), and Golliwog (a long haired Calico cat).

I love reading about the background and history of the hunt, the culture of Virginia, and about the fact that to understand the present we need to understand the past. In this book, we are introduced to what may be a ghost – a ghost who blows the stolen horn during foxhunts, and does it in such a way that everyone who knew him thinks it is Weevil himself blowing the horn. Then there are the strange appearances of a young man (the age of Weevil when he disappeared) holding conversations with people from his time (and saving Tootie from a gun toting individual who is protecting his marijuana crop!).

Brown is one of two authors that immediately come to mind that cannot write a bad book (the second being Laurie R. King). Her characters are in depth, her background is well researched, and her books keep a strong pace.

This is one of those books that I will read over and over again!

 © June 2018 Bonnie Cehovet
Reproduction prohibited without written permission from the author.