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March 25, 2012

Book Fifteen of my 2012 Goal

A Calm Whisper: Art Unseen, Stories UntoldA Calm Whisper: Art Unseen, Stories Untold by Akshat Singhal

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

"A Calm Whisper - art unseen, stories untold" by Akshat Singhal are various works of art, poetry, short stores, and quotes which are done by young unknown artists. Yes, they are all artist. It doesn't matter if their canvas was that of a blank page or a true canvas just as it didn't matter if their tool was a brush or a pen. These artists do indeed leave a calm whisper in the ears of all who read this book.

The first story couple of stories should be read with tissue nearby. The first dealing with sixteen year old Andy who learns what love, family, and acceptance is by six and half year old Ben. Whereas the second story is the undying love of a mother for her son who was killed when flight 11 hit the North Tower on September 11.

The third story was very powerful. Again it deals with life, death, and how to deal with it. After all, how would you act and what would you do if you found out you had only six months to live? Although it sounds quite depressing the part that really stands out for me is, "We human beings live life just to be killed by other human beings or life itself. And what's worse our lives will mean nothing. We will vanish away into the depths of time, as humanity spirals itself toward its inevitable self-destruction."

There are several more short stories equally intense in the way they handled the situations of life and death. Some may have been moved by greed or political reasons, others by love and /or moral issues. No matter which it was, each story was interesting in its own way.

The art was in several different mediums including, but not limited to paint, digital, pencil, and pen. I personally found the Black Ball Point Pen, Pencil Shading, and Water Color most interesting and enjoyable. There was even art done on sneakers! Talk about a blast from the past, I remember when that was all the rage in school although I never recalled seeing a pair done as nice as these.

The poetry had a variety of themes from love to breakup and suicide to the 9/11 attacks. It also covered relationships such as father/daughter and parents in general. Self awareness emotions such as loneliness and the good and evil sides of humans were also touched on. Some were easy to understand and some seemed like I needed to read between the lines since I am not what you would call a poetry person. With that being said, I did find these works of poetry enjoyable.

Athough this is a quick read I know I will come back to it again and again if not for the poetry and art then for some inspiration by the quotes found in the book. I found the collection of these works amazing by these talented artists and writers. It is hard to believe they are young when they write with such knowledge and insight far beyond their years.

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March 23, 2012

Book Fourteen of my 2012 Goal

From the ChrysalisFrom the Chrysalis by Karen E. Black

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

From the Chrysalis by Karen E. Black covers a time span of several years and the setting is Canada for the most part. It is a fictional romance with a taste of mystery, violence, and sex. I find other books sometimes have sex that is over done and redundant but that is not the case here since Karen Black has seemed to master a style of her own.

In 1966 Elizabeth "Liza" Devereux is a fourteen year old growing up in a household with her younger twin brothers, her mother, and a step-father who doesn't like her. Life at home became unbearable so she is sent to live with her grandmother in Dublin. She is close to her cousin D'Arcy "Dace" Devereux, a young man who seems to find trouble at every turn. In 1971 when he is sent to Maitland Penitentiary, Liza enrolls in Maitland University so she could be close to him.

Liza seems to have an unnatural connection to Darcy and throughout the book I wondered if she would even realize how messed up Darcy's life is and how he is dragging her right down with him. Between the motorcycle gang, the drugs, and the sex I thought for sure she would end up even more messed up than he was. It was like she was too blinded by love and would never see her way out. Even after she grown up it still seemed like she was a child seeking the love of Darcy and she didn't care what she had to do to get it and keep it.

When she finds herself in the family way and Mel comes to the rescue I thought she had her prayers answered but was I in for a shock. Not only did it seem like she was having a mental breakdown, she didn't know who she wanted to be with. Her connection to Darcy was so strong but there was more than just herself to think of now.

Liza loves butterflies and reading the story she reminded me of one. The Caterpillar (14 year old Liza) become a butterfly and spreads her wings and flies. I found this book held my attention and I always wanted to know what happened next. If Liza isn't faced with some major problem then it was Darcy. This young man even found trouble while he was in trouble which of course also affected Liza so the story was never boring. I did find it slow in some parts but it never comes to a halt. I enjoyed this book and I would recommend you put it on your reading list too.

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March 15, 2012

Book Thirteen of My 2012 Goal

The Next - An OmenThe Next - An Omen by R T Douse

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Next - an omen by R.T. Douse was an excellent fictional read about problems we face today with global warming, depletion of natural resources and the many other problems we encounter including over population. Sounds a lot like what we face today only there is a solution. One that doesn't give chance to corporate greed, political pressures, or any other outside forces but the cost is high. Much too high thought some.

Once I started it I couldn't put it down, always wanting to know what happened next. I was never disappointed as the story, for the most part, switches between two groups of people, the scientists and the survivalists. The one line in the book I can't get out of my head while reading it was, "Beware the civilized man".

Kelly Mason had a special gift that put her life in danger. She learned how to block this gift which in reality she was denying a part of who she was. Kelly along with some other chosen students took part in an experiment that removed them from society. Although at times she was uncomfortable, she discovered who she really is. What she didn't know was just how important her gift was or what a major role she and the other students played in the world.

Dr. Samuel Morrison, a world renowned geneticists, believes man is a product of nature. Man evolved quickly but it takes nature much longer to evolve so it couldn't keep up with man's products and innovations. He found a way to put man back in harmony with nature. No matter what the cost he is putting his plan into effect unless someone stops him in time.

So you think you know where this story is going? I did too but was surprised many times by the twists and turns. The other times it left a bad taste in my mouth as I figured that what was going on is a typical reaction of those who crave power and domination. Yet through the book it restored my faith in man-kind to work together and survive as long as they beware of the civilized man.

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March 10, 2012

Book Twelve of My 2012 Goal

EXIT: How to Leave Debt ForeverEXIT: How to Leave Debt Forever by Nicholas L. Maze

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Exit: How to leave Debt Forever by Nicholas L. Maze should be on every 'must read' list! The sooner we understand how credit and debt works, the better our chances of achieving financial freedom. Even those whom think they know all about it and think this is just another one of those "how to get out of debt" book will find Mr. Maze's insights interesting.

Mr. Maze explains the history of money, what the Federal Reserve Bank is, and how America is set up to fail. If we all lived by the "70, 20, 10" rule which is clearly explained in the book, we could possibly get out of debt and live a wealthy life. However before we can maintain our wealth, we need to learn how to maintain our money.

The book has easy to understand step by step instructions on how to save as well as how to invest money for a greater buying power. I was a little shocked to see some of the investment suggestions as well as those not to invest in. I found the description, purpose, pros and cons of each very informative and easy to understand.

Mr. Maze also hit on a subject that I already believed and that is the "dumbing down" of Americans. Knowledge is priceless and through knowledge we, as well as our children (and their children) can learn to play the financial game by our own rules. The economic state of this country is only getting worse and the importance of teaching children at an early age is crucial for them to live debt free lives. Mr. Maze mentions an age to start of 8 or 9 however I feel children should be brought up with it as a way of life from birth. I don't feel it should be something that is introduced to them at the age of 8 or 9 like a new food to taste and see if they like it. At that age children are already set in their ways and they already know if they don't like it which means they may not willing to taste it again.

I highly recommend this book for old and young alike. The author says it best, "Being successful is living comfortably and prospering." If we all followed the steps outlined for us, we will prosper.

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March 9, 2012

Book Eleven of my 2012 Goal

A Satan CarolA Satan Carol by Alan Steven Kessler

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Alan Steven Kessler's "A Satan Carol" is a fictional story with some basis on Christian religious beliefs. I've found it to be an enjoyable spiritual horror story that gives insight into why bad things happen to good people, why good things happen to bad people, and where God is during all this.

The main character is God's first born child, Satan, who fell from grace. Jesus is his younger brother who has their father's favor. Satan wants to win God's love back by create his own "world" called Shinyland 8 where he is God so his father will acknowledge him for once. After all, he would have created his world with no help, it wasn't given to him like Jesus' world was given to Jesus. To carry out his plan he knew he would have to secure "The Golden Soul" for his son Pal who lives in Shinyland 7 (another one of Satan's worlds) and in medical need.

The story starts off in Ireland in 1848 during the Great Famine, where Satan is sure he will secure the "Golden Soul" for his son. However even being Satan doesn't make it a sure thing because the soul wasn't given to Pal. Satan then puts another plan in place to once again secure this soul. Not because he cared deeply for Pal or his parental concern for his son but because it was crucial for Pal to have this soul so he can heal himself and put Satan's plan into place of being the God of Shinyland 8. Spreading his evil to get what he wants to the end of the story, a hundred and eighty years later in Massachusetts.

I found the chapters are well organized as they introduce new people or new events keeping with the time from past toward present day. I did have a bit of problem connecting the first chapter with the others however at the end it became very clear how they are related. I also had a bit of a time stomaching some of the scenes. I found them quite cruel and grotesque from watching the child dying from starvation while telling him he will be dead soon to the eating of fried rat's fetuses. I sure wouldn't recommend reading this while eating which also means that Mr. Kessler did achieve his goal in excellence in scene description.

Torture, torment, hallucinations, and visions are throughout the story. After all, this is a story about Satan. I found I wondered if the hallucination was just that or if the person really was dreaming or seeing it for real. Then again, so did the character. Some characters were even convinced they were going mad. If it wasn't made clear which one it was at the time I read it, it becomes clear shortly after so I was never really lost or confused for long.

Satan would stop at nothing to get what he wants but even he had rules to go by. He couldn't force man into doing what he wanted since man had freewill. He can bribe, promise, and blackmail all he wanted but the choice was up to man to accept or reject and he found plenty to accept. No surprise there but just when I thought I knew where this story was going and what was coming next, a twist. I found the ending a total surprise.

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March 2, 2012

Book Ten of My 2012 Goal

Best Ghost StoriesThe Best Ghost Stories by Various

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

The Best Ghost Stories is a collection of different ghost stories during different times and by different authors. All claiming them true of course.
I have to admit that I wasn't crazy about the first story, 'The Apparition of Mrs. Veal' by Daniel De Foe, since it was written using such old terms I had a bit of a time trying to understand it. If I wasn't re-reading the paragraph because of the terms then it was because I was trying to figure out who said what. It went back and forth so quick, she said this and she said that, my head hurt.
The other story I didn't care much for is 'Dey Ain't No Ghosts' by Ellid Parker Butler because it is again hard to understand. The racial "tone" of this story turned me off from the start. I really don't find this type of writing acceptable and I quote from the story, " 'Ca'se dat li'l black boy he so specially black he can't be seen in de dark at all 'cept by de whites ob he eyes."
The rest of the stories were varying degrees of enjoyable. Including the ones written about here in CT. I was a little shocked to see Rose Clark Ambler's murder mentioned in there or Frisbie Island. Then again I guess I should be since there are suppose to be more ghosts here than I can shake a stick at even if I haven't seen a single one.
So to sum it up for you. If you don't like one story just turn to the next one and you may enjoy that one more but if it is scary you are looking for, don't look here. These can be called interesting, silly, funny, but I didn't find them the lest bit scary.

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