Monday, May 26, 2014

50 Children by Steven Pressman

Posted first to Blog Critics as Book Review:'50 Children' by Steven Pressman.

Those who put their lives at risk during times of war are not always soldiers, trained in the art of warfare. Often ordinary people do the extraordinary with little expectation of thanks.
In 50 Children by Steven Pressman, we follow such a couple who put their own lives on hold to help rescue 50 children from harm in Nazi Germany during the time of holocaust. Gil and Eleanor Kraus find themselves in War time Germany in an effort to use the laws of U. S. immigration and the help of untold others to find and use visas that had never been used to get children to safety.  The times were volatile and as Jews they put themselves in harms ways to do what they could in their own efforts of rescue.
This is the story of an Ordinary American couple who had the courage to face adversity to do what was necessary in a time of turmoil. Using notes, pictures and family accounts Pressman gives us a picture of the difficulties and challenges, as well as the final outcome.

To find such a compelling story and the antidotes that go with it is an important part of history. This was a time when so many things went wrong, yet there were those who did what they could to make things right. As history unfolds the atrocities of war become clear, yet the United States finds itself in turmoil as well. The news is not good and many rumors abound.
The story is told from the beginning and you find yourself in the shoes of the Kraus’s as they set on this dangerous task to go into Germany and rescue as many children as they can. There is heartbreak and tears as well as horror and terror. At any time the narrow path they walk can begin breaking up, thrusting them even deeper into the maelstrom of Hitler Germany.
The very laws of the land in the United States created its own dilemma, when immigration is already at a high level and visa are at their low, how can anyone proceed. And yet many do, for this is only one of the many stories of rescue and courage in a time where help was needed the most.
If you enjoy history along with stories of courage you will enjoy this work. If you are interested in the politics of the day, and stories of courage this work takes you into the stages of all. This couple and others remain unsung heroes in a time where ordinary people did extraordinary things.
This would be a great book for a book club or reading group. The history and the undertakings will fill the quest of finding dialogue to discuss for many reasons. History is what it is and the discussion of what occurred or could have occurred is left to those who try to find the reason behind the actualities.
Rating 5\5
This book was received free through the authors publisher. All opninions are my own based off my reading and understanding of the material.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Stealing the Moon and Stars by Sally J. Smith and Jean Steffens

Posted first to Blog Critics as Book Review: 'Stealing the Moon and Stars by Sally J. Smith and Jean Steffens.

While charities abound around the world in an effort to ease suffering, they are often the target of those whose scruples make them feel that anything is up for grabs. Embezzlement is often the crime of chance and circumstance, where those most in need become the final victims once again.
In Stealing the Moon and Stars by Sally J. Smith and Jean Steffens, we are introduced to a pair of Private eyes based in Scottsdale Arizona. Jordan Welsh and Eddie Marino have teamed up and are beginning to make a name for themselves.  As business improves, the cases are becoming for dangerous but the importance of the business also becomes more evident. When they are hired to find out what has happened to the money for the Moon and Stars Children’s foundation they feel as though they have finally hit mainstream.
Everyone is a suspect including those working the charity, and as Jordan begins to dig in deeper, she finds she is suddenly in the sights of a crime lord, and bodies around her begin to pile up. Her partner is somehow in the middle with a secret of his own.  As the danger of her situation comes clear she no longer knows who to trust. Can she ferret out the secrets before it is too late?
Jordan and Eddie are great characters with an interplay that is just short of scandalous.  The heat of passion that evolves as they chase the danger seems palpable.  Jordan is a strong woman with a wickedly funny sense of humor, and Eddie is a fun and deeply secretive and good looking man. With such chemistry, Jordan finds herself constantly reminding herself of the danger of becoming involved.
That attraction which seems to flare up can also create more danger and as their investigation heats up, danger is more prevalent then they know.
If you enjoy a fast paced romance, this will fill the bill. Add suspense and spice and you have a romantic suspense with a bit of a twist.  If you are in the market for a great beach or escape reading experience then this is the work for you.  It seems that we may have a new dynamic duo in private investigations. This first book in a new series is interesting and holds enough challenge to keep you entertained.  

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Stealing the Moon & Stars
Book Summary:
Jordan Welsh and Eddie Marino, Scottsdale private eyes, are hired to find out who’s stealing from the Moon & Stars Children’s Foundation. Foundation employees are suspected, but just as the pieces start falling into place, Jordan discovers a hidden agenda that puts her in the crosshairs of a crime lord. Who can she trust?

Everyone has a dangerous secret, and the bodies are piling up. Even her partner, Eddie Marino, has a dark and mysterious past. Does she dare act on their attraction? Will it destroy their partnership?

The two have landed in a hornets’ nest. Nothing to do now but stir it up.

Book One in a new series featuring Jordan Welsh and Eddie Marino.

Sally J. Smith & Jean Steffens' Bios:
Arizona native Sally J. Smith lives in Scottsdale with her husband. The rarest of breeds, an adult who was born in Arizona, she has been a writer since she could spell. These days she stays busy at her chosen professions of writing (novels, short stories, and articles) and freelance editing. When a free moment appears on the horizon, she’s out the door to a attend a play, a movie, a concert, or just take a long walk in the desert—if the temperature’s under a hundred. Other works include The Ghost Wore Polyester.

Jean Steffens also lives in Scottsdale with her family. She’s a mother, reader, movie fan, and the Steffens’ family chauffeur. She’s also active in church activities. Like Jordan Welsh, PI, Jean grew up in Chicago near Lake Forest. Jean’s mother, however, was nurturing—baking cookies, carpooling kids to school, kissing boo-boos—unlike Jordan’s mother, who’s allergic to the kitchen and thinks a carpool is a hot tub in a limo. Jean’s published work includes “The Night Before Christmas” in the Desert Sleuths Sisters in Crime Anthology, How Not to Survive the Holidays.

Work sessions between these two ladies generally result in a lot of laughter, noshing, and Internet surfing. Both authors are members of Romance Writers of America and Sisters in Crime.

Price: $13.95
Format: paperback
Pages: 242
Release: May 15, 2014
Publisher: Camel Press
ISBN: 9781603819831

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Sunday, May 11, 2014

The Art and Ethics of Being a Good Colleague by Michael J. Kuhar Ph. D.

Posted first to Blog Critics as Book Review: 'The Art and Ethics of Being a Good Colleague' by Michael J. Kuhar Ph. D.

When you are in the business of people, it is important to understand how to get the best out of them. Developing a team of talented individuals can determine the success or failure of your place of business and make your life much easier in all phases.
With so many books offering suggestion and ideas the marketplace becomes confusing as to which guide carries the best advice.  The Art and Ethics of being a Good Colleague by Michael J. Kuhar Ph. D. is another take on the age old issue of getting the best out of others. When reading the chapters you are brought to mind of the golden rule. There is a great deal of common sense in the pages and the insights are interesting.
With the author’s background in ethics it is with little surprise that much of how we should interact with others includes lessons on ethics and how they are a part and parcel of our own experiences. Realizing the importance of both friends and colleagues is the bottom line of defense, a building block of life both inside of work and out. With an endorsement from His Holiness, the XIVth Dalai Lama, it is difficult to refute the nature of building our intentions.
If you are looking for a good guideline just a bit different from the rest of the pack you will find this work to fit the bill. Written more in a text book style you will find the ideas encouraging and the lessons engaging. You will also find that this work is for more than just those you work with but with anyone you interact with. Not only can you improve you own relationships both personal and at work but the impact of how you utilize the information can also go a long way to helping improve the lives of others.
This would be a great book for a discussion group. While some of the contents we have heard before, there is more of the precision and tools that help to kindle the types of relationships you desire. This can create a very diverse discussion keeping  the meeting lively and entertaining .
Rating 4/5
This book was received free from the authors publicist. All opinions are my own based off my reading and understanding of the material.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Counterstrike by John Groh

Posted first to Blog Critics as Book Review:'Counterstrike' by John Groh.

Family has such a strong impact in our lives. Yet there are times that rivalry among the members creates distrust and discord. Add money to the mix and occasionally that discord becomes a solid burning feeling of anger. Situations that can usually be worked through suddenly become the fuel to build an inferno.
In Counter Strike by John Groh, we meet two brothers working to build a solid life in Phoenix, neither of them in harm’s way,  yet not as close as they once were prior to their father’s death.  Boyce suffers a tragedy when his wife dies in a horrible accident, and he immediately suspects his brother, Spencer’s, involvement.  Suddenly the tables turn and both personal and professional rivalry turns into a deep and deadly game of betrayal and treachery.  They each turn to a close family friend named Boots, who for his own reason plays both sides, further feathering the flames of hurt and discord.
As dangerous  and deadly accidents began to occur, each feels the other is the reason for disaster. Neither of them realizes the true danger of what is happening beneath the shifting terror as suddenly allegiances shift, work prospects dim, and money becomes the winning factor in place of family and home.  Boots seems to have an uncanny hold and a tenuous existence, with a finger on the pulse of both lives. What does he gain when the lives of his friends are undone? Murder no long seems farfetched, but who will outwit the other?
Groh has giving us an uncomfortable mystery and sparked it with deadly intensity.  Hi brothers are much like most families and yet there is a deep distrust that seems impossible to dislodge. Spencer seems to be the calmer of the two brothers, but even he seems to lose touch as Boyce seems unable to let go of his feeling that Spencer is not only responsible for his wife’s death, but in taking her affections as well. Yet he finds such strange and tragic connections, almost as though they are fed to him, coming at times when his mind is at its darkest moments. 
Boots is a Vietnam Vet with his own agenda as he plays the two brothers against each other. He too has a darkness that covers his soul, and an interest in where the family money should reside. His reasons are his own and yet as the twists and turns bring a horrifying ending his motives began to come through.
If you enjoy mystery and thrillers you may enjoy this work. It is quick and deep, with twists and turns that make you cringe. The possibility of the brothers finding a solution to their deepening suspicion of the other holds you enthralled. Can they truly figure out the treachery beneath the strange attempts? The shocking and often dangerous scenes keep you riveted with dawning horror. 
This would be a good find for a reading group, the distrust created would give the dialogue plenty of fodder, and most people have known one of two family members that act in such fashion, although in a more passive way.  It is always so disturbing to see families dissolve after the death of a loved one, and such a shocking rendering of grief will create robust dialogue.  
Rating 3/5
This book was received from the author. All opinions are my own based off my reading and understanding of the material.