Friday, July 22, 2011

Gamadin Book 4 - Gazz by Tom Kirkbride

Gazz (Gamadin, #4)Gazz by Tom Kirkbride

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Gamadin Book IV: Gazz by Tom Kirkbride is about a group of people from the 54th Century that are part of a very special ancient police force of the cosmos called Gamadin. The sole mission of Gamadin is to defend the the freedom an happiness of all peaceful planets everywhere regardless of origin or wealth.

This fourth book has the Gamadin trying to save a 16th Century planet called Gazz. All life on this planet is about to be wiped out by a lethal gamma ray burst and Gamadin must use the force field of their ship, the Milliwanda, to help save the planet. But, there is a problem and the ship loses power because it is sucked dry by saving Gazz. The ship has to be landed on this 16th century planet while the crew attempts to find a fuel source to get the Milliwanda back into space. I am not going to give any spoilers here.

Now, I didn't read the first three books of this series, but I had no trouble whatsoever reading book 4. It is a standalone story even though it part of a series. I have to say, I love fantasy stories and this one is no different. It has a lot of tight moments for the crew of the Milliwanda and many interesting events occur.

I would recommend to anyone that likes fantasy pick this up and read it. I am even going back and get the other three books so I can read the entire series.

I received this book through Library Thing's Early Readers Program. The opinion expressed in this review is my own honest opinion.

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Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Bronze and the Brimstone (Verona Trilogy #2) - Lory S. Kaufman

The Bronze and the Brimstone (The Verona Trilogy #2)The Bronze and the Brimstone by Lory S. Kaufman

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book is so good I finished it in one day....I just couldn't put it down! Awesome! Can't wait for the the next book!!!

I would like to point out at this time....I don't give 5 stars unless the book is life changing in some way....if I give a book 4 is pretty awesome.

Title: The Bronze and the Brimstone (Verona Trilogy #2)
Author: Lory S. Kaufman
Publisher: The Fiction Studio

The Bronze and the Brimstone is the second book in the series of the Verona Trilogy by Lory S. Kaufman. This book picks up right where the first book, The Lens and the Looker, ends. Hansum, Shamira, and Lincoln are three teens that are from the 24th century and are trapped in the 14th century Verona, Italy.

The teens have experienced and survived many dangerous instances and have been noticed by the rich and powerful of the day by introducing futuristic technology into the past. In the book, Kaufman weaves the teens through many dangerous trials and tribulations and we watch them all grow and mature into responsible adults. Ok…they are still teens, but remember they are in the 14th century and things are much harder then and people grew up a lot faster. This book ends when the Black Death was sweeping across the area. Kaufman gives us an unexpected twist at the end of this book that makes us want to read the next one!

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and would recommend it to anyone who loves sci-fi, fantasy fiction. But let me say this….it is historical. Both book 1 & 2 are set in Verona Italy in the 14th century. Up to this point there hasn’t been a lot of information given about the 24th century except in the first few little chapters of book 1. However, I’m fine with that. I love historical fiction!

BTW…there is a third book (hence trilogy). It is called The Loved and the Lost…and I CANNOT wait to get my hands on a copy!!!!

DISCLAIMER: This book was provided to me through the Goodreads First Reads Program for an honest review whether positive or negative.

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Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Lens and the Looker (The Verona Trilogy, #1)The Lens and the Looker by Lory S. Kaufman

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Title: The Lens and the Looker
Author: Lory S. Kaufman
Publisher: The Fiction Studio

The Lens and the Looker is the first book in a trilogy by Lory S. Kaufman. I won the second book from Goodreads and didn't want to read it until I had read the book 1.

This book is about 24th century humans that with the help of artificial intelligence have created the perfect post-dystopian society. In this book we first meet with three teenagers Hansum who is almost 17, Shamira who is 15, and Lincoln who is 14. These three are what the elders in the 24th century call "hard cases" and have elected to send them to History Camp where they can learn some valuable lessons. However, while at History Camp the teens are kidnapped by a rogue ex-elder of History Camp and actually taken back into the past to 1347 in Verona, Italy. These teens have two choices at this point. They can either adapt to the lifestyle or die.

I'm not going to give any spoilers...but let me tell you...after i got past the first few pages that seemed a little slow for me..I didn't want to put this book down. The characters are so well-developed that I could visualize them taking part int he activities described in the story. I would definitely recommend this book.

Oh yeah.....and now I can grab the The Bronze and the Brimstone (the 2nd of the series) and begin to read more about the three teanagers and their adventures.

DISCLAIMER: The views expressed in this review are my honest opinion.

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Monday, July 11, 2011

Leading With Soul by Lee G. Bolman & Terrence E. Deal

Leading With Soul: An Uncommon Journey of Spirit (Jossey-Bass Management)Leading With Soul: An Uncommon Journey of Spirit by Lee G. Bolman

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Title: Leading With Soul
Authors: Lee G. Bolman & Terrence E. Deal
Publisher: Jossey-Bass

In the book, Leading With Soul: An Uncommon Journey of Spirit, Bolman and Deal use a contemporary parable of a business leader named Steve, a conflicted executive who seeks counsel from Maria, a spiritual director. Maria assists Steve in a journey of awakening to his own inner world of soul and feelings. As Steve begins to get deeper into the personal aspects of himself he begins to change and so does his style of leadership. As he brings feelings into the workplace it is difficult at first but as time goes by the results are positive not only for Steve, but for his employees and company.

This story of Steve and Maria is told during the course of several meetings. With each of these visits Maria helps Steve recognize the importance of his own spirit that he has ignored. Between each of his visits with Maria, Steve struggles with himself and tests the ideas he's learned from Maria. With each meeting he describes the outcomes of his previous experiments. These outcomes are not always successful. But Maria assures him that change doesn’t come easy.

Maria knows that she must help Steve understand that the spirit is in everything around us. She uses nature to begin the transformation of Steve within himself. Throughout the book Maria explains the four gifts she believes are the answer for working with others effectively. These four gifts are love, authorship, power, and significance. Between visits with Maria, Steve tackles giving the gifts on his employees to get a deeper understanding of them. Steve learns is that timing is critical when learning about and using these gifts with others if you want them accepted. With love he found that it combines caring and compassion and must be shown in both good times and bad. Steve realizes that with authorship he must give his employees the ability to take on responsibility so there can be a sense of accomplishment that is so important for job satisfaction. He also comes to realize that he needs to empower his employees so they feel some autonomy in getting things done. Now he sees how power is one of the important gifts that Maria has talked about in their meetings. The fourth gift of significance, Steve discovered on his own when an anniversary celebration went awry. He realized after talking with Maria that significance blends ritual, spontaneity, and celebration and it is an importance aspect of creativity sharing on the job.

What appeared to be Steve's hardest lesson, however, is that of passing the torch. By story's end, Maria has become gravely ill and has died. Now, Steve must continue on his journey of self-exploration and growth by himself. Even more importantly, he must carry on the work of sharing the four gifts and showing others the importance of leading with soul.

Through out the book Maria is telling Steve that we must all make our own way and not put someone else in charge of our spiritual journey. We must recognize and trust the power within ourselves, and be ready for the new growth. I have not been to any management or leadership programs but according to the authors most of these programs ignore or demean spirit. The authors talk about infusing the leadership programs with spirit filled forms of such things as poetry, literature, art, music, history, philosophy, and dance. If this was done individuals would be able to reclaim their hearts, soul, and spirits. Then they could share their gifts from the heart.

Now for my response to the book. I wasn’t sure what to expect with this book. The sole reason this one got chosen over the other two is simply because I found this one on eBay for one dollar. I have since bought the other two and will read them next. I really enjoyed this book. It was in an easy to read format and very easy to understand. I really enjoyed being taken through Steve’s journey and his meetings with Maria. It made the whole learning experience feel almost like I was there with Steve learning at the same time. I am not in a leadership position but intend to use the gifts with my students this next school year because I believe it will work just as well for them as it will for adults in the workplace. I will give them love, authorship, power, and significance as I attempt to do it in the same fashion as Maria by allowing them to make their own way through the journey.

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Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Surviving the Serengeti:7 Skills to Master Business and Life by Stefan Swanepoel

Surviving Your Serengeti: 7 Skills to Master Business and LifeSurviving Your Serengeti: 7 Skills to Master Business and Life by Stefan Swanepoel
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Title: Surviving the Serengeti: 7 Skills to Master Business and Life
Author: Stefan Swanepoel
Publisher: Wiley Publishing

Looking back, I'm not quite sure what I expected when I agreed to review "Surviving your Serengeti: 7 skills to Master Business and Life." It bills itself as "A Fable of Self-Discovery," that teaches seven skills to business and life and who doesn’t want to learn more and better way to master life?

This book is a story of a couple caught up in today's economy crisis with job losses and business failures. The wife has won a trip through her employer and chooses the Serengeti as their destination. The husband reluctantly accompanies her but his mind is on his failing business back home. Once they have reached the Serengeti and the husband realizes there is no he accepts that he should enjoy the time away and forget about the troubles back home. During the book the husband meets an old college roommate, who is one of the owners of the camp, and he becomes engaged with the environment, the animals, and his college roommate who leads him into some self-evaluation by observing the animals of the Serengeti.

I was disappointed that the other two couples introduced in the first chapter turned out to be nothing more than the laying of background for the author. We didn’t see those two couples again until the end of the book where they seemed to be used as a sounding board for the two main characters.

The book discusses seven Serengeti animals and the survival skill(s) they posses that help them to not only survive but thrive. These skills are also necessary qualities that each of us as humans can possess but often don't know we have or else we never fully develop. I had some trouble equating some of the animal behaviors to human qualities. Overall, the analogies really didn’t work well in my mind, at least not for me.

I was provided this book by the publisher through BookSneeze for an honest and unbiased review. The opinions are my own.

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Saturday, July 2, 2011

Cascade: A Novel (River of Time Series) Lisa T. Bergren

Cascade (River of Time, #2)Cascade by Lisa Tawn Bergren

My rating: 4 of 5 stars<

TITLE: Cascade: A Novel
AUTHOR: Lisa T. Bergren
PUBLISHER: David C. Cook

Cascade: A Novel is book two in The River of Time series by Lisa T. Bergren. The first book in this series is Waterfall. This book begins exactly where Waterfall left off at the end of the book. So..if you haven’t read Waterfall, the first in the series…you definitely want to read it first.

Cascade starts with an exciting adventure. Ms. Bergren brought back the characters you loved in Waterfall and introducing new characters as well. The characters are instantly alive on the pages and face some severe challenges congruent with medieval Italy. The plot is strong and riveting. The characters are life-like and along with their action and adventures it keeps you turning those pages for more.

Cascade has not let me down. It is just as good, if not better than the first in the series (Waterfall). I am so in love with this series it isn’t even funny. I can't wait for TORRENT, book 3 in the River of Time Series to come out on September 1, 2011

Now to get my paws on TORRENT!!!!

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Friday, July 1, 2011

Waterfall: A Novel (River of Time Series) Lisa T. Bergren

TITLE: Waterfall: A Novel
AUTHOR: Lisa T. Bergren
PUBLISHER: David C. Cook

Waterfall: A Novel is the first book in The River of Time series by Lisa T. Bergren. Ms. Bergren is an accomplished adult romance writer, but Waterfall is her first historical romance for teens. The Bettarini sisters are the focus of Waterfall. Join the sisters, Gabriella and Evangelia, as they travel back through time and find themselves in medieval Italy.

Waterfall is an exciting adventure and enchanting love story that is irresistible. Readers are transported on a journey back in time to a world where honor and nobility go hand-in-hand with cruelty and violence. This was a time when men were the protectors, and where danger could be found around every corner. .

If you looking for a great historical with lots of action, funny remarks and a love worth dying for, read Waterfall. This book is awesome. The characters are life-like and it is easy to relate to them. Ms. Bergren has written a plot so strong it rivets you to your chair. You do not want to stop reading. Every twist and turn of the plot, has you gasping, wanting more and pulling you into the reality of the plot. I can't wait to read the second book which I have ready and waiting to begin.

Did I mention just how much I LOVED this book???

DISCLAIMER: The views expressed in this review are my own.