Tuesday, September 30, 2008

SHIPS WITHOUT A SHORE: America's Undernurtured Children
By Anne R. Pierce, PhD

I can't imagine there's a parent who doesn't want to raise a happy, healthy, productive child. Yet, this thought provoking book raises questions.

Pierce challenges current child rearing trends. According to her research, we are raising a generation of children who lack deep-seated values, who are stressed-out and overly materialistic and who have lost purpose and meaning. Parents are so afraid their children will have too much free time on their hands and get involved with the "wrong kind of kids" or start taking drugs that they increase the amount of time the child spends doing "stuff" like organized sports and other structured after-school activities. Teens are even encouraged to "build their resumes" so they will be considered more seriously by "the right" colleges. The research presented in the book is at least food for thought.

Take heart, there are also solutions presented in the book to put the joy back into childhood and parenting. Sometimes the simple answers are the best answers.

I found this book fascinating, challenging and controversial. I had never looked at parenting from this angle. It both frightened me and gave me hope. What do you think?

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Saturday, September 27, 2008

By Sonia Ricotti

The book is a delightful combination of motivational quotes and good, solid advice. Sonia makes the ideas behind the Law of Attraction "plain and simple," just as the title promises.

One thing I particularly like is the interactive element. Ricotti presents a step-by-step way to move forward. The steps she proposes include:
  • Affirm What You Want
  • Determine Your Thoughts and Feelings
  • Keep the End in Mind
  • Connect Mind, Body, Spirit
  • Choose Friends Carefully
  • Accept Positive Change
At the conclusion of each short discussion, the reader is given an action to take to reinforce the ideas. Research shows that if we interact with information within 24 hours of hearing or reading it, we are more likely to incorporate it into our behavior. This is an excellent little book to reinforce the powerful effects of positive thinking in these difficult times. I plan to give copies as gifts and recommend the book to the students in my Stress Management classes. What do you think?

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By Chef Craig Priebe

YUM! That's the first word that comes to mind to describe this cookbook. Not only is it a feast for the eyes, but for the senses and the pallet as well. I interviewed Craig on my cable television show, METROPLEX TODAY. He brought a pizza for us to sample, the one with the cantaloupe chutney and prosciutto. Oh my! The combination of those flavors was so unexpected and delicious.

I couldn't wait to try to make a grilled pizza myself. My husband and I made the dough together. We had a great time. Then we made the pizza. We used an indoor grill, but I want to experiment doing it outdoors. I am certainly no gourmet cook, but the pizza was really good.

Craig's wheat flour pizza dough is the base for all of the pizzas in the book. He suggests different toppings and combinations I would never think to use on pizza. His S'mores pizza is chocolate-y good and gooey. I really like this idea and I love this cookbook. What do you think?

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Saturday, September 20, 2008

By Tosca Reno

We hear or read the headlines too often - "OBESITY IN CHILDREN AT AN ALL TIME HIGH1" or "TYPE 2 DIABETES ON THE RISE IN CHILDREN!" or 'EATING DISORDERS ARE ON THE RISE IN AMERICA!" You don't have to be a rocket scientist or a nutritionist to know this is not good.

Tosca Reno is a success story who took charge of her own life by making lifestyle and dietary changes that improved not only the quality of her life, but also her health. Her latest book builds on the "Eat-Clean" philosophy and expands it to include children.

I like her approach to dietary change. The book is well done and filled with practical ideas and the science to back them up. For example, "Tosca's Top-10 INSTANT Kitchen Makeovers" suggests small changes like using sea salt for regular table salt, substituting agave nectar for sugar.

Since the focus of this book is children, there are snacks and even suggestions for celebrations like Birthdays. I lol when I saw the recipe for "Birthday Slime" with the following description: "Somehow things that are gross and disgusting always capture the attention of even the most adult birthday celebrant. Here is a recipe for homemade slime that will be the center of attention at your next big party." Sorry, you'll have to get the book to get the recipe!

The book also looks good. The photographs are really well-done. I like the book. What do you think?

Sunday, September 14, 2008


The novel is set in St. Petersburg in the summer of 1868. A seemingly open and shut case comes across the desk of Porfiry Petrovich. It seems a doctor brought home a box of chocolates for his wife and mentally challenged son. It seemed an odd gift for such a scorching summer afternoon. Within an hour both mother and son die excruciating deaths as the result of poisoned chocolates! Open and shut! The doctor did it! At least that's how it seems until a rash of seemingly unrelated deaths begin to pop up all over the heat leaden city. Porfiry is forced to reassess his assumptions and follow a tenuous, uncertain train that takes him into the hidden, squalid heat of the city and brings him face to face with incomprehensible horror and cruelty.

The novel is a sort of homage to the great Russian writer Dostoevsky's famous novel CRIME AND PUNISHMENT. R.N. Morris became fascinated with the novel at an early age. Porfiry Petrovich is a minor character in the Dostoevsky novel. Morris believed Porfiry deserved his own novel with his own story.

This novel is a dark journey into St. Petersburg. The tone is just right to give it the Gothic authenticity called for in this complex plot. I found myself swept up in the twists and turns of the plot of this fascinating novel. What do you think?

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Monday, September 8, 2008


Skip Moore and his long time buddy James Lessor are two young men whose dreams haven't exactly come true.  They find themselves working in dead-end jobs with no bright hope for the future until they see the opportunity to make a load of money working as food vendors for a huge tent revival  held annually by the Reverend Preston Cashdollar who leads the largest church in the Miami area with a congregation of fifteen thousand members.  His revival's are legendary for their huge attendance and people have got to eat!

As with all things that seem too good to be true, the whole operation may not be what it appears to be.  The unsolved murder of a young woman, a senator, and a TV talk show host are somehow connected to the revival and it's message from Corinthians "You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion!"

The other food vendors turn out to be a group of men with questionable backgrounds who run a fixed poker game.  James and Skip find their truck tires flat from bullet holes and receive a note telling them to "get out of Dodge."

This is a fast-paced novel filled with friendship, betrayal, dreams of greatness, and the world of reality.  You won't know who did what to whom until the very  end.  An intriguing read that will keep you on the edge of your seat.  What do you think?      

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Saturday, September 6, 2008

By Karen Harrington

When you open the cover of this book and read the inside flap, the description begins by saying, "When mothers kill their children, people want to know why."  Don't let those words mislead you.  Yes, that's the main theme of the novel, but it's not a depressing look at a child killer.

The novel is set in Texas and could have been a real headline.  Jane Nelson drowns her infant son and attempts to drown his twin sister.  Instead of the novel focusing on Jane, the focus is on the Jane Nelson's husband, Tom Nelson.   We see the tragic events through Tom's eyes.  He alternates between not believing the wife he knew could have done this unspeakable thing and finding himself guilty for not seeing that things were horribly wrong.    The novel is a fascinating journey of love, loss and family legacy.  

A prosecutor decides Tom is partially responsible for the death of his son, and charges of "failure to protect" are brought against him.   Tom is defended by a feisty attorney with a radical defense idea that he hopes will create reasonable doubt in the minds of the jury.  Tom also finds himself being aided by a strange woman with the power of retro cognition, the ability to see past events through objects once owned by Jane's deceased family members.  Is the murder a result of "nature" or "nurture?" 

The book is a fascinating read and I couldn't put it down.  Please don't think this is a "downer" novel, it is rather an interesting exploration into "genealogy" and the question "Are the sins of the father really visited on future generations?"  What do you think? 


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By Kathy Peel

This is an excellent, informative, just plain handy book.  I know the title has the words "busy mom" in it, but this book has so much good information anyone, male or female can use.  

The book covers seven key areas of life:  Time & Scheduling; Home & Property; Food; Family & Friends; Finances; Special Events & Entertaining and Self-Management.  Besides information about each topic, each individual chapter also contains forms to use for organization as well as little tips like "SMART MOVE" or "GOOD TO KNOW" or "CAUTION".  The book is such an easy reference guide for questions.  

The Resources section alone is worth having the book on your bookshelf. Kathy is a down-to-earth individual whose advice is practical and helpful on so many levels. Her website has many useful forms that can be downloaded.  I am keeping my copy of the book where I can find it easily!  What do you think?

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