Choose Again! By Art Drentlau

        

This book is a clear example of good things (very good things!) coming in small packages.  The number of pages may be small, but the message is powerful and inspirational.

Author Art Drentlau relays a story that he says has been told in one form or another in other books.  But here, he fleshes it out and brings it to life, and then uses it as a motivational tool.  It’s the story of a man nicknamed “Will Bill Cody”, who suffered atrocities during World War II at the hands of the Nazis. His family was torn from him with devastating results (sound timely?), yet he chose, in an instant, to somehow muster the grace to turn the situation into a positive and life-affirming experience.  His life was spared and because of that, Bill  went on to help others in a remarkable way, because he experienced an epiphany of his own oneness with God. He allowed himself to align himself with his higher mind.

The moral of the story, as eloquently relayed by the author, is that, as the subtitle implies, we are all capable of more than we believe.  We are all better than we think we are and should strive to not only accept this but adopt it as part of our daily lives and mindset.  If we focus on what we don’t want, and on what we are not, that is what comes forward.  But if we believe we can have, or already do have, something better, and believe that we are acting as our higher self, that is what manifests in our life.  The reader is left with a feeling of wanting to go forward to achieve all that is possible.  It helps eliminate the feeling of self doubt or low self esteem.

I can see the author, should he continue in this genre of writing, bringing forth many other such motivational books.  It will be exciting to see!

 

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Hustlin’ Hummingbird by Mukon Ngoyi

      

 

Don’t let the slightly whimsical title fool you – this is a very detail-oriented yet highly motivational book.  I never plan to be an Uber or Lyft driver.  I’ve only taken one Uber ride in my life.  But I do have curiosity about this ever-growing phenomenon of having a virtual stranger drive you from one location to the next.  And I totally enjoyed the book!

It’s designed, according to author Mukon Ngoyi, as the 1st and only professional training guide for Uber and Lyft drivers.  I would say mission accomplished. The text and photos combine to present info on everything from types of cars to use, insurance and other protection, what to carry with you in your car (sickness bags – did not see that coming yet I should have, and it’s a genius idea!), to interactions between passengers and drivers, and everything needed to establish what can be a $90,000 a year, be your own boss income.

The book should be equally helpful to passengers, too, for its tips on what to do or not do when taking this mode of transportation.  It almost seems like it should be mandatory reading for drivers and passengers alike, to maximize the experience.

If every driver were like the author, they could make a very decent living.  And I’d be calling Uber or Lyft more often!

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The Thinking Game – A Winning Strategy for Achieving your Goals by Kara Lane

Most people take thinking for granted, assuming they can’t do anything about it. Or perhaps, we don’t think about thinking at all. But this book not only explains the importance of thought, it also focuses on how improving upon, and taking better control of, our thoughts can actually help us achieve our most treasured goals.

The Thinking Game is sprinkled with inspirational quotes by, among others, Gandhi, Confucius, Buddha, General George Patton, and perhaps the most appropriate of all is the first quote referenced (often attributed to author Harper Lee) which reads, “The book to read is not the one that thinks for you, but the one that makes you think.” This is a perfect description of what author Kara Lane sets out to do in her book.

The idea of turning the thought process into a “game” of sorts is related to the concept of playing any game where we use skill, knowledge and luck. There may be few rules, but there can be any number of winning strategies and results.

The discussion of the conscious mind vs. the unconscious mind, and how each plays a role in our lives is eye-opening. “If you want different results, start with different thoughts,” Lane advises, and the focus of the book is to analyze our way of approaching our goals in terms of decisions made and problem-solving abilities used. It turns out that what we think about ourselves and others matters – a great deal. Emotions, curiosity, confidence, biases, persistence, and honesty – these are but a few areas covered in The Thinking Game. It’s very much an interactive reading experience, with challenges, steps to follow, and critical questions to ask oneself. It’s an easy read, giving metaphors and examples to fully clarify important points.

The unconscious and conscious mind thought processes are complex, but the material here is presented in a way that’s simple and understandable. It’s very reader-friendly. In addition to the more technical concepts, favorite areas of exploration for me included slightly less traditional but highly creative methods such as visualization, affirmations, meditation, mind mapping and brain-mining. If some of these are unfamiliar terms, they’re quickly and easily explained.

There are many “Aha!” moments when suddenly a point illustrates how we’ve sabotaged our progress toward success, or held ourselves back merely by the techniques we’ve used or the attitudes we’ve held.

Is it really possible that by changing the way we think we can improve our lives? This book motivates readers with the information needed to make this concept not only possible, but an exciting reality.

 

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Adventures in Learning with Malibu Book Series

malibuI rarely talk about projects I’ve been involved with when I post on this blog, so as not to appear biased in any way. But I must share my thoughts on a book series I’ve been pleased to edit and proofread. The 6 books make up the Adventures in Learning with Malibu series and they are aimed at children ages 3 and up (so, pre-K through first grade, primarily).

The motivation behind the books is a real rescue dog named Malibu. Author Candina Ann’s mother rescued Malibu and the author has kept a promise to her late mother to share the pup’s story with as many people as possible. She’s chosen to do this by creating a series that is designed to help teachers and parents to awaken little minds to the basics of learning in a very colorful, easy, and fun way.  The books (such as the one pictured in this post) are very homespun and easy to relate to, and cover learning the alphabet, numbers 1-20, colors, shapes, object names, and  the latest book, number 6, is a 200-page coloring and activity workbook that combines the best of all previous 5 books into a jam-packed learning adventure that also contains new surprises.

With the holidays approaching, and as school starts, if a birthday is approaching, or really, for no particular occasion at all, what a great way to playfully jump-start a child’s education?  And I think that the books could give an extra edge to a child who isn’t old enough to attend school but is still interested in the colorful design, the adorable Malibu (who plays a starring role in the series), and the fun activities.  I think one or all of the books would make a thoughtful gift from a family member or friend.  And no, I don’t make a percentage on books sold — I’m posting this because I believe so strongly in the gentle power the series can have!!

The author is doing book signings – check for locations and get more details on the books at her Facebook page – Malibu’s Place.  There is info on all the books there, too, as well as any updates on activities and upcoming plans for books.

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Zagreb, Milan, Nice, Barcelona: The Summer of Heartache and Fickleness by Maya Berger

 

zagrebphotoOn the one hand, this book is a light-hearted story about summer travel and romance, with young female friends Una and Maya as the main characters. They live in Zagreb, Croatia and are planning a trip soon – one that turns into a group experience and includes guys as well as girls as the number of travelers grows. It’s a fun reading experience. The group decides to ride in two aged vans, leaving at the same time and meeting at pre-planned locations.  The plan is to visit, as the title suggests, Milan, Nice and Barcelona.

But arguments soon begin, especially between a couple (Daria and Jakov), and this turns the summer plans upside down and takes their original group and the new friends they make along the way on a journey no one anticipated.

On a deeper level, the story explores love, friendship and life itself – the expected and the unexpected. Author Maya Berger knows just how to capture the reader’s attention, from an opening quote about travel by Robert Louis Stevenson, until the very last page.  She has a way of describing places, the food and the sights of various locations, giving the reader a sense of going along on the trip.

She also includes some simple but thought-provoking comments about life. “How easy it was to be happy when you were a child; an ice cream did it,” one of the characters observes.

It’s a book aimed at women of all ages, who want to get lost for a while in this charming and romantic adventure through cities some only dream of.  But along the way, in the reading experience, this story promotes a love of travel and an appreciation of friendship.

 

 

 

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7 Simple Tricks to Remembering Names by Travis Tyler

       I’ve been in a few situations over the years, whether in a business setting or in a social gathering, where I am introduced to someone, talk to them, and then can’t remember their name the next time I come across them. It can happen at a later date, or even at the end of an event that same day or night.  Embarrassing!  The face is easy to remember – the name, not so much.  This book excited me because of two things in the title – 7 and Simple.  And it delivers on its promise to help you remember names in the future.  Each of the 7 techniques is unique. I had heard of a couple of them (repeating the person’s name, for example) but in spite of that, the author offers more of a reason why the technique may work.

The writing is easy to understand and simple to follow.  There is just enough scientific information to help explain why we can’t remember a name, but not so much that it reads like a textbook.  A couple of the techniques are a bit odd, to me, such as fictionalizing the person’s name, making them into a character, but for some people, that will probably work great.

My feeling, after having read the book, is that the next time I meet someone new, all of the techniques will be racing in my mind, and I’ll pull on several aspects to help me remember their name.  This is a good book for pretty much everyone, because the problem of forgetting a name is universal, I am sure. I’m anxious and confident to put it to the test.

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The Dungeons of Dogwood by Dom Maggiore

I’m not the target audience for The Dungeons of Dogwood – that would probably be pre-teens or young adults. But the cover caught my eye, and when I saw that the theme was about the supernatural, I was hooked! I can only imagine how captivated a younger audience would be by this story of 11-year-old Archie Riddle, who has been bounced back and forth between schools and has just been enrolled in Dogwood School, a former castle.
His abilities to sense ghosts and the paranormal have gotten him into trouble at previous schools, but hope runs high that his luck will change. Once he arrives at Dogwood, though, he senses the haunted essence of the school and is drawn to solving the school’s mysteries, one of which is the tale of The Three Robbers, who passed away in the dungeon of the castle, near the school’s library.
Grumpy Headmaster Mr. Belchard is leery of Archie because of his track record, but sends him on to his first class. He meets straggly but friendly fellow student Hamish, who quickly becomes his “ghostbusting partner in crime.” Their search for the dungeons and the ghosts takes them through secret passages and spooky areas, and it’s a thrilling read at all times. The book’s illustrations are a perfect fit for the story and add a great deal to the experience. This is Book 1 in a series, and I’m now planning to read the others. Highly recommend it!

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