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Author Archives: Rj

About Rj

Wife, Mom, Nana ♡ Indie-Reviewer, GoodReads Librarian, VFW Ladies Aux member, Literacy Advocate, ASPCA Supporter... java-junkie, desert wine apprentice and collector of Emmett Kelly Clowns.

Hidden Strengths by Thuy & Milo Sindell

    • Hardcover: 128 pages
    • Publisher: Berrett-Koehler Publishers; 1 edition (May, 2015)
    • Language: English
    • ISBN-10: 1626562830
    • ISBN-13: 978-1626562837
    • written by Thuy & Milo Sindell

 

I don’t read a lot of self help books, fair or not, to me once all the fluff is blown away, they are pretty much the same. But, this little book peaked my interest…and boy am I glad! Thuy and Milo Sindell have introduced a new concept in self improvement, The Hidden Strengths Methodology.

Hidden Strengths challenges you to think differently, most self improvement programs focus on your weaknesses, Sindell says this is where we err. According to this plan, 10% is weakness, 20% is strength, with 70% hidden in the middle. This is where your untapped potential lies. So, instead of focusing on the weaknesses, which is frustrating and has slim chance of bringing any real changes, we should be concentrating on that center 70%, these skills are closer to being strengths already. Wow, what a concept!

Sindell explains quickly, concisely, and in easy to read language what you need to do. Hidden Strengths is an investment in your future and at under 100 pages it doesn’t require you to invest a lot of time. In addition you also have access to the online assessment which gives you a list of hidden strengths you already have in your arsenal. Then you narrow the list down to the skills that are vital to your professional goals at this time…and presto! You are on your way to uncovering and honing your Hidden Strengths.

In a nut shell – If you buy only one self improvement book this summer, let it be this one. You will not disappointed!

Happy Reading,

RJ

 

Hidden Strengths Book - Unleashing the Crucial Leadership Skills You Already Have

 

 

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Memory Man by David Baldacci (*Audio)

Memory Man by David Baldacci (*Audio)

Memory Man
Amos Decker book #1

written by David Baldacci
read by Ron McLarty with Orlagh Cassidy
11CD’s, Approx. 13.5 hours (unabridged)
ISBN: 9781478929987
ISBN: 1478929987

David Baldacci (Website)

Hachette Audio (Website)
Hachette Audio

 

Best selling author David Baldacci has an innate ability to create interesting characters, there’s even something different about his bad guys… it isn’t that they are more evil or that his books contain more graphic violence – quite the opposite. Baldacci’s writing is classy. It is easy to identify with his characters, to feel for them, to be invested in what happens and Amos Decker is no exception. That said, this book is unlike any of Baldacci’s earlier works, it’s a breath of fresh air in an often stagnant genre.

Amos Decker suffered a crushing helmet to helmet blow ending his pro football career the first time he suited up. How his brain receives and interprets information was forever changed. He was diagnosed with rare cognitive phenomenons known as syynethesia and hyperthymesia. He can’t forget anything. Which for the first two decades of his career in law enforcement was a gift.
Then came that horrific night, when Detective Decker, returning home from a stakeout walked into a nightmare from which he has yet to awaken. His family had been murdered – his beautiful wife Cassie shot in the head, 9 year old daughter, Molly strangled and his brother-in-law’s throat had been slashed. Why? Who had done this? Despite their best efforts the case remained unsolved. His life spun out of control…he lost his home, his job, and nearly his mind.

That was 15 months ago. Now working here and there as a private investigator, Decker is trying to find his way out the darkness when his former partner, Mary Lancaster tells him a man named Sebastian Leopold  has confessed to killing his family. While trying to talk to this confessed killer, there’s a school shooting as his alma mater, Mansfield High. From this point forward everything speeds toward the resolution.

I have always loved David Baldacci’s writing style – he takes risks…thinks outside the box. And Memory Man is definitely outside the box, I had never heard of these cognitive conditions and after much reading on the subject, I still don’t understand it. But that’s ok. This was an interesting read that sparked my imagination and while it did seem to go flat in few chapters, for the most part everything was tied together and resolved by the last page. I can’t say exactly what made this novel fall short for me, except that it just didn’t have the “fire” I have come to expect when reading a Baldacci book.

Happy Reading,

RJ
Goodreads

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1478929987/?tag=3rsreaden

 

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Chase by James Patterson & Michael Ledwidge *(BookShots – Audio)

Chase by James Patterson & Michael Ledwidge *(BookShots – Audio)

 http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1478967676/?tag=rjsviews-20
Chase – A Michael Bennett’s Story
by James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge
read by Danny Mastrogiorgio
3CD’s approx. 2.5 Hours
Hachette Audio

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Bullseye by James Patterson & Michael Ledwidge *(Audio)

Bullseye by James Patterson & Michael Ledwidge *(Audio)

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1478928166/?tag=rjsviews-20

Bullseye
by James Patterson & Michael Ledwidge
narrated by Danny Mastrogiorgio
Hachette Audio
6 CD’s approximately 7.5 hours

Click to visit Hachette Book Group Online

 

This is the 9th book in the Michael Bennett series. Some books were better than others a long the way but I always listen to a Michael Bennett Thriller at least once. I love the family, Father Shamus, Mary Catherine, ten kids with ten different personalities and if that wasn’t enough drama, there’s always a high pressure, deadly situation that only Detective Bennett can handle.

Bullseye doesn’t focus as much on family like in previous books. Some listeners will be disappointed, while others will be cheering this change of focus. I was a bit confused how the main plot was based on a couple’s plan to assassinate the newly inaugurated President at some point during the snowy month of November. (The U.S. Presidential election is held in November, however the President is inaugurated in January.) Everything said, I liked it. It’s a political/suspense/thriller with an enormous amount of gun knowledge. I learned a great deal about guns listening to Bullseye. (I made notes and looked ’em up.) Sniper tactics are described in such great detail the image of what was happening as the shooter laid down, exhaled deeply and took aim was as vivid as a painting on my wall.
Several family members want to borrow this book for these reason alone. If you’re a Bennett fan don’t miss this “episode.” If you’ve never read a single book in the series Bullseye might have you reserving the first ones at the Library. Finally, if you enjoy political thrillers give it a listen.

Danny Mastrogiorgio has perfected the narration for Michael Bennett Thrillers. I’ve grown so accustomed to hearing his voice I can’t imagine anyone else narrating for these characters. His pitch, tone, and character specific quirks add another element to the reading experience that is incredibly enjoyable.

MICHAEL BENNETT BOOKS
1-5

Step on a Crack   Run For Your Life   Worst Case   Tick Tock   I, Michael Bennett
6-9.5
Gone   Burn   Alert   Bullseye   Chase
Audio...Enjoy books on the go!
Happy Listening!
RJ  🙂Let's network on Linkedin Let's connect on Facebook RJ's Piniterest Twitter CLICK HERE to Send Me an email

From
audiohachette.jpg
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1455536911/?tag=rjsview-20
 

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Zoo by James Patterson & Michael Ledwidge (audio)

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1478906170/?tag=rjsviews-20

Details
  • ISBN-13: 9781478906179
  • ISBN-10: 1478906170
  • Publisher: Little Brown and Company
  • Publish Date: May 2015

the main character still trying to distance himself from his fathers’ legacy as a crackpot, is giving safari tours

Zoo is a half-baked, science-fiction suspense-thriller, that with some comedy relief and backwards humor could’ve been a very good “spoof,” I really wanted to like this book, but the one dimensional characters were impossible to care about. The artificial pacing and choppy dialogue made it difficult to stay immersed in the story. I have been a James Patterson fan since the  irst Alex Cross novel. Over the years there have been some books that weren’t as good as others, but in recent years there seems to be more bad than good. Only the name on the cover is familiar, – Gone is the masterful storytellers’ voice I had enjoyed so very much.This is especially true with Zoo. I understand this is a collaboration, that there will be a lot of Michael Ledwidge’s influence, however, in previous works I could at least recognize Patterson’s input. Zoo is not absolutely terrible, it’s ok. But with so many number one best sellers to his name, I expect more than okay.

Happy Reading,

RJ

http://www.facebook.com/rjsviews

Also available in Hardcover


    What’s on  RJ’s Wish List?

New Release from Best Selling Author Joseph Finder –
The Fixer


//

 

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Set Apart (Bible Study, Kings I & II) by Jessica LaGrone

Set Apart (Bible Study, Kings I & II) by Jessica LaGrone

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1426778422/?tag=rjsviews-20

Set Apart – Participant Book
Holy Habits of Prophets and Kings

  • ISBN-13: 9781426778421
  • ISBN-10: 1426778422
  • Publisher: Abingdon Press
  • Publish Date: June 2015
  • Page Count: 208

Visit Jessica LaGrone Online

I have never had the opportunity to read a study concentrating on the book of Kings. Often during group bible studies the smaller books are skimmed over, so this really appealed to me. The first thing I noticed was the smooth wording. The individual parts of the study work together forming a cohesive, easy to read dialogue that gives you much to ponder. But don’t let the simplicity fool ya’ – this study encourages deep personal reflection, using the kings and prophets as our earthly example. Their struggles are so easily relateable. I would never have imagined that my problems are mirrored in the kings and prophets from so long ago. With each reading, the accompanying questions and material are like directions on a map – with the destination being a closer, stronger walk with God.

One exercise in particular that summed up this experience was more like a mantra – on three separate lines you write your name, then beside the first you write *Chosen, the second *Holy, the third *Royal…throughout the study you are reminded, encouraged and challenged to be the person you were created to be. We have to be molded, like potters mold clay, we too can be transformed…

Set Apart is ah Six week study consisting of:

  • Read the Scripture (five daily readings per week)
  • Reflect and Respond (space for recording responses)
  • Spend time in prayer
  • Take Action

The video was not included so I had to skip over those sections, but I feel sure it would’ve greatly enriched my experience. Also there were scripture verses that had to be looked up independently – it would’ve made things easier for me had they all been right there together in the study book. That said, this is an excellent study, I feel like I really learned a lot about the kings and prophets, but more importantly I learned a great deal about myself. This book is for anyone interested personal reflection and those who seek to have stronger faith. I recommend it for independent or group study.

Happy Reading,

RJ

 

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The Doll Maker by Richard Montanari (audio)

The Doll Maker by Richard Montanari (audio)

The Doll Maker by Richard Montanari   Audio Book Review

Richard Montanari’s Website

doll maker

Wow, I’m sorry to say this is the first book I’ve read by Richard Montanari, but it certainly won’t be the last, I have already reserved Rosary Girls at my local library. Honestly, I really missed the boat with this author – but now that I have secured a quiet listening corner, I’m in for the long ride.

Although this is the eighth book in the series, it works as a standalone. There’s enough information about the characters to carry the reader through. And these are well drawn, three dimensional, and easily relateable. Philadelphia Homicide Detectives Jessica Balzano and Kevin Byrne are interesting, work well as a team, and have a palpable respect for one another. Byrne is more experienced, kind hearted and determined. While Balzano is opinionated and shrewd, with an equally warm heart.  I particularly liked the absence of romantic entanglement.

Richard Montanari weaves multiple angles together into a disturbing tapestry of missing children, murdered children extravagantly posed on painted surfaces, and a convicted child killer weeks away from her final walk. Are they connected? Time is running out for Balzano and Byrne to find out. Throughout the reader discovers information only moments before the detectives. Montanari gives the reader credit and doesn’t spell everything out letter for letter. The Doll Maker is more about motives and concepts, than actual brutality and violence. The latter being the tools used to create his ‘art.’ The creepy tea dance invitations he leaves at each scene add yet another layer to an already colorful piece.

This is disturbing on so many levels – there were entire chapters that gave me goose-bumps (and I don’t frighten easy). Montanari has a gift – the ability to write realistically, believable stories that are the stuff nightmares are made of, but sadly could be the lead story on the news tonight. The Doll Maker is an outstanding book. Period. No matter what opinion you read, good or bad..if you enjoy suspense/thrillers – read this one for yourself.

*DO NOT form your opinion based on the prologue. Yes it is graphic, gruesome and extremely disturbing, but this does not fairly represent the rest of the story.

Happy Reading!

RJ

Goodreads

Hachette Audio

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Carry More by CM4

Samsung Galaxy 5

Simplify with style

Blue Q Card Case for Samsung Galaxy S5  There are several cases available, for both IPhone and Samsung Galaxy Phones, this review is for the QCard Case that fits the Samsung Galaxy S5 *(black onyx).

I had purchased two cases in the past 8 months advertising basically the same features, both of which failed miserably to live up to even the most minimal expectations. So to say that I was a bit jaded and very skeptical about the QCard Case being any different, is putting it mildly. Boy did I get shocked! The QCard Case does everything advertised and does it well. The case fits perfectly (Samsung Galaxy S5), accommodates the on/off and volume buttons, the cut outs on the front for the camera look exactly like the photo to the left. The material is thick and strong, with even stitching which makes it very appealing to the eye. The cash/card cut out will hold 3 cards, I tested it several times. But on a daily basis, for the past three weeks I’ve carried my driver’s license, a credit card and a 20$ bill – it is a snug, secure fit, but not so tight to cause inconvenience. This was the main reason why I wanted a case like this – for the convenience of being able to carry what I need in one hand. The built in audio amplifier is like the cherry on top of a delicious fudge sundae, it isn’t necessary, but sure is nice! I would never have imagined that this feature would work so well, but here again this product surprised me. Music, movies, calls and even my granddaughter’s games sound so much better and nearly twice as loud now that I have this case on my phone.

I am handicapped, walk with cane, so I need everything to fit in one hand, safely, securely and attractively. The Qcard Case does that. I have yet to loose my cash or one of my cards and after multiple drops, my phone is intact. What more could I ask for? If you’re in the market for an All In One Phone Case – look no further!

Q Card Case for Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 edge

 

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Memory Man by David Baldacci

Memory Man by David Baldacci


Memory Man
by David Baldacci
read by Ron McLarty with Orlagh Cassidy
11CD’s, Approx. 13.5 hours (unabridged)
ISBN: 9781478929987
ISBN: 1478929987

*Also available in hardcover

David Baldacci (Website)

Hachette Audio (Website)

Best selling author David Baldacci has an innate ability to create interesting characters, there’s even something different about his bad guys… it isn’t that they are more evil or that his books contain more graphic violence – quite the opposite. Baldacci’s writing is classy. It is easy to identify with his characters, to feel for them, to be invested in what happens and Amos Decker is no exception. That said, this book is unlike any of Baldacci’s earlier works, it’s a breath of fresh air in an often stagnant genre.

Amos Decker suffered a crushing helmet to helmet blow ending his pro football career the first time he suited up. How his brain receives and interprets information was forever changed. He was diagnosed with rare cognitive phenomenons known as syynethesia and hyperthymesia. He can’t forget anything. Which for the first two decades of his career in law enforcement was a gift.

Then came that horrific night, when Detective Decker, returning home from a stakeout walked into a nightmare from which he has yet to awaken. His family had been murdered – his beautiful wife Cassie shot in the head, 9 year old daughter, Molly strangled and his brother-in-law’s throat had been slashed. Why? Who had done this? Despite their best efforts the case remained unsolved. His life spun out of control…he lost his home, his job, and nearly his mind.

That was 15 months ago. Now working here and there as a private investigator, Decker is trying to find his way out the darkness when his former partner, Mary Lancaster tells him a man named Sebastian Leopold  has confessed to killing his family. While trying to talk to this confessed killer, there’s a school shooting as his alma mater, Mansfield High. From this point forward everything speeds toward the resolution.

I have always loved David Baldacci’s writing style – he takes risks…thinks outside the box. And Memory Man is definitely outside the box, I had never heard of these cognitive conditions and after much reading on the subject, I still don’t understand it. But that’s ok. This was an interesting read that sparked my imagination and while it did seem to go flat in few chapters, for the most part everything was tied together and resolved by the last page. I can’t say exactly what made this novel fall short for me, except that it just didn’t have the “fire” I have come to expect when reading a Baldacci book.

Happy Reading,

RJ

Goodreads
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Solitude Creek by Jeffery Deaver

Solitude Creek by Jeffery Deaver

Best Books of the Year So Far

Click to Visit Amazon’s 2015 Best Book List

Solitude Creek is the fourth book in the Kathryn Dance series and not my favorite. The idea of a killer that sets the stage for people to cause their own death is thought provoking…. Would it be every man for himself, a literal dog eat dog type mentality? Sadly, time and again it plays out just that way. When local roadhouse patrons try to escape what they think is a fire, only to find the exits blocked, several are killed and numerous others injured, as fear and panic replaced rationale and human decency. All to the delight and amusement of “event murderer,” Antioch March.

California Criminal Investigations Detective Kathryn Dance has been placed on Civil Division Duty, unable to carry a weapon or work criminal cases. Forced to the sideline as the gang related drug smuggling case she was heading moves forward without her. However, she is able to stay in the loop on that case and consult with local authorities on the Solitude Creek stampede. And her usually mild mannered, well behaved kids (a son and daughter), pick now to start acting different…causing Mom a few more worries. Oh, she also has two men vying for her time and affection.

It felt to me like Deaver just tossed things on the wall and hoped something would stick. Compared to the Lincoln Rhyme series, Kathryn Dance doesn’t measure up. True they are very different characters, and that is great, but where Rhyme is a well rounded character, Dance feels like a bunch of strings that never form anything. With the first book, Bone Collector, I cared about the participants and what transpired in both their professional, as well as, their personal lives. Again, there’s a disconnect between me and Dance. Solitude Creek could have been a really good book, but not with Kathryn Dance in the lead. Having the audio version made it a lot better, because the narrator did an exceptional job keeping me in the moment, whereas left on my own with the hard copy I would have had a difficult time finishing it.

**Antioch March is an “event murderer”, meaning he causes the event, but the choices people make cause their deaths.

Visit Jeffery Deaver’s Website

Visit Hachette Audio’s Website

Happy Reading,

RJ
Goodreads

The Bone Collector

The FIRST Lincoln Rhyme novel


Overview
Jeffery Deaver, “the master of manipulation” (Associated Press) and “the most creative, skilled and intriguing thriller writer in the world.” (Daily Telegraph, UK) returns with the new, long-awaited, Kathryn Dance thriller.
A tragedy occurs at a small concert venue on the Monterey Peninsula. Cries of “fire” are raised and, panicked, people run for the doors, only to find them blocked. A half dozen people die and others are seriously injured. But it’s the panic and the stampede that killed; there was no fire.
Kathryn Dance–a brilliant California Bureau of Investigation agent and body language expert–discovers that the stampede was caused intentionally and that the perpetrator, a man obsessed with turning people’s own fears and greed into weapons, has more attacks planned. She and her team must race against the clock to find where he will strike next before more innocents die.
Details  Unabridged Audio
  • ISBN-13: 9781478903598
  • ISBN-10: 1478903597

Radiant Angel (John Corey Series #7)

 

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Suspicion by Joseph Finder

Suspicion by Joseph Finder

http://www.josephfinder.com

Review repost

I had the pleasure of reviewing this books several months ago. I am reposting the review today because Suspicion has been nominated for the 2015 Barry Award for BEST Thriller. And Suspicion has been nominated for the coveted 2015 Thriller Award for BEST Hardcover Novel. CONGRATULATIONS!
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Too Safe for Strangers/Too Smart for Bullies

For more information, visit http://www.bobbyandmandee.com.

Bobby and Mandee's Too Safe for Strangers: Children's Safety Book

It is a fine line between preparing a child and scaring them…You don’t want to frighten your child and cause them to withdraw. Nor can you ignore the very real threats that exist. Robert Kahn wrote this book within the parameters of that ideal zone. Bobby & Mandee, Too Safe for Strangers is an excellent tool for anyone that cares for children. Unfortunately books like this have become a necessary part of parenting and are included in school curriculum’s nationwide. The book stresses “bad” adults do Not ask children for help, they would ask another adult. (Example – finding a lost pet) “Bad strangers” may offer candy or money to entice a child away from a safe area. Never get into a car with a stranger, no matter what they say. Saying “NO” to adults, yelling at or running from an adult is the opposite of “the respect your elders” lessons most parents instill in their children from a very young age. Which makes all this very confusing for little minds. Too Safe eliminates some of that confusion. We should change ‘how’ we teach kids to interact with adults. If we start telling our children to be respectful to our adult friends and simply polite to a stranger, they can see the difference and will imitate the behavior. Too Safe also includes a test at the end of the book. This should be used to further the discussion, allowing your child to explain their answer in their own words. Thus giving parents an insight into how they are receiving the information and lets you know if they do not understand something.

It is imperative that children understand “bad strangers” can be men or women, young or old. Because there’s no way to identify the kind of strangers children must avoid, rules have to be consistent. The wording and simple illustrations used in “Too Safe”deliver this message in ways kids can understand. Their image of a “bad person” is the boogie-man type…scary, dirty, with fangs, only comes out at night, etc. This books helps them to reimagine a “bad person” realistically. Odds are your child will never encounter one of these “bad strangers,” but if they do, at least they are prepared.

It is very sad that our society has become such a dangerous place for children. But the statistics don’t lie, and we, as parents cannot afford to lie to ourselves. Parents will do anything to protect their children..this little book can help you do that. This isn’t the kind of book you read one time and forget. This is something that needs to be reinforced on a regular basis, especially with younger children. By role playing the scenes in this book and going over the questions in the back, children become more and more comfortable with appropriate responses. And that’s all a loving parent can do.

Bobby and Mandee's Too Smart for Bullies: Children's Safety Book

Bullies have been around since the beginning of time…well, I can’t speak for that far back, but I know for sure back to the 70’s, because I was bullied. Back then everyone said “ignore them and they will pick on someone else,” or “tough up,” everyone gets picked on. The general rule of thought was “bullies are just part of growing up…and it just makes you stronger.” No one took it seriously! Thank goodness times are changing. But we have a long way to go and Too Smart for Bullies is a step in the right direction. The book opens the door to a difficult subject, and gives parents a tool to help children deal with bullies. Once again Bobby & Mandee team up in various scenarios demonstrating appropriate responses if your child is confronted by a bully. Parents are encouraged to role and reverse role play the scenes, followed by the questions and trusted adult list included at the end of the book. Too Smart is a good tool to have in your arsenal against bullies. Speaking from experience, dealing with bullies is no easy task, books like this wouldn’t have stopped the bullies, I would’ve known what to do.

Reviewer’s Note:

I read these books with my 3.5 year old granddaughter several times before donating both to her preschool class . We role played and reverse role played the scenarios in the book. The questions in the back helped us make up our own skits and reassured me that she was understanding the information. We practice what we learned when we go out..if someone says “oh you’re a pretty lil girl,” she squeezes my hand tight and simply says “thank you.” When we run into friends we stop and talk with them, shake hands, give hugs, etc. At first she was uncomfortable not talking to strangers who speak to us first…but the more we do it, it’s become habit for her now. (Which is wonderful!)

4 stars – I recommend this Too Smart/Too Safe to the “Trusted Adults” children are told repeatedly in these books to confide in if they find themselves in a bad situation. (parents, grandparents, guardians, babysitters, teachers, librarians, emergency workers, etc.)


Robert Kahn

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Robert Kahn has a Master’s Degree in Education. It was during Kahn’s tenure as a sixth grade teacher that he became concerned about the safety issues that involve children and decided to become a Deputy Sheriff to help educate and protect our youth from harm. He started a Stranger Danger program in local schools and community service organizations. Local law enforcement credits this program in foiling over 40 attempted abductions by strangers. To-date, Robert has given over 20,000 presentations covering 15 different topics on children’s safety issues.

Kahn’s mission is to keep all kids safe, but he can’t be everywhere at the same time. So, with the insight and knowledge gained from his experiences, Kahn began to write a series of children’s safety books. His first book, Bobby and Mandee’s Too Safe for Strangers, is based on his program. His other safety books help children learn how to deal with today’s problems.

All of his books are told in the voice of his own children, Bobby and Mandee! Kahn’s daughter Mandee is the main character although Bobby plays a very important role in the books. As a high-functioning autistic, “If he can understand the books, anybody can!” Kahn stresses the books simplicity so that anyone can benefit from them. Using simple language, the books introduce the concepts and then provide tips on how to deal with them.

The main age when something happens to a child is second grade through young adult. As kids start doing more things alone, it is imperative that they know how to help themselves to stay safe. The goal of the Bobby and Mandee Safety Series is to provide parents, educators and other trusted adults with essential information to share with our precious children to keep them safe in today’s world.

Click to visit "No-Bullying.com"

nobullying.com

 

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Hope to Die by James Patterson

Hope to Die by James Patterson
  • ISBN-13: 9781611130362
  • ISBN-10: 1611130360
  • Publisher: Little Brown and Company
  • Publish Date: November 2014
  • Page Count: 8
       visit the author: James Patterson
    audiohachette.jpgDon’t miss the new audio book from Hachette!

Can you believe we had to wait a year for answers? Thankfully it was well worth the wait. Hope to Die is James Patterson at his finest. Cross My Heart left me checking the box for another CD, wondering who wrote it. Now Hope to Die has me hoping for the next book, next week!

Hope to Die is one of the most emotionally charged suspense/thrillers I’ve had the pleasure of listening to in a long time. James Patterson definitely switched his writing back to what made fans fall in love with Alex Cross in the first place. Everything fans hated about Cross My Heart has been replaced by solid writing that grabs you from the opening scene and continues to hook you, chapter after chapter. Hope to Die is written in classic Patterson style, with crisp, short chapters. Michael Boatman and Scott Sower do an incredible job narrating. The way they use their vocal talents to make each character stand apart from the other, making it easy for listeners to form an attachment to the good guys and hate the bad guys.

Alex Cross’ world has descended into the seventh circle of hell. He’s lost the two things he holds dear…his family and his badge. Thiery Mulch, one of the most demented psychopaths ever to match wits with Cross abducts his family and vows to kill them if Cross doesn’t meet his every demand. So when mutilated bodies are discovered, everyone is convinced it’s Cross’ missing family. The lines between right and wrong have always been pretty well defined for Alex. But with the lives of his loved ones at stake, that which was so black and white, begins to gray.

Patterson has delivered a damn good book with Hope to Die. The action is unrelenting and there’s so much tension in every chapter, I felt emotionally exhausted at the conclusion.

If you’re a Alex Cross fan Hope to Die is the book you’ve been “hoping” James Patterson would write. Don’t miss it!

hope to die

 

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Blue Labyrinth by Preston & Child

Blue Labyrinth by Preston & Child
  • ISBN-13: 9781478904250
  • ISBN-10: 1478904259
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

audiohachette.jpg
Narrated by Rene Auberjonois

visit:  Preston & Child online

Best Books of the Month
Named an Amazon Book of the Month

I’ll not waste time repeating the dust jacket or give away spoilers, this is simply my thoughts about Blue Labyrinth.

The suspense/thriller genre is crowded with interesting, exciting protagonists, but Agent Aloysius Pendergast, is in a class of his own. A Chongg Ran practitioner, with an extensive knowledge of food and wine, and unparalleled verbal skills. His appreciation of finer things always on display – designer suits, handmade shoes, a grand mansion on Riverside Drive, a lovely apartment in the Dakota, and his chauffeur driven 59 Rolls Royce.

Blue Labyrinth is the 14th novel in this series and while all of them have been “good”, some definitely shine brighter than others, as I’m sure is true of any long running series. The story weaves together the murder of Pendergast’s son, (Alban), and that of a Museum of Natural History technician. It was great to see P&C return to the roots of the series. But I still expected Agent Pendergast to be the star of Blue Labyrinth. He is not. Fighting for his life on the sideline, the spot light shifts to long time friend, Detective Vincent D’Agosta (NYPD), Dr. Margo Green (Curator, MSH) and Constance Greene (Pendergast’s ward). These three beloved characters take center stage as they try to assemble a puzzle with seeming unrelated pieces in time to save Pendergast. It was an entertaining read that revealed more about the characters than it did about the villains.

Blue Labyrinth is a solid read, with vivid depictions, three dimensional characters and plenty of the eccentricities I’ve come to expect from Preston and Child. Rene Aberjonois has one the most distinctive voices in narration. His ability to breathe life into fictional characters takes the listener inside the book from cover to cover. He uses tone, tempo, accents and pitch to make each character an individual and every setting a beautifully drawn scene. Blue Labyrinth is a good book and even better audio experience. There are flaws, but none so flagrant as to turn me away from the series. At times it felt like the authors were preparing for the demise of Aloysius Pendergast and maybe that was their intention. I’m just glad it didn’t happen in Blue Labyrinth, so there’ll be a #15.

Happy Reading,

RJ



Also available in hardcover

  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
  • ISBN-10: 1455525898
  • ISBN-13: 978-1455525898
 

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A.D.30 by Ted Dekker

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Often referred to as the Christian Thriller author, Dekker seems to have embraced the title and run with it – right onto the best seller shelf with A.D. 30. Both thriller and biblical fiction, this incredible piece of work will have you on the edge of your seat from Maviah’s exile, through her perilous journey across the Nafud dessert, right to the court of King Herod. Dekker’s depiction of the dessert is so vivid you can almost feel the heat rising from the sand as the camels lumber across the dangerous terrain. During Maviah’s conversations with Yeshua Dekker’s talents truly shine, as he weaves the gospel of Jesus seamlessly into the fictional world of A.D. 30.

Dekker’s characters are strong, believable, and easy to care about. A.D. 30 is Biblical Fiction at its finest. Ellen Archer’s narration brings the words to life. She utilizes pitch and inflections to differentiate the various characters and their ways. The audio book is an incredible listening experience, not to be missed.

Happy Reading!

RJ 🙂

also available in Hardcover

  • ISBN-13: 9781599954189
  • ISBN-10: 1599954184
  • Publisher: Center Street
  • Publish Date: October 2014
  • Page Count: 432

 

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Beautiful Memoir

Beautiful Memoir

  • ISBN-13: 9780525427209
  • ISBN-10: 0525427201
  • Publisher: Viking
  • Publish Date: March 2015
  • Page Count: 288

Books-A-Million PRESIDENT’S PICK
“I read George Hodgman’s extraordinary memoir in one seamless glorious sitting. You will want to take your time and savor your experience with this amazing family, this moving story and its timeless lessons. Bettyville is full of love, and grace, and tenderness. Unforgettable and engaging in its humor and in its heart.” –    Terrance G. Finley, President and Chief Executive Officer

Beautifully written memoir that touches the heart, tickles the funny bone and causes you to pause and reflect. George Hodgman, an unemployed, recovering addict, leaves his fast paced Manhattan world behind, returning to his childhood home in Paris, Missouri, to care for his elderly mother, Betty. The role reversal alone is very difficult, parent becoming the child and child talking on the role of parent – but there are other factors that make this situation even more trying… George can’t select an outfit or prepare a meal without enduring his mother’s criticisms. At times he’s able to hold his temper in check, while at others, the two really butt heads. But the real elephant in the room is George’s homosexuality. Although he’s been “out” with his parents for years, it’s a silent subject (one everyone is aware of, but doesn’t discuss).

George’s story is much more than that of a son returning home to care for his mother…it’s a personal journey of acceptance. He finds peace within himself and with his mother. As the novel progresses you feel a personal connection with these people – which, for me, is the defining aspect of a good book. And while there are no “ah-ha moments”, nor gold at the end of the rainbow, there’s a feeling of satisfaction that all is as it was intended.

This is a good book that I really enjoyed reading. Having taken care of my grandmother the last several years of her life, so much of George’s story was my story. The surface issues were different…but at the core it was the same. I would recommend this book to anyone that enjoys a good book.

 

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