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Category Archives: ♥BOOKs♥

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
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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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