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13 HOLLYWOOD APES: A Layla Remington Novel ~Gil Reavill

Monday, December 22nd, 2014

“You see? We treat people like they’re nothing, like they might as well be inanimate rocks.  But when we open up our hearts we see them as fellow creatures, then as humans, and finally as friends.” (Location 1812)

Putting on the Top Hat and wrapping myself around a lot of old movies and actors in my archives division, I curled up to see what was going on in Los Angeles in 13 HOLLYWOOD APES; I found it stylish, interesting and loaded with some meaty issues to keep my mind questioning and problem-solving.  The reader finds the first pages full of chimpanzees being shot in a sanctuary during a raging hillside fire and the first question arises; was it a mercy killer or was it murder?

Layla Remington is a detective investigator for the police substation in Malibu.  The daughter of a police officer and a person who worked her way up the ladder to her current job,  Layla has a wealth of old movies in her mental archives and a father who likes to watch them even now.   She grabs onto each question which arises and digs deeply into figuring out the answer and solving the next problem. Remington perseveres even when her superiors are running in other directions.  When she discovers the 13 HOLLYWOOD APES were movie stars and abused lab animals which were given this sanctuary for their whole lives, she becomes extremely glued to the case and figuring out the answers.  The reader journeys with Remington and may even figure the plot early on, and yet the twists are tricky making the reader want to help Layla while being well characterized, some by well-placed snippets and clues.    The pacing of the story was just right for my need to enjoy this escape.

The theme of the story I found truly captivating.  I realized I did not have an answer as to what I deeply believed about animal rights.  Are they individuals with rights, just property, slaves and what is cruel and unusual behavior towards them?   While reading this story, I read an article about a beloved dog which is healthy and fairly young being held in a shelter until it can be decided whether or not the dog should be euthanized and buried with it’s deceased owner according to the designated will or does the dog have rights to a new life contrary to the original owner’s wishes?  The courts are being challenged to decide this dog’s fate. The courts and lawyers are being challenged in 13 HOLLYWOOD APES.

I would recommend this book to those who like thrillers and I would caution this book for younger readers who are not versed in animal rights, neo-Nazi style protesters, and racist insinuations.  A smart read and I enjoyed the new information shared and thinking about animal rights from various perspectives.

TLC Booktours sent me an Uncorrected Proof ecopy of this book and I appreciated the read and style of the book very much.  Thank you for the opportunity.

About the Author:

Gil Reavill is an author, screenwriter, and widely featured in magazines, Reavill is the author of Aftermath, Inc.: Cleaning Up After CSI Goes Home,  and the co-author of Beyond All Reason: My Life with Susan Smith and the screenplay that became the 2005 film Dirty, starring Cuba Gooding, Jr.  He lives in Westchester County, New York, with his wife, Jean Zimmerman, and their daughter.  (From the ebook cover).

Gil Reavill LinkedIn
Gil Reavill Webpage 

Related:
The Condor Song 
Accidents of Marriage 
Supreme Justice
The Light Between Oceans

MAN V. NATURE: Stories ~Diane Cook

Monday, November 3rd, 2014

“What I like most about these stories is that many of them are dispatches from the end of the world, and it turns out to be a surprisingly familiar place.” (Ira Glass, Host, This American Life – cover quote)

TLC Book Tours  sent me an uncorrected proof copy of MAN V. NATURE for review and I want to recommend this book to my readers.

I read the first few pages of the first story and had to put the book down to answer the phone, I got really distracted with various activities and could not return to reading until the next day.  I could not stop thinking about the weird and wonderful first few pages of the book.  MAN V. NATURE caught my attention and held on tightly.  There was something different about the rhythm to the very tight writing style and yet it was fluid.  I read the above cover quote and this increased my interest, even though there were brutal forces (of Nature?) which were hard to wrap my imagination around.  An idea popped into my head, I put on the headphones and listened to a podcast of THIS AMERICAN LIFE.  Ah! The stories captured that timing and were not as scary and the emotions did not seep within me.  What remained were fascinating slices of a different reality.

“Diane Cook’s fiction has been published in HARPER’S Magazine, TIN HOUSE, ZOETROPE, and GUERNICA.  Her nonfiction has appeared in the NEW YORK TIMES magazine and on THIS AMERICAN LIFE, where she worked as a radio producer.  She earned an MFA from Columbia University, where she was a teaching fellow.  She lives in San Francisco, California” (cover)

Diane Cook LinkedIn
Diane Cook Twitter @theDMC
Diane Cook Facebook

What happens to human lives when Nature gives us the Wild and Wooly to comprehend and cope with even knowing at any moment there could be death defying consciences?  What if one’s own Nature sets the stage for unimaginable consequences? What are the boundaries when Nature sends a tidal wave and one must find control and parameters?  Lots of tension included in each of these diverse stories.

Story Titles:

  • Moving On
  • The Way the End of Days Should Be
  • Somebody’s Baby
  • Girl on Girl
  • MAN V. NATURE
  • Marrying Up
  • It’s Coming
  • Meteorologist Dave Santana
  • Flotsam
  • A Wanted Man
  • The Mast Year
  • The Not-Needed Forest

In my busy life, I am truly enjoying the short story realm very much.  I like the diverse subject areas and how they are played out in new shorts to intrigue the mind in unexplored directions and stimulate creative thinking. An interesting collection – MAN V.NATURE

Related:
A Brief Moment of Weightlessness
Incendiary Girls
The Sense of Touch
Our Love Could Light the World

THE FIRST RULE OF INNER PEACE: Jesus’ Sensible Way To Be Happy ~John Kuypers

Friday, April 11th, 2014

Matthew 7:5 “First take the plank out of you own eye and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”


Today in western society there are a tremendous number of people who are not happy.  The pursuit of HAPPINESS is high on the list of the Human Agenda!  It is even a part of the US Constitution.  THE FIRST RULE OF INNER PEACE is a handy ebook – pocket guide to sure fire ways to get to your point of inner happiness in a very direct route.

THE FIRST RULE OF INNER PEACE is a very similar practice to a children’s problem – solving/ conflict – resolution tool which I learned at the University of Washington and taught at Elementary schools in the region. SIGEP is a very simple way to defuse any situation and move forward.  Kuypers has put the Biblical words ascribed to Jesus to take people through the same steps towards resolution.

S   Stop is the first step of making a change.  What you are doing right now is not making you happy
Kuypers says:  “First get neutral about outcomes and then you will see clearly what to do.”

I  Identify the problem.  This is the hardest step of all.  Easy for a child and masked by adults. Sometimes it takes going back 7 to 10 levels in order to see that past experiences are not what the present moment is all about.  Seek back into your expectations and identify what is the result and outcome which you expected; it might even be a childhood painful moment – not the present one.

Kuypers says:  This is the taking the LOG out of your own eye before you remove the speck from others.    This is the hard work of staying in the present, not worrying about the past or the future and not covering up the work which we need to accomplish.  “What we are failing to see is that other people have the right to make mistakes, even when those mistakes hurt us.”

G  Generate new ideas. This often takes a lot of pushing and sometimes laughter because we like to do what we know – and yet when we do push and pull some new ideas we are more satisfied and happy about doing NEW things than staying in the old ruts.

Kuypers says:  This sometimes takes study and assistance, because we are not always aware of our behaviors and cleaning up the old past analysis and using our old ideas to wish for future outcomes is not being in the present, but is a habit that we call forth quickly.  Once again, it is important to be in the present and not be “constantly chewing on the future relentlessly while analyzing the past.”

E  Evaluate the ideas generated.  This too might take a bit of new learning.  We like our old judgments to work with ease for us in the present tense.

Kuypers says:  In Jesus’ words, “Judge not lest you be judged”.  When you are judging others you are not working from your center or towards your inner peace.  To be peaceful with ourselves we need to be “accepting of others when they have differing religious beliefs.”

P  Plan of action and usually a few notes will keep us moving towards our present goal and release us from our expectations of what we cannot control.

Kuypers says:  “We are seeking to gain control over our inner experience by purposely exposing those aspects of our mind and heart that become upset when things do not go our way. In reality, we are digging up our past so that we can stop it from biasing our present moment reactions.”

The 68 pages in my PDF unproofed copy of THE FIRST RULE OF INNER PEACE was a nice reminder for me about looking to myself and discovering my strengths of discernment and dropping judgments which are blocking my happiness.  I like knowing I can carry this ebook with me and look at it again when I find myself angry and frustrated about what is happening in my life.  I am not very happy in response to all the “CHRISTIANS” in my community and in my government who are making judgments about my future; which involve a great deal of name-calling and dangerous outcomes.  They just do not need to affect my inner peace.  I wish those “others” would read this book!

This book was sent to me by John Kuypers the author, and it was an enjoyable read and a great reinforcement of my own beliefs about change, communication skills and finding peace within one’s self.  Thank you for the opportunity to read THE FIRST RULE OF INNER PEACE.

John Kuypers on You Tube
John Kuypers on Twitter 
John Kuypers on Facebook
John Kuypers Website

“John Kuypers is an inner peace leadership coach, writer and speaker.  He is the author of five books and is currently writing a memoir of his inner peace journey.  He has appeared on television, radio and print numerous times over the years.”

If you purchase anything from Amazon or Powell’s  from this site, I will receive a few beans in my bucket. Donations also welcomed. Thank you for your support.

Related:
My Country Tis of Thee
The Pocket Guide to Manifesting
The Most Important Day of Your Life 
Daring Greatly

THE PACT: No One Should Ever Have To Stand Alone ~Mitchell S. Karnes

Monday, February 3rd, 2014


This story begins with almost too many problems for any eighth grader to deal with at any one time, and yet Scott Addison does just march into his new life and move forward.  I think that boys have a huge territorial problem to deal with when they enter a new school system, mid – term, particularly during the teen years of uncertainty and confusion.  Scott’s father has died just a few months into the start of the school year and his mother moves away from their life in Iowa City to be closer to her parents in Southern Illinois.  Scott arrives at his new school just in time to see the smallest boy in his class being slammed into a holly bush and his lunch bag being destroyed.   Other kids are not getting involved with the 4 bullies, but Scott just steps into the fray and sends the 4 scurrying.   He has made 4 enemies and 1 new friend.

The boy in the holly bush attack – Paul, also loves to play the role-playing fantasy game Warriors and Thieves and introduces Scott to 2 high school fellows, Chris and Luke, who are also game players.  They become quite a team; a welcome relief from past and present struggles.  I believe that many readers will enjoy the game playing segments in this book and I felt included in the process and found excitement as they built their story lines and their community.  Good problem – solving tools being developed and yet they were still young boys and they were not perfect.

THE PACT is also about father – son relationships.  So many of the father figures portrayed in the media these days are often too remote and powerful or buffoonish characters.  Scott’s father was very focused on his son and was concerned about teaching his boy about his work as a popular fantasy writer; wanting Scott to become a good and moral person who could succeed in a culture and a society.  He also wanted his son to be able to accept and carry on his legacy as a writer.  Chris’s father was also a college professor and highly valued his son’s intellect and reasoning skills, but was distant and remote.   One father was abusive to his son and another wanted his son not to be a sissy artist but a “real” man who used his hands at “real manly” work.  It was very interesting to watch the boys try to accept their father’s expectations and work to manifest them within their parent’s modeling.

The women in the story are respected and kind but none are leaders or exceptional, several are bright.  THE PACT is definitely a white, middle class tale and I think my daughters would have enjoyed reading this book when they were in about 4th or 5th grade.  It is not a story about big city issues and male behaviors in poverty or marginalized situations.    The fundamentalist Christian youth are also addressed and the boys make their opinions known and they discover ways that are acceptable for their own, diverse beliefs.  THE PACT is a very good story about problem-solving and maturing in a community.

Differences in people are addressed in this story and in the fantasy games.  Acceptance is a big idea and being open to learning is stressed.   I so enjoyed the English teacher in the story and liked her rewards from the Hero.    The issues of computers, science, math, poverty, inequality, racism, global partnership are not addressed in this story at all and yet it is full of big insights on the personal level.  Mitchell S. Karnes did a good job of telling this story and the book is catching on as there were only 4 copies of the book left on AMAZON’s shelf as I write this review.    I know there are lots of young readers who would enjoy THE PACT.

Michell Karnes on LinkedIN 
Michell Karnes page on TLC online Book tours

Mitchell S. Karnes resides in Tennessee with his wife and seven children. He is an English teacher and the Pastor of Walker Baptist Church.

(TLC logo)  This book was sent to me by the author and TLC online book tours for review.  The author is offering a copy of his book for a comment on this blog site.  This book is part of a series of stories with the same characters and Book Two THE DRAGON’S PAWN is scheduled for release April 3, 2014.  Thank you TLC and Mitchell S. Karnes for the opportunity to read – THE PACT.

If you purchase anything from Amazon or Powell’s  from this site, I will receive a few beans in my bucket.  Thank you.  Donations also welcomed. – See more at: http://patriciaswisdom.com/#sthash.DsiDqYI8.dpuf

Recommended Reading:
The Sowing 
The Highest Tide
Muckers
Confessions of Joan the Tall