Category Archives: Book Reviews

How Can You Trust You Are Buying a Quality Nutritional Supplement?

How Can You Trust You Are Buying a Quality Nutritional Supplement?

It can be very overwhelming to shop for a quality supplement when all the companies out there say they are “the best”. What do you believe and what can you trust? If you are someone who has been fooled by the marketing of over the counter nutritional supplements/vitamins and your grab a “One a Day” for the adults in your family or “Flintstones” for the kids-you will FLIP when you see the ratings of these so called “vitamins” and wish you had every cent back you ever paid for them. I want to share a wonderful resource I was introduced to that helps research which supplement is best for you and your family.

It is a compendium of over 1500 nutritional products available in the United States and Canada. The book is a result of thousands of hours of research with the goal to bring the consumer an easy to use guide to the supplement market. It also gives understanding to the protective powers of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.

According to NutriSearch you will find:

-Over 1500 U.S. and Canadian supplements scientifically rated and compared
-18 critical health support criteria required to evaluate supplements
-300 graphs to easily compare top-rated products
-Aid in determining which supplement is best for you and your family using a scientifically based approach
-Relates recent scientific evidence that shows supplements can optimize health and slow the aging process

The credibility of this guide is phenomenal when you understand the science behind it all.

What a find – I now have total confidence that the supplements I have chosen for my family are the best based on scientific research and knowledge.

Moonlighting on the Internet – Book Review

Moonlighting on the Internet - Book Review

I just finished reading “Moonlighting on the Internet: 5 Word Class Experts Reveal Proven Ways to Make Extra Cash.” As a professional blogger and owner of several Internet properties, I am always interested in reading books on how to make money online. I had high expectations for this book and I was a little disappointed.

As the title suggests, this is a resource that explains how to make money on the Internet. The author covers 5 basic methods: Ebay, yahoo stores, affiliate marketing, information, and blogging. As a blogger, I was immediately drawn to this section first. The information was rather basic and the techniques that were described were rather old. I was not impressed with the chapter on blogging at all. I was however impressed with the section pertaining to Ebay. This is an area where I have limited knowledge and the information was presented in a logical and easy to understand manner.

The book does have some bright spots and would be helpful for someone just staring out on the Internet. My major criticism of the book is it seems like they are trying to cram so much information into a limited space. Each section could have their own book devoted to it. By trying to cram so much information in, I think they just really scratch the surface on these topics. The result is that they provide a good general understanding of the material. In my opinion, they do not dig deep enough to really provide strategy and techniques to really make money online.

In closing, I feel this was an average resource. It does a good job of covering the basics of the 5 most popular ways to make money but does little to actually help you achieve that goal.

Secrets to Making Up

Secrets to Making Up

If you are reading this then you have probably just ended a relationship that was important to you. Right now it doesn’t matter whose fault it was; maybe you did something wrong, or maybe your significant other did-it’s not important.

What matters is that the relationship is over and now all you can think about is solving your problems and getting back together. I can tell you are committed to this goal because you have taken the time and effort to seek advice. Let me tell you a little bit about how “The Secrets of Making Up” is set up so that you can get the most out of it that you can…

The first thing we will do is talk about the most common (though usually unnoticed) reasons that people split up. These are the core reasons many people break up, so it’s important that you understand them because these are the things you will need to repair if you ever want to get back together with your ex.

After that, we will move on to talk about how you can first heal yourself in order to later heal your relationship. You won’t be able to win your love back successfully if you are angry, depressed, or needy, which is why you need to take some time to work on yourself before you try to work on your relationship.

Finally, we will take a good look at your relationship, analyze it, and apply a proven plan to it that will help you win back your lover.

I suggest that you read through this entire book at least once so that you can get a good idea of the strategies and methods we are going to use, and then you need to apply what you’ve learned and actually follow the plan. Remember, you need to take action or nothing will happen.

So, in summary, here is what we are going to work on:

1. Understanding

2. Healing Ourselves

3. Analyzing

4. Applying the Plan

Good luck and I wish you the best! “True love never dies as we see in our eyes, only when we let go that we can truly say goodbye.” ~Unknown

Miracles by R W Schambach

Miracles by R W Schambach

Testimonies of Supernatural Miracles Today

R. W. Schambach recounts dramatic and powerful stories and testimonies of supernatural miracles of salvation, deliverance, healing and astounding provision of financial needs in the book “Miracles. Testimonies from around the world attest to the fact that God is working miracles in the lives of men and women today.

Schambach is distressed by the current trends found within the conventional and contemporary church’s trend to exchange form, ceremony, and ritual for the miraculous and supernatural works available to believers. He puts forward Biblical principles and fundamentals that will open the door to seeing of God’s spirit moving in miraculous power.

Known for his animated worship and Bible centered sermons Schambach writes as he preaches. His homespun practical style has endeared him to his audiences and parishioners throughout his over 60 years of revival ministry. He challenges the reader to “let faith come alive in your heart, and get ready to receive your miracle.

Each story, testimony, and anecdote stands alone. The book can be adapted as a book to supplement personal daily devotions. It provides inspiration and material for reflecting and contemplation for individual or corporately use. I was so captivated by the stories and their relevance that I read the entire book straight through. I found myself disappointed as I reached the last page.

“Miracles” is for pastors, Christian leaders, and for all who want to experience the miraculous for themselves. This is a timely book, filled with poignant stories and exciting testimonies relating the ways in which God is still working in supernatural ways today.

Destiny Image Publishers Inc., 978-0768428308

As reviewed for Midwest Book Review

Legacy From Vincent Van Gogh (Letters to Theo)

Legacy From Vincent Van Gogh (Letters to Theo)

How many possibilities do we have to learn from the artist himself about his life? One of the myths about Vincent van Gogh’s letters is that they reveal he also could have been a writer. Reading these letters will help to solve that issue.

Amsterdam, 18th of August 1877. Later I had breakfast with a slice of dry bread and a glass of beer; that is a means that Dickens recommends to those who are near suicide.

One of the first “impressions” given by reading this book is that van Gogh was a modest towards the outside but profound from the inside person, always thinking about life and how to live it:

Those who said: “we are the same today as we were yesterday,” were honest men… It is good thing to be an honest man and to try increasingly to be one… and one does well to understand that this entails being an inward and spiritual man.

Then after the first few letters, the little sketches enter the scene and this communicates a special sort of climate around the text. It is as if you are part of the artist being at work.

Vincent’s roots were linked to art as his brother and uncle who worked in the art trading business. His father was a minister which gave Vincent his first direction to (also) become a minister. But he takes it all to fanatic. According to the missionary society he takes the bible too literal “sell what you own and give it to the poor,” was for him a direct order.

He than turns his back to the vested church:

“You should know with evangelists it is the same as with artists; there is the old academic school, contemptuous, tyrannical, people wearing a steal harness of prejudges and conventions…” (July 1880) Which didn’t mean he “left” God. “The best way to know God is to give love. Love someone a friend, something…”

It is in the Borinage we he “officially” and fully dedicates to painting.

Just before, on November the 15th in Brussels in 1878, he writes: How beautiful art is, (commenting on a painting, the lecture of the bible) being able to retain what you have seen. One is never without work in that way or really solitary, never alone.

For Vicent, art started with “reproducing.” He had to reproduce what was made — by others, by nature, by God — to really capture its beauty.

“I don’t know a better definition of the word art than this: art is man aggregated to nature.” (June 1879)

His struggle against faith continues (again, July 1880):

“Their God is like the God of Shakespeare’s drunken Falstaff, “the inside of a church.” Indeed, by a strange coincidence, some evangelical gentlemen have the same view of matters spiritual as that drunkard (which might surprise them somewhat were they capable of human emotion). But there is little fear their blindness will ever turn into insight.” … Now, if you can forgive someone for immersing himself in pictures, perhaps you will also grant that the love of books is as sacred as that of Rembrandt, indeed, I believe that the two complement each other. (July 1880).

[this is probably why the letters are full of references to writers… and the French writers dominate (the time)]

Vincent dedication to painting was endless:

“I will manage to paint portraits, but only continuing to work hard; not a day without a line, like Garvarni Said.” (Brussels, January 1881).

The struggle with nature has something what Shakespeare calls: the taming of the shrew (meaning to overcome that what resists, by means of tenacity…)

But there letter are not only about his profession, or about spirituality, but also about earthly love, although one could wonder whether his love for the opposite sex is down to earth: I feeling happy when in love. My life and my love are the same thing… His love however is not corresponded of which he thinks it will be if only he applies his same tactics as in painting – endurance: this “never, no never,” he responds with: “this is only ice that will melt close to my heart…” (as a block of ice which I press to my heart to thaw).

In the beginning he – the painter – is merely “reproducing” objects from the real world. (April 1882). But than the study of colors starts. “There are only three basic colors, red, yellow and blue…. Other colors like orange are “tones” and composed.”

The painter has the obligation to immerse completely in nature and use his intelligence, put all his feelings in his work, so that it will become comprehensible for others.”

But details of how this works are left out. The real secrets are not revealed to the public (his brother).

As mentioned before, he declined to follow the official way (through the academic) in order to learn to paint: “I’m glad not to have learned to paint… I don’t know how I do it…”

Is this because of his religious background, believing in God which work, creation cannot be learned, in the same way that the work of an artist cannot be taught?

Some sketches in the book – for instance one of a woman working in the field – are so expressive that these change the perception of the book. Letters to Theo, cannot be read as a normal book, or as a normal correspondence. The sketches take the reader to a higher level…

Van Gogh is protesting against the formal school and their role in society, or directly protesting society as it is:

I ask you, do you know of a single digger, a single sewer, in the Old Dutch school? Did they ever try to do “a worker”? Did Velasquez look for one in his water carrier or his types from the people? No. (December 1883 Nuenen)

Nearly half of the letters are from his French period which is about the same as all letters before, written in only two years time.

Now, do these letters show that Van Gogh a writer?

To answer this question I would focus on how Vicent was productive. Obviously he was a tenacious and disciplined painter. But why did he write? In my opinion because of his social nature, informing his his brother, his family, that he cared for them and that he was grateful.

The letters to Theo tell the reader something about the painter; that the beauty of his paintings came from within.

Books of Blood Volume Three by Clive Barker

Books of Blood Volume Three by Clive Barker

Clive Barker’s “Books of Blood Volume Three” offers five more stories of sex, violence and murder. The author pushes the envelope on dark horror and takes readers to a realm where pain and bloody death prevail. Prepare to be terrified.

“Son of Celluloid” has an unusual premise that fascinated me. It is a story about an escaped convict who dies in a crawlspace in a movie theater but his cancerous tumor lives on and feeds off of the energy from the audience. Barker’s representation of the “silent killer” is intriguing.

“Rawhead Rex” is a brutal story about a forgotten evil that wreaks havoc on an unsuspecting town after a man unknowingly unseals the monster’s prison. It’s not for the squeamish as the monster has a taste for “child-meat,” and devours a little girl in front of her mother. It was made into a movie in 1987. No longer in print, used copies are selling for astronomical amounts on the internet.

“Confession of a (Pornographer’s) Shroud” is a gory ghost tale. An honest but greedy man is set up to look like a pornographer and after his death he comes back for revenge. “Scape-goats,” the story of two young couples shipwrecked on an island, is told in first person narrative by one of the females. The island is actually a burial ground for those who died at sea, except they aren’t really dead. “Human Remains” is Barker’s slant on the doppelganger theme. A statue grows more human as the man becomes less so.   

Clive Barker’s twisted visions are still shocking and sometimes repellent. They’re not for the faint of heart but those who enjoy being horrified are in for a treat. The book is available used online or as part of a collection.

Clive Barker’s Books of Blood Volumes One to Three

Publisher: Berkley (October 1998)

ISBN: 978-0425165584

Pages: 528

Price: $17.00

A Brief Biography of Novelist Ayn Rand

A Brief Biography of Novelist Ayn Rand

Knowing a little about Ayn Rand’s life prior to writing “Atlas Shrugged” will help shed some light on how she formed her objectivist philosophy and the story line for the novel. Ayn Rand was born in 1905, into a middle class family in Saint Petersburg, Russia. Her father was a chemist and a successful pharmaceutical entrepreneur. Rand taught herself how to read at age 6, and by age 9 had already decided she wanted to be a writer.

Rand was in high school at the time of the Russian revolution of 1917. Her family fled to Crimea to escape the fighting. The rise of the Bolshevik party, and eventual communist victory, led to the confiscation of her father’s pharmacy, and poverty for her family. Rand finished high school in Crimea, and in her final year, learned about American history. She came to believe that America was the model of what a nation should be.

After high school, Rand returned to Saint Petersburg to attend the University of Petrograd, where she majored in history, with additional studies in philosophy, and law. She graduated in 1924, and witnessed the disintegration of free study, and the take over of the university by the communist party. She then entered the State Institute for Cinema Arts to study screenwriting.

In late 1925, she was granted a visa to visit American relatives. Although she told Soviet authorities that her visit would be short, she had vowed never to go back to Russia. She arrived in the United States in February 1926, entering by ship through New York City. After a 6 month stay with relatives in Chicago, she obtained an extension to her visa, and set out for Hollywood to pursue a career as a screenwriter.

On Ayn Rand’s second day in Hollywood, Cecil B. DeMille saw her standing at the gate of his studio, offered her a ride to the set of his movie “The King of Kings”, and gave her a job. Her first job was as an extra in the film, but she soon became a script reader. During the next week at the studio, she met an actor, Frank O’Connor, whom she married in 1929. In 1931, Rand became an American citizen.

Her first novel, “We the Living”, was completed in 1934, but was rejected by numerous publishers. It was eventually published in 1936. Considered to be the most autobiographical of her novels, it was based on her years under Soviet tyranny.

In 1935, she began writing “The Fountainhead”. Not unlike her first novel, The Fountainhead was rejected by twelve publishers, but finally published in 1943. It made history by becoming a best seller through word of mouth just two years later. It also earned Rand lasting recognition as a champion of individualism.

Ayn Rand returned to Hollywood in late 1943 to write the screenplay for The Fountainhead, but wartime restrictions delayed production until 1948. In 1946, she began writing her major novel “Atlas shrugged”. In 1951 she moved back to New York City to work full time on Atlas Shrugged, which was eventually published in 1957.