Getting There: Profiles in Overcoming Obstacles and Connecting with Success by Chuck Malkus

Getting There: Profiles in Overcoming Obstacles and Connecting with Success comes from a business coach and speaker who advocates a program of cultivating strategic growth connections as a way of fending off adversity and business challenges.

Because his program and approach is filled with case history examples from successful businesspeople in all walks of life who have used this technique to advance their professional careers,Getting There is especially recommended for business collections (though its principles can, in reality, apply to any personal improvement endeavor).

As chapters explore stepping out of one’s comfort zone and setting and going after goals, they support such efforts with interviews and case history examples from successful business leaders who faced much adversity along the road to their success.

Readers learn from example (of which there are many, here), and will also absorb a good deal of insights on how hard work and determination eventually pay off (but not without some savvy sidestepping along the road to success).

What keeps Getting There on track as more than just a collection of business biographies are the ‘Takeaways’ at the conclusion of each exploration of individual success. These summaries drive home the points of each interview, providing readers with succinct admonitions that can apply to virtually any endeavor: “New ways of thinking will always bring criticism and doubt. If Dr. Atala listened to his doubters, he would never be in the position he’s in today.”

Another feature that differentiates Getting There from other business books is its focus on not just ideals, but strategies. Every interviewee adds another unique insight to this ‘how-to’ puzzle: “For me, I like to go out and study the competition. That’s how I reinvent myself. I study businesses that aren’t exactly the same but they run their business with a set of ethics and a set of principles that are second to none. And they can be in a space that is completely different from mine, but I learn some­thing from them.”

The result is a series of lessons from life from the mouths of those who have not only been there and done that; but have proven that their approaches resulted in rich dividends and rewards.

It’s a blueprint for success modeled not by the experience of one, but of many. This makes Getting There: Profiles in Overcoming Obstacles and Connecting with Success a standout not only for business readers, in addition to anyone aspiring to succeed by creating, honing, and following their own unique identification of achievement.

Getting There is highly recommended for anyone—especially those who feel ‘stuck’ and who want concrete lessons on how to move forward.

Amazon Link

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The Unforgiven: The Untold Story of One Woman’s Search for Love and Justice by Edith Brady-Lunny and Steve

Just because The Unforgiven: The Untold Story of One Woman’s Search for Love and Justice is a true crime exposé doesn’t mean that the drama and tension of fiction aren’t present.

Under the dual pens of Edith Brady-Lunny and Steve Vogel, more than just the basic facts are covered. The emotional impact and anguish of a mother whose three children drown in the back seat of a car driven by her boyfriend when it plunges into the river makes for a case that wavers been a murder plot and a terrible accident.

As police interviews were conducted with a cooperative, anguished mother without benefit of counsel and were used against her, years of abuse translate from victim to perp under the criminal justice system to change not just the lives of all who survived, but an entire community.

It’s these broader questions of abuse, crime, justice, and redemption which galvanize a story made even more powerful (if that is possible) by the personal involvement of author/reporter Edith Brady-Lunny, who witnessed much, if not most, of what’s described in this book.

The story opens with Amanda Hamm screaming for help as rescuers desperately try to reach and save her children from a watery grave. It follows doctors who almost immediately question the facts of the tragedy, as their medical observations don’t jive with what the mother has reported, and carries this line of doubt through the story as more people also pick apart the sequence of events, truths, and realities.

This process of prying fact from fiction and truth from lies reveals a disturbing undercurrent of abuse that ties a search for justice to Amanda’s sense of guilt. Police efforts to reveal the truth sometimes involves recreating a likely scene, then convincing a wavering woman of what must have transpired.

Photos (black and white in the print version; color in the ebook), from pictures of the deceased kids to those of Amanda, Maurice, and the crime scene, liberally pepper the story, emphasizing the reality of events lest readers lose track of the fact that this is nonfiction.

From the wide-ranging social and legal ramifications of this particular case and its impact on a community to state social worker concerns over Hamm’s future family makeup and her children’s safety, The Unforgiven goes beyond crime and punishment to consider what constitutes either redemption or a criminal act that can and should never be forgotten or completely forgiven.

True crime readers interested in confessions, court proceedings, police procedures, and a political and public relations furor within a child welfare agency will find The Unforgiven goes far beyond the usual ‘whodunnit’ true crime approach, offering pointed considerations of justice and forgiveness.

That it moves beyond the usual documentation of events to consider not just motives but the hearts of all involved places The Unforgiven in a highly recommended category of its own in the true crime field. It deftly employs the high drama of fiction to weave a compelling, can’t-put-it-down story that considers different viewpoints as events unfold to an unexpected, riveting conclusion.

Amazon Link

Two til Midnight by Bernard L. Dillard

Book Promo Video for Two ‘Til Midnight from BL Dillard on Vimeo.

Avenging angels vie with demonic creatures to either carry out or try to thwart the will of no less than Almighty God in this holy rolling, get-on-your-feet-and-praise Jesus gem of a book by skilled author Bernard L. Dillard.

It’s a cosmic battle royale for the souls of the humans they’re charged with looking after, but archangels Gabriel, Raphaela, and Uriel know they’ve got a powerful Ally at their back as they try to keep Dr. G, Tario, Manuela, and especially the Player Kemal safe from Satan’s dangerous envoys

For their part, fallen angels, Mictian, Belial, and Ashtoreth feel equally confident they can continue to stir up sin-filled behavior in those being overseen by the angelic host.

Indeed, here on Earth, where Free Will is both a blessing and a curse, the outcome of this titanic daily struggle for souls is always a bit in doubt and outright danger.

The story centers around several main players, all of whom are either saved or not saved. As one says drily, “Ain’t no levels in salvation, just sanctification. If you saved, you saved. Just like if you pregnant, you pregnant. Ain’t no almost pregnant or halfway pregnant. Either you got a bun in the oven or you don’t.”

These members of the Alive Christ Church of Las Vegas, Nevada are, by and large, a God-fearing group. And under the fiery leadership of Haitian-Hispanic Pastor Ato Castillo, they meet weekly to lift up His holy name in sweat-drenched services that can last for hours, depending on how the Holy Spirit moves them.

But it’s their behavior outside these sanctified walls that create the superb tension that resonates like a live wire throughout the book, leaving the reader to wonder when the Biblical other shoe will drop.

For not everyone is as holy as they seem. Kemal and Manuela, for example, open the story with one of the most erotic sex scenes you’ll find outside an x-rated piece of pulp fiction. Then, they carry on their respective roles at church as though they are worthy of congregational admiration.

But Gabriel will only tolerate so much bad behavior before he unsheathes the long sword that rides close by his right hand at all times, and, swiftly, with a suddenness that will leave most readers reaching for their Bibles to rededicate their lives to God, he acts to extract a terrible penance for leading such a two-faced existence.

Dr. Garnet Gibbs, mild, erudite professor at UNLV by day and down-home, likeable mother and grandmother by night, is a central figure who can be said to be a shining example of this story’s overarching theme: get right and stay right with God, because you’re always being either guarded 24/7 by a winged warrior, or you’re being sized up for a sin brought on by Ashtoreth or one of her unholy colleagues.

There are, in fact, many well-drawn characters in this skillfully-written novel that you will come to care deeply about. Garnet’s daughter Jamay for one, and her young son R.J., are entering that problematic phase of the parent-child relationship in which boundaries are being tested and difficult questions are being asked.

And R.J.’s father Redd is half a world away, guarding America as one of the last U.S. Marines stationed in Afghanistan. So even though he is well guarded himself by Archangel Gabriel, who traverses the distance between the soldier’s home and his desolate barracks in a heartbeat, Redd cannot be there to help raise R.J. in the Spirit-filled way of Iife. That falls to his ever-vigilant mom and grandma, who do their very best despite their own dally challenges.

Space doesn’t permit a full description of every character, plot turn and nuance of this fine book. Suffice to say that you’ll want to pay very close attention as the world changes irrevocably for some key characters, particularly Garnet, who delivers a stunning conclusion that will leave you pondering its significance long after you’ve turned the last page.

Five-plus stars to Two til Midnight. It is a finely drawn narrative that makes an unreal world of angels and demons among us very real indeed.

Amazon Link

Barnes & Noble Link

Visit the Author’s Website

Book Promo Video for Two ‘Til Midnight from BL Dillard on Vimeo.

Avenging angels vie with demonic creatures to either carry out or try to thwart the will of no less than Almighty God in this holy rolling, get-on-your-feet-and-praise Jesus gem of a book by skilled author Bernard L. Dillard.

It’s a cosmic battle royale for the souls of the humans they’re charged with looking after, but archangels Gabriel, Raphaela, and Uriel know they’ve got a powerful Ally at their back as they try to keep Dr. G, Tario, Manuela, and especially the Player Kemal safe from Satan’s dangerous envoys

For their part, fallen angels, Mictian, Belial, and Ashtoreth feel equally confident they can continue to stir up sin-filled behavior in those being overseen by the angelic host.

Indeed, here on Earth, where Free Will is both a blessing and a curse, the outcome of this titanic daily struggle for souls is always a bit in doubt and outright danger.

The story centers around several main players, all of whom are either saved or not saved. As one says drily, “Ain’t no levels in salvation, just sanctification. If you saved, you saved. Just like if you pregnant, you pregnant. Ain’t no almost pregnant or halfway pregnant. Either you got a bun in the oven or you don’t.”

These members of the Alive Christ Church of Las Vegas, Nevada are, by and large, a God-fearing group. And under the fiery leadership of Haitian-Hispanic Pastor Ato Castillo, they meet weekly to lift up His holy name in sweat-drenched services that can last for hours, depending on how the Holy Spirit moves them.

But it’s their behavior outside these sanctified walls that create the superb tension that resonates like a live wire throughout the book, leaving the reader to wonder when the Biblical other shoe will drop.

For not everyone is as holy as they seem. Kemal and Manuela, for example, open the story with one of the most erotic sex scenes you’ll find outside an x-rated piece of pulp fiction. Then, they carry on their respective roles at church as though they are worthy of congregational admiration.

But Gabriel will only tolerate so much bad behavior before he unsheathes the long sword that rides close by his right hand at all times, and, swiftly, with a suddenness that will leave most readers reaching for their Bibles to rededicate their lives to God, he acts to extract a terrible penance for leading such a two-faced existence.

Dr. Garnet Gibbs, mild, erudite professor at UNLV by day and down-home, likeable mother and grandmother by night, is a central figure who can be said to be a shining example of this story’s overarching theme: get right and stay right with God, because you’re always being either guarded 24/7 by a winged warrior, or you’re being sized up for a sin brought on by Ashtoreth or one of her unholy colleagues.

There are, in fact, many well-drawn characters in this skillfully-written novel that you will come to care deeply about. Garnet’s daughter Jamay for one, and her young son R.J., are entering that problematic phase of the parent-child relationship in which boundaries are being tested and difficult questions are being asked.

And R.J.’s father Redd is half a world away, guarding America as one of the last U.S. Marines stationed in Afghanistan. So even though he is well guarded himself by Archangel Gabriel, who traverses the distance between the soldier’s home and his desolate barracks in a heartbeat, Redd cannot be there to help raise R.J. in the Spirit-filled way of Iife. That falls to his ever-vigilant mom and grandma, who do their very best despite their own dally challenges.

Space doesn’t permit a full description of every character, plot turn and nuance of this fine book. Suffice to say that you’ll want to pay very close attention as the world changes irrevocably for some key characters, particularly Garnet, who delivers a stunning conclusion that will leave you pondering its significance long after you’ve turned the last page.

Five-plus stars to Two til Midnight. It is a finely drawn narrative that makes an unreal world of angels and demons among us very real indeed.

Amazon Link

Barnes & Noble Link

Visit the Author’s Website

If It Works, Use It by Toni Elizabeth Sar’h Petrinovich

Of all the Reverend Doctor Toni Petrinovich’s many truisms in her life-altering book If It Works, Use It, the phrase that has stuck with me most goes back to a passage from the Bible — from the Old Testament, to be exact.

Early on, Almighty God (whom my cynical young friends and I referred to in secret as The Great and Powerful Wizard of Was) refers to Himself by the mystical two-word aphorism “I Am.”

When you’re sixteen and still convinced that you know everything, such a declaration is wonderfully arrogant — as if God is saying, “I have no reason to explain my cruel and destructive actions to you, young whipper snapper, so I will shroud myself in unknowable monikers and leave you to puzzle out my Goodness or Badness for yourself.”

And so this cosmic conundrum has in fact troubled me for the better part of sixty years — this reckoning between the benevolent Father figure Jesus portrays in the New Testament and the brimstone-belching deity that lays waste to entire Middle East regions because they ignored (or were blissfully unaware of) one Supreme Commandment or another.

The Reverend Doctor Petrinovich at last clears away the decades of misunderstanding, however, by saying, in effect, “If such a fundamentally powerful concept as this has prevented you from knowing true peace for that long, my friend, I am indeed sorry.”

And then she goes about the business of patiently explaining what Jehovah felt beneath Himself to explain countless eons ago. And that is, in essence, “Trouble yourself no longer over this inexplicable duality and focus instead on what it takes for you to realize such a state of plateau-like peace.”

For that is, and was, and forevermore will be, the true point of what God meant by referring to himself as, simply, “I AM.”

Petrinovich has penned a beautiful and easy-reading text consisting of just 37 chapters to make her point. (It took the original King James Version of The Bible more than 1,189 chapters to reach a far less satisfying conclusion). And a powerful point it is.

She asks, rhetorically, “What does it mean for you to live as Divine Awareness?”

Then, she goes on to explain succinctly that “Living in this universe as an expression of Source is a day-to-day awareness of perfection no matter the situation or circumstances.

“Awareness is. Awareness is not positive or negative, nor does it hold specific beliefs. It is not creating a condition of right or wrong, good or bad.

“To live a daily life as I AM, which is what you mean by Divine Awareness, means you accept everything that is happening without judging it as right or wrong.”

She says she was once asked a question based upon her statement that she remembered the ‘other side of the veil’ or being non-physical. The question was, ‘“What is it like?”’

“I had not been asked that question before,” she says, “so I was silent as I looked for the perfect word or words to use as a description of non-physicality. My response was, “’It is a realm without judgment.’”

And thus, in just a few well-chosen paragraphs, she both explains God’s perception of the human condition from His lofty eyrie of unfathomable inscrutability and, in the same few breaths, observes that the phrase “I AM” has become woefully misunderstood.

If it is, in fact, such a blameless place as Dr. Petrinovich portrays, it seems He could have merely said as much and saved centuries of endless speculation.

And so, having dwelt upon this particular point overlong, we realize there are 36 other fine chapters of her book that we are, for reasons of space limitations, leaving for exploration by you, The Reader.

Suffice to say, however, they are equally profound, touching on such diverse topics as:

Unity
Ah-Ha Moments
Metaphysics
Faith
Love
Unconditional Love
Life Purpose
Self-Expression
Obstacles
Co-Creation and a particularly choice chapter on something she calls
Twin Souls

If It Works, Use It, receives our very highest rating of five-plus stars and stands far above the sometimes ubiquitous genre of Self-Help to rest comfortably with the likes of Eckhart Tolle’s The Power of Now.

If you’re a seeker after inner peace, this is certainly a good place to start.

Amazon Link

 

Serpents of Old by Kirk Millson

Serpents of Old is a novel steeped in Southwest atmosphere and mystery,. Author Kirk Millson’s familiarity with Arizona and Mexico’s byways (albeit now changed by growth and technology) lends a solid background to the evolving story of dogs, murder, and desert struggles when reporter Carter Miguel follows his nose for trouble from Arizona to Utah.

A young mother vanishes during an Arizona hike; then her children also vanish from their Salt Lake City home. The father is suspect, but but Carter thinks a different story might be in play than the cut-and-dry case the investigating detective wants to slap on matters. Carter’s probe leads to a Utah community, a con artist whose latest deal is threatened by the reporter’s nosing around, and a dangerous truth that isn’t easy to come by, given the detective’s adversarial relationship with the determined reporter.

There are many angles that separate this southwest-steeped mystery from other genre reads to make it an exception to any formula approach. One of the strongest is this clash between investigators, and each’s special interest in the case.

It turns out that Carter is not only reporting on a puzzle and trying to solve it, but has stirred up a virtual hornet’s nest of dangerous special interests in the process of doing his job.

Another strong feature of Serpents of Old lies in its astute cross-cultural descriptions as Mexican soldiers encounter American investigators and escapees on the run from justice.

There’s also an undercurrent of humor that runs through it, as when Tom discovers that his escape plane has been running on fumes, and that Pedro must leave him alone with it in search of gas, tamales, or tequila.

The characters are solid enough to keep the story flowing, and but not too numerous, which makes it easy to follow the story line’s circuitous route through different perspectives and special interests.

Who is pulling the strings behind an innocent man’s indictment for murder? How have the Atoners gotten a toehold in law enforcement circles, and how can romantic feelings between suspect Tom and Casey evolve in the crosshairs of a justice system gone wrong and a flight to freedom? As a teaser about one of the story’s underlying themes, dog lovers also are thrown a pleasantly unexpected bone.

All these angles intersect to create a vivid story that will especially delight fans of Tony Hillerman and others interested in capturing the southwest landscape against the backdrop of murder, mystery, and struggles for justice.

Amazon Link

The Legacy and the Lion: Book One of the Yusan Chronicles by Elaine Jemmett

The Legacy and the Lion is the first book in the Yusan Chronicles, a military sci-fi story that holds a different atmosphere than most. It’s set in the future, but focuses on a primitive world of kings, horse-riding soldiers, murder plots, and power plays. It actually reads more like a history of an ancient world than a chronicle of a futuristic one.

In this setting, soldier Patrick seems to have no obvious connections after the death of his family. His introduction to a new post where political and social differences abound makes for an absorbing story of change, adaptation, different layers of political purpose, and angst.

Those who anticipate a post-apocalyptic tale should be advised that, in many ways, The Legacy and the Lion focuses on military and political maneuvering as it follows Patrick’s entry into the alien (to him) society of Yusay and its very different approaches to life. The usual trappings of a survival story or new society’s evolution are largely set aside in favor of this focus on Patrick’s adaptation process as he creates a life in the kingdom which is to be his new home.

It should also be noted that this is no light production. Elaine Jemmett takes the time to build her characters and the world in which they operate, resulting in a richer, fuller-bodied, less action-packed read than leisure readers usually receive.

These notes aside, The Legacy and the Lion is simply outstanding in its world-building approach and its strong characters and their individual concerns. The central protagonist Patrick, who faces a new job, a king’s commands, mysteries and plots, and the changing political atmosphere of a society under siege, brings all these pieces together.

As events move full circle into Patrick’s realizations about his own family ties, readers receive a satisfying, multifaceted story that is as much a mystery and political examination as it is the story of one man’s search for a new place and realizations in a futuristic world.

It’s especially highly recommended for readers who like multi-volume series reads steeped in social, political, and military encounters.

Amazon Link

Encouragement: How to Be and Find the Best by Cathy Burnham Martin

In her extraordinary book, Encouragement: How to Be and Find the Best, author Cathy Burnham Martin exudes an enthusiasm for life unmatched in other self-help books that claim to boost your spirit and world view.

This articulate narrative examines expertly the reasons why we should surround ourselves with cheerleaders — people who either call out from the sidelines, ‘You can do it!’” Or those that “may stand quietly in front of us and look us in the eyes, as they calmly infirm, ‘You’ve got this.’”

Burnham goes on to provide a wealth of lists, tips and inspirational quotes to bolster her assertions that anyone can attain — and keep — a winning attitude.

On the flip side, she also warns against extensive association with negative individuals whom she calls “Discouragers,” who carry with them each day an abundance of negativity which they bestow freely upon anyone who is finally getting the upper hand on things.

“Discouragers see the gloom in every room, the cloud on every silver lining, and the problem in front of every solution,” Burnham reports.

Next, she marches confidently through the book, touching briefly on such vital topics as how to deal effectively with despair by quoting a no less venerable source than the Bible: “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” — Proverbs 17:22

And then she follows that helpful admonition by citing the profound observation of a man who truly outlasted more opportunities for despair than most of us will ever know: Nelson Mandela, who said, “It always seems impossible until it is done.”

Really, the book is one remarkable observation after another — many of them Burnham’s own, bubbling up from her deep well of sincere belief that every day and every hour gives us a chance to excel, and to be, as the old advertisement used to say, “All that (we) can be.”

“Sometimes the brightest lights come out of the darkest corners,” she intones during a brief discussion on the value of not giving up.

Space limitations on this review require us to fall back on the timeworn saying that you’re just going to have to get this incredible new book and read it cover to cover in order to get the maximum impact from it.

Five-plus stars to Encouragement: How to Be and Find the Best. Get it for yourself or as a special gift to anyone who has issues with self-esteem ot is dealing with hard times. It might not cure their lifelong feelings of inadequacy, or be a cureall for their current circumstances, but it could definitely provide lifesaving inspiration and a firm footstep toward a more meaningful tomorrow.

We’ll close with this inspirational advice from someone who left a legacy befitting her quiet dedication to excellence. Marie Curie, first woman to win the Nobel Prize, said, “Life is not easy for any of us. But what of that?  We must have perseverance and above all confidence in ourselves.  We must believe that we are gifted for something and that this thing must be attained.”

This book is available for instant download or delivery as a paperback keepsake gift from Amazon today.

Here’s the link.