Contents

...All the elements for a wonderfully mystical tale for youth, and for those with youthful minds are here in this novel. Haunting dreams, caring creatures of the forest, magical swords, a quest to defeat wickedness and free its captives along with humorous moments...

The Elf Prince - Book Review

The Elf Prince - Book ReviewAuthor Todd McClimans is a 5th grade teacher and young father, who lives in Nevada with his family. Todd has been writing short stories for his students for more than 10 years and The Elf Prince is his first novel. Currently, Todd is working on a sequel to this book and has two other book projects ahead in his future.All the elements for a wonderfully mystical tale for youth, and for those with youthful minds are here in this novel. Haunting dreams, caring creatures of the forest, magical swords, a quest to defeat wickedness and free its captives along with humorous moments and unique characters - truly, it is all here. Each of Todds characters is pressed to find their individual strengths, to accept the uniqueness of their abilities and learn respect for things they once held reservations about.There are three main characters in The Elf Prince. "Tenii" is a half-breed Man-Dwarf and just might be the most interesting wizard readers will have met in a long time. "Petra", a gorgeous young fawn, has a persistent and doggedly determined nature that saves them all more than once. Finally there is "Dantin", the 11 year-old half-breed Elf-Man Prince - who along with his two courageous friends endeavor to break the dominance of Dantins cold-hearted, ruthless uncle. They cannot do this alone and are aided more than once by their friends: Tierra, the she-elf Princess and Byron, the leader of a tribe of Dwarf warriors.I have to say this was an excellent novel. Scene transition moved smoothly from one to the next in a realistic and engaging style. I completely enjoyed each stage of the tale and did not want it to end. The gorgeous book cover is certainly an asset to The Elf Prince, which pictures one of the two intricately carved magical medallions that play a part in the tale.ISBN#: 1-4137-8553-0Author: Todd McClimansPublisher: Publish America

Book Review: Now, Discover Your Strengths

Book Review: Now, Discover Your Strengths

There seems to be no lack of the number of books written about personality traits, talents and how to more effectively manage personnel to the advantage of the organization. However, Marcus Buckingham, coauthor of the book First, Break All the Rules, and Donald O. Clifton, Chair of the Gallup International Research & Education Center, now provide managers with a positive approach to help identify and utilize strengths of individuals to the benefit of the organization in their bestselling Now, Discover Your Strengths. The book maintains that this unique, positive approach of focusing on strengths is far more effective in achieving success than eliminating weaknesses, given that we all have inherent strengths and natural weaknesses no matter what positions we might have. For example, the book points out, it does not matter if you are Bill Gates or Tiger Woods. True, these are individuals with tremendous talents that have made them well known in their respective fields, but they also have weaknesses that play into the mix. It would seem our brains are programmed by nature from early childhood, no matter how good our nurture, to start being selective in a few key areas. It is as nature intended it to be. Without being selective, and allowing many of the billions of connections we are born with to lapse into disrepair, we would become dysfunctional with information overload. Therefore, it is understandable that with sufficient practice, while we might be able to learn different tasks well, we will never be great in these areas unless we have a natural innate talent for them. Unfortunately, most of us do not have a good sense of our talents, let alone the ability to effectively use our strengths to our advantage. Rather, most of us spend our lives becoming all too aware of our weaknesses and spend our time trying to deal with our flaws, while neglecting our innate talents. However, most original and potentially most revealing, to address this problem, Now, Discover Your Strengths provides access to a web-based interactive questionnaire, developed by the Gallup Organization, that quickly identifies your top 5 (out of a total of 34) positive "personality themes", such as: Achiever, Deliberative, Harmony, Empathy and so forth that you might naturally posses. The book goes on to elaborate how each of the 34 unique themes can be identified, complete with individual profiles describing how each might act and what each might "sound like." As each sees the world through their own strengths filter, it is easy to have friction between different individuals within the same department or organization, because we all see the world, and how it should look, so differently. While one may hear what someone else is saying, they may not be able to assimilate it into their own world effectively. This is why partners or advisors are often so effective, as they ad balance to the limits of others. One word of caution however: do not buy this book used if you intend to take the preference test. There is a unique, one-time code that comes with each copy of Now, Discover Your Strengths, which is absolutely necessary in order to access the website's resources. The book has limited value without the ability to take the online test. However, the test alone is well worth the price of the entire book just by itself. With this resource, you will better understand how to build a "strengths-based organization" by capitalizing on the fact that such traits are already present among those within it.With an estimated 8 out of 10 people in this country not really in a position to capitalize on their strengths and talents, chances are most of us could benefit from reading this book. As most of us fail to capitalize on our strengths, it is not surprising that most departments in any company, no matter the size of the organization, are not operating at even par performance. The risk doing nothing is costly- not only in lost productivity, but in job satisfaction, employee retention and absenteeism and so on. This groundbreaking, resourceful book is easy to read in short concise chapters. Along with the associated preference test, Now, Discover Your Strengths, is a positive cost effective solution in resolving problems, and helping each employee achieve his or her full potential. This is must read for managers and office teams who want a win-win solution in improving their own departments, as well as the lives of those who work for them.

Lethal Option - Book Review

Lethal Option - Book Review

This has to be one of the best detective novels I have read in some time right up there with Lawrence Sanders! P.J. Lawton is far from new to the world of writing and he displays excellent story-writing skills in Lethal Option. He shares much of the same history as his main character, giving the detective more depth than could be achieved otherwise.I think I would classify this book as a thriller-mystery. The reader is taken on a roller-coaster ride from one seemingly unconnected crime into another. The main character is a Private Investigator who has a loyal heart and honestly tries to make wrongs right whenever he can. Along with his military history and police experiences, the PI was aware of and listened to his sixth sense, which allowed him to detect when things were not quite right a lethal combination. In his private life his heart is beginning to awaken after many years of slumber and he is faced with a decision that he is not sure he is ready to make. Eventually the PI encounters something so great that it changes his destiny, and possibly his character, forever.I sincerely enjoyed reading and reviewing this book. Honestly, I could not put it down and I have already begun a second read this time for pleasure. I will be found pacing the floors until I can get my hands on book #2 to see what happens next! I give this book the highest rating possible and recommend it highly to readers who love a book that makes you think."ISBN#:1413779301Publisher: Publish AmericaAuthor: P.J. Lawton

The 7 Rules of Growth For Small Businesses

The 7 Rules of Growth For Small Businesses

For years, I have tried to answer this one question: What do small businesses that achieve sustained growth do differently from those that do not grow?As a senior consultant for Inc. magazine, I speak to thousands of business owners each year. I've learned that there are no silver bullets or 17-point checklists that will lead to guaranteed growth. There are, however, seven specific areas in which growth companies concentrate their efforts. 1. Strong sense of purpose. Most leaders of companies that have achieved growth discover that it takes more than the promise of increasing financial reward to fuel their aspirations and ambitions. They find a higher calling than simply the pursuit of "more money."2. Outstanding market intelligence. This is an organization's ability to first recognize, then adapt, to fundamental changes in the marketplace. Many times, small-business owners become too myopic, seeing only a limited view of the markets in which they compete. Growth leaders see the bigger picture. 3. Effective growth planning. This is the best predictor of whether or not a business will grow. To be effective, a plan for growth does not need to be overly formal or complicated. However, it does need to be written, well-communicated and regularly updated.4. Customer-driven processes. These days, every company I talk to believes it is customer-driven, when actually very few really are. Take a look at all of the business processes from a customer's perspective. Are they in place to make it easier for the company, or to help deliver on the promise of faster, cheaper and better for the customer?5. The power of technology. Successful leaders don't let the boom and bust of technology cycles give them the excuse to ignore that we live in an information age. If a company is in business, it is in the technology business. 6. The best and brightest people. Growth leaders recognize that they are only as good as the people with whom they work. The ability to hire, train and retain the best and the brightest people is often the difference between success and failure. 7. Seeing the future. Few organizations take the time to regularly consider the future. Growth leaders learn how to diligently monitor and interpret the macro forces of change affecting the world in which they live.

Book Review: The Straw Bale House

If we learned anything from childhood, it was not to build our houses out of straw. After all, that big bad wolf was just waiting to blow it down. But that was before the world knew the numerous advantages of using compressed straw bales, as a key building material as outlined in the book The Straw Bale House. This easy to understand book is comprehensive in its education on how to build with straw- so that no wolf (or tornado for that matter) can ever blow it down. The book covers why and how to build with straw bales, while also illustrating necessary details to create an aesthetically and sound home at an affordable price. To portray this point, The "Straw Bale" House provides a good number of enlightening black and white diagrams as well as impressive color photographs. I would have to say The Straw Bale House is the Bible of straw bale construction books and therefore an indispensable starting point for anyone looking into the straw bale home concept. After purchasing the book (well worth the price) I had no reservations about going ahead with my own project and building with straw bales. Both new and experienced builders will appreciate the clear, simple instructions and diagrams, as well as practical explanations for dealing with building codes and insurers.The Straw Bale House also nurtures you on the many practical advantages of building with compressed straw bales. In addition to being inexpensive, straw bale serve as a clean, and lightweight building material that is easy to work with. The book discusses the many important advantages straw offers such as super high-energy efficiency (a need in todays high heating costs), superior fire resistance, while at the same time seismically correct. In addition, this all-natural material, as a recycled agricultural byproduct of grain production, is a sustainable, renewable resource. While enthusiasts of straw bale construction praise this method of building for the aforementioned reasons, the actual reason so many people are turning to straw bale homes is because they are so often extraordinarily beautiful and inviting, as The Straw Bale House's many color photographs displays. Clearly, inexpensive doesn't have to mean low quality nor unattractive. The natural materials used in creating a straw bale home exude a lot of chi. And so does this book. The Straw Bale House would be a good addition to any coffee table.

Fading toward Enlightenment - Review

Fading Toward Enlightenment by Wayne Wirs is definitely a well made book of excellent quality it will certainly endure multiple readings. I loved the feel of the pages as I turned them. I would classify this book as a useful, inspirational, self-help tool for those searching for inner peace. Wayne shares his personal experiences while he searches to come to turns with himself and life in general through this beautiful work of art.Wayne is truly a seeker of understanding. I was reminded occasionally of Joseph Campbell throughout the book, as the two focus on similar themes. Wayne shares his journey towards understanding that takes him through vigorous studies of mystic and myths, traveling into himself and then out again. He dreams of being able to reach beyond the ego.Attractive, attention-demanding black and white photographs are enhanced by the deep-thinking quotations and the authors excellent discussions. Each stage in his journey is accompanied by the exquisite photos, and the photos add depth to the text feeding each other. I found that I would read a sentence and then look at the photo; back and forth - each page a slow and rewarding process to savor. Written to inspire others to delve deep into discovering who they are, Wayne asks us (as he asks himself) "Who are you behind those busy thoughts?"The question and answer interview at the end of the book was quite helpful in finding out more about the authors personal side and his particular views. He also includes a list of resources to aid the reader interested in furthering their journey."ISBN#: 0976358107Author: Wayne WirsPublisher: Missing Man Press

Summary

...All the elements for a wonderfully mystical tale for youth, and for those with youthful minds are here in this novel. Haunting dreams, caring creatures of the forest, magical swords, a quest to defeat wickedness and free its captives along with humorous moments...