Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Book Feature: The Special and the Ordinary by David Clapham








Title: The Special and the Ordinary
Author: David Clapham
Publisher: iUniverse
Genre: Coming of Age
Format: Ebook
John Haworth, despite innate shyness, has floated upward in a comfortable English home environment under the influence of much older sisters and their friends. After he begins a new school in the early fifties, the seven-year-old is looking lost when a classmate, Martin Holford, decides to take him under his wing. And so begins a long friendship.

Ordinary rules of life apparently do not apply to the confident Martin except, perhaps, when he allows his mischievous humor excessive free rein against the self-important. While on separate coming-of-age journeys, Martin and John get on fine, despite John's occasional resentment about Martin's ability to bounce back after perpetrating 'wrong notes' against the wealthy while John slaves away attempting to make new music sound modern. John, who has no desire to be to be an apathetic musician like his viola teacher, unfortunately lacks the talent, personality, and love of limelight to match his glamorous piano teacher or Katherine, the singer he accompanies on the piano. Now all he has to do is somehow find his place amid an uncertain career as a ghost composer where chances come as infrequent as success.

The Special and the Ordinary shares the unique story of two young people as they come of age and step into the future, each with a different idea on what it means to be true to themselves.

iUniverse awarded The Special and the Ordinary the 'Editor's Choice' designation. Here are excerpts from the enthusiastic editorial reviews:

"Definitely a worthwhile read, I recommend The Special and the Ordinary to lovers of literary fiction." - Pacific Book Review

"...heartwarming and uplifting." - Kirkus Reviews

"The writing is clear and refreshing, with clean sentences that move the story along at a brisk pace." - Clarion Review




David Clapham grew up in in Sheffield, England and studied botany at Oxford. After working at the Welsh Plant Breeding Station in Aberystwyth, Wales, he moved to Uppsala, Sweden, where he still lives today. David and his Swedish wife Lena have two children. He has also published Odd Socks with iUniverse in 2013. 


Friday, October 20, 2017

Guest Post by Alastair Fraser, author of Forestry Flavours of the Month: The Changing Face of World Forestry







Publication Date: May 20, 2016
Publisher: AuthorHouse
Formats: Ebook
Pages: 228
Genre: Biography
Tour Dates: September 4 - 15

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Forestry touches on all aspects of human welfare in one way or another, which is why foresters need to play an active role in determining our collective agenda. Alastair Fraser, a lifelong forester and the co-founder of LTS International, a forestry consulting company, explains how forestry changes with political cycles and how foresters can promote healthy forests at all times.

He explores critical issues such as:
• forests and their connection to coal;
• forest's role in combatting floods and climate change;
• illegal logging in Indonesia, Laos, and elsewhere;
• tactics to promote sustainable forestry management;
• plantations as a solution to tropical deforestation.

From pulping in Sweden and Brazil, paper mills in Greece and India, agroforestry in the Philippines, "pink" disease in India and oil bearing trees of Vietnam, no topic is off limits. Based on the author's life as a forester in dozens of countries, this account shows the breadth of forestry and makes a convincing case that forestry management needs to focus on managing change and achieving sustainability. Whether you're preparing to become a forester, already in the field, or involved with conservation, the environment or government, you'll be driven to action with Forestry Flavours of the Month.




Forestry Flavours of the Month; the Changing Face of World Forestry 

Forests still cover almost a third of the world’s land area, but few people other than professional foresters and conservationist have much idea about what forests are and how they benefit mankind. The word “forest” conjures up many differing images for people depending on where they live and what kind of life they lead. 

The book highlights the author’s 55-year career as an international forestry consultant, and shows how the issues facing forestry and foresters around the world have changed over time. Major issues such as tropical deforestation and sustainability have come and gone in response to economic and political cycles. Covering rural poverty and development, climate change, energy, airships, floating pulp mills, radio communication, tobacco curing and more, the book also highlights some of the difficulties foresters face, such as illegal logging.

“Climate change, tropical deforestation and environmental degradation are major issues for today’s society, and while it is easy to suggest things that should be done, the reality of trying to change things on the ground is very challenging,”. 

The combination of an autobiography and a travel book related to global forestry, the book shares the author’s experiences in over 20 countries, including the United States, Russia, China and Brazil. The final chapter also highlights the worrying trend around the world for governments to split responsibility for the production side of forests from the conservation and environmental aspects between departments, thus weakening the ability of the professionals to take a holistic approach to the management of forests. 

“For older people who are concerned about the environment and related issues, I hope the book will provide them with a better understanding of what is actually happening around the world and what foresters are trying to do about it,” “For young readers in high school or university, I hope that the book will inspire some of them to take up the challenge of becoming foresters and following up on some of the issues raised in the book.”


Alastair Fraser is a founder member of the archaeology group No Man s Land. He has worked as researcher and participant in a number of Great War documentaries. Steve Roberts is a retired police officer and an ex-regular soldier. He specialises in researching individuals who served during the war and is also a founder member of No Man s Land. Andrew Robertshaw frequently appears on television as a commentator on battlefield archaeology and the soldier in history, and he has coordinated the work of No Man s Land. His publications include Somme 1 July 1916: Tragedy and Triumph, Digging the Trenches (with David Kenyon) and The Platoon.



Monday, August 21, 2017

Book Feature: Poor No More: An American Dream by Steven Bentley, MD




Title: Poor No More
Author: Steven Bentley, MD
Publisher: iUniverse 
Genre: Biography/Autobiography
Format: Ebook

Now retired, author Dr. Steven Bentley was a successful emergency physician. But his path in life wasn't always an easy one. In Poor No More-An American Dream, he shares his story of how he survived a rare birth defect, abject poverty, an alcoholic mother, a KKK father, an abusive children's home, and a cruel step-mother.

This memoir tells how Bentley emerged from a difficult childhood and adolescence to practice ER medicine during a time of enormous change in the field and how he developed a lifelong love affair with his chosen profession. He discusses how he found it gratifying to apply his medical knowledge and to impact someone's life for the better. He relays a host of stories from both his personal and professional life, detailing the trials and tribulations and the challenges and rewards.

Poor No More-An American Dream describes Bentley's journey to escape his roots and become a successful doctor in America. It tells about one man who lived in and through some interesting times.



Steven Bentley, MD, is a retired emergency physician who is married and lives in the North Carolina mountains. Bentley has two living sisters-one in Florida, the other is an ER nurse in Charleston, South Carolina. He travels extensively with his wife and enjoys beekeeping, gardening, flowers, and everything about the natural world. This is his second book.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Book Feature: Mary Lives: A story of Anorexia Nervosa & Bipolar Disorder by Mary Brooks








Publication Date: March 5, 2014
Publisher: XlibrisAU
Formats: Ebook
Pages: 396
Genre: Mental Health
Tour Dates: July 24th-August 4th

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In this chaotic, desperate storm the brain tries hard to gather its fragmented parts, and anchor down the guy lines. To weather out this hopelessness, this turmoil and this pain, -prevent disintegration until the calm returns and clear skies come again.In this chaotic, desperate storm the brain tries hard to gather its fragmented parts, and anchor down the guy lines. To weather out this hopelessness, this turmoil and this pain, -prevent disintegration until the calm returns and clear skies come again.







Mary is a General Practitioner, a Family Doctor, and became anorexic and depressed at age 12. She writes of the chaos and pain of her life, through her abnormal adolescence and adult years, to the equilibrium of the current day. It is an enlightening and inspiring story of Anorexia Nervosa and Bipolar Affective Disorder or Manic Depression.


Monday, August 7, 2017

Book Feature: Unlocking the Natural Born Leader's Abilities: An Autobiographical Expose by Salar Khan, MD., MBA.









Leaders orchestrate commands to people in order to accomplish objectives pertinent and in accordance with their personal principles and intentions. This book sets to identify the qualities and abilities of a certain kind of leader, which I refer to as the natural-born leader (NBL). The NBL possesses innate traits, refined and perfected over time with education, training, and experience. I will attempt to illustrate these traits by drawing from my fifty years of personal experiences and hope readers will look at this as an opportunity to introspect. I have also designed a self-assessment tool so you may self-evaluate the presence of these NBL abilities and identify where you ultimately fall on the spectrum.
Today, there is widespread lack of confidence in leadership whether in business, government, education, or elsewhere. The vision of a confident leader, that of an NBL, is needed for the betterment of the world.








Salar Ahmed Khan, MD, MBA, FACA, FCCP, DTCD, MCPS, worked as an Internist and Pulmonologist at Karachi, Pakistan from 1985-87; as the Chief of Medicine, the Acting Director of Medical Services, and Acting Hospital Director at Al-Midhnab General Hospital under the Ministry of Health in Saudi Arabia from 1988-93; as the Associate Professor Medicine at Baqai Medical College and Hospital in Karachi, Pakistan from 1993-94; as a Surgical Assistant, Material Management, and Acting Central Processing Supervisor at Edge Water Medical Center in Chicago from 1996-2000. He is working as a program specialist at Chicago, Illinois since 2000. He was nominated and won several awards at national and international levels. In his spare time, he enjoys cooking, photography, and watching sport, like cricket. He lives in Chicago, Illinois with his wife and two sons.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Book Feature: Iniquities of Gulch Fork by Bob Smith and Sara Rhodes








In the worn and tired town of Gulch Fork, Arkansas, certified nursing assistant Samantha Caminos heads to her patient Rob Dean's home and wonders how she can find common ground with the aloof, disabled Vietnam veteran who suffers from not only PTSD but also severe neuropathy caused by Agent Orange. As Samantha approaches the house, she has no idea that very soon their lives will take a new turn. Gulch Fork, a town once filled with Ozark tranquility, takes on an aura of evil when bizarre events begin to affect Rob and two other war-scarred veterans, Peter Ness and Ron Woods-Samantha's father. But when Samantha learns that two elderly couples without living relatives in the area have fallen prey to fraud and embezzlement by a man who claims to be a pastor, she sets out on a quest to piece together a complex mystery fueled by those hell-bent on taking advantage of citizens too fragile to defend themselves. In this compelling novel based on true events, three veterans seeking peace and serenity from PTSD fall victim to injustice, prompting a young health care worker to investigate the evil that has infiltrated their once peaceful Arkansas town.



Bob Smith is a naval officer who had Agent Orange spilled on him in Vietnam and suffers from severe PTSD in addition to disabling neuropathy. After living in Spain, he returned to America and settled in the Ozarks, where he is happily pursuing his dream of writing. Sara Rhodes is a wife, mother, and certified nursing assistant who originally lived in Alaska before moving to the Ozarks with her family. Bob is her former patient whose teachings about PTSD helped her recognize her own father's battle with it. Both Bob and Sara find animals to be a great source of comfort.



Thursday, July 20, 2017

Book Feature: Pauli The Musical Pumpkin by Pamela O. Guidry




Title: Pauli the Musical Pumpkin
Author: Pamela O. Guidry
Publisher: AuthorHouse
Genre: Juvenile Fiction
Format: Ebook

This is an inspiring story of a family whose characters depend on each other's unique personality traits to see them through life's little journeys. With Luis, the strength and leadership is dominant, and Erin's motherly love is profound. The two boys are very different both in looks and in spirit. Dominic is adventuresome, and the outdoors is his passion, whereas Donovan's love for beauty and music is his motivation. Pauli, different from any of his family, is talented and musical and brings forth a feeling of magic when he plays his beautiful music. In the end, the family is reunited and reassured. Each of us is special in our own way. As long as we have each other, anything is possible.


Pamela O. Guidry was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, in 1960. My parents were the most loving and wonderful parents. I grew up in a family of six children. With three sisters and two brothers, an adventure was always just around the corner. Because family is the most fundamental purpose in life, the experiences we have shared have shaped my life. At an early age, I developed a passion for music, as well as a love for art and creativity. As an adult, I further pursued the imagination and use of colors and textures in my work as a decorator. And now, my passion is to travel the world so that I may experience the beauty of nature and the people I meet along the way.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Book Review: The Bomb That Never Was by J.R. Shaw

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Inside the Book:

The Bomb That Never Was
Title: The Bomb That Never Was
Author: J.R. Shaw
Publisher: iUniverse
Genre: Alternative History
Format: Ebook/Paperback

Praise for The Bomb That Never Was

 “Hitler has the bomb, and it's headed for the USA. This meticulously researched historical novel will have you asking, ‘What if?' This is an intelligent, fast-paced page-turner that will make you forget that you already know how it all turns out. Provocative, informative, and entertaining—I couldn't put it down.” —Joseph P. DeSario, author of Limbo and Sanctuary and coauthor of Crusade: Undercover Against the Mafia & KGB

“Authoritative and credible in its attention to detail, The Bomb That Never Was captures the spirit and temper of the WWII years and raises some deep philosophical questions about loyalty, treason, and commitment to country. A page-turner … tough to put down … a story well told.” —Robert L. Aaron, journalist and public relations executive

My Review

Is there any point in history that is discussed more than WWII? From movies to books, this is the hottest topic and rightfully so. With so many deaths and Hitler manning an army of people who would kill at his command, no matter how vile and disgusting...it is truly a fascinating and disturbing time.

I was drawn to this book because it takes the events and puts a new spin on them. What if Hitler had even more power than he did, having a bomb that was heading straight for the United States. What would change and how would things play out?

It is obvious that the author did quite a bit of research in this well thought out and gripping novel. Reading it I was transported back in time and it really made me think - what would have been different, or could have been different? A page turner from the get go, even though it is fiction it reads like fact.


Meet the Author:
J. R. Shaw is a pseudonym for a person who likes privacy, preferring to remain in the shadows. If you're interested in reading the next book, please turn to the back of this book and enjoy reading an excerpt from The Pieces. The Pieces will be out in 2016.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Book Feature: Great Objectives by Robert Finch









In his book Utilitarianism, John Stuart Mill refers to the great objects of human life. We may assume that that what Mill calls an object is the same as an objective in modern parlance. The examples of great objectives that Mill cites include power, fame, and money. One wonders how seriously Mill was actually endorsing such aims to be the overarching objectives of living or whether he was simply expressing his finding that many people actually do take such aims as these for life. The contention is that Mill was indeed recognizing that people do choose such goals in life. After all, happiness has been recognized as an objective of life at least since the time of Aristotle, and virtue has a similarly ancient pedigree. It is quite common for ordinary people to adopt such mottos as “Healthy, wealthy, and wise” as aims for life. But we know that having more than one such value can lead to conflicts. This had been a concern to Sidgwick as well as other nineteenth-century moralists. A resolution to the problem was found by the time of the twentieth century, when it was realized that we should not try to achieve definite objectives, but instead look to some other procedure, such as a variety of evolution, to shape our objectives. In that case, we make plans and evaluate them, as we proceed. We should use our values, as Dewey recommended, for guideposts. The book discusses the methods of arriving at such plans and weighs some of the ethical and moral problems an individual or a society might face at the present time.



Robert Finch is the author of five collections of essays and co-editor of The Norton Book of Nature Writing. He broadcasts a weekly commentary on NPR and serves on the faculty of the MFA in Writing Program at Spalding University in Louisville, KY. He lives in Wellfleet, MA.


Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Book Feature: Enter Venus by Sondra Luger








In ENTER VENUS the Goddess of Love comes to earth to save a marriage that’s falling apart. In the course of her magical ministrations, the art masterpieces at the magnificent Frick mansion spring to life and into action and a torrential downpour sweeps characters from a New York City street to Venice, Italy.





Sondra Luger taught English in a New York City high school. Her first romantic novel, RICH, NEVER MARRIED, RICH was inspired by Jane Austen’s PRIDE & PREJUDICE, and her second, BACK FROM BORA BORA, was inspired by the business world of the young and the resilience and energy of the so-called aged. Her mysteries, DROP ME OFF IN HARLEM and MURDER ON BROADWAY, both of which feature the same female fashion model detective, are a tribute to the Roaring Twenties and to the author’s mother, who was a high fashion model. Sondra comes from an arts-oriented family with musical talent, and she has recorded a music CD with her sister, singer and songwriter Carolyn Luger. The songs were written by music icons of the twentieth century. The album is TAKING A CHANCE ON LOVE.



Monday, June 19, 2017

Book Feature: The Trials of Allura by Dina El Shammaa








Allura’s life is a testament to the strength and resilience of educated Middle-Eastern women in the modern age, who are railing against a life that makes little sense, with all its twists and turns. A tower of courage and energy, her enthusiasm to challenge life’s obstacles and temptations reflects some of the mind-blowing hardships various women face. Bound by passion, linked by need, Allura offers readers a better understanding of life in a cross-cultural environment, where women are wrongly perceived by the outside world as spoilt, reclusive, and vulnerable. Social constraints, family upheavals, and unexpected tragedies force Allura to stand on her two feet at a young age and make life-changing decisions, which is when her whole world begins to unravel. Join Allura on her extraordinary journey of highs and lows, humorous encounters, and fateful experiences, which transform her from a shy and sheltered teenager to a courageous, resolute, fiery, and tempestuous woman.




An author inspired by innocence, simplicity and beauty, Dina El Shammaa’s extensive writing background helps her uncover unexpected daily occurrences that affect the lives of millions of women in the region and beyond.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Guest Post by Raymond Floodgate, author of Life 2 the Full








Life 2 the Full is a self-help book that shows the reader how to improve health and well-being by preventing Illness from happening in the first place. This book will guide you through the elements needed to help you live your life to the full. Life 2 the Full covers such subjects as health and well-being, food, exercise for the body, and exercise for the mind. Stress is also covered in this book, including ways to eliminate it. Other topics include breathing, relaxation, meditation, money, and abundance. The goal is to help the reader achieve a life that is lived to the full. If you are struggling with your life through constant recurring illness, stress, food-related problems, or lack of purpose, Life 2 the Full will teach you how to change the life you are living now into a life that you never thought possible. The book is written in plain English, is easy to understand, and will give you an insight into how easy it is to change your life should you want to.
Guest Post
There is no mystery about living life to the full. Once you know about it, it is obvious. It has always been there but you just probably didn't think to look. It is not something that is taught in schools, even our teachers have not been taught it.  It is not a part of the curriculum at any level of education, so why should you know about it?  Our society has totally overlooked this way of living and opted for the “get more money and grab everything you can” type of existence. However, when you live life to the full, your life becomes rich and abundant in every way and this can be obtained with little effort on your part.
Every society today, associates wealth as money and possessions, which is a very narrow view of what wealth truly is.  Money and possessions are absolutely a part of wealth but only a small part.


Raymond Floodgate is a certified Reiki master and teacher, a qualified practitioner of energy healing, and an energy healing teacher. He was a practitioner and instructor of Shotokan karate for twelve years but now focuses on preventing illness. To this end, he has studied Tai Chi, Qigong, and meditation.