"No one can be lonely who has a book for company." ~ Nelle Reagan

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Author Interview: Andrea Michaels "Reflections of a Successful Wallflower"

Andrea Michaels, of Extraordinary Events, is the author of Reflections of a Successful Wallflower - Lessons in Business; Lessons in Life.  The following is an interview with this amazing woman:

What is the title of your book?
Reflections of a Successful Wallflower - Lessons in Business; Lessons in Life.

What is your book about?
"This book is a life lesson, a success road map and a laugh-out-loud look into Andrea Michaels, one of the great business and creative minds working today." - John Klymshyn, Author of How to Sell Without Being a JERK! and The Ultimate Sales Managers' Guide.

Andrea Michaels is literally one of the backbones of the special events industry.  She launched her event production business when there was no formalized or defined marketplace and became, and still is, a trailblazer, pioneering the way for others to follow.  This book can only be compared to reading Andrea's diaries.  This first inductee into the industry's Hall of Fame shares, candidly, not only the public wunderkind but the inner woman.  Readers will discover the workings of one of the foremost event producers in the world.  Her stories have made readers laugh, cry, and be in utter disbelief and fascinated at the same time.  Her stories and her life are great lessons for everyone.

Why did you decide to write it?
I wrote the book for personal satisfaction AND because I hope that, in addition to being a fun read, it will inspire young people and women - two distinct populations I am dedicated to educating. Young people need to understand that their own power and internal drive can lead them to thinking creatively and decisively on more levels than tapping the keys on their computers for solutions.  And women need to know that there is no "glass ceiling" if they can figure out a way to work around it.  They have to believe that they can do anything, including raise a child, enjoy a marriage, run a business (do I sound like a Helen Reddy song?) [cue "I am Woman"] and do it all successfully and happily without sacrificing any one of these relationships.

My stories are about survival - business survival, and about approaches to challenges and how to overcome them.  Business is no more than one element of life, and surviving in business is the same as surviving in life.  It's all about approach and attitude.

How did you get your book published?
I decided I wanted to self-publish.  I asked my editor to research what was available.  After she presented me with all the options and recommended Outskirts Press, I went with them.

What type of readers will be interested in your book?
The obvious ones are other professionals in the special events industry and suppliers to that industry; business leaders, particularly women; young people interested in an incredibly creative and challenging career; women who have had challenging relationships in their lives.  People who are looking for ways to laugh through the pain of working during difficult times and situations.

What is special about your book?  What differentiates it from other books in the same category?
Most books by event producers display gorgeous photos of their events and talk a little bit about the.  Others are "how to" books on the subject.  My book is different because it reveals the challenges that I had to overcome to actually get the events produced.  It intertwines my business and personal life.  Each chapter is a story about an event and its challenges and the lessons I learned both professionally and personally, and I relate everything to my personal life.  I expose my failures and my successes in an open manner.

Have you published any other books?  Do you plan to publish more?
I have never published before, and I do plan to write a sequel to this one.

Reflections of a Successful Wallflower is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and on the Outskirts Press site.

Andrea's web page address:  www.extraordinaryevents.net

Andrea's Outskirts page:  www.outskirtspress.com/andreamichaels

Extraordinary Events office is located in Sherman Oaks, California.

To see my book review visit Reflections of a Successful Wallflower

Book Review: Reflections of a Successful Wallflower by Andrea Michaels

Reflections of a Successful Wallflower
Author:  Andrea Michaels
Copyright:  2010
Publisher:  Outskirts Press, Inc.
Pages: 310
Genre:  Biography/Business
ISBN 978-1-4327-4909-5
Source:  A complimentary copy was provided by Andrea Michaels and Bostick Communications in return for a review.  This in no way influenced my opinion of the book.

Available at Barnes & Noble and Amazon.


Extraordinary Events web page:  http://www.extraordinaryevents.com/ee_main.html

From the back cover:  Who is Andrea Michaels and What Does She Know That We Don't?

Andrea Michaels is literally one of the backbones of the special events industry.  Launching her business when there was no formalized or defined marketplace, she was and still is a trailblazer, pioneering the way for others to follow.....

Reflections of a Successful Wallflower can only be compared to reading Andrea's diaries.  This first inductee into the industry Hall of Fame shares, openly and candidly, not only the public wunderkind but the inner woman.  Discover the workings of one of the foremost event producers in the world.  You'll laugh; you'll cry; you'll be in disbelief and fascinated at the same time.  She is a storyteller, and her stories and her life are great lessons for everyone.

My thoughts:  Reflections of a Successful Wallflower:  Lessons in Business Lessons in Life by Andrea Michaels is a visit to that wonderland of the special event industry.  The events her company, Extraordinary Events, organized include none other than the grand opening ceremonies of BC Place in Vancouver, Canada; corporate merger events; NASA space shuttle three-day conference and trade show; corporate holiday events; opening of the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas; incentive trips; and even the award show gala for her industry.  Andrea Michaels conjures up images spectacular to the mind including laser shows, pyrotechnic displays, grand staging, performances and so much more that you wish you could be there in person to witness it all.  Not only does she write of these events that her company staged; but she includes challenges, solutions, side notes and lessons learned along the way.  Some lessons are professional, some personal and some both.  Andrea loves what she does and in Reflections of a Successful Wallflower she shares her tips to keeping her cool under stress, like the time their tour bus was run off the road and bandits, high on drugs, robbed the passengers at gun point.  Andrea had the forethought to remove her passport, credit cards, ID, some cash and necessary items before the gunmen boarded the bus and she calmly handed over her purse without harassment.  How many people can keep their cool in a situation like that and have the forethought of mind to make sure she maintained her necessary papers and cards?  She, incidentally, was the only one on the bus to have retained her passport and necessities.

Reflections of a Successful Wallflower has invaluable advice for the event planner, the business person and the average reader alike because most of what she shares can be transferred to our daily lives.  She is inspirational, humble, smart and funny and writes an incredible memoir/guide that will have you laughing and shaking your head in disbelief.

Reflections of a Successful Wallflower is an entertaining read for all; well worth your time for the lessons and the entertaining value therein.

Highly recommended  4/5/5 

About Andrea Michaels

Andrea Michaels, an international meeting and event producer, is the President/Founder of Extraordinary Events and winner of 33 Special Event Gala Awards. She is the first inductee into the Special Event Industry Hall of Fame and a winner of both the SITE Crystal and MPI Global Paragon Awards, among many other recognitions. All of these are for impeccable and innovative meetings and events. Prominent events include the openings of Las Vegas' Venetian Hotel and that city's Town Square, Lumiere Place in St. Louis and G.M. Place in Vancouver, and international road shows for The Hong Kong Tourist Board, as well as a variety of clients globally. Additionally her seminars on Creativity, Sustainability, The Profitability of Doing Business and Anatomy of an Event have earned her international kudos. In a few words, she sets the trends; others follow.

Friday, June 24, 2011

More on Pottermore


J.K. Rowling revealed a bit about Pottermore.com in her video announcement, released yesterday morning. It is not a book, but an “online reading experience unlike any other…which will be built in part by you the reader, based on the books.” It launches in October.  In the video on site, J.K. Rowling states “a lucky few can enter early to help shape the experience” launching  for the first million users on July 31, 2011,  followed by a free site open to all this October.
The author, J.K. Rowling, will be joining in, too, sharing additional information she’s been “hoarding for years” about the world of Harry Potter.
At Pottermore.com the consumer may purchase digital audio and, for the first time, eBooks. Pottermore will be the exclusive site for digital audio and eBooks. All seven Potter novels will be available as audiobooks and e-books in multiple languages,  including English, French, German, Italian, Spanish and Japanese.
Check out Pottermore.com for a colourful introduction to this new and exciting world of wizardry.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Agatha Christie Blog Carnival for June

Hello everyone!

The June edition of the Agatha Christie Blog Carnival is now 
available at 

The next edition will be published on July 24, 2011.

Pottermore.com Are You Ready for This?

Are you ready for this?  Excited fans everywhere are anxiously awaiting the reveal of Pottermore by J.K.Rowling.  This site will be up and running in October so you, the reader, can join in the fun by participating to help tell the tale.  J.K.Rowling has some hidden information to be revealed on this site.  But only in October.

What is Pottermore?

Pottermore is a free website that builds an exciting online experience around the reading of the Harry Potter books.
Come back on 31st July to find out how you can get the chance to enter Pottermore early.  

Have you marked your calendar?


Thursday at My Bookshelf


What, if any, kind of music do you listen to when you're reading?

I usually prefer quiet so I can totally immerse my senses in my reading.  However, I do have a couple CDs of classical/easy listening music that I will listen to time and again.  I keep the sound down low so it is complimentary background music.  I also like to go sit by the pond/waterfall to read.  It's very soothing to relax there with a great read!

Do you listen to music while you read?

Theme Thursdays is a fun weekly bookish event, hosted by Reading Between Pages, open from one Thursday to the next.  Anyone can participate!  

The rules are simple:  A theme will be posted each week on Thursdays
  • Select a conversation/snippet/sentence from the current book you  are reading
  • Mention the author and the title of the book along with your post
  • It is important that the theme is conveyed in the sentence (you don’t necessarily need to have the word)

This week's theme is "male"

 From Reflections of a Successful Wallflower, page 45:
Mark was the most beautiful man I'd ever seen.  He was thin....Intelligent, quick, very verbal, very bohemian and talented....Also he was very boyish, and made no attempt to hide it.
Join in with this week's fun meme and share your quote from your current novel.  Please leave a comment with a link to your Theme Thursday and/or Booking Through Thursday so I can return the visit. 

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Book Review: A Time To...A Baby Boomer's Spiritual Adventures by Ronald Louis Peterson

A Time To...A Baby Boomer's Spiritual Adventures
Author:  Ronald Louis Peterson
Copyright:  2008
Publisher:  Self-published
101 Chapters
Pages:  422
Includes:  Table of Contents, Prologue and Epilogue
ISBN  145363245X
Source:  the author and Bostick Communications.  I was not compensated to review this novel.

Press Release excerpt:  A TIME TO is a 9/11 novel that baby boomers and others affected by the 9/11 tragedy can appreciate in many ways. As with all devastating events, 9/11's most lasting impact was on individual souls.

A TIME TO is a story about Al Masterson, a baby boomer and a risk manager who worked in the World Trade Center on 9/11. As Tower One collapsed on him and his companions, he was taken away on a mysterious guided tour of his life. He revisited his childhood in the '50s when he had a hard time adapting to his New York City home. A teacher had rescued him from a disastrous year so he gave her a special gift; he couldn't imagine how that gift would later impact his life....

Answers didn't come until he returned from his spiritual adventures to Ground Zero, where they were manifested in surprising turns of events that confirmed in amazing ways that love, faith, hope and charity all survived 9/11.

Author Ronald Louis Peterson, a New Yorker by birth, was inspired to write about 9/11 in a very personal way because he says, "that's the way most people experienced it." He built his novel around spiritual milestones that occur in one's life, using actual personal and historical events and settings as backdrops for his epic allegorical tale.

A TIME TO won an Award of Excellence in Deep River Book's 2010 National Writer's Contest. CatholicFiction.net says it "is a special look at life and the people God places there to help us as we grow in faith, hope, love and charity."

A TIME TO is dedicated to families who lost loved ones on 9/11, and to those who have called NYC home.

My thoughts:  I was drawn to this book because of its reference to 9/11 but this story only begins there.  This is a story of Al Masterson who finds himself buried beneath the rubble of Twin Tower 1 following the plane crash.  From there, he enters a dream like stance wherein he is given to recall instances in his life, both good and bad, that helped him become the man he was.  This is also a journey of a man finding his spirituality.  

A Time To is long, at 422 pages including the prologue and epilogue and I found it difficult to stay with it.  The story is good, it just didn't reach out and grab me.  I was not spell-bound.  There are certain elements within the story that are very good, such as Al's time as a TV news journalist.  I was captivated at that point, but the rest, between the 9/11 incident (which is amazingly told!!) and Al's time as journalist and beyond, was a little slow.  Ronald Louis Peterson wraps it all up cleanly, though the instances of "running into" people from his various stations in life near the end of the book, seem a bit too much, too coincidental.  

All in all, it is a fair read.  Rated 3/5

WWW Wednesdays

To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions…
• What are you currently reading?
• What did you recently finish reading?
• What do you think you’ll read next?

What are you currently reading?  Currently, I am reading Reflections of a Successful Wallflower by Andrea Michaels and the first in the Harry Potter series, Harry Potter and the Sorceror's Stone.

What did you recently finish reading?  (Since I haven't participated for a while, this encompasses the past two weeks).  You may go directly to the review by clicking on the underlined titles.

A Time to...A Baby Boomer's Spiritual Adventures by Ronald Louis Peterson (review to be posted later today.

What do you think you'll read next?

Once I finish the first in the Harry Potter series, I will move on to the second, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.  From there, well, I'll see what catches my eye in my TBR pile.

What did you recently finish?  What are you reading now and what is planned for the upcoming week?  PLEASE LEAVE A COMMENT with the link to your own WWW Wednesdays post, or answer in your comment.   Thanks! 

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Teaser Tuesdays 21/06/2011

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme hosted by Miz B of Should Be Reading.

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

"Rio de Janeiro...glamorous, exotic, exciting.  Little did I know HOW exciting.....
Five minutes from the  airport as I gazed out the window, I could see a car racing toward us, and my immediate impression was that this car was going to run us off the road.  It did."  ~ page 259, Reflections of a Successful Wallflower by Andrea Michaels

"Never wondered how you got that mark on yer forehead? That was no ordinary cut. That's what yeh get when a powerful, evil curse touches yeh--took care of yer mum an' dad an' yer house, even--but it didn't work on you, an' that's why yer famous, Harry." -Hagrid
 ~ page 55,  Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone by J.K. Rowling

Come on, Tease Me!  What are you reading this week?

Monday, June 20, 2011

Book Review: My Pictures, My Words by Mac Kenney

My Pictures, My Words
Author:  Mac Kenney
Copyright:  2011
Publisher:  Outskirts Press, Inc.
Pages:  46
Format:  Paperback
ISBN 978-1-4327-7227-7
Subject:  Poetry/Photography/Landscapes
Source:  A complimentary copy was provided by the author and Bostick Communications in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.

Available on Amazon

(from the back cover)  A Unique Book That Captures the Full Beauty of Nature and the Human Spirit

Stirring images and piercing poetry come together in this gorgeous collection from the multi-talented Mac Kenney.  Here are 20 vibrant color photographs that evoke the full range of human emotions, set against powerful verses on love, life, and the beauty that surrounds us.  Ponder the mysteries of existence from a single lonely bench; reflect on what really matters as the sun drops beneath a brilliant red horizon; and examine the incredible diversity of life on our planet as you gaze on nature's wonders.  Those images gain even more meaning as you read Kenney's memorable poems that urge a great appreciation of our short time on earth...."

My Pictures, My Words. Mac Kenney has produced a book of enticing photography worthy of your coffee table.  Beautiful colourful images grace each page, accompanied by poetry.  The photos are stunning in their vibrancy; exquisite captures of this beautiful earth.  The poetry, though not your typical rhyming verse at all times, peers into the soul of the man while allowing the reader to contemplate the message therein.  From love, life, death, accomplishments; various themes are given audience in My Pictures, My Words.

My Pictures, My Words is a fast read and I found myself more immersed in the photography than the poetry itself, though it does compliment.  This would be a lovely book for a doctor's waiting room or an office reception area as well as your coffee table.  I'd like to see this artist make a full colour glossy photography book, complete with his stunning captures.  Mac Kenney has an eye for beauty that would readily adapt to such a gorgeous coffee table book, in hard cover.

About the author/photographer:  Mac Kenney is a long time nature photographer and poet, but My Pictures, My Words is the first time he has combined the two.  Born and raised in Colorado, he grew up experiencing each of the four seasons, the Rocky Mountains, and the wide-open plains.  Now living in Washington state, he continues to enjoy nature at its best every day.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Children's Book Review: Animal Stories Daddy Told Us by Innocent Emechete

Animal Stories Daddy Told Us
Author:  Innocent Emechete
Copyright:  2010
Publisher:  AuthorHouse
Pages:  81
Genre:  Children's
ISBN 978-1-4520-8189-2
Includes:  Table of Contents (16 Chapters), Introduction, Dedication and Acknowledgements, About the Book, Explanation of Foreign Words, About the Author
Source:  A complimentary copy was provided by the author and Bostick Communications in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.  I was not compensated for this review.


About the book (as excerpted from the introduction):  "Animal Stories Daddy Told Us" is a sixteen chapter collection of African animal stories for children describing day to day activities in animal kingdoms. These animals think, talk and manage their affairs. Like humans they have governments and political intrigues; argue their cases and settle their disputes.

This children's book covers a whole spectrum of betrayal and deceit; shows the face of evil, pride, arrogance and ungratefulness, which feature in human societies too. It also brings about fun and restoration of peace; demonstrates love, tolerance, mercy, justice, cooperation and prudence in these animals. Children could use this too.
"Animal Stories Daddy Told Us" is an all round entertainer and moral teacher for children and young at heart. It affords children the opportunity to look at real life experience through interactions with animals they already love and trust. Like cartoon stories, children of all ages will have fun with this set of African animal stories with animals interacting in their kingdoms far, far away.
My Review:  For generations the elders, parents and relatives in the African nation told stories to the young ones, the next generation, without pen and paper but by mouth.  These stories told of the animal kingdom but gave them human traits, for good or bad, so the children could liken them unto their own lives.  Now Innocent Emechete, a Catholic priest born in Nigeria, West Africa, has collated a written selection of these stories in Animal Stories Daddy Told Us to be shared in other nations, with the children and youth.  Each story shares a valuable moral lesson followed up by a few short questions for parents/teachers to use as an aid in delivering the message provided.  Stories range in theme from deceit to theft, to vanity and are best suited for children ages 11 and up, depending on their level of comprehension and maturity.  

As a tool to help reiterate those lessons of morals and honour, Animal Stories Daddy Told Us is a welcome addition to the home or library.

Rated 4/5

Book Review: Postern of Fate by Agatha Christie

Postern of Fate
Author:  Agatha Christie
Copyright:  1973
Publisher:  The Hamlyn Publishing Group Ltd., by arrangement  with William Collins, Sons & Co. Ltd.
Pages:  253
Includes:  Table of Contents
Genre:  Mystery
Source:  I purchased this book

Four great gates has the city of Damascus...Postern of Fate, the Desert Gate, Disaster's Cavern, Fort of Fear... Pass not beneath, O Caravan, or pass not singing.  Have you heard That silence where the birds are dead, yet something pipeth like a bird?
~ James Elroy Flecker:  Gates of Damascus
(The title of Postern of Fate is derived from the poem Gates of Damascus by James Elroy Flecker)

Postern (from Webster's Dictionary) - 1) a back door or gate
                                                                                2) a private or side entrance or way
the initial cover for the UK edition

Summary:  When Tommy and Tuppence Beresford move to a quiet English village, they are for once not looking for adventure, just a peaceful retirement. However, adventure is set to find them when they discover that their rambling old house holds many forgotten secrets. Who is Mary Jordan? And why has someone left a coded message in an old book about her 'unnatural' death?

Though Postern of Fate was the last book written by Agatha Christie it was not the final book to appear in print.  (http://agathachristie.com/christies-work/stories/postern-of-fate)

My Review:  How I enjoy Tommy and Tuppence as the retired sleuths/detectives in this, Postern of Fate, the last book ever written by Agatha Christie; though it should be noted it was not the last of Agatha Christie's to be published.  Tommy and Tuppence have "retired" to a quiet village and are in the process of fixing up an old estate house.  When Tuppence happens upon a book, a copy of The Black Arrow by Robert Louis Stevenson, she discovers a cypher which intrigues her.  Once deciphered, Tuppence shares with Tommy the message "Mary Jordan did not die naturally.  It was one of us."  However unwittingly and unintentional, the pair investigate, asking people of the town what they know of Mary Jordan.  What they discover puts them in touch not only with old acquaintances from their earlier days, but in the grasp of a would- be murderer.  

I'd read only one other Agatha Christie novel featuring Tommy and Tuppence, Partners in Crime, as reviewed on this blog, prior to Postern of Fate.  Postern of Fate doesn't disappoint, as it delves into the political climate of 60  years previous, and its continuing impact on the present day.  This novel explores sinister intent with derivations from the garden, featuring the two loveable protagonists, the Beresfords.

Tommy and Tuppence Beresford, have a desire to "know things" that cannot be extinguished with time nor age.  They are quite the team, this married couple who love to banter back and forth, challenging each other's minds. It seems to keep each on their toes, which is essential in the line of work they have enjoyed during their working years. The bantering of this couple seems to have gotten a little milder in Postern of Fate than what I recall in Partners in Crime, though still enjoyable.  The following is an example of just this, beginning with Tuppence as she converses with her husband Tommy:
"You aren't trying to make me drink bay rum, are you?" 
"No, I don't think I particularly want to drink bay rum myself."
"Well," said Tuppence, "if I may get on with what I was saying------" 
"I should like you to," said Tommy. "You'll do it anyway, but I should like to feel it was because I'd urged you to do so." ~ page 95, Postern of Fate
It is at this point that Tuppence shares with Tommy her suspicions about Mathilda, the rocking horse. Tuppence and Tommy are in their 70's in this novel and ready to retire, but their inquisitive natures don't retire so easily as the body might like.  

With reference to gardening, the danger of foxglove (digitalis) and its role in this mystery, Postern of Fate is a good example of the meticulous nature of Agatha Christie's research. Postern of Fate also references previous cases the sleuthing pair worked on together, such as N or  M which is mentioned a few times throughout the book, thus encouraging the reader to locate more of Agatha Christie's novels featuring these two heroes.   Again, Ms. Christie captures the reader's imagination while encouraging analysis as you try to solve the mystery.  I quite enjoyed Postern of Fate and highly recommend it to Agatha Christie enthusiasts, especially Tommy and Tuppence fans, and particularly lovers of gardening. 

Rated 4.5/5

This review will be linked up with the Agatha Christie Blog Carnival on the 24th of June.  Stop by for a visit Agatha Christie Blog Carnival.
Hosting this Agatha Christie Reading Challenge Carnival is Kerrie.  "You can submit a link to any postings you have made that review Agatha Christie books or relate to interesting articles about Agatha Christie by going to the Carnival collecting space and putting in the URL, your details, and a comment about the post. The closing date for each month's Carnival is the 22nd of the month. The Carnival will appear on the 23rd."  See her blog for further details.  Come join the mystery! 

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Book Review: The Millenium Diet: the Practical Guide for Rapid Weight Loss by Mark Davis, M.D.

The Millenium Diet:  the Practical Guide for Rapid Weight Loss
Author:  Mark Davis M.D.
Copyright:  2008
Publisher:  Healthnets
pages:  106
Note:  This book was provided by the author and Bostick Communications in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.  No compensation was provided.

Table of Contents:
   Chapter One Why Lose Weight
   Chapter Two Sweet Tooth
   Chapter Three  The Physiology of Obesity
   Chapter Four  The Psychology of Obesity
   Chapter Five  The Diet
                                                      Chapter Six  Common Questions Asked by Dieters
                                                      Chapter Seven  How to Read Labels
                                                      Chapter Eight  Appetite Suppressants
                                                      Chapter Nine  Vitamins and Minerals
                                                     About the Author

From the back cover:  "Lose thirty pounds in five weeks utilizing this unique diet plan that works with your body's physiology to maximize weight loss.  The Millenium Diet is a physician conceived program to cause rapid weight loss in a short period of time.  No other program on the market today is designed for expeditious weight loss at the levels achieved by this diet.  Diet histories of thousands of people were studied.  Certain common foods and food groups were noted to cause most of their weight gain.  When these foods were eliminated or reduced in portion size the dramatic weight loss that occurred caused this program to come into existence.  The Millenium Diet is safe, effective, and adaptable to most lifestyles.  The book is packed full of information every dieter should know and is now available to anyone interested in a quick weight loss program."

Review:  Is this diet plan just like any other high protein low carbohydrate plan?  Is it safe to lose 30 lbs in 5 weeks by following The Millenium Diet?  Is it a no-brainer to cut sugars and simple carbohydrates while increasing protein?

If you ask anyone who has done competitive body building or is a professional athlete, they will tell you that this plan or one similar works!  I spoke with a lady who was a competitive body builder who said she took in well over 2000 calories a day, her diet was high in protein and low in simple carbohydrates. She also ate small meals throughout the day.  The exercise regimen she partook in required an incredible amount of protein.  She also used multi-vitamins.  Lots of athletes prescribe to the use of protein shakes as well.

But you and I, the average person reading this book, are not typically professional athletes.  So, what does this book have to offer us?  For one, Dr. Mark Davis does not preclude this diet for athletes alone.  In fact, he said it is for the average person.
"What is revolutionary about this program is that is has been tested in thousands to patient visits.  The patients are the best teachers and with their tremendous input this diet came into being."  ~  page v, Introduction, The Millenium Diet
This is not a no-carbohydrate diet.  The Millenium Diet recommends a diet 40-50% carbohydrates. Complex carbohydrates being the type recommended.  Brown rice, high fiber breads, whole wheat products...you get the picture.  Carbohydrates with a lower glycemic index enter the bloodstream more slowly, thus they don't cause large amounts of sugars to enter the bloodstream which is then stored as fat.

The Millenium Diet states:
"The best science presently available directs us to utilize the following premises: a) you must want to lose weight, b) portion control is a must, c) an elevated protein diet with a moderate amount of carbs and low fat will increase the rapidity of weight loss." ~ page 57, The Millenium Diet
That is the premise of the book and the diet.
"There are no quick fixes just hard work and dedication with the knowledge that in a short time you will look and feel better." ~ page ix, Introduction, The Millenium Diet
I looked over the suggested menus and they do seem rather restrictive but, like Dr. Davis says, if these restrictions inhibit you trying the diet, perhaps you are not ready to full-heartedly diet.  He claims that after several years of working with his own patients, this diet has seen the best success because it focuses on portion control and caloric intake.  In addition, he also recommends aerobic exercise and weight training for ultimate weight loss and weight control in the future.

This book was published a few years ago but would definitely benefit from the skills an editor can offer in regards to spelling and format.

Rated 3.5/5 

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Book Review: The Ruby Tear Catcher by Nahid Sewell

The Ruby Tear Catcher
Author:  Nahid Sewell
Copyright:  2010
Publisher:  Summerhill Press
Pages:  256
ISBN 978-0-9826763-3-2
Source:  Complimentary copy provided by Lissy Peace & Associates Ltd.


Synopsis from the website:  "A story of triumph and hope in the face of fanaticism and intolerance, Leila’s tale echoes events that shaped the lives of people in Iran. At its heart, her message is the interconnected oneness of all people, the belief that despite religious and cultural differences, we are all the same. A poignant portrait of Iran, it’s a story of sadness and joy, unveiling the human emotions behind historical events."

My Review:  When I read the synopsis for The Ruby Tear Catcher by Nahid Sewell, I was intrigued.  It is true that I first remembered the movie "Not Without My Daughter" and the wars and violence that we see on the news.  I recalled the less favourable I'd heard and read.  The Ruby Tear Catcher reveals a different world from what we envision. Nahid Sewell portrays a magnificent vista of fruit trees, lakes, beautiful homes....a country of beauty.  Before the regime and the fall of the Shah, life was good for many.  Those who followed the teachings of the Koran lived a life defined by their religion but this was not forced upon the country.  That was then....

Nahid Sewell's novel, The Ruby Tear Catcher, is based upon a composite character, Leila, who grew up in Iran before the fall of the Shah.  Her life is good and she enjoys certain freedoms.  As she grows older, however, she becomes aware of the differences of the sexes and of privileges for males which bothers her and she begins to form the opinion that life is not fair under Islam, especially not for women.  When the war of Iran and Iraq takes the life of her brother, whom she has long considered her confidante and protector, Leila's father begins to speak out and teach in school against the regime of Khomeini.  His actions and beliefs come to the attention of those who seek the downfall of the Shah; people you don't want to upset.  An anonymous message on the family's phone reveals their lives are in danger so hurried preparations are made for Leila's parents to flee the country.  Their freedom becomes Leila's imprisonment as shortly thereafter she is forcibly kidnapped and thrown into the worst prison in the country where she is beaten and molested for six months, in an effort to force her to reveal her father's location.  Few people survive such a place. 

The Ruby Tear Catcher is an eye-opening experience, one that many should read to understand the plight of the people of Iran.  Nahid Sewell wants us, the readers, to know that not all are extremists.  
"I hope to help people see that we are all children of God, equally deserving of respect and dignity regardless of race, religion, or gender. Finally, I'd like to give hope to my sisters in the Middle East, the women in Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, or other places who suffer under cultural and religious traditions that see them as second class, who are not treated with respect and care. There is love for them in our hearts." ~ Nahid Sewell
Many have suffered at the hands of the leaders of their country.  The writer, herself, cannot ever go home again because of this book.  I recommend you read it.  Before we judge a nation, a religion, a people, we need to know a little more and understand a little better.  The Ruby Tear Catcher is a step in that direction.


Nahid Sewell was born in Tehran, Iran, before the Islamic Revolution. After finishing high school, she came to the United States, where she obtained a B.A. and M.B.A. from Lehigh University. Nahid began a successful career in Information Technology. While holding full-time positions and raising a family, she began writing articles and was a frequent conference speaker. Her first non-fiction book was a best-seller and she followed with three additional non-fiction books. Nahid has written hundreds of articles, eight of which were featured on magazine covers. She has served as a columnist for two magazines and earned a writing award for an article published in 2007. Nahid is also an award-winning speaker.

While establishing herself as a successful author and Information Technology executive, Nahid married an American man and has two sons. Her husband, who lived for twenty years in a Christian community, provided much of the context for Christian fundamentalism in this, her debut novel. Together, their life’s experiences provide color and add authenticity to this fictional story of an Iranian woman’s struggle for freedom in the face of fundamentalism. Their shared vision of a world where men and women of all colors and cultures, all races and religions, recognize their interconnected oneness gave life to this book.

Nahid is fluent in English, Farsi and French and has traveled to Iran with her family on many occasions, where she experienced and observed first-hand the turmoil and transition she writes about. She enjoys traveling, gourmet cooking, and exercise in her spare time. (courtesy of http://therubytearcatcher.com)


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