Archive for February, 2013

Buy Fighter Pilot: The Memoirs of Legendary Ace Robin Olds At Amazon!

Tuesday, February 5th, 2013

Fighter Pilot: The Memoirs of Legendary Ace Robin Olds

Buy Fighter Pilot: The Memoirs of Legendary Ace Robin Olds At Amazon!

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Fighter Pilot: The Memoirs of Legendary Ace Robin Olds Description:

The widely anticipated memoir of legendary ace American fighter pilot, Robin Olds

  • Amazon Sales Rank: #175 in Books
  • Published on: 2010-04-13
  • Released on: 2010-04-13
  • Original language: English
  • Number of items: 1
  • Binding: Hardcover
  • 416 pages

Features

  • ISBN13: 9780312560232
  • Condition: NEW
  • Notes: Brand New from Publisher. No Remainder Mark.

Customer Reviews:

Rockin’ Robin5
This is a substantial book (about 400 pages) about the life of one of the most famous fighter pilots of all time, Robin Olds. It is largely a compilation of Olds’ diaries, documents, letters, articles, etc, put together by his daughter, Christina Olds, after Robin’s death in 2007. Indeed, before he died, Robin and Christina were able to share a fair amount of time together in preparation for the completion of his unfinished memoirs. Appropriately, the book is written in the first person. It’s a well written book, not because it contains highly polished writing (it doesn’t), but rather because it reads as you’d expect it to read coming from a maverick fighter-pilot. (I was fortunate to hear Robin Olds speak a number of times, and this book is true to his rather abrupt style of speaking.)

The book begins right where you’d expect a fighter pilot to begin–in the air, in combat (”We had been taking the war to Hitler…”)–but then settles back to develop Olds’ life story, starting from the beginning. His mother died when he was four, and he grew up the son of an Army officer. (There was no Air Force at that time.) The reader learns about his interest in football (6′ 2″, captain of his high school team, later played for West Point–including once in front of 100,000 fans at an Army - Navy game, back when that game was a big event to all sports fans).

The heart of this book, like the main theme in his life, is flying, especially in conflict. Olds flew P-38s and later transitioned to the marvelous P-51 (with the Merlin engine) during World War II. On his second P-51 training flight he almost crashed the aircraft trying to land (they didn’t call it the Mustang for nothing). His experiences in Europe during World War II and his Air Force career thereafter read almost like a stream-of-consciousness. D-Day. His kills. His eye for women. Taking command of a fighter squadron. V-E Day. His temper. Life in the fast lane. The P-80. His marriage to Hollywood star Ella Raines. Exchange duty with the Royal Air Force, reportedly becoming the only U.S. Air Force officer to command a RAF squadron. The F-86. And so on.

Olds tried hard to get assigned to combat duty during the Korean War, but apparently his wife (and her TV directors) managed to persuade Laurence Rockefeller to use his considerable political influence to get Olds’ name off the Korea assignment list every time it came up. Olds almost resigned his commission in 1952 to become a civilian test pilot, but remained on active duty. Then, more stream-of-consciousness. Libya. An assignment to the Pentagon. And more.

But then there was the Vietnam War. Olds was assigned to the 8th Tactical Fighter Wing at Ubon Royal Thai Air Force Base, where he (and close friend Chappie James) became a legend. In preparation for this combat assignment in the F-4C, Olds describes wanting to experience the F-4’s noted “adverse yaw” on only his second training flight. In doing so, he lost both engines and almost his life. He wrote, “If I had been a North Vietnamese pilot, I would have been an ace ten times over.” (He was only an ace once in the Vietnam War.) The reason he said that was that while the F-4 could fly at Mach 2, dogfights typically don’t take place at supersonic speeds, and there was no way an F-4 could turn with a MiG-17. On the cover of the book is a famous photo of Olds being carried on the shoulders of his men–tears in his eyes. Robin Olds was seemingly made for commanding men in combat, and he did that very well. His men loved him, and that probably says it all. Speaking of photos, there are about 16 pages of black-and-white photos in the book that bring back lots of memories.

After returning from the Vietnam War, Olds was promoted to Brigadier General and made Commandant of Cadets at the Air Force Academy, after he shaved off his trademark handlebar mustache. (One of his cadets was Sully Sullenberger.) He tells of an experience when an F-105 was brought to the Academy to be dedicated as a reminder of all those who fought in the air above Vietnam. A flight of F-105s flew over the 4,000 cadets assembled before lunch, and these aircraft accidentally broke the sound barrier, resulting in the equivalent of millions of dollars of broken glass (in today’s dollars). I was there at the time, and it was an unforgettable experience.

In closing this review, I’d like to relate one personal experience about Robin Olds. It was during the time he was Commandant of Cadets at the Academy, and he was talking to an auditorium of cadets. While he was speaking, he spotted one cadet with his foot resting on top of a chair. From the stage, Olds proceeded to chew out this cadet for not sitting up straight. When he asked the terrified cadet whether he had anything to say for himself, the cadet responded that his leg was in a cast, and he could not sit up straight. Olds replied, “Well, I’m sure I’ve been embarrassed this much before–but I really can’t remember when.” Everyone laughed, and Olds went back to his lecture as if nothing had happened. That’s the way I’ll remember him: intense, yet human.

Absolutely AWESOME!!!5
In a word-AWESOME!!! This is the incredible story of one of, if not “the” greatest combat flying wing commanders that has ever graced our presence. Robin Olds was a larger-than-life character who flew hard, fought hard and played hard. Imagine a story where a young boy grows up with many of American aviation’s greats (Billy Mitchell, Tooey Spaatz, Hap Arnold, and Jimmy Doolittle) hanging around with his father. With all that influence and exposure, it’s no wonder Robin Olds developed into a great fighter pilot in his own right. Then imagine that young boy being accepted into West Point. He plays football there (offense and defense#, becoming an All-American. Robin then goes to pilot training, goes off to war, becomes an ace in the P-38 Lightning, and becomes an ace in the P-51 Mustang. Let’s not stop there. How about marrying a beautiful movie star, and taking command of a British jet squadron? Robin Olds would go off to Vietnam, but not before fathering two beautiful daughters, and shoot down four MiGs. After fighting his way through 152 missions #plus 107 from WW II), Robin Olds would become Commandant of Cadets at the U.S. Air Force Academy. Sound too good to be true, well not for Robin Olds. Fighter Pilot is action packed from the beginning. Readers will experience the thrill of flying into battle in some of the greatest American fighter planes. And they will learn the finer points of great combat leadership. What a great movie this book would make.

The efforts of Robin’s daughter Christina also cannot be overstated. As Robin Old’s life heared it’s end, Christina spent many long hours discussing the stories in this book with her father. She read through page after page of reports, diaries, letters, articles and stories, in an effort to capture the essence of her father’s story, from her father’s perspective. This was no small undertaking. And the result is simple outstanding. Buy this book. You won’t be able to put it down.

A must read for all members of the US Air Force.5
I arrived at the 8th TAC Fighter Wing at Ubon, Thailand a year after Robin had left the base. People on base would tell me you should have been here when Robin was the Wing Commander. I enjoyed the fact that the writers didn’t try to make the book a PC product, they illustrated the real Robin Olds, crusty words and all. If you love flying and want a good account of what we do in the US Air Force then please buy this book, you will have a hard time putting it down. Chris Cline, MSgt, Ret. USAF, Overland Park, KS

Review

“This volume could not be more appropriately titled, because triple-ace Olds wanted to be a fighter pilot from when he was an air-corps brat just five years old. His daughter and an air-force colleague have assembled a mass of material he left behind at his death in 2007 into a gripping narrative that covers childhood, West Point, WWII, peacetime, and Vietnam as well as his long retirement. Not all the turbulence he encountered was in the air. His marriage to actress Ella Raines had its ups and downs, and he was by his own admission a reluctant staff officer and often a difficult, even wild, subordinate. At the same time, he gives us the portrait of a dedicated air warrior, the men who served with him, and U.S. fighters, both the sworn-by and the sworn-at, throughout a span of 30 years. Compelling reading, likely to become a classic.” Roland Green, Booklist

“Robin Olds is probably the greatest aerial warrior America ever produced.  He is the real deal, a fighter pilot’s fighter pilot, a consummate military professional, a natural, charismatic leader, and a true, heroic servant of our republic.  His autobiography tells it like it was… and provides written proof why the people who served with him made him a legend.  That men like Olds chose to wear our nation’s uniform does high honor to the profession.  I confidently predict that this book will be an instant classic.” –Stephen Coonts, New York Times bestselling author of The Disciple

“Robin Olds was bold, audacious and courageous; truly one of America premier fighter pilots. His captivating story, told in riveting fashion, provides great insights into his life and the attributes that make a great fighter pilot. Warning! If you start to read, you will have trouble putting it down!” –Henry H. Shelton, General, US Army (R), former Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff

“Triple-ace Robin Olds’ legendary leadership and heroic service to the cause of freedom have been an inspiration to our nation and our Air Force. He is one of our ‘great captains’ and a pioneer of air power.” –General T. Michael Moseley (Ret.)

“Massively welcomed by his legion of fans.” –Walter J. Boyne, author and former director of the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C.

“Brigadier General Robin Olds was the Commandant of Cadets at the Air Force Academy when I arrived there in 1968.  As such, he was my commander.  After serving over 34 years in the Air Force, I have encountered no one … repeat no one … who was a better leader, wartime commander, or judge of men.  He was larger than life; a legend.  This book superbly tells a smattering of his accomplishments … and it does so in his own words.  It is a must read for anyone who cares about Airpower or who wants to understand the lessons of the past.” –Michael M. Dunn, Lt General (Ret), USAF, President/CEO Air Force Association

“I just finished reading the draft.   What a remarkable book - I was absolutely riveted! The fascinating details, the way it captured the true maverick spirit of General Olds…his blunt honesty and absolute integrity, his triumphs and tragedies… made for one terrific read! What an amazing man - and one of America’s greatest warriors and leaders.  I was incredibly honored to have known him and to have featured him in my TV series. This is a must read for anyone who wants to get into the mind of a true fighter pilot and a brilliant leader. A truly remarkable book…I highly recommend it!” –Cynthia Harrison, Creator/Executive Producer, Dogfights for The History Channel

“This book is a must-read for all fighter pilots, history buffs, and patriots.  The stories will fascinate the aviation veteran but will be just as interesting to the ‘everyman’. General Olds was a legend, a leader, a hero, a role model, and a genuine Sierra Hotel character.” –T. Allan McArtor, Chairman, Airbus Americas, former FAA Administrator, and fighter pilot

Buy Islands of the Damned: A Marine at War in the Pacific At Amazon!

Monday, February 4th, 2013

Islands of the Damned: A Marine at War in the Pacific

Buy Islands of the Damned: A Marine at War in the Pacific At Amazon!

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Islands of the Damned: A Marine at War in the Pacific Description:

An unvarnished and moving memoir of a Marine veteran who fought his way across the Pacific Theater of World War II-whose story is featured in the upcoming HBO(r) series The Pacific

This is an eyewitness-and eye-opening-account of some of the most savage and brutal fighting in the war against Japan, told from the perspective of a young Texan who volunteered for the Marine Corps to escape a life as a traveling salesman. R.V. Burgin enlisted at the age of twenty, and with his sharp intelligence and earnest work ethic, climbed the ranks from a green private to a seasoned sergeant. Along the way, he shouldered a rifle as a member of a mortar squad. He saw friends die-and enemies killed. He saw scenes he wanted to forget but never did-from enemy snipers who tied themselves to branches in the highest trees, to ambushes along narrow jungle trails, to the abandoned corpses of hara kiri victims, to the final howling banzai attacks as the Japanese embraced their inevitable defeat.

An unforgettable narrative of a young Marine in combat, Islands of the Damned brings to life the hell that was the Pacific War.

  • Amazon Sales Rank: #1166 in Books
  • Published on: 2010-03-02
  • Original language: English
  • Number of items: 1
  • Binding: Hardcover
  • 304 pages

Features

  • ISBN13: 9780451229908
  • Condition: NEW
  • Notes: Brand New from Publisher. No Remainder Mark.

Customer Reviews:

the last of the authentic voices5
R. V. Burgin is in the last wave of World War II memoirists, and just in time. For 35 years, he says, he never talked about the war. It was only recently, in part driven by his involvement with HBO’s dramatic miniseries “The Pacific,” which covers the campaigns he fought in, that he and other veterans felt comfortable opening up. This plainspoken, humble personal account is among the results. It is a valuable first-person narrative and belongs in any history reader’s library.

Burgin doesn’t opine about grand strategy or second-guess commanders. He focuses on what he knew: life as a grunt in a 60mm mortar platoon that saw some of the worst fighting of the war, from Cape Gloucester to Peleliu to Okinawa. The perspective is immediate: “We were fighting uphill now, advancing in a wide arc through the jungle. It was raining, always raining. Every stream was swollen and the ground was gumbo. Moving forward was like trying to walk through oatmeal. I was still carrying around that mortar base plate, but we couldn’t use it much because of the trees, so 90 percent of the time I took my place up front with the riflemen.” Every Marine is a rifleman, including the mortarmen.

Burgin wasn’t spared anything, and doesn’t spare anything in this touching book. Read it during the week, and immerse yourself in HBO’s miniseries on Sunday nights. You’ll learn something important about the humble men who won the War in the Pacific.

BRILLIANTLY DONE5
I was so lucky to to able to pick up aa advanced copy of ISLANDS OF THE DAMNED by R. V. Burin. What a book! It is easy to see why HBO would use it. This is another first hand account of the Pacific Theatre in WWII but don’t just throw it in the pile, it is better than that. Now, I don’t mean to knock the great WWII memoirs out there, check my reviews, I am a big fan. This is just to say Burgin has put together an exceptional book,filled with the human emotions that make war so insane but interesting. We watch him mature and rise in the ranks but more that rank into a tough seasoned Marine. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED whether you are a history buff, a Marine fan like me or just a reader. Go get this book.

Well worth reading4
It was a real pleasure to find another first person account of the Pacific war. As mentioned in other reviews, books like this are far and few between. Especially, since our World War Two veterans are passing away far too quickly.

This book was easy to read, flows very nicely, and isn’t burdened by large amounts of historical data. It’s personal account from the ground by a Marine who was really there. It does however, put into place the importance of the battles the author fought in.

In particular, I enjoyed the descriptions of living and fighting on the South Pacific islands. The book also contains the only example of a man using a bayonet in combat on any book I’ve ever read. Most importantly I think the book puts in perspective ghastly nature of the war in the Pacific, in particular the cave-to-cave fighting common among the campaigns.

Ironically, one of the major themes of the book is a love story. While I don’t normally seek out this type of theme in a history book (or any other book for that matter), the author does a fine job of making his place in history far more personal by doing so. The best part is, it only amplifies this situation, without it distracting from the historical narration.

This book makes for an excellent companion to the classic With the Old Breed by EB Sledge. If you enjoyed this book you would this book and Helmet for My Pillow by Robert Leckie…books I understand the mini-series The Pacific are heavily based on.

From Booklist
This well-narrated tale of a marine’s Pacific campaigns on New Britain, Peleliu, and Okinawa inevitably invites comparison with E. B. Sledge’s famed With the Old Breed (1981). Indeed, Sledge was part of Burgin’s mortar platoon in the latter two campaigns. But Burgin’s tale is more plainly told, as he was a Texas farm boy instead of a college student who dropped out of OCS to get into combat. But they were both good marines, who carried their weight through some of the ugliest fighting Americans have ever faced. One reads Burgin’s narrative knowing that he survived and smiles when he comes home to marry his Australian fiancée and settle down to a career in the Postal Service and a retirement of attending First Marine Division reunions. –Roland Green

Review
“An honest, straightforward memoir by an honest, straightforward man. Burgin has written an unforgettable, moving description of his experiences as an infantry Marine, from New Britain to Okinawa. The result is a classic combat account. I highly recommend this book.”
-John C. McManus, author of Alamo in the Ardennes and The Deadly Brotherhood

About the Author
As a Marine in World War II, R.V. Burgin was awarded a Bronze Star for his actions in the Battle of Okinawa in 1945.
William Marvel is a retired features writer for the Dallas Morning News.

The Lords of Strategy: The Secret Intellectual History of the New Corporate World-Retail $26.95! Sale Only $17.79!

Monday, February 4th, 2013

The Lords of Strategy: The Secret Intellectual History of the New Corporate World

The Lords of Strategy: The Secret Intellectual History of the New Corporate World-Retail $26.95! Sale Only $17.79!

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The Lords of Strategy: The Secret Intellectual History of the New Corporate World Description:

Imagine, if you can, the world of business - without corporate strategy.

Remarkably, fifty years ago that’s the way it was. Businesses made plans, certainly, but without understanding the underlying dynamics of competition, costs, and customers. It was like trying to design a large-scale engineering project without knowing the laws of physics.

But in the 1960s, four mavericks and their posses instigated a profound shift in thinking that turbocharged business as never before, with implications far beyond what even they imagined. In The Lords of Strategy, renowned business journalist and editor Walter Kiechel tells, for the first time, the story of the four men who invented corporate strategy as we know it and set in motion the modern, multibillion-dollar consulting industry:

- Bruce Henderson, founder of Boston Consulting Group
- Bill Bain, creator of Bain & Company
- Fred Gluck, longtime Managing Director of McKinsey & Company
-Michael Porter, Harvard Business School professor

Providing a window into how to think about strategy today, Kiechel tells their story with novelistic flair. At times inspiring, at times nearly terrifying, this book is a revealing account of how these iconoclasts and the organizations they led revolutionized the way we think about business, changed the very soul of the corporation, and transformed the way we work.

  • Amazon Sales Rank: #1978 in Books
  • Published on: 2010-04-01
  • Original language: English
  • Number of items: 1
  • Binding: Hardcover
  • 320 pages

Customer Reviews:

A fascinating history of the development of strategic ideas5
Those who have studied business have probably heard of the Boston Consulting Group Matrix, the McKinsey 7-S Framework, Michael Porter’s Value Chain, and various other strategy tools. But where did they all come from, and how did the theory behind them develop? The former managing editor at Fortune Magazine, Walter Kiechel III, explains the history of ideas in the field of strategy over the past 40 years in this book.

This is the most interesting book on strategy that I have read, because it tells the story of the individuals and consulting firms who created the strategy concepts and tools which revolutionised corporations around the world towards the end of the 20th century. The idiosyncrasies of brilliant strategists are described, as are their struggles to have their ideas accepted. The author’s personal knowledge of the major players makes the narrative more compelling.

The author even-handedly discusses both the good points and the bad points of the various strategic ideas, but on the whole he is an admirer of the lords of strategy and tends to exonerate them from blame for the mess the world now finds itself in, whereas others might be inclined to accuse them of encouraging companies to undertake unwise levels of risk in order to maximise short-term shareholder returns. I found some parts of the book a bit dry, but for the most part it was highly engaging.

The True Influencers4
The debate over the value of high-level strategic consultants and academics has waged for decades. I was one such consultant for the better part of ten years who often spent the first part of any conversation defending my profession (I have since moved to advertising and now defend that profession). Kiechel covers the rise of strategy consulting firms–BCG, McKinsey, and Bain–and notable business school professors who contributed to the strategy revolution. His background provides the credibility to do so, he was a former Managing Editor at Fortune magazine and was the Editorial Director of Harvard Business Publishing from 1998 to 2002.

He sees the best strategists as objective intellectuals who see patterns of evidence and put them through conceptual frameworks to produce pragmatic insights. This largely began in the sixties and seventies when strategy began to be systematized and integrated. Cost, customer and competitors were the three primary areas strategists looked for patterns to exploit. In the nineties, the practices were more fad-like including reengineering and total quality management. This was the era I practiced in and I felt like the lone voice extolling the virtue of a simple but robust strategic planning process. I jumped for joy when in June, 1997, BusinessWeek had on their cover, The Return of Strategic Planning: Once More With Feeling. Which was the pivot point for Taylorism-like monitoring and measurement processes becoming more humanistic and holistic in their design.

The author tells some great industry stories but what struck me is just how important the role of strategy and management consultants is to business. The influence that such a small number of people and firms have had on modern business is truly staggering. This is where the subtitle of the book comes from: The Secret Intellectual History of the New Corporate World. Just a handful of models and frameworks devised by a small number of minds have been used by countless businesses to generate their strategies - this is what is so amazing.

From my experience, the best strategists retain a child-like wonder and a natural intellectual curiosity that is backed by analytic rigor - an incredibly hard combination of skills to possess in one person. I suggest this book only if you are interested in the history it covers and/or are a follower of the strategist value debate. In other words, this is not a strategy how-to book. Other books in this area I have read are The Management Myth, The McKinsey Mind, Rip-Off!, House of Lies, and Consulting Demons - so you may want to check them out too.

The Must Read Biz Book of 2010 (really)5
In the Lords of Strategy, Walter Kiechel deftly unpacks many of the ideas that many of us take for granted — from competitive advantage to value chain to core competencies — and explains their history, impact, and relevance with insight and wit. He takes material that could have been as dry as day-old toast and instead creates an engaging and compelling read.

Kiechel approaches his subject neither with reverence nor venom: he helps us understand the pioneering thinkers who created the world of “business strategy” by exploring the ways in which they reshaped the corporate landscape, how their personalities influenced their work, and the lasting impact (for better and worse) that they have had. He’s equally prescient about how the Lords bolstered the careers of their client CEOs and enriched shareholders (eventually) — and why, especially for middle managers, a deep consulting engagement can feel more like a rectal exam than an exercise in improving the company. He traces the rising dominance of left-brained analytical thinking in the consulting firm and the executive suite as well as the increasing “fierceness” of capitalism.

I’ve learned more reading this book than in any 10 average business books (and I’ve read a lot of them). It really is a must-read for anyone in business or entering the corporate world. It will explain much, prepare you well, and expand your understanding of contemporary business thinking.

Full disclosure: the author is a former colleague. The principal impact that has had on this review is that I can say unabashedly that in this book he demonstrates the same erudition, wit, and ability to bring together seemingly disparate ideas, people, and events into a thoroughly compelling narrative just as he did when we worked together. I’ve already purchased multiple copies of this book for associates so my money is co-located with my mouth.

About the Author
Walter Kiechel III has been the editorial director of Harvard Business Publishing and the managing editor at Fortune magazine. He has written articles and columns on all aspects of business, and is the author of a previous book, Office Hours: A Guide to the Managerial Life (Little, Brown, 1989). He received AB, MBA, and JD degrees from Harvard, and served five years in the U.S. Navy.

The Vampire Diaries: The Awakening and The Struggle Review.

Sunday, February 3rd, 2013

The Vampire Diaries: The Awakening and The Struggle. The Vampire Diaries: The Awakening and The Struggle

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Elena: the golden girl, the leader, the one who can have any boy she wants.

Stefan: brooding and mysterious, he seems to be the only one who can resist Elena, even as he struggles to protect her from the horrors that haunt his past.

Damon: sexy, dangerous, and driven by an urge for revenge against Stefan, the brother who betrayed him. Determined to have Elena, he’d kill to possess her.

Collected here in one volume for the first time, volumes one and two of The Vampire Diaries, the tale of two vampire brothers and the beautiful girl torn between them.

  • Amazon Sales Rank: #778 in Books
  • Published on: 2007-07-01
  • Released on: 2007-06-26
  • Original language: English
  • Number of items: 1
  • Binding: Paperback
  • 512 pages

Features

  • ISBN13: 9780061140976
  • Condition: NEW
  • Notes: Brand New from Publisher. No Remainder Mark.

What Twilight Wishes it Could Be5
The Vampire Diaries is darker than Smith’s other books, but every bit as enjoyable and entertaining. The dark edge actually allows for a wider audience… I vividly recall when, over ten years ago, I noticed my copy of The Awakening was missing from my bookshelf, only to find it in my 27 year old brother’s room!

To be quite blunt, IMO, Vampire Diaries is what Twilight wishes it could be (sorry, Twilighters, don’t kill me!).

As always, Smith is very skilled at showing the depth of her characters. The lead heroine, Elena, is beautiful and the most popular girl in school, but she silently doubts herself and the life she’s made for herself so far. She doesn’t know where she belongs. As the story continues, she grows as a character as she realizes how much the people in her life mean to her, and how much she is willing to give up in order to protect them.

Stefan, the vampire and romantic interest of Elena, is self-loathing and blind to his own good heart. He lives off of animals, and even then feels guilty when he accidently kills his prey. This conflict with himself only deepens when Elena enters his life, and he is convinced he doesn’t deserve her love. Yet, despite this, Stefan fights for what he believes is right, even if it’s against his own brother, Damon.

To complete the little triangle, we have Damon, who is also a vampire (and my favorite character… Damon = *swoon*). Damon is snarky, cold, handsome, and darkly hilarious. He knows what he is and he doesn’t apologize for it. He also knows what he wants, and that happens to be Elena. But don’t write Damon off as a one-dimensional character… Smith manages to write him as all of the above, while still capturing the reader’s sympathy as we begin to see aspects of Damon that he himself refuses to acknowledge.

Just as a warning, these books can get a little scary, though never so much that I had trouble sleeping or anything. However, my older sister (who was around 16 at the time) had to crash in my room one night after reading a scene where Elena and her friends encounter a menacing presence in the local graveyard. So parents of younger readers might want to preview the chapters to make sure their daughter or son can handle it.

As both a teen and now as an adult, I love these books. They are well written and intruiging, especially compared to most of the other young adult books available today. L.J. Smith has yet to disappoint me! I very highly recommend Vampire Diaries.

More like 3.5 stars; entertaining but not spectacular3
This book caught my eye at the bookstore and I finally decided to get it and give it a try. It was a pretty good book. Nothing really outstanding but an enjoyable read. I think these books may have been spectacular back 15 years ago, but with the market so saturated with this subject, they didn’t really stand out for me. These books were originally written something like 15 years ago and were re-released as this omnibus which contains the first two of the four original books in the series.

Elena, the most popular girl in school, is intrigued by the new boy in town named Stefan. He is mysterious and will never answer any questions about his past. Elena is determined to make him notice her. Stefan finds Elena disturbing in that she reminds him of someone in his past. Things get tense when killings and attacks start happening in the area and people begin to suspect that Stefan is more than he appears to be.

A lot of people are comparing this to Twilight, and while the theme is kind of similar, the writing style is much different and the topic of vampirism is handled in a more traditional way than it is in Twilight. Personally, I shy away from comparing this series to Twilight because it is just a very different type of story.

This was a well-written and engaging story. It is again a story of star-crossed lovers in a way, as Stefan and Elena struggle to make a relationship work between a human and a vampire. It is also a story of revenge as Stefan’s brother, Damon, tries to tear Stefan and Elena apart. This is a book for teens or young adults; it takes place during high school and there is a lot of angsting over who loves who, and who should go to what parties, etc. There is some mystery as they try to solve who is causing the attacks. There are a couple good action scenes but I wouldn’t call this an action novel at all. The story itself is more of your classic Romeo and Juliet beginning with a paranormal bent to it.

The ideas behind vampirism are pretty typical and traditional in this book; there wasn’t a ton of creativity from that aspect. That book also didn’t take place is a very creative world; so not much world-building just the world you and I live in.

If you liked Twilight, the House of Night series, or the Vampire Academy series than you will probably like this book. As far as writing quality I think the Vampire Academy series is more well written than this series and the House of Night series is less well written than this series. It was good enough that I will read the next omnibus that contains the final two books of this series. I am not sure if I will read any additional series by L. J. Smith or not.

Dark and Beautiful (Titles Are Hard to Think Of)5
This is one of those books that stick with you long after you’ve read it. I first picked up the Vampire Diaries 15 years ago when it was first published. Needless to say, because I’m writing a review here, I still adore the books. The novel is beautifully written, with characters I genuinely care about. Sure, my opinion of the characters have changed over time, mainly my impressions of Stefan and Elena… but they’re still friends I enjoy visiting . I’ve reread this series a number of times. In a nutshell, its about finding love and acceptance despite outward appearance. A lot of this book is based on friendship and societal roles. It’s a lot like Romeo and Juliet, had Romeo not died, but lived on, waiting to be whole again, never forgiving himself for the mistakes of the past. I like this story because the characters are so multi-dimensional, the world lush and exotic. EXCELLENT book. Don’t skip it!

My main concern will be people who see parallels to the Buffy the Vampire Slayer universe. This one came first, and in my opinion, is better.

Buy Hold Me Tight: Seven Conversations for a Lifetime of Love At Amazon!

Saturday, February 2nd, 2013

Hold Me Tight: Seven Conversations for a Lifetime of Love. Hold Me Tight: Seven Conversations for a Lifetime of Love

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Heralded by the New York Times and Time magazine as the couple therapy with the highest rate of success, Emotionally Focused Therapy works because it views the love relationship as an attachment bond. This idea, once controversial, is now supported by science, and has become widely popular among therapists around the world. In HOLD ME TIGHT, Dr. Sue Johnson presents Emotionally Focused Therapy to the general public for the first time. Johnson teaches that the way to save and enrich a relationship is to reestablish safe emotional connection and preserve the attachment bond. With this in mind, she focuses on key moments in a relationship-from Recognizing the Demon Dialogue to Revisiting a Rocky Moment-and uses them as touchpoints for seven healing conversations. Through case studies from her practice, illuminating advice, and practical exercises, couples will learn how to nurture their relationships and ensure a lifetime of love. (2008)

  • Amazon Sales Rank: #986 in Books
  • Published on: 2008-04-08
  • Original language: English
  • Number of items: 1
  • Binding: Hardcover
  • 320 pages

Features

  • ISBN13: 9780316113007
  • Condition: NEW
  • Notes: Brand New from Publisher. No Remainder Mark.

Take it from a couple’s counselor - this book is a gem!5
Hold Me Tight teaches couples how to hear their partner’s deepest concerns, “are you there for me”, “am I really important to you”, “is our relationship secure and solid” when those concerns are expressed through criticism or content. It reminds partner’s that all communications are attempts to connect, no matter how badly delivered. In this way, Susan Johnson teaches couples to read below the surface of a complaint down to the attachment need being expressed underneath. When attachment needs can be faced and processed directly, couples feel closer. Johnson offers couples in couples counseling an adjunctive support system in addition to the therapy hour. Hold Me Tight is also an excellent resource for couples working things out on their own. It provides a clear and solid guideline for repairing hurt and restoring connection. I am recommending it to the couples in my practice, and the reports coming back about how helpful and transformative Johnson’s approach is have been glowing!

THE BEST RELATIONSHIP BOOK I’VE EVER READ!5
I’ve read all the relationship books, even the ones by the authors whose quotes appear on this cover, and I can say with complete conviction that this is by far the best of the lot. Dr. Sue Johnson’s warm, authoritative, and reassuring tone sets the stage for a whole lot of incredibly useful advice. The book gives you a new way to view your relationship and the tools to improve it, whether it needs improving or not! Her form of couples therapy is apparently one of the very few to be proven to work, and that’s really the bottom line. Do yourself and your partner a big favor and buy this book! I highly recommend it.

Practical, useful and proven approach for couples5
Touching, helpful, heart-warming and practical, Dr. Johnson has at last put words to the latest research into happy marriages for the average person. Reading it is not intellectual: each time I pick up this book I feel like I could not only understand my spouse’s behavior in a deeper way, but also my own.

I can’t recommend this book enough. I read the first few chapters, bought three more copies (one for my spouse), and gave the other two to friends who were in stressful moments with their own spouses. One couple now reads from the book to one another each night, and (like I did) recommended it to two other couples before they got through the first 3 chapters. The other couple bought a 2nd copy so that they could each have it available to them every day, and are now each avidly reading on their morning commutes.

In short, readers seem to find Dr. Johnson’s book incredibly helpful, almost immediately. Dr. Johnson’s clear, from-the-heart style seems immediately comprehensible to anyone who has ever been in love, or wanted to be. And rest of the book was even better than the beginning.

You know you’ve got a winner when you give a book to two friends, who each immediately give it to their two friends, and so on. Don’t suffer needlessly: give this one a try for under $20!

Happy Birthday to You!-Retail $14.95! Sale Only $10.17!

Saturday, February 2nd, 2013

Happy Birthday to You!. Happy Birthday to You!

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Illus. in color. “The Great Birthday Bird guides us on a birthday trip. The multicolored excursion is a festive one.”–School Library Journal.

  • Amazon Sales Rank: #1337 in Books
  • Published on: 1959-08-12
  • Released on: 1959-08-12
  • Original language: English
  • Number of items: 1
  • Binding: Hardcover
  • 64 pages

Features

  • ISBN13: 9780394800769
  • Condition: NEW
  • Notes: Brand New from Publisher. No Remainder Mark.

Feeling Special!5
“I wish we could do what they do in Katroo . . . .” Thus begins Dr. Seuss’s amazing conception of the birthday party EACH person should have.

Guided by the special brainy bird, the Birthday Honk Honker, you will find yourself in the middle of a marvelous day. You are awakened by the bird, “Wake Up! For today is your Day of all Days!” He then heads for your bed. “He knows your address . . .” and quickly comes to give you the special birthday handshake. This involves touching your right index finger with his equivalent digit while you touch your left big toe with your left index finger (while he mimics the same motion).

Throughout, Dr. Seuss makes it clear that just being born and being you is all that is required to deserve such classy treatment. “If you’d never been born, well what would you do? . . . be? Why, you might be a WASN’T.”

Your day includes a trip through the Birthday Flower Jungle while being carried in a boat through the air by Funicular Goats. The flowers smell like licorice and cheese.

For lunch, you eat hot dogs, rolled out on a spool, for an endless meal. With so much mustard on you, cleaning off in a Mustard-Off pool is required.

You sing loudly, “I am lucky!”

And that’s before you go to the Birthday Pal-alace with its 9,403 rooms to play games in. You get to make such a mess that it will take 20 days just to “sweep up the mess.”

Then, you meet drummers, strummers, zummers, and of course, plumbers.

Dr. Derring’s Singing Herrings spell out, “Happy Birthday to You.”

Then, you get the most amazing cake.

And all of this because, “There is no one alive who is you-er than you.”

Now, you might wonder about the wisdom of reading this book to a child. Whatever you do cannot match up. Well, Dr. Seuss thought of that point also.

As he reminds us in the end,

“So that’s

What the Birthday Bird

Does in Katroo.”

“And I wish

I could do

All these great things for you!”

As you can see, the book is set up to convey your deepest conviction that the honoree (usually your child) is well worth whatever the positive limits of imagination can bring. But, of course, being a mere parent, you cannot do that much. Whatever you do will naturally be received with greater enthusiasm, realizing its symbolic intent.

A fun way to use this book would be to create birthday elements that build on it. For example, you could draw a birthday palace, and buy one of those games as a gift that contains hundreds of variations in it. Then, you could attach your drawing to the gift. With good imagination, your child can feel like she or he has had such a day.

Carrying on with that theme, you could reenact other parts of the book. You could dress up like the Birthday Bird and give the handshake in the morning, for example. If it’s a weekend, you could have hot dogs for lunch (if your honoree likes them). If it’s a week day, you could have them for dinner. You get the idea.

There’s another message here, too. Each other person deserves this princely treatment as well. That must mean that being a person is pretty special. I know of no book that stakes out such a strong statement in favor of each person. Be sure to build on this lesson to help you child learn to respect, appreciate, and eventually care about everyone!

“And I wish I could do all these great things for you!” And I do so wish.

Happy Unbirthday!

For kids of ALL ages5
This book isn’t just for children. Its for anyone who wants to feel like a child. For my mother’s 50th birthday, I got her a fairy princess crown and a fairy princess wand, then read this book aloud to all the guests as she sat holding her wand and wearing her crown. It was a lot of fun. Then I passed the book around for everyone to sign.

You don’t have to be a kid to enjoy Dr. Seuss.

Best Children’s book ever5
I have loved this book ever since I can remember. It has positively ruined me for my birthday every year, I do absolutely nothing I don’t want to do. I eat cake for breakfast if I want, and I never go to work that day. What a positive and creative book this is, it totally convinced me that everyone is worth spoiling rotten at least one day a year. And the pictures are so emotive and beautiful - that last image of the child bundled up safely on the flying platter is so comforting. Both my sons love the book and request it read often. The copy from my childhood is missing both covers now and some of the pages are separated, but we still love it!

“GET REAL” and STOP Dieting!: Forget the Fads, Get the Facts and Feel Fabulous Sale-$13.57!

Friday, February 1st, 2013

“GET REAL” and STOP Dieting!: Forget the Fads, Get the Facts and Feel Fabulous Sale-$13.57!

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“GET REAL” and STOP Dieting!: Forget the Fads, Get the Facts and Feel Fabulous Description:

Does it feel like you’ve tried every diet in the world? Are you overwhelmed by what IS and ISN’T healthy? In bestseller “GET REAL”and STOP Dieting!, Brett Blumenthal demystifies healthy eating with the five “Get Real” principles…founded in facts, not fads. Her simple framework is supplemented with The Get Real Toolkit, which makes implementing the principles easy and effective. The result? You will automatically shed excess pounds and, with surprising ease, maintain a healthy weight for a lifetime…without another day of dieting! You’ll also receive: - A “How-To” guide on reading nutrition labels - “No-Fail” grocery lists - Easy-to-reference portion sizes - Healthy substitutions for unhealthy ingredients - A list of preferred and reliable healthy brands - 40 Scrumptious recipes that make healthy eating delicious - Tips to live a healthy lifestyle beyond the plate Whether you are trying to lose weight or tweak your diet to be healthier, this book is your solution. It offers a no-nonsense approach to eating healthy that will be easy to maintain for the long-term.

  • Amazon Sales Rank: #4462 in Books
  • Published on: 2009-10-09
  • Original language: English
  • Number of items: 1
  • Binding: Paperback
  • 156 pages

Customer Reviews:

Great Book for Real People Trying to Live Healthy5
I will admit that I was a bit skeptical about this book when it first came out. I follow Brett Blumenthal’s (the author) blog now and again as she has some really interesting articles about health and wellness. When I got her Newsletter announcing the book I was interested, but didn’t know if I a book like this would help me. I am a pretty simple guy, and don’t want to pay too much attention to my diet. I like to live healthy (exercise, no fast food, etc.) but I don’t want to count calories, or live on someone else food (or food suggestions). Having faith and interest in Brett’s work I decided to purchase a copy.

About 1/4 of the way through this book I found myself pleasantly surprised. This book is exactly as advertised. It is not some fly by night or prescriptive diet, but rather a set of simple rules to follow when making food and meal choices. Brett’s rules are easy to understand and implement in my life, and most importantly she did not tell me what to do. Rather she gave me straightforward rules to live by, which have significantly altered my choices. Whether I am looking at those Potato Chips at the gas station, or deciding on what bread to buy at the supermarket Brett’s advice continues to pop into my head and help me make better choices. Also, I have tried a number of the recipes (at the back of the book) now and they are great. I especially like the whole wheat calzones, and the whole wheat pancakes (if you get the chance to try either of them).

Since I have read this book a few weeks ago (and followed the rules in my own way) I have found that I have more energy, less extreme food cravings, and most importantly, I have lost 4 pounds. I look forward to following the “Get Real” rules, and continuing my weight loss.

I would highly recommend this book to anyone who is tired of the fad diets, or calorie counting plans. If you are a regular person who just wants to continue to live their normal life, but make better decisions, and feel healthier then this book is for you.

Great Straightforward Read!5
Brett Blumenthal’s “GET REAL” and Stop Dieting eliminates much of the confusion and contradiction people hear about nutritional advice. By focusing on whole foods, fiber, lean proteins, and healthy fats, one can construct a gameplan to stay healthy. I learned some neat things — such as quinoa being a complete protein, and which fibers are soluble. She taught me that spices can often replace salt and sugar with relatively few calories. I like the preferred brands chapter an awful lot, because it allows the reader to find the best items easily in the grocery store. And for those of you who love to cook, Brett includes recipe for every meal as well as snacks and dessert. Now that I’ve read GET REAL and enjoyed it, I plan on keeping this book closeby to make sure I keep on track with my nutrition and weight-loss goals. I highly recommend this book!

Wonderful Book!!!5
Brett Blumenthal her best cookbook “Get real and STOP DIETING”.. wow I know I needed to hear that! This book is unique in that it has many resources, tips and information for us women. For example, she tells us about good vs bad fats and omega 3’s. She also teaches us how to read labels. I need a front row seat for that class!! One of the chapters that grabbed my attention the most was the “NO FAIL grocery list, or should I say the PERFECT grocery list. I know it is out there, just never knew it actually existed. Each Section gives us examples of the perfect food for that section. Not just veggies, but Fibrous veggies, perfect veggies. The list of course speaks on fruits, grains and starchy carbohydrates, protein and diary, fats, and even spices. Brett speaks also on her favorite items and the prefect recipes for cooking, baking and condiments. This cookbook is not your typical cookbook by any standards, it instead is a guide to how we should see our food, learn from our foods, and make better choices with our foods. This book is one of my favorites and I can not wait to try some of the recipes. Get this wonderful cookbook for the person in your life that needs this wonderful knowledge that will lead them down the correct path with foods.

Review
“Brett Blumenthal’s approach to a healthier and leaner body is presented in a straightforward, no nonsense way. “GET REAL” and STOP Dieting! shows you how to “keep it natural” while keeping it simple!” –Pete Cerqua - Author of The 90-Second Fitness Solution

“GET REAL” is a refreshingly pragmatic and easy guide to leading a healthier lifestyle. It’s the “diet book” for people who hate diet books!” –Andrew Brooks - Founder, Gnu Foods

“Insightful, clear and concise! Brett Blumenthal’s “GET REAL” and Stop Dieting! is a wonderful guide to better health.” –Alex Ong - Author of Mind Your Own Wellness

“Where other books offer quick-fix dieting fads, Brett Blumenthal offers a refreshing approach to healthy eating as a lifestyle. Whether you’ve been dieting for years or are already on a path to healthy living, “GET REAL” is a fantastic resource that’s relevant for a lifetime.” –Lauren Mackler - Bestselling Author of Solemate: Master the Art of Aloneness & Transform Your Life

“While many people want to lose weight and try a wide variety of “fad diets,” most dieters fail at dieting or regain the lost weight once they achieve their goal. “GET REAL” and STOP Dieting! offers a no nonsense approach to a healthy lifestyle that will make a huge difference to anyone who follows its precepts. Ms. Blumenthal has done a superb job of demystifying the subject and presenting, in lay terminology, facts and strategies that make healthy eating understandable, possible and. . .yes. . . even enjoyable.” –William H. Koch, M.D.

If you are looking for practical tips and a no-nonsense approach to eating well and effective weight management, “GET REAL” is the book for you. It reads like a well thought out game strategy for winning the weight battle once and for all. Learn what to look for and what to avoid when grocery shopping and how to clean out your cupboards of less healthy trigger foods. And best of all, get delicious recipes to make use of the new whole foods you’ve introduced into your diet. This book is geared both toward those without a background knowledge of nutrition as well as those who have the knowledge but want to take it one step further and tweak their eating style to make it cleaner by incorporating more whole foods and healthy fats. Whether you are an adult with a corporate job, a weekend warrior, a full-time mom or an active senior, this book can help you achieve your healthy eating goals. –Brooke Joanna Benlifer, RD, Private Practice Dietitian & Media Consultant, San Diego, CA

About the Author
Brett Blumenthal is founder of Sheer Balance, a company that helps individuals live healthy, balanced lives. With over 15 years of experience in wellness, Brett has become a trusted adviser to thousands of individuals. Brett is often featured on Shine from Yahoo!, DivineCaroline.com, Gather.com and Intent.com; and frequently teaches and speaks on health and wellness topics.