Grey Walker Series

Between The Worlds: The Greywalker Series
An Overview

Authored by Kat Richardson, The Greywalker Series is based around the life of the protagonist Harper Blaine. Harper gets killed while pursuing a case, though her ‘death’ lasts only for two minutes as she is brought back to life by the miracles of modern medicine. However, once she is revived, she discovers that she now has a new ability, namely being able to move through the realm that separates our world from the afterworld. This realm is known as the Grey. Furthermore, she can also identify various constituents of the supernatural, including being able to identify ghosts, witches and vampires. There are currently eight books that have been released in the series, with the first one being released in October 2006 and the last one being released in August 2013.

The Beginning: Greywalker

The story of the series begins when the main character Harper Blaine is nearly killed while she is on a case. Once she recovers from the traumatic experience, she discovers she has otherworldly powers which not only allow her to spot the supernatural, but communicate with them as well. However, understandably, all she wants is to regain her normal life and lose the powers she has gained from the incident.

However, once she realizes that she can help the otherworldly with her powers, she reconsiders her stance, which results in a large part of her clientele consisting of ghosts, witches and vampires amongst others. Most of her work soon consists of solving the problems and affairs of such clientele. Later, when the cases start to converge, she realizes a plot that could result in the demise of the Grey world of Seattle, which results in her having to decide either on survival or her honor and integrity.

The novel attempts to show how the main protagonist Harper Blaine comes to terms with her new powers and how she can use them in a positive manner to help the Grey world’s population.

The Saga Continues: Poltergeist

Taking place in the spookiness of Halloween, Blaine Harper’s powers are once again required, this time by a team of university researchers who are attempting to create an artificial poltergeist. The crew is unable to determine whether they are succeeding or not, which is where Harper comes in. The research team believes they are failing, but Harper finds the truth to be different. She finds out that they have managed to succeed in their task. Misfortune befalls the team when one of the members is killed in a horrific manner, which they believe is the work of the poltergeist. Now it is up to Blaine Harper to find out whether the murder was the poltergeist’s handiwork or was it made to look that way by one of the crew members trying to cover his tracks.

About the protagonist: A sketch of Blaine Harper

Blaine Harper is a tall, beautiful woman with brunette hair and a slim figure. She has a pet ferret at home. Strong and independent, she is an ideal role model for females everywhere. She does not panic easily, though she is sometimes portrayed as a bit stubborn. Furthermore, she is unpretentious, grounded and focuses on reality instead of getting carried away with her powers. Not only that, she is wary, careful and always assesses her risks and options before letting herself get acquainted with danger. She is not portrayed as one of the over eager, gun-slinging heroes who barge into dangerous situations and always miraculously survived unscathed. Instead, she is shown to be more realistic. She is also described as being witty and smart, who is more than able to hold her own.

Growth of the Series

The series mostly focus on Harper’s powers, and her making use of these abilities to help the supernatural as well as the human beings around her. As the series progress, not only does Harper begin to understand more about her supernatural abilities, but she tries to find about her past as well as the reason why she was the only person with a near death experience who inherited such powers in the wake of the incident. She ends up finding out that her past is more responsible for her present than she suspected.

Blaine Harper is intrinsic to the well being of her city, Seattle. Helping to resolve the issues of the otherworldly helps keep the city peaceful while she is also required to help investigate events for which normal logic and rationale have no answer.

Importance of the Series

The Greywalker Series are a best-selling series and it is no wonder why. Author Kat Richardson has moved away from the cliché of selecting a superhuman protagonist who can inexplicably avoid certain harm. Furthermore, she has taken a bold step in using a female as the main character, which shows the new era of promoting the empowerment of women.

Hence, it is no wonder that her series have done as well as they have and earned her a loyal legion of fans as well as appreciation by most critics, who consider her work to be generally above the similar vein of urban fantasies that other writers seek to portray.

Some of the reviews on the series praise the heroine as well as the plot such as the review made by Charlaine Harris who proclaimed the series characters to be multidimensional and containing an intriguing premise, while also praising the character of Harper. The Library Journal also proclaimed their appreciation for the book, praising the independent character of Harper as well as her view on reality.

Meanwhile, other reviews, such as the one by Publishers Weekly compared the series to famous TV shows such as Charmed and Buffy, two of the most hit shows ever produced. On the other hand, the Bournemouth Daily Echo compared the show to The Sixth Sense, stating that if one could get lost in the farfetched reality of the novel, they could really enjoy the book.

As can be seen, the Greywalker Series is a must read for anybody who is a fan of the paranormal and urban mysteries, while it is also endearing to those who wish to see a female in the main role of a novel.

Unfortunately, the Greywalker Series have not yet been incorporated into TV shows or a movie.

Breaking the Chains to Freedom: Finding the Power Within You by Esther Adler

Esther Adler’s book, Breaking the Chains to Freedom: Finding the Power within You, is part memoir, part self-help, which focuses on how to switch from victim mentality to a spiritual warrior mindset. Adler is a bright spirit born into a strict Orthodox Jewish family and culture filled with rules, restrictions, and guilt-and lots of each, which makes her more than the “black sheep” in the family. She was also born into a family with a father who has a genius I.Q. along with Borderline Paranoid Schizophrenia, and a mother who had a joyful spirit despite a physically incapacitated body and her own victim mentality, and whom Adler became primary caregiver of at age eight.

Adler describes growing up with a mother couldn’t take care of herself without assistance; a verbally and physically abusive father who tried to strangle her; a “religious” culture that refused to help her; the decline and death of her mother; being diagnosed with diabetes and the struggle to find a way to function with this disease; and a host of experiences that caused her to one day state to herself, “I don’t really want to die. I just don’t know how to live.” She reveals her transformation from practicing victim mentality to someone with a warrior mindset, which includes sharing how she was a wife at eighteen, with four children who arrived within a short few years; living with and eventually divorcing her verbally abusive husband (who, though Adler doesn’t state as such, at least seems to have Narcissistic Personality Disorder, based on her descriptions of his behaviors); and having to find love, peace, and wisdom in the decision to let her children live with their father as a result of his religious smear campaign against her. Adler also includes inspirational notes and theories about human needs that lead to victim behaviors, as well as exercises and ideas to help shift from emotional pain to happiness and spiritual awakening that lead to personal freedom.

It’s pleasing to read something written by someone without degree letters after their name. That’s not a criticism: What I mean is that this book is a nice chance to relate to someone who is perceived as more like the man on the street than not, even if readers’ cultures are quite different. Adler demonstrates inner strength, character, and an indomitable, if not enviable, belief in herself, love, and life. I found that in the final sections, my yellow highlighter was used to note particular passages such as this one: “Showing no emotion is not an act of strength, but an act of fear. It’s a fear of being judged. Be judged. You will be judged in your life no matter what.”

Adler wrote this book for those who practice victim mentality or have experienced-or currently are experiencing-a major life transition (death of a loved one, loss of a significant relationship, loss of employment, loss of health, etc.), to help them move through and beyond the trauma such and similar experiences present. Although some pre-publishing polishing with editing tweaks would have been a good idea, such instances do not diminish how engaging her story is or how inspirational her message is. All in all, it’s a powerful read.

Sirantha Jax

FEED YOUR INTELLECT: SIRANTHA JAX SERIES
AN OVERVIEW OF THE PLOT

Before diving right in to the pool of this mystifying series, let me just mention for the readers’ benefit that it is a futuristic book that features technology far beyond our normal everyday imaginations. Not only is the series about the future, it is more specifically about space and time. The universe, or space for that matter, is endless and limitless and the technology we have today confirms that our space shuttles cannot progress much if they continue to move in a straight line. However, the first book Grimspace, features special space ships known as Grimspaces which take jumps by the combustion of psychedelic storms and hence can move forward in space.

These planes require special people to navigate it throughout space, who are popularly known as jumpers. A jumper is typically a person with an unusual yet special genetic mutation, causing him or her to carry the “J-gene”. He has to be trained by a league known as the Farwan Corporation. It eventually employs the jumpers to nurture their addiction of the rush that Grimspace provides.

HOW IT BEGINS WITH GRIMSPACE

However in order for this whole phenomenon to proceed, the jumpers have to give up one important thing- their life. As they jump ahead or forward, their lifespan shortens drastically and very few even make it to the age of thirty. That is the fine print for the jumpers; in order to keep living with their addiction they must give up the years from their life as a price. The first book, Grimspace, takes off with the main character, Sirantha Jax, who has been on a lock down by the Farwan Corporation as a punishment for a terrible Grimspace crash landing that killed everyone on board, including her best friend and lover Kai. Sirantha is the person labeled responsible for this great tragedy. She is held for questioning and interrogation which proves to be futile since she has no recollection of the incident whatsoever, apart from the fact that she is a jumper. She is waiting silently for the corporation to kill her or to die naturally (whichever comes first), when suddenly a tall man named March breaks in to the facility to sneak her out. She agrees to go with him since her life has little purpose and absolutely no meaning in her perspective. Much to her surprise, March has the wild idea to break the concrete status quo; he plans on weakening the unjust Farwan Corporation and create a facility where jumpers can train to establish a new breed of jumpers.

AND THE STORY GOES ON TO WANDERLUST

The sequel Wanderlust, continues the story after the collapse of the great Farwan Corporation when Sirantha also uncovers the shocking truth behind the crash landing accident. The entire galaxy is in panic with a worrisome power vacuum. The Conglomerate is the only official legislative body of the entire galaxy or the government of the galaxy; it hires Sirantha and the crew to a diplomatic trek to another planet and they are allowed absolutely no room for error or mishaps. This planet, Ithiss-Tor, is a habitat of mantid-like humanoids.

The purpose of Sirantha’s journey and the very important mission is discovered as the story continues further.
WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?

In the next book, DoubleBlind, all the happenings in the preceding book comes back to haunt both Sirantha and March. He is greatly affected by the recent events that take place in the previous book and Sirantha feels obligated to help him through the mess he gets himself in, considering it her responsibility since they are in love with each other. The fourth book, KillBox, features a war between the human race and the aliens. This war becomes a barrier in ongoing love affair of Sirantha and March, trying their relationship intensely.

CHARACTER SKETCH OF OUR LEADING LADY

Needless to say, Sirantha Jax is the main character in the series. She is an impressive woman of the age of thirty three and is a successful jumper who has lived longer than most jumpers. Although she is not a tough fighter girl, she is a strong lady who manages to keep her calm when most people cannot afford to. She possesses the right amount of sass and style that makes her an enjoyable narrator. Sirantha knows when to hold back her sharp tongue and when to let it slide and bite back. Over all she is a deep character who has her share of panic attacks in the first book but certainly grows as an individual as the story unfolds in the succeeding books. Hands down, she can be summarized as a complex woman who tends to get in touch with her feminine emotions and lets the fear and paranoia kick in from time to time. There are moments when Sirantha exhibits her vulnerability even though she is one tough cookie. She gets involved romantically with March although you will have to read the book to see how it turns out. Although Sirantha is full of mood swings and is not an easy person to get accustomed to, there are qualities and characteristics that truly make her the heroine of the series.

CHARACTER SKETCH OF THE MAN IN WAR WITH HIMSELF

Sirantha meets March at the psychiatric ward of the facility where he dashingly breaks in and helps her sneak out. He can be classified by some as a hard, inscrutable mind reader. He is a hero in his own who is dealing with a shady past himself. He vows to make a better use of his present. March supports Sirantha all the way through and she leans on him for comfort as well. Within a relatively short span of time, the two become very fond of each other. In the second book, we observe a struggle and a constant tug of war between him and his inner demons as he tries to deal with them meanwhile striving and remaining steadfast in finding his humanity. In the rest of the books we observe March going through a lot of drama in his life and his attitude toward each, changes drastically. As mentioned before, March is in a constant battle in redeeming and reconstructing himself as an individual.

It is intriguing how Ann Aguirre takes on with her characters and molds the story plot in each book. The romance between March and Sirantha is grappling which makes the readers feel for the duo. How they overcome the odds make a fantastic and indulging story, which is a must read.

Many Lives One Soul – Broken Oath Book Review and Discussion

It is interesting to note that each of you had different insights, views and your own favourite characters. And at least one of you was able to acknowledge that the story has depth; it does indeed go deep. If you as a reader can go that far into the abyss, it shows how open your mind is to the Universe, and that’s good. In that case, you really will enjoy these discussions.

Not a lot of readers know this, but chapter one was actually chapter 12. As I considered this my best chapter; the one I always talked about before I even published my book, under the advice of my mentor and coach Millionaire Author Stephanie Hale, this part of the book became the beginning of the story to set the scene for Broken Oath. (Which I might add was not the original title of the book either. But that is another topic for discussion.)

This chapter was meant to be a flashback into one of the many reincarnations of the Lady of Stature, or Lady of Time, otherwise known as Melee.

I was endeavouring to show the reader how it is not by accident that you can end up in a situation in life. Nor is it coincidence that your destiny takes you on a particular pathway. Your decision determines your destination. It is the result of the choice you made yesterday.

Consider how many times you have said to yourself. “Why am I here?” “Why is this happening to me?” “It is something I did in my past life?” Whilst you may make these statements flippantly at times, subconsciously, you are trying to remember a promise you made; An Oath, made a long time ago.

This is how it is with the Lady of Stature. And in fact, as those readers who have read Broken Oath have observed, even before this episode, she has already broken a commitment. In all her rebirth, she relived this cycle.

That being so, then it is not purely by accident that she ends up imprisoned in the fortress of the Lord Supreme.

Note that ‘around her waist was a deep belt, 5 inches wide. And attached to the belt was a chain 3 inches in diameter, with a length of 16 ft. It stretched from beneath her bed and allowed her limited mobility.’ What is that all about you may ask?

Well, from the point of view of the Universe, (although the Lady of Stature may not see it that way, because she has still to learn her lesson.) The belt, the chain, the limited mobility and the bed are significant. The belt is the belt of truth; the oath she took and that which the Universe still holds her to. This is confirmed on page 15 when the Lady calls to the Physician. “But what about this band around my waist?” There was silence, and then his voice. “… it will hold you to your Oath until the end of Time.”

The chain is to ensure the bond; the limited mobility is all that she has given up for the cause. The bed is personal. It was a choice that she alone made.

If you and I are honest, we can all identify with the situation, whether it be factual or metaphorically. How we view a situation and how the Universe creates it are 2 very different scenarios for one meaning. Which more often than not, we never connect the dots. Lucky for the Lady (including ourselves) there are many lifetimes to understand the lesson taught and get it right.

I’ll shall end this discussion now as some of you must be thinking, “Oh my goodness, this is too deep.” Plus when I write anything, it always comes from the creative energy within me. Once that is used up, I usually end up writing nonsense so it is best if I stop now.

I do hope this short discussion and insight gives you all food for thought.

We’ll catch up soon. Watch this space for more revelations in Chapter one of Broken Oath; we will continue reviewing the character of the Lady of Stature.

Reincarnation And The Consequences Of Not Remembering Your Past Lives – Broken Oath Book Review

I have spoken to some of you and I am glad to see that you enjoyed the first part of Broken Oath book review/discussion. Let’s continue.

The Lady of Stature is a strong young woman; with her own mind and her own will. One can assume she has never given in to any man. As we can see the Lord Supreme is unable to ‘break her.’ Still, the Lady knows her own limits. She is aware that her energy is slowing ebbing away and that soon she will either submit to her dilemma or die. And even when all seems loss, she has enough reserves to hold on and grasp any opportunity; the timely entry of the Physician. See how she is always in that ‘flight’ mode. Ready to escape any way she can.

Do you think the Physician knew exactly what he was doing when he chose that exact moment to enter her chamber and offer a solution to her predicament? Did he know she would ‘jump in’ first and think about where she has landed later?

Have we not all done that at one time in our lives? I know I have and found myself unable to severe bond I have agreed to, unless I am prepared to accept severe consequences.

Can it be that the Physician had intended all along to recruit the Lady; knowing this flaw in her character. This is a very special Lady; no ordinary being. It could be that she was chosen since the beginning of time and there would never be a ‘get out.’ clause for her. Her flaw would ensure her enrolment over and over again. Indeed the Universe knows her by her ethereal name; the Lady of Time. Wherever she reincarnates, that is who she is.

Those of you who have read the book will already know she can never escape that fact.

And so it is for us. Sooner or later our commitment catches up with us. Throughout my life, I have observed how people create all kinds of scenarios to avoid their responsibilities, including willful ill health and disabilities. But karma, time and reincarnation are one enemy you cannot escape. They will find you, and you will do what you were ordained to do, whether you like it or not.

See how the Lady of stature easily slips into her role as Lady of Time, she may not know it but perhaps she has been down this road before. And the energy of Time wastes not the moment of unification and conforms to the force of the Lady as she soon wields her power to banish her gaoler to the 5th Dimension.

Speaking of which, it is not poetic justices that the Lord Supreme who dominated the Lady of stature ends up being dominated by a woman. The very woman who has always longed to have and to hold him, anyway she can.

Clearly the Universe has a sense of humour and despite our meagre plotting, Nature always hold all the cards to the master plan.

If ever you thought there was a conspiracy against you, then you are correct, the Universe is always conspiring. Far better to join the grand design than to be a lone architect. But then, that is the pathway the Lord Supreme had chosen. He wanted all his way or no way. His force was such that of all the dimensions, he ended up bound to a power very much like his own; reiterating the law of attraction.

He may have felt repulsed by the whole situation but the fact remains; like attract like and vice versa.

Let’s end the review/discussion here for now. I hope you enjoyed the reading.

Tricks and Distortions in the New Testament to Gain Credibility

Taken from cover to cover by the Spirit to discover the input within the bible by religious leaders who deceive readers into believing their notions of divinity the truth of their conspiracy was obvious. Starting with the Old Testament, which was taken from the Septuagint, the description of God is laid out. In Isaiah 4:4-8 it states that there is only one such entity and that it alone is the creator and that beside it there is no one else. It also notes that it creates both good and evil. The NT, on the other hand, displays a God of three parts, a devil named Satan as the creator of evil, and a host of others.

The NT also described God as a man who bore a son. Genesis 1:2 describes God as Spirit. As genes from both parents are required for conception it is impossible for a spirit to father a child. The contrast between the two books demonstrates that the second has completely changed the nature of God to fit with a perception that men are created in God’s image, which is false.

Jerome, who compiled the NT at the end of the 4th CAD, noted that he altered parts of the OT to make it align. He obviously inserted many of his own ideas into it, such as varying the story of Adam and Eve and suggesting the coming birth of Emmanuel. This was not hard to do as few people in his time could read and most were dependent on teachers to pass on knowledge. This remains the case today as people attend churches so that priests can interpret the controversial book which is full of contradictions.

Following my reincarnation commissions were received to tear down the wall that separates God’s people from the truth and to take God off the cross. Visions were given to show how things have been grossly distorted.

In one there was food cooked to perfection in a vat of oil. Suddenly a hand appeared holding a slotted spoon. It lifted the food and tipped it into a toilet with human excreta and the lot cooked together. Then the hand returned and served the combined mess onto plates held out by starving people. Begging for an answer it was some days later that the bible opened at Ezekiel 4:10-13 and I read that the Children of Israel would eat their meat that was baked with human dung in their sights wherever they were driven.

The food the spiritual are eating is the bible. It is contaminated with the dung of men’s minds and the truth, the good food, is buried within it.

My purpose has been to extract it and to decontaminate God’s prophecies given for Israel. To do this the Spirit taught me well. One of the first skills given to me is to take words apart to their original meaning. Every sound of speech has a symbol attached that became alphabets. ‘I-s-ra-el’ means ‘eye of light-powerful God’. It is this that was shown to me in another vision.

A line stretched out in front of me and went way into the distance. Suddenly from where I stood an extremely bright light appeared and arched over the line to the beginning of it. There in large capital letters was EVE, in the middle was NOON and where I stood was EVENING.

Along the line were many people and they were thickest in the middle which was almost in complete darkness. They were reaching upwards towards a man on a cross. The light shone brightly at the beginning and the end and it described the day of the lord which is 4,000 years long. In the middle of it came Jesus Christ.

The bible opened at Isaiah 59:10 where it states that they stumble around at noon as in the night like blind men. They grope for the wall and are in desolate places as dead men.

Taken then to Revelation 13:13-18 the nature of the two beasts was revealed. The second is the one with the number 666 and it claims that he invented Jesus Christ and forced everyone to worship it. In a vision these words stood upright before my eye CONSTANTINE IS 666. Research led me to his life and work. He established the Catholic Church in 325 AD and he was an Amorite.

Taking me back to Babylon the Spirit showed me that the Amors were the builders and inhabitants of the city. They were vicious, cruel, murderous, invasive, dominating and they conquered all their neighbors and grew in power. They built their next city Mari, in modern Syria, and they were Islamic. ‘Islam’ derives from ‘I-s-ma-l’, the son of Abraham. It means ‘eye of light-mother god’.

It was the name of the sun-star formed when rays of light penetrate an aperture, such as that at the top of the ziggurat which they built within their cities. ‘Ma-r-i’ means ‘mother’s powerful eye’ and it is ‘mary’ in English. Their next city of note was Roma, reverse Amor, after they took over what is now Italy.

Constantine was an Amorite and Islamic. His religion was based on the same principles and Mary was instated as the Mother of God when he invented Jesus Christ. He then built the first Christian churches and the Vatican, which was located over the temple of Jupiter.

Jerome cleverly changed many things and ordered the church with the mass, festivals, calendar, costumes, instruments and laws of the Imperial Roman Islamic Church. These same things are still in force and the symbolism matches that of Babylon. In Revelation 17 it states that Mary is the mother of harlots and abominations of the earth. It also declares that she is Babylon the great.

The conspiracy at work through the organisation is described in Ezekiel 22:25,26. There can be nothing more condemning of the NT and its authors than this. Ezekiel 39:29 states that God’s spirit is poured over the House of Israel and they were seeded at the beginning of the day through Eve, the Spirit of God. Even that has been distorted into an evil woman whom men blame for all of the pain suffered by us.

‘Jupiter’ was ‘i-pita’ or ‘eye of pita’ as there is no [J] in Italian or Latin. It was used by Jerome who cleverly nominated a Jewish name ‘Simon’ as the rock of God’s church. He orchestrated it to ‘Peter’ as the main disciple of Christ.

The book of Matthew is based on the story of Chrishna, the third person of the Vedic Trinity. It was possibly written by Jerome because it holds the laws of the church, which were unknown before his placement of them. The other books of the gospel follow the same line because they were copied from it. The 4 books vary greatly with two of them, Mark and John, having no reference to the birth of Christ while Matthew and Luke differ in where he was born and only Matthew takes up the story of the evil king, copied directly from Krishna.

The New Testament is a book of fiction that portrays a distinctly different type of divine being to that of the Old Testament. It was done to change people to the Islamic view of the sun as the chief god. It is still the case as Mary is the main object of worship in the Catholic Church. Other Christian religions were spawned by it as was the Muslim religion.

Book Review: High Five

Stephanie Plum has a serious and dangerous job as a bail enforcement in bail enforcement. She works for her cousin Vinnie who puts up money for individuals who are in trouble with the law but then skip their hearing. Vinnie doesn’t want to lose his investment so he pays Stephanie ten percent of the bail if she finds them by the date given.

Stephanie needs the money to pay her bills because she was laid off from her position as lingerie purchaser. She doesn’t have training and often makes risky and foolish decisions. At times, she has to call in her mentor, Ranger, when she is in trouble or even her love interest, Joe Morelli, who is a policeman in their home city of Trenton New Jersey.

In this book, Stephanie’s family is worried because her Uncle Fred is missing and everyone thinks that Stephanie should find him. She would rather just focus on the cases that she is assigned but agrees to gather information about her uncle. She is very surprised to find photographs of a dead body in garbage bags in her uncle’s desk and as she searches for her uncle, more dead bodies show up.

In the meantime, she captures a “skipper” who is a very angry midget but as strange as it might seem, he ends up moving into Stephanie’s apartment with her when his is damaged.

Janet Evanovich has created a strong character base for her Plum novels and in this one, Stephanie’s parents and grandmother play key roles in the plot. Her parents like routine and are often disgusted, worried or upset by the antics of their daughter and her gun-toting grandmother.

Grandma Mazur likes Stephanie’s love-interest, Joe Morelli who is a Trenton police officer and is always trying to encourage the relationship even when Stephanie is hesitant. She knows that Morelli never wants to get married but she cannot help but being attracted to him. He keeps showing up for dinner at the parents’ house and when Stephanie is in trouble. So does Stephanie’s mentor, Ranger, who is very private and secretive but fascinates everyone because of the fact that he seems to appear and disappear with perfect timing, while never really revealing anything about his personal life or business dealings.

Stephanie is terrorized by Rameriz, a mentally ill fighter who has been threatening and chasing her for some time. She is disgusted by Joyce, her enemy since childhood who Stephanie caught having sex with her husband shortly after their marriage. Joyce is now her bounty hunter competition who also works with Vinnie.

Lulu, the ex-hooker turned filing clerk is also a key player in this novel as she accompanies Stephanie on adventures as companion and co-worker.

“High Five” includes witty dialogue, a plot that twists and turns, hilarious characters and suspense that prevents the reader from putting the book down until you reach the very last page. It is fast-paced, sassy, and filled with situations that capture every single moment of your attention.

I highly recommend “High Five” as well as the other books in Janet Evanovich’s Plum series.

Consumer Reviews as a Useful Tool for Manufacturers

“In a highly competitive marketplace like Kindle covers, what role do product reviews play?

From the point of view of the consumer the answer is fairly obvious. It is a well known fact that shoppers are becoming better informed, particularly with regards to eCommerce. More than half of consumers will now routinely track down reviews of products that they are thinking about purchasing. The practice is used more when the goods to be purchased get more expensive.

Consumers can use product reviews in several ways. Firstly is reading actual product reviews themselves. This process may reaffirm the customer’s decision to buy or make them look for something else.

Reviews can also function on a deeper level though. Consumers are becoming ever more sophisticated and will see reviews differently depending on their ‘trust value’. Most consumers instinctively believe the reviews on Amazon for example as they have earned a reputation over a long period of time. Other sites that someone has never heard of though may be treated with a degree of caution. Consumers have found out that reviews can be fraudulent and they are wary.

The quantity of reviews available for a particular product is a critical factor in establishing trust. A product which has a couple of thousand reviews is likely to instil greater confidence than one that has just a few, it’s social proof. With products that have lots of reviews shoppers can get an overall sense of whether it is up to par and subsequently focus on the bad reviews to try and establish what the cons could be.

Some of the more advanced platforms have methods of commenting on individual reviews, posting questions and methods for voting for them as being helpful or not. This causes the most popular reviews to bubble up to the top and leads to a more informative consumer experience.

As review usage becomes ever more prevalent then more places will publish them. One of the results of this is that websites can now be found that specialise in publishing reviews of websites themselves. Now shoppers can read product reviews on one website and then check for reviews of the website itself so as to see if it has enough trust value to believe the reviews that it contains and if it is secure enough to make a purchase.

With so much time and work put into consumer reviews for the benefit of online shoppers what use is it all to a manufacturer? The best manufacturers have realised the value of consumer reviews and have discovered that they contain a huge amount of valuable information that relates to their very product, what is useful about it and what is lacking or just doesn’t work. The best manufacturers have started using ‘customer refined design’ principles.”

A Book Review: The Winning Edge by John C Maxwell

“Troubled from without and within, the psalmist, has stopped for a moment in the way. He knows he cannot turn back but knows how to continue. Therefore he prays that God will help him follow through his decision to stay on the right road.”

Good manners and right conduct matter. To succeed good habits are essential. What are your priorities? Mothers and teachers always point to us that if we failed in an academic subject, that does not mean we come short of intelligence, but if we failed in Good Manners and Right Conduct, there is something wrong.

“The Winning Attitude” by John C. Maxwell tells about opportunities around us and how to make use of those opportunities.

The author highlights the words “I can, I will, expect the best, I know, I will make time, positively, I am confident, I do believe, promote you, and God is able,” among others.

In this view, as group work and for evaluation, leadership consultancy offices have developed values-based leadership workshops. For example, if you had to choose only four esteemed words from a deck of cards, what would they be? Would it be integrity, honesty, trust, family unity, change or success? You have to explain to the group your choices. Nothing is right nor wrong. It is a matter of working together and how you would use these choices for greater goals.

Moreover, Maxwell says that others can stop you temporarily, but you are the only one who can do it permanently.

Check the following.

Rough weather will not last forever.
Thought: This too shall pass.

Try to make major decisions before the storm.
Thought: Get a plan.

Keep in contact with the control tower.
Thought: God is always available.

Associate with the right people.
Thought: Your friends will tell who you are or from the old adage, “Birds of the same feather flock together.”

Select a model.
Thought: Jesus Christ

Learn from mistakes.
Thought: Learn from the sages. Wisdom goes with experience, age and light of God.

Expose yourself to successful experience.
Thought: Act now! Take a leap of faith!

The book is a gem of wise experiences, words from the holy Bible, and discernment. In childhood and preschool, we had schedules to prepare us for school and good habits. We were taught discipline. There is no time for trivial things if we let our hearts grow large. The Psalmist asserts, “The Lord is my shepherd, why should I be afraid?”

Win!

Peckerwood Twist by Nathan Lichtwar

Ready to get out of the sweltering summer heat, Sam Paris goes to his usual spot: The Peckerwood Bar in Port Salerno, Florida, famous for its spicy hot sauce and its unsavory characters. The bar patrons are as rough and tough as Sam and his language when someone annoys him. In his sixties and with a history, including as a Vietnam vet, Sam pays attention to everything and everyone around him from “Habit born out of self-preservation and lessons learned the hard way.” He’s minding his own business when a man and his attractive female partner enter the bar and are immediately seen for what they are: more than a little out of place and unconcerned about it, when they should be. The man says he’s a journalist looking for a good story-Sam’s story-and will pay. Sam agrees, and the twisted roller-coaster-like tale begins about his time in the Amazon Jungle with a beautiful, sensual woman he can neither figure out nor resist; Nazi’s in hiding; the hunt for lost cities and gold; and a number of criminal elements who all have agendas they either want to involve Sam in or believe he is involved in-and for a very particular reason. After he tells his story, Sam realizes his past has come back to haunt him-or kill him, and Sam must use every resource he has to try to survive, once again.

Sam’s stint as a Marine during the Vietnam War was followed by drug addiction, leaving him homeless until he’s picked up in New York City and groomed for a specific purpose by Ursula Jung, a woman who tells lies about what’s going on as easily as she breathes. After hooking up with Ursula, Sam never knows from one minute to the next who he’s going to be running from, who he’s being set up by or who’ll shoot at him next, or who he may have to kill to survive. Whether it’s the result of the cacao used for altitude sickness while in Peru, or real experiences that occur, Sam finds that reality and visions overlap in ways that make him question everyone’s sanity, including his own. Sometimes, his instincts are the only thing Sam knows he is sure of.

Lichtwar created this first novel to be action-based, and takes readers into New York City, Peru, deep into the Amazon Jungle, and onto Florida, where life and the people interested in Sam Paris just won’t leave him in peace to drink himself into a stupor to wash down “the dust of old memories.” The cast of characters demonstrates what happens when people who have agendas will use others and go to any lengths to attain their goals. All in all, this book is a bit of good fun and adventure and an entertaining first book from this author.