Book Review ~ Cyberstalking and Harassment

Cyberstalking and Harassment: The types of stalkers and what to do about them

by Hammad Iqbal


SYNOPSIS – Some cyberstalking is more horrifying than others but one thing is for sure; it makes the victim feel violated and terrified. As technology advances crime becomes easier for criminals for example stalkers can use mind-reading technology to remotely predict thoughts and even replace them. Moreover utilising the right technology they can view what the victim has viewed with his/her vision such as explicit, personal and financial information.

In 2013 and 2015, pop singer Rihanna was cyberstalked on Twitter. On one occasion, the perpetrator Kevin McGlynn sent her a series of letters in which he detailed how he was going to rape her. On the second occasion, the perpetrators created Twitter accounts through which they stalked Rihanna. They posted pictures they took outside her home and sent her death threats. At both moments, Rihanna became more than a celebrity or pop star; she was simply a woman who was terrified for her life.

What is even worse is cyberstalkers continue to devise new and terrifying ways to cyber stalk and harass victims. And although there is cyberstalking legislation, the law is not always effective in perceiving and punishing cyberstalkers.

So, where does that leave you and me?

In this book, you will learn the different types of cyberstalkers, how to identify them and what to do when you are face to face with a stalker.


MY THOUGHTS – Much of this was common sense and simplistic. Poor editing made it a pain to read, lacking spacing between words much of the time. Doesn’t explain the so-called mind reading technology. I’m not sure why the author claims to be stalked and harassed by so many categories of people, seems odd. I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.


CYBERSTALKING AND HARASSMENT

PUBLISHER – Independently Published 32 pages

PUBLICATION DATE – April 21, 2022

MY RATING – 2/5 STARS


Book Review ~ F**k Death

F**k Death: Hardcore Grief Recovery: An Honest Guide to Getting through Grief without the Condolences, Sympathy, and Other BS

by Steve Case


Synopsis: A grief book that tells you it’s ok to not be ok and will never say “it all happens for a reason”

When you lose a loved one, you’re going to feel that loss, hard. And healing through your grief can be the start of a long journey, especially when every other book on loss is quietly patting you on the head, telling you everything will be okay. But, guess what: We know everything is not okay. And we’re here to both be sorry for your loss AND actually help.

This is a straight to the point, honest-as-hell grief recovery handbook. Paring away the cloying sympathy and the pitying hugs, Hardcore Grief Recovery: F**k Death stands at your side through the five stages of grief, giving you a shoulder to lean on and a friend to yell “f**k this” with. This book will be honest about:

  • Denial: manage the impulse to say “this can’t be f*cking happening” with mindfulness and grounding
  • Anger: how to be an a**hole without ruining your relationships and how to practice proper anger management and release
  • Bargaining: advice for ditching the “what ifs,” reframing your situation, and reclaiming your agency
  • Depression: tips for when absolutely everything feels like sh*t and a variety of strategies for expressing your pain
  • Acceptance: how embracing the suckage allows you to move on, even when your world might feel completely different

Covering each moment of your grief journey and asking the tough questions along the way, this is part grief book, part grief journal that will ultimately pick you up, dust you off, and help you heal.


My thoughts: This title caught my eye and I decided to check it out, as I’m having a very tough time with this particular grieving situation. I found the book to be very real about the whole grief thing. It’s blunt and even profane and humorous some of the time, but it’s also helpful. At least it was for me, your mileage may vary. I found it better than just platitudes and cliches.


F**k Death


Publisher: Sourcebooks – 128 pages

Publication Date: Apr 10th, 2020

My rating: 5/5 STARS


About the author: Steven Case is that snort-laugh you hear at the back of the church during the prayer on Sunday morning.

A 30 year veteran of youth ministry, speaker, workshop leader, and writer Steve Case can interpret the musings of a 17th Century Monk, create moving monologues based on God’s closest encounters in the scriptures or create laugh-out-loud fart jokes in ways that would make any back-row church lady scowl.

You are allowed to laugh and you are allowed to pray and these two things need not be at odds with each other.

Steve Case is available for workshops, keynotes and conferences to speak to groups of all ages on humor and the scriptures. Feel free to shoot him an email at steve.case.speaks@gmail.com


Book Review ~ Successfully Grow & Garden Citrus Fruit Trees Using Pots and Containers

Successfully Grow & Garden Citrus Fruit Trees Using Pots & Containers: Beginner’s guide to selecting the right tree, pots & containers for indoor & outdoor, pests & diseases, transplanting, & Espalier

by Madison Pierce,


Synopsis: Updated Kindle version, with beautiful colour images!

If you’ve always dreamed of citrus gardening but haven’t had available space or know-how, citrus container gardening and this book are the answer!

Citrus container gardening simplifies the process of getting citrus trees ripe and ready for being planted in the garden. If you prefer, you can continue with citrus container gardening (indoor) as long you select the right tree.

In the pages of this book, you will learn all about the needs of a citrus tree, including requirements for light, humidity, fertilizer, water, air circulation, pests, diseases, and how to identify what’s wrong with a tree when it’s not thriving.

This handy guide, pieced together by Madison Pierce, a pro gardener in her own right, provides helpful advice, guidance, and step-by-step instructions on how to get started with citrus gardening. With the help of this book, you’ll soon flourish into a citrus gardening pro! The citrus trees focused on in this book include:

  • Kumquats
  • Lemons
  • Limes
  • Oranges
  • Mandarins

It doesn’t matter if you are an avid gardener keen to delve into the world of citrus or someone who has never worn a pair of gloves and dug in the dirt before. This book is for everyone with interest in citrus gardening.

In Successfully Grow & Garden Citrus Fruit Trees Using Pots and Containers, you will learn the following:

  • Choosing the right citrus tree for you
  • Selecting the correct pots and containers
  • Planting requirements and tips
  • Tips for potted citrus trees (how to make your tree thrive)
  • Tree-specific care instructions
  • Common pests and diseases and how to treat them
  • Transplanting a potted citrus tree into the garden

And a bonus chapter on How to Espalier!

Don’t waste any more time to get started with your very own potted citrus orchard. Grab a copy of Successfully Grow & Garden Citrus Fruit Trees Using Pots and Containers to learn everything you need to get to work today!


My thoughts: What a great book for beginners like me, despite its long title. It has detailed tips on how to get going and keep going with growing potted citrus trees. Also how to transplant them outdoors if you live in a good area to grow them. I’ve thought about growing a lemon tree for quite a while now, and with this book I now feel ready to take it on. The Espalier chapter really took my fancy. I’d never heard of this technique of growing things like citrus trees against a wall or a fence, and trimming them so that only the side branches grow in a rising horizontal pattern. It saves space and increases fruit production, which are great reasons for doing it, and it also looks really arty. I recommend this book to anyone with an interest in learning about any of this from a beginner’s perspective. I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.



Publisher: Madison Pierce – 166 pages

Publication: May 22nd, 2021

My rating: 5/5 STARS


Author

About the author: Madison Pierce is a a devoted wife and mother, and to say that she is a fruit tree enthusiast would be an understatement. Madison lives and breathes gardening, and one of her main focus areas is fruit trees. Whenever someone sees and samples the fruit from her garden, they marvel at just how much effort must have gone into nurturing and growing them.

Growing up in sunny South Africa and spending most of her life living and traveling abroad, she has come to understand the challenges imposed on fruit trees in varying climates and just how rewarding and convenient container gardening can be. She loves the fact that her family can enjoy fresh, healthy fruit plucked from their very own fruit trees – there’s something so wholesome about that.

While Madison admits that a considerable amount of heart and soul has gone into her garden, it was a process to get the basics down to a fine art. Ever since she equipped herself with practical gardening knowledge, the process has been more straightforward than expected and immensely rewarding. Madison shares her wealth of citrus fruit tree gardening knowledge and experience with other passionate gardeners because she wants like-minded people to derive the same joy she has from the process.


Book Review ~ Why We Fought


Why We Fought: Inspiring Stories of Resisting Hitler and Defending Freedom

by Jerry Borrowman

Synopsis:

The struggle to combat the Nazis during World War II encompassed front lines far beyond conventional battlefields. In a panoramic and compelling account, author Jerry Borrowman shares seven largely untold stories of people who undertook extraordinary efforts to defeat the Third Reich at enormous personal risk.

Some were soldiers like the Ghost Army, an eclectic group of former artists, actors, and engineers who engaged in top-secret tactical deceptions by staging ingenious decoy armies. Using inflatable tanks, radio transmissions, and sound effects, they were able to trick the Germans throughout the course of the war, often working close to the front lines of the fiercest fighting.

Some were ordinary citizens like William Sebold, a German immigrant and US citizen, who could have been a deadly foe, but instead chose the Allied cause. When he was coerced by the Gestapo into becoming a spy in America, he instead approached the FBI and offered to become a double agent. His efforts successfully helped bring down a dangerous German spy network that was dedicated to stealing industrial and wartime secrets and sabotaging America on home soil.

These dramatic and inspiring personal stories shed light on some of the darkest days of World War II and one of the most perilous times in human history. As the Nazis swept through Europe, citizens around the world faced an individual and national complex moral question: How do you respond to the tyranny and bloodthirsty madness of the Nazis? These are stories of ordinary men and women who would not surrender or compromise. They resisted and fought with total commitment for freedom and democracy despite the personal cost.



My thoughts: A new World War II book to check out. This one has very good stories and most are new to me. First is Virginia Hall. Second is William Sebold. Third is Marlene Dietrich, a well known Hollywood actress. Fourth is Juan Pujol, a double agent. Fifth is Carl Lutz, who saved 72,000 Jewish lives. Sixth is The Ghost Army which saved about 30,000 American lives. And finally, there is the story of the Battle for the Castle Itter in Austria. An amazing, fact-filled addition to my World War II knowledge. Advance review copy was provided by Shadow Mountain.


Why We Fought


Publisher: Shadow Mountain Publishing – 208 pages

Publication date: Oct 5th, 2021

My rating: 5/5 STARS


About the author: Jerry Borrowman is an award-winning author of historical fiction and nonfiction titles, including Compassionate Soldier and Invisible Heroes of World War II. He has written about the World Wars, the Great Depression, and the Vietnam War. He is the recipient of the George Washington National Medal from the Freedom Foundation at Valley Forge. He and his wife, Marcella, raised four children and live in the Rocky Mountains.


Book Review ~ Adventure Dogs

Adventure Dogs: Activities to Share with Your Dog—from Comfy Couches to Mountain Tops

by Fern Watt


Synopsis:

Let your dog lead the way to adventure!

Grab your four-legged best friend and start making the most of every day, and every dog year. In Adventure Dogs: Activities to Share with Your Dog—from Comfy Couches to Mountain Tops, author Fern Watt teams up with canine experts to offer more than 50 surprising new ways to strengthen the connection you share with your dog. Captured in vibrant, full-color photography, activities range from simple to epic. What would make your dog’s “bucket list” of must-see and -do adventures? Find out together as you uncover your pup’s special interests and skills using this adventure book.

Follow your pup into a world of herding, sniffing, playing, howling, and walking! From hiking a mountain or taking a smell walk in your own neighborhood to training like a Navy SEAL or practicing “doga” poses, Adventure Dogs has an activity or experience for every breed, personality, energy level, age, and dog parent. Our Dogs remind us that great adventures don’t always require a passport-there are tons of wonders right outside our front doors.

Perfect for dog lovers, armchair travelers, and active pet parents alike, Adventure Dogs reveals inspirational and practical ways for us humans to understand, appreciate, and live in the moment with our furry companions.

• PRACTICAL ADVENTURES: Features more than 50 real, everyday activities to engage with your dog in scientifically-backed ways. With a range of prices, activity levels, and time investments, there’s something in this animal activity book for everyone and every pup.
• BACKED BY RESEARCH: Author Fern Watt traveled and did her own research with her rescue dog, Bette. She’s also consulted renowned scientists and behaviorists (Alexandra Horowitz), bestselling dog-book authors (Seth Casteel), Instagram-famous dog owners (@tunameltsmyheart), and people who have expanded the limits of what we thought dogs could do, whether it’s surf, skateboard, paint, do yoga, run for mayor, or graduate from an Ivy League school.
• INSPIRATIONAL LOCATIONS: Features pet-friendly destinations (hotels, beaches, dog parks, hikes, and more!) around the United States and abroad.
• OVERFLOWING WITH IDEAS: Watt consults a range of experts to add stories, tips, and photography to the book. The result is a vibrant collection of voices and perspectives.



My thoughts: This is a book filled with the cutest dog photos ever. It has lots of ideas of things to try with your fur baby that are really different. It focuses on what might be fun for your dog and you, and help you give your dog their best life. It can help improve your life at the same time while you are out checking out these unique adventures. A really fun book, and you’ll love all the great pictures. Advance electronic review copy was provided by NetGalley, author Fern Watt, and the publisher.


Adventure Dogs


Publisher: Chronicle Books – 208 pages

Publication: Nov 23rd, 2021

My rating: 5/5 STARS


About the author: Fern Watt is the author of Gizelle’s Bucket List: My Life with a Very Large Dog, which has been published in nineteen languages and optioned for film. She has written for The LA Times, Cosmopolitan, Matador Network, and Yahoo! Travel, among others. Originally from Nashville, Tennessee, she resides in Los Angeles with her best friend, a mischievous mutt named Bette. Follow their adventures at @lfernwatt.


Book Review ~ TAKING DOWN BACKPAGE

Taking Down BackPage: Fighting the World’s Largest Sex Trafficker

By Maggy Krell


Synopsis:
Insider details from the takedown of Backpage, the world’s largest sex trafficker, by the prosecutor who led the charge.

For almost a decade, Backpage.com was the world’s largest sex trafficking operation. Seven days a week, twenty-four hours a day, in 800 cities throughout the world, Backpage ran thousands of listings advertising the sale of vulnerable young people for sex. Reaping a cut off every transaction, the owners of the website raked in millions of dollars. But many of the people in the advertisements were children, as young as 12, and forced into the commercial sex trade through fear, violence and coercion.

In Taking Down Backpage, veteran California prosecutor Maggy Krell tells the story of how she and her team prevailed against this sex trafficking monolith. Beginning with her early career as a young DA, she shares the evolution of the anti-human trafficking movement. Through a fascinating combination of memoir and legal insight, Krell reveals how she and her team started with the prosecution of street pimps and ultimately ended with the takedown of the largest purveyor of human trafficking in the world. She shares powerful stories of interviews with victims, sting operations, court cases, and the personal struggles that were necessary to bring Backpage executives to justice. Finally, Krell examines the state of sex trafficking after Backpage and the crucial work that still remains.

Taking Down Backpage is a gripping story of tragedy, overcoming adversity, and the pursuit of justice that gives insight into the fight against sex trafficking in the digital age.


My thoughts: I really liked this one, it’s an amazing story of a prosecutor who is a major advocate for victims of the sex trafficking trade. She decides to go after Backpage because of the ads they ran that became so commonplace for sexual encounters that contributed to the trafficking. She also knew that they were making a ton of money from it, and their normal ads were just window dressing, not real. It took a couple of years to identify the main people that owned and ran the Backpage site. She built one heck of a case against them, and I found it very inspiring. Advance electronic review copy was provided by NetGalley, author Maggy Krell, and the publisher.


TAKING DOWN BACKPAGE


Publisher: NYU Press – 192 pages
Publication: Jan 11th, 2022
My rating: 5/5 STARS


About the author– Maggy Krell is an award-winning impact lawyer and currently serves as Chief Legal Counsel at Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California. Maggy started her career as a prosecutor, serving as a deputy district attorney before moving up the ranks at the Attorney General’s Office, most recently as the Supervising Deputy Attorney General of the Special Prosecutions Unit. Maggy secured convictions throughout California in high-profile cases including murder, human trafficking, domestic violence, white collar crime, and mortgage fraud. Maggy’s most notable accomplishments stem from her tireless efforts to combat human trafficking and protect and empower victims. 


Book Review ~ Hollywood Horrors

Hollywood Horrors: Murders, Scandals, and Cover-Ups from Tinseltown

by Andrea Van Landingham


Synopsis:
The name “Hollywood” conjures up fantastical images of bright lights, glamorous dreams, and impossible riches. From its humble beginnings as a ranch sprawling northwest of Los Angeles in the late 1800s, Hollywood has spanned lifetimes as a factory of dreams, a dazzling place where all things are possible. This collection of stories takes you on a journey into the golden age, illuminating the space between the airy fantasy and the gritty reality of life in Hollywood. In a transient city where nothing lasts, thousands of stories have taken place in their time here. From the offscreen debauchery of the silent era, to countless dramatic and mysterious deaths, to the sinister past lives of world-famous LA landmarks, vestiges of Hollywood’s checkered past can still be found all over the city. With generations of Tinseltown’s luminaries living and working under the sunny guise of paradisal prosperity, their real stories reveal the sordid underbelly lurking directly beneath the surface. A dangerous collusion between the studios, the press, the mob, and the LAPD forms an impenetrable behind-the-scenes network of corruption, power and control, where the truth is always up for sale. A network in which the most glamorous and well-known figures are merely players in this elaborate charade. It’s magical and gritty, it’s ugly and dirty, it’s the land of dreams…it’s Hollywood. 


My thoughts: This is a group of stories about the other side of Hollywood, telling the genuine story of those who worked and played there. It goes back to the earliest days of Tinseltown and covers many famous scandals and mysterious deaths that are still questioned by current readers. Many were handled by Hollywood fixers who would sanitize the scene of the crime before police were called, removing anything scandal worthy. Bribes were routinely given to officials to make stories and legal problems disappear. Most are well known stories but there are some that are less common. Those I liked the most, as I’ve read the others multiple times through the years. Advance electronic review copy was provided by NetGalley, author Andrea Van Landingham, and the publisher.


Hollywood Horrors


Publisher: Lyons Press – 312 pages
Publication: Nov 1st, 2021
My rating: 4/5 STARS


About the author: A native of sun-bleached Los Angeles, Andrea Van Landingham grew up surrounded by L.A. stories. Her love of Hollywood lore dates back to her teen years, when the discovery of classic cinema led to a small collection of films – a collection that continues to expand today. Andrea’s fondest memory from those early years is riding the metro into Hollywood on weekends, exploring the locations where her favorite stars had long before worked and played.


Book Review ~ Crowndale


Crowndale: All I Ever Wanted Was a Farm in the Country

by Cynthia Lurix


Synopsis:
The true autobiography of a determined woman who dared to live her dream. Join Cynthia on a rollercoaster ride through the dark valleys to ecstatic heights. Tears of sorrow to tears of fulfilled joy. A real gem. A fast and heartfelt read.


My thoughts: A pleasantly written book about a woman who is determined to breed horses. She is especially into Irish Draught horses, and also has other breeds. The book tells how she goes about it on her farm, Crowndale. She has a great looking colt named Mac, along with other horses. She gets the chance to buy an Irish Draught mare, Maggie’s Last and she dives in by breeding her to O’Leary’s Irish Diamond. It was the only Irish Draught horse stallion in the US that was competing in open classes and doing super well. It’s an interesting horsy biography that’s also informative. Advance electronic review copy was provided by NetGalley, author Cynthia Lurix, and the publisher.


CROWNDALE

Publisher: BooksGoSocial – 320 pages
Publication: Dec 23rd, 2010
My rating: 4/5 STARS


About the author: Cynthia Lurix with her husband Paul started Crowndale Farm in the Mid 70’s with one horse and the appalling ignorance so necessary to achieving confidence. They took their three sons with them on this adventure of euphoric highs and often devastating lows but always maintaining an optimistic view toward the future. It has been a lifestyle choice where often hope and prayer are the only resources and love proves again and again to be their most powerful ally.


Book Review ARC ~ Funny Farm

Funny Farm: My Unexpected Life with 600 Rescue Animals

by Laurie Zaleski


Synopsis:
Funny Farm is an inspiring and moving memoir of the author’s turbulent lifewith 600 rescue animals.

Laurie Zaleski never aspired to run an animal rescue; that was her mother Annie’s dream. But from girlhood, Laurie was determined to make the dream come true. Thirty years later as a successful businesswoman, she did it, buying a 15-acre farm deep in the Pinelands of South Jersey. She was planning to relocate Annie and her caravan of ragtag rescues—horses and goats, dogs and cats, chickens and pigs—when Annie died, just two weeks before moving day. In her heartbreak, Laurie resolved to make her mother’s dream her own. In 2001, she established the Funny Farm Animal Rescue outside Mays Landing, New Jersey. Today, she carries on Annie’s mission to save abused and neglected animals.

Funny Farm is Laurie’s story: of promises kept, dreams fulfilled, and animals lost and found. It’s the story of Annie McNulty, who fled a nightmarish marriage with few skills, no money and no resources, dragging three kids behind her, and accumulating hundreds of cast-off animals on the way. And lastly, it’s the story of the brave, incredible, and adorable animals that were rescued.


My thoughts: I flew through this wonderful book in one night. I wasn’t sure what I would think of it, but after reading it, I am happy to say I loved it. The author tells her story of growing up in a dysfunctional family until one day her mother finally got the gumption to leave their dad. They moved into a half a house that was in sad disrepair, but the rent was cheap. It’s a story of her mother and how she made the place into a home and found ways to keep the kids fed. Annie had a deep love for animals, and working at an animal shelter, she gradually began to bring home the ones that no one wanted. It started when they needed a dog to keep intruders away from the house, and snowballed from there. Uplifting and inspiring, recommended. Advance electronic review copy was provided by NetGalley, author Laurie Zaleski, and the publisher.


Funny Farm


Publisher: St. Martins Press – 256 pages
Publication: Sept 7th, 2021
My rating: 5/5 STARS


About the author: LAURIE ZALESKI is the founder of the Funny Farm, a charitable organization located in Mizpah, New Jersey. Since 2000, the farm has welcomed all kinds of rescue animals. Laurie is also the founder, president and CEO of Art-Z Graphics. She has been named a New Jersey Heartland Hero, is listed in the 2019 Who’s Who of Professional Women, and has received numerous awards and acknowledgments for her work to save animals and educate the public about animal abuse.