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Bruce's Reads

The Resilient Runner: Mental Toughness Training for Endurance Runners

The Resilient Runner: Mental Toughness Training for Endurance Runners - William A.  Peters The Resilient Runner, by William Peters, deals with the psychological aspects of running, and ways to deal with all its numerous challenges. He writes for beginners as well as advanced runners, and leaves nothing lacking in his advice.

I used to run before my allergies put a halt to it. Now I go biking and found that much of what William wrote in the book could apply to this as well. Some of his material could even be profitable in many other areas of life.

I found the writing style excellent, with no typos or other editing errors. William writes as if he is sitting down with you, having a conversational chat, yet filled to the brink with helpful advice, and all from page one. He writes from the standpoint of the encourager, like the one who would be cheering you on if you were running your own race.

You can tell William knows his material, as he speaks from both experience and exhaustive research to bring the reader the most up to date information and theories. His references are impressive.

There is so much material in this book that, if I were to take it up and really follow the steps, I would need to go back and carefully read through each section. There is that much material, and it is all very good.

If you are considering a career in running, or just thinking about starting for pleasure, be sure to read this first. For those of you already out there running, this book will certainly give you additional helpful advice.

I rate this book as five stars, and am happy to be able to provide this non-reciprocal review.

Paying Piper

Paying Piper - Ilana Waters "Paying Piper" is a short children's story of The Pied Piper. It's a short read, and one that would be good for a bedtime story--perhaps over 2 or 3 nights. The story varies from other versions, and I really enjoyed this one, as it dealt more with the towns people and made for a great ending. The writing was excellent, there was good humor and a good moral lesson.

If I Should Die Before I Wake

If I Should Die Before I Wake - Gabriel Boutros I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion. I rate it as a solid four stars. This was a really great story, filled with excellent writing, descriptive detail, and good suspense. The premise was intriguing and well-executed. The story drew me in and made me intensely curious as to what the outcome would be. It was a short read, and I liked the length--it was just right. I recommend this book.

The Left-Hander's Handbook

The Left-Hander's Handbook - James Tertius de Kay When you bring together four books and combine them into one, with the same annoying attitudes and prejudices, the book begins to wear. I don't appreciate statements such as "If you are left-handed, this book is dedicated to you. If you aren't, eat your heart out." Inflammatory statements like right handers are dull is insulting to say the least. Left-handers do not corner the market on creativity. Everyone uses both parts of the brain, not just left-handers. Right-handed people are creative too.

Although I appreciate the fact that the book tries to balance out past prejudices, I've never observed any stigmas against a left-handed person. In fact, when folks see a left-handed person, usually the response is something like: "Wow, that's cool! I never knew you were left handed!"

I read this book because it was a birthday gift, given to me. And yes, I am left-handed.

Under A Blood Moon (The Alex Hayden Chronicles Book 1)

Under A Blood Moon (The Alex Hayden Chronicles Book 1) - Michael    Andrews "Under A Blood Moon", the first in a new series, is a modern day vampire tale set in Europe. Our protagonist, Alexander, a long-lived vampire, is out to defend the town against a group of invading vampires.

I found that the pacing and writing style pulled me into the book and made me want to find out more. The book had the right amount of detail to keep me interested, and just enough backstory to give me what I needed (but not too much).

For the most part, the characters were well played out. However, Harry's seeming easy acceptance of Alexander's identity, and the world of vampires seemed out of touch with what I would expect in a non-vampire type of character. Harry acted odd in other ways as well, leaving me perplexed.

Some parts of the book reminded me of a Twilight retread, but without the romantic element. So if you like the vampire teen adventures, you'll probably enjoy this one.

I give the story 4 stars and I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

Kellie at Come-alive Cottage

Kellie at Come-alive Cottage - Wendy Unsworth Kellie at Come-alive Cottage is a lighthearted children's story with funny names and adventures. While parents (who reminded me of those in Thornberrys) are off exploring, Kellie visits a relative with...well, quirky parts and funny things in her house. The author and artist obviously put a good amount of time and planning in this story that I think children will enjoy.

I give this book four stars and received a copy in exchange for my honest review.

The Man in the Moon

The Man in the Moon - Luke Spychalla I liked the pictures but thought the rhymes needed a little work.

Little Bad Wolf and Red Riding Hood

Little Bad Wolf and Red Riding Hood - Timothy Tocher This coming from Simon & Schuster was a bit of a disappointment. I was hoping for pictures and a more exciting storyline. There were some funny lines but overall I thought the story was flat.

Embarrassing True Stories

Embarrassing True Stories - Oliver Gaspirtz "Embarrassing True Stories" is a collection of different experiences, from different people around the world. The topics vary as do the messages from those stories.

The short topics are well edited and well written. Some are funny, while others border on poor toilet humor, or worse. It is definitely adult-themed. Interspersed are hand-drawn comics intended to lighten the mood of the reading.

In exchange for my honest opinion, I received a free copy of this book.

Rescue One: Breaking Point

Rescue One: Breaking Point - Michael  Gardner The prequel to the up and coming novel, Rescue One, "Breaking Point" lays the foundation about what is to come.

The stage is set in an interesting format in the prequel, and a major character is introduced. We watch a type of "Star-Trek: First Contact" type of spin on an experiment that will ultimately help humanity speed through the universe.

The writing style was good, and I only found a few typos. However, I wondered at the need for this prequel as a separate story. In other words, why not simply put it in the up and coming book? Was it in order to solicit interest from readers? If so, because the main book is not yet out, I fear this may be all but forgotten by the time the story does come out. However, if I had the chance to read Rescue One today, I would probably do it.

I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion. I rate the prequel as four stars.

The Empty Chair

The Empty Chair - Michael Andrews I received a copy of The Empty Chair in exchange for my honest opinion, and I feel fortunate to have read it. I rate this work as a solid five stars. Check out my other reviews and you will find that I don’t do that often. I suppose that if this was a six-star rating system, it would be six stars.

This is one of those works of poetry that is hard to put into a simple, straightforward review. It is by far the most powerful book I have read in a very long time. The author, Michael Andrews, has obviously poured his soul into beautifully wrought poems, that are warnings and encouragement to us all. He has encapsulated such an important topic that delivers a strong message with relatively few words. More than that, he has promised to donate to charity from each person who buys a copy of this book, presently underpriced at a mere 99 cents. It is worth much more than that, in my opinion.

Do you remember when you were bullied in school? Or when you saw others being bullied? Can you recall the tragic consequences that came of it when nothing was done?

The author draws from a variety of contexts in which bullying takes place, sometimes with people stepping in to help, while at others times being too afraid to act. But the author expertly shies away from guilting me, the reader, for being a human being. He does not lambast me for a perceived lack on my part, if there ever was a time when I might have stood by and did nothing about a bullying incident. I am not being judged by the book. Admonished, yes. Warned, of course, but never judged.

He takes the perspective of parents, who have gone through the death of their son, or a near-tragic experience, and it is moving as we see their loving reaction to their child’s pain from being bullied.

It is my hope that these poems would be granted permission by the author, to be used all over the world, especially in schools that need constant reminders like this. I could imagine that the poems in this book could help save future lives. It’s that good.

So grab a copy of this book and after reading, you might find yourself donating to beatbully.org. Tell everyone you know about this one. You won’t be disappointed.

Secret Seven Fireworks

Secret Seven Fireworks - Enid Blyton I read this e-book from my Scribd account. Unfortunately, the many typos that appeared while scanning into an ebook format were not corrected, so that took away from the reading pleasure. However, the story was great and once again I was immersed in Enid Blyton's world of The Secret Seven.

This time thieves come around causing trouble. But The Secret Seven bravely face their foes and even come to terms with Susie and her friends, reconciling their differences, at least for now.


Boy21 - Matthew Quick Boy21 is a young adult novel that immerses the reader in the world of past pain and abuse, and goes about skillfully bringing a realistic recipe for hope. In a realistic world of poverty where our hero is set on playing basketball to help get himself out of his current lifestyle, he finds someone more needy than he is and finds the compassion to befriend the very person who poses a threat to everything he holds onto.

I don't want to give the story away, but I will say this: the plot was well formed, the present tense, one person point of view was well executed, and I really cared. This story made me care.

I wanted the best for these characters, I wanted the poor boy to have a better life, and I felt with him and his father and grandpa.

The story successfully transported me to a believable world with realistic events where hope could still shine in a dark and dreary world.

What Happens On Tour...

What Happens On Tour... - Alex Flyn “What Happens On Tour” is a short story about two rock band members who get a first tattoo. It is set in Europe and seems almost biographical in nature.

I thought the tone of the story played well with the characters, and it showed a good relationship between the young friends. The ending tied in somewhat with the storyline, though only in a vague sense.

The story seemed like a chapter out of a book, and no more. I had no sense of what the characters looked like, their ages—only that they were old enough to drink and smoke, and no descriptions of where they were. Even in a short story descriptions are vital, creating a connection for me as a reader.

The strained relationship between the main character and his family was mentioned twice but there was little else offered. I saw no real reason for it to be a part of the story since it did not contribute enough to make me care. It raised more questions than it answered.

The ending did not work for me, and likely because I had no real feeling for Stonehenge. I’ve never been there and have no attachment to it, although the character has. But sense there was no description, I had no emotional bridge or connection.

The story needs grammatical editing, as some words are not capitalized that need to be (such as names), some words are missing, and there are some misspellings.

In all, I like the story because it provides a different point of view on life, and with some work I believe it could be memorable.
I rate this story as three stars, and I received a copy in exchange for my honest review.

The Secret Seven and the circus adventure (Her Secret Seven adventures)

The Secret Seven And The Circus Adventure - Enid Blyton, Tom Dunnington During my younger years, I devoured books like The Secret Seven. Not only are they adventurous, but the group is appealing, one which I would be glad to be part of.

The Circus Adventure takes a slightly darker turn as the Seven encounter real criminals, hard-life types, after figuring out the clues surrounding a robbery. But their boldness and eye for detail rewards them with finding out all the answers in this whodunnit adventure. The language is clean, the relationships are healthy, and this book is safe for all young of heart. The book targets young readers--elementary age, and I highly recommend this one.

The Secret Seven and the grim secret (Her Secret Seven adventures)

The Secret Seven And The Grim Secret - Enid Blyton I read through the Secret Seven books when I was in elementary school, and I loved them. No other series that I read ever seemed to compare. Of course this was a while ago (during the 1970s) and so later the books were not commonly found. Recently I discovered this book through my local library, and was pulled once again, into the charming and wonderful world of seven young people and their adventurous ways.

I think the book is appropriate for all young readers, but it moves quickly enough to keep even the struggling readers engaged, especially boys. The plots are simple, the stories are short, and there are good moral lessons to be learned in it.

I could imagine these books into a series for young viewers, and find the charming tale reminiscent of the days when I read the books for the very first time. Hurrah for The Secret Seven!