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Out of Captivity: Surviving 1,967 Days in the Colombian Jungle (Hardcover)


Product Description
On February 13, 2003, a plane carrying three American civilian contractors—Marc Gonsalves, Keith Stansell, and Tom Howes—crash-landed in the mountainous jungle of Colombia. Dazed and shaken, they emerged from the plane bloodied and injured as gunfire rained down around them. As of that moment they were prisoners of the FARC, a Colombian terrorist and Marxist rebel organization. In an instant they had become American captives in Colombia's volatile and ongoing conflict, which has lasted for almost fifty years.

In Out of Captivity, Gonsalves, Stansell, and Howes recount for the first time their amazing tale of survival, friendship, and, ultimately, rescue, tracing their five and a half years as hostages of the FARC. Their story takes you inside one of the world's most notorious terrorist organizations, going behind enemy lines with vivid and haunting imagery. Their words conjure a reality that few people have ever encountered—from sleeping on beds literally carved out of the jungle to escaping Colombian military air strikes under the cover of darkness to being bound with steel chains by their captors. Describing backbreaking starvation marches and forced isolation, the authors chronicle their confrontations and interactions with the FARC guerrilla soldiers—a motley crew of brainwashed, idealistic teenagers and seasoned vet-erans who've been around long enough to realize that the only way out of the FARC is in a body bag.

Though the physical punishments their bodies endured were unrelenting, the psychological battles they waged were the ultimate test of their resolve. With candid detail, Gonsalves, Stansell, and Howes relate the perilous mental struggles they each experienced, as they grappled with feelings of guilt, fear, and anxiety for the families and lives they'd left behind. Exposing the transformative power of captivity, they show how they turned these fears into strengths, using their memories and their families, their pasts and their futures, to motivate them in their quest for survival.

Despite the odds and the conditions, despite the chains and the silence, and despite the often tense relationships they experienced with their fellow Colombian hostages, they had one another, forging a bond that allowed them to cope with the horrific conditions of their confinement. This brotherhood enabled them to persevere through the worst that the FARC threw at them while always reminding them of their ultimate goal: freedom.

A harrowing account of one of the longest civilian hostage crises in United States history, Out of Captivity is a remarkable and compelling exploration of how far three Americans were willing to go as they fought to stay alive for themselves, their families, and one another.


About the Author
Marc Gonsalves is a former member of the United States Air Force who worked as a civilian military contractor for four years before the crash. He has a daughter, Destiney, and two stepsons, Cody and Joey. He lives in Connecticut.

An inspiring story of survival, February 27, 2009
By Julie Neal "The Complete Walt Disney World" (Sanibel Island, Fla.)


Here's an inspirational true story that will keep you on the edge of your seat. And make you count your blessings.

The book grabs you from the very beginning, with a harrowing, you-are-there plane crash in the Colombian mountains. The story is told by the three men who survived.

After the plane's engines fail, the pilots frantically search for a clearing. It's a miracle that one appears: "If we were falling down a deep well, that clearing was like finding a tiny ledge just a few inches above bottom." When the men emerge from the crash, they are being fired upon by FARC guerrillas.

Marc Gonsalves, Keith Stansell and Tom Howes spent over five years as captives of FARC, a Colombian terrorist and guerrilla organization. The group forces the men on a 40-day starvation march through the jungle, chains them, keeps them isolated and threatens to execute them. Surviving the jungle itself is not easy. I think I might always remember the description of the tiny ticks that "got in places on us that had never seen daylight. They worked their way into our skin, and if we had let them stay there long enough, they would have sucked the life out of us."

A glossy 16-page section includes 39 color photographs, including family photos before and after the ordeal, an abandoned FARC camp showing how the beds and pathways were constructed, the cigarettes used as camp currency, a chess set one of the men built out a cardboard box and whittled wood, and pages from a journal.

Here's the chapter list:

Prologue: A Place to Crash
1. Choices and Challenges
2. Changes in Altitude
3. ¿Quién Sabe?
4. The Transition
5. Settling In
6. Proof of Life
7. Caribe
8. Broken Bones and Broken Bonds
9. Ruin and Recovery
10. Getting Healthy
11. Dead
12. Running on Empty
13. Reunited
14. The Swamp
15. Politics and Pawns
16. Fat Camp
17. Freedom
18. Homecoming

An amazing book!, February 26, 2009
By Thomas J. Holewinski (Chicago)


I've been lucky enough to work with many of the people that tried so hard to get these 3 Americans out of the hands of the leftist narco-terrorist group, the FARC over the last 5 years. Thousands of dedicated Colombian's and Americans worked day and night for years trying to get ALL of these POWs back. I can't begin to express how happy I am to see them all returned safely and in one piece. An early copy of this book was just given to us this morning and I literally spent the last 5 hours reading as much of it as I could.

I am not surprised at all about the comments they wrote about the leftist politician, FARC sympathiser and 2002 Colombian Presidential canidate, Ingrid Betancourt. Her actions while confined were horrible, vile and should be considered inexcusable. If anyone has read the book "King Rat" by James Clavell, it would give you a good idea about what kind of terrible things she would do to the other prisoners. She would steal food, manipulate her fellow prisoners for better treatment and privlages, and even endangered the American's lives by telling the FARC they were CIA agents!!

The abysmal actions of Ingrid Betancourt are exactly the reason why US President Eisenhower, (later amended by President Reagan) created the "Military Code of Conduct", which are rules by which all POWs should live by.

For anyone that is interested in:
1. Reading about the amazing struggle of 3 brave Americans held captive by leftist narco-terrorists and how things like the Code of Conduct helped keep them alive over 5 years in captivity
2. Just how low people like Ingrid Betancourt can sink to in POW type situations and betray thier fellow POWs
3. Knowing the true personality of the possible future Presidential canidate for Colombia, Ingrid Betancourt

THIS BOOK IS FOR YOU!

How I Made My First Million on the Internet and How You Can Too!: The Complete Insider's Guide to Making Millions with Your Internet Business


Product DescriptionIn this comprehensive step-by-step guide to setting up a booming Internet business and raking in million-dollar profits, Ewen Chia demystifies marketing jargon and shares the tips and techniques that continue to net his online businesses a cool fortune. Whether you're seeking to create and develop a thriving Internet business from scratch or looking to realize the full potential of your existing business, whether you haven't a clue what the Internet is about, or you're armed with a business degree, Ewen's upbeat and accessibly written Million-Dollar Blueprint will help you: --Find out who's buying what and develop lucrative solutions to meet market needs --Grab and keep the attention of prospective buyers with irresistible offers --Create a follow-up system of additional offers to boost income and grow your business --Automate your business so you can enjoy the ultimate rewards of profits, time, and leisure --Duplicate your business(es) to multiply your total income

Not for Everybody., February 28, 2009
By Anna Barton (Henderson NV)


Ewen Chia is a smart guy. The question is: Is this book for you?

This book is what you'd expect. It's very similar to other books released in this genre. Info is ok, but you walk away feeling it's more of a tool for the author to find new customers than anything else.

The book talks about "mindset," which is important. Ewen's story is interesting. To me, this was the best part of the book and worth the price. If you're looking for a complete, step-by-step blueprint to millions online though, you won't find it here.

The book is divided into roughly six sections:

- Ewen's story
- basics of online marketing
- tools you'll need
- picking your market
- getting traffic
- your offer

In my opinion, the content is too advanced for newbies, yet too basic for those who have been at this for a while. Both will probably get something out of it, but newbies looking for a plan and others looking to get a sneak peak at how Ewen really makes his money will both walk away unsatisfied. There are a lot of missing pieces, even though the book is over 350 pages.

There is some good stuff here, if you can read between the lines. The book is worth the price.

If you're brand new, and can only afford one book, you're much better off with something like Quit Your Job (and Never Go Back) - How to Create, Start, & Market an Online Business for Under $500 in 30 Days or Less, which is specifically for people who are just getting started and want to get online quickly. It doesn't promise as much, but you can't deposit promises in the bank. Real money is what you're after here, not promises.

Excellent Online Marketing Manual, January 23, 2009
By Hadley Lewis "Hadley" (USA)


I found Ewen's book to be very helpful, although I have read more than 50 marketing books related to internet marketing.

I receive a newsletter from Ewen and have found his ideas and tips on internet marketing to be helpful and easy-to-understand.

His story is inspirational and he has created a successful business from nothing.

The book lays out an easy-to-follow blueprint anyone can use to improve their online marketing efforts. I enjoy his writing approach and find his information valuable and insightful.

True Colors (Hardcover)


From Publishers Weekly
In her 17th novel, bestseller Hannah portrays the delicate and enduring bonds of sisterhood. The story of the Grey sisters is set in a small Washington town and follows Winona, Aurora and Vivi Ann from the time of their mother's death, when they are young teens in 1979, on through adulthood, cataloguing their trials and the men who typically come bearing them, beginning with Luke, Winona's high school best friend and secret crush. But when he falls in love with Vivi Ann, who later cheats on him with farmhand Dallas, it leads a jealous Winona to betray her sister. Vivi Ann and Dallas get married, have a baby and run the Grey family farm, but Dallas is eventually arrested for murder, and lawyer Winona refuses to take his case, seemingly killing her relationship with Vivi Ann. Dallas is convicted and things look bleak for Vivi Ann and her son, but Winona's late-breaking friendship with her nephew paves the way for the happy ending. Though Hannah boldly embraces over-the-top drama, she really knows what women—her characters and her audience—want. (Feb.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Product Description

True Colors is New York Times bestselling author Kristin Hannah’s most provocative, compelling, and heart-wrenching story yet. With the luminous writing and unforgettable characters that are her trademarks, she tells the story of three sisters whose once-solid world is broken apart by jealousy, betrayal, and the kind of passion that rarely comes along.

The Grey sisters have always been close. After their mother’s death, the girls banded together, becoming best friends. Their stern, disapproving father cares less about his children than about his reputation. To Henry Grey, appearances are everything, and years later, he still demands that his daughters reflect his standing in the community.

Winona, the oldest, needs her father’s approval most of all. An overweight bookworm who never felt at home on the sprawling horse ranch that has been in her family for three generations, she knows that she doesn’t have the qualities her father values. But as the best lawyer in town, she’s determined to someday find a way to prove her worth to him.

Aurora, the middle sister, is the family peacemaker. She brokers every dispute and tries to keep them all happy, even as she hides her own secret pain.

Vivi Ann is the undisputed star of the family. A stunningly beautiful dreamer with a heart as big as the ocean in front of her house, she is adored by all who know her. Everything comes easily for Vivi Ann, until a stranger comes to town. . . .

In a matter of moments, everything will change. The Grey sisters will be pitted against one another in ways that none could have imagined. Loyalties will be tested and secrets revealed, and a terrible, shocking crime will shatter both their family and their beloved town.

With breathtaking pace and penetrating emotional insight, True Colors is an unforgettable novel about sisters, rivalry, forgiveness, redemption---and ultimately, what it means to be a family.

KRISTIN HANNAH AT HER VERY BEST!!!!, February 3, 2009
By Maudeen Wachsmith "BeachReader" (Port Townsend, WA)


There are several things readers have come to expect when they read a Kristin Hannah book--that they'll get an amazing, compelling, emotional story, that they can't put down once they've started. While TRUE COLORS is no exception, there is a degree of depth to this novel that sets it apart from anything the author has written in the past. A degree of depth that won't simply satisfy her legions of current fans, but I dare say should bring her to the attention of many more.

Spanning nearly 30 years in the lives of the Grey sisters of Water's Edge, a waterfront ranch on the shores of Washington state's picturesque Hood Canal, first meet the sisters in 1979 just after the death of their beloved mother. It's obvious from the beginning that her loss is going to leave an enormous hole in their hearts and have long-lasting effects in the lives of these young girls. But even worse, their grieving father Henry buries his soul when he buries his wife, coping with life by drowning his sorrows in a bottle of hard liquor.

The book quickly fast forwards 13 years where we find oldest sister Winona just beginning her law practice in the nearby town of Oyster Shores, Aurora a young wife and mother of twins, while the youngest the beautiful but fragile Vivi Ann is an expert barrel racer on the western rodeo circuit, living at home, helping her father on the failing ranch that has been in their family for generations. Vivi Ann soon comes up with a plan to save the ranch and resurrects it into a thriving horse arena for lessons and competitions.

Meanwhile Winona, who has been fighting a weight problem all her life, may, at long last, have romance come her way when her childhood crush, veterinarian Luke Connelly returns to town. She is excited that this time their relationship may become more than just friendship--until he is captivated by the beautiful ViviAnn. Although Vivi Ann doesn't totally return his feelings, they eventually become engaged. Winona has a difficult time hiding her jealousy. All of this causes a rift between the sisters that won't soon be mended, especially when the new ranch hand and quintessential "bad boy" Dallas Raintree excites Vivi Ann much more than Luke ever can. This sets in place a tragedy that changes the complexion of the sisters' relationship forever.

This also sets in place events that propel this novel from one of Kristin Hannah's hallmark "domestic dramas" into one that is part legal drama, a coming of age story of a teenage boy, a story of redemption and forgiveness, and of loyalty and unfailing belief in someone when it really counts.

Kristin Hannah excels in knowing how to pull at the reader's heartstrings, to touch their emotional sweet spot, and with TRUE COLORS she pulls at those heartstrings and doesn't let go. TRUE COLORS is Kristin Hannah at her very best - maybe even better than her very best. As usual readers need to keep the hankies handy for the read that is absolutely unputdownable and totally satisfying. As impossible as it seems, Kristin Hannah just gets better and better with each read; I can't wait to see what she comes up with next.

The Love Dare (Imitation Leather)


Product Description
Too many marriages end when someone says "I've fallen out of love with you" or "I don't love you anymore." The Love Dare discusses how these statements reveal a lack of understanding about the fundamental nature of true love.

As featured in the popular new movie Fireproof, from the team that brought us the #1 best selling DVD Facing the Giants, The Love Dare is a 40-day guided devotional experience that will lead your heart back to truly loving your spouse while learning more about the design, nature, and source of true love. Each reading includes Scripture, a statement of principle, the day's "dare," and a journaling area and check box to chart progress.

Dare to take The Love Dare, and see your marriage change forever.

About the Author
Alex Kendrick is associate media pastor at Sherwood Baptist Church in Albany, Georgia. He helped establish Sherwood Pictures in 2003 and has directed and co-written each of its films: Flywheel, Facing the Giants, and Fireproof, playing the lead male role in those first two productions. Alex has appeared on ABC, CNN, FOX News, American Family Radio, The Glenn Beck Show, Janet Parshall’s America, and many other national programs to discuss his award-winning work and ministry. He lives in Albany with his wife and five children. Stephen Kendrick is a senior associate pastor of preaching at Sherwood Baptist Church in Albany, Georgia. He helped establish Sherwood Pictures in 2003 and has served as co-writer and producer for each of its films: Flywheel, Facing the Giants, and Fireproof. Stephen has spoken about his work on ABC World News Tonight and CNN and in The Washington Post and American Profile magazine among others. Currently earning a master of divinity degree from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, he lives in Albany with his wife and three children.

Be Daring, December 22, 2008
By Theresa


As most people might already know, this book is based upon the Christian movie "Fireproof", which is about a man who saves his marriage by completing a character-testing, 40-day list of "dares" suggested to him by his father. Like the movie, the book of course is Christian based as well.

I loved the movie and the book is more of the same. However I looked at both of them from the perspective of a person happily married for over 15 years. I can tell you that while I don't practice all the dares in the book, my spouse and I are good about doing many of them- and of course there's always room for improvement. From my personal experience, I feel like concentrating on the kinds of ideas presented in the book have been absolutely key to making our marriage last.

Now the book itself also consists of a 40-day list of dares. For each day, there's about a page and a half or so of advice, followed by a specific dare and some space for you to write down your personal reflections. Dares range from things such as practicing patience to writing out a renewal of your vows. The guys will probably particularly like Day 32!

As you can tell, I highly recommend going to see the movie and reading the book. In a society that places a high value on looks and money, while sporting a 50% divorce rate, its nice to see more movies and books coming out that get people more focused on the right values in life. Even if you don't do anything more than just glance through the book, you're going to be given something to think about. Other self-help books I enjoyed include Finding Happiness in a Frustrating World.

Scat (Hardcover)


Review
Starred Review, School Library Journal, January 2009:
-This well-written and smoothly plotted story, with fully realized characters, will certainly appeal to mystery lovers.-


From the Hardcover edition. --This text refers to the Kindle Edition edition.

Review

Starred Review, School Library Journal, January 2009:
“This well-written and smoothly plotted story, with fully realized characters, will certainly appeal to mystery lovers.”

Maybe For Kids, But Not Watered Down Hiaasen Humor, January 27, 2009
By Sacramento Book Review "Sacramento Book Review" (Sacramento, CA)


Hiaasen's many adult novels have a particular form of insanity to them. No matter just how you think you've figured out what's going on or about to happen, he throws a knuckle ball that threatens to become a bean ball, aimed right at your head. When he began writing YA books, he brought some of that with him, yet tempered for a younger audience.

Scat is the story of Nick and Marta, whose biology teacher didn't return from a class field trip to the Black Vine swamp. Not that Mrs. Starch is going to be missed; she was the most fearsome teacher at Truman School. But neither of them believe that she was called away on a "family emergency," but instead was the victim of foul play, probably by Smoke, the class delinquent. Very quickly, and in typical Hiaasen fashion, the plot gets not only complicated, but ever-stranger players in this mystery come fast and furious. The story is appropriate for middle school and older, enjoyable to read, and reflects Hiaasen's love of the Florida wild lands.

Great Novel for Young Readers, January 27, 2009
By Stacey Cochran. Visit staceycochran.com (Raleigh, NC, USA)


Newbery Honor Winner Carl Hiaasen returns to Middle Grades Fiction with SCAT (following Hoot and Flush) a mystery/comedy set in Florida. It is ideal for readers age 10-13, but has a well-plotted mystery that could entertain adult readers as well (particularly Hiaasen's fans).

It all begins when Mrs. Bunny Starch, feared Biology teacher, disappears during a school field trip to the Black Vine Swamp -- where an illegal and undercover oil-drilling operation is taking place. Mrs. Starch regularly embarrasses and intimidates her students, so there's no shortage of suspects who may have had a hand in her disappearance.

It's up to two adventurous students -- Nick and Marta -- to solve the mystery. They must navigate a web of weird characters -- an eccentric eco-avenger, a juvenile delinquent named Smoke, a crooked oil prospector, and an endangered Florida panther -- in order to solve the mystery.

SCAT is a page-turner with heart, humor, and adventure. A good book for both boys and girls, filled with the kind of wacky characters with which Hiaasen has built his career.

You might consider checking out the film version of Hoot (New Line Platinum Series), too. Enjoy!

The Soulmate Secret: Manifest the Love of Your Life with the Law of Attraction (Hardcover)


Review
"The Soulmate Secret will inspire you and give you a glimpse that this can be a magical journey and you can truly attract, manifest and find your soulmate." -- Deepak Chopra, New York Times bestselling author of Buddha

Product Description

Have you ever wondered what it takes to find the love of your life? Is it your dream to find a life partner who will love, cherish, and adore you? The Soulmate Secret will show you how to take control of your romantic destiny by using the Law of Attraction. Finding true love is possible for anyone at any age if you are willing to prepare yourself, on all levels, to become a magnet for love. Arielle Ford knows this from experience. She used the techniques in this book to bring her soulmate into her life at age forty-four. They were engaged three weeks later.

This ancient formula reveals that our universe is set up to deliver the people and things into our lives that are consistent with our personal belief system. If you don't believe you will ever find the One, then guess what? You probably won't. If, however, you learn to believe that the One is not only out there but is also looking for you, then true love can be yours.

Using a series of processes called feelingizations—feeling in every cell of your being the outcome you want to create—Ford reveals how to manifest the man or woman of your dreams. The techniques, rituals, and projects found within these pages will allow you to prepare your home, body, mind, and spirit for the lover your heart truly desires.

Find Love with the Law of Attraction, January 6, 2009
By Eco-Friendly Feng Shui Practitioner


The Soulmate Secret: Manifest the Love of Your Life with the Law of Attraction focuses on the obvious--how to find your soulmate. If you have read THE SECRET, you will be familiar with the concept of manifestation, or the law of attraction. Arielle Ford does a marvelous job at providing very doable exercises to help you manifest the love of her life.

I've been practicing the law of attraction for years and not many books cover what Ford refers to as "feelingization"--basically, you feel what it's like to be in the place (in love) you desire. This technique works really well.

Ford writes: "If you learn to believe that the One is not only out there but is also looking for you, then you open the door for true love to enter."

Ford goes beyond most law of attraction books by incorporating Feng Shui, clutter removal and space clearing. As a designer and long-time manifester, I can assure you these techniques work. She does a decent job of describing these things, but if you wish to learn more about Feng Shui, clutter removal, space clearing and even green tips, I recommend HARMONIOUS ENVIRONMENT: BEAUTIFY, DETOXIFY & ENERGIZE YOUR LIFE, YOUR HOME & YOUR PLANET to take you even further. As a designer, I use the techniques all the time with my clients and see powerful results.

Ford tells her story of love and careers and how she manifested her true love. There are many manifestation success stories throughout the book. Ford includes a very doable action plan for the reader to use to manifest.

Last Lion: The Fall and Rise of Ted Kennedy (Hardcover)


Product Description
No figure in American public life has had such great expectations thrust upon him, or has responded so poorly. But Ted Kennedy -- the youngest of the Kennedy children and the son who felt the least pressure to satisfy his father's enormous ambitions -- would go on to live a life that no one could have predicted: dismissed as a spent force in politics by the time he reached middle age, Ted became the most powerful senator of the last half century and the nation's keeper of traditional liberalism.

As Peter S. Canellos and his team of Boston Globe reporters show in this revealing and intimate biography, the gregarious, pudgy, and least academically successful of the Kennedy boys has witnessed greater tragedy and suffered greater pressure than any of his siblings. At the age of thirty-six, Ted Kennedy found himself the last brother, the champion of a generation's dreams and ambitions. He would be expected to give the nation the confidence to confront its problems and to build a fairer society at home and abroad.

He quickly failed in spectacular fashion. Late one night in the summer of 1969, he left the scene of a fatal automobile accident on Chappaquiddick Island. The death there of a young woman from his brother's campaign would haunt and ultimately doom his presidential ambitions. Political rivals turned his all-too-human failings -- drinking, philandering, and divorce -- into a condemnation of his liberal politics.

But as the presidency eluded his grasp, Kennedy was finally liberated from the expectations of others, free to become his own man. Once a symbol of youthful folly and nepotism, he transformed himself in his later years into a symbol of wisdom and perseverance. He built a deeply loving marriage with his second wife, Victoria Reggie. He embraced his role as the family patriarch. And as his health failed, he anointed the young and ambitious presidential candidate Barack Obama, whom many commentators compared to his brother Jack. The Kennedy brand of liberalism was rediscovered by a new generation of Americans.

Perceptive and carefully reported, drawing heavily from candid interviews with the Kennedy family and inner circle, Last Lion captures magnificently the life and historic achievements of Ted Kennedy, as well as the personal redemption that he found.

About the Author
Peter Canellos is the Washington bureau chief for The Boston Globe and oversees all national coverage for the paper, where he has worked since 1988 covering local, state, and national politics.

"a definitive look at Senator Kennedy's life", February 18, 2009
By K. M. "literary devotee" (California)


Last Lion: The Fall and Rise of Ted Kennedy reaches its "definitive look" goal with a balance of stately respect for its subject and uncompromising disclosure of available information. This biography begins with the 2008 news of Edward Kennedy's diagnosed malignant glioma and then rewinds to his childhood, relating anecdotes about his clowning, good cheer, and bad spelling, among other things. The years in boarding schools, at Harvard, in military service, at Harvard again, and in law school receive their due. As a newly-minted lawyer, he worked on brother Jack's campaigns for the U.S. Senate and then the presidency. With John F. Kennedy in the White House, a not-yet-thirty Ted didn't get much help (at least overtly) from either JFK or the attorney general, Robert Kennedy, when he campaigned for a Senate seat. His first election victory in 1962 marked the beginning of an unbroken string of re-elections and forty-six years (and counting) in the most exclusive club in the world.

LAST LION neither digs up new knowledge nor relies on new interviews. Instead, it modestly triumphs as a synthesis of already available but scattered mainly journalistic material. Author Peter S. Canellos engagingly and fluently covers both the personal and professional milestones of Senator Kennedy's life. He, Canellos, doesn't avoid the controversies and scandals such as the Harvard cheating episode and, of course, Chappaquiddick. In fact, he consigns about thirty-four pages to events surrounding the Mary Jo Kopechne death, including Kennedy's statement that, " 'I regard as indefensible the fact that I did not report the accident to police immediately.' " But this isn't a tabloid expose or a hack job; the author presents the facts, but generally the steady tone of LAST LION is empathetic and admiring in a low-key manner.

Ted Kennedy's personal life -- his marriage to Joan that ended in divorce, his years of returned bachelorhood and "dating," and then his marriage to attorney Vicki Reggie in 1992 -- also receives its due but isn't stressed out of proportion. Often mentioned -- and rightfully so -- is Kennedy's surrogate fatherhood to his many nieces and nephews. The children of John and Robert Kennedy needed someone to attend their first communions, their school and sports events, and he, they testify, was always there. As LAST LION notes, however, the children could not escape their own share of scandals and problems.

Canellos doesn't fixate on (or gloss over) the watershed assassinations of President Kennedy and Senator Robert Kennedy. In the long term, their deaths forever remain personal tragedies for the youngest brother, but they also put pressure on him to "finish" their legacies in the White House, leading to several attempts to secure the nomination before he resolved to remain a legislator. Many stories of Kennedy's kindnesses to fellow senators and his ability to reach across the aisle to get legislation passed are also a part of LAST LION, particularly in the last decades after Kennedy decided " '...the pursuit of the presidency is not my life. Public service is."

In all, Kennedy has authored "roughly 2500 major bills." George Washington reportedly told Thomas Jefferson, " 'We pour our legislation in the Senatorial saucer to cool it.' " Kennedy has had other ideas. Canellos writes, "...Ted marshaled all the Senate protocols and courtesies to the service of a quietly aggressive political agenda." In the 2008 presidential election, Kennedy refused to endorse a Democrat for some time, but finally, to the dismay of many Hilary Clinton supporters, he rallied to Obama's side. And President Obama has said of him, " 'He is somebody who battled for voting rights and civil rights when I was a child. I stand on his shoulders.' "

Ted Kennedy inspires passionate feelings from both his supporters and detractors. Whichever camp you, reader, fall into, this book is recommended. Ted Kennedy's determination to live a public life in government under hardships of his own and not his own making is attentively and thoughtfully documented in LAST LION. 4.5 stars.

Sum: Forty Tales from the Afterlives (Hardcover)


From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. A clever little book by a neuroscientist translates lofty concepts of infinity and death into accessible human terms. What happens after we die? Eagleman wonders in each of these brief, evocative segments. Are we consigned to replay a lifetime's worth of accumulated acts, as he suggests in Sum, spending six days clipping your nails or six weeks waiting for a green light? Is heaven a bureaucracy, as in Reins, where God has lost control of the workload? Will we download our consciousnesses into a computer to live in a virtual world, as suggested in Great Expectations, where God exists after all and has gone through great trouble and expense to construct an afterlife for us? Or is God actually the size of a bacterium, battling good and evil on the battlefield of surface proteins, and thus unaware of humans, who are merely the nutritional substrate? Mostly, the author underscores in Will-'o-the-Wisp, humans desperately want to matter, and in afterlife search out the ripples left in our wake. Eagleman's turned out a well-executed and thought-provoking book. (Feb.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review
"David Eagleman’s SUM is a captivating collection of vignettes that portray possible afterlives–creatively conceived and deftly described. Each tale imagines an unexpected reality that might await us, possible worlds that illuminate life with colors rarely encountered."
—Brian Greene, author of The Elegant Universe

"SUM is terrific. It's such a good idea that I was grinding my teeth all the way through wishing I'd thought of it first. The inventiveness, the clarity and wit of the prose, the calm air of moral understanding that pervades the whole thing, add up to something completely original. I hope SUM will be the great big hit it deserves to be."
—Philip Pullman, author of The Golden Compass

"A clever little book by a neuroscientist translates lofty concepts of infinity and death into accessible human terms. What happens after we die? Eagleman wonders in each of these brief, evocative segments. Are we consigned to replay a lifetime's worth of accumulated acts, as he suggests in 'Sum,' spending six days clipping your nails or six weeks waiting for a green light? Is heaven a bureaucracy, as in 'Reins,' where God has lost control of the workload? Will we download our consciousnesses into a computer to live in a virtual world, as suggested in 'Great Expectations,' where 'God exists after all and has gone through great trouble and expense to construct an afterlife for us'? Or is God actually the size of a bacterium, battling good and evil on the 'battlefield of surface proteins,' and thus unaware of humans, who are merely the 'nutritional substrate'? Mostly, the author underscores in 'Will-'o-the-Wisp,' humans desperately want to matter, and in afterlife search out the 'ripples left in our wake.' Eagleman's turned out a well-executed and thought-provoking book."
—Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)

"SUM is an imaginative and provocative book that gives new perspectives on how to view ourselves and our place in the world."
—Alan Lightman, author of Einstein’s Dreams

A delightful book full of paradoxes and unexpected insights, February 13, 2009
By Leo McMarley (Edinburgh)


Occasionally a book comes along of such originality that it stops you in your tracks, of such sharpness that it makes you think again about so many things and of such warmth that it makes you want to share it with everyone you meet. David Eagleman's Sum is just such a book.

Ostensibly a book about what happens after we die, ironically Sum is really an examination of what it means to live. After all the divide is perhaps not as great as we think and as John Keats once wrote, "Life is but a Waking Dream."

In the course of these 40 imaginings of the afterlife, Eagleman takes you on a long and varied emotional journey. Some of the Sums are absurd and surreal, others are poigant and poetic, others are funny and wild, some are neurologically cutting edge while others are dreamily abstract. It's an astonishing feat of the mind and to top it all, they are all written is this clear and limpid prose that is a joy and completely effortless to read.

I have a feeling that this book is going to become one of these word of mouth sleeper hits. There are at least 20 people I plan to give it to straight away and everyone I have read snippets of it to has immediately responded to its humanity and humour.

I'm sure that at least one or two of reviewers of this book will be tempted to write, "Greater than the Sum of its parts", because that is exactly what it is. Enjoy and dream and smile and weep.

The Younger (Thinner) You Diet: How Understanding Your Brain Chemistry Can Help You Lose Weight, Reverse Aging, and Fight Disease (Hardcover)


Review
"Dr. Braverman identifies the missing component of addictive eating—imbalances in your brain chemistry. His program corrects the problem and makes it possible to stick to his and other great dietary programs for thinness and your health." —Nicholas Perricone, MD, FACN, Assistant Clinical Professor of Dermatology at the Yale University School of Medicine, and author of the bestsellers The Wrinkle Cure and The Perricone Prescription "Dr. Braverman has done it again. With his keen understanding of the workings of the brain and each individual’s different brain requirements, he is able to rev up your brain metabolism to increase energy and burn body fat. It works, it’s easy, it’s long-lasting and leads to life-long good health. This is no fad diet. This is good science and powerful. If you haven't been able to crack the code of your personal weight loss you will find the answers here. Say goodbye to unwanted weight forever." —Suzanne Somers, author of 18 books, including the latest New York Times bestseller Breakthrough: Eight Steps to Wellness "The epidemic of obesity in this country portends a significant increase of serious health problems—diabetes, heart disease, metabolic syndrome, and even dementia and cancer. Dr. Braverman's solution—emphasizing the consumption of herbs, spices, and teas to alter brain and body metabolism promises to reshape our culture and our waistlines." —Isadore Rosenfeld, MD, FACP, FACC, Rossi Distinguished Professor of Clinical Medicine at New York Weill Cornell Medical Center, and author of Live Now, Age Later, Power to the Patient, and Doctor, What Should I Eat?


Product Description
New research in nutrition and weight loss has revealed an amazing discovery: the brain—virtually neglected in all other diet plans—is the most important organ in dieting. Dieters can actually lose weight by eating foods, nutrients, teas, and spices that change the chemical balance of the brain for permanent weight loss—a major factor contributing to how quickly the body ages. In fact, everyone can take years off their age by changing their brain chemistry. In Younger (Thinner) You Diet, Dr. Eric Braverman expands upon concepts introduced in Younger You to present a totally new approach to lifelong weight management, where the key is not found in counting carbs, fat grams, or calories. Obesity is a brain chemical imbalance, an addictive disorder, treated successfully only through the combined approach of diet, nutrients, and hormones. One of the foremost experts in integrative medicine, known for his work on the brain-body connection, Dr. Braverman teaches readers:-which foods naturally boost the body’s production of dopamine, the chemical in the brain that tells the body to start its fat-burning engine-how to choose foods, supplements, teas, and spices—even hormones and medicine—to avoid the effects of other aging organs that can destroy one’s metabolism-how to personalize the diet for specific health concerns, such as heart problems, aging skin, weak muscles, and achy joints Eliminating the frustration and deprivation of conventional dieting, Younger (Thinner) You Diet will help anyone turn back the clock to a slimmer, healthier, younger you.

This book is a keeper---revolutionary in scope!, January 23, 2009
By Susan Schenck "Author of The Live Food Factor... (San Diego, CA)


This book is a keeper, a must-have reference book for how food affects the brain. I have read hundreds of books on nutrition, even wrote one myself, but nonetheless found this book revolutionary in scope.

I love reading books that give me radically new information, and I found plenty of such nuggets here. For example, until reading Younger (Thinner) You Diet, I had no idea that my hepatitis C had affected my entire personality for years! I was further amazed at how much our personality is formed by neurotransmitters, which can be balanced with food.

Dr. Braverman discusses at length in layman's simple terms the following brain chemicals: dopamine, acetylcholine, gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) an serotonin. He shows how a lack of them can affect the personality, aging, and weight gain. Just looking at the various personality profiles Dr. Braverman provides, you can easily recognize which neurotransmitters you and your loved ones lack. But there is a quiz to make the diagnosis more accurate.

In this book you will also find tips for combating such things as osteoporosis, collagen loss, and other maladies. There is even a handy section called "Name the Pauses" in which you can which systems are your weakest (again, definitions and quizzes). There is a section that details the power of various spices and also such a section for teas. Parts like that make this a reference book. You will not want to sell your used copy on Amazon!

There are a few things that made me raise my eyebrows: advice to use aspartame, which has been proven to be very toxic, and canola oil, which is genetically modified. And he classifies someone as "excentric" who believes in telepathy and the sixth sense. (He obviously is not familiar with all the scientific studies referred to in such books as The Field.)

But I have never found a book that is 100% accurate and am able to overlook a few errors to see all the wonderful information in it.

This book is absolutely not just about weight loss, but about using nutrition and supplements to stay younger and even reverse aging. You can use this information no matter what your diet slant is: vegan, vegetarian, raw foodist, or omnivore.

Cutting for Stone: A novel (Hardcover)


From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Lauded for his sensitive memoir (My Own Country) about his time as a doctor in eastern Tennessee at the onset of the AIDS epidemic in the 80s, Verghese turns his formidable talents to fiction, mining his own life and experiences in a magnificent, sweeping novel that moves from India to Ethiopia to an inner-city hospital in New York City over decades and generations. Sister Mary Joseph Praise, a devout young nun, leaves the south Indian state of Kerala in 1947 for a missionary post in Yemen. During the arduous sea voyage, she saves the life of an English doctor bound for Ethiopia, Thomas Stone, who becomes a key player in her destiny when they meet up again at Missing Hospital in Addis Ababa. Seven years later, Sister Praise dies birthing twin boys: Shiva and Marion, the latter narrating his own and his brothers long, dramatic, biblical story set against the backdrop of political turmoil in Ethiopia, the life of the hospital compound in which they grow up and the love story of their adopted parents, both doctors at Missing. The boys become doctors as well and Vergheses weaving of the practice of medicine into the narrative is fascinating even as the story bobs and weaves with the power and coincidences of the best 19th-century novel. (Feb.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From The Washington Post
From The Washington Post's Book World/washingtonpost.com Reviewed by W. Ralph Eubanks "Why St. Teresa, mother?" the narrator of Abraham Verghese's masterful first novel asks longingly. Marion Praise Stone wants to understand his long-dead mother and her devotion to the 16th-century mystic. But the circumstances surrounding his birth complicate that quest: Marion and his identical twin brother, Shiva, were born from a secret union between a beautiful Indian nun, Sister Mary Joseph Praise, and a British surgeon, Thomas Stone, in Addis Ababa in 1954. Now 50 years old, and a doctor like the father who abandoned him, Marion sets out to piece together his personal history, both as a spiritual exercise and as an act of reconciliation. Marion's question, "Why Saint Teresa?," is prompted by one of the few remnants of his late mother's life: a print of Bernini's sculpture of Teresa of Avila, depicting her enraptured by the love of God. He senses that his mother's beauty must have been like that of Saint Teresa, a woman known to be so attractive to men that her confessor not only fell in love with her but also wound up confessing his own sins to her. Verghese's gripping narrative moves over decades and generations from India to Ethiopia to an inner-city hospital in New York, describing the cultural and spiritual pull of these places. Sister Mary Joseph Praise and Dr. Thomas Stone meet during the young nun's voyage from India to a missionary post in Yemen. Sister Mary Joseph saves Stone's life on the tempestuous passage, one filled with typhoid and other dangers. Impressed by her skills as a nurse, Stone asks the nun to join him in Addis Ababa at a mission hospital known to natives as "Missing Hospital." She declines his invitation, noting her commitment to her order in Yemen. Later while serving in Aden, a Yemeni city that is "at once dead and yet in continuous motion," Sister Mary Joseph confronts an evil man and an act of violence that she never discusses or reveals to anyone. Yet what happened leaves its mark on her like stigmata. She flees from Yemen and finds her way to Addis Ababa and Missing Hospital. When she recovers, she and Stone become an inseparable team in the operating room. After seven years of working together and more, Stone learns of Sister Mary Joseph's pregnancy when he is called to the hospital and finds her in a distressed labor. When she dies giving birth to their twins, he disappears. Cutting for Stone then moves to the story of Marion and Shiva, as well as their adoptive parents, Stone's fellow physicians, and the world of Missing Hospital. Until their teens, the twins share a bed, sleeping with their heads touching each other just as they did in their mother's womb. Yet as young men, an act of sexual betrayal -- they share a passion for the same woman -- spirals out of control and separates them for many years. Both men become doctors, and eventually the division leads Marion to an internship at a New York hospital. But then an illness leaves Marion's life in the hands of the brother who betrayed him as well as the father who abandoned him. Even with its many stories and layers, Cutting for Stone remains clear and concise. Verghese paints a vivid picture of these settings, the practice of medicine (he is also a physician) and the characters' inner conflicts. I felt as though I were with these people, eating dinner with them even, feeling the hot spongy injera on my fingers as they dipped it into a spicy wot. In The Interior Castle, Saint Teresa's work on mystical theology, she wrote, "I began to think of the soul as if it were a castle made of a single diamond or of very clear crystal, in which there are many rooms, just as in Heaven there are many mansions." Cutting for Stone shines like that place.
Copyright 2009, The Washington Post. All Rights Reserved.

Are You Your Brother's Keeper?, February 10, 2009
By delicateflower152 (Texas)


Throughout this magnificent novel, this question is answered affirmatively over and over again. Whether your brother is your identical twin, an orphaned child, an unfortunate neighbor, or a stranger, each person deserves to be cared for.

Beginning in India, the story progresses to Africa where it remains until the protagonist immigrates to America. Marion, the narrator of this fictional autobiography, is one of a set of identical twins. His birth and life at the mission, Missing, provide the basis for the conflicts and triumphs contained in the novel. The historical backdrop, Ethiopia's internal conflicts and coups, impart additional depth to the book's realistic atmosphere. The title "Cutting for Stone" is taken from the Hippocratic oath, but may also reflect a double meaning. The biological father of the Marion and his twin, Shiva, is Thomas Stone, a famous surgeon. In what may be a subconscious effort to emulate and impress their absent parent, both become skilled surgeons. They are "Cutting for Stone".

This is one of the most outstanding books I have been privileged to read. Verghese is a skilled writer and draws the reader into the book immediately. The characters are strong, interesting, and very human; the conflicts are realistic and keep the pace of the novel moving forward. Even minor characters are sufficiently well developed so that the reader would like to know more about their lives. There is gentle humor, emotional turmoil, and great personal triumph throughout the book.

Allow yourself the luxury of time to read "Cutting for Stone" without interruption. If you do not, you will find yourself thinking about the characters and wondering what is going to happen to each one. In my opinion, that is the mark of a great book - the author has captured your attention and quietly demands you give it to nothing else. When a book as fine as "Cutting for Stone" is involved, you are more than happy to comply. You can, if necessary, read this book in multiple sessions without losing interest or forgetting what has previously occurred.

Had I been allowed to rate this book more than five stars, I would have done so. It is truly a masterpiece.



Book Description
With the insight, humor, and compassion we have come to expect from her, Maeve Binchy tells a story of family, friends, patients, and staff who are part of a heart clinic in a community caught between the old and the new Ireland.

Dr. Clara Casey has been offered the thankless job of establishing the underfunded clinic and agrees to take it on for a year. She has plenty on her plate already—two difficult adult daughters and the unwanted attentions of her ex-husband—but she assembles a wonderfully diverse staff devoted to helping their demanding, often difficult patients.

Before long the clinic is established as an essential part of the community, and Clara must decide whether or not to leave a place where lives are saved, courage is rewarded, and humor and optimism triumph over greed and self-pity.

Heart and Soul is Maeve Binchy at her storytelling best.


Review

"Good-hearted [and] entertaining...[Heart and Soul] reflects a pervasive generosity of spirit [and] offers many honest pleasures." –Bill Sheehan, The Washington Post

"Another delightful Binchyesque amalgamation of intersecting lives...the collective, charming effect of these story lines suggests that individuals are more connected than they might think." –Publishers Weekly

"Only a curmudgeon could resist this master of cheerful, read-by-the-fire comfort." –Kirkus Reviews

"Interweaving the domestic narratives of a dissimilar collection of individuals is beloved Binchy's stock-in-trade, and once again, she does so with sublime ease, inventively engaging readers through a reassuring and persuasive combination of gracious warmth, gentle humor, and genuine affection." –Carol Haggas, Booklist

“Ambitious and intelligently conceived...A heart clinic is really the perfect metaphor for how this book feels. It's a warm and comfy world [and reading Heart and Soul is] not unlike getting a hug from your mother...Binchy's millions-strong readership...will not be disappointed.” –William Kowalski, The Globe and Mail (Toronto)

"Oh, the bliss...Maeve's back, on top form...The heart is the theme, literally and metaphorically, and this is heartwarming stuff–sweet but never cloying." –The Times

"[Maeve Binchy] knows how to fashion a minor drama into a crisis, and the book rattles along from one gripping story to another, leaving the reader with a satisfying glow...It does exactly what it says on the tin: gives heart and soul." –Daily Mail

"[Heart and Soul] brings together the secret hopes and dreams of a disparate group of characters...with [Binchy's] trademark warmth and empathy." –Irish Sunday Independent

"Maeve Binchy's latest novel is packed as usual with wonderful characters...Full of warmth, caring and commonsense." –CHOICE

Warm and real, October 18, 2008
By Sissel M. Østdahl "smaureen" (Norway)


It's something comforting about Maeve Binchy's books. The cliché about a book being like a good friend, is so very right in her case. Of course, one is interested in finding out what happens to the characters, but there is no hurry. In the case of this book, it is much more preferable to sit down with a cup of tea and read quietly a couple of hours before going to bed.

"Heart and Soul" is a book to be devoured and there are many actors on the stage in Dublin. First there is Clara Casey, senior cardiac specialist at a new heart clinic at St. Brigid's Hospital, Clara's two daughters Adi and Linda, who in their twenties are having trouble settling down and finally, her ex-husbandf Alan, who is asking Clara for a divorce in order to marry a much younger woman.

Coming to work at the clinic is also Ania, a young girl who has travelled from Poland in ord to mend a broken heart. Young Doctor Declan Carroll was originaly meant to spend a six-month posting at the clinic but meats beautiful nurse Fiona. And then there is Father Bryan Flynn, whose life is turned upside down when his reputation is threatened.

Extra spice is added when we also meet old friends from both "Scarlet Feather", "Evening Class", "Quentins", "Nights of Rain and Stars" and "Whitethorn Woods". Nora, who is still called Signora, & Aidan, and Brenda at Quentins, where Declan takes Fiona out to dinner for the first time.

"Heart and Soul" is a book about ordinary people with ordinary lives. Joy and sorrow, struggle and hopes. And as always, the author shows us the importance of the small things i life - which often do not prove so small after all.

Maeve Binchy is a wonderful storyteller, who has once again written a book which grows on the reader and is slowly creeping into our heart and soul.

Enjoy!

Obama: The Historic Journey (Hardcover)


Product Description
From the paper of record, the incredible journey of President Barack Obama up to and including the inauguration, with beautiful four-color photos and stellar storytelling, packaged by Callaway.

This is the remarkable story of Barack Obama’s journey to the White House, as told by the greatest cultural recorders in the world, the staff of The New York Times. From the first mention of Barack Obama in its pages (when he was elected president of the Harvard Law Review), to his electrifying speech at the 2004 Democratic Convention, to the days and months of the hardfought, innovative campaign for Presidency, The New York Times has documented, recorded, and analyzed Obama in all the ways that he has irrevocably changed this country.

In twelve rich chapters, filled with award-winning photos and graphics, as well as text from Nobel Prize and Pulitzer–winning columnists like Paul Krugman and Thomas Friedman, and seasoned political reporters like Adam Nagourney, The New York Times tells Obama’s unlikely and incredible journey from the beginning all the way to his inauguration as President of the United States. Jill Abramson, the managing editor of the Times will provide biographical text and Bill Keller, the executive editor, will pen the introduction. Throughout, there will be profiles of important figures in Obama’s life and the campaign— Valerie Jarrett, Hillary Clinton, John McCain, his parents and grandparents, and Michelle Obama. Obama’s own writing, from his memoirs and speeches across the country, will be included, along with what will surely be an iconic, groundbreaking speech—his Inauguration Day speech.

This book will be a treasured cultural document and the pinnacle of election coverage. This is the best of the best showcasing the most extraordinary political event of recent times.

About the Author
Jill Abramson is the managing editor of The New York Times and former Washington bureau chief. Bill Keller is the executive editor of The New York Times.

Exciting, February 16, 2009
By Anne E. Browder (West Hyattsville, MD)


I saw this book and a representative from the New York Times on The Today Show this morning and knew I had to have the book. I had collected a huge assortment of newspapers over the past few months. This book nicely pulls it all together pictorially, all along the campaign trail, the election and then the inauguration. I just ordered the book and can't wait until I receive it. In fact, I ordered two - one for a friend, and I will probably order more of them.

No Angel: My Harrowing Undercover Journey to the Inner Circle of the Hells Angels (Hardcover)


From Publishers Weekly
In this white-knuckler, ATF agent Dobyns infiltrates a chapter of the Hells Angels to show that, aside from much of the romance surrounding the group, it is indeed a violent gang. His investigations lead him through a fascinating cast of crystal meth-heads, gun runners, gang rapists and frauds. Dobyns and co-writer Johnson-Shelton tell a bracing story in straightforward prose that doesn't dilute any aspect of the toll his undercover act (a sprawling long-term investigation that penetrated deeper into the gang than any other) took on his life. A family guy who frequently finds himself taking calls from his worried wife while in the middle of an operation, Dobyns is brutally honest about how far his assignment takes him into the dark side and leaves the impression at the end that it's highly unlikely he will ever be able to totally return to undercover work (Hunter S. Thompson was beaten up while writing his 1967 take on the gang in Hell's Angels). From the medieval desert clan gatherings to breakneck-paced highway odysseys and high-noon showdowns, this is the real deal from an agent whose knack for the job and ability to transform it into elucidating reading recalls the story of Joe Pistone, aka Donnie Brasco. (Feb.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review
"Compulsively page-turning. The true story of Jay Dobyns, all-American dad and undercover cop running and gunning with the most dangerous outlaws in the USA. A high-velocity trip into a frightening American underworld told in rapid-fire, hard-boiled prose."
—Evan Wright, author of the national bestseller Generation Kill

“No Angel pushes narrative nonfiction to new limits…If you wondered whether the bravura writing of Truman Capote and Hunter S. Thompson has a legacy, look no further. Dobyns leads us into the wacky, white world of the Hell's Angels, and with empathy and precision forces us to admit that bikers are all-too human.”
—Sudhir Venkatesh, author of Gang Leader for a Day: A Rogue Sociologist Takes to the Streets

“Jay Dobyns is a hero. Out of a sense of duty, he closed his eyes and made a journey into Hell. For two years he walked through the valley of the shadow of death, but thankfully, he lived to tell this riveting story. Highly recommended!”
—William “Billy” Queen, Special Agent ATF, Ret. and New York Times bestselling author of Under and Alone

“A wild ride to the dark side. Jay Dobyns roars through the gritty underworld of organized crime that you never see in TV cop shows or read in the newspaper. He reveals the true, violent face of outlaw bikers — but also the tortured souls of the undercover cops who dare to infiltrate them.”
—Julian Sher, co-author Angels of Death: Inside the Bikers’ Global Crime Empire

"No Angel is an absolutely amazing account of one man's willingness to go above and beyond. Jay Dobyns, his team and those like them live life on the edge in an environment most can only imagine. This book provides a rare opportunity to share in the intensity, feel the... --This text refers to the Kindle Edition edition.

RICK "SHAQ" GOLDSTEIN SAYS: "TO CALL WHAT FOLLOWS... "WHITE-KNUCKLE"... WOULD BE LIKE CALLING A SEVERED LEG A SCRATCH!", February 11, 2009
By Rick Goldstein "Rick Shaq Goldstein" (Danville, Ca, USA)


"Donnie Brasco" was an FBI agent going undercover in the Mafia... "Covert" was a New Jersey State Trooper going undercover in the Mafia... and now we have an ALCOHOL, TOBACCO, AND FIREARMS (ATF) agent... going undercover in the Hells Angels... and let me warn you... that this true- life story... by ATF agent Jay Dobyns... aka Jay "Bird" Davis... is a non-stop adrenaline ride... whether... on... or... off... a motorcycle.

The reader is quickly brought up to speed regarding Jay's background which included playing wide receiver for the University Of Arizona Wildcats... where there may have been more talented players than Jay... but none liked hitting more than he did... and that personal characteristic... came in quite handy... when he put his life on the line with some mighty mean OMG (Outlaw Motorcycle Organizations) members... including... but not limited to the world famous HELLS ANGELS.

On one of Jay's first training missions... which involved following up on a warrant for an ex-con believed to be in possession of an illegal weapon... he wound up being held at gunpoint... and during the shootout that killed the ex-con... who was holding a gun to Jay's head... the ensuing "dying-quivers" in the now dead criminal's fingers... released a bullet from the death-gripped gun... that "went in between Jay's shoulder blades, just missed his spine, punctured the top of his left lung, and exited under his collarbone". Jay was left with a "SUCKING-CHEST-WOUND"... and almost died in the hospital. Rather than making him a gun-shy administrator... upon his recovery... the author stated: "THE BULLET PUT THE RUSH OF THE STREETS IN ME AND THROUGH ME. IT GUARANTEED I'D NEVER DIRECT ANYTHING BUT MYSELF, AND CONVINCED ME THAT LARGE DESKS WERE FOR CASTRATED DUMMIES. I THOUGHT, F*** THAT, I'M GONNA BE AN UNDERCOVER."

And so starts a story that's too amazing to be true... but true it is! The writing style is similar to Charlie Huston's "pedal-to-the-medal" novels... except for one major difference... this "ain't" a novel... it's true! Jay who's based in Arizona... where most of the action takes place... with side trips to California... and involves subordinates i.e.: snitches and CI's (Confidential informants)... trips to Mexico... where Federal Agents aren't allowed to go... Jay's first undercover operation which was designed to get "street-cred" with the Hells Angels... is code name: "OPERATION RIVERSIDE"... which involved illegal gun distribution. In addition to having his life constantly on the line infiltrating the worst of the worst OMG's... as Jay "Bird" Davis... Jay tries as hard as possible to somehow remain a positive Fatherly... and husband... presence... in his wife's and two kid's lives. As hard as it is to imagine... existing in the undercover role... try to envision... balancing the family role as well.

Here's a summary of his early juggling act... combining deadly undercover and Fatherhood: "WITHIN TWELVE WEEKS I'D PURCHASED A GRAB-BAG OF GUNS: A CZECHOSLOVAKIAN .32 CALIBER SEMIAUTO PISTOL; A ROHM .22 CALIBER REVOLVER; AN FIE MODEL A27 .25 CALIBER PISTOL; AN INTRATEC TEC-22, 9MM PISTOL WITH COMPATIBLE SILENCER; A SITES SPECTRE HC9 MM SEMIAUTO PISTOL; A RUGER .22 CALIBER MODEL 1022 RIFLE WITH A SAWED-OFF THIRTEEN-INCH BARREL; AND A COLT A/R-15 .223 CALIBER MACHINE GUN. I BOUGHT FORTY-ODD SILENCERS FROM HOLT, WITH McMANAMA ACTING AS A MIDDLEMAN. THE SILENCERS, THE MACHINE GUN, THE SAWED-OFF, AND THE TEC-22 WITH THE SILENCER WERE ALL BANNED WEAPONS. I WAS NEVER ASKED TO FILL OUT ANY PAPERWORK, AS I'D ALWAYS IMPLIED TO THEM THAT I WAS USING THEM FOR KILLS OR THAT I WAS RUNNING THEM SOUTH TO MEXICO TO SELL AT A MARKUP. I DANCED AROUND FOUR MURDER SOLICITATIONS, DELAYING OR BLUFFING, NEVER ACTUALLY KILLING ANYONE FOR MONEY. THEY ALL KEPT ME VERY BUSY."

I'd say so... in addition... his son Jack... kept him busy also. During this time period Jay "made sure to drive down to Tucson twice a week to coach a rabid gang of seven-and-eight-year olds in a T-Ball league." During the entire "OPERATION-RIVERSIDE" he never missed a game, even if he had to drive the entire night.

From that operation... Jack gets involved in "OPERATION-BLACK-BISCUIT"... the actual infiltration of the daunting... and infamous... Hells Angels. During these operations, the reader is treated to a firsthand viewing... of the true "reeking" underbelly of the OMG life(?)style. Here's where the writing style... in addition to its breakneck speed... fully and non-deferentially... describes the decaying humanity... that is all too prevalent... at the other end... of the falsely glamorized... life... of... drugs... guns... misogyny... and all the other criminal... excesses... that remain like... human residue... that even a good storm... can't wash away.

Some examples: "WE WERE LED TO A VIP AREA THAT WAS OCCUPIED BY A FEW OTHER ANGELS AND A SNARL OF SCANTILY CLAD WOMEN. SOME WERE ATTRACTIVE, SOME LOOKED LIKE MUD-FLAPS ON A SNOWY DAY IN MARCH."

"I GAZED ON A CLASSIC METH TRAMP: LINED FACE, SHATTERED TEETH, SUNKEN EYES, BLEACH BLOND HAIR, HER WAIST BULGING OVER HER CUTOFFS"

"THEY STABBED HER REPEATEDLY. THEY TOOK TURNS TRYING TO CUT OFF HER HEAD, WHICH THEY WANTED TO LEAVE ON A FENCEPOST FOR THE VULTURES. HER SPINE GAVE THEM TROUBLE. THEY HACKED AND WEDGED THE KNIFE'S POINT INTO THE VERTEBRA, BUT IT REMAINED STUBBORN."

If you want to see a romanticized version of OMG life... rent a movie... you want to learn about the dregs of society... read this book.

Lords of Finance: The Bankers Who Broke the World (Hardcover)


Review
“Ahamed cannot have foreseen how timely his book would be. Unlike most works on the origins of the Great Depression, Lords of Finance is highly readable – enlivened by vivid biographical detail but soundly based on the literature. That it should appear now, as history threatens to repeat itself, compounds its appeal.”
— Niall Ferguson, Financial Times

“Erudite, entertaining macroeconomic history of the lead-up to the Great Depression as seen through the careers of the West’s principal bankers…Spellbinding, insightful and, perhaps most important, timely.”
—Kirkus Reviews (starred)

Product Description
With penetrating insights for today, this vital history of the world economic collapse of the late 1920s offers unforgettable portraits of the four men whose personal and professional actions as heads of their respective central banks changed the course of the twentieth century

It is commonly believed that the Great Depression that began in 1929 resulted from a confluence of events beyond any one person’s or government’s control. In fact, as Liaquat Ahamed reveals, it was the decisions taken by a small number of central bankers that were the primary cause of the economic meltdown, the effects of which set the stage for World War II and reverberated for decades.

In Lords of Finance, we meet the neurotic and enigmatic Montagu Norman of the Bank of England, the xenophobic and suspicious Émile Moreau of the Banque de France, the arrogant yet brilliant Hjalmar Schacht of the Reichsbank, and Benjamin Strong of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, whose façade of energy and drive masked a deeply wounded and overburdened man. After the First World War, these central bankers attempted to reconstruct the world of international finance. Despite their differences, they were united by a common fear—that the greatest threat to capitalism was inflation— and by a common vision that the solution was to turn back the clock and return the world to the gold standard.

For a brief period in the mid-1920s they appeared to have succeeded. The world’s currencies were stabilized and capital began flowing freely across the globe. But beneath the veneer of boom-town prosperity, cracks started to appear in the financial system. The gold standard that all had believed would provide an umbrella of stability proved to be a straitjacket, and the world economy began that terrible downward spiral known as the Great Depression.

As yet another period of economic turmoil makes headlines today, the Great Depression and the year 1929 remain the benchmark for true financial mayhem. Offering a new understanding of the global nature of financial crises, Lords of Finance is a potent reminder of the enormous impact that the decisions of central bankers can have, of their fallibility, and of the terrible human consequences that can result when they are wrong.

The Four Bankers of Apocalypse, January 25, 2009
By Izaak VanGaalen (San Francisco, CA USA)


Liaquat Ahamed, a former World Bank economist and investment fund manager, began research on this book long before the current financial crisis, having no idea of the relevance it would have upon its publication. It is a history of the financial and economic turmoil that began in 1914 and didn't really end until after World War II. He traces the development of this crisis through the lives and actions of four central bankers: Benjamin Strong of the Federal Reserve of New York, Montagu Norman of the Bank of England, Emile Morceau of the Banque de France, and Hjalmer Schacht of the Reichsbank of Germany. The liquidity crisis of 1914 has suddenly become a subject of interest as it bears relevance to today's problems.

Ahamed's central thesis is that the critical decisions made by these four bankers not only caused the Great Depression but also created the conditions for World War II. The most fateful event of all was the decision to adhere to the gold standard. In retrospect, tying the amount of currency a country has in circulation to the amount of gold it has in its vaults appears arbitrary and nonsensical. However, it seemed like a good idea at the time, it provided a universal standard against which countries could stablize their currencies. Unfortunately it became a straight jacket which gave them little room to maneuver.

When the big four bankers came into power in the mid-1920s, the use of the gold standard actually seemed to be working, currencies were stabalized and capital was once again flowing. The problem however was that there was not enough gold in existence to proide enough capital to finance world trade. According to Ahamed, this was the central flaw in the financial system that led to the Crash of 1929 and the subsequent Great Depression. Of course, the chain of events was more complicated than that and Ahamed recognizes the complexity. Each of the four bankers and their respective countries were pursuing their own agendas as opposed to trying to save the system as a whole, the gold standard was the proverbial straw that broke the camel's back.

Ahamed has written an interesting history of what otherwise would be a fairly dull story. It makes one think about flaws in the system - like sub-prime mortgages, derivatives and the excessive use of credit - and how things could have been different if they had been recognized earlier.

Central Banks in the First 40 years of the 20th Century, February 7, 2009
By Donald Costello "dcnj1" (Bridgewater, NJ United States)


First, let me say that this is an extremely well written book. I was expecting to have to plow through the usual dreadful writing that finance and economics seems to generate. To my surprise I found a book that was crisp, clear, and interesting. Fun, in fact. Second, the author covers a period and a topic that is sadly neglected in most histories - the inter-war period, and especially the financial events that played a major role in the rise of Hitler and the origins of the Second World War.

The book is primarily the story of 4 Central Banks - those of the US, England, France, and Germany, and of the heads of those banks. The book actually covers a longer span than the inter-war period, it includes important information about the banks just prior to the First World War, their activities during the war, and extends into the Second World War. The lead-in is especially important, because it explains so much of what happened during the inter-war period.

The events are too complicated to review in detail, but the author explains them well and shows how the personalities of the Bankers as well as the politics of the times influenced events. Let us just say, mistakes were made.

My one quibble with the book is that the author is rather unsparing in his criticism of the bankers. Although this is somewhat justified, I ended up feeling sympathetic to at least the heads of the US Federal Reserve and the Governor of the Bank of England. Their primary fault was an inability to see beyond the conventional economic wisdom of the times. In point of fact, the only person who seemed to get it right during this time was Maynard Keynes. If we are to judge everyone against the standard of the most brilliant mind in their field, very very few of us are going to come out well.

The most important point the book makes is how factors other than purely economic issues play a role in making economic decisions, but how the consequences of those economic decisions then rebound onto the wider political history of the times. While the book deals with a different time and political landscape, the parallels to our own times are VERY frightening. The author does not emphasize the parallels, and the book was actually completed before many parallel events occurred. To my mind that just makes them more compelling.

Bicycles: Love Poems (Hardcover)


by Nikki Giovanni (Author)

Product Description

In a career that has earned her accolades, honorary degrees, and awards from both fellow poets and everyday poetry lovers, Nikki Giovanni has established herself as a writer who can entertain and challenge, inform and inspire. Sometimes controversial, sometimes ethereal, but always beautiful, her poems move readers of all hues and generations.

With Bicycles, she's collected poems that serve as a companion to her 1997 Love Poems. An instant classic, that book—romantic, bold, and erotic—expressed notions of love in ways that were delightfully unexpected. In the years that followed, Giovanni experienced losses both public and private. A mother's passing, a sister's, too. A massacre on the campus at which she teaches. And just when it seemed life was spinning out of control, Giovanni redis-covered love—what she calls the antidote. Here romantic love—and all its manifestations, the physical touch, the emotional pull, the hungry heart—is distilled as never before by one of our most talented poets.


About the Author

Poet, activist, mother, and professor, Nikki Giovanni is a three-time NAACP Image Award winner and the first recipient of the Rosa Parks Woman of Courage Award, and holds the Langston Hughes Medal for Outstanding Poetry. The author of twenty-seven books and a Grammy nominee for The Nikki Giovanni Poetry Collection, she is the University Distinguished Professor/English at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia, and an Oprah Living Legend.

Trust & Balance, January 20, 2009
By Phyllis Rhodes (Orlando, FL USA)


Nikki Giovanni celebrates her 65 years with 65 poems following in the tradition of her well-received earlier release, Love Poems, and expands on the nuances, notions, and manifestations of love. She taps into the senses: the instant physiological reactions of seeing a lover or loved one regardless of whether they are a revered figure (in an ode to "Free Huey") or familial as reflected in "Christmas Laughter." Tastes are echoed in the references of food seasoned just right and prepared with the right dose of tender loving care. Hearing and touching are featured in several pieces devoted to jazz and the influence music has in the art of love and loving. "Love Luther" is dedicated to the love that Luther Vandross inspired with his melodic voice and songs that begat a generation. She does not let us forget the power of memories elicited from the whiff of a lover's cologne, smell of "him" on his shirt, or revisiting his essence on the sweat-soaked sheets the morning after. Filled with metaphors Miss Nikki reminds us that love can be experienced everywhere at all times from many sources even our ancestors, our families, our friends, ourselves. We must be patient and mindful of it for it is a loving balm that can strengthen and renew us when we need it most.

Opening and closing with reflections on the Virginia Tech massacre, she shares her observations and lessons learned that love can lift anyone from the depth of tragedy. There are other works in the collection that mention the peace and protection love can bring, the sacrifices loved ones make, and the joy it offers. There is something for everyone in this compact offering because she covers the concept in many settings and from many angles. Bicycles is a short, sweet, enjoyable collection that is easily absorbed into the soul.

Reviewed by Phyllis
January 19, 2009

Get Motivated!: Overcome Any Obstacle, Achieve Any Goal and Accelerate Your Success with Motivational DNA (Hardcover)


by Tamara Lowe (Author)
Review


“Revolutionary and inspiring! Whether you are a new college graduate, entrepreneur, or executive, Get Motivated! is a must-read.”
Rick Belluzzo, former president & COO, Microsoft

“This is an eye-opening and empowering book that will help you in your personal and professional life. I encourage you to Get Motivated! and read this book.”
John C. Maxwell, New York Times bestselling author of The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership

“If you want to get in shape and improve your quality of life, this is the book for you!"
Dr. Earl Mindell, author of Vitamin Bible and Prescription Alternatives

“If you manage employees, work with children, or have employees who act like children—read Get Motivated! You’ll learn to motivate everyone from kids to adults, with outstanding results!”
Brian Tracy, personal and professional development expert

“I am inspired! Tamara Lowe does not just offer career motivation, but has a whole section in Get Motivated devoted to showing parents how to motivate their children.”
Heather Whitestone McCallum, Miss America

“Rule #1 for a successful life is to read Get Motivated and get going!"
Phil Town, MSNBC/CNBC financial analyst, author of New York Times #1 bestseller, Rule #1

“A great read for sales pros!
Tom Hopkins, bestselling author of How to Master the Art of Selling

“If you want to live a more productive life this is a must-read.”
George H. Ross, executive vice president & senior counsel, The Trump Organization

“Get Motivated! is AWESOME BABY, WITH A CAPITAL A!”
Dick Vitale, ESPN
--This text refers to the Kindle Edition edition.

Review
“Identifying drive as the single greatest key to success in every area of life, [Tamara Lowe] investigates its origins, concluding that everyone is hardwired with a specific motivational pattern, or DNA, and that anyone can nurture and harness its potential in themselves, their children and coworkers…Full of practical tools and techniques (including a useful “Goal Achievement Blueprint”), this refreshing and inspirational book is sure to keep readers on a path to self-realized, self-motivated success.”
Publishers Weekly

“Revolutionary and inspiring! Whether you are a new college graduate, entrepreneur, or executive, Get Motivated! is a must-read.”
Rick Belluzzo, former president & COO, Microsoft

“This is an eye-opening and empowering book that will help you in your personal and professional life. I encourage you to Get Motivated! and read this book.”
John C. Maxwell, New York Times bestselling author of The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership

“If you want to get in shape and improve your quality of life, this is the book for you!"
Dr. Earl Mindell, author of Vitamin Bible and Prescription Alternatives

“If you manage employees, work with children, or have employees who act like children—read Get Motivated! You’ll learn to motivate everyone from kids to adults, with outstanding results!”
Brian Tracy, personal and professional development expert

“I am inspired! Tamara Lowe does not just offer career motivation, but has a whole section in Get Motivated devoted to showing parents how to motivate their children.”
Heather Whitestone McCallum, Miss America

“Rule #1 for a successful life is to read Get Motivated and get going!"
Phil Town, MSNBC/CNBC financial analyst, author of New York Times #1 bestseller, Rule #1

“A great read for sales pros!"
Tom Hopkins, bestselling author of How to Master the Art of Selling

“If you want to live a more productive life this is a must-read.”
George H. Ross, executive vice president & senior counsel, The Trump Organization

“Get Motivated! is AWESOME BABY, WITH A CAPITAL A!”
Dick Vitale, ESPN

Get Motivated - Best Motivation Book I've Ever Read, February 12, 2009
By John Volinsky (Sacramento, CA USA)


When I saw the title of this book I thought, what a timely book for a day and age when motivation is needed more than ever. Of course, I did wonder, would it deliver? As I read the book I was surprised at how applicable it was to the many challenges that I'm facing as a leader of a national organization, a father and a husband. Rarely do you find a book that speaks to developing both your business skills and personal skills. However, the principles in this book had clear application to all facets of my life. I found myself stopping and taking notes about how I can implement some of the great lessons discovered in these pages. Tamara's writing style is very engaging and practical. I liked the way the book is laid out with assessments and studies of real life leaders and how their motivational styles influence their leadership. I ordered copies for all of my employees and have asked them to take the Motivation DNA survey in order to discover better how to relate together as a team. I'm also working on applying the principles at home and in my personal life. I've discovered that I tend to try and motivate my children through the things that motivate me which can often be ineffective and leave us both frustrated. As I've worked to motivate my kids in their unique style, I have seen better results. The only thing I wish were different about the book was I wish I had it 20 years ago. If you want to grow as a leader and unleash the power of motivation to help you achieve more, I would recommend you order this book today and choose express shipping.

Ten Prayers God Always Says Yes To: Divine Answers to Life's Most Difficult Problems (Paperback)


From Publishers Weekly
Books on prayer are legion, most often focusing on why we should pray and how to do it correctly. DeStefano, author of A Travel Guide to Heaven, offers readers a refreshing look at this evergreen topic by focusing on 10 prayers God "always" answers. "Why don't people take advantage of prayers that work? One big reason is that they are so caught up in prayers that don't always work," says DeStefano. He offers readers this guarantee: "before you even get to the last page of this book, your life will begin to change before your eyes." Prayers include "God, show me that you exist," "God, forgive me," "God, give me courage" and "God, lead me to my destiny." DeStefano uses the Christian Bible as the foundation for his work, not offering quick fixes but instead expounding on the need for true repentance, right motives and genuine commitment. More conservative camps will most likely cluck at what they see as DeStefano's lack of firmness about salvation as a prerequisite to both heard and answered prayer, but a careful reading shows that the author understands faith, not selfishness, is the foundation for these prayers. His cheerful style and heartfelt faith make this an optimistic look at a timeless subject. (May)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Review

Advance Praise for Ten Prayers God Always Says Yes To

“Why are some of our prayers answered while some are not? How do we get God’s attention? How do we get the divine ‘Yes’? In a simple, straightforward style, Anthony DeStefano takes on the mysteries of prayer. He casts a wide net to appeal to all Christians everywhere without compromising the gospel one iota. The title alone, Ten Prayers God Always Says Yes To, will attract even people who aren’t believers but who cry out for help in the night. For them, the first prayer: ‘God, show me that you exist’ can be a life-changer. But don’t stop there. Read it all. It could revolutionize your prayer life.”

Pastor Jack Hayford
President, International Church of the Foursquare Gospel
Founding Pastor, The Church on the Way


“Polls tell us that most Americans believe in prayer. However, most admit they don't spend much time praying, nor do they think it is very productive. This remarkable book can make a difference for anyone who wants to pray with results. Anthony DeStefano shares insights on prayer that are practical, workable, and attainable. Everyone can profit from reading this book!”

Dr. Paul Cedar
Chairman, CEO, Mission America Coalition


“Do we really need another book on prayer? We certainly need this one! Ten Prayers God Always Says Yes To is remarkably different and refreshingly direct. It takes the reader straight to the heart of the issue of answered prayer and leaves him or her there wanting more—of God, of course. This book will go on my shelf beside the great classics on prayer.”

Dr. Dick Eastman
President, Every Home for Christ
President of America’s National Prayer Committee


“Anthony DeStefano has once again drawn his readers into the mystery of God’s love and invited us to reflect m... --This text refers to the Kindle Edition edition.

Bad title, great book, May 4, 2007
By Jeffrey Miller "The Curt Jester" (Jacksonville, FL)


When I received this book by Anthony Destefano I can't say I was very enthused to read it. The title for me was pretty offsetting and I had a totally different idea of the contents of the book then the actual contents of the book. The title invoked for me the idea of the "Name it and claim it" theology bandied about by some Protestants, especially some on TV.

The actual book though is quite different from what I expected. The author actually disparages "Name it and claim it" theology and has produced a very worthwhile book. The ten chapters in the book address each of the prayers that author says God will answer starting from "God, show me that you exist. The book is filled with realistic and practical ways to address God in prayer by outlining why these ten petition to God will work.

Prayer is not candy-coated in anyway and Anthony Destefano does not offer cheap grace. Instead whether he is talking about knowing the existence of God, dealing with suffering, forgiveness, generosity, etc he is able to relate it in terms easily understood. He also does not make the mistake of making prayer merely a method and that the point of prayer is that we are talking to someone and that someone is God as a person.

Throughout the book he uses examples form St. Thomas Aquinas, C.S. Lewis, Fr. Corapi and many others to drive home the points he is making. I learned reading the book that he is also a Catholic (in fact Fr. Frank Pavone was once his parish priest). The book at times does make some specifically Catholic points when he is talking about the ten prayers, but for the most part he is obviously writing to a general audience so this is a book for pretty much anybody.

His writing style is quite enjoyable and I found myself reading large chunks of the book before putting it down. Better thought is that the book is practical on a day-to-day level and you can immediately start thinking along the lines of taking his suggestions. Sometimes you can read some fact over and over and then one person can take that knowledge you already had and make it usable. This is exactly what Anthony Destefano has done.

I hope this book is as successful as his first book and that it will receive a wide audience, it is certainly a book that deserves that and I think it will be extremely helpful to many persons whether they might be fallen-away Christians or others already well along the journey of faith.