How to Win a Chestnut Fight By Albert Dell’Apa

Title: How to Win a Chestnut Fight

Author: Albert Dell’Apa

Date: 2010

How to Win a Chestnut Fight is an adult ‘coming of age’ story  The Desanctis family is called together to be with their father the stalwart family patriarch suddenly facing his own mortality. Andy, the successful kid brother and his brother Rick return to face their own personal demons.

The small town ‘ghosts’ of their past are reminiscent of any small town childhood of Small Town, Anywhere.  Andy and his brother Rick’s childhood foibles and indiscretions haunt them into their adulthood. The shame and fear of the memories and the potential consequences have kept Andy away for many, many years. Now he is back and those memories hit him squarely between the eyes.

Dell’Apa has done a good job of making us sympathetic to the three DeSanctis siblings; however, much of the story is merely delivered to the reader. The author, while painting a clear picture of all the characters gives us much of the back story in lengthy passages where the reader would have preferred to have the story unfold through dialogue. The story is good, rich with details, and worthy of the read. The journey that Andy takes back to find “home” and to understand and embrace its true meaning is told poignantly and convincingly.  How to Win a Chestnut Fight is a solid first effort by Albert Dell’ Apa.


Miss Hildreth Wore Brown – Anecdotes of a Southern Belle by Olivia deBelle Byrd

Title: Miss Hildreth Wore Brown Anecdotes of a Southern Belle

Author: Olivia deBelle Byrd

Publisher: Morgan James

Date: 2010

Miss Hidreth is the quintessential southern lady. She is prim and proper and full of quirky insights into the relationships of the people around her. She has peculiar tastes and magnolia tainted observations of births, graduations, weddings, and a myriad of other social gatherings so prevalent in southern culture. She is a paragon of platitudes!

Olivia Byrd had crafted a fun and giddy look into the world of Miss Hilreth. Her descriptions of southern ladies and gentlemen is a fun frolicking romp into the world of camelia scented sitting rooms served up with a side order of bourbon over crushed ice and simple syrup in silver Jefferson cups. Charming, light, and a romping good read, Miss Hilldreth Wore Brown Anecdotes of a Southern Belle is just the start for MS Byrd, it is certain that a lady of her fine breeding and cultured background has many more stories to share with her eager audience.

A Heart Apart – A Customizable Book by Melissa Seligman and Christina Piper

Title: A Heart ApartA Heart Apart - The Perfect book for a child whose parent is deployed.

Author/Illustrator: Melissa Seligman and Christina Piper

Date: 2010

Military children have so little literature out there that illustrates the difficulties and sadness that goes with repeated deployments and TDY’s. Seligman and Piper have created an amazing picture book with A Heart Apart that is perfect for the military child whose parent must be away in service to the country. Told from the perspective of a service star, this darling book tells the story so familiar to our military families: painful goodbyes, the wonder of what a parent is doing while they are gone, whether they think about their family as often as those left behind think of them, and the all important always exciting reunion.

Told through personal photos provided by family members of both the child(ren) and the service member in and out of uniform as well as customized to the service branch, this book is an excellent tool for the military family.  Use this book over and over on those really long and especially taxing days of deployment for any small military child. They really are the smallest heroes of our military. If you have a ‘brat’ in your heart…they need A Heart Apart.

The Three Strategies of the Unstoppable Woman by Britt Santowski

Britt Santowski The Three Strategies of the Unstoppable WomanTitle: The Three Strategies of the Unstoppable Woman

Author: Britt Santowski

Publisher Aviva

Date: 2010

Britt Santowski’s book The Three Strategies of the Unstoppable Woman is a solid “awaken you to your life” kind of book. Santowski’s premise to kick the reader into gear is to focus on three basic strategies: Accountability, Collaboration, and Initiative. Following her basic blueprint for change set forth in the The Three Strategies of the Unstoppable Woman, the reader move toward achievable realistic personal goals and figure out how to truly grow and take the hard steps that result in real lasting change.

Filled with useful exercises for achieving clarity, tips for success, and a call to action after every instructional objective, this is a good book to help you make the break through you have been trying to find that propels you to the next level of your personal and professional success. Santowski’s book is a good book for anyone seeking to dig down within them self for the empowerment they know is necessary to reach the next level of personal growth and development. Get out of your comfort zone, do the real work it takes to change, and use The Three Strategies of the Unstoppable Woman to achieve your individual aspirations.

The Three Strategies of the Unstoppable Woman should be in the hands of every young woman entering college, graduate school or the professional world. This book has so many good nuggets that you will want to savor it with your book club, women’s group, or professional networking organization. Brit Santowski’s book should be required reading for young people. While targeted toward women, this book has universal appeal. The Three Strategies of the Unstoppable Woman is a must read.

We’ve Never Had a King – Guests of the State by Brad and Mary Bradbury

Title: We’ve Never Had a King – Guests of the State

Author: Brad and Mary Bradbury

Date: 2010

Publisher: Outskirts Press

We’ve Never Had a King is a memoir of collected stories and experiences of Brad and Mary Bradbury and the life they shared overseas while Brad was an adviser to the Oil Ministry in the 1950’s era Kingdom of Iraq. Mostly anecdotal and charming in places, the book covers Brad and Mary’s young married life and the difficulties, experiences, and aha moments of living abroad in what is an emerging nation.

While the book has moments of funny almost irreverent stories and vignettes there are also long pauses of mundane stories that add little to the book. It is difficult to tell what is the point of the book as it is rather eclectic and discombobulated as on one page there is a story about churches and on the next gift giving and dog castration. The book would benefit from a good developmental edit where the pieces of stories are tied by theme or function. While not a bad read it is definitely one that takes time to plow through despite the short succinct narrative. The reader will find themselves trying to make sense of the ebb and flow of the stories.  Charming in places, informative of the life of ex-pats in Iraq during the 1950’s, the book is not bad, it just feels like a rough draft craving a revision to connect the dots.

Complications – A Doctor’s Love Story by Linda Gromko

Title: Complications – A Doctor’s Love Story

Author: Linda Gromko

Publisher: Bainbridge Books

Date: 2009

Complications - A Doctor's Love StoryBainbridge Island, WA is a bucolic Seattle commuter community. Tight knit groups form from years of ferry commutes, PTA committees, and summers spent crabbing and clamming on the tiny island’s shores. A perfect place to meet, fall in love, and raise a family little did the single mom of a grown son busy with her commuter life to her Queen Anne family practice ever think she would fall in love and raise a family again…Then she falls hard for Steve and his lovely young daughter Brita.

Love is complicated enough at middle age, adding a young child to the mix makes it a bit more delicate of a situation, but then toss in a new husband’s kidney disease and life gets really stick fast. Linda, a Board Certified Family Practice Physician, former nurse practitioner, mother, and wife tells her family’s story lovingly, poignantly, and through the knowing eyes of a doctor. Full of hope, commitment, and a love that shines through it all, this memoir is so compelling and filled with unique perspectives that it should be in the hands of every family, advocacy group, caregiver, and physician who works with patients with kidney disease.

Excellently written, Complications-A Doctor’s Love Story is a warm, heart-felt story of finding love and living life large despite the difficulties of a life-threatening disease.

World Famous – How to Give Your Business a Kick-Ass Brand Identity by David Tyreman

Title: World Famous – How to Give Your Business a Kick-Ass Brand Identitydavid tyreman world famous brand identity

Author: David Tyreman

Publisher: Amacom

Date: 2009

Struggling with your brand identity? Looking for ways to breathe life into your existing brand? Do you stand out from the crowd? If you are unclear on what is your brand and what it is you deliver you need this book. If you are looking to really hone in on your brand image, your message, and your uniqueness in an overcrowded marketplace, this book is a must have for your desk.  World Famous is a solid guide book to help you get really clear on your goals, your niche, and your brand.

David Tyreman’s book World Famous – How to Give Your Business a Kick-Ass Brand Identity gives the reader real strategies and techniques to grow any business with measurable results. If you want to differentiate your brand this book is a tremendous resource for helping your to define and communicate your brand in a way that is uniquely yours. World Famous is a useful tool for helping you pull everything together in your business in a way that is inspiring and candid. It is not only full of easy to follow text but also easy to implement strategies that really work! David Tyreman’s previous brand building experience in the corporate world paired with his uniquely direct yet entertaining approach to branding and business makes this a solid marketing book that will inspire you in your business.