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    1. I bought this book. It’s beautiful and brings a smile to your face with each page. A reminder of how to get the most out of life. The perfect gift.

    2. A truly beautiful simulation of self esteem and the famous Royal Pug ! Wonderful Gift for Xmas.

    3. As a teen I found Engaging Adolescents to represent teenagers reasonably well. It did not label us as complete delinquents or social outcasts but fairly showcased teenage issues and typical teenage responses. I think the tips Hawton gave for handling these responses would work, as he gave examples with scripts of how to manage a civilized discussion rather than a full out argument. This book would probably be good for any adult to help them control their temper when talking things out with their children.

    4. Book Review
      Freya Haanen lives in Dunedin, New Zealand. She has always been fond of chickens, but since researching this book, she’s fallen in love with them even more.

      “You’ll find that humans ‘chicken out’ more often than chickens do” (Anonymous, p67)… a very apt viewpoint as I sit here watching one of my hens run the dog off the lawn. As a chicken owner, I felt drawn in a variety of ways to each quote with ‘Cluck’ and was pleased to be asked to review the book.

      Cluck is a 160 page, solid, hard-cover glossy book of happiness for chicken lovers. Each page features a high-quality photo of chickens in endearing positions and an accompanying quote. I sat and read the entire book, savouring the thought-provoking, entertaining or historical quotes, attributing one to myself:

      “Chickens are the gateway animal… It all starts off so innocently. You just want to try having a few chickens… and next thing you know, you’ve got turkeys, ducks, rabbits, goats, pigs, cows, llamas and a pony” (Lori Hernandez, Three Acre Farm, p91).
      My 48 Gold Partridge Brahmas, 5 Pekin ducks, 5 Indian Runner ducks, 8 llamas, and 2 Red Golden pheasants would probably not mind sharing their paddocks with a few more family members, but my husband might have a different opinion!

      Cluck is a beautiful book and would make an excellent coffee table addition or a special gift to any chicken fans out there; its content has no barrier to a worldwide audience. It is sensibly priced and is part of an ‘Animal Magic’ series of animal books “Woof” and “Spirit”, for horse lovers.

    5. Beautifully presented book that provides a potted history of botany illustrated with lovely images, both photographs and botanical illustrations. I particularly like the fact that the book features many female botanists who are uncredited in most conventional histories. It would make a good gift for a plant lover or avid gardener in your life. – Caitlin Fitzsimmons via GoodReads

    6. beautifully illustrated, puts a smile on your face

    7. This book is written by a scholarly and experienced psychotherapist who is signposting the way to journaling as a tool for personal development as well as personal resolution.
      There is no doubt of the benefits of expressive writing and capturing the minutes of your life for reflection. Alyss Thomas as spent decades compiling this information and here it is
      just for you set out with artistic flair in a way that will capture your imagination and creativity and help build your hope. If you can’t afford a therapist then journaling is for you. Whether you are addressing the positives or negatives or life journaling is a way forward. I highly recommend this book by this knowledgeable author – buy it for someone you love if you want to see them thrive.
      Dr. Joanna North M.A.

    8. Thank you, Bryce, for that lovely – and dare I say intriguing for those who are yet to read it – review of my book. It was such a joy to create “Once, I was Loved” and I hope it brings as much joy, and hope, to those who read it. But a word of warning… if you think it was hard to read this book and stay dry-eyed, imagine how many tissues I went through creating it! X

    9. Happy Anniversary, Danni Thank you for your work on Arabella and the Magic Pencil and all of the many, many things that you do to bring great books to readers

    10. Thanks Holly for all of your work on Arabella and the Magic Pencil! It’s so nice having your support here in the U.K.!

    11. CLUCK, A book of happiness for chicken lovers (EXISLE Publishing) is a joy to read and see. The layout is perfect – a collection of brilliant photography with quotes and proverbs from around the world.

      With full page close-ups of chickens involved in their daily doings on the left page, the right page expresses words of wisdom, humor, uncommon sense, tenderness, introspection and inspiration – even a baby chick must make it out of the egg, never mind cross the road. (The book solves that mystery!)

      I think of my friends when I read Bernard Meltzer’s “A true friend is someone who thinks that you are a good egg even though he knows that you are slightly cracked.” Or self-forgiveness with the Danish Proverb: “Even clever hens sometimes lay their eggs among nettles.” And truth laced with humor by Margaret Thatcher: “The cocks may crow but it is the hens that lay the eggs.”

      Susan Orlean depicts the beginning of this writer’s life as a “cultivated” plant lover with this: “Keeping animals, I have learned, is all about water. Who even knew chickens drank water? I didn’t, but they do, and a lot.” Thus the dead cuttings on a high shelf in a cabin in a California forest.

      Others, whose quotes enrich this diversion from the mundane, include Lao Tzu and Peter Pan to CS Lewis, Eartha Kitt, Ralph Waldo Emerson and Evil Knievel.

      New Zealand editor Freya Haanen put together CLUCK because, as she says, “Chickens are massively underappreciated animals. They’re full of personality just like any other animal. It’s really for lovers of chickens, but I’d also like to think that it might help people who’ve never considered chickens as anything but ‘bird-brained’ to see them as something more.” They are curious and daring and she believes that humans chicken out more than chickens do.

      Freya is chickenless at the moment but gets her chicken fix when visiting her friends’ birds. “I just like to watch them, honestly. One of my friends has several chickens and several cats. Chickens LOVE cat food! If the cats are fed outside the chickens will come and bully the cats away from the food, and if the cats are fed inside the chickens will take advantage of every opportunity to run inside and steal as much cat food as they can fit in their bellies. She has ducks, too, and whenever the ducks fight, one of the chickens runs in to break it up.”

      Get this book. Keep it at close range and read it often. It will warm your heart, enlighten your brain, make you laugh and probably lower your blood pressure and stress level. It will take you away to a different world for a while. It’s for lovers of all critters – chicken, human, or otherwise. Give yourself a treat and buy this delicious book.

    12. Great plan, Exisle. When we think about how to decorate our house for the New Year, first of all, the images of a dressed-up Christmas tree and luminous garlands come to mind … Boring! Find an alternative to traditional accessories and make bright decorative details. Nothing helps to create a festive mood, as a joint creative activity in which all family members are involved. In general, the New Year is a special holiday. I know that dreams come true on this day. For example, last year I had a daughter. Good luck in the new year!

    13. Pete Carter has a unique style of writing which fits this type of book. He does not waste effort on necessary words and has the ability to captures the mood of whom or what he writes about. I am sure his follow up/extension to “This is us” will also be a great success!

    14. This is an amazing book. I have literally highlighted half the book, it is full of insights and brilliant exercises, and they hit the target spot on. It feels like a relief to be reading something that makes so much sense. It’s like they are putting all my thoughts into words. Thank you so much, really thank you.

    15. Intrepid Times introduces this colourful and stirring collection of travel anecdotes, recollections and harrowing incidents with the notion that ‘the difference between travel and adventure is the presence of fear’. I couldn’t agree more. Even a leisurely sojourn can morph into a heart-racing experience of dread when heightened by feelings of isolation and anxiousness brought about by an inability to understand the language, culture or motivations of the land through which you are trekking. But without this kind of innate unease, the edge of adventure is eroded. Excitement and a sense of triumph are sometimes best savored after your guts have roiled a little with terror.

      This is why I wrote about one of my fearful travel encounters and why I am deliriously proud to have it included in this anthology. But perhaps more telling, is how much I’ve enjoyed travelling again, albeit vicariously, through the tales of others. These true stories about staring down fear full in the face told through the eyes of fellow travellers, trekkers, and hustlers of life keen to, well … live… are truly emotional and inspirational. Not only do they entertain and enthrall (some causing audible gasping), they demonstrate the sheer tensile strength of the human will and our ability to endure. A quality, like this book, to value and revere.

    16. “The Blind Strategist: John Boyd and the American Art of War” by Stephen Robinson is a very interesting book on a number of levels. I have heard of John Boyd and his ‘OODA loop’ (for Observe, Orient, Decide, Act) but I had not read in depth about the man or his OODA loop; “a four-step approach to decision-making that focuses on filtering available information, putting it in context and quickly making the most appropriate decision while also understanding that changes can be made as more data becomes available”.

      It seems today that this theory can be utilized in nearly every human endeavour, from war, sports to commerce. This book looks at the development of this theory through the lens of the US Army’s struggle to find a war-winning formula after the Vietnam War debacle.

      The book is 352 pages in length (305 pages of narrative) with numerous B&W photographs and assorted maps covering various battles and conflicts. The book is divided into 11 main chapters after the author’s Introduction:

      Emergence of Maneuver Warfare
      The Maneuver Warfare Revolution
      History Written by the Vanquished
      The Father of Blitzkrieg
      Wehrmacht Operations Myth and Reality
      Riddle of the Stormtroopers
      Maneuver Warfare and Operational Art
      Maneuver Warfare and the Defense of NATO
      The Gulf War and the Illusion of Confirmation
      The War on Terror and the Return of Attrition
      Fourth Generation Warfare and Educating the Enemy

      In the book we read about the various war fighting theories put forward by various practitioners including; Deep battle/penetration, maneuver warfare, Active Defense, AirLand Battle, all looking for that battle winning formula. The author follows the development of these theories and their practical application, if pertinent, from the Battle of Cannae through to the modern conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

      A large section of the book is taken up with a discussion on the German WW1 stormtrooper tactics followed by the myth of the WW2 German Blitzkrieg. Following the end of the Second World War allies had become potential enemies. The United States had established the Historical Branch by the U.S. Army in 1943 and later the subsequent expansion into the Historical Division:

      “In 1946, the Historical Division established the German Military History Program to make better use of willing prisoners and over 700 Germans worked for the program, writing manuscripts on Wehrmacht operations. After most prisoners were released in 1947, around 400 participants continued their work as paid civilians.

      The emerging Cold War changed the program’s focus as the Army faced the real prospect of war with the Soviet Union, and its leadership felt that guidance from former Wehrmacht officers would be invaluable as they had immeasurable experience fighting the Red Army. The Americans had originally sought German reflections to help clarify the context of their operations but the Cold War massively increased demand for manuscripts on the Eastern Front. The Germans accordingly wrote manuscripts on how to fight the Red Army, effectively making themselves military advisers. General Dwight D. Eisenhower, the Army Chief of Staff, realized the importance of their work and supported the program’s continuation and the Germans had written over 2,500 manuscripts by 1954.”

      This process opened the door for the corruption of the historical record to suit the purposes of various people pushing their pet theories on strategy and warfare and also led to the 1950 ‘Himmerod memorandum’. Of which the author states:

      “This document advised the West German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer that a precondition of a West German Army included the release of Wehrmacht war criminals and the government would have to announce that German soldiers had fought honorably. Adenauer agreed and pressured the American Government to release war criminals in custody. The Cold War helped legitimize the myth of the Wehrmacht’s clean hands as the abandonment of trials and release of war criminals created an impression of innocence.”

      I read and loved those 1970’s classic accounts from German WW2 generals, including Guderian, Manstein and Rommel, however recent research has shown that the Wehrmacht does not have clean hands in regards to its operations during WW2 and blaming Hitler for all the bad or wrong decisions no longer stands up under close scrutiny. “The Blind Strategist” highlights how the selective use of these narratives amongst others were used to construct a war-winning battle theory, which was not realistically workable.

      As this quote in regards to Boyd’s OODA loop shows;

      “General John Kiszely correctly concluded that maneuver warfare ‘involves one opponent seeking to mentally outmanoeuvre the other, as in a game of chess’. Boyd, a fighter pilot, superimposed the notion of a time-competitive dogfight onto all conflict, but this does not reflect the reality of land warfare and, as Major Craig Tucker noted, there ‘is considerable difference between maneuvering a fighter and maneuvering an army.’ Maneuver warfare does not reflect the reality of conflicts like Afghanistan, as Major Gary Anderson explained in relation to the earlier Soviet-Afghan War:

      Some enemies simply don’t have OODA loops that are complicated and efficient enough to disrupt. For instance, the Soviets have launched numerous combined arms campaigns designed to paralyze the command, control, and communications of the Afghan resistance, but the Afghans simply don’t have a system that is susceptible to conventional-type attack’.”

      This book is a very easy to read account of the U.S. military’s journey to establish a war-winning formula and although its not my normal area of expertise I really enjoyed the book. It is bound to start some lively discussions between those who believe in Boyd and his OODA loop and others who follow a different path but I am sure all who read the book will come away having learnt something new.

    17. Found book in library, reminded me of a great book from the 90s by Joanne Weir, just as good.

    18. A wonderful celebration of the diversity of frogs