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Dancing with Demons: The Authorized Biography of Dusty Springfield
Dancing with Demons: The Authorized Biography of Dusty Springfield
by Penny Valentine
Edition: Hardcover
39 used & new from $10.07

3.0 out of 5 stars Poor Dusty, She was loved!, July 21, 2014
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Vicki Wickham was Dusty's manager and friend for decades until her premature death in 1999. Penny Valentine was a music reporter in London, England.

Dusty Springfield OBE had an amazing voice and genius for music. Sadly, she had her demons. She wanted to be someone else, a heterosexual Catholic girl. She was a lesbian but it wasn't public. I'm sure the public especially her fans would have embraced her anyway.

This book is poignant and painfully true. The authors may have been too honest to bear Dusty's demons. She was definitely difficult and a perfectionist. I once read a story where BJ Thomas and Dusty both recorded the Growing Pains' theme song separately.

Dusty had her run of success in the 1960s. The 1970s were not as successful but she did find happiness and love with Faye Harris for six years but they were turbulent.

I believe Dusty finally found peace at the end of her life.

No Greatness without Goodness: How a Father's Love Changed a Company and Sparked a Movement
No Greatness without Goodness: How a Father's Love Changed a Company and Sparked a Movement
by Randy Lewis
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $13.58
39 used & new from $9.27

4.0 out of 5 stars Mandatory Reading for Business & Human Resources Majors!, July 21, 2014
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Randy Lewis has an autistic son named Austin. He writes about learning the crushing diagnosis of autism. Instead he and wife fight for their son's education and future. Like so many parents of autistic children, they wonder about their son's future. Randy isn't content to do nothing but revolutionize Walgreens and corporate world. He decided to have Walgreens hire people with disabilities.

Randy discusses how and when he came up with the hiring plan. He also writes about the implications of implementing it. It was a massive undertaking by his own experiences.

But when it worked, the plan revolutionized corporate world. He would change the world for thousands of disabled employees who would be living off government assistance. He gave independence to the disabled employees.
A lot of employers are reluctant to hire disabled employees. There is an unspoken discrimination here. Despite laws to protect the disabled, many employers are reluctant to hire them.

Walgreens was first thanks to Randy Lewis. His plan worked successfully. There are others now following his path. He took a huge risk and gamble on his plan.

In the Mirror
In the Mirror
Price: $7.96
41 used & new from $0.58

5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful, Inspiring Music!, July 17, 2014
This review is from: In the Mirror (Audio CD)
I know what I get with a Yanni's music. This is his best compilation and I can't believe that I haven't listened to it before. The music is very beautiful and inspiring. Each song is unique and recognizable.

I often recommend Yanni's music for Pilates and Yoga classes. He has a soothing inspirational sound. He doesn't needs words to convey his feelings. The music here is just breathtaking!

Catching Fire (The Second Book of the Hunger Games)
Catching Fire (The Second Book of the Hunger Games)
by Suzanne Collins
Edition: Paperback
Price: $7.30
296 used & new from $2.25

4.0 out of 5 stars Can't Wait for Mockingjay!, July 17, 2014
I had just finished reading "The Hunger Games" a few days ago. Of course, you have to the second part of the trilogy. Life as tributes has brought food and a new home for Katniss and Peeta. Now for the 75th reaping comes changes where the returning victors like Katniss and Peeta go to the arena again.

Of course, their relationship is more complicated now. Peeta paints pictures inspired by the games. Katniss has nightmares of her days in the Arena. They also had to travel to the other districts as victors.

Back in the arena with other past victors, they have to change their winning methods. Katniss has a better understanding of Haymitch's demons after her own experiences in the arena. How he won?

Still this book answers a lot of questions and develop the characters. Now for a second time in the arena, Katniss and Peeta have new friends and enemies. There are also twists and turns and revelations.

I only wished that the book moved a little faster in the arena. There were slow or confusing moments there where it wasn't clear. Still its a riveting sequel!

The Royal Diaries: Anastasia: The Last Grand Duchess, Russia, 1914
The Royal Diaries: Anastasia: The Last Grand Duchess, Russia, 1914
by Carolyn Meyer
Edition: Hardcover
306 used & new from $0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars Heartbreaking Diary, July 16, 2014
If you know what happens to the Romanovs in 1918, you will remember the name, Anastasia. This diary is about her life in the last four years of her life.

The diary explains how she went from regal status to being imprisoned with her family. Then they were finally executed together. There is a small possibility that she survived the execution. Personally, I believe they all died together as a family.

The author gives a voice to the teenager, Anastasia, about her coming age in a turbulent Russia. We hear Anastasia's voice and thoughts about her life.

The Romanovs were a loving family who did what they thought was best for their beloved country. The Tsar Nicholas abdicated his throne for the people. Yes, the Romanovs lived better than most Russian peasants but the tsar led his country during World War I and the Russian Revolution. The Tsarina Alexandra was a nurse and tended to the wounded as well.

The book doesn't shy away from Anastasia's mother, Alexandra's mental illness. The diary cuts off before the execution. The Romanovs didn't deserve such a brutal ending in life. At least, they perished together and are interred together finally.

The book features black and white photographs and an explanation of Russian history.

Weird N.J.: Your Travel Guide to New Jersey's Local Legends and Best Kept Secrets
Weird N.J.: Your Travel Guide to New Jersey's Local Legends and Best Kept Secrets
by Mark Moran
Edition: Paperback
Price: $8.26
54 used & new from $3.02

4.0 out of 5 stars Weird New Jersey: Forget about it?, July 16, 2014
I buy their magazine too. This book is the best of the best from the magazine series. This book features stories about people, places, and things with a sense of humor too.

New Jersey might be small on the map but there are so many weird places to see and visit. The Devil's Tree in Martinsville ranks as of the most haunted places in the country.

Too bad, they don't provide a map of the state to help better find the places. All they do is locate the town. With a map, you can better plan a trip.

There are many places here that you can't visit because it would be trespassing. I would love to visit Marlboro psychiatric hospital but I don't want to get arrested for it. I wish the Weird NJ authors were able to legally visit and photograph the location and share with us. I do drive around the property and only view from a distance.

Greystone or Essex Sanitorium in West Orange was an enormous architectural achievement. Unfortunately, the old sanitoriums with great architecture are being torn down rather than used for useful purposes. Those buildings could be renovated and restored for other purposes.

New Jersey is never short of weirdness and never will be. Even in Central Jersey, there is plenty of weirdness. Weird NJ books could be divided into three books: Northern, Central, and Southern.

I never get tired of reading about Weird New Jersey or anything weird.

Gilbert & Sullivan: Pirates of Penzance
Gilbert & Sullivan: Pirates of Penzance
Price: $18.46
23 used & new from $6.32

4.0 out of 5 stars Ideal for the Gilbert & Sullivan enthusiast!, July 16, 2014
This Gilbert and Sullivan operetta is a classic recording by Sir Malcolm Sargent with Glyndbourne Opera Festival. The cast is excellent but probably not well known outside opera.

This two disc set has over a 100 minutes of the musical recording. Some of the music is familiar and the other isn't. Since I am not that knowledgable about operettas, this recording helps with first rate voices and music.

I wished that there was information on the operetta and the players behind it. This recording was done in the late sixties but it still holds up to today's standards.

Cosby Show - Season 1 & 2
Cosby Show - Season 1 & 2
DVD ~ Bill Cosby
Price: $8.99
41 used & new from $5.47

4.0 out of 5 stars Where were you on Thursday night at 8:00pm?, July 16, 2014
This review is from: Cosby Show - Season 1 & 2 (DVD)
When The Cosby Show premiered in the fall of 1984, nobody could have predicted its success and its positive effect on society. This series revolutionized television and brought back sitcoms. It also had millions of viewers and helped keep other sitcoms like Cheers and Family Ties on the air. Thursday nights in the 1980s became Must See Television long before TiVo, DVR, streaming etc. Cosby Show revolutionized television like All in the Family did in the 1970s.

Unlike Lear shows, this show was smart, sophisticated, wholesome, entertaining and funny. Who wouldn't want to be Huxtable much less aspire to their level? The family was fun and loving too.

If you haven't seen the series, you should watch the first two seasons. This is family entertainment at its best! Any other family sitcoms come in second place.

The first season features guest appearances like Lena Horne, Dizzy Gillespie, Judith Jamison, Tony Orlando, Angela Bassett, Al Freeman Jr., Kristoff St. John, Blair Underwood, and more. The second season features guests like Danny Kaye, Sonia Braga, Roscoe Lee Browne, and others.

If anything, I would have liked to have seen subtitles. Perhaps they could have included a documentary about why The Cosby Show revolutionized television in 1984. It's one of the best shows out there.

The Hunger Games (Book 1)
The Hunger Games (Book 1)
by Suzanne Collins
Edition: Paperback
Price: $6.20
2475 used & new from $0.01

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars May the Odds Be Ever in Your Favor!, July 15, 2014
Suzanne Collins has written a very powerful futuristic society where 24 young adolescences must fight to the death. Katniss Everdeen takes her younger sister's place as tribute in the annual hunger games. Katniss is the heroine with her bow and arrow. She has taken over her own family since her father's death. Her mother is unable to cope with life. Katniss has become a parent to her sister. She hunts for food in the woods with her best male friend, Gale.

She is not alone in the Hunger Games when Peeta Mellark is with her. She only has one memory of him. Along the long journey, Peeta has had feelings for Katniss.

In this novel, it is rare to see gender roles switch. Katniss, the female, is the stronger and more masculine while Peeta appears weaker and more emotional. Peeta also has a low self confidence and esteem. Still they are a couple to root for the whole time.

I have to say the movie adaptation was faithful to the novel. I enjoy reading about Katniss and Peeta's relationship blossoming over the dreadful hunger games.

To me, this book represents society's obsession with reality shows where lives are ruined for entertainment purposes. Our society has become wrongly transfixed on reality shows as just entertainment. You have to think about how the reality shows affect the willing participants.

If I have one issue with the book, the writing could have been more focused towards the end. I felt the pages could have been edited especially after it was Cato and them.

The Meanest Doll in the World (The Doll People)
The Meanest Doll in the World (The Doll People)
by Ann M. Martin
Edition: Paperback
Price: $7.19
285 used & new from $0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars Pixar, this would make a great film!, July 14, 2014
The Doll People are delightfully entertaining especially this sequel. This book introduces Mimi also known as the meanest doll in the world. She reminds me of The evil film doll, Chucky.

When the two dolls end up in backpack, they go to school where they are misplaced in another backpack. Annabelle and Tiffany are on quite an adventure to school and to Callie's home. When they finally return to their rightful home, Mimi follows them.

It is an entertaining, suspenseful tale overall. Kids and adult readers will find it entertaining. The Doll People are also quite visual in part to stellar illustrations by Brian Selznick (Hugo author & illustrator).

I wished The Doll People and this sequel were animated into an animated film. I almost thought the scribbling notes in the first pages were real. I had to take a second and third look to see that it was Mimi at work.

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