Book Reviews

Reviews by ginadrellack

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The Second Rule Of Ten

Jan 20, 2013


A must-read!  As with its predecessor, The First Rule of Ten, the story successfully crafts a murder mystery that is wholly plausible yet unpredicted by the reader.  At the same time it subtly wears as an unintended (?) self-improvement book simply through reader identification with the main character, Tenzing Norbu (Ten, for short).  I feel I am able to approach my own regular daily life in a more mindful way, because I have viewed Ten’s.  I picked this story up for the mystery, yet am also carrying away its Mystery!

Although an ex-monk, Ten is also an ex-cop.  He is now further into creating his life as a private investigator, yet maintains his Buddhist principles.  The result is a very human individual with integrity, going about his business of figuring out life–which reads very well!

As a fan of Sherlock Holmes, modern-day police procedurals are not my favorite form of mystery fiction–I prefer the historical aspect rather than drugs, gangs, and f-bombs–but I am hopelessly addicted to this Dharma Detective!  Again, it’s the winning combination of a thoroughly enjoyable character and an intelligent challenge of a puzzle! I’m glad to see that a Third Rule of Ten is in the works, it can’t arrive fast enough for me.  Boy, I hope there will be more than ten….

A Hollywood director’s murder. The possibility of a love interest relationship. Gang warfare.  Attending to friendships.  Crime scenes.  Father-son dynamics.  Tattoo parlors and car chases.  Mindfulness and presence.  Sex, drugs, and meditation retreats–this story has it all, and you won’t be disappointed!

Those who like mysteries will love this puzzle.  Those who enjoy character exploration will devour this authenticity.  Although reading the first book is not necessarily a prerequisite for reading this second one, you are really gonna want to just for the sheer joy of the whole story experience!  (Oh fine, read the first one after you read the second one if you want!)

Hay House graciously gave me a copy of this book simply in return for my honest opinion of it.  Little did they know I’ve been waiting for this to be released ever since I read the first one on my own when it debuted!  Now I’m in the same boat for the third….  What would Ten say about patience?!   Read the books!

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Jan 09, 2013


I just read this amazing book by Caroline Myss, called Archetypes.  These are collective symbols that everyone in the culture understands; patterns, habits, and behaviors that people can all describe.  When we speak in archetypes, we speak in common terms.

For example, if I were to say my uncle's sister's daughter's son's mom is such a martyr, you would immediately get an accurate picture of what I mean by her personality.  If I told you my brother's grandma's daughter's son-in-law's wife is an amazing mother, you would also understand what it is I am trying to say.

Did you catch that both of these people link back to me?  No family members were harmed in the making of these examples. that a Caretaker tendency...?!?

Identifying archetypes is helpful for understanding yourself and others.  When I can step back and look at a situation, myself, or another person through the lens of archetypes, I am able to see the impersonal patterns of consciousness that connect us all.  When I encounter a person who is a Drama Queen, for example, I can keep my own energy and not lose myself in theirs.  And I no longer resent either the person or myself for the situation!  Yaay!

Archetypes help clarify our human interconnectedness as "the universal language of the human soul," as Caroline puts it.  This book is like a workbook, helping the reader to identify some of their primary archetypes.

It is organized into ten parent categories that reflect today's common expressions.  These archetype families group similar expressions, making it easier to start identifying.  As an example, the Creative family includes the Artist, Creative, Performer, Storyteller, etc.  At this point I don't necessarily need to define my nuances of a specific archetype (Author? Artist? Storyteller? Scribe?), it is enough to begin with the parent category (Creative!).

I found this book to be highly inspiring!  If you would like to know more about archetypes in depth, take a look at the same author's book Sacred Contracts, or visit her website salon for more information.  Spiritual Seekers who have already read and experienced her previous work will still greatly enjoy Archetypes, it has great nuances.

One more important and fun aspect of this book: there is a companion website that is an archetypal community for everyone!  Go to, read The Concept and How Our Site Works for better descriptions than I do justice here.  Take the identifying quiz, then enjoy content created for and tailored to archetypes.  Have fun, see you there!

Hay House, Pioneer Spriritual Visionary, gave me this book in exchange for my honest Detective, Intellectual, Seeker, Spiritual, Nurturer, Teacher, Mother opinion of it.  My Goddess, Warrior, Creative, and Writer truly Advocate(s) this book!

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Beautiful Girl

Dec 19, 2012


Beautiful Girl, by Christiane Northrup, M.D., is a fabulous picture book for a girl of any age. The reader feels a sense of reverence and respect for her own personal self, while at the same time feeling welcome in community with the feminine. I am grateful to Dr. Northrup for extending her wisdom to a younger set--which ends up being helpful to everyone in between as well.

While not specifying these special gifts, changes and body wonders (which is good--it allows room for those discussions to occur on an individual basis), this book elevates girls without devaluing boys--one of my favorite lines occurs right away: "These special gifts are just for girls! Boys have their own."

Although I myself do not have daughters, I am one! This book will be appreciated by daughters, sisters, mothers, aunts, grandmothers, female family friends, and any person who has anything to do with raising healthy, happy girls. Which, really, is all of us. Single dads of daughters, go get this book right now!

The book is a treasure to be shared. My copy will be donated to the local elementary school library, and I will use it when I have the annual spring "The Talk" with the fourth-grade girls!

Hay House was gracious enough to give me a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion of it, through their Book Nook blogger program. Check it out!
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Messages From Margaret

Dec 17, 2012


Messages from Margaret is automatic writing through Gerry Gavin from his guardian angel, Margaret. If you enjoyed Conversations with God by Neale Donald Walsch, you will appreciate this book. If you haven't read that one, put it on your to-read list, right behind this book!

Margaret has a lot of wisdom to share, and Gerry captures her spunky personality. Each standalone chapter is like a visit over coffee with a wonderul friend--it's something you look forward to with a light heart and no expectations, and you come away a better person for it.

If you are seeking not only uplifting and positive support for your life as a whole, but also specific steps you can take daily in this direction, you will appreciate this book. If you have even a glimmer of an interest in learning more about automatic writing, give this read a try! No matter how you feel about the method, the ideas are indisputable--and in the end, the message is the thing.

Hay House has graciously given me this book in exchange for my honest opinion and review, and I am grateful. For more information, please click on the Hay House widget at the right.
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Resurrecting Venus

Dec 05, 2012


Resurrecting Venus, by Cynthia Occelli, isn't what I was expecting; it was better.

I watched this video trailer and thought the book might be simply a cathartic and healing journey--which is fine for the author. However, when I read the description of "Cynthia dispels the myths surrounding feminine power and explains where the feminist movement went awry, resulting in women carrying unnecessary and untenable burdens", I decided to give it a chance. It resonated with ideas and conversations I've tickled before, and in a brilliant moment of allowing the flow (!) I accepted this title as a gift from Hay House in exchange for my honest opinion.

Yes, it is a journey for the author--isn't all writing?--but the brilliance is in how it reads. It is very reader-centered where I was expecting author-centered: Cynthia uses her own experiences where helpful, and then gets out of the way. The focus is on the ideas and thoughts as they apply to all women, an offering of feminine recollection and celebration to the world.

I also am grateful that in no way is this book a man-hater. Quite the opposite, it celebrates good men and is in favor of masculine support in the divine dance.

You may disagree with some of Cynthia's words--it takes courage to truly own your opinion as well as examine how it stands in the face of another's. However, her passion, gratitude, and genuine desire to empower others to make the world a better place through her book is its gentle strength. This is written for others, not for herself. And it is a voice that we need to hear.
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Self-Hypnosis And Subliminal Technology

Nov 24, 2012


This was a very interesting book of action! Oftentimes this type is theory and history, with less emphasis on actual procedure. Although background is given, emphasis is on what an individual can actually go and do with this learning. I especially like that the author, Eldon Taylor, constantly reaffirms that the individual is fully in charge of themselves at all times: the power goes to the Self in self-hypnosis, not the teacher or anyone else.

This book comes with an accompanying cd, which has helpful tracks for self-hypnosis. There is a text list of affirmations included in the two subliminal recordings, which I appreciated.

Unexpectedly, this book has an entire section on helpful tips and how-to's on creating your own personal self-hypnosis and subliminal audio tracks. That alone is worth this book!

The eBook version is full of links to where a reader can go for the recorded tracks. You can feel very confident that in purchasing the eBook, you are not missing out on the included cd! This was another aspect that I was very appreciative of and that makes a difference in format choice.

If you are looking for supportive positive thinking and messages, this book is very much worth your time and will be a welcome addition to your resources. However, if your interest is in action steps to create and pursue your own recorded personal messages, then immediately get a digital copy of this book. Go right now! I'll still be here when you get back, and then you can finish reading my disclaimer.

This book was given to me by Hay House in exchange for my honest opinion of it. Nothing subliminal or hypnotic here, folks--I was honestly surprised at how self-empowering its purpose is, and how beyond theory and into personalized action it went.
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Transcendance Expanded

Nov 08, 2012


“Stop trying to fix yourself…start to see yourself.”

This is a beautiful book of nine printed wisdom services by Michael Bernard Beckwith, each with an accompanying song version collected on the included cd. It’s a groovin’ dance mix with amazing messages, made more profound in combination with their chapters!

Growing up in church, I remember the sermons as a whole leaving me a little flat. Language that puts people in Inherent Sinner mode leaves no room for escaping that role. I remember thinking, “Okay, that’s your big picture. But what about good advice for living my day today?” The whole Repent-Because-You-Might-Die-Tomorrow didn’t help me with living life today.

As I read this book I was suddenly struck with the realization that this is the teaching I was looking for at that time! The messages such as I Am, there is nothing that needs fixing, and consciously choosing the path of expanding awareness is a welcome and refreshing understanding and support.

Daily advice reminders are there, too: stay away from dangerous people–those who complain, choose victimhood, support things only as they are–because it can very easily rub off. Think from creativity instead of competition, focus on the vibration of things in harmony with your life, and courageously use your unique voice–the world needs what you have to say!

The most profound hit for me was that although I know the messages in the book, I finally started to feel it. May you feel it, too.

I received this book/cd set from Hay House in exchange for my honest opinion of it.
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The Dalai Lama's Cat

Oct 30, 2012


This is such a feel-good story! If you are not a cat person, you will get a kick out of the subtle fun poked at the cat's perspective. If you are a cat person, you will still enjoy that, as well as the respect and honor given the species through this story. Either way, you will appreciate the insight gained as a reader through the eyes of the kitty that lives with the Dalai Lama.

Okay, I knew I was in for a story in which HHC (His Holiness' Cat) would actually attempt to teach me about myself through her own cat experiences. It's pretty obvious that this is a book about self-help and personal awareness in the shape of lessons learned by a character so removed from myself that it's safe to actually look. The amazing thing is how well it is written--I knew this was the premise, and yet I continually forgot. The story is so engaging, so entertaining, and so enveloping that as a reader I willingly became involved and loved it.

Yes, it is an allegory for me. (And as in the song from The Sound of Music: "And you. And you. And you and you and you....") Yes, you know it's coming. Yes, you forget it's a lesson in your delight of the story. And yes, you appreciate the lesson anyway--quite possibly because of the beautiful way it is offered.

Keep this book on hand, and read it when you are ready for something less heady and cumbersome. Although it could be heavy, it actually is the opposite. A quick read with a good flow, it is uplifting, encouraging, humorous, and Truth.

The FTC would be super happy to see that I let people know I received a copy of this book from Hay House simply in exchange for my honest opinion of it. I highly recommend this book!
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What Makes Us Healthy

Oct 19, 2012


I just listened to Caroline Myss' new cd series, What Makes Us Healthy. I was gifted the 6-cd set from Hay House in exchange for an honest review.

Caroline Myss is the Mystic Queen. Her ability to not only see the world objectively and archetypically, but to teach that viewpoint to others as well, is a joy and a gift. Her signature no-nonsense approach inherently reminds listeners to put and keep their big-people pants on and take ownership of themselves. If you need someone to gently stroke your hair and tell you repeatedly that it's all gonna be OK, this is not where you go. Caroline is not into feeding your Victim--she is about empowering you to own your situation, identify your needs, and act in accordance with (your) Spirit. Over and over and over again. Caroline's teaching is tremendously supportive, hugely encouraging, and never enabling.

Health is described less as physical and more spiritual, although make no mistake they are connected. A point of hers is that an individual with a physical condition may appear unhealthy, yet is spiritually whole: this person is truly healthy. Contrast that with an individual who is physically fit, whole, and agile, yet has no capacity for empathy: this person is in fact unhealthy despite appearances.

Health is described as integrity, honesty, and spiritual congruence. Can you act on your values and yet not judge those who don't? Are you able to keep negative comments to yourself? Even further, can you not have the negative thoughts toward another in the first place? When you say "Lord, bless everyone I come in contact with today," are you able to include your ex-spouse when you later receive their surprise, snotty email? Okay, now how about without feeling smug about being able to do so? Can you choose the high road consistently, not only when recognized for it?

All of us are on a path, and the Benevolent Queen does not chop off my head when I fall short of perfection. She knows that we all have the capacity for spiritual health, and her energies go into teaching me a firm "get up, and carry on" style. She knows I can do it, yet she also knows it is up to me to choose to do so.

If you are familiar with Caroline Myss, you will certainly appreciate this cd series. If you have not yet met this woman, you will be very pleased to make her acquaintance through What Makes Us Healthy. There is no prerequisite to listening, and your psyche and soul will feel so empowered that you will want to either revisit some of her other works or investigate it for the first time.
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Wishes Fulfilled

Sep 26, 2012


I just finished a beautifully resonating book by Dr. Wayne Dyer--Wishes Fulfilled: Mastering the Art of Manifesting. It was given to me by Hay House in exchange for an honest review.

Dr. Dyer offers a mind-opening way of looking at our lives manifested by our spirits in union with our Divine, and he offers specific thoughts and practices for accessing and maintaining this process. It is both a book of theory and a manual.

This book bathes the reader in support and love. And, it fills you so much with it that you can't not live that love and pass it on! Even if for a moment. And another one. And even another one. And that in itself is a wonderful thing.

Going beyond the moment, the I am (and what to do with it) that is reminded to us is a quiet, deep, Truth that is incredibly personal at the same time it is universal. Everyone reading this book will remember that they belong, just as they are.

I was surprised when I received my copy, because there were two when I was expecting one. I gave the other copy away, and after reading this book I understand why two were sent: this so profoundly needs to be shared. As much as I try to explain here what it is to experience this book, words fall so short.

I encourage you to pick up a copy, either physically or electronically (get it now with Kindle!!), and experience this message for yourself. And then share it.

I am grateful for this book.
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Through Indigo's Eyes

Aug 29, 2012


I just finished this wonderful novel by Tara Taylor and Lorna Schultz Nicholson. Through Indigo’s Eyes is a story of a 17-year-old girl named Indigo who has visions and is visited by the deceased, but who just wants to be an average teenager.

The book is incredibly well-written: although not every reader is clairvoyant like Indie, every reader will identify with the journey of discovery this young woman makes. Her evolving dynamic with a long-standing friend, her exploration of self in relation to her first romantic interest, her concerns about life after high school, and her desire to find herself independent of (yet in context with) her family will resonate personally with readers.

This book handles teenage situations in a way that is overall upbeat and positive, yet is realistic and validating to adolescents. Now that’s saying something, because it does not at all read like a fairy tale, and it deals with multiple pretty tough topics. I was impressed with how a teenager reading this would feel understood, validated, and is provided with alternative ways of looking at such situations that is open-hearted, open-minded, and lays a foundation for personal strength of character. We need more books like these, and I am donating my copy to the local high school library.

In addition to the “normal” adolescent aspects, the quality of clairvoyance is a wonderful and interesting read! Many teens feel “different” at some point in their life, and will identify with this character and know that they are more than okay. It is refreshing to read a story that treats intuition with respect and normalcy. I enjoyed this novel very much and eagerly look forward to the sequel! (Chapter 1 is included at the end of this book!)

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