Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category


Expanding the Conversation

August 30, 2017

by Jaime B. Hansen

This is a book that has changed my life. The weird thing is that I read a part of the beginning and decided, at first, no to read anymore. That said, millennials, are the business people of the future and this book is directed at them. I am retired and at first thought I could care less about millennials, But I have a grandson on the Ausberger Spectrum and have always felt he wasn’t disadvantaged, but the waive of the future. Plus I had an ad agency, that I felt played a

secondary role to clients.

I remember once coming home (running out of gas on the way because the gas gauge was broken on my clunker) from a new client. The VP, manager of training, had said, I didn’t have to do anything, they would provide me with ad content, all I had to do was pretend it was from me and send a bill. Years later I was to appreciate that advertising, at least my role, was entirely secondary to their operation.

Now I had time to write about this and would skim over this book to get some insight into the situation. I did and came to realize that male vs female earning were the least of the problem. Jaime Hansen, the author, says, “To date women who want to attain success in business are manly, advised to behave like a man. Think like a man, speak like a man, act like a man, even lead like a man… Women should be encouraged to highlight their differences, emphasize their positive-gender-dominant attributes. The mos successful teams result form individuals who complement each others strengths, not replicate them.”

And so I did in the ad business. And so I will in my life.


The Fortress by Danielle Trussoni – “Over and Done”

October 12, 2016

John and his dog, Spanky, review books, movies, DVDs, etc.

JOHN: Most people don’t want to read, or think, about love being over. We have a Hollywood, TV view of “happily ever after.”

SPANKY: Not this book. We see love growing and dying.

JOHN: I have visited Bulgaria and the south of France, that’s what drew me to this book. But I will never see them the same way now, yet…

SPANKY: She loves her husband, they divorce, fight over kids, their home together in a fortress in Southern France.

JOHN: But at the end she comes back to what was, years ago, and the places they lived. Readers come back too. This is a difficult, even painful story, yet it is one we have lived.


The Writing Class – Real Answers

May 15, 2016


John and his dog, Spanky, review books, movies, DVDs, etc.


The Writing Class by Jincy Willett

JOHN: I can’t believe this book. As someone who has taught writing workshops for twenty years I would never attempt to portray one. Who would be interested? Not only are the bits of student writing revealing, but the writer shows a brilliance in presenting her course I can only wish I had had.

SPANKY: I’d eliminate the “had had/” But the book progresses beyond the classroom. Someone writes devastating criticism and threatens the safety of students so they meet ouside of the classroom at various homes and in the end someone brings in a “murder” play with fictional characters based on the real participants.

JOHN: Not only are there a dozen participating characters but now there are an additional twelve stereotypes.

SPANKY: But who is the guilty one? We don’t find out until the very end. Meanwhile, tha author showcases what it means to be a writer.

JOHN: As if those attending want the answer to this. Even those reading the mystery want to think it is magic, not explainable.

SPANKY: For book readers who are not afraid to find real answers, this is the place. And I especially liked the last two chapters where the dog transitions the plot from the intellectualizations of the class to the real threat posed by the “sniper.”

JOHN: 5 out of 5_edited-1


A Temporary Ghost – “Haunting”

May 6, 2016

John and his dog, Spanky, review books, movies, DVDs, etc.


 A Temporary Ghost by Michaela Thompson

JOHN: Two things I love about this book: the descriptive pictures of Provence and, even to the end, not sure who the murder is.

SPANKY: I also liked the title, and the dynamics. The narrator is hired to be a ghost writer for someone she doesn’t know is innocent.

JOHN: There are many characters but the author makes it easy for the reader to follow them and keep things straight. Not easy. And way too many books on Kindle (especially the free ones) don’t think about the reader and his or her challenges.

SPANKY: The ending makes sense even though it is a surprise. This is a page-turner and we have every confidence the author knows what she is doing.

JOHN: I highly recommend the mystery. It might not be the same as a trip to Provence, but you will spend less time getting there.

5 out of 5_edited-1

SPANKY: Yes, five times “yes.”


Geroge the Dog, John the Artist – “A Rescue story”

May 2, 2016

George the Dog, John the Artist  by John Dolan

John and his dog, Spanky, review books, movies, DVDs, etc.

JOHN: This caught my interest immediately because I am a cartoonist and Spanky (our dog) and I review books, DVDs, etc.

SPANKY: We should have written this book.

JOHN: The guys drawings, at least the simple ones, look a bit like mine.

SPANKY: And the dog rescues him, not the other way around. The author was homeless, often in prison, and begging for a living.

JOHN: We never have fallen that low. Though many people might think living in Wisconsin qualifies.

I liked the first chapter, where the guy talks about how he got the dog, and letter, after a boring build-up to his show, the pay off of how much it means to be reunited with his family.

SPANKY: I have to agree (because you are typing this), that the details of his drug addition and life on the streets of England get a bit tiresome. But there is a purpose in this, that indicate why the big show of his work comes to mean so much to him.

JOHN: This is not a book for everyone, but I found it personally rewarding. I even have gone back to doing some drawings. I know this book will get the five out of five from you Spanky and I will award it five rosebuds. I hope Dolan’s life has continued to get better and better.



Sarah Woods Mystery Series (Vol 4) – Engaging

February 14, 2016


Jenifer Jenning’s Sarah Woods Mystery Series (Vol 4)  

JOHN: I don’t know when I’ve enjoyed a series more. Perhaps, it was read after several books I didn’t care for. But finding this series of four novels just satisfied me right.

SPANKY: There is a rather intriguing subplot. Sarah Woods falls in love with her expoliceman, detective.

JOHN:The surface plots are suspenseful and fast moving.

SPANKY: And all deal with sex.

JOHN: A missing fiancé, under disguise taking care of a comatose father. A pregnant woman murdered by a family member. Men interested in pre-teen females.

SPANKY: But we wonder what is going to happen on all levels. Usually a series is successful then follows the winning formula too closely. Not this one

JOHN: Good reading that will have you thinking about the characters days later.


Murder in Provence – “A Good Recipe “

October 7, 2015


Murder in Provence, A Maggie Newberry Mystery, by Susan Kiernan-Lewis

I read the first book in this series, Murder in the South of France, and to be honest when I started this, I wondered if I had read it before. A woman, married to a French vintner, discovers who murders the daughter of a friend, plus a few other people.

But there are some additional twists in this story. The narrator’s own marriage is in jeopardy and she has to decide whether she likes France or America more.

There are too many characters who all seem to be sleeping around, but I like the way food is a subtext. The turns in the plot keep the pages turnning and the ending proves satisfying.

I give the author credit for going into marriage, love, daughters, friends and different nationalities. Would I want more? After a satisfying meal, no one wants anything else (at least until the next one).

3 out of 5_edited-1