Captain Bob: Enjoy Your Cruise

Captain Bob: Author Robert Stockel

Our author Robert Stockel takes the reader on a humorous and exciting journey on his boat the Dulcinea. With many ups and downs described about his life and his sailing career, the reader gets enveloped in the excitement and can sit back, take part each event described and fortunately, not get seasick, which I do on all types of boats, water rides or rowboats.

The author’s description of how he and his first mate Rita, weathered their first journey, to going in the wrong direction and winding up in Puerto Rico and not St. Thomas, our illustrious Captain lets us know who is in charge and that “The Captain is always right,” keeps on course and sometimes might even make a mistake, but not want to admit it.

Deciding on anchoring and remaining in St. Thomas he finds his niche and gets hired as a salesman then manager of Anchor Marine, a company that sold nautical products and more. After a while he becomes quite enterprising and joins in a three-way partnership in a half-day or daily cruising business called Windsong Cruises. . My sister loves to cruise and she adores yachts, fishing and boating. She would love to read about your experiences and more before going on a two week cruise in May.

As the author described his experiences during Hurricane Hugo and the terrible devastation that occurred I could not help but empathize with Donna and how afraid she felt during that entire experience. Unfortunately, it was not the Captain’s fault that this happened, and not his fault that she left either. It is not hard to understand how she felt and she did not to experience this anymore. The wedding pictures, their courtship and their life together seemed picture perfect like a perfect couple on a permanent honeymoon that would never end. Maybe, someday you will reconnect. You truly do belong together.

I really loved the jokes you told and your adventures during your trips. In Hugo’s aftermath everything changed for many people. A trial lawyer, Assistant Attorney General, salesman, manager, husband, sailor and more, Robert Stockel’s story is one that everyone should read and learn from. Good hearted, good natured and quite stubborn when running his ship and training his crew, he weaves an exciting story that brings the reader along for a very bumpy and choppy ride. After traveling to Norfolk and arriving at Annapolis he decided to resume his life as a government attorney for the General Litigation Division D.C. Corporation Counsel’s office. But, his real passion of sailing still burned within him and despite the mistakes, mishaps, disasters and narrow encounters with death, he felt a and still feels a pull sailing and the sea.

Surviving a hurricane, strong storms, unsettling seas, navigational mistakes, wrong turns and rocky relationships, Robert Stockel has never lost focus with what really matters to him nor his strong sense of pride and humor.

Women are not the easiest to get along with and many of us do not like sharing our special man with anyone. Some are jealous, some hide their feelings and others let it all out in rage and anger. Some just give up and leave without ever looking back. But, the one woman in his life, his Dulcinea has always been true to him throughout it all, maybe showing her green streak of envy at times, but you will have to read that for yourself. This is a great book to read and learn about the beauty of the seas, freedom of sailing on the ocean and the wonderful friendships you can make.

I never give stars when I rate a book that I truly feel is noteworthy. I give our Captain Bob: Five Loyal and Jealousy Free: Dulcineas


Tungee’s Gold

Tungee’s Gold: The Legend of Ebo Landing

Author: Tom Barnes

Greed makes people do many things that often go against their principles and beliefs. Taken further, greed can force a person to enter into a deal with the devil, even if the end result would cause harm or injury to others. Tungee’s Gold: The Legend of Ebo Landing is a unique story about a man who wanted to make his fortune by panning gold during the Gold Rush like so many other people. It is the story of a man who not only made his mark and his fortune but also as a result became embroiled in a dangerous plot that might cost him his life, the lives of others and, his integrity.

The time period is the late 1800’s. This historically based novel brings the California Gold Rush and us back to 1851. Finding gold and staking their claims meant a person could create a life for themselves wherever they wanted. In 1851, Gold was discovered in Greenhorn Creek, Kern County leading many people to flood the area.  Wouldn’t you want to be part of this great hunt for Gold?

Depositing the gold in the bank in San Francisco should have been the right decision for Tungee Cahill. But, was it? How and why did he become the primary target of an assassination plot? Who planned the attack and who was behind it? The reasons will become clear and the facts revealed as you read this novel by author Tom Barnes and try to figure our where all of the characters fit and how.

Tungee Cahill wanted to find his fortune and he did. But, what happens as a result will surprise the reader and compel you to read on in order understand that this book is not just about finding gold, but much more. Depositing the gold in the bank in San Francisco should have been the right decision to keep the gold safe. But, was it? Then how and why did he become the prime target of an assassination? Who would have planned the attack and who was behind it? The reasons will be clear and the facts revealed as you read this novel by author Tom Barnes and try to figure out where all of the characters fit and how.

Stopping off at a local restaurant before returning to his hotel, Tungee learns about a group of Aussie’s called the Ducks who caused major problems in the area. Little did he know that he would soon learn more about them and their true mission. Meeting several captains of several ships Tungee learns that there is a shortage of manpower to work on them. But the biggest surprise is yet to come. Walking back to his hotel he is shanghaied. Waking up in a locked cabin on a ship with two other men, he learns his fate. None other than Gideon Foster, the sea captain, he saw at the restaurant that evening, was the cause of his new working and living arrangement.

But, the worst has yet to come, and his keen sense and with the aide of some of the other crewmembers he learns about a possible mutiny aboard ship.  Tungee decides to aide the captain and his crew to foil the mutiny but at what cost? Learning that the name of the ship was also changed beforehand, sends up a red flag and no one has the answer as to why.

The real reason for Foster’s trip to Liverpool has not been revealed and the cargo that will be picked up and delivered will astound the reader and remind you of how difficult it was for some people to survive because of their race.

Slave trade began in 1440 when Portugal started to trade slaves with West Africa. By the 16th century, there was an organized system for slave trade was in place. But, many incidents of slave trade and what could go wrong, as the captives often try to escape are related in this novel.

Jefferson Randolph, a primary character in this book and an ally to Tungee, describes how he felt when he regained his freedom and the fear of the unknown. What happens when you are enslaved and you are no longer bound to a master? Where do you go and what are you going to do? In his case he ran and kept running, but not far enough.

After leaving St. Katherine’s Island the captain informed the crew of their real destination and their new cargo. Informing them that they would unload the grain and pick up 350 slaves created quite a stir and remarks that only prove that prejudice is not a thing of the present but the past.

The fact that they were now a slave trading ship made matters worse for the crew. The possibility of another mutiny was not out of the question. Dobbs, Jefferson and even Tungee would have to decide whether to compromise their way of thinking and go along with the captain or remain in West Africa and hope for the best. In Jefferson’s case he might even be thrown back into slavery.

Captain Foster was faced with an insurmountable task and a difficult decision. He needed Tungee’s help and the help of his crew in order to transport the 350 black slaves to their destination. But, convincing them would not be easy. Tungee, Jefferson, Dobbs and many of the other crewmembers believed and voiced that slavery and slave trade went against their moral beliefs and thought twice before agreeing to help the Captain. But, money talks and morals in this case walked when going along with what you are against might be the lesser of two evils and bring you to safety at the end of the voyage.

Slavery is wrong no matter how you turn it. Treating people like cattle or subhuman is reprehensible. But, there are those that would disagree. The Ebo Tribe has been enslaved on the ship and their King has voiced that he would never become a slave. A young child is groomed and trained as the new messenger of the tribe and the end result of his plan will shock the reader and help you understand why selling someone into bondage for greed in the form of money was wrong. This tribal king encourages his people to make the ultimate sacrifice in order to escape their predetermined fate.

Their ship gone and their journey over Tungee, Jeff, Dobbs and Blakely had to decide on what to do next. Being born a slave and having his papers and not doing anything to help his people, Jeff decides to part ways with the rest and go to Boston. Signing on with another ship Tungee hoped to reclaim his stake and money in San Francisco.

Remember that Tungee was the target of an assassination and the Ducks were not going to give up. This story is about to come full circle when he returns to San Francisco and wants to regain what he left behind.

How this ends will renew your faith in trust, loyalty and friendship. With the help of an Australian Police Inspector and the Vigilance Committee, Tungee is able to right many of the wrongs that not only were inflicted on him but others too. What does happen and what twists and turns the author created at the end will surprise the reader. Is justice served? Who was really behind the plot to kill him? Will he get what he left hidden behind?

Author Tom Barnes weaves a web of deceit, hate, deception and neatly ties up all of the lose ends. “ I  might be a prisoner, but I will never become a slave,” said King Kumi the king of the Ebo tribe. The Ebo Tribe is a group of people that are stubborn, bullheaded and would not allow, anyone to act superior over them. They are their own masters. The sea brought our brave King and his followers and the sea brought him home.

May freedom ring for all and where it does not we need to fight and change it. This book is a must read for everyone and my pick for a number one book for 2010.

Fran Lewis: reviewer and the author of the Bertha Series of Children’s books and Memories are Precious my Alzheimer’s book.

Take the Challenge and Lose the Weight

Obesity Free Forever

Author: Georgene Dana Collins


Publisher: Collins Information Services

Obesity Free Forever is not about a diet, it is about making positive changes in your life and creating your plan to lose weight. But, first you need to follow the important steps set out by the author and answer the many questions at the start of this great book that will definitely help you to kick start a better and healthier you.

The book begins with the author telling the reader about herself, her experiences as a child and the reasons behind why she decided to take herself in hand and lose weight. Society judges people by their outward appearance. Adults and children are often victims of weight discrimination, social discrimination as well as employment and wage discrimination. Although this is wrong and needs to be addressed and not ignored, it is still a fact the employers would rather have someone working for them whose outer appearance meets what they feel it should be.

How did she start and what are the tools that you will need to begin losing weight from the Inside Out? Here we go! Remember, as the author states, you will not lose the weight overnight.

Here is the overview Five Step Process

  1. Understand your current situation
  2. Visualize the new you
  3. Develop a healthy lifestyle plan
  4. Work the plan
  5. Measure and evaluate your progress daily.

In order to understand what your current situation is the author states that you must fully understand what being overweight and obese means. Everyone at some time in his or her life makes the decision to go on a diet and lose weight. But, as I have just lost a lot of weight, I learned that the diet is only the small part of the weight loss process as the author states and I agree with. Read the research in this book and you will learn more about the many health issues that often come along and will need to be addressed by you if you are overweight.

These are the tools you will need to get started:

First you will need two journals: one to write your food intake and log it daily, the second to write your feelings and reflect on how you are doing. Next, you will need one scale to weigh yourself and one to measure your food and don’t forget measuring cups, spoons, and a calorie counter resource which can be purchased in the bookstore or you can access online. These are the materials you need to gather.

The second step is to prepare you to begin losing weight. Using a notebook or a log you need to ask yourself several questions starting with what your goals are and what is your target weight? You might even list what problems or roadblocks you faced when dieting in the past and what you think worked and what did not. There are many other questions that the author feels you need to address that you will learn when you read this book. One of the most important questions you need to ask yourself is why you should change and of course if you are ready to make that move to a better and healthier you.

Let’s get to the heart of the matter and learn just how the author lost 140 pounds and kept it off.

She used the method of counting calories. She created her own personal weight loss plan. But, this took time, energy and persistence. First, you have to understand current your situation, then you have to identify the motivation or reason you want to lose the weight, know your ideal body weight and develop a plan to get there. Using your Daily Food Intake Journal will help you to see what you are eating daily. Decide which foods you can do without and using your reflexive journal list healthy foods that you like and your feelings about how you are doing on a daily basis. Picture the new you and find a picture of what you would like to look like as a motivation and paste it on your refrigerator. Next, you need to devise your own plan and the author found that counting calories along with keeping close track of her activity worked for her and aided in her weight loss.

Every weight loss plan needs an exercise program to succeed. Whether you walk, jog, run or go to the gym you need to exercise in order to help boost your weight loss. The author shares her 25 weight loss tips with the reader and the most enlightening part of course was reading her personal journal that led to her success. Use her forms to help you get started and read her journey to success and don’t give up.

Remember: Obesity Is Out and Weight Control and a Better You Is In!

Daughter of the Forest by Ray Shoop

Daughter of The Forest

By Ray Shoop

What would happen if the world became overcrowded and you had to live on another planet? What would happen if you had to find a place to live there and did not have any of the convenience that we do today? How would you survive without a grocery store, stove, department stores and many other things that we take fore granted? What if your new home was no longer in the city but in the forest and you had to learn to hunt food, plant seeds, grow herbs, make your own hammock and build your own shelter? You would learn about the world created by author Ray Shoop in a novel that brings to light what happens when things change, people need to uproot their lives and danger lurks just around the corner. You would be part of the forest people in the novel Daughter of the Forest.

A little girl wanders off into the forest to explore. She trips and hurts her ankle and is in pain. Falling asleep and losing track of time she becomes ill and finds herself disoriented. A group of people find her and snatch her away form her family and create a whole new life and identity for her. Fearing for her survival and her life she learns their customs and ways in order to become part of their society.

Traveling through time and space with her family she comes to live in a new land in order to plant a seed colony- a project that was made necessary due to overpopulation in their Home World.

While her mother and a group of woman are working together they are captured and taken to live in with another tribe against their will. A group of diggers from the Dumeasets are out to destroy the Fumalesets by stealing their women and killing the men. With the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and many other countries, Ray Shoop brings to light an issue that has plagued the world, hate. In all of these countries groups of people are trying to kill and eliminate others for religious reasons or more. In our novel the author created the Dumeasets to let us know that even in a world that is supposed to be peaceful there are those that would rather pillage, kill and hurt others just for their own reasons. In this case they want their women to live and work among and breed since many of theirs are barren. Taking the lives of their men and transporting them to live amongst their people, is equal to kidnapping and enslavement.

Arlene and several other women from her tribe are now part of the Dumeasets. They work and live together as part of the women belonging to one of their leaders, Ram. Guarded wherever they go, they are made to conform to the ways of these cruel and inhumane people. Added to that Arlene does not know what has happened to Laura, our young child who got lost in the forest.

Thieving, slaughtering and killing is their trademark. Each cycle, or year, they force groups of forest people to uproot their lives and move away in order to avoid their carnage. But, they seem to focus on only the Fumalsets and not any other people who live in the forest. The Palasets, Aquasets, the Vanquesets do not suffer at their hand but still move around to avoid these people. People of different backgrounds, each tribe with their own specific physical characteristics, skills and ideals, author Ray Shoop reminds us that prejudice lives on even in the forest.

Laura now lives with the Fumalsets and has to pass many tests and stringent scrutiny before she is allowed to become part of this new tribe. With a new mother and new father and a new name, Nu-Del she learns that life, as she knew it would never be the same. But, Laura has a special gift that no one knows about. She can read the thoughts and minds of others and uses it to help her learn about her new family, new tribe and alert them is the Fumalsets are about to raid their village. But, with anything new, everyone is skeptical and until they learn the truth the hard way, no one really trusts her or what she tells them.

Becoming part of their tribe, but not a welcome member, she assimilates quite well and is now called Nu- Del. Her adopted parents Sel and Cordac expect her to do her fair share of work just like the rest of their children. In a society that allows men to have more than one mate, Nu-Del learns a lot about the culture and ways of all of the tribes she encounters. Not so different from some other countries that still have concubines and first mates and more, she learns how the mating process and more.

Dom, who is from a different tribe whose whole family has been killed and whose mates have been kidnapped by the Fumalsets to live among them and work, has to find a new tribe and ask acceptance for himself and his family. Learning about these people and the different traditions and customs was quite interesting and allows the reader to learn how difficult Nu-Del and others that are treated at times like outcasts feel. But, Dom is finally accepted and proves he more than worthy to live among the Pidar tribe and is now called Transoni meaning Traveler, which he does.
Nu-Del loves to learn languages and wants to be able to understand the language of every tribe especially the Fumalsets. How this will help her and her tribe you will have to read for yourself. What is does do is bring her and Transoni closer and they form a strong bond as father and daughter, which will also change at the end in a surprising way.

When Nu-Del’s senses that there is danger will she use her special gift to safe her tribe? Will they listen and protect themselves and fight back even though they are not a tribe that fights and kills? Who comes out ahead? Who does hot? What strange voice is calling her at the end? Does she ever get acceptance by her adopted father and a sense of belonging?
These questions and mysteries will only be answered if you read this book about a young child who you will love, respect and will endear you for Nu-Del/Laura is quite special.
Differences in appearance are often shunned and people are made to feel inferior or told they are ugly. Laura/Nu-Del and many of other woman or mates in this amazing novel understand how that feels and more. If you learn anything from reading this book learn that judging a person on the outside limits what you need to learn about them on the inside. Like a great book, as this one is, you miss what is between the pages and you lose out.

I give this book 5 Nu-Dels to teach everyone planting, herbs, healing and tolerance and unconditional love.

Fran Lewis: reviewer and author of the Bertha Series of Books and Memories are Precious