Tuesday, February 21

Scott Mariani: The Mozart Conspiracy

From the back of the book-
Ben Hope is running for his life...
Enlisted by Leigh Llewellyn-the beautiful opera star and Ben's first love-to investigate her brother's mysterious death, former SAS operative Ben finds himself caught up in a centuries-old puzzle.
Officially, Oliver died in a tragic accident whilst investigating Mozart's death, but the facts don't add up. His research reveals that Mozart, a notable Freemason, may have been killed by a shadowy splinter group of the cult. The only clues lie in an ancient letter, believed to have been written by the composer himself.
When Leigh and Ben receive video evidence of a ritual sacrifice being performed, they realise that the sect still exists-and will stop at nothing to keep its secrets.
From the dreaming spires of Oxford to Venice's labrinthine canals, the majestic architecture of Vienna and Slovenia's snowy mountains, Ben and Leigh must forget the past and race across Europe to uncover the truth behind THE MOZART CONSPIRACY.

This is the literary equivilent of an action flick. The body count is high, character development low, plot thin and pace fast.
The title and blurb are a little misleading. Mozart's death and any possiblilty of a conspiracy surrounding it play no part in this novel (except as an off page trigger for the action covered by the story). There is no historical component to this story worth speaking of and very little conspiracy either for that matter. And just ofr the record, I'm not happy with the freemasons being labelled a cult. But I begin to digress.
The ending felt contrived. It read as if the author wanted to add just one more surprise twist. In doing so he pushed that bit too far and left this reader disappointed and wishing he'd left the last six chapters out.
This is a straight-forward action adventure story, unapologetically pulp fiction, where the bad guys are pointlessly ruthless and the good guys difficult to distinguish. Not that there's anything wrong with that. One of the few books that would probably make a better film. Go in with expectations low and enjoy the ride.-Lynn

Tuesday, February 7

Kaye Fallick: Get a New Life

From the back of the book-
Forget the quick-fix approach of extreme makeovers shown on reality TV. Real change is about finding out what's right for YOU-planning, researching options, discovering your own intrinsic qualities and matching them to the people, the places and the activities which sing to your soul.
What's stopping you from changing the way you live?
If you crave a more balanced life, are suffering from MTL syndrome (there's got to be More To Life than this), or have had change dumped upon you through bereavement, retrenchment, retirement or illness, taking control is the first step towards successfully managing this change.
Packed with checklists to help you determine your change-readiness, practical advice about managing your finances and inspiring profiles of those who have done it, this is the essential road map for the life you really want to live.
I must disclose straight up that I didn't read this book in its entirety but dipped in and out of the sections that I found most interesting or relevant. So while I did get through most of it, I did not read it all and my comments should be considered accordingly.
The book is divided into four parts. The first section discussed the nature of change and highlights some of the things that need to be taken into consideration before committing to any course of action. Quite frankly I found this part a bit dull and skimmed it for the most part.
The other three sections each focus on a different aspect of life and the possible choices a person might be faced with therein. They present a more practical guide for instigating change offering various checklists, goal planning advice and noting some of the resources available at the time of publishing (in the form of web sites, books and organizations that might be worth following up).
I am indebted to this book for introducing me to the concept of portfolio or modular work, an idea that has very strong appeal to me and one that I will investigate further.
The real value though, I feel, is to be found in trying to answer the oft repeated question "What's stopping you?". Are you being held back by excuses or do you have genuine reasons for not following your dream? Either way this book offers methods to help you adapt to, or overcome, obstacles.
Certainly a book worth a look if you are wanting to change but don't know quite where or how to start.-Lynn