Saturday, November 15, 2008

ReBecoming: The Way of Opportunity


In his novel, ReBecoming, The Way of Opportunity, author J.R. Maxon delivers a spiritual and philosophical self-help guide in the form of a fictional story.

Diana Archer is a young woman living in Tampa, Florida who discovers that she is at a defining moment in life. She begins to question events in her life, both past and present, to understand why she is feeling a loss of identity. She attends a Gym and meets Fitness Instructor, Jon, who becomes not only a personal fitness instructor, but a spiritual and philosophical guide. For Diana, life becomes a series of difficult challenges as she faces a number of threats. Jon provides her with unique insight into analyzing and understanding her thought processes as it relates to her physical well being, how she perceives the world and her own circumstances, as well as understanding her own sense of self. Within the chapters that focus on the body, mind, and spirit, Diana learns what it means to achieve a sense of wholeness. Peppered throughout the book are many spiritual, philosophical, and inspirational quotes to help one grow spiritually and emotionally:

“The key to freedom is to shift your awareness away from the Mundane Mind and into the Open Sky Mind and to see your thoughts only as clouds passing through it.”

With a goal of learning what it means to be happy, a number of themes are presented that include: an understanding of compassion, kindness, love, self-confidence, negative thoughts, physical appearance, relationships, finding courage, love, and self-love. One main theme throughout the story is the concept of physical fitness being tied to psychological and spiritual fitness.

For the most part, the author successfully creates a Protagonist that women can relate to. Because the novel is integrated with a self-help guide, readers may want to keep a pen and paper handy in order to note the many self-help techniques presented within the story. At the end of the book, the author provides a summary of self-help passages. It may have been helpful to deliver them in the form of a mini self-help program.

Diana’s journey of breaking free of a cycle of negativity is one that readers will enjoy. ReBecoming: The Way of Opportunity is highly recommended to readers who enjoy books about overcoming one’s internal demons to gain an understanding of what it really means to be happy.

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Wednesday, November 05, 2008

J. Lou McCartney's, De Marco Empire


In her novel, De Marco Empire, author J. Lou McCartney taps into various elements of a Shakespearean tragedy to deliver a modern tragic love story embroiled in the seedy mafia underworld of murder, revenge, obsession, and malicious jealousy.

The story takes place in London, England where Katie and Lucy, two recent College graduates, become employed at the lavish and luxurious Club La Pregheira. The Club is owned and managed by two brothers by the name of Antonio and Gianni de Marco. Katie is an innocent and naïve young woman who finds herself captivated by the handsome and mysterious Antonio de Marco. Lucy becomes involved with Stevo, Antonio’s employee and close friend. The de Marco brothers’ world of crime and murder become entwined with the girls’ romantic relationships resulting in dangerous and deadly events that threaten to tear their lives apart.

As a romance, the narrative can be described as a tragic love story. Antonio and Katie’s relationship is one of obsession and control. Katie, drawn into Antonio’s charming and self assured manner, is blinded to his dark and sinister life which becomes her undoing. Themes of obsession, jealousy, and revenge are revealed through a host of deadly and vicious characters. The story is rooted in a clash of two worlds where Antonio believes he can keep his relationship with Katie separate from his dangerous and deadly criminal life.

In terms of character development, some of the criminal characters introduced had somewhat of a limited role. More development could have been devoted to the central characters. As well, one the main scenes central to the plot was a bit brief. It could have been expanded to deliver a more dramatic climax.

As a tragic love story, the author successfully adapts the elements of a Shakespearean tragedy to a modern plot. The story is full of surprising twists and turns making it a very entertaining read. De Marco Empire is highly recommended to readers who enjoy plights of “star-crossed lovers” unable to stop external elements bent on heartless destruction.
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