Saturday, May 28, 2011

Book 41: Shattered Silence

Shattered Silence: The Untold Story of a Serial Killer's Daughter
Shattered Silence by Melissa G. Moore was a book about growing up and learning to accept the fact that your dad is the Happy Face Serial Killer. It’s a good enough memoir. I say good enough since the tale itself was good but it wasn’t the best written book.

I was drawn to this book since it was about an unusual serial killer. It was about the Happy Face Serial Killer (who is rather odd since he had a family and wasn’t a sexual deviant). Since 10th grade, I’ve been fascinated by serial killers and curious about how they work. So I wanted to know more about Keith Jasperson from a person who knew him closer then most people, his daughter.

I didn’t get that in-depth conversation about her father during the time of the killings like I was hoping. Melissa wasn’t living with her father. Her mom and dad divorced when she was young. So she got to have the “Disneyland Dad”. He was the guy who would come in and spoil the kids once in a while and then withdraw again. There were signs that things were off with her dad and clues to his actions. But it was like the Monday quarterback, hindsight is 20/20. She piece together the clues about her dad’s odd behavior (other then how he was a bit too open in his discussions about sex with her) after he was arrested.

It was interesting to me that the Melissa’s stepfather seemed more horrible and more dominating then her father (the serial killer). Her stepfather Robert was a deaf, mute man was very abusive and combative towards Melissa’s mom and the whole family. Since she lived with Robert and her mother, that was the terror she saw day in and day out. IT’s an odd relationship that the mom was able to walk away from the serial killer husband who treated her decently but she wasn’t able to walk away from a guy who was just abusive.

There were times I got so frustrated with this book. The tale is strong. The clarity of thought is strong. But the editing was really weak. The book could have been pulled in tighter. There were some chapters that I didn’t always get why they existed or parts of chapters. It was just a little too long. Plus I found typos and grammar errors. It was just a poorly edited book. It could have arranged to be even more powerful and masked the decent writing.

The other thing that I’m wasn’t comfortable with was her ties to Dr. Phil by pitching the show and his foundation. I understand she spoke on his show and it helped to provide a lot of closure for her but I don’t like advertising for someone else especially with someone who has so much emphasis on fame and making money. I would prefer to have Dr. Phil left off the cover and the page asking for donations for the Dr. Phil Foundation. Let there just be a subtle mention that a portion of the book sales will go to the foundation or do it in private. As it was done, it just felt like she was just trying to make money for famed obsessed person.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Book 40: Gossip Girl I will Always Love You

Some days you just have to read a cheesy, bad, embarrassing book. Gossip Girl’s I Will Always Love You by Cecily Von Ziegesar book definitely is one of those books. It was actually better then I thought it would be although I wasn’t expecting much.

So I have really low standards when it comes to Gossip Girl. I enjoy the spin off books (The It Girl Series) but never really enjoyed the actual Gossip Girl books. I thought it was neat how Cecily Von Ziegesar used today’s technology intertwined in her books (like the Gossip Girl website, text messages and emails). But for the most part I found the characters to be vapid and undeveloped and I found the plotlines just unbelievable.

I will have to say I like how the book actually looked at the different character’s Christmas and New Year’s Holiday celebrations for all four years of college. It was a neat concept. It shows how they characters were finding themselves and just growing up. I will have to say there are times, things were well done. Quite frankly, she was too ready to rush the events and call it a new school year in January and didn’t always age up the kids a full year. Let’s be honest, you can plan to go abroad for Junior year but that starts in the summer and to use that as a brush off for a girl you don’t want to see when she stars class in January simply doesn’t work. So it took away from the reality that she was trying to create and took away from a really cool concept.

There were times I loved the character growth and times I hated it. For the first time, I really started to connect with Blair and Serena. They weren’t just names on a page who I just couldn’t relate to. The anguish over love and not being able to connect with those that you love just worked. So did how they would get jealous and seem to try to deal with things. I got it. But at other times, the characters were just shallow and one dimensional. Especially Dan and Vanessa. They just fell flat and to be a fraction of the characters they once were.

One of the things I both love and hate about Cecily Von Ziegesar’s writing is the use of brand names and labels. At times it helps to serve the fact that they live an elite lifestyle and brands are a big deal. You want to make sure it’s good enough. It was fun to see stuff that I sell at Schiller’s were showing up in the book by brand (Marvis toothpaste, some of the shampoos, and etc). Kinda shows how Schiller’s does a great job at getting quality products. But at other times it drives me nuts to see sentences that will list a half dozen Brand names. I just start skimming the page and lose my connection to reality. It’s a bout balance when using brand names and while this Gossip Girl book was better then the other books I’ve tried to read but it was still too heavy in many scenes.

So in all, I would rank this book around a 3. It’s a great Gossip Girl but that’s like saying the Pirates are the best when compared to the Orioles, and the Expos (yes I know the Expos don’t exist anymore and are now the Nationals but they still stand out as a stinky baseball team). But there were some good concepts and it was a nice reprieve for a couple nights.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Book 39: The Gathering

The Gathering by Kelley Armstrong is the fourth novel in the Darkest Power Series (the books I read earlier this years by her). She takes the series in a whole new direction. But this whole new direction actually is really strong and the book can really stand on it’s own while still fitting in with the series as a whole.

As I mentioned, The Gathering isn’t like the other Darkest Power books. It only features one of the characters from the first three books: The St. Clouds. Since they were a minor character (if you can call a corporation/cabal a character) n the first books, you can almost forget the books are related. That is until Maya finds out about Project Genesis. That’s the main thread tying the two together since the book to the Buffalo side of the experiment. This book is even set on a real small corporate town on Vancouver Island not in New York state.

I will have to say, I really liked the set up in this book. Maya is a the typical teen dealing with growing up and starts to uncover what an old lady meant by calling her naaldlooshi.. It’ was really neat to see her start to uncover and try to figure out more about herself and be pre-werecougar (at least in essence. But they use the Navajo/Hopi term skin-walker if it’s not the Navajo word naadlooshi).

I really like Maya’s character. I found her completely relatable. Someone who knew what she was doing in most situations but also had doubts that crept in too. I loved her thought progression throughout the book. It was just so believable and relatable too. It was as if Kelley Armstrong took my thoughts and planted into her character.

I think I like this book best in the series thus far. I am definitely interested in seeing if my guesses are right about Daniel and Maya's relationship. Plus I will be interested in seeing how the evacuation will affect everyone and the onset of the change for the kids. So much more to come too bad it's like the Carrie Vaughn books (I have to wait until they are published before getting more).

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Product 26: Pre De Provence Argumes Shower Gel

Pre de Provence is one of the lines that I adore but I dont really treat myself to but I will treat my friends and family too. It was a long time coming, but I finally could get another shower gel and fell in love with a new shower gel.

So for a long time, I give friends and family Pre de Provence products, especially their bar soap. I love the aromas from the products and the ingredients. They use shea butter and blend it with essential oils to make a devine product that is super moisturizing for the skin and it's well tolerated. Plus some of the soaps come in with natural exfoilators. When it comes to beauty products or even anything in life, it's about the ingredients. If you have good stuff going in, you will more then likely have good stuff coming out.

The Argumes scent has been a long time favorite (although I do love the new Vanilla Woods and Provence scents). I love the blend of citrus fruits. It's just good to my nose. And owning the products now, I still really like the smell in my shower when I'm trying to wake up in the morning.

It's a basic clean. I'm not sure I feel completely stripped clean but I love using it. Plus my skin seems to like it and the shower gel doesn't seem to actually get the acne any more exterbated (something I have to worry about on my chest and when I use the moisturizing products).

Product 24: Marks and Spencer Ingredients Lemon Bath Creme

Marks and Spencer Ingredients Lemon products are quite possibly my favorite seasonal products that we get at Schillers. For the past two years, I’ve treated myself to one of the products and just fell in love with it. We only get a small supply and selection of line but it’s such a great product.

The first thing I love about the Ingredients products is the pure smell. It’s a real lemon smell. It’s not the synthetic scent. It just smells like a fresh squeezed lemon.

Plus I love the way they actually work. Since I tried the shower cream before, I picked up the bath crème. I’ve been in love with the bubble bath lately so it’s nice to have a real bubble bath solution for the tub. It creates great frothy bubbles that just last. Plus you can use the bubbles to suds up yourself and get clean.

I don’t have any draw backs to this product for the most part. I would love to have more ready access to these products and I would love to carry other scents. But since they come from England and the exchange rates, you can only get them seasonally. It’s crazy to think that Schillers sold out of these products already and we just got them in two weeks ago.

Product 23: Claus Portos Japanese Mimosa Soap

Claus Portos Japanese Mimosa Soap is a heavy soap made in Portugal that is divinely scented. Around Christmas time, Schillers got in two new scents in a smaller size than the usual Claus Portos Soap. These scents include Almond Milk and Japanese Milk. I love both a lot but I will have to say the Mimosa the best.

The Clause Portos Soap has one major flaw: the price. The price was $11.95 for about a 5.5 oz bar. It’s not a huge bar of soap. So things didn’t sell as quickly as it was hoped despite the product being a great product, and we opened up two bars so people could try them out and sniff them easier. As they continued not to sell quickly, we moved the things to the sale rack (which means it’s 50% off). Now there are a couple bars that will be going into the Sidewalk Sale in the summer. I was lucky enough to take home the testers since we can’t sell open soap and I was a happy camper.

I fell in love with this soap immediately. It feels so great on the skin and it the smell. This soap just lathers up well and the bar fits well into my hand. I just loved the way I felt afterwards too. No dry feeling and I felt clean too. Plus I could smell that hint of Japanese Mimosa on my skin for quite a while.

I’m not kidding about how the scent is strong. After using the soap for the first time, my bathroom had that nice smell of Japanese Mimosa when I came home from work 8 hours later. So that was completely unexpected but welcomed. It made the bathroom just feel nice.

I would recommend this soap to people. It’s absolutely lovely especially if you can get them at the Sidewalk Sale.

Product 22: Megabus

So I took my first Megabus trip. It was definitely an interesting experience but one I would gladly do again. In fact I already have a trip planned out in my head that will take advantage of the Megabus for the near future.

As I said the trip was an interesting one. I wasn’t expecting for such a plainly marked stop by the convention center. I showed up early since I knew that the Convention Center was having an NRA convention that was tying up traffic left and right throughout the city. I actually found the stop itself rather European. It was something that if you knew to go there, it’s great. If you didn’t know about it, you didn’t. It’s kind of a weird thing to describe. But I actually felt safe and it didn’t seem sketchy at all.

Now my wait for the bus turned out to much longer than I anticipated and I saw the irony of my surroundings. As I said there was an NRA Convention that was occurring in the same area. I was also being picketed by the Judgment Day is May 21 People. Add in the people in the bus stop line (mainly upper middle class by dress and college students). It was quite a group of people.

The timing to the bus wasn’t very good. It ran about an hour and half late. There was some sort of problem with the driver and we had to get a new one. That part was crazy since the three Megabus guys kept saying the bus will be here in 10/15 minutes and it wasn’t coming. But they didn’t seem to know much more then us. I will have to say the moment the bus arrived, we boarded the bus and quickly got on our way.

I loved the fact that the bus had some WI-Fi access. It was great since for part of the Lightening v. Capitals game, I could get ESPN gamecast to follow the game. But midway through the state and about midway through the second period, the bus lost the WI-FI connection. So that was a bummer especially given the events that were happening in the world that day (Osama Bin Laden being killed- thankfully my good friend gave me a text and kept me up to speed about the Osama news and the game).

I was so glad that the bus stopped mid-turnpike and we could get off for a bit. I hate to say it, but that little stop was the only food I ate all day (and it was late in the evening by that point). So it was a relief to know that we could just get off the stop for a little bit and grab a bite to eat. Now I actually didn’t really eat after stopping at the pit stop but at least I had the food in my lap so I could if I got motivated to do so.

Megabus also has two things that really go for it. First it has nearly direct routes. I had two stops between Pittsburgh and Philly. That includes that pit stop. It moved so fast through the stops and everything. Plus the bus stops are in good sections of town. I am comfortable being by the Pittsburgh Convention Center and Philly’s 30th Sttreet Station. Two, the seats are comfortable. I had some leg room and I could get comfy even with seating next to someone. I didn’t have same level of comfort using the Greyhound a little over a day later.

While adhering to the schedule was bad and I would have liked to use the WI-FI the entire bus ride, I really liked using Megabus. I plan to use it soon.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Book 38: Next Man Up

The Next Man Up by John Feinstein is one of those great indepth looks into football. It was a nostalgic book for me and I highly enjoyed that even though it wasn’t a team that I follow at the obsessive level I follow the Philadelphia Eagles and the rest of the NFC East teams.

So the cover of the book is both ingenious and very deceptive all at the same time. The cover of the book neglects to mention this book is about the Baltimore Ravens. It just says it’s a behind the scene looks at a football team during one season. I thought great. So that totally pulled me in. By not naming a team, he also was able to pull in the football fan rather then the biased fan.

Now the first thought of the book after realizing this book was about the Ravens was about my dad. He would have mocked me for reading about the Ravens and quickly follow that up with a request to borrow the book when I’m done. He would have mocked the topic since it’s the Ravens and he was a Browns fan. But more then that, he was a football fan. He did something I haven’t seen many other parents raise their kids, he raised us on football with a slight Browns bias but he wanted his girls to like the sport and pick their own team when they were ready (which is why his daughters are Steelers and Eagles fans). He would have loved the inside look at a team regardless of which team it was but with it being a team he knew pretty well, he would have enjoyed. He knew the Ravens for two reasons: 1 Know thy enemy and 2 he lived in Baltimore for years and would go to several games a year.

The book provided a good look at a team. How it dealt with loses, players attitudes, injuries and etc. There are some things that I felt like I knew already. The Philadelphia Media is relentless and some of the things weren’t evolutionary.

But it was fun to see the Baltimore side to the TO debacle of the trade/free agency sign with Philadelphia. I knew all the facts and the whole problem. But you didn’t get to see Newson’s or Billick’s response up in Philly. We were just happy to have Terrell Owens for that season. That love was short lived on both sides.

But one of the things I really liked was seeing a different side to Ray Lewis. I didn’t realize he was so spiritual. I always see him as the play maker, the it guy on the field, and the guy who was involved in a murder investigation/lied to the police. So to see that other side to him. Plus I thought it was great how he helped to bring in Deion Sanders.

Plus the look at the team was great. This was a team that was riding so high with great hopes for a SuperBowl and you saw how at the end of the season. Problems happened, as did injuries and loses. So they ended up mathematically eliminated. No one know that would be the outcome to the season when Feinstein decided to profile this team. He just knew they were a local team (DC based), they had high hopes and were media friendly.

I laughed so hard with Matt Stover’s one reaction to a fight that happened. He said that the use of the term Motherfucker was used by Brown in that situation was used more then once and probably less than a hundred times. Now for so many athletes and their fans, that could explain the use of swearing during a game. But it was a laughable to see that range in print.

You could tell that Feinstein’s time at the Washington Post had led to a Redskins bias. So there was extra focus on the Skin’s moves, the issues by Synder with personnel. There were times when there was a focus on the Eagles too but it was more this is a team to beat. But that was in part due to the TO thing and well the Eagles were a dominate NFC team and they were matched up that year (2004). But I was susprised there was less focus on the Steelers and the Colts. I would have thought they would have more chapter focuses but editing didn’t’ turn out that way. You could tell things were cut since well it’s a long season and highlighting some weeks still lead to a 500 page plus book.

All in all I recommend this book for any football fan. I already told my one friend who is a Raven’s fan that he had to add this book to his reading list. It’s just a good book.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Book 37: Geisha, A Life

Geisha, A Life by Mineko Iwasaki was a fantastic book by a former Geisha in the Kyoto area. I almost can’t put into words how much I learned from her memoir and how fascinated I was by her story.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been interested in the life of geisha’s (although after reading Iwasaki’s book I now know they are called Geikos) yet at the same time didn’t really know a whole lot since so much of the life is rather secretive. So when I saw this book at Borders, I knew I had to have it. I was hoping it would be deeper and feel more real to me then the novel, Memoirs of a Geisha. Fortunately for me, my instincts were right. This book was the real deal and yet you could see how her life was echoed in Memoirs of a Geisha (she was one of the people he consulted when he wrote the novel but changed many details).

I loved how much time Iwasaki put into explaining the Japanese culture and terms. It just gave the book so much more depth to it. But I’ve always loved learning the meaning of Japanese words (which is why when I went to Otakon I wanted to know about the term meant and learned about otaku) so I really liked seeing how carefully terms were explained and the proper names to ceremonies, hair styles and etc were given. The only disappointment I had was when Rande Brown (the translator) chose to put the names in the English format rather than the traditional Japanese format. So I started to automatically flip the names back into the traditional way (for example Iwasaki Mineko).

I liked how you could tell by the way Mineko wrote there were times she was truly naïve about life and was a child growing up in a world. It gave the book a real sense of truth and innocent to it, yet at the same time Mineko added her adult reflections to the same situation when it was warranted. This was a child who lived a privileged life and yet at the same time worked really hard. It’s funny to read how she cared more about the damage fan then the fact it was signed by the Prince Charles.

There are so many tales about what it was like to be a Maiko and Geiko that you can truly see how they are entertainers and not prostitutes in any sense of the word (although there are some events that carry the same name as the ones from the courtesan lifestyle). It’s great to see her reflections on what it was like to perform for Prince Charles, Mr. Gucci, Queen Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh, President Ford, Harry Kissinger and other dignitaries. She got to interact with so many interesting people during her relatively short career. It became clear how every ozashiki had a different vibe to it since every patron had different expectations and interests.

I absolutely loved this book. I would recommend this to many of my friends if they are looking for a good memoir or to learn about the Geiko lifestyle. Although I know my mom will be one of the next people that I know will read this book since I will pass it off to her next. I can’t wait to hear her opinions on it since she also has an interest in Geiko.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Letters 32, 33, 34, 35

Letter 31 Wishing a friend well

Letter 33:Saying Hello

Letter 34: Saying Hello

Letter 35: Some fun

Friday, May 13, 2011

Book 36: The Waiting

The Waiting was a let down by Suzanne Woods Fischer. I thoroughly enjoyed The Choice, that I might have had too high of expectations for The Waiting. It seemed like everything that I loved in the first book didn’t exist in the second book.

One of the biggest things that threw me in The Waiting was how it was placed 40 years in the past from the first book. It just throws you. There was almost no warning about the shift to the past. It just seems weird to have one book take place in current time and then the following book take place in the past. It would have made more sense to order the books in reverse.

Plus there is only character that links book one and book two in the series that is Esther. The family names are the same but they are completely different. Just seems weird to have a background character continue to be a background character. It would have been a great opportunity to make Ester really shine or to make them into two separate characters.

But overall the characters didn’t feel Amish to me. They seemed quite frankly English. I just didn’t feel the book read true. I didn’t get that sense of peace and trust in God. In fact the idea of God was so far in the background, it was almost easy to forget that the main character Cal/Caleb was a pastor.

Plus one of the things that would just take me out of the narrative was how characters would just disappear/appear and there were seemly characters with more then two hands. It seemed like in this book, I was constantly looking to see if I missed something when I read a phrase but usually the character did just go missing. But it takes away from the novel to reread something just to try and make a scene make sense.

The only good thing I really liked about the book was the idea of the Amish and the conscious observer during the Vietnam War. There are different types of observers in the war and you saw the two. One who goes to the front as a non-combatant and the one who stays outside of the war. That was an interesting divide I wouldn’t have thought of if wasn’t for the Waiting.

Book 35: The Choice

The Choice by Suzanne Woods Fisher was a rather enjoyable book about Amish life. It was an easy read that gave great incite about Amish life in the Lancaster area.

Throughout my life, I’ve been fascinated by Amish life. I can contribute this to the fact I used to travel to Lancaster on a regular basis and the fact my mom has a similar interest. For a long time my mom and I have been trading books about Amish life especially those by Beverly Lewis. But fictional books about Amish life start to get repetitive. This became especially true with Beverly Lewis. So I while I love the subject, I was a wee bit skeptical about reading The Choice. I didn’t feel like getting a lecture about Plain/English that I’ve seen a dozen times before.

I was pleasantly surprised by Suzanne Woods Fisher’s approach. She just wrote an engaging book about Amish life but didn’t harp on the differences between Plain/English. It was just there and you could pick up on things but it didn’t scream out that she just researched a specific thing and wanted to share it. I also like how she included a lot of adages and sayings. I haven’t seen some of them before and it was just a nice touch.

I will admit the title is a little misleading. The Choice isn’t the protagonist’s choice to make. Carrie’s mind was set. She was going to live an Amish lifestyle. It was more the people around Carrie that were making heavy life choices when it came to faith and how to handle life.

One of the things I really liked was how the characters and the situations in the book felt real. You could just dive in and think ‘yes that fits my view of Amish life’. I could understand the pull of love that Carrie felt and the delving into feelings as she was dealing with daily life.

The book just gave me a sense of peace and reminded me of the power of faith.

One of the things that did throw me was the massive use of Deitsch (the PA form of Deutsch spoken by the Amish). I took several years of German so there is a part of me that wanted to pick apart the use/misuse of the German phrases but I had to remind myself it’s a dialect. There are times words were approximated from the German but the author was really good at giving translations.

This book was so well written, that I was looking forward to reading the second book in the Secrets of Lancaster County The Waiting.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Book 34: Dark and Stormy Knights

Dark and Stormy Knights edited by P. N. Elrod was a decent short story collection that takes a look at the different knights who pop up in urban vampire/werewolf/occult books. Some of the stories are amazing while others are okay.

This time around, I didn't try to have any preconcieved notions about which stories I would like best. Even though, I was looking forward to reading the Carrie Vaughn story.

In the end, I liked the Carrie Vaughn story probably best. I liked it since I knew Cormac from her Kitty books but it gave so much more depth to his character. You could see how he thought rather then through Kitty's eyes.

The philosopher in me really loved 'Even A Rabbit Will Bite' by Rachel Caine. This story is about an old dragon slayer teaching a young dragon slayer the tricks of the trade. I can't say too much about the story since it will spoil the ending. But it has a really good debate about war and understanding the causes of war.

There was a Jim Butcher story that was kinda related to the Dresden files. I've heard both good and bad things about Dresden so I was glad to read a tale for myself. I find myself agreeing with the pharmacist I work with, it could be good but there is something that I can't fully get into. But I'm glad that I read the story.

This collection is different from the other collections I've read lately. It didn't arrange things in according to content. Instead it was arranged by the author's aphabetically. That meant stories didn't always blend well together since a fairy story would be next to a dragon slayer to a vampire story to another monster slayer. While it seemed to be equal to the writer's talents, for the reader, I think I would have liked the grouping to be a little better like the other collections that I read.

So in the end, this is a good book to read. There are some stories that were only okay while others were amazing.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Book 33: Dick Vermeil: Whistle in His Mouth, Heart on His Sleeve

Dick Vermeil: Whistle in His Mouth, Heart on His Sleeve was a disappointing book by Gordon Forbes. I really wanted to like it. It’s talking about some of the golden years of the Philadelphia Eagles and one of the best coaches that entered the NFL. I’m a die-hard bleeding green Eagles fan that will watch every game even if that means I’m awake at 2 AM to do so and yet this book failed for me. It was too much about the Eagles and not enough about Dick. If only I was told this was a Philadelphia Eagles history book, I would have given this a rave review.

The biggest fault that I have with this book is the nature of how it’s sold. If it was sold as a Philadelphia Eagles book during the Dick Vermeil age, I would have loved it. But it was suppose to be a Dick Vermeil biography. It only talked briefly about his time outside of the reign with the Eagles. He did some great things with UCLA, the Rams and Chiefs. I really wanted to know more about his growth as a coach. Especially how his coaching compared with his UCLA days and his Eagles days, but I quite frankly I still don’t know enough about his UCLA days to really do that.

Plus at times, the stories got a little repetitive. I would have liked to see more variety between stories. See how his heart came out a little bit more. You got the work aspect to Vermeil and that he is sincere but not the why he’s so likable. But I think some of this is due to the fact that this is an unauthorized biography. He could only go to some people and draw on the old public records. If he could sit down with Vermeil and more of his friends, I’m sure it would be even richer.

You could see how Vermeil really lived by the belief if you work hard, good things will follow. Long hours and long days will help create good solutions. It’s an idea that I believe myself. It was great to see how the stories I’ve seen in movies like Invincible were true. It’s how I want my Philadelphia coaches to be. Working hard pretty much all day and all night long, creating that perfect game plan and getting the Eagles/Flyers to play at their very peak.

I also really like Gordon Forbe’s writing style. You can tell he’s a Philadelphia Inquirer sports writer. He GETS the team and the fan mentality and he is able to weave it into a good read. It’s a quick book and very enjoyable.

One of my favorite aspects of the book is in the epilogue. I really liked seeing the off-season conditioning guide. I think I got more of Dick Vermeil’s personality in this guide. It’s so detailed an it’s smartly written. It’s one of those real gems and you got to see how the little things of conditioning are really in there. The need to balance out the aerobic/rest/flexibilty/nutrition/and strength are so important and it’s there. Plus you got to see how it’s broken out for the different types of players. As a person interested in fitness and sports, I LOVED this. It’s a guide that could still work today.

Another thing I like about this book is the idea of Dick Vermeil’s burnout. It not only showed how it happened but it also did the unthinkable, question if a coach could really burn out. Few coaches burn out at least in those terms. Some will take some time out or just fizzle out but not many will say they couldn’t hack it anymore. There are some coaches that coach for years on end and only leave the vocation due to retirement or being fired due to lack of performance. It’s a good discussion to have in a book. But I do believe that coaches can and do burn out but few have the courage to call it such.

I learned SO MUCH about the Eagles. I hate to say it, but I don’t have the history aspect to the Philadelphia Eagles other then the stats and knowing the really big names. It’s hard to know about a team you never see play (since you weren’t born when it happened). I didn’t realize how many times and how close Joe Paw nearly left Penn State. To see the record about Paterno’s interview and near hire with the Eagles was really cool to see since JoePaw is the face of Penn State football. Plus I learned about the problems of ownership and coaches.

I enjoyed Dick Vermeil: Whistle in His Mouth, Heart on His Sleeve. It had so much history and good stuff in it. But it fails as a biography. I wanted to know more about his life and his tenures outside of the Philadelphia Eagles. It would have been a longer book but it would have been better for it.

Book 32: Black Bird Volume 3

So I am now through my collection of Black Bird books after completing Kanoko Sakurakoji's third volume (there are 9 volumes in the works/available but I only bought the first 3). I really enjoyed this book. It was just a fun read.

One of the things that I enjoyed most about this book was the fact it pulled together ideas from the book. It was nice to see how there was a coliation of forces attempting to break up Kyo and Misao. It didn't seem natural to see them to just give up on killing or marrying Misao. So to see them back again in a failed attempt was great.

Plus I really liked how you see Misao realizing both her feelings and the fact that by giving into her love with Kyo, she could be changing her life forever. Some of the changes are good since she could really just hang out with her friends after school without worrying about demons making her look like a klutz. Plus I like how you see her adjusting to things since love isn't always instant, the attraction is but not the love since that's deeper. Plus marrying the head Tengu would definately change everything. Her fears about if she can still hang out with friends and her family or is she will be pulled away forever.

There are some great insights into the secondary characters to the series. I really like that. It makes you want to know more and their back stories.

I can't wait to see what happens next. Now I just have to wait until I can get the other books in the series. Hopefully it's fairly soon.