A well-organized, thoughtful and thoroughly researched book that covers a wide array of emotional issues using universal...



Wolf writes a fascinating collection of chapters that transcends most self-help books, with research, tested ideas and logical explanations for human patterns we work to reverse continuously throughout life.

Rather than offering 12 steps or a system to rearrange one’s life, Wolf takes a more realistic and lifelong approach to the subject of avoiding “faceplants,” or patterns of self-defeat that readers all face throughout life. These faceplants are engrained behaviors or pathologies that keep us from moving forward toward success. They can come in the form of a lack of self-care due to an unbalanced devotion to others or a creation of dysfunction due to belligerently speaking one’s mind. While occasional faceplants continue throughout life, Wolf frames an educational guide that leads to awareness, not avoidance. One of the biggest defenses against faceplanting, for example, is self-security. Wolf explains that someone emotionally secure understands how to set boundaries and make informed decisions. By assessing what we want and who we are, we become intimate with ourselves and learn to create emotional safety. That safety, according to Wolf, is a key factor in diminishing patterns of repeated behavior that land us in undesirable situations. Perhaps what’s most unique about the concept is that it can be applied to so many aspects of life. Faceplanting happens in relationships, careers, child-raising, family dynamics and even personal health. Another recurring concept in the book is “inner chatter,” or the ideas or models we’ve become accustomed to hearing in our heads when certain events occur. For example, one faceplant might involve deflecting each time you hear a compliment, since internal chatter suggests that flattery creates vulnerability and ultimately weakness. Wolf explains clearly how to isolate these “inner chatters” and assess them based on how well they’ve assisted you so far. From interviews with anonymous patients about relationship patterns to anecdotes about nameless faceplanters who discovered the keys to seeing their repetitive missteps, Wolf uses a history of observation to offer steps toward awareness rather than prepackaged solutions. With such an array of testimonials and client observations, many (if not all) readers will recognize some behavioral pattern or faceplant of their own. With more than 30 years of experience in talk therapy and behavioral experiments, Wolf seems to effortlessly demonstrate that major life changes only need be a series of small changes, decisions and commitments to personal emotional health.

A well-organized, thoughtful and thoroughly researched book that covers a wide array of emotional issues using universal concepts.

Pub Date: Sept. 21, 2012

ISBN: 978-0988194502

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Personal BluePrint Publishing

Review Posted Online: Dec. 20, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2013

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A YA novel that treats its subject and its readers with respect while delivering an engaging story.



In the ninth book in the Bluford young-adult series, a young Latino man walks away from violence—but at great personal cost.

In a large Southern California city, 16-year-old Martin Luna hangs out on the fringes of gang life. He’s disaffected, fatherless and increasingly drawn into the orbit of the older, rougher Frankie. When a stray bullet kills Martin’s adored 8-year-old brother, Huero, Martin seems to be heading into a life of crime. But Martin’s mother, determined not to lose another son, moves him to another neighborhood—the fictional town of Bluford, where he attends the racially diverse Bluford High. At his new school, the still-grieving Martin quickly makes enemies and gets into trouble. But he also makes friends with a kind English teacher and catches the eye of Vicky, a smart, pretty and outgoing Bluford student. Martin’s first-person narration supplies much of the book’s power. His dialogue is plain, but realistic and believable, and the authors wisely avoid the temptation to lard his speech with dated and potentially embarrassing slang. The author draws a vivid and affecting picture of Martin’s pain and confusion, bringing a tight-lipped teenager to life. In fact, Martin’s character is so well drawn that when he realizes the truth about his friend Frankie, readers won’t feel as if they are watching an after-school special, but as though they are observing the natural progression of Martin’s personal growth. This short novel appears to be aimed at urban teens who don’t often see their neighborhoods portrayed in young-adult fiction, but its sophisticated characters and affecting story will likely have much wider appeal.

A YA novel that treats its subject and its readers with respect while delivering an engaging story.

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2004

ISBN: 978-1591940173

Page Count: 152

Publisher: Townsend Press

Review Posted Online: Jan. 26, 2013

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A short, simple, and sweet tale about two friends and a horse.

Mary's Song

From the Dream Horse Adventure Series series , Vol. 1

A novel tells the story of two spirited girls who set out to save a lame foal in 1952.

Mary, age 12, lacks muscle control of her legs and must use a wheelchair. Her life is constantly interrupted by trips with her widower father to assorted doctors, all of whom have failed to help her. Mary tolerates the treatments, hoping to one day walk unassisted, but her true passion involves horses. Possessing a library filled with horse books, she loves watching and drawing the animals at a neighboring farm. She longs to own one herself. But her father, overprotective due to her disability and his own lingering grief over Mary’s dead mother, makes her keep her distance. Mary befriends Laura, the emotionally neglected daughter of the wealthy neighboring farm owners, and the two share secret buggy rides. Both girls are attracted to Illusion, a beautiful red bay filly on the farm. Mary learns that Illusion is to be put down by a veterinarian because of a lame leg. Horrified, she decides to talk to the barn manager about the horse (“Isn’t it okay for her to live even if she’s not perfect? I think she deserves a chance”). Soon, Mary and Laura attempt to raise money to save Illusion. At the same time, Mary begins to gain control of her legs thanks to water therapy and secret therapeutic riding with Laura. There is indeed a great deal of poignancy in a story of a girl with a disability fighting to defend the intrinsic value of a lame animal. But this book, the first installment of the Dream Horse Adventure Series, would be twice as touching if Mary interacted with Illusion more. In the tale’s opening, she watches the foal from afar, but she actually spends very little time with the filly she tries so hard to protect. This turns out to be a strange development given the degree to which the narrative relies on her devotion. Count (Selah’s Sweet Dream, 2015) draws Mary and Laura in broad but believable strokes, defined mainly by their unrelenting pluckiness in the face of adversity. While the work tackles disability, death, and grief, Mary’s and Laura’s environments are so idyllic and their optimism and perseverance so remarkable that the story retains an aura of uncomplicated gentleness throughout.

A short, simple, and sweet tale about two friends and a horse.

Pub Date: N/A


Page Count: -

Publisher: Hastings Creations Group

Review Posted Online: Oct. 15, 2016

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