An inspirational book about how to achieve one’s goals, wrapped in an adventure tale.

STEPS TO THE SUMMIT

REACHING THE TOP IN BUSINESS AND LIFE

Mountain climber, investment banker and entrepreneur Fejtek, born with a condition that resulted in a partial paralysis of his right arm, writes of his quest to conquer the highest mountain on each continent.

With his wife and climbing partner, Denise, Fejtek spent eight years on a quest to reach the summit of seven of the world’s highest peaks and bring attention to athletes with physical disabilities. Starting with Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania and ending with Mt. Everest on the border between Nepal and Tibet, the Fejteks overcame physical disability, brutal weather, life-threatening avalanches and illness to accomplish a feat only 65 other people at that time had achieved. Along the way, the author realized that the steps he took to prepare himself had relevance in his everyday life and business experience. Fejtek’s story is cleverly and succinctly told in 15 steps that encompass his philosophy for finding success in life and in particular as a businessman and athlete. Fejtek not only uses his steps to carry him over the finish line in Ironman competitions but also in business transactions. As he points out, steps such as “Have a Little Faith,” “Move Fast,” “Just Breathe” and “Never Give Up” can be applied to many large and small challenges. The author demonstrates most of these steps in his story of climbing Mt. Everest, an endeavor that has claimed the lives of hundreds of well-prepared climbers. The mountaintop was elusive, but the Fejteks made it to the top of the world; they also brought 23 of their friends to Everest’s base camp (at an altitude of more than 17,000 feet) in a project called Everybody to Everest. The project helped raised money for the Challenged Athletes Foundation, a group whose members were instrumental in inspiring and helping Fejtek achieve his lofty goal. (All the profits from the sales of this book will go to the CAF.)

An inspirational book about how to achieve one’s goals, wrapped in an adventure tale.

Pub Date: Jan. 2, 2012

ISBN: 978-0984012510

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Peak Publishing

Review Posted Online: Jan. 2, 2013

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A fast-paced, engaging trip to the heart of a bachelor, without enough plausibility or dimension.

THE ALASKAN STING

In Herold’s debut novel, a young, womanizing boozehound struggles to catch up with his elusive Alaska-bound cruise ship.

Young, single Tom Courier has just been gifted an all-expenses-paid trip aboard the Nordic Princess, courtesy of his cousin and co-worker, Scott. His objective: two weeks of bourbon-soaked, coitus-filled relaxation. Things seem on track after he achieves his objective an hour into his initial connecting flight. From there, however, his plans veer wildly off course: A bomb detonates on the plane’s wing, forcing an emergency landing in Portland. Tom misses the Princess’ departure, but his luggage finds its way on board and serves as motivation throughout the story for him to reach the ship. Unfazed, Tom seizes the opportunity to spend an erotic evening with Mandy—the “cougar” he met on the plane—in a secluded hideaway in the Oregon wilderness. Herold’s ominous foreshadowing hints at Tom’s impending misfortune, and trouble continues to lurk just below the surface for much of the novel. The author maintains sufficient momentum as his protagonist pushes on, inching ever closer to reaching his stateroom aboard the seafaring vessel. Yet an ensuing stream of uncannily coincidental mishaps keeps him perpetually one step behind. On his next layover, in British Columbia, Tom finds himself in another love affair, this time with a local surfing champion named Giata. In increasingly predictable fashion, this fling proves more urgent than catching the ship, of which Tom remains in tepid pursuit. Unfortunately, Tom’s seemingly one-track mind accentuates his shallow depth of character and risks preventing many readers from relating to him. Following another airplane crash, Tom finds himself in the port town of Ketchikan, Alaska, engaging in yet another romance with a local beauty. There, he’s hurled inexplicably into a two-man campaign to track down a mythical, luck-bringing sea beast. The story’s rapid pace continues at the expense of character development, while typos throughout further distract from the more subtle plot threads Herold attempts to weave. Despite the lulling effect of its rhythmic, seemingly inevitable series of calamities, the story revives for a compelling final twist.

A fast-paced, engaging trip to the heart of a bachelor, without enough plausibility or dimension.

Pub Date: Jan. 20, 2012

ISBN: 978-1468507737

Page Count: 328

Publisher: AuthorHouse

Review Posted Online: Feb. 7, 2014

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Our Verdict

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  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2012

BYE BYE BLACKBIRD

WORLDS PAST AND WORLDS AWAY

Merging geographic precision with detailed lyricism, Berry’s collection of poetry spans continents and states of the soul.

The best poetry focused on a particular locale tends to evoke sensory stimulation as much as meaning, and Berry’s collection of nearly 60 poems is no different. Born in England, the author has travelled widely throughout Africa and the United States. With a doctorate in geography, she casts a discriminating, discerning eye on the landscapes to which her travels have taken her. In unrhymed, compact poems—few more than a page in length—the poet speaks with seriousness about the relationship between the natural world and one’s inner world. In “Music of Place,” she writes: “Carried in the wind is the music of place, blown / like washing on a line, white sheets flapping, sending / large billowing folds of sound back to me,” which typifies her ability to translate a place into a finely detailed, highly specific moment in her past or present. Some poems set in North Africa elevate journallike jottings into sharply etched experiences. The dominant moods suffusing these poems are calm and meditational, perhaps reflecting the influence of poet Elizabeth Bishop, who was also attuned to inner and outer geographies. The final 20 poems shift focus from geography and place to reconciliations or frictions with family members; many relatives have passed on but are vibrantly alive in the author’s memory. These family sketches often turn on a particularly poignant phrase spoken to the author by a parent or loved one: “Windows” pivots on Berry’s father’s comment, “I could drive if I wanted to,” as the author notes that her father never owned a car. Few books of recent poetry reveal such a penetrating awareness of how the environments in which we live affect us as much as we affect them. An extraordinary, nuanced collection by a gifted poet.

 

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-1935514749

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Plain View

Review Posted Online: April 11, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2012

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