An effective indictment of governmental abuse of power written by an unlikely but excellent source.

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    Best Books Of 2012



Once the chief financial officer of the tech firm Broadcom, Ruehle faced potential sentencing of more than 350 years in prison after federal prosecutors in Southern California charged him with multiple felonies for alleged corporate malfeasance. Here, he tells his side of the story.

Corporate executives are hardly sympathetic figures these days. But for Ruehle, the negative spotlight and resultant court case against him amounted to a “politically motivated, media-driven backdating frenzy.” He gives a credible account of his multiyear ordeal, which ultimately ended in December 2009 when a judge declared Ruehle’s innocence and admonished the government for overzealousness. Along with providing realistic glimpses inside the corporate world (“Staff meetings—a new level of agony”), the book could serve as a useful primer for budding legal eagles in the practice of law versus the theory of law. Government lawyers strong-armed potential witnesses into lying for them by holding potential prosecutions and prison terms over their heads; potential defense witnesses were discouraged or “frozen” with similar tactics. “A criminal trial is very much like a war,” Ruehle writes, and he lucidly documents his own legal battles, as his high-priced defense team sifted through 6 million pages of evidence in order to “pry the truth” out of prosecution witnesses during cross-examinations “like an oral surgeon extracting a tooth.” Besides providing observations on good and bad lawyering, the book also offers a simple but useful lesson for these tech-dependent times: “Always be extra careful when writing e-mails.” Although Ruehle gives a clear, convincing account of courtroom tactics and strategies, he’s weak on the human aspects of the trial; most of the leading characters come across as colorless. Even a dab of physical description would have illuminated this chronicle a bit more. Also, the first chapter, which gives a brief history of Broadcom and an explanation of stock options, feels tacked on; it doesn’t cleanly segue into the rest of the book. Still, Ruehle offers an instructive, remarkably evenhanded account of “how overwhelming it could be to fight the federal government.”

An effective indictment of governmental abuse of power written by an unlikely but excellent source.

Pub Date: Aug. 21, 2012

ISBN: 978-1470161064

Page Count: 270

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Sept. 26, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2012

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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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