The Meandering Orb Trail of Avery Adludian Stein


The Meandering Orb Trail of Avery Adludian Stein, an e-book by Karen Costakes.

Plot: a Prologue describes a seemingly depressed Robert shuffling toward his rather dilapidated truck from another yard sale with a musty box of gatherings labeled “Free Junk”. While opening the car door, it suddenly disengages from its rusty hinges and falls making him drop the box, widely scattering the buttons, yarn and other material. Now greatly chagrinned and about to pull a childish tantrum, two words come to mind – “For Sam” – and his disgruntled state turns into one of resolve. He believes she will look at the world with ‘rose-colored glasses’ instead of from his more jaundiced approach. Then, while recovering the last of the scattered objects, he encounters a dapper man who questions his success at the sale. Robert answers that it was not particularly successful, but there always was the next one that could be. Liking his optimism, the man hands him a small parcel and suggests he take this and “Maybe it will lead you to something of more value.” Robert returns to his home whose state resembles that of his truck, and stops to listen to his wife reading to their soon-to-be-delivered daughter: “You are going to be brilliant and beautiful. You are going to have adventures galore. You may go through tough times but you are a fighter.” The story then opens with a nearly thirty-year-old Sam living at home helping with her father’s EBay business that barely is eking out a living for the family. While going through junk in the barely surviving attic, she discovers a pair of somewhat unique glasses. Descending to the main floor and exiting to the back porch, she dons the glasses and is shocked to see a strange red orb developing from a red spot in the carpet. Even more disquieting is the fact that the orb has multiplied and seems to provide an extended path. She rushes to confirm her sanity with her unusual neighbor Matty, who offers assurance and the two set off on a journey that provides the substance of story.

Discussion: Quite frankly and regrettably, this is one of the very few books I ever have read that I found extremely difficult to finish. For this reason I indulged in a procedure I always avoid – I read the reviews that already had been posted. Here among others, it has been described as “unique and whimsical”, which it is; as “clean, happy, fun, hilarious, and sensitive” which for many no doubt it will be; “If you are a junkie for a good book to take you out of the ordinary, this is it!”

These analyses require me to simply apologize for totally disagreeing with the seeming ‘flow of positive reviews’ and to offer, perhaps somewhat apologetically, the following: 1) I may have ‘missed’ something; 2) my many years as an investigative scientist may have pushed me too far toward pragmatism even though I thoroughly enjoy many books in the fantasy, occult, sci-fi and similar genres; or 3) I simply prefer a book that provides a plot that is somewhat more structured, i.e., ‘seems to be going somewhere’; characters with some, even slightly, more definition to provide some empathy or even a desire for the protagonist to accomplish his/her goals.

Conclusion: I understand that the author’s former endeavors have included Peace Corps volunteer, professional dog walking, kindergarten substitute, nanny and a struggling EBay business. The latter forms a knowledgeable base for the story’s initiation and the various other endeavors provide an insightful basis for the thrust and management of her story. Her optimism is impressive and the story has a most commendable underlying belief set forth in her statement: “God gave no greater gift than creative thought.” Thus, many readers no doubt will concur with the other reviewers. Most regrettably, it just is too unstructured for this reviewer.

3* Commendable endeavor regrettably not for this reviewer. Mea Culpa?

Secrets to Shine through the Noise

     Secrets to Shine through the Noise ISBN: 9781628653182, Motivational Press a self-help e-book by Akasha Garnier.

Note: The book is one of self-help, but seems to be for a dichotomous audience. Thus providing a review is a more difficult task, at least for this particular reviewer. It provides some provisional help for seekers in general, but additionally seems to be slanted toward one wishing a literary career. It has been published by a small independent press that seems to provide subjects in accord with their name. The author is a widely traveled and successful marketer (helping people shine), and an author with a stated desire to find a national publisher from whom she can receive a 3-book deal. Having already written a thousand pages “I am still spinning a travel “thrilogy” inspired by true events.” The bases for this statement are provided briefly by enumeration of such situations as living in a rain forest, weathering a tsunami, swimming with sharks and others. All of this material is quite interesting, but to reiterate, its interjection into the body of the work is distracting to say the least in attempting to provide a meaningful review for a specific group of readers.

Review: Assumedly from the thrust and format of this book the author’s attributes also include successful motivational speaker. It is written with the ‘gung ho’ enthusiasm of such a person and if the prospective reader is one to be motivated by such presentations he/she will discover the material provided to be most helpful. One of the better discussions is that about the tendency for everyone to have their activity, intentions and/or occupation confined within a ‘box’. In the present day of almost unceasing activity, it is the easiest way for associating individuals to be able to eliminate at least one factor it is necessary to think about; e.g., she’s the lawyer, he’s the CPA. Also well-presented is the repeated thought that anyone wishing to become a self-sustaining author should remember an adage that long has been around in the profession: ‘Don’t give up your day job.’ Today with self-publishing, an author must contend with the fact that over one million new titles are published yearly. Her suggestion that Facebook and similar social lines for marketing purposes are routes to success however, may be only slightly useful. Bestselling authors Tess Gerritsen, David Baldacci and John Gilstrap all have expressed reservations with respect to these means of promoting books, and romance/mystery author Michael Davis actually studied his sales figures over a period of time and rated Facebook, Twitter, etc. as effective only at 5 on a scale of 0 – 100. Another problem noted for the person looking for successful writing tips is the matter of repetition. This book is replete with restated ideas – an effective tool to increase understanding and retention of the material being presented by the motivational speaker, BUT such redundancy is to be avoided in writing, even in totally fact based ‘thrillers’. Any material of a diversionary nature must be avoided – specifically, if it does not advance the plot, omit it.

Summary: An interesting presentation for a dichotomy of readers if one does not mind the mixture of themes under the main self-help heading. It can be especially helpful for those who are ‘caught in a box’ and respond to a ‘pep-talk’ approach. Its effectiveness for an aspiring author may be somewhat more questionable.

3* Dichotomous self-help more helpful to ‘boxed-in’ individual than to aspiring writer.