Friday, January 31, 2014

Friend Me by John Faubion

Genre: Fiction
Pages: Soft Cover
Author:  John Faubion
Publisher:  Simon & Schuster
Reviewer:  Virginia Armstrong
Rating:  8 Jags

Rachel is a stay- at- home mom who is losing sight of who she is and what her purpose in life is about.  Worse, her marriage to Scott, a businessman in a high-stress job, is stagnating. In a dire need to confide to someone, she stumbles across a virtual website that allows her to custom-make an friend who she can confide in.
Soon, she has a virtual re-creation of her best friend who has passed away years earlier.  It is only a matter of time before she is able to rekindle her past friendship over the web. Scott, who witnesses his wife’s joy and fulfillment with her new found friend online, decides to explore the same website. Unbeknownst to his wife, Scott’s career is taking a turn for the worst and the day to day stress is mounting. He creates a female avatar and begins to share things he could never tell his wife. 
Little do either of them realize, Melissa a raging psychotic, is not only the mastermind behind the software, but she is also manipulating Rachel and Scott without their knowledge. Soon, the intimate online relationship becomes a fatal attraction, leaving both of them to fight for not only their marriage, but their lives.

From the first page, the story grabbed my attention and kept me on the edge of my seat.  The Characters are true-to-life facing the same issues many couples of today are.  Then the author interweaves another faction, bringing in virtual computer software.  The entire time you are reading, you’re wondering about the people who actually create these types of programs and what makes them tick.  Are they crazy like Melissa?  Did they have ulterior motives when they devised their plans?  It leaves you more cautious about the information you give and the people you befriend on the web.  John Faubion did an excellent job on this novel. 

The Jag Review has received a free copy of this book from Howard Books for our honest review. The opinions expressed here are our own. 

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Clean Gut by Alejandro Junger M.D.

Pages: Hard Cover

Genre: Health 

Publisher: Harper Collins

Reviewer: Virginia Armstrong

JAGS: 10

Described in the book Clean Gut, it seems in today’s world sickness and disease look as if  it is out of control. Dr. Alejandro Junger excellently explains how a clean gut can actually cure most of today’s aliments. He came to this conclusion after several years following the standard marching orders of the current medical field mentality of sweeping the underline problem aside and focuses on curing the symptom instead of the disease.

Dr. Junger shows how the gut is the stem of all health problems. With just a change of diet, say good-bye to fatigue, blood pressure, diabetes and several other full blown illnesses. With just a minor life-style change on our consumption habits, even the medication prescribed by Doctors can be minimized or all together avoided. He also details a well thought out plan of action by eliminating foods that cause most of these types of health related issues. Dr. Junger assures us in “Clean Gut” that a change into our diet, all aspects of physical and mental health will change for the better. Over 70% of illness is preventable.

Clean Gut is a book that should be a must read for everyone. For me, Dr. Junger hit the nail on the head. All his information made absolute sense. Assessing my own diet, I realized that I could be taking better care of my health both mentally and physically. Just using his simple advice on what few foods that should be on everyone’s “no” list, the benefits seem almost instantaneous.

Everyone should read this book and take charge of their health. Individually, we are the only ones who can judge the change that takes place after minor modifications to our diets. This information is vital to all who want a better quality of life.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

The Fifth Assassin by Brad Meltzer

Pages: Paper

Genre: Fiction

Reviewer Virginia Armstrong


In The Fifth Assassin, it seems a copycat assassin is on the loose on the streets of Washington D.C. and Beecher White is on the case. Targeting clergy in the area, the killer is imitating the assassinations of former U.S. Presidents to the very last detail. Beecher, a historian working at the National Archives, must now figure out if the original Assassins from history past were working alone, or if a larger conspiracy was involved. He has his work cut out for him as he races to unmask the killer before the fifth assassination can take place.

As figures from his past begin to show up on the scene, and bitter memories rise to the surface of his mind leaving him vulnerable and open to danger, Beecher must determine if one of these former friends is actually the killer.

The Fifth Assassin kept me guessing. My mind was continuously wondering how the puzzle was going to be pieced together. The further I read into the story, the better I got to know and understand the characters and the reasoning behind their actions. At one point, I was torn between the guilt of rooting for the villain and didn’t want to perceive them in a negative light. This latest Brad Meltzer sequel to his earlier work The Inner Circle, takes you on an adventure into the past the details involving the assassination of former U.S. Presidents.

This was a better read than I anticipated.  The ending definitely leaves you wanting more.

The Log House at the Lake by Richard Lawrence Spoo

Genre: Memoir

Pages: Paperback

Reviewer: Jean Eastwood


This book was interesting to read because it hits close to home for me. The author is from Appleton, Wisconsin. His family owns a log cabin in Northern Wisconsin. The author (Richard Lawrence Spoo) describes the log house and its surroundings in vivid detail.

I was unaware there were so many different kind of owls and the unique sound each one makes. I also did not know there were Aspen trees anywhere in Wisconsin. I thought those were only found out west in Colorado. Another favorite wood used in the fireplace was “cherry” wood.

The author, through his choice of words, paints a serene picture of the quiet, star-lit nights up north and how he survives in this old “haunted” log house.
This book was a quick read and had some interesting facts for Northeastern Wisconsinites.

Special T Nine Lives-Nine Names by S. Jenny Boyer

Genre: True Story

Pages: Paperback

Reviewer: Jean Eastwood


This book, just short of 100 pages, is packed with interesting true stories of a cat named Special T who wandered into the author’s life. S Jenny Boyer (author) had lost her Maine coon cat, Jasper, three years earlier due to old age. 

The author had originally named the orange and white lovable tabby cat “Tabitha”. It was only on a visit to the veterinarian that she found out Tabitha was a “he”, not a “she”. The cat’s name then became “T”, “Mr. T”, or Special T.  “Jessie”, the author’s Lhasa Apso dog took instantly to Special T and they often shared nap time cuddling close to each other. 

One day while talking to a church-going friend, the author discovers that her cat had had several owners since her kitten days. This friend had called the cat “Sweetie Cat” and had to give her away years later to the pastor and his wife. The pastor and his wife had owned the cat for several years after that and their kids had called him “Cowboy”. Another nickname for the cat was “Reds” because of the large red freckle on the left side of his nose.

Special T had come full circle and truly had nine lives and died naturally of old age. 
I liked the way it was written, very easy to read and it does hold your interest.