Posted by: irenesroth | July 17, 2014

Data Smart-Book Review Published at Blogcritics

512SBHU7cZL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA300_SH20_OU01_We are all intimidated by spreadsheets, whether we are computer minded. They look complicated and a thing to be feared for many. After reading Data Smart: Using Data Science to Transform Information into Insight, however, readers will not view spreadsheets with the same fear and hesitation but will embrace them as a necessary and even useful tool for data processing.

Data scientists are real people, just like you and me. Foreman makes data science comprehensible to all of us. Data processing can be extremely beneficial for all businesses if they are to be successful. A lot of useful information can be gathered through data processing. We can even gain a lot of insights from data science. So, it is vital to any organization.

The book covers topics ranging from classic operations research fodder (such as optimization, Monte Carlo, and forecasting) to unsupervised learning (outlier detection, clustering, and graphs) to supervised AI (regression, decision stumps, and naïve Bayes). After reading this book, the reader should feel confident working with spreadsheet data at a much higher level.

I enjoyed the book from beginning to end. The book is a bit technical for the non-mathematically oriented reader like myself; however, most of the concepts are explained quite clearly. This book would be best understood by a data specialist for a business environment.

Rating 4 Stars

Reviewed by: Irene S. Roth

Posted by: irenesroth | June 28, 2014

Book Review for: A Very Good Life, by Lynn Steward

51gmIwd90oL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-v3-big,TopRight,0,-55_SX278_SY278_PIkin4,BottomRight,1,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_A Very Good Life: A Novel
By: Lynn Steward

This is a wonderful novel for women who are struggling in their lives both with their husbands and careers. It is a book that most women could relate to and perhaps even cry with. I found myself getting very sad for Dana as I read the book.

Dana is a woman who seems to have it all: she has a fantastic job in a large New York department store, lives in a great neighborhood, goes to parties in very prestigious restaurants and cafes, and has great family and friends. But she isn’t happy. Her husband is acting strangely, and she ultimately finds out that he is having an affair. Her career is rocky and things are going anything but right.

So, Dana has to choose what she will do? Will she stay in a dead-end marriage? Will she keep working for a company that is moving her into unethical activities, or will she transcend all of these difficulties and create a happy life for herself, one in which she could be happy and feel fulfilled?

Once I started reading this book, I couldn’t put it down. It is very inspiring and engaging. It is a book that I know will be read again and again by women. It is bound to become one of those books that are loved and which inspire all women who read it and to create the lives that they want. Lynn’s message is that all women can create a very good life for themselves. What an inspiring message!

I can’t wait to read Lynn’s next book in this series.

Rating: 5 stars

Reviewed by: Irene S. Roth

Posted by: irenesroth | May 27, 2014

Book Review for Tyndale Publishers

412yL2HXiQL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-v3-big,TopRight,0,-55_SX278_SY278_PIkin4,BottomRight,1,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_Rhinestone Jesus: Saying Yes to God when Sparky, Safe Faith is no Longer Enough
By: Kristen Welch

This is a wonderful book that will be hard to put down. I know I just couldn’t. It is so about life and all of its ups and downs and how one can triumph despite all of these difficulties with God at our side.

This book is an absolute treasure to read and I am honored to write a review for it. It is one of those books that I will never forget. It is motivational and inspirational. But what is more, Kristen shows in impeccable detail that you can overcome all odds in life if you take risks and live out your dreams by saying Yes to God.

The book also shows the reader how forgiving she is. The redemption of her marriage took my breath away. It was painful to read but once the words that I read settled in my psyche I will filled with hope and mercy—a hope and mercy that I didn’t have before. I started become aware that I too was carrying a lot of baggage—a weight that keeps me away from what God wants to do through me. This book really changed me and made me rethink my priorities and helped me see that there were times that I could be very judgmental.

But in addition, Kristen  showed me the importance of not simply living my life as best as I can but to reach to others and making a difference in the world around me—and God knows that there is a lot of work to do in this department. We must all give generously. If we can do this as a family, as Kristen did, we will show a new generation of children how to live with a generous and loving heart. This will set them up for a life of happiness and contentment.

Thank you Kristen for such a GREAT book!

Rating: 5 Stars

Reviewed by: Irene S. Roth

Posted by: irenesroth | May 1, 2014

A Review of a GREAT Memoir by Joan Heartwell


Hampster Island
Joan Heartwell

This is a riveting memoir with a lot of different interlacing themes. It kept me spellbound to the pages of the book until I read it in its entirety.

The memoir is about Joan’s heroic life and how she overcame great odds as a child of parents who were neglectful and downright mean at times. It is hard to fathom how parents can treat their own flesh and blood in these ways. Maybe some parents should never be parents. We all seem to transfer some of our past hurts to other people. But to transfer these hurts to your own children is the worse thing we can do.

Joan’s family was not only dysfunctional, but they also had special needs. This made the issues of the family even graver. There is nothing like a mother who is a religious fanatic either and a kleptomaniac grandmother, with two special needs children. The mother will not only turn her kids away from religion but they won’t want to have anything to do any kind of organized religion.

The part of the story that deals with Joan’s caretaking role is truly courageous. I can’t even imagine being put in this kind of place and to thrive and overcome such obstacles as she did. This is a true mark of greatness and genius.

I love reading memoirs. I don’t usually like dark memoirs. But this book has held my attention from beginning to end. It probably was the sheer horror of it perhaps. But it is also brilliantly written by a master storyteller.

I commend Joan Heartwell for her genuine honesty. There is something in memoir writing that is so cathartic. Nothing really matches it not even psychotherapy. I hope that Joan was able to understand where she came from and where she got to now. And I especially hope that Joan is proud of her courage and bravery in the midst of such hardship.

Rating: 5 stars

Reviewed by: Irene S. Roth

511YvmZLiJL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-v3-big,TopRight,0,-55_SX278_SY278_PIkin4,BottomRight,1,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle:
Transform your body forever using the secrets of the leanest people in the world
By: Tom Venuto

This is a book about how to be healthy and get rid of our fat once and for all. Given the obesity pandemic that we are experiencing in America, it is an important book for all of us to read.

We all know that diets don’t work. And according to Venuto, diets don’t work because they are missing one important component: the mind. We all believe and have been taught for decades that to lose weight we must exercise and eat figure friendly foods that don’t have a lot of fat or carbohydrates. And millions of us have tried these various plans only to fail and to get fatter as a result.

Venuto believes that one of the reasons why we fail is because we don’t train our mind to think differently about food, exercise and weight training. But what is most important is that we have to train our minds to think differently about diet, nutrition, exercise, cardio training, and our bodies.

Venuto’s program is not a diet—it is life style change which incorporates fat-loss, nutrition, and exercise along with mind training in goal setting and achievement. It is a program that is custom-tailored to your body type. There are so many success stories in the book as well. They will motivate the reader to want to lose their fat and become leaner and healthier.

Thank you, Tom Venuto, for such a GREAT book. I will use it as a resource book for my fat loss efforts!

Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by: Irene S. Roth

Posted by: irenesroth | April 25, 2014

A Book Review Published by Blogcritics

The Power of Storytelling
The Art of Influential Communication
By Ty Bennett41UyF7gurxL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-v3-big,TopRight,0,-55_SX278_SY278_PIkin4,BottomRight,1,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_

This is a GREAT book about effective communication. To communicate most effectively is an art. And Ty Bennett takes us through the steps very eloquently in this concise book.

Ty believes that one of the most important aspects of good communication is being able to tell a good story. It is important for writing, stage acting, marketing, and sales. It is also important for presentations of all kinds. And most of us are in the public eye quite a bit and have to make difficult material easy. That is certainly what teachers have to do. And one important way of doing this is by telling stories.

In order for the stories to connect with the audience, presenters and leaders should have the right mindset, toolset, and skillset. To have the right mindset as a speaker, we have to learn how to think like an influencer. Our mindset is critical because understanding the psychology and science makes the techniques of storytelling most effective. Secondly, we need the toolset to make your stories come alive for the audience. Ty discusses specific techniques that you can apply within your stories to make them more compelling and memorable for the audience, and we can do this by sharing stories that will resonate with the audience. Thirdly, the skillset has to do with the delivery of the message. How you deliver the message to the audience is probably the most important aspect of effective communication but the hardest to develop. Ty outlines how all speakers can take steps to ensure that they develop these techniques in delivering their message in an authentic and engaging manner.

Being an educator and presenter myself, I can relate to the many things that Ty discusses in his book. But I also learned a few important things about public speaking that I didn’t know, despite the fact that I’ve been teaching and presenting for a long time. And that is telling a good story to bring a point across.

Ty’s book is for people who speak in public and who want to hone their skills in communicating. All of us need help in this area of our lives since communicating though supposedly the simplest thing to do really isn’t. It is hard to really connect with our audience, and without that we don’t come across at all and our audience doesn’t take in our message.

Rating: 5 Stars

Reviewed by: Irene S. Roth

Posted by: irenesroth | April 11, 2014

Book Review First Published on Blogcritics

51FRKNkoZCL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-v3-big,TopRight,0,-55_SX278_SY278_PIkin4,BottomRight,1,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_It’s Only Temporary: The Good News and the Bad News of Being Alive
Evan Handler

This book seems to be a sequel to his first book entitled Time on Fire which discusses his journey through leukemia and his chemotherapy treatments. After reading that book, I was always wondering how his life unfolded after that. Well, I didn’t have to wait much longer because the publisher sent me both books to review.


This book is about how Evan Handler puts his life back together after it was ripped by leukemia and chemo treatments. It is not uncommon for girlfriends and other friendships to be changed and this is what happens to Evan. But what is more, there are doors that open for him as well, which was GREAT to read about because of how hard his early adulthood was.


Evan Handler’s acting career just took off and he got a lot of acting roles such as playing leading roles in seven Broadway productions before his thirtieth birthday, including Six Degrees of Separation, I hate Hamlet, Brighton Beach Memoirs, Broadway Bound, and Master Harold….and the boys. He has also appeared in feature films such as Sex in the City 1 & 2, Ransom, and Taps. He was also a guest on Lost, The West Wing, Six Feet Under and Friends. He also had writing assignments for O, Elle, Mirabella, and The New Yorker. Now that is quite a career, if you ask me!


But he also had to endure many other changes as well as meeting and getting married to a wonderful woman. I am SO happy for Evan Handler, and I am happy that his life became so much better and inspiring. What a triumph after such a difficult start to life.


Thank you Evan for writing a book to tell all of us that your life has really mended and you thrived! I really am so proud of you!


Rating: 5 Stars


Reviewed by: Irene S. Roth


Posted by: irenesroth | April 11, 2014

Book Review first Published on Blogcritics

51DQXIMEqjL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-v3-big,TopRight,0,-55_SX278_SY278_PIkin4,BottomRight,1,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_Time on Fire: My Comedy of Errors
Evan Handler

I love memoir-type books, and this one is no exception. Evan Handler is a GREAT writer, and he writes his memoir with passion and heart.


This book is about Evan Handler’s difficult and heart-wrenching journey through a life-shattering diagnosis of leukemia and his soul-destroying and hope frustrating chemotherapy treatments and how he felt before, during and afterwards. Evan goes into excruciating detail of how the hospital and the people looked and felt after chemo treatments. It takes a lot of honesty and courage to write about these experiences as openly as Evan does. It was sad but very powerful as well.


And Evan doesn’t just describe his feelings and experiences after the diagnosis but everyone around him who was also affected by the diagnosis, such as his girlfriend and parents. I felt as if I was sitting beside Evan as he was telling me the story. It is so moving and heart-felt.


After reading the book, I could just feel how it would be like to have your whole life change before you in a moment at the wonderful age of 24 years of age. To say that such a diagnosis would be life-altering doesn’t even touch the intensity and confusion of the experience. Yet, he had the courage to persevere and thrive. And he lived to tell his powerful story to others in this wonderful memoir.


This book is for everyone who is struggling with a life-shattering diagnosis, be it for themselves or for one of their close family members. The reader will know what to do in the future if she is ever in this situation him/herself with such a dire diagnosis.


Thank you Evan for such a wonderful book! And may you have good health in the future.


Rating 5 Stars


Reviewed by: Irene S. Roth

Too Early for Flowers: The Story of a Polio Mother
Kurt Sipolski
Book Review

This is a memoir like no other that I have read in the recent past. It is inspiring, sad and breathtaking in places. It kept me glued to the pages.


Iris is the heroine in this book. It is through her that her son and family that she learns the importance of perseverance hope, and trying to be your best, regardless of what falls your way. I learned so much about polio and how it plagued people in the early part of the 1900’s. We take all of our medical advancements for granted, and we need to really thank our medical practitioners for coming up with cures for these devastating diseases.


This is a story about a boy who contracted polio and who had a mother, Iris, who would not consider him any less than anyone else. She never considered him disabled, and never considered him to be different. What a GREAT message for us all! As a matter of fact Iris had so much admiration for her sons. She was so proud of them and she always showed her pride. She even learned some things from them. Now, what parent would admit to learning something from their children?


Kurt is a great dramatic writer. He has written a memoir that cannot be put down. It is a book that you will want to read over and over again because of its inspiring message and the perseverance and love that all the family members shows to each other. What a wonderful gift to honour your mother! Thank you Kurt for such a wonderful memoir!


I recommend this book to anyone who loves to read memoirs. This is a memoir like no other. I also recommend this book for history lovers and for people who would like to know what the world was like in the early 1900’s.


Rating: 5 Stars


Reviewed by: Irene S. Roth




9781495914881_p0_v1_s260x420The Last Virgin Alive
By Stephanie Crosby


This is a riveting novel that every adolescent girl should read. It is sad but also empowering for girls in that it shows the perils of having low self-esteem in our sexual culture.


Stephanie is very similar to many teenager girls. She has low self-esteem and has bought into a sex-obsessed culture. This makes her feel vulnerable and lonely. No one wants to socialize with her like they do with the other girls. So, she feels estranged from her peers and like an outsider.


Stephanie also struggles with other problems. She lost her mother, has a difficult time getting along with her sister, and her dad is quite cold to her. But when she tells her friend Gigi about her difficulties, she introduces her to a handsome boy named Adam. She never knew anyone quite like him and she falls in love with him. But is he the answer to all of her worries?

The book is written in journal format. Stephanie talks about her fears, frustrations, anger, and bitterness in an exceptionally open and honest manner. What a GREAT example to adolescent girls who struggle. Journal writing could be a way of overcoming depression and loneliness and it is especially a way for self-expression.


I enjoyed reading the book from beginning to end. It is riveting and it will keep adolescent girls reading and pondering the pages of this book. It is for all adolescent girls, especially those who want to go against the societal tides of what is proper and follow their own values.


Rating: 5 Stars


Reviewed by: Irene S. Roth

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