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Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Balance of April


During the month of April, I reviewed the following:

Books:
- "Chaos Theories" by Stephen H.Banks. Read my review.
- "The Selection" by Kiera Cass. Read my review.
- "One Year Lived" by Adam Shepard. Read my review.
- "Miracles" by Joanie Hileman. Read my review.
- "Permanence" by Vincent Zandri. Read my review.
- "Game Theory" by Aviad Heifetz. Read my review.

Interviews:
- Interview with Stephen H.Banks - author of "Chaos Theories". Read my interview.

Other Products:
- "Charge and Sync Dock with 8-Pin Lightning Cable Connector for Apple iPhone 5 and iPod Touch 5th Generation" by Belkin. Read my review.
- "Eye Make-Up Remover Pad, 30 Count" by Simple. Read my review.
- "SGP10088 Slim Armor Case for iPhone 5 - Metal Slate" by SPIGEN SGP. Read my review.
- "Red Silicone Non-Slip Table Mat, 13-3/4" Length x 10" Width" by Tenura. Read my review.
- "HDMI to VGA Converter for Apple TV, Wireless Mirroring with Airplay on iPad, iPhone, iPod touch  and Mac - Convert HDMI signal to VGA and Audio signal" by IPEVO. Read my review.

Book "Game Theory: Interactive Strategies in Economics and Management" by Aviad Heifetz, translated by Judith Yalon-Fortus

About the Book: Game theory is concerned with strategic interaction among several decision-makers. In such strategic encounters, all players are aware of the fact that their actions affect the other players. Game theory analyzes how these strategic, interactive considerations may affect the players' decisions and influence the final outcome. This textbook focuses on applications of complete-information games in economics and management, as well as in other fields such as political science, law and biology. It guides students through the fundamentals of game theory by letting examples lead the way to the concepts needed to solve them. It provides opportunities for self-study and self-testing through an extensive pedagogical apparatus of examples, questions and answers. The book also includes more advanced material suitable as a basis for seminar papers or elective topics, including rationalizability, stability of equilibria (with discrete-time dynamics), games and evolution, equilibrium selection and global games.

About the Author: Aviad Heifetz is Professor of Economics at the Open University of Israel, where he served as chair of the Economics and Management Department from 2006 to 2009. He was previously Visiting Professor of Managerial Economics at the Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University (2009-2011).

My Review: This is an excellent book for those who have no previous background on Game Theory, as all of the major concepts are explained in details, through some well chosen examples. Good for undergraduate courses, the author uses some math but does not go deep into crazy calculations.

Amazon.com was kind enough to provide this book for me through their Vine Program for reviewing and I was not requested to provide a positive review. Opinions expressed here are my own.

If you read this review, fell free to leave a comment!

Monday, April 29, 2013

Product "HDMI to VGA Converter for Apple TV, Wireless Mirroring with Airplay on iPad, iPhone, iPod touch & Mac - Convert HDMI signal to VGA and Audio signal" by IPEVO

About the Product: Convert HDMI to VGA the Easy and Inexpensive Way.
The HDMI to VGA Converter is your affordable solution for transferring HDMI signal into VGA and Audio signal. The Converter gives you the freedom to use HDMI devices with your existing VGA display devices, including computer monitors and projectors. You can avoid costly and unnecessary upgrades of your VGA devices with this simple unit.
The HDMI to VGA Converter can be used with a large range of HDMI devices, including computers, gaming consoles, set-top cable boxes, DVD and Blu-Ray players, and Apple TV. Just hook up your HDMI device to the Converter. Then hook your VGA display to the Converter. A wide selection of resolutions are possible with the conversion, up to high-definition 1080p.
And because of the included 3.5mm audio cable port, the HDMI to VGA Converter is your best choice for converting audio from your Apple TV. Apple TV has two audio-out options: an optical audio port and HDMI. This limits your options because optical audio ports are usually only found on high-end devices, while many other audio devices (like speakers) don't have HDMI. With the Converter, you have a simple way to transfer Apple TV audio signal to any device with a standard 3.5mm jack, avoiding bulky or expensive alternatives and multiplying your audio options.
You can even use the Converter in conjunction with Apple's Digital AV Adapter to project iPad or iPhone content. Plug in the iPad's power cord into the Digital AV Adapter, and you'll be able to power your device while presenting material. This is great for long presentations.
An AC adapter is included with your purchase, but many HDMI devices provide sufficient power to make a separate adapter unnecessary.
The HDMI to VGA Converter is the hassle-free little box with the big ability to save you time and money.

My Review: This is a simple, elegant, compact and cheap solution to convert your HDMI signal into VGA. As VGA "per se" does not carry audio signals, the audio comes in a separate 3.5mm audio port. I tested this equipment sending signals from my AppleTV to my laptop  (that does not have an HDMI interface), just for the fun of it. My final intention is to use it to send signal from my AppleTV to a projector, that I still have to buy.
I recommend this product to all users that have similar necessities. Easy setup, no assembly required besides connecting cables.


Amazon.com was kind enough to provide this product for me through their Vine Program for reviewing and I was not requested to provide a positive review. Opinions expressed here are my own.

If you read this review, fell free to leave a comment!

Friday, April 26, 2013

Book "Permanence" by Vincent Zandri



About the Book: Based upon Vincent Zandri's most anthologized Pushcart Prize-nominated short story of the same title, Permanence, is the "Hitchcockian" story of Mary Kismet, a travel agent and grieving mother of a toddler who suffered an apparent accidental drowning. Now, all alone in the world, she attempts to ease the pain of her suffering by immersing herself, body and soul, into a love affair with her psychiatrist, a man haunted by his own demons. A tragic novel of obsession, dark compulsions, and madness, Permanence transports the ill-fated lovers from New York to Venice, Italy, and back again.

About the Author: Vincent Zandri is the No. 1 International Bestselling Amazon author of THE INNOCENT, GODCHILD, THE REMAINS, MOONLIGHT FALLS, CONCRETE PEARL, MOONLIGHT RISES, SCREAM CATCHER, BLUE MOONLIGHT and MURDER BY MOONLIGHT. He is also the author of the Amazon bestselling digital shorts, PATHOLOGICAL, TRUE STORIES and MOONLIGHT MAFIA. Harlan Coben has described THE INNOCENT (formerly As Catch Can) as "...gritty, fast-paced, lyrical and haunting," while the New York Post called it "Sensational...Masterful...Brilliant!" Zandri's list of publishers include Delacorte, Dell, StoneHouse Ink, StoneGate Ink and Thomas & Mercer. An MFA in Writing graduate of Vermont College, Zandri's work is translated into many languages including the Dutch, Russian, and Japanese. An adventurer, foreign correspondent, and freelance photo-journalist for RT, Globalspec, IBTimes and more, he lives in Albany, New York. For more go to WWW.VINCENTZANDRI.COM

My Review: This is the second book I read from this author and again he delivers a great story, a dark novel, where the psychological side of each character is very well treated and taken care. The plot is interesting. Mary is a travel agent who lost her two years old baby drowned in a bathtub, and lost her husband, who abandoned her after baby's death. Being treated by a psychiatrist, she falls in love to him and they go together to Venice in what would be a business travel for the doctor. All the situations and places are richly described and the feelings of Mary are deeply explored in this intense and dark novel.

I recommend this book to the permanent library of any reader who likes a well-written book with a dark psychological side. Very entertaining, excellent write style from the author. It took me around 5 hours to read the whole book.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Product "Red Silicone Non-Slip Table Mat, 13-3/4" Length x 10" Width" by Tenura

About the Product: Keep plates, bowls and other objects from sliding.
Ideal for use during meal preparation.
100 Percent silicone, non-toxic and latex free.
Heat resistant up to 470 degree F.
Dishwasher Safe.
Creates a firm, secure, non-slip base for plates, cups, bowls and cutlery on any smooth, dry surface such as a table, counter top or tray. Protects table/counter top surfaces from heat and moisture. Perfect anti-slip solution for stabilizing kitchen appliances and cutting boards. Can also be used to provide a firm hold on items on non-horizontal surfaces and surfaces subject to motion and/or tipping. Autoclave, dishwasher and microwave safe.

My Review: This product was an excellent addition to our kitchen. The material is light and extremely easy to clean. And does its job regarding the non-slip effect.
I would recommend this product to all users that have children with difficulties to keep the plate in front of themselves while eating. Using this mat the plate will not move while they are trying to grab their food. Excellent solution to that problem, one less variable to that battle.

Amazon.com was kind enough to provide this product for me through their Vine Program for reviewing and I was not requested to provide a positive review. Opinions expressed here are my own.

If you read this review, fell free to leave a comment!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Book "Miracles" Compiled by Joanie Hileman

About the Book: A dying child counts angels in her room. A teenage boy stuns doctors by recovering from a massive brain injury. A bubble of protection surrounds a man about to be hit by a car...These miraculous accounts and twenty-nine more are recorded in Miracles: 32 True Stories. "Almost every month I get a request to either read or edit a book or booklet, and to be honest, I dread to see them coming, because most of them are hardly worthy of a positive recommendation. When Joan asked me to read her Miracles, I was not looking forward to reading it at all ... much to my surprise I could not stop reading it until I had read the entire book. Each story was different enough to keep my interest, and God's finger-print was all over each of the stories told. There was never one bit of doubt who authored each of those stories..." Bill Irwin, Christian author and speaker.

About the Author: "I have no call to fame, or list of credentials. I am simply one woman who chose to obey God. The result is a collection of true miracle stories which will touch the hearts of all who read them." - Joanie Hileman.

My Review: This is a very well written book, easy to read and with beautiful stories showing the power of our God, either protecting or healing people. This compilation of 32 stories was put together by Joanie Hileman in a magnificent way. Each story is a very touching reason to increase our faith that the supernatural can happen to any one of us. God is faithful to those who are faithful to Him.
I recommend this book to the permanent library of all Christian readers who want to enjoy some hours with a pleasant reading.
I bought this book at Amazon.com and it took me around seven hours to read the whole book.

If you read this review, feel free to leave a comment!


Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Product "SGP10088 Slim Armor Case for iPhone 5 - Metal Slate" by SPIGEN SGP

About the Product: SPIGEN SGP Slim Armor case for the iPhone 5 is specifically designed to protect the iPhone 5 at all angles. The TPU case features improved shock absorption on the top, bottom, and corners to effectively protect the iPhone 5 from external impact. Slim Armor is double layered with a TPU case and a polycarbonate hard case to provide additional protection in a form-fitted design. The polycarbonate midsection has a metallic finish and can be removed from the TPU. This allows the Slim Armor to be interchanged with different colors. The case fits precisely onto the iPhone 5 for a natural and sleek look, and the speaker opening is specifically designed to fully utilize the speaker without reducing sound quality. The polycarbonate midsection has a matte finish coating design to provide the best grip with a soft touch. Slim Armor is designed to highlight the two-toned colors and structural edges of the back of iPhone.

My Review: I have to confess that I did not drop my iPhone on purpose just to test how good this case would be. I do not have the guts to do that. But I am confident that in case the phone really drops (Oh, Gravity!) it will be protected as good as it gets. The design is beautiful and elegant and the openings are in the correct place for the speakers, camera etc.
I do not foresee me changing the midsection to different colors, although my daughter loved that feature so she can always matches the case color with her clothes...
I recommend this product for every user that is worried about protecting his/her iPhone with elegance.


Amazon.com was kind enough to provide this product for me through their Vine Program for reviewing and I was not requested to provide a positive review. Opinions expressed here are my own.

If you read this review, fell free to leave a comment!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Book "One Year Lived" by Adam Shepard

About the Book: FROM THE BACK OF THE BOOK: "I'm not angry. I don't hate my job. I'm not annoyed with capitalism, and I'm indifferent to materialism. I'm not escaping emptiness, nor am I searching for meaning. I have great friends, a wonderful family, and fun roommates. The dude two doors down invited me over for steak or pork chops--my choice--on Sunday, and I couldn't even tell you the first letter of his name. Sure, the producers of The Amazing Race have rejected all five of my applications to hotfoot around the world--all five!--and my girlfriend and I just parted ways, but I've whined all I can about the race, and the girl wasn't The Girl anyway. All in all, my life is pretty fantastic. But I feel boxed in. Look at a map, and there we are, a pin stuck in the wall. There's the United States, about twenty-four square inches worth, and there's the rest of the world, seventeen hundred square inches begging to be explored. Career, wife, babies--of course I want these things; they're on the horizon. Meanwhile, I'm a few memories short. Maybe I need a year to live a little."
FROM THE PUBLISHER: During his 29th year, spending just $19,420.68, less than it would have cost him to stay at home, Adam Shepard visited seventeen countries on four continents and lived some amazing adventures. “It’s interesting to me,” he says, “that in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Europe, it’s normal for people to pack a bag, buy a plane ticket, and get ‘Out There.’ In the U.S., though, we live with this very stiff paradigm—graduate college, work, find a spouse, make babies, work some more, retire—which can be a great existence, but we leave little room to load up a backpack and dip into various cultures, to see places, to really develop our own identity.” Shepard's journey began in “the other Antigua”—Antigua, Guatemala—where he spent a month brushing up on his Spanish and traveling on the “chicken bus.” During his two months in Honduras, he served with an organization that helps improve the lives of poor children; in Nicaragua, he dug wells to install pumps for clean water and then stepped into the ring to face a savage bull; in Thailand, he rode an elephant and cut his hair into a mullet; in Australia, he hugged a koala, contemplated the present-day treatment of the Aborigines, and mustered cattle; in Poland, he visited Auschwitz; in Slovakia, he bungee jumped off a bridge; and in the Philippines, he went wakeboarding among Boracay’s craggy inlets and then made love to Ivana on the second most beautiful beach in the world. His yearlong journey, which took two years to save for, was a spirited blend of leisure, volunteerism, and enrichment. He read 71 books, including ten classics and one—slowly—in Spanish. “If you can lend a hand to someone, educate yourself about the world, and sandwich that around extraordinary moments that get your blood pumping, that’s a pretty full year,” Shepard writes. Can everybody take a year to get missing? “Maybe, maybe not,” he says, “though that’s not really the point. I’m just concerned that some of us are too set on embracing certainty. We want life to be cushy and regimented, but that’s not how we can create a lasting impact on our lives or the lives around us. There’s only so much you can learn in the classroom. Sometimes you have to get out there to experience it, to touch it, to feel it, to see it for yourself. It’s fascinating the perspective we can gain when we step out of our bubbles of comfort, even just a little bit.”

You can visit the website of the book for more information.

About the Author: Attending Merrimack College in North Andover, MA on a basketball scholarship, Adam Shepard graduated in 2006 with a degree in Business Management and Spanish. Serving as a Resident Advisor during his upperclassmen years, he began to take particular interest in the social issues of our nation. Shortly after graduation – with almost literally $25 to his name – Shepard departed his home state for Charleston, SC, embarking on the journey that has become "Scratch Beginnings". Scratch Beginnings is Shepard's first work, followed by "The Best Four Years: How to Survive and Thrive in College (and Life)" and finally "One Year Lived".

My Review: This book describes a journey of a young man trying to find himself  and figure out how to really live his life in full. He has a very good writing style of describing events and situations during his travels that makes the reading of his book very pleasant.
It is very impressive how much he was able to travel with limited financial resources. All situations are described in detail and some flashbacks are also brought into context, like his relation with his first basketball coach (Jack) and how that affect his future life. If he wants he has enough experience to write a very useful travel guide for most of the places he visited, with recommendations like "get the chicken bus" or variants on this line. His description on the passion for soccer in Guatemala is very precise and applies to all South America. He is a good character's observer and definitely an excellent story teller. All his stories are told with great passion, like something coming directly from his soul.
If you want to see real images of the bullfighting episode in Nicaragua, there is a video here.
Excellent reading, I recommend this book to the permanent library of all readers who enjoy adventures, travels and a good entertainment for some hours. You definitely will be inspired to travel like never before. It took me around 10 hours to read the whole book.
This book was written by Adam Shepard and published by Scratch Beginnings Press on April 2013. I received a copy from the author for reviewing and I was not requested to give a positive review. Opinions expressed here are my own.

If you read this review, feel free to leave comments. I will send you a link to download the book (for free for a limited time), if you post a link to this review in your blog/twitter/facebook.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Book "The Prince - A Selection Novella" by Kiera Cass


About the Book: Before thirty-five girls were chosen to compete in the Selection . . . 
Before Aspen broke America’s heart . . . 
There was another girl in Prince Maxon’s life. . . . 
Don’t miss this thrilling 64-page digital original novella set in the world of the New York Times bestselling novel The Selection. 
Also features a teaser to The Elite, Kiera Cass’s hotly anticipated sequel to The Selection.

About the Author: Kiera Cass graduated from Radford University with a degree in History. She grew up in South Carolina and currently lives in Blacksburg, Virginia with her family. In her spare time, Kiera enjoys reading, dancing, making videos, and eating unhealthy amounts of cake. You can learn more about Kiera at kieracass.com, follow her on twitter via @kieracass, and see her silly videos at YouTube.com/user/kieracass.

My Review: If you read "The Selection" by Kiera Cass, you have to read this book. It goes over the same story, but from the perspective of Prince Maxon. And more details are added to his personal life, prior the beginning of the selection.
But the only thing it is worth mentioning is its length. It is really short and it took me less than two hour to read the whole book. At least it is cheap... and worth it.
If you want to know what the story is all about, read my review on "The Selection".
My daughter bought this book from amazon.com to read in her Kindle and I just happened to have some spare time and I read it too, and enjoyed every page. I recommend this book to be read after you read The Selection, although it is not mandatory the order. Very entertaining.


Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Product "Eye Make-Up Remover Pad, 30 Count" by Simple

About the Product: Safety Warning -> Avoid direct contact with eyes. Ingredients -> Water, Cetearyl Isononanoate, Panthenol, Tocopheryl Acetate, Glycerin, Cetearth-20, Cetearyl Alcohol, Phenoxyethanol, Glyceryl Stearate, Cyclopentasiloxane, Methylparaben, Disodium EDTA, Ceteareth-12, 2-Bromo-2-Nitropropane-1,3-Diol, Propylparaben, Sodium Citrate, Pantolactone, Citric Acid. Simple skincare contains no animal-derived ingredients. Directions -> Lift resealable sticker and remove one pad. Gently wipe over eyelids and around the eyes to remove make-up. Ensure the pack is properly resealed to prevent pads drying out. After use, dispose of pads in bin, do not flush. Avoid direct contact with eyes.

My Daughters' Review: I do not use make-up, but when I was scanning the products to select my two choices from the Vine newsletter, my daughters begged me to order this product. I told them that I would if they were willing to give me a follow up on their experience using this product. They agreed. According to them, the pads come very well folded and they are well humid, but it is very easy to grab just one and take it out of the package. The package seal pretty well and after one week the pads were still very humid, no degradation in quality. They use (against my will) very light make-up. I like women with clean faces and I believe this product did a good job cleaning out the make-up from my daughters' face, so I am happy and they say they are also happy, as this is a very good product for their delicate skin.


Amazon.com was kind enough to provide this product for me through their Vine Program for reviewing and I was not requested to provide a positive review. Opinions expressed here are my own.

If you read this review, fell free to leave a comment!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Book "The Selection" by Kiera Cass

About the Book: For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth. To be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels. To live in a palace and compete for the heart of gorgeous Prince Maxon. 
But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her. Leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a crown she doesn't want. Living in a palace that is constantly threatened by violent rebel attacks. 
Then America meets Prince Maxon. Gradually, she starts to question all the plans she's made for herself—and realizes that the life she's always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined.

About the Author: Kiera Cass graduated from Radford University with a degree in History. She grew up in South Carolina and currently lives in Blacksburg, Virginia with her family. In her spare time, Kiera enjoys reading, dancing, making videos, and eating unhealthy amounts of cake. You can learn more about Kiera at kieracass.com, follow her on twitter via @kieracass, and see her silly videos at YouTube.com/user/kieracass.

My Review: This is a surprisingly entertaining book, very well written and with a captivating plot that will keep your attention till the last page. The story is based on a classical love triangle, with the young lady being the attention of a prince (Maxon) in one hand and a "nobody" (Aspen) in the other hand. Her initial love, Aspen, makes her promise to participate in the selection, a process by which prince Maxon will select her future wife and queen. Although the whole idea of the selection is what America despises the most, after knowing prince Maxon and seeing that he is an innocent victim of tradition, she starts having second thoughts. At the end of the book, the initial group of thirty five is trimmed down to six. All the characters are very well developed and you have the environment also well described. You fell like you are in the story, following every step of our heroine and her two loves. The only bad thing is that we need to wait to read the sequence of the story, called "The Elite", that will deal with the group of the last six ladies.
Although this book is classified as a novel for young adults, I am sure it will please even those not that young anymore. I would recommend this book to any reader that wants to be entertained for some hours (It took me around twelve hours to read the whole book) with a very well written book by Kiera Cass. My younger daughter bought the electronic version of this book from Amazon.com for her kindle and I just happened to start reading it (and I enjoyed it very much).

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Product "Charge and Sync Dock with 8-Pin Lightning Cable Connector for Apple iPhone 5 and iPod Touch 5th Generation" by Belkin

About the Product: Painted aluminum finish.
Case-compatible.
Uses your existing power supply.
4 foot hardwire USB cable.
Compatible with iPhone 5, iPod touch (5th generation) and iPod nano (7th generation).
Dimensions: Size (LWH): 1.2 inches, 4 inches, 5.6 inches.
Weight: 4 ounces

My Review: Beautifully designed, this dock station/charger is completely useless if you have a case protecting your phone. You have to take the case out in order for your phone to fit into the dock station. Also it bothers me they call it a charger. It is not a charger per se, it only extends your charger into it, through the USB cable. But this is just technicality. The nice thing is that the lightning connector is embedded into the dock, so you are ready to sync and charge just placing your phone there.

Amazon.com was kind enough to provide this product for me through their Vine Program for reviewing and I was not requested to provide a positive review. Opinions expressed here are my own.

 If you read this review, fell free to leave a comment!


Friday, April 5, 2013

Interview with Stephen H.Banks - author of "Chaos Theories"


Stephen H.Banks, author of the novel "Chaos Theories" was kind enough to participate in this interview on "Books and Movies Reviews" blog.

Q-) Thanks for the interview, Stephen. Can we begin by having you tell us what got you started writing your new book, "Chaos Theory"?

A-) It’s my pleasure to meet you and your readers, Mr. Mattos. It began as a different book entirely. Back in 2000 I was running an IT department and felt the need to do something more creative. I started writing a straightforward thriller about a software developer who shot everyone in his office, then lead a manhunt across country. This was about a year after day-trader Mark Barton went on an office killing spree, I guess that’s what initially inspired me. The first chapter of that book became the third one in Chaos Theories, except that it was set in Boston rather than near Seattle. 

Q-) But you never finished it? 

A-) Well, about two months into writing it, there was another office massacre that actually took place in Boston. The similarities between what Michael McDermott did there and what I’d written were chilling – right down to the temp working reception. I stopped partially because it became too real for me, and partially because I figured people would think I just copied the news reports. 

Q-) There’s a lot more to Chaos Theories than the story of a serial killer. What inspired you to take on probability mathematics, chaos, free-will and predetermination? 

A-) That’s a harder one to talk about. In 2002, my twenty year old daughter Olivia was killed in a car accident. It was just a random, stupid set of circumstances on what started out to be a totally morning. I don’t know if “obsessed” is the right word, but I needed to address for myself how such a horrible thing could happen. Somewhere in the five-year break I took from reality, I wrote a short story called “Baby Bird” that became the first chapter of Chaos Theories. I think I just needed a random occurrence to save someone, if that makes sense. I wanted to write more on the subject and explore its darker side, but didn’t want anything that was actually about what my family had and still is going through. Then I remembered the other book I’d started, and realized they were really the same story. 

Q-) Are any of the characters in the book based on you or your family, then? 

A-) Not really; I intentionally worked to make them all fictitious. There are a few incidental things, though. Olivia was a strange and magical child, and animals seemed to be drawn to her. And, she couldn’t be around clocks – people who didn’t know her never believe it, but I’ve seen her electric alarm clock run backwards. Oh, and I have some of Jim’s quirks. For example, I find it hard to leave the house if the time isn’t exactly on the quarter hour. 

Q-) How would you describe the book? Is there a lot of math? 

A-) I’d call it a philosophical thriller. Some of it gets pretty deep, but I balance that off with short chapters, a lot of action and a kind of goofy love story. I reference a lot of theoretical mathematics, but the reader doesn’t have to have any kind of background to understand what’s going on; some of the characters are experts, and they explain it to the others, who sometimes get it and sometimes don’t. So if the reader doesn’t, he’s in good company. 

Q-) What kind of educational background do you have? Did you concentrate more on literature, philosophy or mathematics? 

A-) I’m mostly self-taught. I was all-honors everything in high school; the guidance counselors and my test scores said I could have gone in any direction, so I never really picked one. I majored in Theater at Bennington College with a minor in philosophy, but dropped out after a year. I taught myself programming when the PC first came out, and ended up running both development and IT operations for a few companies. I’m probably the only drama school dropout that has software he’s written running in MIT’s business offices. Other than that, I read voraciously and am pretty good with this whole internet thing. The math, physics, and philosophy are all well grounded, but when I don’t know something or it doesn’t fit the story I don’t mind just making things up. 

Q-) What authors influence you? Who are your favorites? 

A-) Douglas Adams and Kurt Vonnegut, to both questions. Adams had a way of writing the most hilarious stories with such deep, dark insights hidden underneath. His most popular work started out with the destruction of the earth, after all. And Vonnegut had such style and clarity. I think that the end of “Breakfast Of Champions” explains my approach to writing better than I ever could. 

Q-) Do you have a sequel or any other works planned? 

A-) I’m already working on my next novel. It isn’t exactly a sequel, but some of the characters from “Chaos Theories” do carry over. I’ve also written a play that I’m producing at the Atlanta Fringe Festival this year, and now that I’m really concentrating on my writing I may revive a young adult novel I started some time ago. So you can expect to see a lot more work from me.


Q-) Any final words?

A-) I’d just like to thank you and your readers for supporting my work. The only way we sell  books is through word-of-mouth. I really appreciate it when people go out of their way to tell others about the book. This is really the work of my heart and I’m always touched by other people’s support. Thanks so much!

Well, Mr. Stephen Banks, you deserve every support you get because this is truly a magnificent book. Congratulations!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Book "Chaos Theories" by Stephen H.Banks

About the Book: One moment can change everything forever.
For Jim Parish, that moment came on an ordinary morning like every other morning in a thoroughly ordinary existence, as he was walking to a bus stop on his way to a perfectly ordinary job. A splash from a passing car driving through a puddle soaked his trousers, stopping him in his tracks. He heard a scream from above and looked up.
A jumble of white and blue with flying black hair toppled out of a third floor window, followed by a horrified wail from the woman who lunged out and just missed brushing her fingers against the falling bundle, desperately clutching empty air and leaning out so far that she nearly fell herself. Jim watched with his mouth open; before he could assess the situation he instinctively put his arms out and, to his amazement, caught the child and pulled her safely to his chest.
That one moment in itself would have been enough to shake the foundation of any world, but this was no ordinary girl who had fallen into his life. A chaotic storm swirled around this tiny nucleus, pulling Jim into a highly improbable stream of seemingly random events. He would discover love and fear, hope and terrible loss, and learn the immutable lessons of probability mathematics. The chances of the socially awkward Jim Parish becoming involved with a beautiful PhD, an unusual pair of FBI agents, a mysterious government think-tank, and a vicious serial killer might have seemed impossible; but as Jim learned, any event, however improbable, becomes a near certainty once it has actually occurred.

About the Author: When Stephen Banks was in high school, his Career/Guidance counselor looked at his test scores and said "You could do anything." Without any clear direction, Stephen tried a little of everything instead. He majored in Theater at Bennington College for a year, dropped out, married his high school sweetheart, and started a family while bouncing around between jobs - electrician, auto mechanic, shipyard mechanic and retail manager. Eventually he started selling PC's, taught himself programming, and worked his way up to become CTO of several small companies. Stephen now works as an independent consultant and novelist. In his spare time, Stephen acts, directs and writes for a number of community theaters and independent film companies. He lives in Atlanta with his wife and two cats.

My Review: This is one of the most brilliant and intelligent book I have read in a long time. The author uses his technical knowledge to create a whole story, full of rich characters, with a simple plot, easy to follow and very entertaining, that will keep you reading to the last page siting on the edge of your chair. Jim is just an ordinary guy living an ordinary life. Maya is a brilliant scientist working for a company that does an unusual work: based on the Chaos Theory they are trying to develop a system to predict the future based on past events and how they affect each other. Although we know that small differences in initial conditions yield diverging outcomes on the behavior of dynamical systems, rendering long-term prediction virtually impossible, the whole idea is fascinating. Jim and Maya meet in an unusual incident and their lives got entangled, but danger is just around the corner. Allen, Maya's ex-husband is trying to find her and their two year old daughter Tali.
I highly recommend this book to the permanent library of any reader that appreciates a very well written book that will keep you entertained for hours. It took me around 11 hours to read the whole book.
This book was written by Stephen H.Banks and it was published by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform in January of 2013. I received this book from the author for reviewing but I was not requested to provide a positive review. Opinions expressed here are my own.

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