Saturday, February 24, 2018

Abuse of Discretion by Pamela Samuels Young






Genre: Adult Thriller, Suspense
Source:  I received a copy to facilitate my review. The opinions expressed here are my own.

We are constantly hearing of students getting into trouble with social media. Every year at the beginning of the school year we show our students a training video about the proper use of technology. How it is not to be used for bullying or sexting. 

This author tackles this issue in a manner that parents really need to understand.  Graylin Alexander is a very good student.  Someone has sent him a naked picture of one of his classmates. Before he can show it to anyone or tell anyone about it he is summoned to the principal’s office where he finds the police waiting to question him.  His parents have trained him well. Even though he repeatedly tells them he is not supposed to talk with them without a parent present they continue to question him. He is promptly arrested.

As much as he is pressured to take a plea deal, he refuses. This is one tough kid. He is not going to go down for something he didn’t do.  His lawyer is determined to find out the truth. Along with this issue his lawyer’s team has just added Angela Evans.  These two attorney’s have issues of their own. However, they are determined to work together to figure out a solution to Graylin’s legal problems. 

I loved this book which kept me reading non-stop. Because lawyer Angela Evans’ boyfriend is facing issues from his past, and was mentioned because of the even that took place in the author’s previous book I had to go back and read that book as well.  You won’t be disappointed in this author’s work. I’ve managed to convince two of my teachers to try out this new to them series.  I love finding new authors and this is one I recommend.

Other books in the Dre Thomas Series
Buying Time
Anybody’s Daughter

About the Author
Pamela Samuels Young is an attorney and award-winning author of eight mystery novels. Her most recent courtroom drama, Abuse of Discretion, tackles a troubling sexting case that gives readers a shocking look inside the juvenile justice system.

Her thriller, Anybody’s Daughter, won the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Fiction and was a Top Ten pick by In the Margins, the best books for at-risk teens. Pamela formerly worked as Managing Counsel, Labor and Employment Law, for Toyota and spent several years as a television news writer and associate producer. The former journalist and retired lawyer is also a natural hair enthusiast and the author of Kinky Coily: A Natural Hair Resource Guide.

Pamela received her bachelor’s degree from USC and also earned graduate degrees from Northwestern University and UC Berkeley School of Law. The Compton native is a frequent speaker on the topics of child sex trafficking, online safety, fiction writing, and pursuing your passion.

To read excerpts of Pamela’s books, visit www.pamelasamuelsyoung.com. Pamela loves book clubs! To invite her to your book club meeting via Skype, Facebook Live, FaceTime, Zoom, speakerphone or in person, visit her website at www.pamelasamuelsyoung.com.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Guest Post - Berit Brogaard



What Drives Romantic Attraction?

Here's a dream scenario: No more awkward first dates. If you are single and hoping not to be, you can fill out a detailed questionnaire and submit the information to a database containing similar information from other relationship seekers. A computational algorithm then determines how well you match with others in terms of your personality  and what you are looking for in a potential partner. Once you have been matched with another person, all you need to do is arrange a date and go from there.
If this scenario sounds familiar, that's no coincidence: Many online dating sites provide at least some primitive version of the above scenario. People seeking relationships supply first-person insight into their personality and what they are seeking in a partner. They are then matched on the basis of this self-reported data.
As anecdotal evidence suggests, this approach can be successful. People do, occasionally, find love using online dating services.
However, the success of such services is unlikely to be a result of algorithms calculating who will be a good match for each other based on self-reports. In a recent study, published in Psychological Science in August 2017, scientists tested this sort of approach to dating and found that self-reports of personality from potential partners do not predict attraction.
The team, led by psychologist Samantha Joel of the University of Utah, asked volunteers to fill out questionnaires about their own personality traits and the traits they would like in a potential partner. The researchers then arranged four-minute, face-to-face speed dates and collected subsequent feedback about how attracted people were to their predicted matches during these brief encounters.
The researchers found that people were no more likely to be attracted to predetermined matches than they were to non-matches. 
The study methodology had well-known limitations: It only allowed for testing of initial attraction, not an attraction that may emerge from repeated encounters. Further, it followed the existing online dating strategy of relying on self-reports to determine personality and the traits one would like to see manifested in a potential partner. The first limitation is not necessarily a methodological flaw, as long as we draw a sharp line between initial attraction and longer-term attraction/romantic love. The second, however, is problematic. We are often very bad judges of our own personality and the traits we want others to possess. This limitation could have been avoided to some extent by using more sophisticated measures of personality and partner preference; for instance, by relying on third-person perspectives from family members, co-workers, and friends.
If this common dating approach fails, however, it raises the question of whether there might be other ways to predict who may be successful romantic partners. Information about personality by itself is unlikely to help predict good long-term matches. But a combination of feature-matching and behavioral modification—that is, teaching people how to remain attractive to as well as attracted to their partners—may hold some promise. 
Independent studies have found that long-term attraction and romantic love are more likely to occur when the attributes that generate attraction in general, together with certain social factors and circumstances that spark passion, are particularly strong.
Here are 11 features that together provide a decent indicator of who you will click with over the long term (Aron, et al. 1989):
1. Similarity. The similarity of people’s belief sets and, to a lesser extent, the similarity of their personality traits and ways of thinking.
2. Propinquity. Familiarity with the other, which can be caused by spending time together, living near the other, thinking about the other, or anticipating interaction with the other.
3. Desirable Characteristics. Outer physical appearance that is found desirable and, to a lesser extent, desirable personality traits.
4. Reciprocal Liking. When the other person is attracted to you or likes you, that can increase your own liking.
5. Social Influences. The potential union satisfying general social norms, and acceptance of the potential union within one’s social network, can contribute to people falling in love. Or, if a union does not satisfy general social norms or is not accepted by one’s social network, this can result in people falling out of love.
6. Filling Needs. If a person can fulfill needs for companionship, love, sex, or mating, there is a greater chance that the other person will fall in love with him or her.
7. Arousal/Unusualness. Being in an unusual or arousing environment can spark passion, even if the environment is perceived as dangerous or spooky (Dutton & Aron, 1974).
8. Specific Cues. A particular feature of the other may spark a particularly strong attraction; for instance, parts of their body or facial features.
9. Readiness. The more you want to be in a relationship, the lower your self-esteem and the more likely you are to fall in love.
10. Isolation. Spending time alone with another person can contribute to a development of passion.
11. Mystery. Some degree of mystery surrounding the other person, as well as uncertainty about what the other person thinks or feels, or when he or she may initiate contact, can also contribute to passion.
As the list makes clear, many of the factors that determine whether people should connect romantically are circumstantial or a result of how people behave in courtships and relationships. While it may be possible for modern technology to determine partner matches by relying not just on personality, but also on people's particular circumstances, no such algorithm can provide us with the skills necessary to maintain a relationship that is both healthy and exciting. These types of relationship skills may need to be acquired through long-term practice and training.

References
Aron A, Dutton DG, Aron, EN, Iverson, A. (1989) “Experiences of Falling in Love”, Journal of Social and Personal Relationships August 6, 3: 243-257.
Dutton, D.G., & Aron, A.P. (1974). “Some Evidence for Heightened Sexual Attraction Under Conditions of High Anxiety”, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 30 (4), 510-517.
Joel S, Eastwick, P, Finkel, E. "Is Romantic Desire Predictable? Machine Learning Applied to Initial Romantic Attraction," Psychological Science. Published online August 30, 2017.

“Brit” is a Professor of Philosophy with joint appointments in the Departments of Philosophy and Psychology at the University of Miami as well as the Network for Sensory Research at the University of Toronto. Her educational background includes a medical degree in neuroscience and a doctorate in philosophy. Her areas of research include perception, synesthesia, blindsight, consciousness, neuro-psychiatry and emotions.
Brit has written over 75 peer-reviewed articles, some three hundred popular articles on neuroscience and health issues and two books: Transient Truths (Oxford) and On Romantic Love (Oxford). She is currently finishing a third book with Oxford entitled Seeing and Saying as well as working on another book for popular press.
Her work has been featured in various public media, including Nightline, ABC News, the Huffington Post, Fox News, MSNBC, Daily Mail, Modesto Bee, and Mumbai Mirror. She is also an editor of the international peer-reviewed philosophy journal Erkenntnis and was the first female President of the Central States Philosophical Association. Brit has fear-color/texture/shape/motion synesthesia. She has recently co-authored a book with Kristian Marlow, The Superhuman Mind, based in part on research at the lab.

Lab page:

My blog:
Psychology Today Mysteries of Love:

My blog:
Psychology Today The Superhuman Mind:

Facebook page:

Links to books:
The Superhuman Mind

On Romantic Love

My website:

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Snake Island by Max Elliot Anderson



Genre: Middle Grade, Adventure, Mystery
Source: I purchased a copy.

Rod Campbell loves going to his grandfather's farm with his friends to tube down the river. As they float past Snake Island they talk about the different stories they have heard.  It seems to be that every generation of boys needs to spend the night on Snake Island to prove they aren't scared. Few make it the whole night.  Rod and his friends, Mark, Terry and Ken decide before the summer is over they are going to do just that. The trick is they must convince their parents to let them. 

Rod's grandfather has offered to pull his boat down to the river  and  to cart their stuff down with his tractor  Before they go Rod hears the island was originally called Hobo Island. He spends days at the library learning all about the hobos, their lifestyle and the island. He has a run in with Mr. Paterson. Everyone around town talks about what a hero he was in the war, and how great he was in high school. Then they talk about how the war changed him.  He warns Ken about the island.  Rod learns that things were buried on the island. He and his friends go to the island with a metal detector and find a silver box with coins and metals. They divide things up.  Then they make final plans to spend the night on the island. They begin by eating with Rod's grandpa and he tells them old scary stories about the island.  Once on the island they set up camp and tell their own ghost stories.  Later on they hear a noise and go to find out what is going on. What they see terrifies them. They see crazy Mr. Paterson bury something in a hole.  They are so scared they leave the island and spend the night back in Rod's grandfather's barn.

A few days later a body is found on the island.  But are things really what they seem? Did the boys witness the killer burying the body?

I absolutely loved this book. It kept me on my toes. I kept wondering what the boys would find on the island. Then I wondered what kind of danger they would find themselves in. One thing about this author's books is that they are not only filled with adventure, but also have some sort of mystery to them. This is a must read book.