Monday, August 31, 2009

R.I.P. Book Challenge



I saw this over at J. Kaye's blog and knew I just had to check out this challenge. Here is the direct link to the guidelines and sign up over at Stainless Steel Droppings. This challenge runs from August 24th to October 31st.


I choose Peril the First













Read any four books from the following genres

Mystery

Suspense

Thriller

Dark Fantasy

Gothic

Horror

Supernatural





Here are my four books:

Ruined by Paula Morris -supernatural

Even Money by Dick Francis -mystery

Love You To Death by Shannon K. Butcher -thriller

Street Magic by Caitlin Kittredge -dark fantasy

Dancing with Ana

I wnnt to thank Nicole Barker for sending me a copy of this book to review.






Melanie, Rachel, Jenny and Beth are good friends. They all attend the same high school. They were all sitting around during lunch commenting on Christine McCady and how great she looks. The girls are jealous and decide that they are going to all go on a diet.

Besides keeping busy with dieting and school, Beth has found herself occupied with a certain boy. Jeremy and Beth grew up together. Jeremy lives across the street. It wasn’t till recently when they both started to see each other as boy and girl an not just friends. Jeremy really likes Beth and thinks she is perfect the way she is. He can’t understand why she is dieting. All of Beth’s friends are impressed with how Beth looks till…Beth takes things to far.

I thought Dancing with Ana was a sad and emotional read. This is good. It made me really become connected with Beth and Jeremy. I appreciated that Beth had someone like Jeremy in her life that cared and looked out for her. It is not easy to take a subject like anorexia and incorporate it into a book, where the story doesn’t come off as too preachy or the characters are too self-centered. I thought that Nicole Barker did a good job in finding that right balance. Dancing with Ana tells a nice message that self image isn’t everything and that there is always someone who loves you for being you. Also life can throw you curve balls but with a strong support system, you can get through anything without resorting to anorexia.


She's Back...Evil at Heart!



Evil at Heart is the third book in this wildly popular series featuring serial killer, Gretchen Lowell and detective Archie Sheridan. In Sweetheart, Gretchen promised Archie as he was dying for the second time that she would not kill anymore people. Archie held her to that promise.

Flash forward to the present. Gretchen is gone but not forgotten. Besides, who could ever forget the beautiful, sinister Gretchen Lowell? She is on almost every magazine cover, on the lips of very person in Portland and there is even a book about her. So she may be gone but she has etched a special place in Archie’s heart. After his second close encounter with Gretchen, Archie admitted himself into a psychiatrist hospital. Things have been pretty quiet till now…stuffed in a toilet at a rest stop was the pieces of internal organs as well as a pair of eyeballs cut out and taken from some poor soul. It seems that Gretchen has broken her promise. Archie wasn’t convinced at first that Gretchen is responsible till he sees the hearts. The bathroom wall is covered in hearts. Archie is ready to put a stop to Gretchen one and for all.

Evil at Heart is just a gruesome at its two predecessors. I have to give it up to Chelsea Cain as she definitely knows how to get the heart racing and the adrenaline pumping through my veins. I really like these books. Archie and Gretchen are great. Though Archie and Gretchen do make quite the pair…She is like poison and he is the syringe that takes her all in. I have one issue with this book. There is not enough Gretchen in it. Yes, I felt her presence and she did make an appearance at the end of the story but I wanted her to be featured more like she was in Heart Sick. I do have to say that after reading this book and seeing how messed up her victims are, I would rather be dead than survive at her hands.


Check out an excerpt of this book here

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Bella Ella

I want to thank J Lou McCartney for sending me a copy of this book to review.






Ten years ago, Ella Reynolds and her friends were just hanging out having fun in London, England when Ella met the dashing Dante Moretti. Dante enchants Ella from the first moment he meets her. It seems like these two are great together but Dante gets called away from their date and Ella does hear from or see from Dante again.

Before Ella can contemplate what happened, she receives she terrible news involving her father. With her father gone, Ella inherits their car company. First she has to learn the ropes. Marcus, a man who works for the company and who her father trusted is in charge of teaching Ella all about the business.

Dante may just be a hit man for the Mafia but he has a secret. One that will have everyone involved fighting for their lives. Ella doesn’t know it but her life is about to change and maybe not for the best.

This book starts out with a huge explosion…literally. Ella and a friend have only seconds to find shelter, before the place they were hiding at was shot at. Ok, so if you think this isn’t high-intensity action than Bella Ella is not the book for you but I you crave this type of drama than you should read Bella Ella. Though I do have to warn you that there is some graphic images as well as vulgar language used by the characters in this story.

I could see why Ella fell for Dante, as he was smooth and handsome. Underneath all of his tough guy exterior, I do believe that he is a nice guy. He just got caught up with the Mafia and they can make even the nicest of guys mean. At the same time, I did think Marcus was a good guy for Ella. Just like the last book, J Lou McCartney has a smash hit on her hands with Bella Ella.

The World According to Twitter

I want to thank Caitlin with FSB Associates for sending me a copy of this book to review.








The World According to Twitter is a collective collaboration of humorous, creative, goofy, and some cheesy lines from people that twitter. David Pogue is a weekly tech columnist for the New York Times. He also twitters. He was showing a company how twitter works and told his wife how some of the responses from people were so good but that he wished others could see the responses and not just the person asking the question. His wife suggested he put a book together…and hence The World According to Twitter was created.

Mr. Pogue decided that he would ask a question every night at 11 pm for a while. Why 11 pm? Mr. Pogue explains that this is because hopefully most people would be online from the US to other countries.

Some of the questions asked were:

“What’s the most memorable pickup line you ever heard?”

Some of the responses were:

“I’m thinking about becoming a pirate so I can get some of your booty” or how about “You won’t be able to break my heart, because it melted when I met you”.

Ok so seriously these pickup lines are definitely memorable but I won’t say great.

How about this question “Heard and Good Puns Lately?”

Reponses were:

“What do you call a group of rabbits walking backwards?” A receding hare line.

Two TV installers met on a roof and fell in love. The wedding ceremony wasn’t great…but, wow, the reception!!

I like the responses to this question “Write a brilliantly gripping first line of a new novel”

Responses were:

As the cruise ship faded into the moonlight, Harvey clutched the wet gnome and thought: This wouldn’t have happened to Kate Winslet.

I had never killed anyone before, and I was pretty sure I did it wrong.

If you thought some of these lines were great, than you have to check out The World According to Twitter. It will have you talking and sharing it with your friends. I even had my husband reading parts of this book and laughing.





Join Pogue's world at his website: http://www.davidpogue.com/; at Twitter: @pogue; or at his blog: www.nytimes.com/pogue.

The Eleventh Victim


Criminal prosecutor Hailey Dean was brilliant. When neither the authorities or the citizens of Georgia at first would consider the fact that they had a serial killer on their hands, it was Hailey who helped point out the obvious. It was also her that put Clint Burrell Cruise away in prison. The day Cruise was sentenced was also the day Hailey quit her job and moved to New York to be a therapist. Hey there is only so much a woman can put up with…losing her fiancé and being strangled by a serial killer and almost dying in the process.

Hailey is just getting her life back together, when a blast from her past reappears. Cruise is out of prison and wants revenge. Hailey better watch it as this time she may not escape with her life.

Author Nancy Grace is the TV host of Nancy Grace, a legal analysis television program. She used to be a special prosecutor. The beginning of this book had my attention but about a third of the way in I had lost some interest and never got it back. While I liked Hailey and the fact that Ms. Grace was able to insert actual experience into her character and this story, it was the killer that seemed to be non-existence to me. Hailey was suppose to be fearful of Cruise but he mostly just stalked her and stayed to the shadows. The Eleventh Victim was not up to par by my standards. It needed more oomph! It did not leave me wanting more.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Oh, That I Had Wings


I want to thank Sarah Pawley for sending me a copy of her book to review.


Jack Langdon is the oldest. He has two brothers and one sister. When Jack was just nine years old, he can remember his grandmother telling him that someday a very special lady will come into his life and he will be her champion. Jack has been a pillar for his family. His mother, brothers and sister depend on him. Jack is ready for a change. To escapes his family and make his way in life, Jack enlists in the military. While fighting, he gets injured. He meets a nice young, nurse but his persist ways, turn her off.

Jack returns him to many changes. His father barely acknowledges his existence for leaving his family, his mother still sees him as her little boy. The only person that is really excited to have Jack back is his sister…Grace. To Grace, Jack has always been her white knight in shining armor. Jack thinks about packing up and leaving again but that was before he met the lovely Alice Miller, the local schoolteacher. Alice and Jack’s relationship tears the town apart. Will Alice and Jack be able to say strong and survive?

I really liked Oh, That I Had Wings. The story line was simple as well as the characters but this is why I enjoyed this book. Jack is a very strong main character. He made you feel for him and you couldn’t help but want to know what he was doing every step of the way. Grace is like a breath of fresh air. She has this innocents about her that is sweet. Oh, That I Had Wings may seem intimidating at over five hundred pages but don’t let that stop you as I devoured this book in one day. I don’t know what Sarah Pawley has in store next but I am sure it will be good.

6 Winners. Could you be one of them?

I want to give a big thank you to author Sandra McLeod Humphrey for allowing me to host this giveaway. She is giving away 2 copies of each book, that is 6 winners total. As if this wasn't good enough, she will personally autograph the books.







Dare to Dream: 25 Extraordinary Lives
Magical heroes like Harry Potter, Spiderman, or Catwoman provide plenty of entertainment for kids, but in real life heroes are made of sterner stuff than celluloid fantasies. In this inspiring collection of biographies, 26 ordinary people from all walks of life overcome great obstacles in order to attain their extraordinary dreams. USA Book News Best Books Award Finalist and Indie Excellence Book Award Winner. For Ages 10 and Up.




Hot Issues, Cool Choices: Facing Bullies, Peer Pressure, Popularity, and Put-Downs is a collection of 26 vignettes depicting various forms of bullying with thought questions following each vignette. All the vignettes are based on true experiences related to me by students during my school visits, and the book is dedicated to a 12-year-old Minnesota boy who took his own life as a result of bullying. Hot Issues, Cool Choices has received very positive endorsements from nationally recognized educators and is the recipient of a 2008 Mom’s Choice Gold Award and the 2009 Young Voices Foundation Silver Award. For Ages 10 and Up.




Keepin’ It Real: A Young Teen Talks With God
Leslie has just turned 13--and she is having a very bad year. Not only is she stuck in a new school where she doesn’t know anyone, but she’s also stuck in a “life group” at her church where the leader of her small discussion group asks tough questions that she can’t answer. Come along and join Leslie on her faith journey as she writes letters to god and in the process begins to find answers to some of her problems! For Ages 10 and Up.

So how do you enter? It is simple...Just leave me a comment with which book(s) you would like to be entered to win with your email address. This contest ends September 5th!

My interview + Giveaway for 5 winners!

Hello all. I am excited because I was interviewed by a Amy from Park Avenue Princess. See my interview and rules on here to enter to win a copy of this book. Also while you are over visiting the castle, check out the other giveaways Amy is hosting. She has over 20 items to give away!



Second Sight


Sherry Moore was born with no eye sight. That has not stopped her from becoming a talented psychic and helping out the police on many cases. The unique thing is that on every case Sherry has worked on, she gains the gift of sight but only for eighteen seconds. Besides being a psychic, Sherry also has the ability to see through the eyes of the dead and retains the deceased’s memories for the last eighteen seconds, right before their death. This is a great help to the authorities and Sherry is able to identify the killer.

Because of Sherry’s interesting job, it would only be fitting that she have just as an exciting boyfriend. His name is Brian Metcalf. He is a Navy SEAL. Hanging out with Brian can be deadly. Sherry ends up coming in contact with some radiation. The effects of the radiation causes Sherry to have horrible optical headaches. She decides to check herself into a hospital for treatment. There Sherry meets the body of Thomas Monahan. Mr. Monahan died at a mental institute. Sherry touches Thomas’s hand and she most amazing thing happens…Sherry gains her vision. She can see. Thomas has some secrets to share. Due to the connection with Thomas, Sherry learns some shocking news about a certain someone. If this news was to be made public, it would ruin this person forever. Sherry better watch herself as she just might end up losing her sight for good.

I have been wanting to read Mr. Shuman’s work since I first heard about Lost Girls. Unfortunately, Second Sight did not impress me. Yes, it had some creepy moments but not what I was hoping for. I was wanting spine-tingling, hair-raising intensity that would keep my interest. Sherry was nice and all but not very intriguing. I felt that she didn’t have much personality. One thing I did like about this book is that it kind of had The Green Mile feel to it. Hopefully Mr. Shuman’s next novel is better.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Rizzo's War





Rizzo and his new partner, Mike McQueen are adjusting to one another. Rizzo is a veteran NYPD cop. His old partner found himself needing some money and owing a bookie, lots of money, in addition to drawing red flags with Internal Affairs for some of his actions on duty. Mike is quiet and by the books; whereas Rizzo makes his own rules and doesn’t care what anyone else says.

When Rosanne, the mentally unstable daughter of a famous city councilman goes missing, it is up to Rizzo and Mike to locate her. Their investigation leads to the dark, shady part of Brooklyn. This duo better watch their backs, as someone does not appreciate all their questions.

Rizzo’s War is the debut novel by Lou Manfredo. Though Rizzo has a tough as nails type of personality and makes his own rules, he grew on me towards the end of the book. Working as a cop, especially a NYPD cop, you need to be the type of person that does not let anything effect you. I liked Rizzo and his partner, Mike McQueen but let me a little uninterested at times. The suspects and other people that Mike and Rizzo investigated or interviewed needed to be just as interesting as Rizzo. I didn’t feel like they were which would have helped liven up the story. The story line was for Rizzo and Mike to find Rosanne to be found but it seemed like the story focused on the issues Rizzo is dealing with from the fall out with his old parent and Internal Affairs leaning on Rizzo. I do plan to check out the next Rizzo novel.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Can I Get a Lift?




I want to thank author, Rebecca K. O'Connor for sending me a copy of her bookto review. Keep a watch out for this book, which releases in November.











Ok, so what is Lift? Lift is author, Rebecca K. O’Connor’s memoir regarding her love for Peregrine Falcons. When Rebecca was just a little girl, she got a chance to see a Peregrine Falcon up close. Ever since that moment she knew she had found her dream job. She raising and trains Peregrine Falcons. She has attended many events. People who raise Peregrines are called a “Falconer”.



These people are very special. I don’t say this because it takes a lot to get chosen to be a falconer but because it requires you to have a lot of patience and dedication to train a peregrine. This book didn’t really read like the type of memoirs that I am used to reading. I usually stray from memoirs only because if not written and done right, these books can be dull and uninteresting. I am excited to say that Lift does not fall in this category. Lift gives you wings to soar, far above the clouds.

Rebecca fuses her life story about how her love grew into a reality. There were some funny, sad and proud moments in this book. I thought one of my favorite times was when Rebecca was just a little girl and her grandfather told her that if she threw salt at some birds and if the salt landed on their tail, they would not be able to fly away and she could keep it. Sadly to say, this was not true. After reading Lift, I appreciate peregrine falcons more than I did before. This is a good book.











How about taking a Spin with me?

I want to thank Marnie for sending me a copy of this book to review.



Taylor Green has lived a sheltered life. He is taken by surprise when he moves to the Big Apple and gets hired on as a Junior Account Executive at the notorious public relations company of Jennifer Weinstein. Jennifer is the biggest diva. She just may be bigger than the clients she represents. It isn’t long before Taylor gets swept up into the catty world of backstabbing, rumors, parties, and the all around kookiness that is the pr world of celebrities.

Spin is Mr. Rave's debut novel. Spin is a combination of Friends and Sex in the City. It had that witty humor that I love, in addition to fabulous clothes and lots of juicy gossip. There were times when it felt like the characters were having weird acid trip moments. Which they probably were as it is easy when you are famous or hang around famous people to have access to all kinds of stuff. Though those times made for some very interesting moments…like the time when Taylor came walking out of a woman’s bathroom stall in high heels. I did find some of the characters to be a little too much into themselves for me. Taylor seemed like a likeable guy but I wanted to see him emerge more and stand up for himself. He did do this towards the end. I hope in the next book that he is as big as a persona as Jennifer, even though Ms. Weinstein is a b*tch.

The Devil's Queen

I want to thank Sarah with St. Martin's Press for sending me a copy of this book to review.











The Devil’s Queen is based on Catherine de Medici. Catherine came from a famous family. Her family was Duke of Urbino and her mother was Countess of Boulogne. At the age of fourteen her parents were killed. Catherine was sent to captivity. Luckily she didn’t have to stay imprisoned for very long, as she was married off to Prince Henry. Henry had more of a fondness for his mistress than he did for Catherine.

Catherine used to dabble in astronomy and some of the dark arts when she was younger. She stopped till now. Catherine became very protective of her sons and she grew stronger, especially when Henry died.

The Devil’s Queen is the first book I have read by Jeanne Kalogridis. Having not been familiar with Catherine de Medici, I did some research to learn more about this woman. I was amazed to learn how much power she possessed. What was even scarier is that in The Devil’s Queen, Catherine was big on astronomy and what some would consider…witch craft. Ms. Kalogridis takes the story of Catherine to a darker level. I almost feel sorry for Catherine as she is abandoned by her husband for his mistress but than again I don’t feel sorry for her. This is because Catherine is so cold and unattached that she is like an ice queen. I thought the idea behind this story was great but I really struggled with this book. As much as I found Catherine’s interests intriguing, she as a person and the rest of the characters were uninteresting. The beginning seemed to drag somewhat as well. The Devil’s Queen may not have won me over this time but I may give Jeanne Kalogridis another try in the future.






Also check out this mini book of Black Magic that St Martin's Press put togther, made especially for The Devil's Queen.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Watch out for Babydoll...She can be a Killer!



I am excited to be a part of this blog tour for one of my favorite authors.









Sex therapist, Saylor Oz is back. After taking on the bad guys in Aphrodisiac with a killer perfume, Saylor and her best friend Benita are ready to take on another mystery.

Benita’s brother, Angel is in prison. He has been found guilty of murdering three up and coming models. Benita asks for Saylor’s help in clearing her brother. This case is right up Saylor’s alley. Saylor analyzes the case and realizes that she has seen this murder before…in a really bad, cheesy porn video called Bad, Bad, Babydoll. The main actress was called Babydoll and she killed her competition…three models! Babydoll shot them in the head and cut a piece of their hair and kept it in a coffee can. Saylor believes that someone has reacted Bad, Bad, Babydoll.

Mr. Sneed, Angel’s attorney does not believe Saylor but he directs her to Private Investigator John Lavender just to get her out of his hair. Saylor knows she is onto something. She marches right into Mr. Lavender’s office and demands that he watch the porn. Mr. Lavender sees Saylor as crazy. Now it is up to Saylor and Benita to free Angel.

Bad, Bad, Babydoll is book two in the Saylor Oz series. I am in love with Saylor and can’t get enough of her. She may be only four feet, eleven inches but watch out as she can still kick your butt. There are so many funny moments in this book that I couldn’t possibly pick just one. There is the one when Saylor first meets Mr. Lavender and gets tongue tied and to make matters worse, out drops out of her purse some lotion. Or how about the time when Benita and Saylor end up at the house of some drug dealers, pretending to be porn stars.

This husband/wife team of Allyson Roy is dynamic. They are a force to be reckoned with. Allyson Roy infuses their love of old movies with comedy that equals…instant bestseller! If you haven’t tried out this series yet than what are you waiting for…run don’t walk to your nearest book store and pick up a copy of Bad, Bad, Babydoll today. You won’t regret it.






Behind Allyson Roy is . . . Alice & Roy, husband and wife collaborating authors. We spent many gypsy years living and working in the different neighborhoods of New York City and Philadelphia.

To read more about these authors and check out their books, head on over here.






Tuesday, August 25, 2009

If YOU LOVE THEM, LET THEM GO



I got a chance to host bestselling author, Lisa Jackson. Read as she discusses the characters fromher new series



It was my editor's idea for me to write a book with two female cops as the lead characters. My initial reactions weren't all that favorable. I think they were: "What?" and "Is he out of his mind?" and "Does he mean something like Cagney and Lacey" the old 1980s television show. My immediate reaction was "No way."

But, as is often the case, the idea grew on me and I saw not cops in the city, but two detectives in the raw Montana wilderness. Those detectives grew in my mind. the first was Regan Pescoli, a hard-as-nails single mother, who has trouble with her ex-husband, teenaged kids, and hot lover. Regan just can't seem to be all places at once. Then there is her partner, Selena Alvarez, a transplant from Woodburn, Oregon who is wound tight as a bobbin in my mother's old Singer sewing machine and has a lot of dark secrets of her own.

So, once the women became "real" to me, I began to have a blast writing about them as well as the other quirky and off-beat characters in Grizzly Falls. One woman talks to ghosts, another guy thinks he was abducted by aliens, a third runs a restaurant with a huge mounted grizzly bear that she dresses up for the holidays. (You do see that the bear is long dead, right? And stuffed. She's crazy, but not THAT crazy!)

So as I wrote one book became two and two led to three. The original plan was to write LEFT TO DIE and CHOSEN TO DIE, then I added BORN TO DIE which will be out in August 2011--yeah, I know two years from now! After "BORN" I was set to let the characters go.

But, as it turns out, I haven't yet written "Alvarez's Story," and there's still a lot left to write about Padget Long, an interesting character introduced in CHOSEN TO DIE. Already fans are writing me and asking about her.

So, because I love them, can I let them go? The answer is: Not yet. I believe every series has it's own life span and that eventually the stories are all written, but in this case, I foresee a few more books in the future.


Community Chaplains of America Help You Care for Others in Crisis



Dallas/ Ft. Worth , TX —The overwhelming percentage of adults who come to Christ (as many as 80%) do so during a time of crisis. One study estimates that 15% of adults in America will face some crisis during any twelve-month period. We encounter these hurting people every day through our routine tasks and errands. Many won’t go to a church, but they still need someone with whom to talk. What if we could transform these everyday encounters into intentional, eternal opportunities?

With the help of a dynamic new program, you can claim your own community as your mission field. Community Chaplains of America training equips laypeople with the skills to minister to others during a time of crisis. Ordinary Christians with a heart for the lost and hurting can train to become a chaplain who will be present with people during times of crisis and gain permission to share the hope found in Christ. This “ministry of presence” is particularly crucial in reaching people who are not connected to a church or a member of the clergy.

Community Chaplains of America was developed by Mark Cress, founder of Corporate Chaplains of America, a company that has provided chaplains in the workplace since 1996. The training course is based on the ministry model developed by Corporate Chaplains of America and was written by their veteran Chaplains. The curriculum benefits from this experience, and will equip volunteers to reach people in their own areas of interest: on the little league field, in the neighborhood, at a child’s school, at work, etc.

“Our goal is to help Christians, as they come alongside others during the bumpy times of life, to gain the ability and confidence to share the life-changing news of Jesus Christ in a non-threatening manner,” says Cress. The results of Corporate Chaplains of America model speak for themselves; since 1996, more than 14,000 people have come to Christ, and that number grows daily.


In the short time since its inception, Community Chaplains of America has trained several hundred people in 35 different states. Commissioned chaplains receive credentials (which add credibility to your budding chaplain ministry), and ongoing support which includes access to a web portal that tracks their ministries and facilitates interaction with other chaplains.


In addition, Community Chaplains of America offers a Group Study Kit with enough materials to facilitate a 10 member small group. The Group Study Kit familiarizes participants with the principles of care giving and relationship building, along with the necessary tools to minister during times of crisis.


“The start of a new school year will introduce new relationships and opportunities for ministry for many of us,” says Community Chaplains General Manager Vicki Frye, recalling the needs of her own family and children brought on by a cross-country move. “Why not complete the Community Chaplains of America training over the summer and be prepared to start caring for people this fall. This is the perfect way to find the ministry you’ve always wanted.”


For more information visit http://www.commchap.com/

The Holy Bullet

I want to thank Tony with Blue Dot Literary for sending me a copy of this book to review.





This book starts out with an important event that rocked the world.

The year is 1981. The day is May 13. A day people will remember for a long time. Pope John Paul, the second was shot at by Mehmet Ali Agca. Mehmet tried to assassinate the Pope. He was captured and questioned.

This story than flashes forward to the present day, where members of a secret group, known as The Holy Alliance and a group of others that include Sarah Monterio, a journalist, Marius Ferris, a retired priest as well as a few others that are trying to solve the mystery of what really happened to Pope John Paul, the first. History has it that Pope John Paul, the first died of a heart attack after serving in office for only thirty-three days. Though with any famous person, there was great controversy as to the real cause of death. Can this group of people solve the mystery of Pope John Paul, the first’s death?

The Holy Bullet seemed like it was suppose to be about Pope John Paul, the second but to me this book more focused on Pope John Paul, the first. This book started out a little backwards for me. I as to believe that this secret group was solving the true cause of Pope John Paul’s death in order to prevent his successor, Pope John Paul, the second but this story started out with the attempted assassination of Pope John Paul, the second and than flashed back to the events leading up to and after Pope John Paul, the first’s passing. I did find the storyline interesting but I wished that it flowed better. It flashed back a lot throughout the book and I had a little bit of an issue following it. Also I wished the characters had captivated me more. Overall through I did not think this was too bad of a book.

Thanksgiving at the Inn

I want to thank Harrison with Bancroft Press for sending me a copy of this book to review.




Heath Wellington III and his father, Heath Wellington Junior are having a hard time communicating with each other, especially since his mother left and his father won’t listen to him. Heath has been suspended from school but it wasn’t his fault. Of course his father doesn’t believe him. Heath can’t wait till he can leave home.

When they receive new that Heath Wellington Senior has passed away and in order to claim their fortune they have to run the bed and breakfast that Senior left behind for three months, otherwise they can kiss their fortune good bye. Heath has never known his grandfather. His father was estranged with his own father and couldn’t wait to get away. After they arrive at the B&B, they meet a group of very interesting characters.

Thanksgiving at the Inn is author, Tim Whitney’s debut novel. This had a nice story to it as well as some interesting characters. Though of all the characters in this book, I didn’t really have a favorite. This is because no one engaged me that much. Something good about Thanksgiving at the Inn was that it did portray a good message that life is too precious to hold onto grudges.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Healing Luke

I want to thank Danielle with Sourcebooks for sending me a copy of this book to review.






Abby is an occupational therapist. She was about to get married when she found her fiancé with another woman. Abby needed to get away for a little while. She decided to go on her honeymoon alone. Hey, why not when she isn’t going to get a refund.

Luke and his brother Aaron used to compete for women. They were a pair of players, only thinking about one night stands. That was than and this is now. Luke was in an accident that left him without the sight of his right eye and scars. Luke is a changed man both physically and emotionally.

Luke’s father, Bart and Aaron can’t stand to see Luke mope around. When they learn Abby is an occupational therapist, they convince her to stay for a while and help Luke. Luke isn’t the only one that needs healing. Can Luke and Abby help each other?

Healing Luke is just what the doctor ordered. Luke was a grumpy guy and someone I wouldn’t want to hang around with but due to his situation, I could understand why and forgive him. Of course though it didn’t hurt that Luke is good looking. Abby has the patience of a saint. The words Abby and Luke didn’t speak were way hotter than the ones they did speak. Just a look or a touch can be sexy. I like that Luke started out liking the typical blond model type girls and by the end of middle of the book, he saw Abby for who she was…a smart, pretty, loving woman. Abby really grew into a butterfly.


Lucky in Love

I want to thank Danielle with Sourcebooks for sending me a copy of this book to review.




Anthony “Lucky" Luckadeau is a rancher. He owns the Bar M ranch. Some people would call him lucky. He wasn’t born ranching but he has done well for himself so far. Though he may be lucky, he is not lucky when it comes to love. Beau thinks it is about time he settles down and starts a family. He plans to pop the question to Amanda, a schoolteacher that he has been dating for some time.

Jim Torres’s ranch, The Lazy Z, neighbor’s the Bar M. He had an accident and is recovering but needs help on the ranch for a little while. Millie Torres, Jim’s granddaughter arrives with her daughter Katy. As soon as Millie realizes that Beau is right next door to her, she contemplates packing up her bags and heading back home. Beau may not have recognized Millie but she sure remembers him and the night they shared so long ago.

Millie and Beau is a match made in heaven. Millie is beautiful as well as hot tempered. She is like a firecracker. She definitely shows Beau who is in charge. Beau is exactly who I picture when I dream of cowboys. A man who knows how to wear a pair of jeans. From the moment that I sat down to read this book, I was laughing and knew that I was going to really enjoy this book. I wasn’t wrong. I enjoyed this book so much that I plan to rope myself some more of Carolyn Brown and her books. Lucky in Love is a must read!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Legacy

I want to thank Natalie for sending me a copy of this book to review. Author Cayla Kluver is only 16 years old.



The people of Hytanica lived in peace that is till the evil Cokyrians started attacking them. The strange thing is that the Cokyrians were only interested in the children. One by one the children disappeared. The King at that time turned his head the other way and refused to do anything about the Cokyrians. Of course the king could no longer ignore the disappearances when the children within the kingdom’s walls also disappear. Suddenly with no explanation, the Cokyrians stop their attack and leave. The King fearing that the Cokyrians will return ask his priests what he should do. The priests advise the King that the sacrifice of blood will protect the kingdom. The blood can’t be just any blood…it has to be blood of both royal and innocent. The King kills his son and spreads the blood in the four corners of the kingdom.

Princess Alera was born right before the end of the war between the Hytanica and the Cokyrians. Her father is King Adrik. Alera is coming of age. She has just turned seventeen. Her father wants her married by her next birthday. He has her husband picked out. His name is Steldor and he is the son of the Captain of the guard, Cannan. Alera can’t stand Steldor. Steldor is weak, condescending, and too much of a ladies man. When a mysterious man by the name of Narian appears, Alera becomes intrigued by him. He has extensive knowledge about the Cokyrians as well as a different point of view on how women should act. The more time Alera spends with Narian, she starts to realize that she does have a different choice than just her father’s. Alera will have to be careful as any steps she makes now could change the kingdom.

Legacy is the first book in this trilogy. I was surprised that the story, Ms. Kluver wrote was somewhat dark. This is not a bad thing. Though I didn’t really know much about the author or this book, when I heard the word historical, I was expecting a light-hearted romantic story with a Princess, a Prince and a happy ending. What I got instead was a Princess, a Prince and a cliff hanging ending. I liked Alera because she wasn’t spoiled but open minded. Steldor on the other hand, is someone that I couldn’t stand. As much as I did enjoy Alera and the darker feel this book had, there were parts of the story that I found chunky and dry. When I came across a part like this, my mind would start to wander. Anyone looking to try something new might like Legacy.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Friday, August 21, 2009

The History Behind The Birthing House.

By now you have probably seen ads and heard about this debut book by Christopher Ransom. If not than you must be living under a rock (just kidding). Read why Mr. Ransom wrote this book. Also you can check out my review here.







SOMETHING BIRTHED THIS WAY COMES Or, How and Why I Wrote My First Novel, The Birthing House

Sometime around 1979, my father announced to my older brother Mike and me that he had installed a PIRATE ANTENNAE, so we could now watch HBO for free! ‘But don't tell anybody,’ he warned us. ‘It's sort of illegal. And your mom will probably give me hell about it.’ In an effort to get the most out of his purloined ‘cable’ service, Dad's policy on what the kids were allowed to watch was, shall we say, lax.



Following this domestic technology revolution, we Ransom boys were exposed to Richard Pryor: Live in Concert, Alien, Urban Cowboy, My Bodyguard, Jaws, The Blue Lagoon, Kramer Vs. Kramer, Convoy, Hooper, Alice, Sweet Alice, The Elephant Man, and Dressed To Kill among many others.Fighting. Drinking. Cussing. Cars and stunts. Guns and knives and blood. Monsters and human monsters, aka crazy people, and, when you were really lucky, naked breasts. I remember looking at my brother in the dark, our eyes this wide, sending each other the same message – Can you believe Dad's letting us watch this? and, Don't you dare tell Mom, you little shit!There were a lot of pirated movies. But the one that really stands out for me is, of course, The Shining. I don't remember much about that Saturday night. Just that there was very little talking going on while we watched.



The little boy running in the snow in that maze. And the cackling woman in the bathtub. And the twin girls in the hallway. And the axe landing in that man's chest, and the geysers of maroon-black blood that flowed from the elevator.This was 1981 or so.I was nine. Then came Cujo, on the eve of my 6th grade year. I saw that little summer surprise in the movie theater. Twice. A few months later I was strolling through the book fair being held in our elementary school cafeteria when I stumbled across a little paperback. Had the same cover art as the movie poster. Ominous farmhouse in the background, the white picket fence with Cujo spelled out in dripping bloody letters.

‘Now There’s a New Name for Terror’ it said, and there was, but it wasn't Cujo.

The name was . . . well, you all know the name, don't you? A light went off in my eleven-year-old brain. I'd seen the movie. Now I could read the book and do it all over again, everyday for optional reading time!

Okay. My parents were divorced. They were not wealthy. Their friends were contractors, teachers, barbers, realtors, lawyers, and gas station men. Some of these people had problems that even an eleven-year-old could see. In short, I knew people like the Trentons and the Cambers, the white and blue-collar families in Cujo. I recognized them. I knew my parents loved me very much, like the Trentons loved their boy Tad. But sometimes life throws you a rabid dog. We had been through rough times, but we'd been lucky so far. I hadn't been trapped in a car for three days, dying of thirst while under attack by man's best friend.Not long after cracking the opening chapters of Cujo, my 6th grade teacher Mrs. Schrag, a good teacher who could go from motherly sweet to drill sergeant stern in about half a second, interrupted optional reading time and called me to her desk. I went to her, holding Cujo in my hand.‘Christopher,’ she said, her brow hunching steeply. ‘That book you're reading.’‘Yeah?’‘That's a Stephen King book.’ A new name for terror, indeed. ‘Are you really reading that?’

‘Whattya mean?’



‘Do you . . . ah . . . understand it?’‘Cujo? Oh, yeah, sure,’ I lied. ‘Uhm. Most of it. I think.’ Better.‘I see.’ Mrs. Schrag had a hard eye for liars, and she was pressing me with it full force. ‘Do your parents know you're reading that?’



‘Oh, yeah! My mom bought it for me.’ This was true. ‘And it's okay, I saw themovie. Twice! It was awesome!’Mrs. Schrag’s eyes darted around the classroom to be sure no one was listening. She leaned over her desk, grabbed my arm and whispered, ‘I know. I saw it too! Wasn't it great? I just love all of his books!’Mrs. Schrag and I understood each other after that. Later in the year she recommended Pet Sematary to me. I read all of the King books, then Dean Koontz, Clive Barker, Robert McCammon, Dan Simmons, and so many others.

There are many reasons that I was never really a good student after the age of thirteen, but dark literature and scary movies sure ain't one of them. I found trouble enough as a teen, but I shudder to think what kinds of trouble I would have found for myself without the books.

I dropped out high school at age seventeen. I took some college courses, earned a few As in my writing classes. But in addition to majoring in Beer Guzzling, I kept finding myself staying up late with my nose in some horror novel or another, unable to focus on the ‘serious literature’ I was being prescribed by my professors. Oh, if only they had been offering course titled ‘Ghosts, Pimps, Cops and Ho's: Genre Fiction in America’!



I read a lot – just not textbooks. I had no interest in college, and so I made myself a deal. I agreed to let myself fail, again. On one condition. I vowed to become a professional author. I would become real writer – even if it took a decade, twenty years, a lifetime. Because in writing, the only failure is to quit.



I filled journals, I penned sappy poems, I labored over a couple dozen short stories. I moved to New York. I worked lots of jobs. I wrote millions of words. I moved to Los Angeles. I got married. I wrote eight screenplays, including romantic comedies, neo-noir thrillers, and two sort-of-horror scripts.



I amassed some four hundred rejection letters and sold not a single story.



I was failing, again.



But why? What had I been doing wrong?



The answer is, I no longer loved writing. Working on screenplays, I had fallen into a creative coma. I wasn’t following my heart. I had always loved novels more than movies. I had always loved dark fantasy and thrillers and horror fiction more than romantic comedy and pretty much everything else I’d detoured to write.



So I wrote my first novel, a psychological horror-thriller called The Birthing House. It took three years, working seven days per week, nights and weekends when I was not working at (and commuting an hour each way to) my full-time job as a copywriter for Famous Footwear.
Two bestselling authors read early drafts and provided unsolicited quotes in support. I landed a passionate, gun-slinging agent named Scott Miller. He sold the novel almost exactly fifteen years after I made that promise to myself.



But why? Why now, and more to the point – if I had found that which moved me above all others when I was a teenager, why did I not begin my first horror novel until age thirty-two?The quick answer is, I wasn't ready. I hadn't experienced anything worthy of a novel, and I didn't have the emotional stamina and discipline to spend three years writing one. But the other answer is probably the most-fitting answer: fear. I was afraid to attempt what my heroes did year-in and year-out, which is delve deep into themselves and write about what scared them most.



But here I must give credit to the house itself, because she played a role . . . and then some.
In 2003, my wife and I decided to leave the Big City life behind. While knocking around Wisconsin we discovered Mineral Point, a charming town of approximately three thousand souls, located some fifty miles southwest of Madison. Art galleries, historic buildings, and an honest-to-God Ben Franklin five-and-dime. Old trees and old houses, many of them Victorians at prices that, compared to Los Angeles, seemed astonishingly low. We toured a few of these charming homes, found one on a half-acre lot, with a small library on the second floor, and bought it (relative to Los Angeles) for a song.


Only after we had moved in did I realize that our lives had taken on the trajectory of the first hundred pages of a horror novel. You know how it goes – young couple moves from the city to a small town in rural America to start a new life, only to discover that their new neighbors are the offspring of a centuries-old satanic cult that’s just decided to bring back the annual tradition of roasting the new City Boy and His Purty Wife over the communal Halloween bonfire.


Alas, our new neighbors turned out to be some of the kindest and most genuine people we have ever known. But we did discover something odd about our new residence. Shortly after we finished unpacking, the former owners showed us a hundred-year-old, sepia-toned photo of a group of women standing on our porch. Dark dresses and pale countenances. Some were wearing aprons, others were wearing nurse caps. None were smiling. This did not appear to be a family gathering.


Our hundred-and-forty-year-old home was once a birthing house, we were told. A what? Yeah, a birthing house. You know. Doctor’s quarters. Midwives. Wet nurses. A birthing house. Neat, I guess. I forgot about the photo a week later.


So my wife and I began the first year in Wisconsin doing what you do to ‘start a new life’. Look for jobs, find the good restaurants, make new friends. We also began to talk about having children in ways we never had before. Neither of us were in a hurry, but I kept asking myself, what are we doing out here in the sticks, in a four-bedroom house? Besides enjoying a slower pace and the clean air? Did we come here to have children?


Time to quit dallying and write that novel. They say one should write the book one would love to read but can’t find in a bookstore. Well, I hadn’t read a good haunted house story in a long time. I mean the kind that grips your throat while you’re in it.


I also knew that I wanted to do something scary and full of sexual tension. I’d been reading a lot of Colin Harrison – Afterburn and The Havana Room are two of my very favorite novels, not least because of how deftly Harrison weaves sex and food and money and race and class and more sex into his characters’ lives, their motivations, and the larger dynamics of the urban noir. Because come on, isn’t that what drives us, so much of the time? Our appetites?

I certainly thought so. Because during those years of living in New York and Los Angeles, I experienced – and witnessed my friends engaged in – an almost constant tug-of-war with temptation. Jobs for more money. Drugs for more fun. New partners for more sex. New choices for a whole new lifestyle. It seemed as if everywhere I turned someone I knew was up to something your parents warned you to avoid. And for a short period it almost seemed . . . normal. At least until the hangover set in and your dreams, or your family, had gone up in smoke.

It was perhaps too easy to imagine taking the big job, experimenting with the next drug, and falling into some stranger’s bed. But if those alternative paths were easy to imagine, then so were the consequences. And no vision frightened me more than the prospect of losing my wife, my best friend, the woman I had been writing for all along. The pain I would inflict and the hell my life would become if I gave into that temptation, were so ugly and disturbing to contemplate that I never crossed the line.

Instead, I told myself to get back to work. I wrote about crossing the line.

Isn’t that what readers want from authors of the dark? Our gravest fears playing out on the page? The Shining is, after all, not only about a haunted hotel and a psychic little boy. It’s about alcoholism and the legacy of family violence. It’s about a boy who foresees his parents’ divorce, and worse, their approaching REDRUM. Cujo is not only about a rabid Saint Bernard. It’s about how the career demands that separate man and wife can lead to infidelity and become a rabid dog that kills your kids.

The human sex drive. It’s partly responsible for the continuation of the species, but it can, when left unchecked, also give birth to a monster. So here were my ingredients: a childless couple with a history of deceit, a house built for birth, and several ghosts of women past. Things going bump in the night, things going bump in the writer’s mind.

I felt the first contractions. Ready or not, something was about to be born. Then one night I had a real humdinger of a nightmare. One that did not end when I woke up. And I’m not making this part up, folks. Trust me.



In the nightmare I was with one of my ex-girlfriends and we were close to . . . becoming intimate, is the polite way of saying it. I was reaching out to her, this shadowy beauty from my past, but something was holding me back, forbidding me. In the dream I was aware that I was in a bed, and there was a great weight pressing down on my body, ethereal but strong, like a force field of smoke crushing me into the mattress.



Then my ex-girlfriend was gone and I began to wake up, sort of stranded between the dream and the part where you wake up screaming, and I could not see it – this force – but I sure as hell felt it, and then knew somehow that it wasn’t an ‘it’ at all, but a her.



The woman hovering over me was not my ex-girlfriend, and she was certainly not my wife, who lay sleeping soundly next to me. I was on my side facing my wife, almost flat on my stomach, so I could not look up or behind me to the side of the bed. But I felt a curtain of black hair tickling my shoulders as she leaned over the bed and whispered in my ear.
‘Stay . . . stay down.’



It was at that time I experienced a sublime terror. I woke all the way up and the pressure lifted. I rolled onto my back and pulled covers up and blinked into the pitch-blackness of our bedroom, trying to see her. To see if she was still in there with me. And then I remembered the sepia-toned photo of the women standing on the porch of our house a century ago.
Midwives, wet nurses, maids. Mothers gone astray.



And I thought, What if one of them is still here? What if she suffered a loss . . . and wants compensation?



So, after spending the rest of the night in a delirium of cold sweat, I had my novel. Well, not my novel. But I had what better writers than I have called the hard, unshakable center, that seed from which all else would spiral out.



One can never know, but I suspect that this may be the last time in my life I am handed the gift of a premise for a novel by way of a real estate transaction and a nightmare. Was it really the house that gave me the novel? Or one of the women? Go ahead and laugh, but I have wondered.


All I know for certain is that the birthing house and The Birthing House taught me to love writing again. Wherever I go from here, I hope I don’t have to move halfway across the country to find my next book. I’ve come to love this old girl, her warm hearth, her cozy little library. And since writing a novel inspired by her and the women who once ushered in new life under her roof, she lets me sleep soundly.
Most nights.

CTR
Summer, 2008





Check out Mr. Ransom's website
Also check out this blog dedicated to ghost stories. If you have one to share than click here. There are some good ones.
Watch the book trailer

Spirited

Check out this new release from Pink Petal Books.






My review

Detective Andrea Haney has been working on case the case of fairy dust gone wrong for three months. She is not about to let Detective Darren O’Connell waltz into the picture and steal the show. It is up to Detectives Haney and O’Connell to track down and stop the distribution of the fairy dust. This is not your normal dust. This fairy dust is like meth. When taken in small doses it can cause hallucinogens but when taken in larger doses, the side effects can lead to hysteria, manic fits and even death.

Andrea is hoping that her abilities to project out of her body will give her an advantage n locating the big boss. That is easier said than done as Darren knows just how to push all of Andrea’s buttons.

Spirited by Cari Z is just that…spirited! This book is a fun, magical read. It has something for everyone…from paranormal elements to mystery and romance. I thought it was funny to see how Darren kept pushing Andrea’s buttons. What is great about Andrea is that she didn’t just take it but she could also dish it. After reading this book, Cari Z now has me sprinting to the nearest bookstore to check out more of her books.


Love can be Scary

One of my favorite erotic authors, Cheryl Dragon has a bunch of books releasing. Love is Scary is one of them. She is the only author so far that can make me read m/m and futuristic books and enjoy them.




My review

Ryan Elliott and Wes Taylor couldn’t be more different. Ryan works for a corporation, attends business meetings, and wears suits and ties. On the other hand, Wes is a handyman (of sorts), wears jeans and is not afraid to show is feelings.

Ryan decided to embark on a new adventure. He brought a cheap, old house in Vegas. Ryan wants to turn it into a haunted house. Ryan has some ideas but he knows exactly the right man for the job. Ryan saw one of Wes’s haunted house creations in New Orleans and was so impressed. Wes agrees to come down to Vegas and help Ryan. Once Wes arrives it is instant attraction.

Ms. Dragon does it again…she combines hot, steamy sex with some good old fashion tricks or is it treats? Either way, Love is Scary is a delicious quickie read! Ryan and Wes work well together. Wes helps Ryan learn to loosen up and Ryan helps Wes by being his rock to lean on. The plans that Ryan and Wes came up with for the haunted house, sounded so good that I am sorry it isn’t a real place. I would have loved to visit it. Now would really make this book scary is if somehow Mr. Dragon could find a way to incorporate Serena Troy, from the Serena Troy series to come investigate the haunted house due to paranormal activities. This would be great because than I could see one of my favorite characters, Serena and revisit Wes and Ryan again (hint, hint).

Thursday, August 20, 2009

City of Silver

I want to thank Anne with St. Martin's Press for sending me a copy of this book to review.

Inez de la Morada is the daughter of Francisco Morada, the Mayor of Potosi. Potosi is a city of many riches. Inez has found the man she wants to marry. Her father disapproves of her choice. Inez seeks shelter at the convent, Santa Isabella de los Santos Milagros. Mother Abbess Maria Santa Hilda takes a liking to Inez and watches over her. When Mother Abbess Maria goes to check up on Inez, she finds the young woman dead. Inez’s death does not go unnoticed, especially when her father is the Mayor. Soon Mother Abbess Maria finds herself in the middle of an investigation that has people looking at her as the prime suspect. She must learn the truth about Inez’s death before it is too late.

City of Silver is Annamaria Alfieri’s debut novel. She really made the characters come alive in this book. The only issue I had was there were so many characters coming at me very fast at the beginning and this translated to me having a bit of a problem keeping all the various people apart. From the beginning the reader knows what really happened to Inez. What I did enjoy through was seeing how this story would play out. It reminded me of a Spanish soap opera. The vivid picture Ms. Alfieri painted for me was so rich in culture that I could excuse getting a little lost. If you are looking for something new to read than give City of Silver a try, it just might sparkle for you.

The Lost Sister

I want to thank Elizabeth Weed with Weed Literary, LLC for sending me a copy of this book to review.



The Lost Sister continues after the horrific incident that took place on Halloween night leaving one girl to disappear and never be seen from again. The Sisters of Misery were involved.

Maddie Crane has finally escaped The Sisters of Misery and Hawthorne, Massachusetts to attend an exclusive boarding school in Maine. Unfortunately, someone has found Maddie, when she receives a tarot card that represents death. Maddie can’t forgive herself for what happened to her sister, Cordelia. Maybe that is why she won’t stop looking for her till she finds her.

Maddie returns home to care for her mother. Maddie better watch herself as The Sisters of Misery will do anything to bring down anyone who opposes them.

I liked seeing The Sisters of Misery, Maddie and the rest of the characters again. Though I have to admit that I loved Sisters of Misery just a little better. Only because it was darker. It was great that Maddie grew more and stood up for herself against Kate. She really put Kate in her place towards the end of the story. One thing that The Lost Sister story did that I enjoyed is that it filled in the pieces of the past to explain how all the characters got to where they are today. I hope to see Maddie, Cordelia and the rest of The Sisters of Misery again. Megan Kelley Hall has clemented her name as an author to watch out for!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

A must have for high school and college students!


I want to thank Anna with FSB Associates for sending me a copy of this book to review.


My review


You Don't Have to Learn the Hard Way: Making it in the Real World: A Guide for Graduates is sort of a handbook/workbook all rolled up into one. Mr. Parrish writes this book ideally for high school and college age students in mind. Though adults can learn and take away things from this book

I like that it was very easy to read. Each chapter is broken out into different topics like Human Relations, Making you dreams come true, and dating, marriage and parenting are just a few of the subjects touched on in this guide. At the beginning of each chapter, Mr. Parrish explains what the objective is for that chapter. He than shares true events that happened to him. Than the subject matter is broken down into sections. Those sections explain why it is important for eye contact, listening, etc. The reader follows the steps on how to help them achieve these skills or goals.

This book is very interactive as there are quizzes throughout this book. You Don't Have to Learn the Hard Way: Making it in the Real World: A Guide for Graduates would make a perfect gift for any young adult just learning how to make their own way in the real world, especially now in these times. Pick up two copies of this book today as you will want to keep one for yourself.






Whisperings

By J.R. Parrish, Author of You Don't Have to Learn the Hard Way: Making it in the Real World: A Guide for Graduates

Some people can see at a glance what others cannot see with microscope and telescope. This article is for parents and it is a whispering. Whisperings are subtle, quiet and hardly noticeable, but they are very important. Some people notice when the breeze picks up or a few raindrops fall, while others don't pay attention until they are hit by a hurricane or flood.

The reason I wrote You Don't Have to Learn the Hard Way was to help young adults who wanted to get ahead in life by teaching them four of life's most important lessons for success that are still not taught in school. As time has passed I have realized that the real audience for the book should be their parents. Since parents were not taught these things in school they cannot teach it to their children and that is where the learning process begins.

As a parent you may be thinking, "What is it that I was not taught?" You were not taught the power of your thoughts and that your entire future would depend on how you think. You were not taught what to think and why. You were not taught that your thoughts are your preview of your life's coming attractions and never to think anything about yourself that you don't want to be true. That how you think is a habit. That good habits are the key to all success and bad habits are the unlocked door to failure. That most habits are formed without your realizing it.

The habits that would lead to your success and the ones that would cause you to fail and how to acquire the right ones and eliminate the bad ones. That 80% of your success would depend on your human relations skills. What makes up those skills and how to acquire them. The greatest need of every man, woman, and child on the face of the earth after they have food, clothing and shelter. (If you knew the greatest need of everyone think how easy it would become to win with them). That you have an abundance of what other people want and yet share very little of it and why. That the "Golden Rule" is not the best rule. People do not want to be treated the way you want to be treated, they want to be treated the way THEY want to be treated. One of the worst mistakes we make is thinking others want to be treated the same as us. The six step process that will allow you to make your dreams come true. That people who feel sorry for themselves should. The root of anger and how to eliminate it from your life. The "Better World Theory". How to choose the drivers seat rather than the passenger seat in life. That it is not your circumstances that determine your future.

I could go on, but by now I hope you can hear the whispering and want to learn these things so you can teach them to your children and those you love and want to help. This will be one of the best gifts you can give yourself and your child or loved one. It will help you and them succeed in every aspect of life and achieve more than you ever thought possible. If learning these things could take me from milkman to top salesman for a Fortune 500 company, to founder of one of the most successful commercial real estate firms in Silicon Valley, to retirement in Hawaii at age 55, imagine what it can do for you.

A paranormal experience with author Deborah LeBlanc


Author Deborah LeBlanc talks about her visit with The Nicholson House.


Paranormal Plus - The Nicholson House

By Deborah LeBlanc, Author of Water Witch




Some time ago, I had the opportunity to visit the Nicholson House, which is located in Washington, Louisiana and was built in the mid-eighteen hundreds.


The first clue that made me suspect the house might be a hot spot (a location with real paranormal activity), came the moment I stepped onto the front porch. A pulling sensation traveled throughout my body, as though a magnet lay hidden beneath the porch and my innards had suddenly turned to metal. Judging from the earnest whispers coming from the rest of the investigation team, I knew they were experiencing the same phenomenon. We snapped a few pictures of the surrounding area, then made our way to the front door on wobbly legs.


(Nicholson House -- Front porch on the left.) The owner was expecting us, so it didn't surprise me when she answered after only one knock.


Mildred, dressed in a cornflower blue housedress and white tennis shoes, greeted us with a warm smile and after a short round of introductions, welcomed us into her home. The pulling sensation vanished as soon as I crossed the threshold. The house appeared much smaller on the inside, with its low ceilings and clutter of memorabilia that dated back to the mid '40s, when Mildred had reigned as the first Miss Louisiana. As the elderly woman led us through the living room, all the while chattering about the "ghost friends" who lived with her, I noticed a portrait hanging on the wall beside a narrow staircase. It appeared to be a macabre version of the Madonna and Child.


When I asked Mildred about it, she explained that back in the '40s, a family member had set out to paint the portrait of a demon he saw regularly in his dreams. When he finished the portrait, however, it so terrified him, that he quickly painted over it with an image of the Madonna and Child. The holy image was his way of repenting for having painted the demon in the first place. The revised painting didn't stick, however. Over time, the faces began to change, as though the original painting wanted to regain possession of the canvas.


After telling the story, Mildred urged us to follow her into the kitchen for refreshments. I asked if she'd mind if I went upstairs to check out the room right above us, which had served as a makeshift hospital during the Civil War. Mildred shook her head. "I wouldn't go up there right now if I were you. That's where they live, I think, and they're not exactly thrilled about all the extra company today. Give 'em a little time to get used to y'all hanging around." With that, she flashed me one of her brilliant smiles, then headed for the kitchen. We followed, each of us throwing furtive glances over a shoulder, itching to know what didn't want us upstairs. Curiosity finally got the best of me, and I began to lag behind.


After all, Mildred didn't specifically tell me NOT to go upstairs. She'd just sort of suggested it. When the coast finally cleared, I crept over to that narrow staircase. The moment I touched the first step, the pulling sensation I'd experienced on the porch returned. With every hair on my arms standing on end, I took another step up, then another. By the time I reached the sixth step, the pulling sensation was so powerful, I had difficulty breathing. I stopped, sucked in a deep breath, then lifted my right foot to take the next step. No sooner did my sneaker hit the cypress plank than something unseen shoved hard against my left shoulder. I gasped and reached for the banister, but before I was able to grab hold of it, I was shoved again, harder this time, and I found myself stumbling down to the last step. Okay, I may be a Doubting Thomas, but I'm not stupid. I took the hint and hurried away to find Mildred and the rest of the crew.


(Note the banister to the right of the picture. This is the staircase that led to the upper room.) I didn't tell anyone about the incident, but Mildred must have suspected something because later on, when she gave us the all clear for the second floor, she looked at me with a mischievous twinkle in her eye.







(Three crew members checking out a hideaway beneath the Nicholson House.) Unfortunately, our equipment didn't capture any paranormal images that day. But I didn't need pictures to prove what I already knew. Something lived in the Nicholson's house, and it didn't appreciate nosey guests.



Deborah LeBlanc, author of Water Witch, is an award-winning author from Lafayette, Louisiana. She is also a business owner, a licensed death scene investigator, and an active member of two national paranormal investigation teams. Deborah's unique experiences, enthusiasm, and high-energy level make her a much sought-after speaker at writer's conferences across the nation. She also takes her passion for literacy and a powerful ability to motivate to high schools around the country. She is the president of the Horror Writers Association, the Writers' Guild of Acadiana, Mystery Writers of America's Southwest Chapter, and an active member of Sisters in Crime, the National Association of Women Writers, and International Thriller Writers Inc. In 2004, Deborah created the LeBlanc Literacy Challenge, an annual national campaign designed to encourage more people to read, and soon after founded Literacy Inc., a nonprofit organization dedicated to fighting illiteracy in America.



For more information please visit http://www.theleblancchallenge.com/

Water Witch

I want to thank Anna with FSB Associates for sending me a copy of this book to review.


Dunny was born with a special gift of an extra finger. This finger is unique because it is like a third eye. You could also say that Dunny’s abilities are a curse. She has been called many names and that is why she is pretty much a loner. Two children have been kidnapped. Dunny has been called to help. She travels down to the swampy backwaters of the bayous of Louisiana. Dunny soon learns that the children’s kidnapping is connected with an old ancient Indian ritual.

Water Witch is the first book I have read by this author. Readers may not realize it but location or background setting does help play a part in telling a story. In the case of this book, the location of Louisiana really set the mood for this story. I found Dunny’s finger to be very creepy in a good way. While the setting and the unique characteristics of Dunny were interesting it wasn’t enough to keep my interest the whole way though the book. I am glad I did give this book a try as I will try another Deborah LaBlanc book again maybe in the near future.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Blog Tour for Bleak History

I want to thank Sarah with Simon and Schuster for letting me be a part of this tour.






Gabriel Bleak is a very powerful individual. His paranormal skills are off the charts. He can manipulate supernatural energies and even communicate with other paranormals inhabiting the Hidden. The Hidden is a place that stores all the energy of life forms on planet, Earth. Bleak has learned to control his powers and put them to good use. He works as a bounty hunter or “skip tracer”. Bleaks abilities don’t go unnoticed.

The CCA considers him dangerous and he has appeared on their radar. The CCA’s mission is to capture him and take advantage of him for their own needs. The CCA hopes to tap into Bleak’s powers, so that they may access the Hidden.

Bleak has a plan of his own to fight the CCA. It will require the assistance of the population of an underground paranormal group known as the Shadow Community. This is one battle that will have sci-fi, paranormal, and urban fans everywhere cheering for. Bleak is the new face of superheroes.

I valued the fact that Bleak History had a darker, edgier, techno feel that it. Mr. Shirley did a good job infusing all of these elements into this book. Bleak may not be your typical guy h makes for an interesting character, even his name is unique. While Bleak could hold his own, there were other characters in this story as well and they unfortunately could not do the same. This was a bummer because I was hoping the enemies that Bleak took on would be as equal a match. Though I do hope to see Bleak again.

Blog Tour

I want to thank Sarah with Simon and Schuster for letting me be a part of this tour.




Three years ago, Macy Clark was Macy Lockhart. Macy can’t believe it has been three years, since her life was turned upside down. She was told by the military that her husband, Finn had been killed in action. It took Macy a while to move on but she finally did and married a good guy. His name is Wyatt Clark and he is a rich land developer.

Now as Macy has everything she desires, her life gets turned upside down once again. She is told that the military has made a big error and Finn is really alive and coming home. This homecoming will be filled with lots of drama, tears, anger, and plenty of surprises.

From the beginning of this book, before I got very far into it, I thought I had this story all figured out. It ended up I was wrong. I am still not sure if Macy chose the right guy. Though I do have to say that I won’t want to be in Macy’s shoes. To be honest I was a little upset with the way things transpired between Finn, Macy and Wyatt. I thought Wyatt was a nice guy but towards the end, he started to turn into a jerk. This was understandable considering the circumstances. For me to get this riled up about some characters and what happened to them, means that the Julia London did her job and getting me to fall in love with Summer of Two Wishes and the characters. You don’t get this way unless you are really into a book.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Facts Don't Matter

I would like to thank Dixie Burkhart for sending me a copy of her book to review.



Facts Don’t Matter is based on true events that happened to author Dixie Burkhart. A lot can be learned from what happened to Mrs. Burkhart. The biggest lesson is that even the law…the same law we trust to uphold the truth and make sure the bad guys get the punishment they deserve, can let us down and ignore the facts.

After the death of Dixie’s first husband, she came into a lot of money. She figured she would invest some of it into KILJ, a sinking community radio station. It seemed like a solid investment; even her attorney saw no problems other than the usual risks with any investment. So Dixie became a stock holder in MediaComm, the company that Mike Stoffregen created in order to purchase the radio station from Mr. and Mrs. Dennison. Dixie, Mike, John Kuhens and Steve all became partners. Mike the president of MediaComm and John as executive vice president.

Things were going alright for KILJ but the station wasn’t bringing in the big bucks like everyone was hoping. It wasn’t till years later when Dixie received a phone call from Fred, the attorney for MediaComm. He told Dixie that he had proof that Mike was embezzling from MediaComm. To make a long story short, Mike admitted to the charges against him and made a deal to pay back most of the money and leave town. Mike wasn’t the worst person. It was John and the Dennison’s. They were cooking up a plan of their own to force Dixie out. What they did was illegal, because if it hadn’t been illegal than Dixie won’t have went to court and this book probably won’t exist.

I feel so sorry for Mrs. Burkhart and what she had to go through. No one deserves what happened to her. The judge proceeding over the case was one minded and didn’t want to review or listen to all the facts. This is a shame because the facts told the truth, even if there was a lot to go through. I applaud Dixie for standing up for herself and fighting back. She was in the right. Facts Don’t Matter is a very informative book.