Sunday, February 28, 2010

Once in a Blue Moon




Bryn Seymour was only nine years old when her mother died. She will never forget the day. It was the same day that the Apollo 11 was launched.

Now years later, Bryn is attending the commemoration of the Apollo 11 launch. Bryn hears her name being called. She turns and meets a man by the name of Howard Walter. Howard tells Bryn that her mother’s death was all part of a conspiracy. At first Bryn believes Howard is a crazy but just as she is about to think Howard is speaking some truth, Howard’s son, Sam tells Bryn that his father has Alzheimer’s and doesn’t know what he is talking about.

I really enjoyed Ruby’s Slippers by Leanna Ellis. Her latest novel, Once in a Blue Moon missed the mark for me, just a little. It still had the quirkiness that I loved about her last book but I didn’t get a full connection with the characters. Bryn seemed like a nice person but she kind of faded into the background with her quietness. I did like the crazy adventure that Bryn, Howard and Sam took. This book may have left me a little blue but I still plan to check out Leanna’s next novel.



There is No Mercy




Mercy Gunderson has returned home to her family’s ranch in South Dakota. She receives quite the welcome home when a dead body is found on the ranch. The body is a relative. It seems no one really has an interest or they aren’t speaking up about the body. It is up to Mercy to find out why there is a dead body on her ranch. It is going to be a shoot um up time.

No Mercy is book one in a new series by author, Lori Armstrong. This is the first book I have read by this author. I liked Mercy. She had a take charge attitude and was deadly as well as dangerous with a gun. She is like a modern day wild, west sheriff trying to take down the bad guys. Though I liked this story, I wished that I felt more of a connection with the rest of the characters. This would have helped me have more of an interest in why Mercy was fighting for justice and doing the things she was doing. Overall, I still thought this was a pretty good book and I would check out more books by this author.

Second Sight by Judith Orloff, MD Virtual Tour






Second Sight by Judith Orloff, MD (2nd Edition)
In this moving personal story Dr. Orloff recounts her "journey to become whole" by first accepting and then embracing her intuitive abilities. She tells of her childhood fear of her intuition, of her physician-parents' efforts to ignore and even deny them, and of her slow awakening to the understanding that her intuition is truly a gift. She tells of her struggle to incorporate her abilities into her practice and of the many successes she's experienced with patients ever since. Second Sight is a soulful and friendly bestseller.


Text from the back cover
As a child, her vivid dreams and intuitions were whispered about behind closed doors. As a medical student, she denied the "shameful secret" by immersing herself in the absolutes of science. Then as a psychiatrist, Dr. Judith Orloff recieved proof of the value of her gift when an intuition foretold a patient's suicide attempt. In this remarkable self-portrait, she takes you on the journey of a lifetime, one that brought her from ignorance to understanding, from loneliness to peace, from despair to hope...

NOW SHE TEACHES YOU HOW TO UNCOVER YOUR INTUITIVE GIFTS
“There is no elite to which the gift belongs--the seeds have been planted in all of us....each one of us is multifaceted, radiant, teeming with possibilities.”


As she tells you her own story, Dr. Judith Orloff will teach you how to recognize intuitive experiences in everyday life, awaken your own intuition with special mind-empowering exercises, and use meditation, prayer, and dream interpretation to broaden your possibilities. And like Dr. Orloff you'll soon be on a quest to reexamine your life, your beliefs, your future...and your own wonderous potential.


GET your copy of Second Sight with 80+ Gifts from amazing teachers such as Dr. Joan Borysenko, Rev. Michael Beckwith, and Deepak Chopra, and Shirley MacLaine at http://www.drjudithorloff.com/second-sight-promotion/

Judith Orloff MD is author of the new book SECOND SIGHT: AN INTUITIVE PSYCHIATRIST TELLS HER STORY AND SHOWS YOU HOW TO TAP YOUR OWN INNER WISDOM (Three Rivers Press, 2010 updated edition). Her other bestsellers are Emotional Freedom, Positive Energy, Intuitive Healing. Dr. Orloff synthesizes the pearls of traditional medicine with cutting edge knowledge of intuition, energy, and spirituality. She passionately believes that the future of medicine involves integrating all this wisdom to achieve emotional freedom and total wellness. For more inspiration and free articles visit http://www.drjudithorloff.com/

Cowboy Trouble





Ever since Libby Brown was a little girl, she has dreamed of running her own farm. Libby leaves the big city and purchases her first farm in Wyoming. She decides to raise chickens.

Luke Rawlins is Libby’s next door neighbor. He is quick to show Libby that she is a greenie and needs his help. First lesson…no is no such thing as a farm in Wyoming…only ranches.

Libby appreciates Luke’s help. Of course it doesn’t hurt that Luke is easy on the eyes. It seems for being a newcomer, Libby has made an enemy. Someone slashes her tires and destroys her truck. Then there is also the business of a dead body appearing. The sheriff in town is useless. So Libby and Luke decide to track down the killer themselves. Could this be the end for Libby and Luke?

Cowboy Trouble is author, Joanne Kennedy’s first book. I have to say that I liked this book but I wasn’t in love with it. The romance between Libby and Luke was good. I thought they were perfect together. The scenes involving the killer were alright. To me the killer didn’t make as prominent a character as I would have liked. Also, it almost felt like there were two stories going on at the same time versus one story that involved Luke, Libby and a killer. Luke was more on the older and more mature side as far as cowboys go but when it came to matters of the heart where Libby was involved, he was more like a young schoolboy. I found this quality enduring about Luke. I hope to see more cowboy stories from this author as Joanne Kennedy did a good job portraying the West.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

She is Young Bess




You have read the stories about Queen Anne and King Henry but what about Princess Elizabeth? In Young Bess, the first book in the Elizabeth I trilogy, readers learn about Elizabeth “Bess” and her life after her mother’s death. Bess does not have much love for he father, the King. In fact you could say she will not be heart broken when he dies. Bess strikes up a romantic interlude with her step-mother, Catherine Parr’s husband, Tom Seymour. She and Tom are playing a dangerous game. Though, who is really playing whom?

I liked this book. I have to admit that I don’t know much about the Tudor era but I find books about this time period fascinating. This was a nice change from all the other books that are currently out about Queen Anne and Kind Henry VII. This book focused on Princess Elizabeth. In Young Bess, Elizabeth is really conniving and vindictive. Bess and Tom’s relationship I felt was more of a love/hate relationship than the real deal. She almost made her father, King Henry VII look good. Young Bess is a check out read for fans of the Tudors. I can’t wait to continue this exciting journey with author, Margaret Irwin.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Check out the Watchlist




Harold Middleton is a former war crimes investigator. He was heading back to the States when he was detained. He thought it was because he held in his possession an unscripted manuscript of composer, Frederic Chopin. The police inform Harold that he is a suspect for murder. Harold is the most unlikely person to commit murder or is he? Also what Harold thought was a fake manuscript has turned out to be the real deal. Join Harold as he races from Poland to America in The Chopin Manuscript.

In The Cooper Bracelet, Harold returns after his wild adventure with the police and the Chopin manuscript. Only this time Harold’s wife is involved. This story will have readers traveling to even more countries as an international plot has been implemented.

Author, M.J. Rose explains the concept for Watchlist. Back in 2004 when she joined the International Thriller Writers, she wanted to bring notice to thriller writes. Though how do you do so in a new and exciting way? She can up with the idea of releasing a book one chapter at a time on audio. The most important step of all is how will authors respond to this idea and how do you get them to buy in? Well as Ms. Rose describes, it is very easy… you just pick up the phone and call the authors. So many authors said yes that Ms. Rose herself lost a spot in this book. Mr. Deavers was the brain child behind the plot and main character. The rest was up to the other authors to write how this story should play out. Watchlist is composed of two stories…The Chopin Manuscript and the sequel, The Cooper Bracelet.

Calling all thriller/suspense/mystery fans…If you have not heard of or checked out Watchlist then you should. Ever since I first saw this book in hardback, I have wanted to read this book. I can tell you that this book was pretty much right up there with my expectations of it. It had the suspense, a good plot, and some of the best authors to help the story along as well as the characters.

You Better Think Twice





Bennie Rosato and her twin sister, Alice are like day and night. Bennie is nice, dresses sensible and could benefit from being a little more assertive. On the other hand, Alice is loud and very conniving.

Bennie and Alice were having dinner; suddenly Bennie becomes ill and blacks out. She awakes to find that Alice has buried her alive. Now Alice has stolen Bennie’s identity and her boyfriend. Bennie didn’t realize till she was lying in the ground how much of a fighting spirit she had in her. Alice better watch herself as Bennie wants her life back. It will be the battle of the twins…good vs. evil.

I don’t know what author Lisa Scottoline dreams about but Think Twice is one twisted, adrenaline rush read! Ms. Scottoline has not done me wrong yet. Every book of her’s that I have read I have enjoyed. This latest one is no exception. I liked that Bennie didn’t give up even when the odds seemed stacked against her. I almost felt bad for Alice, when she became the target of Bennie’s revenge. I really got into this book. I can guarantee you that you do not need to Think Twice about picking up this book and reading it. What ever the next book is you bet I will be checking it out.

SHADOW BLADE




Kira Solomon is a Shadowchaser. She was born with great powers. Kira thought her gift was a curse; especially when her father took her to Santa Costa, home of Gilead and left her. As Kira grew up, she came to embrace her powers. Kira emanates magic from her body that if someone touches her, they will be killed instantly.

Kira’s mentor and good friend, Bernie Comstock has come back from a dig for ancient artifacts. He brought back with him a dagger known as the “Dagger of Kheferatum. This dagger is both special and dangerous. Whoever possesses the dagger gains special powers. Plus the dagger with one slice can kill anyone. The dagger’s true owner, Khefar wants the dagger back. Bernie gets killed by a demon. Kira thinks about getting rid of the dagger but it calls to her. Can Kira resist the dagger’s control?

Shadow Blade is the first to start of a new series by author, Seressia Glass. This is the first book I have read by this author. I liked the heroine, Kira. She could kick some demon butt. I liked that this book was more on the darker spectrum of the urban genre. This book started out a little slow but this quickly faded and the story picked up speed fast. I can’t wait to see what new challenges Kira faces in the next book.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Crown of Vengeance + Giveaway




For Janus Roland, Erika Laesig, Mershad Shahab, Logan, Ryan, Derek, Lee Chan and several others, there lives will never be the same. Everyone was attending to their every day lives and going about their business when a mysterious mist rolls in. When the mist clears, everyone finds that they had been transported to a strange new land. There they will meet dangerous enemies as well as make some new friends.

Crown of Vengeance is book one in the Fires in Eden. A new series by author Stephen Zimmer. This book started out a little slow for me but it quickly progressed into an exciting and fantastic reading adventure. I wasn’t really interested in every move that the characters made at the beginning. What I liked the most was when the story would switch there would be a break with the name of the character whose turn it was. This I found nice as there were so many different characters, I was afraid that I would become lost and by doing it this way, I did not become lost but was able to focus on what was happening at that moment and got to know the characters better.

The illustrations that Matthew Perry did were wonderful. Mr. Perry is very talented. He helped bring the story to life. For me to say so many great things about a fantasy book is an accomplishment as these types of books used to be towards the bottom on my list that I was willing to read. This book with the help of Mr. Zimmer has restored my faith that fantasy makes for some thrilling reading.


To enter. Must be a follower. This contest is open to everyone, including international readers. You will not only be winning a copy of this book but as well as some other cool prizes.


To increase you chances of winning, you can do the following:

1 entra entry (give me other suggestions of books in this genre to check out)

2 extra entries (Blog about this contest and leave a link to your post) You can twitter about this or facebook. Options are endless.

Contest ends March 11th (My Birthday).

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

COMING OF THE STORM





Black Shell comes from the Chickasaw tribe. He is a trader. While out walking Black Shell comes upon a beautiful woman by the name of Pearl Hand. Pearl Hand is promised to another but Black Shell convinces Pearl Hand to leave him and become his mate.

Black Shell has never known anything but peace. When the white men or “Kristianos” arrive, Black Shell becomes intrigued by them. He figures that they can learn a lot from each other. Unfortunately, Black Shell quickly discovers that the Kristianos want nothing more than to rid the land of the Indians.

Coming of the Storm is the first book I have read in a long time by this husband and wife duo of W. Michael Gear and Kathleen O’Neal Gear. After reading this book, I am now wondering why I took so long to read another book by either of these authors. Mr. and Mrs. Gear are some prolific writers. They really brought to life the story of Black Shell and Pearl Hand and the struggles they faced to bring the different tribes together. I used to have only one favorite author who I really enjoyed reading her books about Indians and that was Madeline Baker. I now have a few author favorite authors to add to the list. Thanks to Coming of the Storm. Clear some time out of your busy life and be prepared to get lost in a really good book.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Calling all Contest Winners

Here are the five winners of a copy of Dare to Surrender By Lilli Feisty


Staci
The Book Queen
Lucy
MissKallie
Anfisa




Here are the five winners of a copy of Ectasy Unveiled by Larissa Ione

Sue
Ruby
Lili
Throughaze
Justpeachy



Please email me with your mailing information and the book you won in the subject. Thank you

Believe You Can Make a Difference




Hannah's Take: Believe You Can Make a Difference
by Kevin and Hannah Salwen,

Authors of The Power of Half: One Family's Decision to Stop Taking and Start Giving Back



About 111 women die of breast cancer every day in the United States. A million teenagers get pregnant each year. Someone dies every thirty-one minutes because of drunken drivers. I'm not writing this to bum you out. But you might be thinking, There are so many problems, there's no way that I or any one person could solve anything.

When civil-rights activist Rosa Parks refused to move to the back of a public bus in 1955, she never dreamed of the impact she would have on millions of lives. "I didn't have any idea just what my actions would bring about," she said years later. "At the time I was arrested I didn't know how the community would react." The reason Ms. Parks didn't get up is that she knew the racist laws were wrong.

Rosa Parks is just one of the thousands of influential people whose actions changed the views of many people today. Think about Gandhi, Mother Teresa, Greg Mortenson, John Woolman, Madame Curie (if you don't know them, check them out; they're all remarkable). Sometimes small acts significantly affect a large group of people. But even when they don't, they can have a big influence, maybe on just one individual.

So don't get discouraged because you can't solve a whole problem alone. As the British philosopher Edmund Burke said, "Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could only do a little." I know exactly what he was talking about. Before our family project I kept telling myself that no matter how hard I tried or how much money I gave, I would never be able to fully solve any of the world's big problems. When I worked at Café 458, the Atlanta restaurant for homeless men and women, I saw dozens of people come in looking depressed and lonely. But still I didn't see them as individuals, but instead as a group, "the homeless."

Then one day at Café 458 I heard two homeless men talking about a college basketball game that I had watched with my dad the night before. I snapped to the realization that these people are people. How stupid and rude I had been to see them as different from me. I realize now that having that epiphany was a big step for me. In that split second of comprehension, I switched from seeing them as a group of people to viewing them as individuals. When I started seeing people in need as individuals, the problem of homelessness and hunger seemed smaller and I felt like I could make more of a difference. I also started believing that I could help because the problem was on a personal level.

Activity

Think of a person from your community who inspires you. Look beyond his or her specific actions to the kind of qualities that person brings to work or volunteer activities. For example, some people are better at creating new programs than at actually putting them into action; other people are doers, ready to take someone else's ideas and run with them. Is that aunt in your family a problem-solver? A good listener? An inspirer?

Now think about your strengths in the same light. If you took your best characteristics out into the world, how could you use them to make a difference? Are you patient? Maybe you would be a good tutor. Are you musical? Maybe you could be playing the guitar at a nursing home (and bringing your family along to sing -- no talent required). We all have gifts the world can use.

The above is an excerpt from the book The Power of Half: One Family's Decision to Stop Taking and Start Giving Back by Kevin and Hannah Salwen. The above excerpt is a digitally scanned reproduction of text from print. Although this excerpt has been proofread, occasional errors may appear due to the scanning process. Please refer to the finished book for accuracy.

Copyright © 2010 Kevin and Hannah Salwen, authors of The Power of Half: One Family's Decision to Stop Taking and Start Giving Back

Author Bios
Kevin Salwen, coauthor of The Power of Half: One Family's Decision to Stop Taking and Start Giving Back, was reporter and editor at The Wall Street Journalfor over 18 years. After his tenure at The Wall Street Journal, he started a magazine, Motto. He serves on the board for Habitat for Humanity in Atlanta, and works with the U.S. Olympic Committee.

Hannah Salwen, coauthor of The Power of Half: One Family's Decision to Stop Taking and Start Giving Back, will be a junior at the Atlanta Girls' School, where she plays for the varsity volleyball team, and is her grade's representative to the student council. She has been volunteering consistently since the 5th grade at the Atlanta Community Food Bank and Cafe 458, among others.

For more information, please visit www.ThePowerOfHalf.com .



For their family project, the Salwen family is investing in the Hunger Project. For more information about that project and how you can create your own, visit http://www.thepowerofhalf.com/

$1 of each copy sold will be donated to Rebuilding Together, serving America's low-income home-owners and providing critical repairs at no charge to those with the greatest need. For more information, visit http://www.rebuildingtogether.com/.




He is...Sam the Night Person

I want to thank my good friend and fellow blogger, Nancy for doing a review of this book for me.






Sam the Night Person by Lisa Rusczyk

Azzy had come across the country to Colorado because she dreamed about Sam. She had a feeling he was there, at Barbara’s lodge and, although she had never met him this is the spot. She was sure of it. Renting a cabin was no problem, but finding Sam was. The manager didn’t know him and the term “night person” to Azzy was someone who worked nights and they had no night help. Azzy settles in for a wait.

She comes back from a hike the next day to find Sam in her living room, barefoot on the sofa, reading. Sam just appears and disappears and through it all, they take up their conversations as if there were never a stop. Sam is intrigued that Azzy daydreams about him, he thinks she is a seouli and doesn’t know it. A seouli is a night person who can understand and read other people.

What Azzy does not know is that Sam has been threatened by the father of a young girl who died and Galen (the father) felt Sam could have saved her. He was not far enough long in his powers at the time and Galen blames Sam for everything. He has now decided to kill Azzy instead as he can tell she means something to Sam

This novel had several interesting premises: there are Day people (us), Night people and Water people. All peacefully co-exist on several levels except for some of the Water people to which Galen belongs. Water people are able to track someone through water lines, tap water, showers, etc. and Galen uses every trick possible to find Azzy. Will he succeed?

A story with some interesting thoughts and the characters were well filled out. Somehow it just didn’t do it for me but certainly will for someone else and I encourage you to give it a try.



Check out author Lisa Rusczyk's blog

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Watch out for Vampires and Fallen Angels





Olivia is not just a pretty face with a rocking body. Olivia is both a vampire and angel. It makes sense as vampires are all really just fallen angels. Olivia thirsts for blood and sex and not always in this exact order. The one thing Olivia really desires…love is the one thing she can’t obtain.

Dominic O’Shaughnessy is a brilliant neuroscientist. Unfortunately, Dominic suffers from disturbing visions. Dominic can’t make sense of this visions, so he travels to the one man who he hopes can help give him answers. His name is Gaehod and he runs L’Otel Matillide. A place for demons, vampires, and fallen angels.

Will Olivia and Dominic both find what their hearts desire in each other?

Calling all fans of vampires and angels, have I got a book for you to check out…it is called And Falling, Fly by Skyler White. This is one dark fantastic read. You will want to sink your teeth into this book. I couldn’t stop reading this book. I enjoyed everything about it from the beginning, middle and end. Olivia had this perfect blend of good and evil in her. Most of the time her vampire side took over but occasionally her angel side would peek out. This book alternated between Olivia and Dominic. Dominic’s story moved a little slow at first for me. Ms. White can rest easy as she won’t be falling off the best seller’s list anytime soon. She has made a strong name for herself with this book.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Real Time Web for Old Time Books: The Benefit of Social Media for Publisher and Authors

Real Time Web for Old Time Books: The Benefit of Social Media for Publisher and Authors By Fauzia Burke


Real Time Web was coined to describe online activities in real time -- from status updates on Facebook, to microblogging on Twitter to uploading photos and videos on other social media sites. With the ease of mobile devices like iPhones, this type of communication has grown tremendously in 2009. Now Google (video) is offering the power of real time web searching to millions everyday. Although you may cringe when considering the personal implication of searching your updates and Twitter feeds, you can't deny the benefits to publicity and marketing.

According to Nielsen, social media and blogs are now more popular than email. As marketers, this presents us with a great opportunity. Reader engagement is not only important in today's market, it is essential. Although your web site is important, a savvy marketer knows that a page on Facebook is even more important for interacting with fans and potential readers. With Google and Bing now offering real time search results, the ease, power and speed of sharing information is changing before our eyes. Word of mouth has never been shared faster or more easily. It is important to remember that social media is public communication, you probably should never share personal information, comments or thoughts you don't want spread. But you can't simply ignore what investors are calling a new Web Revolution.

By staying off of Twitter and Facebook as a marketer you are not only missing out on community building, but you are also unaware of the conversations taking place about you, your books, and your competition. Real time search results are changing the speed at which a conversation spreads online. It is more important than ever to manage brand and reputation on social media sites. Content is streaming live with or without your blessing.

Some fantastic sites that offer good information on Twitter conversations are Topsy which shows how many people retweeted you. For example, if you do a topsy search on my name you'd see that my HuffPost blog about Facebook was retweeted 118 times, others were not as popular. Sency allows you to search topics and conversations, and Dailyrt allows you to track what is important to people right now.

These tools can allow you to stay on top of messaging. For marketing and publicity people, it can give you fresh ideas and leads for more exposure. For editors, it may give you ideas for your next book project and for authors it can most certainly show you what's important to your readers right now. Opinions are being shared online and in real time, and now through searches we can find them and notice trends and measure excitement.

Today if you do a search for Oprah on Google, the search results will include social media results, which means you can see what people said about Oprah a minute ago (see midway down). If that doesn't inspire awe (and a little fear) in you, I would be amazed.

Conversations are happening online in real time and now these conversations are being tracked, measured and searched. By becoming part of the community and paying attention to the dialogue around you, I believe your marketing efforts will benefit greatly this year and in the years to come. Real Time Web is becoming the norm -- there are tons of apps and programs coming that will make it easier for us to know what people are saying, where they are gathering, and what they are reading in real time.



© 2010 Fauzia Burke


Author Bio


Fauzia Burke is the Founder and President of FSB Associates, an Internet marketing firm specializing in creating online awareness for books and authors. For more information, please visit FSBAssociates.com.

Follow FSB Associates on Twitter: www.twitter.com/FSBAssociates

Watch out for Mangroves and Monsters




Charlie Cooper has never forgotten the love of his life. Her name is Angeline St. Cyr. She was hit by a car and died. There is just one problem…Angeline is not dead! Angeline isn’t fully surprised when Charlie tracks her down in the Caribbean on the tropical island of Jacqueme Dominique. She always knew that Charlie wouldn’t give up looking for her till he found her. What do you say to someone you thought was dead?

William Voorhees, an old arch nemesis has Charlie in his sights. He wants to destroy Charlie. One way he can really get to Charlie is by killing everyone he loves. If Charlie isn’t careful, he could find himself buried in the sand.

Mangroves and Monsters is the second book by Mrs. Cupp Pennington. Her first novel was Hoodoo Money. This book moved a little slow for me at first but luckily the story picked up quickly. I found Charlie to be a likable guy. I didn’t really feel the connection between him and Angeline. She seemed a little standoffish to me at first. This is why I couldn’t see what Charlie saw in Angeline. The location for this story was the best. Mrs. Cupp Pennington picks just the right setting for her stories to help set the mood. Like they say…location is everything. I thought it was kind of funny that the enemy shares the same last name as another famous character. Only this Voorhees doesn’t wear a hockey mask or carry a machete. This Voorhees though is just as ruthless. Author, Sharon Cupp Pennington can spin a good tale.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

City of Dragons




The year is 1940 in San Francisco.

Private investigator Miranda Corbie is attending the Rice Bowl in Chinatown. It is an event that celebrates the Chinese New Year. While attending, Miranda stumbles upon a body. The victim is identified as Eddie Takahashi. He was no good. The cops don’t really have an interest in the case and close it. Miranda is the only one, who is out to seek the truth about Eddie’s murder. Miranda better watch her back as the police may not be interested but someone is and they don’t like Miranda sticking her nose in places where it doesn’t belong.

City of Dragons is a really good book. I started this book right before bed, which was a bad idea as I couldn’t stop reading it. Miranda is a hard core, nose to the grind, blood hound, who doesn’t give up till the case is solved. There were plenty of twists and turns to keep the mystery fan in my happy. All of the characters that Miranda encountered were intriguing as well as engaging. You could tell how much research and hard work the author did on Chinatown and what the place looked like back in the forties. It was like I could see everything through Miranda’s eyes from…the vivid colors of the buildings to the smell of rotten beer and cigarettes. I only have one last comment to make and that is…I want more Kelli Stanley.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Interviewing with mystery writer, J. Sydney Jones

Hello All. I recently posted a review for Requiem in Vienna by author J. Syndey Jones. You can read my review here. Mr. Jones was nice enough to allow me to interview him. Here is that interview. Enjoy and don't forget to check out these books. You won't be sorry.









This is a picture of Mr. Jones with his son, Evan. Doesn't he look just like his father? So handsome.



I want to thank you for allowing me to interview you.


First, can you please tell readers a little bit about yourself?

I’ve been writing professionally since just out of college. I started with travel pieces, then went on to nonfiction books and from there moved on to fiction. I write thrillers and historical mysteries and would not give up my job for any other. I’m most happily married and the father of a twenty-nine-year-old daughter and a five-year-old son. My family and I live on the central coast of California.

Do you have any type of morning routine?

I most definitely have a morning routine, and the first of it revolves around domestic concerns. I’m the morning guy, so I get our son up and fed and off to school. I start work at about nine. Like most writers, I’ve got an office in the home, so it’s a short commute. I concentrate on fiction first in the morning: currently I am at work on book four of the “Viennese Mystery” series. In the afternoon I usually work on other freelance projects that help to keep the paychecks coming in.

What are your hobbies?

Tennis, books, music (playing and listening to it), good food, good chats.

I read that you lived in Vienna for a while as a student. How important would you say it is for a writer to write about things or places that he/she knows?

Ask that of a sci fi writer and they’ll just stare blankly at you. But for me, writing about places I personally know is very important. I’m a history nut; I am also domestic to an extreme. Put those together, and you’ve got place/setting/locale, whatever you want to call it, at the top of my list. In fact, I write a blog about it, Scene of the Crime (http://jsydneyjones.wordpress.com ), where I interview other mystery and thriller writers known for their spirit of place.

I went to Vienna initially as a student, but I stayed on after that for almost twenty years. Vienna is like a second home to me. I love the place--I came of age there as a writer and it has become the focus for much of my writing.

But again, writing only about those things and place you personally know is not a universal prescription. Others would find such a rule extremely restricting.

Who are some of your inspirations?

You know, I was talking with my five-year-old son just last night about presidents, and I realized how much, as a young kid, I was moved by the life of Lincoln. I am sure I could not name one noble thing I have done that would live up to any of his legacies, but in some odd way his journey through life informs my own.

Of literary influences there are legions. They began with Salinger, then migrated to Steinbeck, Hemingway, and Fitzgerald--in that order. And then on to the great nineteenth-and twentieth-century British writers: Thomas Hardy, Joseph Conrad, D.H. Lawrence. Le Carre knocked my socks off when I first read him. And the list goes on for more contemporary writers. I love the work of Donna Leon and her Venetian novels. Wonderful domestic background there.

Some authors come up with the plot first and then characters or the characters first and then the plot. What type of author would you say you are?

Stories do not live without characters. They have to come first. They have to live. They have to surprise, fascinate, irritate, seduce, frighten. They cannot be mere vehicles for the plot unless you write such blazing fast thrillers that you do not give the reader a chance to breathe let alone consider the plausibility of some character’s motivation. And that is the wonderful thing about writing a series. You’ve got your characters, or many of them, by the first couple of books. You can refine them, deepen them, but they become a basso continuo to your plots. You know them like old friends, and can therefore invest more energy into intriguing plots.

Can you share a little bit about both The Empty Mirror and Requiem in Vienna, books in the Viennese mystery series?

The Viennese Mystery series is set around the turn of last century. Each book in the series features one of the greats of the time--Vienna was undergoing something of an artistic/cultural/intellectual renaissance in 1900. Along with actual historical figures, I have as my protagonist, Karl Werthen (and his lovely Berthe), who is a lawyer and inquiries agent. He is often helped out--somewhat unwillingly--by another real life character, Hanns Gross, called by many the father of criminology.

The Empty Mirror features the controversial painter Gustav Klimt, accused of serial murder. In an effort to prove him guilty, Werthen and Gross uncover some very dangerous secrets upon which some powerful people do not want the light of day directed.




Requiem in Vienna features the composer Gustav Mahler, who appears to be the target of an assassin. Attempting to protect his client, Werthen begins to wonder if some madman is intent on killing the great musicians of Vienna.

A mixture of historical whodunit and literary thriller, the books also have a healthy dose of history and food lore.

How many books will there be in this series?


I plan on seventeen, but that is somewhat arbitrary. The series begins in 1898 and would go until Gross’s death during World War I. Unlike many series, mine is not stuck in time. My protagonists age; their lives progress away from the crimes they solve; they have children; they have personal cares, joys, sadnesses. The backstory in these novels amplifies the mystery and vice versa.

Any last words to the readers?


The Viennese Mystery series is an attempt at transporting readers back to a time that none of us can truly know. I attempt to recreate the sights, smells, sounds, and actual feel of that age, while at the same time presenting an entertaining and page-turning yarn. Please feel free to send me your reader comments. Go to my homepage, http://www.jsydneyjones.com/ for contact information.
Enjoy!

Thank you again for this interview.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Contest Winners!!

I hope everyone had a good weekend. I had a couple contests end. With this comes the fun part of choosing winners.

Drum Roll Please...


Winners of an Audio copy of Absolute Power by David Baldacci

1.Anne-Marie T said...
2.Belinda M said...
3.Wanda said...



Winners of a paperback copy of A Black Tie Affair by Sherrill Bodine


1.justpeachy36 said...
2.Wanda said...
3.mountie9 said...
4.Kaye said...
5.rubynreba said...


Congrats to all. Please send me your mailing information to clbstitch at yahoo dot com and please put in the subject line the name of the book you won. Thanks all for entering.


Look for more contests coming.

Never Look Away





David Harwood, his wife, Jan and their son, Ethan were having a fun family day out at the amusement park. This is when David’s nightmare begins. First his son goes missing. Luckily, he is found safe and sound. Then Jan disappears and this is when David’s life as he knew is gets turned upside down.

The cops believe that David did something with his wife and have pinned him as the number one suspect. It is not had to believe when there are many witnesses who supposedly put David with Jan right before she disappeared. David knows he is innocent. He takes matters into his own hands and does some investigating of his own. David uncovers some very dark and sinister things involving his wife.

Detective Barry Duckworth is familiar with David’s type. The spouse always says they are innocent. Detective Duckworth is on right behind David every step of the way.

After finishing this book, I can happily say that I will Never Look Away when a Linwood Barclay novel is released. Every book that I have read by Mr. Barclay has been a winner thus far. This book started out with a bang and ended with a big bang. David made you cheer for the good guys. This book pulled me in. The many twists and turns were great. Detective Duckworth tried to be the bad cop but he came off more as the good cop. My only complaint is that this book ended. Now I have to wait for the next one.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Requiem in Vienna




Famous music composer and conductor, Gustav Mahler is preparing for a new musical production. Unfortunately, someone does not want the show to go on. Maestro Mahler’s leading lady and lover becomes the victim of a horrible accident on set during rehearsals. It seems that Mahler was the target. One of Mahler’s other lover’s Alma Schindler fears for Mahler’s life. She turns to private investigator, Karl Werthen for help. Mr. Werthen brings his old friend and criminologist, Hanns Gross in on the case. Together Werthen and Gross hope to solve the mystery before it is too late.

Requiem in Vienna is the second book in the Viennese mystery series. It can be read and enjoyed as a stand alone novel. As I was reading this book, I couldn’t help but feel hints of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. The author of the famed Sherlock Holmes mysteries. This is a good thing, because I really loved Sherlock Holmes stories. This was one of my reasons for liking this genre. It is refreshing to find another author who could rise to the level of Sir Doyle. Mr. Jones brought to life the city of Vienna as well as his characters and storyline. This book draws you in bit by bit. I like that Mr. Jones incorporates fiction with one or two real people. True mystery fans will fall in love with this book…as I did!

Happy Valentine's Day


I wanted to wish everyone a Happy Valentine's Day







This is My Husband and Mine's song.

Swinging on a Star





Bella Rossi works as a wedding planner. She wants to make sure everything goes perfectly for her latest couple. This includes housing the groom’s best man at her house till the wedding. This is because the best man is none other than famous Hollywood actor, Brock Benson. Word has gotten out about who the best man is. The people of Galveston, Texas are going wild to get a glimpse of Brock. Bella is trying hard to convince herself to not get caught up in the hype surrounding Brock but it is hard when he is so good looking.

Swinging on a Star is book two of the Wedding by Bella novels. It can be read as a stand alone novel. I thought this book had charm. It was funny how the people in the town would go crazy over Brock. Brock was not one of those self-centered actors but turned out to be a nice guy instead. As much as I wanted to really like this book I couldn’t. I just couldn’t fully embrace the characters and this book didn’t make me laugh all the way through it. This was what I was expecting. Swinging on a Star gets three stars from me.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

The search for inner peace




Q: Who is the source of our inner peace?



A: The Bible clearly tells us, time and again, that Jesus Christ Himself is the source of that peace. In Romans Paul says, “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Again in Ephesians, Paul says, “For He Himself is our peace, who has made the two one and destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility.” In Colossians, we read, “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace.” And consider the words of Jesus, the Prince of Peace, found in the book of John: “I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

Jesus gives peace to every believer. But so often, we allow the distractions of our days and our choices to pursue sin instead of the character of Christ to prevent us from accepting that peace.


Q: Some Christians have been wary of the art of Christian meditation because they have associated the word “meditation” with Eastern religions. Why is meditation so vital to our search for inner peace?

A: We live in a strange and changing world shaped by banking collapses, recessions, wars, politics, famine, hurricanes, pollution, and diverse economies and demographics. How does this changing, strange world affect our daily decisions? Where does God fit into all of this? One of our biggest hurdles to hearing God’s voice is the fact that we simply are not listening.

Many people wrongly believe that Eastern religions have the monopoly on “meditation.” The truth is that meditating on scripture was a spiritual discipline valued by the early church fathers, and it is a practice the church desperately needs to return to today. Whereas the aim of eastern meditation is to focus on nothing (in effect, emptying the mind), Christian meditation is about filling the mind—focusing on Holy Scripture and Christ. With the constant stream of media, noise, commitments, conflicts, and other distractions, you will not likely find times of quiet, stillness, and spiritual reflection unless you are intentional, unless you pursue meditation as a discipline. Through prayer and meditation we can transcend all the distractions and difficulties of our days if we live by the Spirit and put God’s love and presence first.


Q: What role does the Holy Spirit play in our search for inner peace?

A: God’s Spirit is within us constantly. As we read in John, “We know that we live in Him and He in us because He has given us His Spirit.” Therefore, because God is in Jesus, Jesus is in you, and you are in God. The Holy Spirit dwells in you at all times, and it is the Holy Spirit that connects you to Christ and to God, the power source that brings inner peace. Prayer and Christian meditation takes on a completely different quality when we realize that God knows us intimately from within. And God is love; within God’s love are the seeds for inner peace. When God comforts and encourages our souls through His love and when we share that love with others, He is guiding us along the path that leads to inner peace.



Q: Because the practice of Christian meditation has been neglected for so long, many Christians aren’t sure how to begin. Can you offer an example to get them started?



A: Start prayer and meditation by finding a quiet comfortable place, by closing your eyes, by breathing deeply until you are completely relaxed. Quietly and slowly open your heart and mind to a loving God whose Spirit is dwelling within you.

Breathe in love, breathe out anger.

Breathe in peace, breathe out despair.

Relax: let God’s love into your heart.

Be calm. Be at peace. Take more deep breaths, and feel the stress, anxiety and fear drain from your bodies.



This exercise will prepare you to listen to God’s voice as you concentrate on a scripture passage and to respond in prayer.


Q: What is the most important message you want to communicate in Finding Inner Peace During Troubled Times?



A: If we seek inner peace we will find it. In the book of John, Jesus says “And I will do whatever you ask in My name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. You may ask Me for anything in My name, and I will do it.” So many people don’t experience inner peace because they haven’t truly sought it. My hope is that through reading this book, people will commit themselves to that search for inner peace and share this peace to the glory of God.



Finding Inner Peace During Troubled Times by William Moss

The Barnabas Agency December 2009

ISBN: 978-0-578-04244-2/64 pages/softcover/$5.99

www.WilliamMoss.org

http://store.believerspress.com/shop/finding-inner-peace-during-troubled-times/

Friday, February 12, 2010

Reckless




Ty Hauck is a private security investigator. Ty was flipping through television channels when he came upon a heard line breaking story…a family was killed in their home, in what authorities are reporting seems to be a break-in gone terribly wrong. Ty is shocked not for the heinous crime but because he knew the wife. She was an old, dear friend.

Marc Glassman worked in Wall Street. He was a good family man. So why was his family killed? That is the million dollar question. Ty gets involved. As Ty starts investigating the killing of the Glassman family he realized that their death is all part of a huge international conspiracy. This is where Naomi Blum, an agent for the United States Department of Treasury step in to help on the case.

Reckless is the fourth book by author, Andrew Gross. Just like his first book. I still can’t get enough of Mr. Gross. This story had a lot of strong characters who could pull off a strong storyline. Ty had a wide range of emotions. Naomi and Ty worked well as a team. They bounced off each other. I read how Mr. Gross came up with the concept for this book and found it interesting, scary and sad, all at the same time. This is because the murder if the Glassman family was taken from actual events. This book will take readers on a fast-paced journey of intrigue, suspense, and every where from New York to Europe. So sit back relax and enjoy. This book will leave you Reckless for more Andrew Gross!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Please, Hush




Lake Warren is a marketing consultant. Her current client is an infertility clinic. Lake is currently going through a nasty divorce. Her ex-husband wants full custody of the children in order to try and get Lake to claim less in the settlement.

Lake goes home with one of the doctors at the infertility clinic and wakes to find him murdered in bed. Instead of calling the police, Lake leaves the house and pretends she was never there. This was Lake’s biggest mistake. The killer has targeted Lake. If Lake goes to the authorities now, they will know she was in the house that night. Can Lake stop a killer before she ends up at the bottom of the lake?

This is the first book I have read by Kate white which is amazing to me as I really enjoy this genre of books. I really liked this book but there was one fault I had with it. The main character, Lake Warren kind of got on my nerves with her less than fighting attitude. Yes, towards the end, Lake became more assertive but by than it was a little too late for me. While there weren’t many twists, they were appropriately placed in the plot. This book moved at a fast pace, which I really enjoyed. The identity of the killer was a bit of a surprise. This is because of the things that happened to Kate, which I couldn’t imaging that type of person could do those things. I do have to say that I won’t stay “Hush” about this book.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Show No Fear




Nina Reilly works for the law firm of Pohlmann, McIntyre, Sorensen and Frost as a paralegal. When Nina’s mother needs Nina’s help to fight a medical malpractice suit she has against a doctor, Nina turns to her employer for legal consul. Nina decides to do some investigating herself. Though, Nina may have gotten more than she bargained for when she starts putting her nose in places she shouldn’t be sniffing.

Perri O’Shaughnessy is a new author to me. Perri is also the combination of the names Pamela and Mary O’Shaughnessy, a sister writing team. I thought that both Pamela and Mary did good job on this book. I could not tell where one left off and the other one picked up. I thought this book moved at a pretty good pace. Though I would have liked it better if the adrenaline levels had carried me through all the way to the end. Nina’s determination to uncover the truth is the glue that really held this book together for me. Besides Nina and her mother, I didn’t feel a connection as much with the other characters. There were flashbacks mentioned to events that happened prior to Nina. It seems that events were important but I didn’t really see a connection to the storyline. Overall a pretty decent book.

Ecstasy Unveiled




Lore is a seminus half-breed demon and assassin. He kills with no remorse. That is why he is good at his job. There is just one problem. Lore has attacks where if he goes too long without sex than he could die.

Idess is an angel. She watches over and protects humans. Her latest human is wanted by Lore. Lore’s master has sent him to kill the human. Idea will do anything to protect the human, every if it means giving up her vow for chastity.

Ecstasy Unveiled is the latest Demonica novel in this series. I have only read book two and four so far but I have enjoyed both books a lot. This is one urban fantasy series that readers need to discover if they haven’t already. The men are hot and the women are strong and sexy. The concept of good versus evil portrayed in this was with Lore being a demon and Idess an angel was good. I hope to see Lore and Idess again sometime. I like that I have something other to read in this genre than vampires. Not to say that there is anything wrong with vampire stories but they can get old quick. I am slowly becoming a fan of demons. Thanks to authors like Larissa Ione.

Take Action Now and Get Great Green Gifts!

I participated in a great campaign last November. It involved reading and helping to promote green books. Books that are printed with recycled materials. Well Eco-Libris sent me an email that I want to share.
You could win these great prizes if you save a tree by purchase green books. You can save trees here and enter to win.


So what gifts will be awarded?

Customers who will balance out 25 books on our website will receive a $10 gift card for Strand Bookstore in New York City, one of the world's best independent bookstores with over 18 miles of new, used, rare and art books. These cards are good for any in-store or online purchases and they never expire.

For customers who will balance out 50 books, we have a special gift - a choice of "green" book, printed on recycled or FSC-certified paper. The books offered are books that participated in the green books campaign last November. Customers will be offered to choose from a list of 5-6 books that will be changing occasionally. Right now, the options include titles such as Sweet Utopia, Greening Your Small Business and Raw for Dessert.

Customers who will balance 100 books will receive a$25 gift card for BookSwim, a Netflix-style book rental library service, lending you paperbacks, hardcovers and college textbooks.

In addition, the first 10 customers to balance 100 books will receive a free copy of Jennifer Kaplan's "Greening Your Small Business: How to Improve Your Bottom Line, Grow Your Brand, Satisfy Your Customers - and Save the Planet" (Prentice Hall, November 2009)

Your chance to win an autographed book

Did your ears just perk up at the words authorgraphed book! Well you heard right. Head on over to Allison's Attic to read the details and enter for a chance to win a copy of Melinda and the Wild West, book one in the Idaho series by author Linda Weaver Clarke.

Never Say Never Blog Tour with Lisa Wingate + Giveaway






About the Book:

Kai Miller floats through life like driftwood tossed by waves. She's never put down roots in any one place--and she doesn't plan to. But when a chaotic hurricane evacuation lands her in Daily, Texas, she begins to think twice about her wayfaring existence. And when she meets hometown-boy Kemp Eldridge, she can almost picture settling down in Daily--until she discovers he may be promised to someone else. Daily has always been a place of refuge for those the wind blows in, but for Kai, it looks like it will be just another place to leave behind. Then again, Daily always has a few surprises in store--especially when Aunt Donetta has cooked up a scheme.


Interview Questions:

1. How did you develop the initial story idea/plot line for this book?

Some book ideas you search for, and some just blow in on the wind. For the past several years, dating back to Hurricane Katrina, we in Central Texas have been the recipients of massive hurricane evacuations. These massive exoduses of people, pets, and belongings are frightening, frustrating, challenging, and at times oddly wonderful. When so many are on the road seeking shelter, the worst, but also the best qualities of humanity come to the surface. Hurricane evacuations truly provide times when we ask the question, "Am I my brother’s keeper?" In answering that question, we’ve enjoyed amazing moments of friendship and fellowship, family reunions, and chances to share a food and space with strangers from other parts of the country. We’ve traded stories and recipies, laughter and tears.

One thing we’ve learned about hurricanes, living here, is that the paths are never predictable. Storms waver, hesitate, speed up, slow down, and sometimes change course unexpectedly. Evacuations needs can change and develop quickly. What better way for the beauty shop girls to find their inner strength and to show Daily hospitality, than for their cruise plans to land them smack in the middle of a sudden and chaotic hurricane evacuation?

2. Almost every author puts a little of themselves into their stories—what did you put of yourself into this one? (personality traits, life events/jobs, settings, characters based on people you know, likes/dislikes, etc.)

There’s a bit of me in the setting, of course. I love Texas, in all its variety of cultures and landscapes, but, living in a small town, I have a particular affection for little bergs like Daily, where the coffee’s always hot, and a good slide of pecan pie can cure most ills. Having watched our little town mobilize to take in hurricane evacuees several times now, I’ve been reminded that sometimes the worst things that can happen bring out the best in people. Given the opportunity and faced with the need, regular people can rise to the occasion in amazing ways, as do the citizens of Daily in the book.

Some members of the Wingate family might also claim to recognize themselves among the citizens of Daily, Texas. I would offer the disclaimer that any resemblances are completely unintentional, but that would be a bald-faced lie. When you come from a family of great storytellers and colorful characters, there’s nothing to do but make use of what you’ve got.

3. Did you encounter any interesting challenges while writing/researching for this book? Please explain if so.

The most difficult part of working on Never Say Never was researching and reliving the devastation left behind on the Texas gulf coast last year after Hurricane Ike. While interviewing family members about their experiences during the evacuation and return, we shared laughter and quite a few tears. For those who have lived in southeast Texas all their lives, talking about familiar landmarks, heirlooms, and old family places that were washed away forever, knowing some things will never be the same, is both difficult and devastating. For those of us who have so many memories of family gatherings and vacations there, it’s hard to believe we’ll never visit the old places again.

4. Why is this book/story relevant today?

Despite our best-laid plans, we all experience storms in life—whether those storms be of a weather-related nature, or due to an illness, death, or in recent months, job loss and financial misfortune. When the parameters of life and our ability to control fate suddenly change, we’re confronted with our own helplessness and need to rely on other people and God. In a culture that values independence and self-sufficiency, it’s important to remember that we all have a common need and a common responsibility for each other and that without faith we really are alone in the storm.


About the Author:
Lisa Wingate is a popular inspirational speaker, magazine columnist, and national bestselling author of several books, including Tending Roses, Talk of the Town, Drenched in Light, A Thousand Voices, and A Month of Summer. Her work was recently honored by the Americans for More Civility for promoting greater kindness and civility in American life. Lisa and her family live in central Texas.


Lisa Wingate’s
How to Talk Texan Road Trip Tutorial

A couple dozen phrases that'll keep you from lookin' like you don't know gee from haw. You can hang your hat on it!

Hey, y’all!

If you’re planning a road trip across Texas, well, my friend, you’d better get your trottin’ harness on, I’ll tell you that right now.

This state’s wider than a woodcutter’s pile. You’ll be so busy here, you’ll think you’re twins. You might even meet yourself comin’ and goin’ or travel so fast you’ll catch up to yesterday.

One thing’s for sure--there won’t be any grass growin’ under your feet, especially if it’s summer, because it’ll be hot as a nanny goat in a pepper patch. Don’t let that trouble your mind, though.

Seeing the whole state might seem about as easy as tryin’ to saddle up house flies or put socks on the rooster, but here’re a few phrases that’ll make your trip just as smooth as a calf’s ear. You’ll find this little bit of Texan talk just as handy as a pocket on a shirt. With these phrases, you’ll be right at home in jig time, and happy as a pig in sunshine, I promise.

Folks’ll think you’re just as fine as frog hair split four ways. Why, you might even find yourself a Texas gal who’s cute as a bug’s ear or a fella who catches your eye like a tin roof at noonday. Even if you don’t find love here, you’ll run across lots of folks who’re so friendly, they’ll add a cup of water to the soup and tell you to get your sittin’ britches on.

Some of them might be full of wind as a corn-eatin’ horse, but you’ll be welcome ‘till whenever you figure it’s time to put the chairs in the wagon and turkey-tail it toward home.

When you do, we’ll keep a light on and a hitch out for ya, just in case you miss us like a west Texas farmer misses rain. You’re welcome to darken our door any old time. Long as we got a biscuit, my friend, you got half, and if that ain’t a fact, well, then I’m hip high to a horned toad.

Y’all come back now, y’hear!

--Lisa Wingate (and the REST of the folks in Daily, Texas, too!)

For stories with Texas flavor
and fun, come see us at http://www.lisawingate.com/



Here is what you are entering to win. You need to leave a comment either about what you liked about this post or what you found interesting on Lisa's website.






Grandprize Drawing

Donetta and Imagene's Texas Road Trip Basket (approximate total value over $150)


Take a Texas road trip, without ever leaving home!

Featuring:

The Daily Texas Series by Lisa Wingate:

Talk Of the Town

Word Gets Around

Never Say Never

The Blue Sky Hills Series by Lisa Wingate:

A Month of Summer

The Summer
Kitchen

Beyond Summer (a special advance copy not available in stores until July 2010)

Road Trip Snacks (Straight from Texas, of course!)

Wrap it all up with a fuzzy, fleecy Texas throw blanket for those cold nights on the road (or curled up with your books!)

Monday, February 8, 2010

Dare to Surrender




Joy Montgomery works as an art gallery curator. She needs to bring in a really hot up and coming artist or she can kiss her job goodbye. Joy has just the artist in mind. His name is Ash Hunter. Ash does not paint pictures of fruit, but more like pictures and sculptures of bondage and erotic poses. There is just one problem…Ash has quit painting. That is until he meets Joy. Ash tells Joy that he will think about allowing her to show his art if she agrees to pose for him.

Joy’s friend, Erica has found the perfect man. His name is Blaine. Now if only he wasn’t a preppy.

Dare to Surrender is the second book I have read by this author. Just like Bound to Please, I savored every moment of this book with pure delight. Joy and Ash just ooze sex appeal. They could melt chocolate without even trying. I was happy to see Ruby Scott from Bound to Please makes a brief appearance in this book. The way this book ended leads me to believe that we will be seeing more of Erica and Blaine in the next book. This makes me excited as they bring the sexy back in the kitchen. I promise to surrender for more Lilli Feisty!

Bite Me: A Love Story




The city of San Francisco better beware as there is a killer vampyre cat named Chet on the loose…need I say more?

Jody and Tommy make a good couple. Unfortunately like any couple they have had a bit of a falling out. Tommy has taken off into the city. Jody is trying to locate him. Abby is being Abby. Since Jody and Tommy are otherwise occupied, it is up to Abby to save the city from a killer vampire cat, who’s cite is worse than his meow.

Bite Me: A Love Story is the third vampire love story by author, Christopher Moore. This book also happens to be the first book I have read by him. I have heard good things about Mr. Moore. Now, I am luckily to report that all those things are true. Mr. Moore is hilarious and he is full of surprises. As you are reading, you will think he can’t say or do that can he but he does.

I have to say that my favorite parts were the scenes that involved Abby. The things that would come out of her mouth were priceless. I especially enjoyed the dialect of Abby’s. The speech would be like…”So I’m all”, “Jared is all”, “So I’m like”, “And she’s all”. There wasn’t a lot of mushy romance going on in this book as Tommy and Jody were separated from each other.

Warning to all those readers who have virgin ears and eyes as you may be offended by the language in this book. If on the other hand your second language besides; English is Sarcasm then you will be rolling on the floor laughing your butt off. Bite Me: A Love Story is my favorite comedic vampire story. In fact I already plan to pick up the first two books in this series.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Sorrow





Archibishop Tuggub has been murdered by an assassin by the name of Sorrow. Lord Ash, an investigator has been called in to solve the murder of the archbishop. It won’t be easy as the case involves a lot of players. Lord Ash will need to keep his wits about him. The assassin Sorrow is a very skilled killer.

Phindol has been traveling a long time. All he wants to do is go home. Phindol comes upon some people who are willing to help Phindol get home. Phindol carries with him a dangerous weapon called Splintor. When the people Phindol is traveling with learn about this weapon, they will do anything to get their hands on it.

Sorrow is the third novel in the Witch Ember series. I have not read the prior two novels. Though from what I read, you do not have to read the first two books. I have to admit that it took me a while to get into this story. OK, so I don’t know if this will make sense but I has two issues with this book and it is kind of funny as they are complete opposites. The first is that there was so much going on at the beginning that I had a hard time trying to figure out who was who and what their part was in the story. The other issue was that once I got everything straight in my head, the story line moved slowly. Once I really started getting into this book, I found that I did like it. The characters were some what interesting. Mr. Lawson does spin a good story in Sorrow.

Hannah's Take: Believe You Can Make a Difference


I want to thank Caitlin with FSB Associates for letting me post this article.

Please visit us at: www.fsbassociates.com & www.fsbmedia.com



Hannah's Take: Believe You Can Make a Difference
by Kevin and Hannah Salwen, Authors of The Power of Half: One Family's Decision to Stop Taking and Start Giving Back




About 111 women die of breast cancer every day in the United States. A million teenagers get pregnant each year. Someone dies every thirty-one minutes because of drunken drivers. I'm not writing this to bum you out. But you might be thinking, There are so many problems, there's no way that I or any one person could solve anything.

When civil-rights activist Rosa Parks refused to move to the back of a public bus in 1955, she never dreamed of the impact she would have on millions of lives. "I didn't have any idea just what my actions would bring about," she said years later. "At the time I was arrested I didn't know how the community would react." The reason Ms. Parks didn't get up is that she knew the racist laws were wrong.

Rosa Parks is just one of the thousands of influential people whose actions changed the views of many people today. Think about Gandhi, Mother Teresa, Greg Mortenson, John Woolman, Madame Curie (if you don't know them, check them out; they're all remarkable). Sometimes small acts significantly affect a large group of people. But even when they don't, they can have a big influence, maybe on just one individual.

So don't get discouraged because you can't solve a whole problem alone. As the British philosopher Edmund Burke said, "Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could only do a little." I know exactly what he was talking about. Before our family project I kept telling myself that no matter how hard I tried or how much money I gave, I would never be able to fully solve any of the world's big problems. When I worked at Café 458, the Atlanta restaurant for homeless men and women, I saw dozens of people come in looking depressed and lonely. But still I didn't see them as individuals, but instead as a group, "the homeless."

Then one day at Café 458 I heard two homeless men talking about a college basketball game that I had watched with my dad the night before. I snapped to the realization that these people are people. How stupid and rude I had been to see them as different from me. I realize now that having that epiphany was a big step for me. In that split second of comprehension, I switched from seeing them as a group of people to viewing them as individuals. When I started seeing people in need as individuals, the problem of homelessness and hunger seemed smaller and I felt like I could make more of a difference. I also started believing that I could help because the problem was on a personal level.

Activity

Think of a person from your community who inspires you. Look beyond his or her specific actions to the kind of qualities that person brings to work or volunteer activities. For example, some people are better at creating new programs than at actually putting them into action; other people are doers, ready to take someone else's ideas and run with them. Is that aunt in your family a problem-solver? A good listener? An inspirer?

Now think about your strengths in the same light. If you took your best characteristics out into the world, how could you use them to make a difference? Are you patient? Maybe you would be a good tutor. Are you musical? Maybe you could be playing the guitar at a nursing home (and bringing your family along to sing -- no talent required). We all have gifts the world can use.

The above is an excerpt from the book The Power of Half: One Family's Decision to Stop Taking and Start Giving Back by Kevin and Hannah Salwen. The above excerpt is a digitally scanned reproduction of text from print. Although this excerpt has been proofread, occasional errors may appear due to the scanning process. Please refer to the finished book for accuracy.

Copyright © 2010 Kevin and Hannah Salwen, authors of The Power of Half: One Family's Decision to Stop Taking and Start Giving Back

Author Bios
Kevin Salwen, coauthor of The Power of Half: One Family's Decision to Stop Taking and Start Giving Back, was reporter and editor at The Wall Street Journal for over 18 years. After his tenure at The Wall Street Journal, he started a magazine, Motto. He serves on the board for Habitat for Humanity in Atlanta, and works with the U.S. Olympic Committee.

Hannah Salwen, coauthor of The Power of Half: One Family's Decision to Stop Taking and Start Giving Back, will be a junior at the Atlanta Girls' School, where she plays for the varsity volleyball team, and is her grade's representative to the student council. She has been volunteering consistently since the 5th grade at the Atlanta Community Food Bank and Cafe 458, among others.

For more information, please visit http://www.thepowerofhalf.com/

Future Hope





Major David Sanders will be embarking on a one in a lifetime opportunity. He has been chosen by the Interdimensional Transport Protocol (ITP) to fly into space and seek out new resources for the people on Earth to survive. Major Sanders is known as the bad boy. Every thing he has been involved in has been unsuccessful. Major Sanders sees this as his time to make something of himself and become famous.

Dr. Deborah Tennyson works for ITP. She is also Major Sander’s lover. When Major Sanders disappears into orbit, she tries to come up with a way to locate and bring him home. How much longer can the people of Earth rely on their own ways before they are willing to accept someone bigger than them and look to a future of hope and new beginnings?

Future Hope is book one of the ITP series. To be honest I thought this book sounded good but I had my reserves about it. This is because this type of book is out of my normal reading genres. To my surprise, I actually liked this book. I could see where the author was going with this book. This story while it took place in the future, kind of hit on things that were happening in the real world at the present time. I knew who the creator was in this book and I thought Mr. Gelber did a good job keeping the lines between being too religious and stating the facts. While I did like this book, I thought the scenes where Major Sanders was involved were more interesting than what was happening in the rest of the book. I kind of skimmed over the rest of the parts that didn’t feature Major Sanders. For someone looking to break out of their normal genre, then you should give Future Hope a try.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

The Vera Wright Trilogy





Seventeen Vera Wright had other plans for her life than going to college like her parents had dreamed for her. Vera drops out of school and becomes a nurse in the military. This new direction in Vera’s life brings on many interesting circumstances that Vera never imagined. Along the way Vera grows up into a wonderful woman, mother and wife.

It is a shame that Ms. Jolley has passed away as I did enjoy this trilogy. This trilogy is an autobiographical novel that spans from the 130s to the 150s. You could feel the passion that Ms. Jolley had writing this stories. Through the course of this book you got to see Vera grow up and become a strong woman, though all that she experienced. This is a plus because most of everything Vera went through was taken from experiences that author, Jolley experienced herself. At almost 600 hundred pages, I read this book with ease. Vera went on an adventure and found love along the way. I plan to check out more of Elizabeth Jolley’s prior work.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Extra, Extra!


One of my facebook friends, Terry Kate with Romance in the Backseat is hosting a huge event. Publishers both Big and Small as well as Bloggers are encourged to join in the event. Visit the link below that says Contact Us for more details on how to registor and see which publishers will be attending.



How the Conference Works: This is a two day online event that will feature Blog Talk Radio Discussion Panels and open Forums for more inclusive debate on subjects raised. Attendees can listen to panels live or using the links provided at a later more convenient time. The Forums will remain open and those speaking on the panels will be in the forums afterward to answer questions. The Forums will be held in a private Ning for the Conference.

Registration Information: The Conference is open to Publishers, Bloggers, and Industry Professionals. There is a $20 registration fee per person. The Conference will be held on a private Ning. The code for entrance will be emailed March 1, 2010 allowing Attendees to profile their companies and leave questions for the live panel discusions ahead of time. Links to the Private Blog Talk Radio Show Panels will be emailed to attendees and listed on the Ning.


Some of the topics that will be discussed are:

- What Publishers Are Looking For?
With Literary Agent Lori Perkins, Editorial Director Leah Hultenschmidt of Dorchester, and other Industry Professionals


- Independent Presses Online
What are the Publishers doing to spread their name and what bloggers can do with them.

- What Are The Most Successful Blog Posts?
Reviews, Interviews, Guest Blogs? What brings in comments and hits?

- Blogging as a Business
Hear from Bloggers what has worked for them.

If you are interested in taking part in a listed panel or proposing one of your own please Contact Us through RITBS.

Beware The Cold Room




Homicide Detective Taylor Jackson is back.

Taylor has her hands full with the latest case…a serial killer, who kidnaps women and leaves their dehydrated bodies for the authorities to find. When Taylor’s boyfriend and FBI profiler, Dr. John Baldwin helps on the case, he realizes that Taylor has no ordinary serial killer on her hands. Jack has seen this type of work before on a previous case he worked on. The killer was known as “The Conductor”.

Jack calls in some reinforcements in the form of New Scotland Yard Detective James “Memphis” Highsmythe. The reason for the extra assistance is that The Conductor is an international serial killer. He has committed murders on both foreign and US soil. Can The Conductor be stopped?

The Cold Room is the fourth and latest novel from J. T. Ellison. I first discovered Mrs. Ellison when I read the second book, 14. That was all it took for me to become hooked on J.T. Ellison and Homicide Detective Taylor Jackson. I am happy to report that I have not been disappointed yet and hopefully never will be. The killer in this story had a sinister side to him. After reading The Cold Room and experiencing how the women died in this book, I have decided that I would rather die peacefully in my bed or if I was kidnapped…to die a fast death. No slowly dying in a glass coffin for me, thanks. Taylor and Baldwin’s relationship keeps slowly progressing with each book. Beware as The Cold Room just might give you slivers. I already plan on picking up a copy of The Immortals, the next book in this series.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Heads Up.

Be on the lookkout next week as I will have another opportunity to enter to win some great prizes that include:

Grandprize Drawing

Donetta and Imagene's Texas Road Trip Basket (approximate total value over $150)


Take a Texas road trip, without ever leaving home!

Featuring:

The Daily Texas Series by Lisa Wingate:

Talk Of the Town

Word Gets Around

Never Say Never



This is just some of the prizes you could win. Come back February 9th through February 19th.

Check out Snorg Tees
















Ok, so typically I post my thoughts about books but I came upon this site and just had to share. There are some really funny t-shirts. Some of my favorites are: