Monday, February 28, 2011

Hanging out with author, Pamela Callow + Giveaway

Can you please share with the readers a bit about yourself?
Hi, Cheryl! Thanks so much for having me here today. I’m a thriller writer, mom of two, owner of a mischievous pug, and dedicated coffee lover. I grew up in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Living by the ocean has shaped my life and my work. I’m also a member of the NS bar and worked as a strategy consultant for Accenture Consulting before turning my hand to writing.

I love to walk, hike, and go camping with my family. My favorite daydream is to travel around the world.

Do you have a morning routine?
I’m a morning person – at least after I have a cup of coffee! After I get my kids off to school, I go for a power walk with my dog, and then I come home and get to work. I spend the first hour going through emails and social networking. Then I dig into my work in progress.

Do you prefer the peace and quiet when you are writing or do you listen to music?
Interesting question! I wrote DAMAGED, the first book of my thriller series, in a coffee shop. I needed the break from working at home, and didn’t mind the chatter around me. Now I mostly work from home, and I like to work in quiet. However, I do find that music inspires me. I love to watch So You Think You Can Dance and American Idol, and I often will hear a song that speaks to me about the theme or mood of my book.

For example, when I heard Jeff Buckley’s version of “Hallelujah” – which is very haunting and melancholy – I immediately visualized the first scene I wrote for INDEFENSIBLE (it eventually was moved to the middle of the book): Randall Barrett, the managing partner of Kate Lange’s law firm, sitting in a concrete prison cell after his whole life came crashing down on him.

I read that you have always been fascinated by crime, which explains your career in law and your books. When did you decide you wanted to be an author?
Oh, when I was around eight years old. I was a devoted bookworm as a child, and could lose myself in a book. I remember telling my older brother that I could write a book. He, of course, said I couldn’t. That was the moment when my desire crystallized. Then, in junior high school, I had an English teacher who taught creative writing. She fanned the spark. However, I didn’t actually pursue writing as a career until several decades later. I was home with my two young children, and needed an outlet. After not having written a word of fiction since junior high school, I enrolled in a creative writing course, which I attended one evening a week. Then I took another. It gave me the skills to try my hand at writing a novel. It took about eight years of hard work to become a published author.

How important would you say it is to write from experience? Example your heroine, Kate Lange is a lawyer and you had a career in law.
Sharing the same experiences as Kate Lange definitely helped in terms of shaping her character and plotting my books. In fact, my goal in creating her character was to share my experiences working in a blue-chip corporate environment. I wanted to show the politics, the ambitions, the struggles and insecurities of a high-pressure environment.

On the other hand, some of my other characters are in occupations with which I’ve had no experience, ie. Homicide detective Ethan Drake. Since I write in their point of view, I spend a lot of time researching and interviewing experts in their fields. I’ve been very fortunate to that these busy experts have been so generous with their time.

Did you have a vision for what you wanted Kate to be like?
Yes. DAMAGED was based on an actual criminal case, but I wanted to create a character who had no real crime-solving skills. I wanted the lead to be a woman in her thirties who is just coming into her own. Someone who has known heartbreak, who has bills to pay, whose dream job ends up being less than dreamy. But Kate is a survivor, and believes in doing the right thing. She’s an ordinary person put into an extraordinary situation.

There are so many serial killer books out. How do you keep things new and refreshing?

Several ways. First of all, only the first book of the series has a serial killer, and that was because the case that inspired DAMAGED’s plot was conducive to having a killer who had numerous victims, ie. a serial killer. And the series is set in Halifax, which to date has not had a serial killer. So it created an element of tension in the book for the homicide team.

But in my mind, the book is really about the case that is tangential to the serial killing, the people who are caught up in it on so many levels – and how they deal with the serial killer in their midst. As well, because I was aware of the fact that there are many books about serial killers, I created one who has a unique issue.

Having the serial killer in the first book, also created many story threads for INDEFENSIBLE (book #2), as Kate deals with the ramifications of surviving an attack of a serial killer.

How many Kate Lange books can we expect?
There are currently four books under contract. DAMAGED (June 2010) and INDEFENSIBLE (January 2011) are available everywhere books are sold. The third book in the series, TATTOOED, will be released in June 2012.

Can you briefly share about book three, Tattooed?
I’m excited about this book because there is a cold case – and I love forensic anthropology. I’ve also been fascinated by the mainstreaming of tattooing over the past few years, so in TATTOOED, Kate goes head-to-head with her alter ego: a tattooed artist who is connected to a traumatic event in her past.

Any last words?
Writing this series has been a rollercoaster ride for me. I’ve been so appreciative of the emails and reviews from readers and bloggers. I love to hear from readers, so please drop by my website, or hang out on my FB Book Page: We have fun there!

Thank you for this interview. I am a fan of your books!
Thank you, Cheryl! I really appreciate you featuring me on your blog!

Author Bio

I was born in Ontario, Canada, the youngest child of two immigrants. My mother emigrated from East Germany after World War II. My British father was hired to work as an engineer on the ill-fated Avro Arrow project.

At the age of two, my family moved to Halifax, Nova Scotia. Growing up by the ocean has shaped my life, and has, in turn, shaped my writing. I attended the University of King's College, where I took the Foundation Year Program, studying the greatest works of Western Civilization. I graduated with an undergraduate degree in English Literature. Following that, I studied law and was admitted to the Nova Scotia Bar. I've always had an interest in public policy, so I returned to university to complete a Master's Degree in Public Administration.

I then worked as a strategy consultant for an international consulting firm, travelling all over North America. When I had my first child, my local office closed. I decided to stay home with my young family, a period in my life for which I am very grateful. It also gave me an opportunity to exhume an old passion: writing.

Inspired by a criminal case in the United States, and drawing on my professional career at blue-chip firms, I wrote Damaged, the first of four planned books in the Kate Lange series. Kate is my everywoman superwoman. Damaged will be released by MIRA Books in June 2010. The next book in the series, Indefensible, will come out in January 2011. The third, Tattooed, is planned for the summer of 2011, and the fourth in June 2012.

You can find me on Facebook, and on Twitter. If you'd like to receive my newsletter, sign up here.

I currently live in Halifax, with my husband, two children, and a pug.

I have a copy of INDEFENSIBLE to give away. US and Canada only. Sorry. Please leave a comment or question for Pamela or share what you like about this series. Leave a email address. A winner will be picked on March 12th.

As if reading this interview was not enough to convince you to read these books, than enjoy my review of Indefensible.

Attorney Kate Lange is back. Before Kate can get too comfy, her boss calls. Randall Barrett has just become the prime suspect in his ex-wife’s murder. Helping Randall is going to take all of Kate’s strength. On one hand, Kate wants to believe Randall is innocent but on the other hand the facts are hard to ignore.

Detective Ethan Drake is adamant about stopping a killer. No children should have to find their mother’s body. Can Detective Drake prevent the killer from claiming another victim?

Indefensible is the second Kate Lange novel. This book can be read as a stand alone novel, though you are going to want to read the first book, Damaged as this series is that good. I like Kate. She is a fighter. Ethan was also great. He is like a blood hound. Once he goes down a path, he sticks with it until the bitter end. To be honest I never thought the clues leading me to a certain character as the killer was right and I had my opinions about who it was. Of course I was wrong. Indefensible is a one seat read and a book that you will want to read again and again.

Dearly Departed Blog Tour and Giveaway

Dearly Departed

Author: Tristi Pinkston

Publisher: Walnut Springs Press

Published Date: January 2011

Softcover: 270 pages

Genre: Mystery-Suspense

ISBN# 978-1-935217-89-3

My Review:

Ida Mae has just finished a marathon of baking. She is expecting Tansy to arrive any minute. Ida Mae heads downstairs to retrieve something and loses her balance. That is exactly where Tansy finds Ida Mae when she arrives…at the bottom of the stairs. Now Ida Mae has a nice, new pink cast on her foot and the Relief Society by her side.

Eden West is a reporter for the Salt Lake Sentinel. Eden also writes the obituary articles. When Eden receives a request from Peggy to write her mother, Beverly Hilton Partridge’s obituary, it is just another day at the office. This is until Peggy reacts to something Eden writes about her mother. Eden stated that Beverly departed before her time. It seems that Beverly was a resident at Shady Aspens Retirement Center. Eden decides to do some investigating with Kevin, a fellow reporter at the Sentinel. What exactly is happening at Shady Aspens Retirement Center?

Dearly Departed is the second Secret Sisters Mystery and Ida Mae novel. Book one is Secret Sisters. This book can be read as a stand alone novel. This is the first book I have read by this author. I loved Ida Mae and the Relief Society. They are a hilarious bunch. Eden and Kevin reminded me of Nancy Drew and Ned. They made a good pairing. Kevin with his charms and Eden with her eye on the prize are a good duo. Dearly Departed is a quick read. Dearly Departed is what cozy mysteries are made of…fun, intrigue, and a few surprises along the way.

Ida Mae
Babbitt rides again!

Ida Mae Babbitt may be a reformed woman, but trouble just can't stay away.
Follow the blog tour for Dearly Departed by Tristi Pinkston and learn
about Ida Mae's latest adventure.

We will be giving away THREE copies of Dearly Departed . One
GRAND PRIZE winner will win this fun
scrap booking pack.

It's easy to enter.
1. Visit the fabulous reviews and leave a comment letting us know why
you're excited to read Dearly
. Remember to include your email address.
2. For an additional entry become a follower of Walnut Springs Press blog,
Tristi's blog, or any of the fabulous reviews blog. Leave a comment letting
us know who's blog you now follow.
3. If you tweet about the blog tour, or post about it on your blog or
facebook, leave the link in the comments section and you'll receive an
additional entry for each post.

Good Luck! Entries close at midnight (MST) on March 6th.

February 16th
Starcrossed Book Reviews
(Nichole Giles)

Febraury 17
(Karlene Browning)

February 18
Heather Justesen

February 21
Elizabeth Mueller

February 22
LDS Women’s Book Review
(Shanda Cottam)

February 23
Rachelle Writes
(Rachelle Christensen)

Sometimes Hard But Oh So Worth It
(Kimberly Coates)

February 24
Fire and Ice
(Heather Gardner)

February 28
Cheryl’s Book Nook
(Cheryl Koch)

March 1
JDP News
(Joyce DiPastena)

March 2
Teri Rodeman

March 3
Why Not? Because I Said So
(Sheila Staley)

Sunday, February 27, 2011

The Shepherd will not lead you astray but down a path of horror, chills, suspense, great characters and an equally fantastic story line!

Francis Ackerman Jr. is a mad man. He has been terrorizing people across many states and the only trace that Francis was ever there was the wake of bloody bodies that he leaves.

Marcus Williams has just moved into a new town. Marcus could not expect that his first job would come so quickly. It seems that Francis has made his way into the same town as Marcus. Now these two men must face each other. There can only be one winner. Who will be the Shepherd?

A book that receives high praises from author, Andrew Gross has my interest peaked. The Shepherd is worthy of the praise. Be warned as I pretty much read this book in one afternoon. Francis is one sick, twisted individual. The way Francis played his games, reminded me of Jigsaw from the Saw movies. Marcus has the backbone to stand toe to toe with Francis. The ending is the perfect lead up to the next book. The Shepherd will not lead you astray but down a path of horror, chills, suspense, great characters and an equally fantastic story line! I plan to keep a very close watch on Mr. Cross and what he comes out with next.

I was horrified, memorized, and almost afraid to go to sleep…all thanks to The Impaler!

There is a serial killer on the loose. Someone is killing men and leaving them staked through the body into the ground for all to see and a message written on one of the bodies that says “I have returned”.

There is only one man perfect for stopping a serial killer. He is FBI Agent Sam Markham. Sam stopped The Sculptor, in the first book. Though, The Impaler is a different beast of his own. Sam has never seen anything like what he has witnessed with this latest victim. The deeper Sam investigates, the clearer the Impaler’s plan becomes. Will Sam be able to stop the killings before the Impaler claims him as his final victim?

The Impaler is the most recent novel from author, Gregory Funaro. Now having read The Sculptor and now The Impaler, I can say with 100% confidence that I am truly a fan of Mr. Funaro. I really like Sam. He has a great eye for detail that even I did not catch until he starts going with his leads. What I enjoy the most is that Sam and which ever killer he is facing next, are evenly matched. There is a method to both the Sculptor and the Impaler’s madness. They take their jobs seriously and turn it into an art form. The Impaler made his presence known all the way through this book. I do admit that I thought the ending of the final battle could have been better but still, I enjoyed this book a lot. I was horrified, memorized, and almost afraid to go to sleep…all thanks to The Impaler!

Thursday, February 24, 2011


FBI agent Heather Wallace has just received the most shocking surprise of her life…she has been betrayed by someone very close to her. This person feels that Heather’s relationship with Dante Baptiste is bad news.

Dante is on a mission to rescue Heather and Lucien from Gehenna. It won’t be easy. There are others who have other plans for Dante. The only plan Dante has is to protect Heather.

Etched in Bone is book four in the Maker’s Song series. This is the first book I have read in this series. Though it is not the first book I have read by Adrian Phoenix. I must admit that I like Ms. Phoenix’s new series a bit better. That series starts off with Black Dust Mambo. This book just did not do it for me as I had hoped it would. It seems like this is the type of series that you would better benefit from by reading the books in order, so that you can become attached to the characters. To me the fact that the book started out like it had picked up from the last book did not bother me, so much as I was not fully invested in the characters and thus, struggled in the first half to stick with this book. Once I got where I felt the story really picked up, I found this book to be dark and full of action. There is some cursing used be the characters. Unfortunately, this book did not leave a lasting impression on me

A New Birth of Freedom

Review by Nancy (my friend)

A New Birth of Freedom by Robert Pielke.

Edwin Blair is a man with a mission. He feels so strongly about it that he allows himself to be transported back in time to 1849. On a train. To meet Abraham Lincoln. He tells Lincoln they will meet again. And they do. Fourteen years later at the White House. Edmund explains to Lincolln and his trusted advisors and he is from a future and has come to warn them against an invasion.

The Pests, gigantic locust who have killed nearly all of the humans in Edwin's time. He figures if he destroys them in the 1800's he has a chance of saving humankind (plus his wife and daughter). We shall see.

In an unprecedented move, Lincoln sends Edwin, with an escort to Gettysburg. There he meets with General Meade who in the midst of battle. Blair has come in under a forced truce and tells Meade he also needs to meet with General Robert E. Lee. Meade reluctantly argees, with persuasion from Lincoln's escort. It turns out that Lee has met Edmun before: once when he was a young child and again after he turned down command of the Federal army. Lee is saved from an assassin's bullet and finally agrees to help.

The story caught me up and kept me there until the end. I won't add a spoiler, but Pielke has one of the best end sentences I've read in quite awhile. This tale is full of history lessons well-researched, illustrations a bit primitive but to the point and they do help with the story. Excellent beginning - now, please Mr. Pielke, GET ON WITH BOOK TWO!

Author Bio

Robert G. Pielke, a native of Baltimore, Maryland, now lives in Claremont, California. He earned a B.A. in History at the University of Maryland, an M. Div. in Systematic Theology at the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg, and a Ph.D. in Social Ethics from the Claremont Graduate School.

He taught on ground and online for countless years at George Mason University in Virginia, El Camino College in California and online for the University of Phoenix. Now happily retired from “the job,” he is doing what he always wanted to do since he wrote his first novel at ten in elementary school. It was one paragraph, three pages long and, although he didn’t know it at the time, it was alternate history.

His academic writings have been in the area of ethics, including a boring academic treatise called Critiquing Moral Arguments, logic, and popular culture. Included in the latter is an analysis of rock music entitled You Say You Want a Revolution: Rock Music in American Culture. He has also published short stories, feature articles, film and restaurant reviews. His novels include a savagely satirical novel on America and its foibles, proclivities and propensities, Hitler the Cat Goes West, and an alternate history, science fiction novel, The Mission.

Most recently, he has updated and revised his book on rock music, which is being republished by McFarland & Co.

He swims daily, skis occasionally, cooks as an avocation, watches innumerable movies, collects rock and roll concert films, is an avid devotee of Maryland crabs and maintains a rarely visited blog filled with his social and political ravings. His favorite film is the original Hairspray; his favorite song is “A Day in the Life”; his favorite pizza is from the original Ledo Restaurant in College Park, MD; and he is a firm believer in the efficacy of “sex, drugs and rock and roll.” Somehow his family and friends put up with him.

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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Check out Inkheart!

Ok, so my husband and I found a movie on last night as we were flipping through channels a really cool movie called Inkheart. It stars, Brendan Fraser, Andy Serkis, Paul Bettany, and Helen Mirren to name a few. I had never heard of the books but the idea that someone has the special ability to read a book and have the characters come alive from the pages of the book is very intriguing. I will have to check out the books.

Here is the cover of the orginal book and the summary

Inkheart (original title: Tintenherz) is a young adult-child fantasy novel by Cornelia Funke, and the first book of the Inkworld trilogy.

Inkheart follows the adventures of a 12-year-old girl named Meggie Folchart whose life changes dramatically when she discovers that her father, a bookbinder named Mortimer (Mo), has an unusual ability; when he reads aloud, he can bring characters and items from books into the real world. When Meggie was three years old, Mo read a book called Inkheart aloud to her mother. In an instant, Meggie's mother (and two cats) to vanished into the world of Inkheart and three men from the novel (two of whom are murderous villains) entered into the real world. Nine years later, these men have come back into their lives and Meggie's and Mo's lives will never be the same. The sequel, Inkspell, was released on October 1, 2005, and the third book in the trilogy, Inkdeath was released on September 28, 2007 in Germany, Canada,and USA.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Learning to Swim is a nail-bitter, edge of your seat, breath of fresh air!

Troy Chance was on the late ferry on Lake Champlain to Vermont. There were very few people on the ferry and most of them were indoors. Out of the corner of Tory’s vision, she sees a movement. Someone fell into the water from the other ferry. Without a second thought, Troy jumps into the lake after the item. For all Tory could know, the item could end up to be someone’s trash that they did not want to recycle.

Tory swims to the last location where she saw the item being thrown in. To her surprise, the item ends up being a little boy. Troy rescues the boy. The boy speaks French and very little English. The boy is silent for the most part except to say his name is Paul. When Troy digs into who would throw a little boy over a ferry, she ends up uncovering something way bigger than herself.

Learning to Swim is the debut novel form author, Sara J. Henry. I have to tell you that this book far exceeded my expectations…twice over! I was hooked right from the beginning. The moment Troy jumped into the water; I knew that I was in for the long haul. Paul was an interesting character. His silence spoke louder than his words. He seemed so much wiser than his young years. I like that Troy was a strong, independent woman. She could have just given up and let the police handle Paul but she decided to take matters into her own hands. There was enough mystery and intrigue to make a thriller/suspense fan like me very pleased. Learning to Swim is a nail-bitter, edge of your seat, breath of fresh air! I am keeping my eyes on Ms. Henry and what she comes out with next.

Be prepared to lose track of time as The Night Season draw you in!

Famous female serial killer, Gretchen Lowell has been arrested for the second time. It does not look good for Gretchen this time. Meanwhile, Archie has been seeing a psychiatrist and been staying off the prescription medications for a while now. Archie is actually communicating and working with his co-workers again.

Susan Ward works as a reporter for The Herald. Now that anyone is counting but she and Archie have saved each other’s lives a few too many times. You could almost call Susan and Archie mutual friends. Now when there is a murder, Archie gives Susan the scoop. Like this latest murder. What at first seemed like a drowning has turned into a murder. A woman’s body was found. It seems that she was poisoned. Before Archie can figure out the answers to the questions…who, what and why…another body is found. Can Archie stop the killer before it is too late?

The Night Season is the latest offering from author, Chelsea Cain. While, I am a fan of Mrs. Cain and have been since day one, I realized just how much I missed Gretchen and a big presence she makes in these books. Though, I did enjoy getting to know Archie better as well as some of the other characters. Archie showed some real backbone in this book. Susan was a nice addition. I briefly got to know here in the prior novels but this time I really got to become familiar with her and I loved her. She is full of spunk and determination. She reminds me a bit of Nancy Drew. The killer in this book made more of a quieter presence. Though, trying to follow after Gretchen is a difficult feat to live up to. This book was a good thriller. I can not wait to read the next one. Be prepared to lose track of time as The Night Season draw you in!

Angel Sister is a recommended read!

Kate Merritt is the middle sister. Though if you met Kate you would never guess she was so young. She is wiser beyond her young years. Kate is strong. She learned right away that being the middle sister meant caring for yourself. Kate has only cried about a dozen times. Kate helps care for her father. She tucks him in every time that he comes home drunk, helps her mother and cares for younger sister.

Lorena Birdsong is just five years old. Lorena is a pretty brave little girl. When Kate found Lorena sitting on the back steps of the church, she looked right at Kate and knew everything would be alright from that moment on. Kate was her angel. Kate knew that Lorena needed her but what Kate didn’t know is just how much the Merritt family needed Lorena.

Author, Ann H. Gabhart is a new to me author. After reading Angel Sister, I now have Mrs. Gabhart on my radar and will be checking out more of her books. I just absolutely fell in love with Kate, Lorena and the rest of the Merritt family. I felt though that Kate was the strong character. She really was the glue that binded her family together. Of course my second favorite person was Lorena. She was a breath of fresh air. She had the child like innocence quality about her that every time you looked at her, you could not help but smile. Everyone needs a Lorena in their lives. I was so happy to see Kate’s father shape up and care for his family. I could see though how he came to be in the situation that he was in prior to Lorena coming into the Merritt’s lives and home. Mrs. Gabhart writes with a grace about her. You could tell that the characters were like family to her. She wrote them with love. Angel Sister is a recommended read!

Download an excerpt of Angel Sister here.

“Available February 2011 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.”

Sunday, February 20, 2011

'The Secret Life of Emily Dickinson'

Review by Nancy (my friend)
The Secret life of Emily Dickinson by Jerome Charyn

Emily Dickinson, one of America's most beloved poets, was an unusual gal! She had impure thoughts, tried her teachers sorely, loved her father (possibly more than was healthy?), imagined sitting on the laps of many men and was the source of an amazing tale of her years in Massachusetts. It begins at Holyoke, a school for young women with the precise intent of creating new nuns, it seems. There she becomes infatuated with Tom the handyman. It was the beginning of Miss Emily's frivolous thoughts but certainly not the end. We read how she is a master baker, never published while her father was alive and how her entire family could have been the basis for many a reality show.

Emily worked hard and loved harder - in her mind only, of course as we are talking about the mid 1800's. Her father is on the Board of Amherst College. Emily has suitors, for all that she is quite small and plain and her sister is quite beautiful. She dreams of her father's law clerk, of Tom who disappeared from Holyoke, of her brother's friends at Amherst, of Tom, always of Tom. She tries so hard to fit in, but her thoughts and her poetry set her apart. She walks the town with Carol, her Newfoundland and is watched over by its citizenry. No matter what she does it is on a tight rope of never failing her father. She must not embarrass nor be the cause of gossip.

The Dickinson family is not unique in the time period we are in. Fathers ruled, mothers suffered in silence and boys were allowed to do pretty much what they wanted while sisters sat home and tried to be pretty enough and flirty enough to marry. Not the Dickinson girls. Emily and Lavinia (Vinnie) are true to mom and dad until the deaths of their parents and then remain true to each other. In what has to be one of the best endings I've read in a very long time, Emily's life comes to an end with her a blind spinster who has met Tom, the Handyman of Holyoke and her first love many times over the years. In her dreams and in real life.

This book is not not be missed! It not only tells us of the life of Emily, but of the times she lived in, her loves and hates and how they formed lasting friendships (and more) witrh some of the world's most renowned men. Wadsworth, George Gould, Samuel Bowles, Emerson and many more. She had nicknames for the all and played their darling - if only on paper and in her own thoughts. Emily was a very lonely woman, of he rown choosing and a product of her time.

Jerome Charyn's Bio:Jerome Charyn (born May 13, 1937) is an award-winning American author. With nearly 50 published works, Charyn has earned a long-standing reputation as an inventive and prolific chronicler of real and imagined American life. Michael Chabon calls him "one of the most important writers in American literature."

New York Newsday hailed Charyn as "a contemporary American Balzac," and the Los Angeles Times described him as "absolutely unique among American writers."

Since the 1964 release of Charyn's first novel, Once Upon a Droshky, he has published 30 novels, three memoirs, eight graphic novels, two books about film, short stories, plays and works of non-fiction. Two of his memoirs were named New York Times Book of the Year. Charyn has been a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction. He received the Rosenthal Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and has been named Commander of Arts and Letters by the French Minister of Culture.

Charyn was Distinguished Professor of Film Studies at the American University of Paris until he left teaching in 2009.

In addition to his writing and teaching, Charyn is a tournament table tennis player, once ranked in the top 10 percent of players in France. Noted novelist Don DeLillo called Charyn's book on table tennis, Sizzling Chops & Devilish Spins, "The Sun Also Rises of ping-pong."

Charyn lives in Paris and New York City.

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W.W. Norton & Company web site: 1

Price: $14.95
ISBN: 9780393339178
Pages: 352
Release: February 14, 2011

Price: $24.95
ISBN: 9780393068566
Pages: 348
Release: February 22, 2010

Buy links:
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Thursday, February 17, 2011

Skipping a Beat is worth both your money and time. This book will have you skipping all the way to the bookstore.

Julia Dunhill was planning one of her many fund raisers when her life as she knew it was about to get turned upside down very quickly. Julia’s husband, Michael collapses while at work. Michael stood up to speak and his heart just stopped. In fact Michael was officially dead for four minutes and eight seconds.

Lucky for Michael and a little invention called a portable defibrillator. As wikipedia encyclopedia explains, a portable defibrillator is a machine that can help someone who has gone into cardiac arrest through the use of electrical therapy, which just starts the heart into a regular heart beat rhythm.

Now that Michael as a second chance, he has a new perspective at life and his marriage. Julia can’t tolerate the upheaval; Michael is bring into their lives. What is a wife to do?

Skipping a Beat is the first book I have read from author, Sarah Pekkanen and what she has to offer. After reading this book, I plan to go back and read The Opposite of Me. Right from the beginning, I was hooked. I blocked everything else around me out and got comfortable. I liked Michael. I thought he was a sweet heart. Michael had a great attitude about his second change at life. Julia on the other hand, I wanted to shake her really hard and yell at her…”What is wrong with you?” This is not technically a bad thing as this meant that I was invested in the characters. Skipping a Beat is worth both your money and time. This book will have you skipping all the way to the bookstore.

Disclaimer: I did receive a copy of this book to review as part of a contest.


Dreams of a Dark Warrior is Reginleit story. The first time Reginleit, the Radiant One met Aiden, the Fierce; she was just twelve years old. Regin may have been just a small thing but don’t under estimate her as Aiden almost made the mistake of. Regin comes to Aiden to ask for his assistance. She left her home in the skies to find her sister, Lucia. Aiden promises Regin that he will help her find her sister, only because they are meant to be together. One day she will become his wife.

Years later, now that Lucia is safe and Regin is grown, she returns to her fierce warrior, Aiden. After making love, Aiden dies and returns reincarnated. This happens numerous times with Aiden returning as someone else. Regin must fin a way to get Aiden to remember his past; so that they both can have the happy ending they always wanted.

Dreams of a Dark Warrior is book nine in the Immortals After Dark series. I have read maybe only one other book in this series. Though from what I understand from reading some of the other readers’ reviews Regin and Aiden have made appearances in prior novel(s). I did not feel that I missed anything but not having read the prior books. This book read as a stand alone novel. From the very beginning, I could tell that Aiden and Regin were meant for each other. They balanced one another out very nicely. Regin is a spit fire and Aiden is hot tempered as well. Though, when it comes to Regin, Aiden would do anything for her, even die for her. I plan to check out all the prior books that I missed. Dreams of a Dark Warrior has me dreaming of more.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Mirror of Karma and the 4 Sisters

There was four sisters. Well technically three sisters and one God sister.

Gi-Gi Chen is the oldest at twenty nine years old. Next is Lily Kong, who is twenty seven, than Mei-Ling, who is twenty six, and finally the youngest, Mimi, who is just sixteen years old. Lily, Mei-Ling and Lily all grew up in China. Gi-Gi grew up in Panama.

Years later Gi-Gi and Mimi ended up living together. Mimi did not know she had other sisters, until one day she and Gi-Gi saw a fortune teller who told them about Lily and Mei-Ling. After learning about Lily and Mei-Ling, the other two went in search of them. The Mirror of Karma and the 4 Sisters is their story.

I thought Mimi as the narrator of this story did a good job. Some times the narrators of stories are not very relatable or don’t really have a stake in the story. This was not the case in either way with Mimi. Gi-Gi was so mature. She could have gotten upset that her mother gave her away but she didn’t and tried to help the others learn this as well.

One detail that I didn’t really care for was that this book read more like a cross between a screen play and a memoir than a story. It would stop to set up the next scene, so there was a lot of starting and stopping and did not easily flow like I would have liked. There was a lot of explanation about the culture of China and the “one child policy” and each character that I did appreciate. Coming from South Korea, a country similar to China and their “one child policy”, I am so thankful that I was adopted by a wonderful family. I love my mom and dad so much. While there were parts of this book that I found chunky and other parts that I did like. Overall, I have to say that The Mirror of Karma is worth checking out.

What Makes a Mystery Good?

What Makes a Mystery Good - The Kate George version.

I’ve been giving a lot of thought to what it takes to make a good mystery, and you know what I’ve discovered? I don’t know. Yep, I’m a mystery writer and I don’t know what makes a good mystery. I think that’s because the characters are more important to me than the plot.

Don’t get me wrong, I was fascinated by the Da Vinci Code. That was some interesting stuff that Dan Brown threw in there. I was right there with him the whole way, examining The Last Supper and wondering how much of this stuff was true. In fact, I still want to know how much of it is true. But at least in part that was because I identified with Dr. Robert Langdon. That Dude was in a heck of a bind.

What gets me interested in any story, mystery or not, is the protagonist. Can I relate? Do I get inside his or her head? Are the characters believable? I can take quite a bit of improbability if the protagonist comes alive for me. It’s the cast of characters, the human – or not so human – interactions that make or break a story for me. If the relationships fall flat, if they don’t ring true, if the cast is acting out of character, then it doesn’t matter what the writer does with the plot, I just can’t get into it.

Jenny Crusie was talking about this on her blog ( ) the other day. Characters need vulnerabilities in order for us to care about them. When a flawed person unravels the murder it’s much more satisfying than if a perfect person figures it out. After all, it’s not that difficult for a perfect person to do anything, we expect perfection to succeed. But when a person with physical, emotional or psychological wounds triumphs, we triumph with them. We cheer the underdog.

Think of your favorite protagonists. Robert B. Parker’s Sunny Randall loves her ex-husband but can’t live with him. Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum is an incompetent bounty hunter and terrible at relationships. P.D. James’s Inspector Dalgliesh get’s too involved in his cases, and also has relationship troubles. Dorothy Gilman’s Mrs. Pollifax is aging and doesn’t think there is anything left for her to contribute to life. She is the antithesis of everything we expect the hero of an international spy to be.

As at turns out Emily Pollifax is a tough old bird and comes through a lot of trials and tribulations. But we never stop worrying about her. She could be our grandmother, and how dare anyone put her in harm’s way.

But here’s the thing about Mrs. Emily Pollifax; she makes connections with people wherever she goes. Language and cultural differences don’t dissuade her. She’s wise enough to know what binds us together as the human race. She lets others see her vulnerabilities and as a result she is liked and helped by people around the world. She is especially respected by the younger, stronger men she ends up working with because she can accomplish through reaching out to people what they cannot do with spy skills and brute force.

Are the Mrs. Pollifax mysteries probable? Probably not. Do I care about her and want her to succeed? Yes. And in the end, when Mrs. Pollifax comes home stronger and wiser, having thwarted an international bad guy, I’m elated. Because if Mrs. Pollifax can do it so can I.

So in the end what makes a good mystery for me is a flawed protagonist I can relate to, dipped in enough hot water that I worry how it’s all going to turn out all right.

And so we come to my Protagonist, Bella Bree MacGowan. Here we have a thirty-year-old woman who hasn’t really gotten around to starting her life. Bree went to college, but then went to work as a paste-up tech at her best friend’s weekly newspaper. She works two jobs to keep herself in dogs and ponies. Her relationships are all short term. She attracts trouble, which may be why she can’t keep boyfriends. Bree is a flawed protagonist if I there ever was one.

But she rises to the occasion. She does what needs to be done with what the materials at hand. She’s resourceful, and best of all Bree has a sense of humor. She handles everything with a little irreverence and takes us along on the ride with her. If you like your mystery with a side of laughter, Bree is the protagonist for you.

Award winning writer, Kate George, is the author of Moonlighting in Vermont and California Schemin’ (due out March 1, 2011). She lives in Vermont with Dogs, kids, and currently, snow. You can reach her at . Her books are available at , or can be ordered from any bookstore.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Talking with Laura Fitzgerald + Giveaway

Hello and Welcome.

I read Dreaming in English and loved it. Tamila was my favorite. She had this calmness about her and a caring heart. Speaking of favorite characters, do you have a favorite? If so, who and why?

Oh, my gosh – what a question! I’m not sure if you mean a favorite character in this book or any fictional character, so I’ll answer both.

In Dreaming In English, as well as in Veil of Roses, I have a great affection for Rose. I know her character really well – quite beyond what’s reflected in the story. She’s kind and nonjudgmental, qualities I especially admire in people. She’s also got a secret about her past that I know but that readers don’t, and this adds to my positive feelings for her.

As far as a favorite fictional character not of my creating, there was one character in the past year who made me want to stand up and cheer, and that’s Major Pettigrew from Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand. I adored him.

What came first for you in writing this book…the characters or the story line?

Since this is a sequel, definitely the characters came before the storyline. I knew readers wanted more of Tami, and thankfully I was able to slip right back into her voice as I began Dreaming In English. The storyline didn’t come as easily as I thought it might. I began with the commitment to myself that the story would have to please readers as much if not more than Veil of Roses, which serves as a jumping off point for this story, so Dreaming In English had to be all that Veil of Roses was, plus more, better, deeper. Readers seemed to especially appreciate the mother-daughter story, the freedom vs. repression thread, as well as a sweet romance between Tami and Ike, so that’s what I built the story around.

Tamila is from Iranian descent as is your husband. What do you find the most fascinating about this culture?

For me, it’s too difficult to separate religion from culture from government policy – they’re sort of distinct and blended at the same time. But what I think over and over is how Iran would and could unquestionably be one of the strongest and most admired countries in the world if it would simply value its people, women especially. If Iran would declare itself to be a land of opportunity and then follow it up in deed as well as word, it would within years gain the respect of the world. By holding people back, the country holds itself back.

Will we ever get to see Tamila and Ike again?
I’m not sure! I do have a few ideas I’d like to pursue, but the reality is it takes me about a year to write a book like this, and there are simply too many ideas that compete for my attention, so maybe not for awhile.

What can readers expect from you next?

I’m working on a novel of historical fiction, so at the moment I’m studying World War Two, which is quite enjoyable.

Thank you allowing me this interview.

Thank YOU, Cheryl!

My Review:
The last comment Tamila’s mother said to her before she left her home of Tehran, Iran for Tucson, Arizona was “Go, my daughter. Go and wake up your luck.” Tamila is traveling to Tucson to see her sister, Maryam and her husband, Ardishir. It has been fifteen years since Maryam left Iran.

Luckily for Tamila she did find more than “Lady Luck”, she found a husband. You could not find a more American guy than Ike. He has a dream of opening his own coffee shop and plans to stay in Tucson until the day he dies. Ike’s parents believe that Ike made a mistake marrying Tamila. Can Tamila and Ike prove to everyone that their love is for real?

Dreaming in English is a dream come true. It is one of the best books, I have read thus far in 2011. Right from the very beginning, I was instantly captivated by Tamila. She had such a warm personality that you could not help but like her; even if you wanted to hate her you could not. The people who really turned me off was Ike’s parents. I felt so terrible for Tamila and the way they treated her. I was cheering for Ike the way he was standing up for Tamila against his parents. You know when a book really gets to you when every time you start to put it down; you have to pick it back up. Dreaming in English is that book. I cried towards the end. I was so connected with Tamila. I cannot wait to see what Mrs. Fitzgerald comes out with next.

I have a copy of this book to giveaway. Open to US and Canada only. I will pick a winner Feb 27th

Thursday, February 10, 2011


Senna Slepy had a husband, Dirk that loved her and four beautiful daughters, Mary Grace, Mary Tessa, Mary Catherine, and Amaryllis. Amaryllis is Senna’s pride and joy. Right from the first moment that she was born, Senna knew she was special. Amaryllis was born in the middle of a blueberry patch.

Things really fall apart for the Slepy family when they travel to Africa. The once picture, perfect family starts cracking. One false step can make everything come crashing down on them.

This book starts out with Senna Slepy standing trial in Africa for killing her husband, Dirk. The story than flashes back to the past and the events leading up to the present. Amaryllis in Blueberry is kind of a dark book. It touches on the raw emotions of the Slepy family and their faith with God. While I did like this book, the only person I felt was of any interest to me was Amaryllis. I found the rest of the sisters got on my nerves. I did however feel bad for Amaryllis’s father. He really loved his daughters and it seemed like he got the short end of the straw. I was torn with this book. On one hand there were parts of this book that I did like and other parts that I didn’t care for. Though, I would give author, Christina Meldrum another try in the future.


Can You Survive the Zombie Apocalypse? is a zombie fest, good time! I have not had this much fun reading a book in a very, long time. I can remember sitting in the library reading these adventure books trying to predict the best choice. Can You Survive the Zombie Apocalypse? brings back wonderful memories.

You start out as the hero but be warned as every step you make could be your last. You must decide if you want to be the hero and help people or say screw it and watch your own back. Either choice could be the best choice. There is some language used in this book. Of course though what would you expect…there is a zombie apocalypse and you are supposed to watch your language. What helped really make this book over the top is the fact that the zombies were the genuine kind. They were flesh eating, gruesome beings. After reading this book, I am hoping that choose your own adventure books are making a come back.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Eyes of the Innocent

Investigative reporter, Carter Ross is back. Carter writes for the Newark Eagle –Examiner. Carter’s boss wants Carter to write about the dangers of space heaters, after a house fire that killed two young boys. Carter is being paired with the newest intern, Lauren McMillan aka Sweet Thang.

Akilah Harris is the boys’ mother. At first glance she seems like a devastated mother but there is more to Akilah than meets the eye. Carter would have brushed Akilah off but when councilman, Windy Byers goes missing, Carter’s investigative instincts kick in.

It is not often that when I read a book I am in agreement with the press on their praises about an author or book. In this case they have it right. When I first read Faces of the Gone, I knew Mr. Parks was someone to be watching. It is easy to see why Carter is considered the best in the business. He is tough as nails and has a cynical way about him that I like. Of course living in Newark, I would expect nothing less. Carter and Sweet Thang actually made a good pair. They meshed well together. It is amazing what Carter will do to get a story. I found all the characters intriguing. The story line was fast paced. Eyes of the Innocent will blow you away! This book will have you falling in love with mystery/suspense thrillers all over again.

A Discovery of Witches

Dr. Diana Bishop has tried her hardest to stay away from her heritage. Diana is one of the last Bishop witches. As try as she might, Diana just can not escape, who she is. Just take Diana’s latest research project…Diane ends up checking out an alchemy manuscript known as Ashmole 782. When Diana touches the manuscript, she feels a charge…a magical one.

Matthew Clairmont is a professor at Oxford. He is also a vampire. Matthew can sense something evil is descending upon Oxford. Matthew shows an interest in Diana. Though is Matthew getting close to Diana because he likes her or for another reason?

A Discovery of Witches is author, Deborah Harkness first novel. While I did enjoy this book. I thought that it moved at a really slow pace. It seemed liked most of the book was just explaining and build up of the story and the characters to help lead into the next book. The problem for me with this book was that every time the story would start to pick up speed, it would slow down for more explanation. It felt like for every one step forward I would take, I would get knocked back two steps. I was not feeling the romantic relationship between Diana and Matthew. In the beginning Diana really hated Matthew and the next moment she was in love with him. There was something mysterious about Matthew that did make him intriguing. So I could possibly see where Diana could like Matthew.

While, I did not love this book, the story line was appealing enough to want to make me read the next book. Overall, I do have to applaud Deborah Harkness as she did bring her knowledge and realism to the book and Diana. Being a professor herself, I thought Ms. Harkness did a good job with Diana. A Discovery of Witches delves into a magical, innovative world that will have you wanting some more.

The Matchmaker of Kenmare is the perfect reading addition to any reader’s bookshelf!

Kate Begley came from a line of matchmakers. It takes some skill to be a matchmaker and Kate is a natural. Kate is known as the Matchmaker of Kenmare. Kate is a little flighty but she has lots of personality and people just become drawn to her like a moth to a flame.

Ben McCarthy from Venetia Kelly’s Traveling Show has returned as the narrator in this book. When Ben first met Kate, he had come to write a story about matchmaking. Ben worked for the Folklore Commission. As Ben gets to know Kate, he becomes intrigued by her. They soon form a friendship.

When Kate meets the dashing, Charles Miller, an American solider in the Army, she and Charles share feelings towards each other. They marry. Charles role in the Army takes him all over Europe. Kate worries about Charles and convinces Ben to travel with her to find Charles.

You could read The Matchmaker of Kenmare as a stand alone novel, but to really appreciate this book and the characters, I would suggest reading Venetia Kelly’s Traveling Show. In the beginning there are past memories of events that Ben makes mention of that transpired in the prior novel. Ben makes a few references comparing Kate to his lost wife, Venetia. I could tell that the years have been hard on Ben as he was narrating the story. It was nice though to get to see a glimpse of the old Ben. I give credit to Kate for this. Mr. Delaney is a prolific writer. He really knows how to bring the story and characters to life. The Matchmaker of Kenmare is the perfect reading addition to any reader’s bookshelf!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Having a Haunting time with Anjali Banerjee + Giveaway

I want to thank author, Anjali Banerjee for being a guest on my blog.

Writing Ghosts

What’s with all the ghosts?

Before I knew it, they’d slipped into three of my novels. In my children’s book, LOOKING FOR BAPU, a boy named Anu seeks the spirit of his grandfather, Bapu, who died suddenly while the two were bird watching together. Bapu’s ghost visits Anu in his dreams and in the woods. In my novel for adults, IMAGINARY MEN, the ghost of a young woman’s ex-boyfriend appears to help her discover true love. And in my new release, HAUNTING JASMINE, a young divorcee, still reeling from her ex-husband’s infidelity, receives gentle guidance from the spirits of dead authors who reside in her aunt’s haunted bookstore on a rainy Pacific Northwest island.

Why do I find ghosts so attractive? I believe I write them for some of the same reasons people like to read about them. I’ve formulated a few ideas.

To escape from the ordinary…
In real life, we deal with mind-numbing jobs, long commutes, family problems, unpaid bills, health challenges – the list is endless. Or maybe we’re just… bored. A good ghost story transports us, if not to another world, then into enchantment. When I write ghosts, I get the same thrill of departure from the ordinary. I’m not bound to writing about what is concrete and real around me – I can venture into entirely unknown territory. Sometimes, the ghosts surprise me.

You’re scared but safe
We love a thrill, a rush, the stomach-dropping sensation of adrenaline from a roller coaster or a horror movie. A ghost story allows us to be scared, in suspense, but to know that in reality, we’re safe.

In my books, ghosts aren’t necessarily scary. They can be helper spirits, adding texture to a love story that is primarily set in the real world. In HAUNTING JASMINE, the ghost of Jane Austen appears to tell Jasmine, “We love, we lose, but we can love again…” When I write ghosts, they appear to me and give me a thrill – but I’m still safe, here at my computer, typing away.

Continuity – a sense of history
Ghosts can bring the past to life and give history a voice. Edgar Allan Poe can tell us what he really meant to say in The Raven, Jane Austen reveal the truth about her love for Tom LeFroy. Your great grandmother might reveal the location of her lost love letters, and a pirate can direct you to hidden treasure. In HAUNTING JASMINE, the ghost of Rudyard Kipling sets the record straight for Jasmine when he says, “They misquoted me. I never said that to know a place is to smell it.” When ghosts come to life, they bring history to life as well.

Transcendence – a sense of possibility
The arrival of ghosts signals endless possibilities. Anything can happen. In some ways, ghost stories reassure us that there is another existence beyond ours – a possible realm of life that begins after death.

The writer can be inventive, having ghosts walk through portals between worlds, knock objects around, influence people in the living world, appear as wisps of smoke or a suggestion in a character’s mind. The reader gets a delicious sense of the impossible becoming possible, a feeling that a surprise is around every corner. Same for the writer.

In Haunting Jasmine, ghosts give Jasmine, the heroine, a new sense of possibility, so that she redefines the boundaries of her life. She can fall in love in a way that transcends the ordinary and ends unexpectedly… But I can’t give away what happens. You’ll have to read the book to find out!

Comment on this blog TODAY ONLY and I’ll enter you to win a free signed copy of HAUNTING JASMINE.


Anjali Banerjee was born in India, raised in Canada and California and received degrees from the University of California, Berkeley. She has written five novels for youngsters and three for grownups, and she’s at work on her next novel for adults to be published by Berkley/Penguin. Her books have received accolades in many review journals and newspapers. The Philadelphia Inquirer called her young adult novel, Maya Running (Wendy Lamb Books/Random House) “beautiful and complex” and “pleasingly accessible.” The Seattle Times praised Anjali’s novel for adults, Imaginary Men (Downtown Press/Pocket Books) as “a romantic comedy equal to Bend it Like Beckham.”

Anjali has always loved to write. When she was seven, she penned her first story about an abandoned puppy on a beach in Bengal. Then, inspired by her maternal grandmother—an English writer who lived in India—she wrote a mystery, The Green Secret, at the age of nine. She illustrated the book, stapled the pages together and pasted a copyright notice inside the front cover. After that she churned out a series of mysteries and adventure novels with preposterous premises and impossible plots.

Growing up in a small town in Manitoba, Canada, Anjali’s favorite family event was the weekly drive to the garbage dump to watch for bears. She also loved jaunts to the library, where she checked out the same Curious George books dozens of times. She adored a picture book called The Bear Who Couldn’t Sleep, starring a baby bear who refused to hibernate in winter. Her favorite authors were Enid Blyton, Agatha Christie, Alexander Key, C.S. Lewis and others. Every night her father read to her from C.S. Lewis’s The Chronicles of Narnia or Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy.

After she grew up and finished university, Anjali tried on jobs like new sets of clothes — veterinary assistant, office manager and law student—before rediscovering her love for writing. Since then, Anjali’s Pushcart Prize-nominated short fiction has appeared in several literary journals and in the anthology New to North America. She was a contributing writer for three regional history books and local newspapers before she began writing novels. An alumnus of Hedgebrook, an esteemed retreat for women writers on Whidbey Island, Anjali has been a speaker at the South Asian Literary and Theater Arts Festival (SALTAF®) at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., at many schools, libraries and writers’ conferences, and she has led workshops for Field’s End and the Whidbey Island Writers’ Association MFA program.

Anjali loves hiking, reading, watching movies, supporting local animal welfare organizations, feeding birds, and playing piano. She lives in the Pacific Northwest, in a cottage in the woods, with her husband and five rescued cats.

My review

After ditching her cheating ex-husband, Rob, Jasmine Mistry is heading to Shelter Island. Jasmine’s Aunt has to head back to India for a little while and needs Jasmine to come run her bookstore, while she is gone. Jasmine figures some time way is just what she needs.

When Jasmine fist meets the sexy, Connor Hunt, she thinks he is a bit egotistical and wants nothing to do with him. Jasmine has more important things to deal with than Connor. Things like…books rearranging themselves, deceased authors speaking to Jasmine and one real Diva author to contend with. When Jasmine learns the truth about Connor, how will she cope?

Haunting Jasmine is the first book I have read by author, Anjali Banerjee. I can guarantee you that I will be keeping an eye on Mrs. Banerjee. I thought Jasmine was nice and she brought some variety to the story. Though nothing like Connor did. Connor was mysterious and had a great personality. He grew on you as Jasmine discovered. The chemistry between Connor and Jasmine was like something form an old, classic romance novel. Haunting Jasmine is a magical, entertaining novel that will have you wanting to read it over and over again!

Anyone Can Die

God's Warriors Megan Nolan in Paris, pre-9/11.

Till Death Us Do Part Pat and Lorrie on their honeymoon in New Mexico.

My review

I became a fan of Mr. LePore’s when I first read his debut novel, A World I Never Made. I grew close to Pat, Megan and the rest of the characters in the book. Mr. Lepore explains in the beginning of this short booklet that when he had more to tell about his characters that he felt readers should know about. Anyone Can Die is Mr. Lepore’s chance to finally close the book on his characters in A World I Never Made.

In Till Death Do Us Part, Pat Nolan and his wife, Lorrie are on their honey moon in New Mexico. While out sightseeing, Pat and Lorrie stop to take a rest. As Pat and Lorrie are moving on, they pass a group of men. The men call out to Lorrie. Can Pat find the strength to walk on past?

Before Megan Nolan made a major decision that would lead her father, Pat to travel halfway across the world, readers learn what shaped Megan’s path in God’s Warrior. Megan is traveling through Europe. Megan witness’s a horrible crime that in that spilt moment cements Megan’s future.

Finally in Max
Max French needs a little rest and relaxation. He has been traveling non stop from Prague to Newark to Auburn. After meeting Megan Nolan, it stirs up old, bad memories for Max. Though, the memories may be bad, they are ones that helped shaped Max to who he has become.

While I enjoyed A World I Never Made, I did not feel any more or any less about the book and the characters are after reading this short snippet. Though, I did like learning more about what events shaped Pat, Megan and Max. I never really questioned it before, while reading A World I Never Made. The story I enjoyed the most was Megan’s. With Megan’s story, I got to really see the world through Megan’s eyes. If you have not read A World I Never Made than you have to check it out.

Max Max French: the beginning.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Pocket author based new book on 2009 ice storm experience

Pocket author based new book on 2009 ice storm experience by Molly Harper

An ice storm. Stranded in a strange, isolated place without power. Children with an unsettling ability to win staring contests. This is how horror movies start.

Watching the news coverage as cities across the Midwest are pelted by the much-touted historic blizzard, I’m having strange sympathy pangs. In January 2009, an ice storm ripped through Kentucky, taking out power and phone lines for thousands of homes, including mine. The first night I spent camped out in my in-laws’ darkened living room with my two young children, I was sure this was just a temporary blip. It was going to be a funny story we could tell the next winter. As in, “Remember that night we had to sleep on an air mattress in front of Grandma’s fireplace and cook on a gas grill in the garage?”

By the sixth night, I was no longer amused.

Over the next week, Kentuckians were cold, cranky and progressively ill-groomed. I returned to my dark, cold house to forage for supplies one afternoon, only to find my neighbor shaving his head in his driveway. I sincerely hoped that was related to the lack of electricity and not just a personality quirk I'd never noticed before. Neighborhood block parties have been stilted and awkward since.

But I managed to channel my cabin fever, before going the full fire-ax-through-bedroom-door and elevator-full-of-blood route. I started writing. Having recently published the Nice Girls books, a vampire romance series about an undead librarian in small-town Kentucky, I’d already decided that I wanted to write a werewolf story. And being isolated, in the dark, in an increasingly crowded, enclosed space, I decided to set the story in the frozen regions of Alaska.

While we waited for the power to come back on, I wrote about twenty pages of notes by candlelight. What emerged was the story of Mo Wenstein, a woman who moves across the country to escape her intrusive hippie parents and make a life for herself in the remote town of Grundy, Alaska. Cantankerous neighbor Cooper has been giving Mo a hard time about her place in her new community since day one. But when Cooper stumbles onto her porch, naked, with a bear trap clamped around his ankle, she realizes there’s more to him than a surly- though attractive- surface. A series of werewolf attacks, for which Cooper may or may not be responsible, dysfunctional werewolf clan drama, and romantic hijinks ensue.

The manuscript grew over the next few months and became HOW TO FLIRT WITH A NAKED WEREWOLF, which is due to be released by Pocket Books on Feb. 22, wherever books are sold. The sequel, THE ART OF SEDUCING A NAKED WEREWOLF, will follow on March 29.

So, while the encroaching claustrophobia is frustrating, make the best of your snow days. Use the milk, eggs and bread you hoarded to make French toast. Plow through the To-Be-Read pile of paperbacks on your nightstand. Write journal entries about the sights, sounds and emotions you’re experiencing as a blizzard survivor.

You never know. You could turn this experience into your first manuscript

Gated Grief = Giveaway

My Review

In Gated Grief, Leila Levinson shares with readers a glimpse into what her father, Dr. Reuben Levinson witnessed, while treating patients in concentration camps. As well as life for Leila growing up a daughter of a GI Concentration Camp Liberator.

Be warned as the pictures in this book are not for the faint at heart. Some are really hard to stomach only for the fact that they are images of real events that took place to many innocent people. I have been fascinated by books on the subject of the Holocaust. I can remember reading The Hiding Place and The Diary of Anne Frank. Both good books. What made these books so good was the raw emotions that the authors were not afraid to show by sharing the ordeals that they had to go through to survive.

While Gated Grief does touch on some of this. What I took away from this book was that this book was also a discovery of Leila Levinson finding herself and her heritage and who her father was. Hearing stories from some of the other people whom Mrs. Levinson interviewed were interesting. Gated Grief may be a little on the bleak side but this book is also about hope and not being afraid to remember the past and the many who died.

In Gated Grief: The Daughter of a GI Camp Liberator Discovers a Legacy of Trauma (Cable Publishing, January 2011), Levinson – founder of the website – begins a crucial conversation between veterans and their families.

Inspired by her father's shocking Holocaust camp photographs, Levinson explores the link between the liberators' trauma and the way it affected members of their family when they returned home.

“I did not want to admit that my father had been traumatized,” says Levinson. “Because I did not want to admit that I had been. And yet – looking at his photographs, their blurred focus and distorted angles, I knew his hands had been quivering when he took them. He came home a changed, stripped-away man. As a child, I craved a warmth that he just couldn't give.”

Levinson wrote a grant proposal to seek out other veteran liberators, as well as their children, for interviews. Along with never-before-seen photographs taken by Levinson’s father and other veterans, Gated Grief records their stories. A telling link binds them all: None of the veterans knew how to open up to their families about their trauma. Or how to begin the essential process of emotional healing.

“For the liberators, time compressed and collapsed every smell and sight of entering the camp into a deathless alternate reality that has co-existed alongside their post-war lives,” says Levinson. “The lamination of traumatic memories encases them, seals them away, taking away all emotions but melancholy.”

With all Iraq War soldiers coming home by the end of 2011, Gated Grief is an urgent and timely read. Its aim is to build a bridge between veterans and their children – a bridge of stories.

LEILA LEVINSON created and taught a Holocaust literature course at St. Edwards University for six years. In 2005, she visited the same concentration camp in Germany that her father helped to liberate. She now lives in Austin, Texas with her family. For more information, please visit

I have a copy of this book to giveaway. Open to US and Canada only. Please leave a comment with your email address and I will pick a winner February 13th

The Paris Secret is a roller coaster ride that will have you sitting on the edge of your seat!

Maya Sinclair and her boyfriend Ben may be done but that does not mean that Maya is going to let the Paris trip they had planned to go together on go to waste. Besides Maya deserves the trip after putting up with Ben for a year only to have him go back to his ex-wife.

When Maya arrives at the hotel, there is a mix up. The hotel is booked and it seems that Dr. Juliet Rice was supposedly mistaken for Dr. Julius Price. Maya offers to share her room for the night as the hotel promised that another room would be open in the morning. Things quickly go downhill for Maya when Dr. Rice is found murdered in their room. Maya is the prime suspect.

A mysterious stranger by the name of Simon Girard offers Maya assistance. Maya soon finds herself caught in the cross fires of a dangerous game. Will Maya be leaving Paris in a body bag?

The Paris Secret is a roller coaster ride that will have you sitting on the edge of your seat! This book had elements of The Bourne books…mystery, intrigue, and romance. Simon was like Jason Bourne and Maya was the love interest. Together they worked well together. Simon had the brawn and Maya had the brains. Every new character that was introduced in this story added to the story. There were some twists and surprises along the way. If you want to know how it all ends than you will have to purchase a copy of The Paris Secret for yourself. I can not wait to see what author; Angela Henry has up her sleeves next.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Everyone Loves a Hero is just what the doctor ordered for a cold, winter night!

Cole Langston is a First Officer or in other words “Co-Pilot”. After a safely landing the aircraft after the pilot had a heart attack during a bizarre no less, Cole now finds himself a hero. Cole is ready for someone else to have their fifteen minutes of fame.

Olivia is working temporary at one of the many airport kiosks. Olivia needs the money to help pay for her school. When an angry customer gets in Olivia’s face, Cole comes to the rescue. Cole awakes to find the most beautiful angel he has even seen looking down at him. For all of Cole’s troubles, he gets knocked out. Cole feels a spark towards Olivia. He asks her out and that is when the real sparks begin. Will Cole and Olivia find their happy ending?

I am a fan of Mrs. Force. Her latest novel, Everyone Loves a Hero is just what the doctor ordered for a cold, winter night! Cole and Olivia sizzle together. Cole did not let his fame get to his head. In fact he was just a normal guy, who happened to be really good looking. I liked Olivia. She was a nice match to Cole. Though at first Olivia was shy and took a little while to warm up to Cole. This was understandable as she had been burned in the past. Plus, Cole had tons of women throwing themselves at him, so it was hard to tell if he was just using her or if he really loved her. Lastly, if you have not tried a Marie Force book yet, than you need to pick up a copy of Everyone Loves a Hero and see what you are missing.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The Werewolf Upstairs is a howling good time!

We first met the residents of this fun apartment complex in the first novel, Strange Neighbors. Now they are back and funnier than ever.

Met Rosalyn Wells. She is good friends with Merry from Strange Neighbors and an attorney. Rosalyn has moved into Merry’s old apartment. Rosalyn is not too sure she made the right decision moving in, until she meets Konrad Wolfensen. Konrad is everything that Rosalyn desires in a man…good looking, tall, charming. There is just one small detail that Rosalyn does not know about Konrad...he is a werewolf.

When Konrad is charged with theft, he turns to Rosalyn for help. Konrad just may have stolen Rosalyn’s heart.

The Werewolf Upstairs is the latest book from author, Ashlyn Chase. I enjoyed reading the first book. It was nice to visiting with everyone again. It was like having the old gang back together again. Though, I hope to see more of Chad. There is so much that I don’t know about him but whenever he makes an appearance, he brings comedic relief. The sparks were really flying between Rosalyn and Konrad. Konrad really helped Rosalyn show her wide side. It was great to get to know Konrad better. In the prior novel, the characters were just emerging and there was not much learned about them. The Werewolf Upstairs is a howling good time!