Tuesday, May 31, 2011

How to Eat a Small Country

At first I did not recognize the name, Amy Finley but after reading Mrs. Finley’s bio, I realized who she was. Amy was the winner of season three of The Next Food Network Star on the Food Network channel. This is funny as this is probably the last season that I watched of this show. Reading this book made me think of Julia Child. This might have been what she and her husband experienced if they had children but of course Julia Child also embraced France. Amy did embrace France and all the food it had to offer but maybe a little too much or I should say her husband did. For example there was the rouille soup incident at Le Rhul. As much as I did like reading about all the different experiences Amy had in France, I was only mildly interested.

For one thing, you could tell that Amy was knowledgeable about French cooking and foods but she was not very good about explaining them to the average person. I vaguely remember the judges criticizing Amy for this same thing while she was a competitor. She was good at her craft but could sometimes forget to “dummy” her explanations and recipes down for non gourmet cooks and stay at home moms. If you have a weak stomach than be warned as there are some parts that might gross you out. If you are a fan or were a fan of Amy and her show The Gourmet Next Door than you may enjoy this book.

Rise-Free Book offer

I received an email from author, Rebecca O'Connor. She wrote Lift.

Product Description for Lift
The culmination of a ten-year career in falconry, Lift is a memoir that illustrates the journey and life lessons of a woman navigating a man’s ancient sport. Captivated by a chance meeting with a falconer’s peregrine as a child, the indelible memory eventually brings the author’s life full circle to flying a peregrine of her own. Exploring themes of predator and prey, finding tribe, forgiveness and femininity, the memoir asks universal questions through a unique backdrop. Lift illustrates the beauty and meaning the sport of falconry can add to a falconer’s life, echoing the challenges and triumphs of being human.

In conjunction with LIFT being available on Kindle starting July1st, an accompanying eBook, RISE will be released. RISE is a collection of essays, short stories and poetry that ties into LIFT with more falconry and backstory. It also includes a stand-alone excerpt of my current novel in progress. It will be available on Amazon, B&N, Smashwords and others. I will be giving a coupon code to get RISE for free to anyone who has read LIFT. (bought, borrowed or checked out from the library)

Anyone who can answer, “Who did it turn out owned the peregrine that landed on the roof of Rebecca’s house when she was a child?” and send the answer to me at rebecca atblueskywriting.com will get the coupon code. Otherwise, RISE will be available for .99.

A Pugs Tale is a nice cozy mystery read. It brings the bark without the bite.

Hope McNeill works at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. She is caring for her boyfriend’s pug, Max, while he is gone.

Tonight in honor of famous celebrity and philanthropist, Daphne Markham; the museum is hosting “Pugs Night”. This will be the first time that “officially” Hope will get to bring Max to the Met. Though, if it was not for this party and the fact that Hope got to bring Max, she would be at home. Hope is more of a home body. After a disastrous situation involving Max and Daphne’s pug, Hope and Max are excused form the party. On her way out of the Met, Hope uncovers a lost painting. It is up to Hope and Max to solve the mystery of the lost painting.

I have not read any of the other pug novels by author Alison Pace. Though, I enjoyed getting to know Hope and Max. I felt that Max is the star and Hope is his sidekick. Hope started out timid but as the story progressed, she emerged out of her shell. She was trying to be a modern date Nancy Drew, only her best friend was a pug. Not to give away the ending but I did feel a little sorry about the way things ended for Hope. She is naïve but Hope has a heart of gold. A Pugs Tale is a nice cozy mystery read. It brings the bark without the bite.

Monday, May 30, 2011

An excellent beginning to The Templar Chronicles set of tales. Can’t wait for number two titled The Scream of Angels!

Review by Nancy
Cade Williams didn’t do orders; he also didn’t do Rules - especially when they got in the way of his job as a Knight Commander of the Templars. Cade didn’t start out that way but having your wife killed in front of you tends to change your outlook.

Sean Duncan headed up the Protectors group of the Templars and is in charge of care of the Preceptor for North America. They are in Connecticut to investigate a Templar group left in ruins, all dead who were there at the time of the event. How did the bad guys get in? How did they create such chaos. Answers are needed and fast!

Which is when the Preceptor brings in Cade and Echo Team. Not a popular choice as Cade (aka The Heretic) is known to break any rule in his way to get to the source. He immediately drafts Duncan to replace a team member lost and there the real conflict begins. Good/Evil vs. Good vs Really evil. The winner? We shall see. The Loser? Us if things turn wrong.

An excellent beginning to The Templar Chronicles set of tales. Can’t wait for number two titled The Scream of Angels!

Kiss Her, Kill Her is worth your money and time.

Tarryn Cooper Love is a serial killer. His inspiration is Ted Bundy. Only, Tarryn does not want to be like Ted but to surpass him and make his mother proud. Tarryn has the perfect job for getting close to women. He is a taxi driver.

Carmen is a trophy wife. She is tried of being mistreated by her husband. When Tarryn picks Carmen up, he is already thinking about his plans for her. This is until, he hears Carmen’s story. Carmen informs Tarryn that she wants to end her life. This is not good for Tarryn and he likes the fear in his victims before he finishes them off. Tarryn is memorized by Carmen and decides to get to know her better and boost her confidence before he strikes.

If you are expecting this book to be all gory than you will be a little let down. Yes, at parts, when Tarryn is playing back the memories of his kills and at the end but for the most part this book plays more on the psychological aspects than the actual killings themselves. While Tarryn did show a softer side, as softer as you can get from being a serial killer, I was still guarded around him and what he would do next. I kept waiting for the moment that he would snap and lose it. This is what made this book an interesting read. Carmen started out slower for me. I thought she was too whiny but as the story line moved along, she got stronger. Kiss Her, Kill Her is worth your money and time.

Undertakers: Rise of the Corpses is a refreshing, yummy read.

Young, William Karl Ritter was getting ready for school like any other day. Only this day was different. There is something odd about Old Man Pratt, Will’s next door neighbor. His skin seems to be whiter and drier than usual. Though this is not what is different. He is grumpy but that is nothing new. The “dead” giveaway that something is up with Old Man Pratt is the beetles and the rotten flesh smell. Old Man Pratt is a Corpse. Things get weirder when Will arrives at school. The teachers are Corpses as well. Will escapes with the help of another student. Will is brought to a hideout location. This is where Will learns that he has the gift of “sight”. He can see the Corpses. Will is recruited as the newest member of the Undertakers. They are mainly formed by a group of children and they are the only defense against the Corpses.

You could tell that this book was written and geared towards younger readers like middle school age. The way Will talked and acted. I like that the children were the main heroes and not the adults. While there were a few adults they were not the main focus. It was the Undertakers and the Corpse. Don’t call them Zombies. There is a difference. The Corpses are stronger and smart. The pace of this book is fast. There is lots of action, The characters are relatable, which is a good thing. You always want characters that you can cheer for. Will is a leader. If you want to get into this series, now is the time as this book is book one. Undertakers: Rise of the Corpses is a refreshing, yummy read.

You like what you read? Well I have 2 copies of this book to giveaway to readers. Open to US and Canada only. Leave a email address. Also tell me you favorite zombie/Corpse book or series. Ends June 5th.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

A Great Catch swings and hits a home run!

Emily Graham is more interested in fighting for women’s rights to vote than finding a husband. Unfortunately, for her, Emily’s Aunts will not let Emily become a spinster. They aim to find Emily a suitor.

Carter Stockton is the pitcher for the Manawa Owls baseball team. He knows Emily but in the past she was always Martin’s sister. Now that she is grown up, Carter is looking at her in a new way…as a woman. Carter plans to show Emily that she needs a man in her life. It is up to Emily to vote for the right choice.

A Great Catch is book two in the Lake Manawa Summers series. It can be read as a stand alone novel. Emily would lose her head if I was not attached to her body. She is a klutz. Lucky for her that it worked in her favor. If she had not fallen and Carter was not there to catch her fall at the ice skating pond, than, Emily might not have noticed Carter. I loved Carter. He had this boyish charm about him but at the same time, he was a gentleman. IT was funny to see Carter try and get under Emily’s skin. Of course, he got everything that was coming to him, even the bumps and bruises he endured from Emily. A Great Catch swings and hits a home run!

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

Revenge is sweet with Travis Mays and Mr. Young!

After an incident five years ago, Travis Mays hangs up his police uniform and relocates to the Idaho Mountains. There Travis teaches at the university on the topic of criminology. Travis hires Jessie White Eagle to guide him down the river. It seems that no matter where Travis escapes to, he can not escape trouble. Jessie’s brother, Tommy is missing. Jessie’s father is the police chief. He asks Travis for his assistance. It seems that with Travis’s past comes an enemy who is stalking him. Who will survive this cat and mouse hunt?

Revenge: A Travis Mays Novel is the first in this series featuring ex-cop, Travis Mays. Mr. Young does know how to write a good book. Travis is a nice main character. He is sharp, not afraid to speak his mind, and gets the job done. The story moved at a steady pace in the beginning. There was a lot of dialogue going on between the characters. Luckily, the story line moved faster soon afterwards. Mr. Young describes things in detail that it is like walking in Travis’s shoes. This helped as I was reading this book on the computer and if a book is not interesting, I would not give up my time to sit in front of a computer screen to read it. Revenge is sweet with Travis Mays and Mr. Young!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Shared Emptiness

Review by Nancy
In a world of long lived Catholicism the choices are never easy. When the oldest son, the “Golden Boy” is terribly injured no one knows where to turn except the Church. The Church, as often happens; falls short. By a mile or two.

In Shared Emptiness, author John Brinling shows us both sides of the coin. The daughter, outshone on every level by her older brother, who clings to Mass as a life jacket. Mom who has grown up in the Church and feels herself damned for thinking of killing her only son. Dad who isn’t as strict on going to Mass (even if right across the street) but loves to play the horses and loves his family even if he does a piss-poor job of showing it. Then the aunts and uncles and cousins weigh in and they are as torn as the Carters. They have their own issues of pregnancies, dead children, unloved spouses and are getting no answers there, either.

Chris Carter somehow kept this whole group connected. He wasn’t a staunch Catholic, either’ but his grins and personality tied them all up in a nice, neat bow and delivered them to each other. When Chris is hurt and ultimately survives in a vegetative state; everyone at one time or another thinks of pulling his plug. Can one of them actually do it and face retribution from God? Can his agnostic fiancé get up the nerve to free herself from a lifetime of servitude?

This book brings to light many levels of compulsion from the Church, each other and our parents. Brinling has written a special novel and I do encourage all of you to read it. It’s a large story, but it needs to be to explain our needs and wants through the Carter family and its satellite characters.

Twang hits a high note and harmonizes perfectly!

Salome Field is one half of the famous country duo The Field Sisters. Her other half is Willa.

Billie Blotter’s Nashville Notes. He is working on putting together a tribute book on country’s hottest superstars. The book is called Nashville Undressed. Come join Billie as he interviews some of the greatest country stars and gets the dirt on them.

I loved Salome. She was definitely a country gal. She talked like one who was raised in the country but who was also a southern gal. For example, while she was talking to Billie she made a comment that I thought was funny like…”You know what they say about talk…”That and a bucket of spit won’t get you much. “

Twang dives behind the scenes of country music. It shows you both the glamorous and not so glamorous life of a country star. You will see where country stars get their inspiration for the songs that they sing. They are living proof of their songs. I could see similarities in the characters in this book with the real life country stars. I won’t name them but any country fan will be able to pick up on what I am talking about. Twang hits a high note and harmonizes perfectly!

Enter to win a $10 gift card to your choice...Amazon, Barnes&Noble or Itunes. Just leave your email address and a winner will be chosen June 10th.

Sisters of the Sari had charm.

Kiria knew that if she was going to vacation in India that she would not go to any of the most popular places. She would go to the southern area of India. Kiria soon realized that she was out of her element. Lucky for her that Santoshi was there to help her. When Kiria learns where Santoshi lives, she comes up with the idea of building a hotel for independent, women like Santoshi. Will Kiria achieve her goal or will the hotel go crumbling down before it is even started?

I liked the ethnic feel to the story. I did get a real good outlook of India and all the interesting people that Kiria met there. Kiria was a very personable character. Here she was a wealthy woman that entered another country. She could have flaunted her money around but she didn’t. She was frugal with her money expect where the women’s hostel was involved. While, I did enjoy Kiria and the location, other than this two things and Santoshi, I would not have kept reading this book. I did not find the other characters as interesting. Sisters of the Sari had charm.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Samaritan will have you keeping your friends close and your enemies even closer!

First multi-millionaire Jeremy Silverstone is murdered and $250 million dollars are missing. Someone is gunning down people like sheep to the slaughter. Several people are gunned down in a bar. One of the people killed was Karen Easter. She was the wife of Kevin aka Hatch Easter.

John “Jack” Slattery is the director of the CIA. He wants the killer stopped before the body count gets too high. With so many suspects from mob don himself, Anthony DiFilippo to possibility, Kevin Easter, it will be one action-packed ride.

Warning to readers are there is language used in this book. There was a lot of different characters thrown at me all at the same time. It was a little hard to follow along to the story at first. Especially when so many of them were getting killed off in the next chapter. Where you better watch your back as you never know who your friends and enemies are. Of course, your friends could become your enemies. I did feel like the Bronx/Queens/Brooklyn area was the prefect setting for this book. It helped to add to the story. This book reminded me of a mobster movie like Scarface. It had the grittyness, I don’t give a sh*t attitude, and the best part is…you won’t find much romance in this book. Mr. Stephen Besecker shows what he is made of and holds nothing back. This is surprising considering that The Samaritan is his first novel. The Samaritan will have you keeping your friends close and your enemies even closer!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Tender Mercy of Roses has a nice scent to it. It blossomed into a good book.

Pony Jones was just twenty six years old when she was murdered. Pony had so much potential. She was one of the best rodeo riders. She could even out ride some of the men. Could this be the reason why Pony was murdered? Pony’s father, Titus knew the moment Pony was no longer on this Earth. He saw the signs and a wolf visited him.

Jo Beth Dawson used to be a good cop, until her drinking and a failed marriage got the best of her. Jo Beth would rather be left alone but when she found Pony’s body in the field of roses, she knew that she could not just walk away and leave Pony. Sam Donovan is in charge of the murder case. He used to be Jo Beth’s partner.

The Tender Mercy of Roses is author, Anna Michaels debut novel. This book did have the feel of the Lovely Bones but it also had its own favor. When Pony would appearance in the story, these were my favorite parts. I got a sense of who Pony was. She was wiser than her twenty six years. Jo Beth was my other favorite character. She started out rough around the edges but as the story went on, I felt sadness for her and finally triumph for whom she became. Jo Beth and Sam worked well together. The Tender Mercy of Roses has a nice scent to it. It blossomed into a good book.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Alice Bliss + Giveaway

When Alice was fourteen. Her father, Matt Bliss left for war. He left her, her sister, Ellie and their mom, Angie to care for themselves. Every day after that, Alice would wear her father’s blue shirt as it smelled like him. Their mother dropped out of touch with reality, causing Alice to care for her sister. At first Alice wanted to do things that their father did with them like eat backwards dinner. This was dessert first or send pictures of her and him together in his care packages. Though, the longer that their father stayed gone, the harder it became to hold onto memories of him.

Alice Bliss is author, Laura Harrington’s first novel. This book was inspired from her one woman musical titled Alice Unwrapped. I absolutely fell in love with this book and Alice. Every once in a while a book just reaches out and grabs me by the heart and I found that in Alice Bliss! Alice grew up fast. It was a little sad to see that she had to become an adult and not get to enjoy her teen years before she had to actually grow up. Ellie was funny. She was a sun beam of fun. She definitely acted her age but she also reminded me of Scout from to Kill a Mocking Bird. She was curious and also had wisdom to share. Alice was a good sister to Elle. Beware if you start this book as you will find yourself lost in it. The ending was a good one.

Laura Harrington a novelist, playwright, lyricist and librettist. She also teaches playwriting at MIT. ALICE BLISS grew out of Harrington’s one-woman musical Alice Unwrapped, which ran off-Broadway in New York and in the Minneapolis Fringe Festival in 2009. Turning it into a novel gave Harrington an opportunity to write about war from the perspective of those at home, to delve into growing up against the backdrop of war and loss; and finally to explore the loss of a father; something with which she has personal experience.

Harrington’s father was a navigator/bombardier in WWII, and both of her brothers enlisted in the Air Force during the Vietnam War. Both brothers were forever changed by their experiences, and her father suffered from PTSD following the WWII. He was unable to talk about what he went through. She cites growing up a witness to her father’s silent suffering as one of the greatest mysteries and inspirations of her life.

Q&A with Laura Harrington, author of ALICE BLISS

Who is Alice Bliss?

Alice Bliss is a 15-year-old girl in 10th grade, living in upstate New York, deeply connected to her dad who is serving in Iraq with his Reserve unit.

ALICE BLISS the book grew out of Alice Unwrapped, a musical. What was the inspiration for the musical and how did it evolve into a book?

The musical was a commission, actually, and the creation of a new form in music theatre: the one-act, one-woman musical. Paulette Haupt, our commissioner and producer, was inspired by Alan Bennett’s play: Talking Heads. Bennett wrote a series of searing, touching, funny monologues for BBC television. They were subsequently broadcast on BBC Radio and then performed live in theatres.

It was an extreme challenge to tell a story in 30 minutes with one singer. I actually wrote 3 stories for this commission, but found I loved the character of Alice best.

And, oddly enough, the very first germ of the character of Alice came from another musical that I wrote with Jenny Giering, Crossing Brooklyn. In that show, Alice was a teenage runaway, living in Prospect Park, sleeping in the carrousel at night. That character was cut from the final version.

With Alice Unwrapped, at 30 minutes, almost entirely sung, we could really only dramatize one key moment in Alice’s life. And I realized that there was a much larger story to be told. Which is when decided I wanted to write a book.

ALICE BLISS is a profoundly moving uplifting novel about those who are left at home during wartime and a teenage girl bravely facing the future. It chronicles the impact of the war on those left at home: children, partners, family members, the community. With the US in a war the story is quite timely. Do you have a connection to the world in which you write?

My father was a navigator/ bombardier in WWII, flying missions into Germany from his air base just north of Paris. Both my brothers enlisted in the Air Force in 1966. So, while I don’t have a family member serving in this war, my family has been deeply impacted by war.

My father suffered from PTSD following the war, a time he would never talk about directly. Nor would he talk about the experiences during the war that had so devastated him. The silence surrounding my father’s war experiences has probably been the single greatest mystery and inspiration in my life. I believe that my fascination with war grows out of my need to understand these experiences and to bear witness to this silent suffering.

What do you hope families experiencing a similar scenario take away from reading your book?

I hope they will feel that I am telling their story and doing justice to it.

While writing the book I was simply immersed in the story, but now that I’m done I can step back and look at the larger picture. It strikes me that you can live in many parts of the US completely untouched and unaware of the wars we’ve been engaged in for the last 8 years. And there’s something about that fact that is terribly unsettling. I think there is an enormous amount of unexpressed grief surrounding these wars and that ALICE BLISS, like good theatre, creates an emotional catalyst that allows us to feel that grief.

And because the book is not “about” the war, but about a family and a town and growing up, the emotional impact sneaks up on you.

What is your writing regimen?

When I’m writing—whether it’s a book or a play or a musical or an opera—I write every day. When I’m between projects, or researching and imagining a new story, I can spend weeks and months reading and walking and taking notes and asking questions and developing characters and a storyline. I find the in-between times very, very uncomfortable. Living with uncertainty, wandering around in the middle of mental chaos is very challenging. I’m happiest when I’m writing.

When you write do you have a story in mind and then the characters evolve to tell that story or do you create characters and the story comes from them?

I begin with the characters, with a strong sense of “voice.” I really hear my characters and learn a great deal about them by getting them talking. However, the story is evolving at the same time the characters are beginning to jell. Because what’s a character without a story? To me, story is paramount.

ALICE BLISS is not a book about war. When you were writing did you find it challenging to focus on the personal story of the family rather than the politics?

I made a strong choice early on not to go to Iraq in the book. I knew that the emotional impact would come from keeping the story focused on Alice and her family at home. At the same time, Matt, Alice’s father, is such a key character and we have so little time with him before he ships out. How do we keep him and his story present? Finding that balance was challenging and an interesting puzzle to solve.

What inspired you to write this book now?

I think that making the war personal is important. Telling the stories of those left behind, illuminating the lives of spouses and partners and children who have a loved one deployed is important. Do we know their stories, their struggles? Do we hear their voices? I hope we can begin to see this war one child at a time, one soldier at a time, one missing father at a time.

You capture the main character Alice wonderfully; her strength, vulnerability and awkwardness of being a teenage girl. Were you anything like Alice growing up?

I think we are all like Alice. That combination of strength, vulnerability, awkwardness and intensity is universal to those years.

I was the youngest of four children, and my siblings were quite a bit older, so I had a much more solitary childhood than Alice did. But there’s something about those years that I can still see, hear, taste, and feel. For whatever reason, I have intense empathy for teens.

What type of books do you like to read?

All kinds. If I’m researching a project, like Napoleon or Joan of Arc, or the American Civil war, I can get lost in my reading lists.

I love novels. I’d rather read a book than eat. I love history, I love great non-fiction, I love good writing.

What are you reading now?

Anne Fadiman’s Ex Libris, Confessions of a Common Reader, a beautiful series of essays about books and reading and words. It turns out that Anne Fadiman was also a collector of big words, like Ellie.

Jane Smiley’s new book: Private Life, and Graham Robb’s, Parisians: An Adventure History of Paris.”

My wish list is lengthy and always growing. I am a big fan of my local library.

Which aspect of your work do you most enjoy?

The freedom to think my own thoughts, pursue my own passions, indulge my own obsessions. The necessity of reading. Being able to think of reading as part of my job. How lucky is that? And the opportunity to learn a great deal, even to become a mini expert about all kinds of things, like Napoleon in exile on St Helena’s, Joan of Arc’s last 3 days in prison, Sherman’s march to the sea, the ratification of the nineteenth amendment, marathon dancing, etc, etc. It’s fun, and it’s never, ever boring.

Who are your heroes?

My parents. I’m inspired by them and guided by them every single day of my life.

The peacemakers. Whoever and wherever they are.

What would your colleagues be surprised to learn about you?

I’m constantly looking for ways to be a kid again, to play.

What is your most treasured possession?

My wedding ring.

What inspires you?

The world around me. Every day.

Thanks to Meredith. I have a copy of this book to giveaway to one lucky reader. US only and no PO Boxes. Leave a comment with your email address and a winner will be picked June 2, the book's release date.

Enclave will have you sitting on the edge of your seat!

Deuce always knew that she was born to be a Huntress, not a Breeder or a Builder. Now, everyone will know Deuce and not look at her as Girl15. Every boy and girl had no name and was just known as boy1 or girl 10 until they turned fifteen. Than, the boy or girl was given a name and put into one of the three groups.

One of the most important tasks that a Hunter is responsible for is venturing outside of the enclave and through the tunnels to hunt for food and bring it back. Though, it is not easy. Once you leave the safety of the enclave a hunter can encounter the vicious Freaks.

Enclave is book one in the Razorland series. A new series for young adults form author, Ann Aguirre. It is based around an apocalyptic world. I must admit that I have tried this author before and was not so much a fan but with Enclave, I was really getting into this book. Deuce is definitely a leader. Though, she had room to grow and I am sure I will see her grow in the next book. I could image this world that Deuce, Fade and the rest of the others lived in. The Freaks were some scary creatures. I don’t think they were human. The Freaks reminded me of the creatures in the movie “The Descent”. This book also had a bit of the feel of the movie “Pitch Black” featuring Vin Diesel. I am pumped for the next book. Enclave will have you sitting on the edge of your seat!

The Hypnotist

Review by Nancy

Lucian Glass has had a hard life. A talented artist, he is rocked by the death of his lover, Solange Jacobs in her father’s gallery. Mr. Jacob restored art and, after closing one evening; someone breaks in and steals a priceless Matisse, killing the girl in the process. Nearly killing Glass as well which might have been a blessing since he obsesses with Solange and cannot find a way to let her go.

He is with the FBI Art Crimes Team and researches art theft, fraud, etc. Someone wants a statue that is in the care of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. A very, very old statue of Hypnos, the god of sleep. Nothing sleepy going on here, though. A group of folks called Resurrectionists, thinks the statue contains certain gems to help people recall their past lives. They will stop at nothing to get their hands on it, and some folks right in New York also want it for the same reason – it contains what they refer to as Memory Tools.

The best way for Lucien to investigate the New York contingent is to pose as someone in need of help. The hypnotist he sees isn’t involved in the plot but is determined to help Lucian find his past lives. And find them he does.

In a very interesting tale which is part of a series beginning with The Reincarnationist followed by The Memorist, we learn quite a bit about memory regression and if you are immersed in this it’s a great way to gain some knowledge. Rose has violence, murder, history and art all married into this novel and it works perfectly. I could not put this down until the final page and am now looking for parts one and two to satisfy my curiosity. Excellent work!

Monday, May 23, 2011

The Case for Falling in Love

In The Case for Falling in Love, Mari helps show readers that everything you read in self-help books can actually sometimes be damaging versus helping you. Yes, you could follow the advice in these books if you want to get a guy or girl but what if you are looking for”love”? I am not talking about the stuff you read in romance novels, though we would all like to have that but I am talking about “real” love.

Each chapter starts out with a Myth and a Fact like the following examples:

Myth: Men prefer women who let them take the lead.

Fact: Many quality men are looking for an equal relationship with a competent and independent woman.

Myth: The best way to win a man’s heart is to play into his fantasies of femine desirability.

Fact: This is one of the best ways to get your heart broken.

I can say that the first myth and fact are true I asked my husband with choice he would prefer and he picked the Fact about an equal relationship. While, the tips in this book were not so new, it was nice to read that the saying “Be yourself” still holds true. One thing that I did like about this book was Mari sharing actual events that either happened to her or her friends. This helped to show that what she was saying was not just her teaching something that was not achievable. The Case for Falling in Love is a book that everyone could benefit from.

If you like mysteries than check this book out.

Kit Kenyon finds herself in a hostage situation. A husband is threatening to kill his wife because she wants to leave him and take the children. Kit thought she had the situation under control, only to have it end badly.

Noah Lambert and Kit are thrust into a string of gruesome murder cases. It seems that this serial killer deals out his own justice. He left the following message on his latest victim that said “Life’s a laugh. How does the death penalty feel? An eye for an eye.” As Noah and Kit track down the killer, it seems that the killer is also watching them.

A Killer Among Us is book three of the Women of Justice novels. It can be read as a stand alone novel. Kit was the more dominant of the two. This might have to do with the fact that this series is focused on women in authoritative positions. I liked this. If Kit had been a push over than I would have been turned off by her. You can tell that Kit and Noah have a thing for each other. Though, they do not let their relationship get in the way of doing their jobs. Mrs. Eason finds that right balance between mystery and romance. Often times in these sort of books the romance can become the focal point of the story when it should be the mystery and than the romance. If you like mysteries than check this book out.

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

Book Release Celebration for Mystery/Adventure Novel and Book Give-Away

Montezuma’s Treasure and Family Secrets are Themes for Mystery Novel

Mysterious events, the search for Montezuma’s treasure, a good-looking rogue, and family secrets! How important is it to learn about the past? Will it make a difference in one’s life and the choices we make? To April, it makes a big difference. Knowing about her parentage changes her perspective of life.

With a blend of mystery, adventure, humor, and sweet romance, Linda Weaver Clarke creates a story based upon the adventures of a married couple and their three daughters in “Montezuma Intrigue.”

When a leather parchment of Montezuma’s map is found in great-grandfather Evans’ old chest, April and the twins know this summer is going to be a memorable one. The girls want to search for it but their father is against it for some mysterious reason. With Julia’s help, she and the girls convince John to go on a treasure hunt. Is Montezuma’s treasure a legend or reality? Whatever the case, John insists on keeping their little treasure hunt a secret. If certain people find out about it, the family could be in danger.

Suko’s Notebook wrote, “In the latest book by Linda Weaver Clarke, Montezuma Intrigue, the mysteries continue as this author entrances us with life-like characters and electrifying adventures. The search for Montezuma's treasure is both exciting and memorable--I am spell-bound!”

While searching for Montezuma’s treasure, Matthew is trying to get the courage to tell April how he feels about her. How does he tell his kindred friend that she means more to him than just a friend? Oblivious of Matthew’s feelings for her, April is gradually learning the importance of her heritage. Who were her ancestors and why has the family kept a certain “secret” all these years? This mystery series includes Anasazi Intrigue, Mayan Intrigue, and Montezuma Intrigue.

Book Trailer:

To win a mystery/adventure novel with a touch of romance, leave a comment at http://lindaweaverclarke.blogspot.com . But that’s not all! You may also be eligible to receive two free e-books as part of this contest.

Saturday, May 21, 2011


Review by Nancy

Panjandrum by J.J. Telly (book 1 of the Aerolith Adventures)

All good little girls go to bed at night and wake up to see their parents. However…Gelsem was a very good child and it didn’t work out for her. She wakes up in a wooden stall on a Level she’s never been to before.

Gelsem’s land is made up of many levels. She was born and partly raised (being only 13) on Level Gee where everything begins with “G”. (Her brother Gary, sister Glory, etc.) Animals begin with G, as does everything else. So, where is Gelsem now? After a bit of looking around she discovers she has been kidnapped and dropped off on Level Pee. AKA Penitentiary Level. Oopsie!

Being sent on her way by a stall-keeper at the Market, she immediately gets herself in trouble. She is hungry, lonely, scared and cannot for the life of her find a Toilet. Potty, rather. She meets many odd characters on her journey and is finally picked up by a group of teens called the Parasitic Punks. Best not to ask. They are all determined to leave Level Pee and find either their homes or other worlds which should be much more caring and comfortable. But will they all be able to leave? That is the question.

And this YA novel answers it perfectly. The kids are great, each written with his or her own foibles and issues. The bad guys are pretty dastardly and I know any young reader who picks this up will boo and hiss right along with me when they appear to be winning. Go out and get this for some kid’s summer reading program. They’ll even talk to you later! Hopefully, book 2 will follow quickly!!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Wearing the Cape will have you wishing you were a superhero!

The evil Teatime Anarchist has just brought destruction to the city again. Hope Corrigan is a normal eighteen year old girl. She was driving along when she was struck by hundred of pounds of concrete. Hope was lucky to survive. Before she can really comprehend what is happening, she is flown away…literally from the accident.

Hope’s savior is Atlas aka John Chandler. Atlas is a superhero and part of a network of other superheroes. Hope is recruited and becomes the newest superhero. Just call her Astra, which means star.

This book is like a combination of the younger version of the X-Men and the Incredibles. Only these superheroes don’t mind if the public know about them. This book started off with a big bang…literally. While, I liked that the superheroes were made up of all different ages and genders. At times, it felt like there was too much detail. For example, when Hope aka Astra was first learning to become a superhero, I appreciated and understood that there was a lot of training before someone just puts on the suit, cape and mask but I didn’t need several chapters of explanation. A chapter would have been fine with me and even two chapters would have been alright if it was to explain about the other characters powers, which was done but at a later point in the book. I liked Astra as a main character. She is a relatable character and a superhero that readers can get behind and cheer for. Despite some of the little things, this book is a fun read. Wearing the Cape is a book that will have you wishing you were a superhero!

Daddy Left Me Alone With God

Review by Nancy

Passing for “thirty-seven in candlelight” Annie is chaperoning her two children on a country-wide tour with the Phil Klein School of Rock. From Pennsylvania this isn’t really her world. But it was. Once.

Annie spent a lot of time when she was seventeen with her dad. Who dealt coke to any and everyone. He was a drugged-out jazz musician from the beginning who didn’t want to be a father, much less a husband. Separated from Annie’s mom, she was sent to NYC to live with him as a wake-up call – and to get her away from Johnny who has suddenly become her soul-mate. Unfortunately, it didn’t work. Daddy was dealing to GOD (aka Mick Saunders) and he was Annie’s hero/savior/lust bunny.

When Annie goes to help Dad deliver, she stays with God. And then stays for months until her mother becomes ill and she has to return home to care for her and to confront John. Mick was off on tour and it’s been twenty years since they have spoken.

The Phil Klein kids are his opening act and they rock! This story does as well with Annie torn between being a wife and mother vs Annie the Ultimate Groupie with Mick. The problems of babysitting teenagers a long way away from their parents arise and we doubt Mick and Annie will ever be able to pull off their reunion. And John, who Annie did marry, keeps calling. What to do?

What YOU should do is get this book immediately as the plot is great, the characters interact so well and even Phil the jerk gets page time. Plus, you’ve gotta reminisce about the music! Trust me, you’ll love it!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Predators: A Musical Novel

Becky and Jon are a couple. They are heading to Paris for a trip. They invite Charlotte, Adrian and Marco to come along. While dining out, the group meets some locals. The locals offer to show the group around Paris. This is a bad idea as the group will soon discover.

I liked the concept of this book. A book that had music to go with each chapter of the book, I never would have thought of that. Though, it did seem a bit disjointed between chapters one and two. Chapter two read like it should have been chapter one. It read with an explanation of how the vampires were reborn and how they feed and than it moved into chapter three which picked up on the story again. Other than this, this book is a quick read. Though for those who have a weak stomach, than beware as the vampires in this book are violet and have no table manners. The only other issue I had with this book is that I didn’t connect with the characters and so when they met their demise, I didn’t care. Predators: A Musical Novel does have some meat to it.


Neverisms is an intriguing book that is filled with interesting facts and sayings. This is a book where it is ok to flip though the different chapters and not sit and read it all the way through. In fact, at times it can read like a text book or dictionary. While I did enjoy learning different facts and tid bits about neverisms, I found myself at times flipping through the pages to read about more neverism wisdom in the form of advice.

So what is neverism? Neverism is not a real word but one that Dr. Grothe coined as his own. What it means in a simple term is…When you want to give a warning to someone but the warning starts off with the word “Never”. Examples are:

“Never try to reason the prejudge out of a man. It was not reasoned into him, and cannot be reasoned out.” By Sydney Smith.

“Never turn down a job because you think it’s too small; you don’t know where it can lead.” By Julia Morgan.

“Never board a commercial aircraft if the pilot is wearing a tank top.”

“Never, under any circumstances, take a sleeping pill and a laxative on the same night.”

One thing that I did really notice and like about this book was that it was written at a level that I could understand and not feel stupid that I could not figure out what Dr. Grothe was saying. This book would make a perfect gift for that nerd in your life.

About the author:
Dr. Mardy Grothe, a psychologist, management consultant, and platform speaker, has been systematically collecting quotations for half a century. He is the author of five previous books, including Ifferisms, Viva la Repartee, and Never Let a Fool Kiss You or a Kiss Fool You. Dr. Mardy, as he is known to his fans around the globe, is routinely described as a “quotation maven” and is well on his way to becoming America’s most popular quotation anthologist. He lives with his wife in North Carolina and tweets @drmardy. For more, check out Dr. Mardy’s website:

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Warm Bodies is a zombie-fest of fun!

“R” is one of the undead…zombies. His friend is “M”. He is also a zombie. R has come to accept that he is dead, though R may never get over the thoughts of feeling on humans. Yes, it is a way of life but not something that R thrives on. While out on of their many feedings, R and M attack a group of young adults. One of the things about the feedings is that whatever human R feeds on, he gains that person’s memories for a brief while. This time is a young man by the name of Perry Kelvin. Perry has a girlfriend named, Julie Grigio. R feels something while experiencing Perry’s memories. R claims Julie as his own. Soon R and Julie are developing a relationship that one would never expect to blossom.

Warm Bodies is a refreshing, exciting, fast read. Warm Bodies is a zombie-fest of fun! I have read many zombie novels and it seems that they are the newest “it” thing. I can tell you that I have not read a book like this. The zombies in this book have depth and personalities. They are not just blood thirsty, flesh-eating corpses. I actually felt something for R. The interactions between R and Julie were cumbersome at first but than as the story progressed, I could see R and Julie being a believable couple. It was like Julie saw R as a real person and she accepted him for who he was. I can not wait to see what author, Isaac Marion has in store next.

Long Drive Home

Glen Bauer would consider himself a pretty good driver. He always stopped at red lights and used his turn signal. Though that all changed all day. A young man talking on the phone and driving a Jag cut in front of Glen, nearly missing hitting him and just kept driving. Glen decided to let the incident pass and take his six year old daughter, Sara home. Glen is approaching their driveway, when he spots the young driver again. This time Glen decides to teach the man a lesson. Glen steers the car towards the man. The man loses control of the car and it flips over heading towards Glen and Sara. At the last moment the car is stopped by a tree. The outcome is not good…the driver who’s name is Juwan Richards is dead. The only witnesses to the accident are Glen and Sara. Glen thinks that he might have gotten away with vehicular manslaughter but Detective Rizzo will not stop until he discovers the true.

I read this book in one sitting…literally. I was glued to my chair and could not tear my attention away from this book until the very last word. This is the first book I have read by this author. After reading this book, I plan to go back and read his first novel, What Have You Left? This was definitely a character driven story. This book was told in the first person by Glen. Throughout the book was inserts of parts of letters that Glen wrote to Sara. In the letters, he explained what he was experiencing, what drove him to his actions, and lastly, he asked for Sara’s forgiveness. Sara was so smart for a six year old. She was wiser beyond her years. The ending to this book was a strong one. Mr. Allison reminded me of another author, Michael Baron. They both really know how to write a good story that makes you feel something for the characters…good or bad.

A Conversation with Will Allison
Author of LONG DRIVE HOME: A Novel
(Free Press; May 17, 2011)

1. Your first novel, What You Have Left, has three viewpoint characters and moves back and forth in time. Long Drive Home has one viewpoint character and proceeds, for the most part, chronologically. Did you make a decision at the outset to structure this novel differently?

I did. I wanted to write a book with a strong sense of tension and narrative momentum—more of page-turner—but one that’s still character-based, where plot is a function of character and not vice versa.

2. When you were executive editor of Story magazine, thousand of submissions must have crossed your desk. How did your editorial work influence your writing?

Reading through the submissions—we averaged about 50 a day—I was constantly reminded of the importance of 1) giving the reader a reason to care, and 2) keeping the story moving. I write with an acute awareness that readers have a lot of other things they could be doing besides reading my book.

3. Where did the idea for the novel come from?

I live in New Jersey, in a quiet neighborhood much like the one described in the book—lots of kids, joggers, people walking their dogs. One morning a few years ago, I went out to get the newspaper. A car came flying down the street, going probably twice the speed limit. I remember picking up the paper and thinking I’d like to chuck it at the guy’s windshield, give him a scare. Then I thought, “You’re an idiot, Will. You could kill someone.” Then I thought, “But what if no one saw?” That was the seed of the story.

4. Is the book autobiographical?

No. The circumstances of Glen’s life are similar to my own—I work at home; my wife works in the city; we have a young daughter; we moved here from the Midwest; etc.—but the characters and plot are wholly invented.

5. Has your daughter read the book?

No. She’s only nine. Some of the language isn’t appropriate. Also, I’d hate for her to conflate me with Glen. She knows what the book is about, though. On the way to and from school, when I was writing it, she’d ask what part of the story I was working on. She gave me a lot of input. She still thinks Sara’s name should have been spelled “Sarah.”

6. Is the traffic in New Jersey really as bad as Glen says?

It seemed pretty bad to me, coming from the Midwest. I did some research when I started the book. New Jersey is the nation’s most congested state and has the highest pedestrian fatality rate. A 2006 study found that northern New Jersey has four of the ten most dangerous American cities to drive in—all within fifteen miles of where the story takes place. And a 2008 study ranked New Jersey drivers dead last in their knowledge of basic safety and traffic laws.

7. Was the accident investigation based on a real case?

No, but I did get a lot of help from Detective Arnold Anderson, who recently retired from the Essex County Prosecutors Fatal Accident Unit. Andy read an early draft of the book and very patiently answered my questions. I remember being nervous when I first got in touch with him and said I was writing a book about a guy who tries to cover up his involvement in an accident. I thought Andy might think that’s what I was doing. He told me later that, yes, he did check up on me after that first phone call, to make sure I was really a writer.

8. Was there any kind of moral you were aiming to impart in Long Drive Home?

I was very interested in the moral implications of Glen’s actions, particularly how he justified—and was later affected by—doing things he himself believed to be morally wrong. But no, I intended no moral lesson for the reader, only moral questions.

9. How much compassion do you expect the reader to show Glen?

Obviously, Glen makes some terrible mistakes. But I do hope readers will put themselves in his shoes. That’s why I chose to tell the story from his viewpoint. If the story had been told from Rizzo’s or Tawana’s viewpoint, Glen might have come off as a clear-cut villain. That to me would have been less interesting.

10. What’s next for you?

Another novel, one that may or may not revisit the characters in Long Drive Home.

Will Allison’s author video

Monday, May 16, 2011

Deadly Promises Giveaway

Unstoppable Excerpt

“I will never quit” By Laura Griffin

Several years ago I stood knee-deep in the Pacific Ocean, teeth chattering, wondering what on earth would possess a sane man to join the Navy SEALs. I was on Coronado Island that day, and my mission was partly tourism and partly research. I had decided to write a SEAL character in my next book, and had spent the past few months researching what many would call the most elite fighting force in the world.

Coronado is a place where young men who aspire to be SEALs suffer through a ruthless training regimen that boggles the mind. For weeks on end, bands of SEAL trainees run with telephone poles, do five-mile ocean swims, undergo “drown-proofing,” endure sleep deprivation. They are systematically broken down—pushed beyond all limits, both physically and emotionally—and if they survive, they’re built back up again. Few make it through, and that is the point. Those who do come out stronger and more deeply committed to their jobs than most of us can imagine.

It takes a special sort of man to become a Navy SEAL, which is precisely why I had decided to write a SEAL character in my next story. I want my heroes to be, well, heroic. I had recently finished reading Lone Survivor, a book about Marcus Luttrell, the SEAL who managed to live through a deadly firefight in the mountains of Afghanistan. Three of his teammates died. After being blown off a mountain by a rocket-propelled grenade, Luttrell--severely injured--crawled and walked seven miles to a village where he was taken in by a local tribe.

How did he do this? The man is a SEAL. The word “impossible” is not part of the SEAL vocabulary. Men who become SEALs share a special vision of what it means to stand in the face of adversity.

I will never quit…If knocked down, I will get back up, every time…I am never out of the fight. Sound hardcore? It is. It’s straight from the SEAL creed.

A man such as this—one who is unwilling to give up under the most dire circumstances—was just the sort of hero I needed for my story, UNSTOPPABLE, which involves a terrorist plot on American soil. After months of research, I started writing about U.S. Navy SEAL Gage Brewer, and I’m still writing about him today.

I thought about the SEAL creed this week as I watched the news about Osama Bin Laden. I am never out of the fight. It seems fitting, and not altogether surprising, that SEALs were the ones to finally track down the world’s most wanted man. They risked their lives, in an operation that could have ended in disaster, in order to make the world a safer place. These guys are tough, they are committed, and they never give up—not even after ten years. They are heroes. And it’s a good thing we have them in real life, and not just in books.

UNSTOPPABLE appears in the Pocket Books anthology DEADLY PROMISES.

You like what you just read? Well you are in luck. I have a copy of this anthology to give away to one lucky reader. Open to US and Canada only. Just leave a comment as to why you want to read this anthology and email address. Ends May 29th.

A Conflict of Interest

Alex Miller is an attorney. He works for Cromwell Altman. While attending his father’s funeral, Alex is approached by a man named Michael Ohlig. Mr. Ohlig wants to hire Alex to represent him. It seems that Mr. Ohlig helped a lot of stock brokers keep from losing a bunch of money, by advising them to sell their shares from a company that was going under. It is Alex’s job to prove that Mr. Ohlig had no prior knowledge that this company was going under. What Alex under covers will bring more questions than answers.

While, I did like this book, the characters just didn’t reach out and grab me. I wanted them to. Though, the detail that went into explaining the whole attorney side of things and the process from taking on a client to gathering evidence, putting the case together and the trial was interesting. I did have one somewhat favorite character and that was Michael Ohlig. There was something about him that was mysterious and he had this air about him that he didn’t care. Though, he was not self-centered. He did help to draw Alex out of his shell. Alex is a bright up and coming attorney. I am sure, I will see him grow in the next book. This is a good first novel from new author, Adam Mitzner. A Conflict of Interest could stand up in court!

EXCERPT - A Conflict of Interest
by Adam Mitzner

The first time I set eyes on Michael Ohlig I was beside my father’s casket and he was standing toward the back of a group of mourners comprised almost entirely of my father’s extended family. Ohlig was a good half foot taller than everyone else, and unlike my paternal relatives, his head was covered with his own hair, a shade of silver usually reserved for much younger men anchoring the evening news. He wore it a little long, almost to the base of his collar, just enough to say that he fancied himself a nonconformist. I likely wouldn’t have noticed him at all if he hadn’t seemed so out of place. To be blunt about it, he looked too good to be associated with that crowd.
Ohlig was twice my father’s closest friend—at the beginning and the endof his adult life. As far as I know, he was my father’s only friend, the thirty-some year gap in their contact seemingly occupied only by my mother and his hardware store.

The story I heard growing up was that Ohlig and my father were playing tennis at the courts in Central Park on the same day my mother was on a good Samaritan mission to keep a girlfriend company on the train from Queens to Manhattan, so her friend could watch her boyfriend play. My parents disagreed about which one of them approached the other, but the one part that never varied in either of their renditions was that it was love at first sight. They were married less than six months later, and I arrived in November the following year.

I don’t know why it never seemed odd to me that, in all the subsequent retellings, my parents provided little detail about Ohlig. I never knew what he did for a living or whether he was married or had children. If I had ever been told how he and my father came to be friends, or why they lost touch, it went in one ear and out the other. For me, he just seemed like a historical figure, no different from Caesar or John F. Kennedy; someone who I took on faith had actually existed, but who had no relevance to my life. Even when my father shared with me the coincidence of running into Ohlig at a bookstore shortly after my parents moved to their retirement community in Florida, and that he was now living in a neighboring town, I had little curiosity about Ohlig’s life.

Three times Ohlig poured a shovel full of dirt on my father’s casket, fulfilling the ritualistic last act of a Jewish burial. Each motion was deliberate, as if his movements were intentionally drawn out to prolong his time to say good-bye. But it was the powerful way he approached the shovel, and the force with which he yanked it from the dirt, that most caught my eye, stating unequivocally that he was not someone to challenge.

Watching this I had no inkling that Michael Ohlig would become the central thread in all that followed. Even now I can hardly fathom how it came to be that a man who had never been anything more than a minor character in the story of my life would come to dominate its plot.

Perhaps stranger still, Michael Ohlig would undoubtedly say the same thing about me.

Copyright © 2011 Adam Mitzner, author of A Conflict of Interest

Author Bio
Adam Mitzner is an attorney in New York City.

For more information please visit http://www.adammitzner.com/ and Amazon, and follow the author on Facebook


Jake Daniels was involved in a really bad car accident. One that he should not have survived. It might have been better if Jake had died. Since the accident, Jake has been experiencing some odd symptoms. One is the reoccurring dream that he has of the accident that involves Jake disemboweled from himself and mysterious woman who is trying to tell Jake something. Jake feels a strong pull to learn the truth behind the accident and who the mysterious woman is and her involvement.

Jake goes on a road trip to interview the other people who saw or were in the accident like Jimmy Harrison, the driver. Jake is not very religious but he could not deny some of the signs…the blinding lights, the woman, the 911 call prior to the accident. Jake starts researching on the topic of angels.

This book had a bit of the Mothman Prophecies feel to it. The movie that featured Richard Gere and Debra Messing. It had a nice, steady, and even pace to the story line. I like seeing how Jake processed all the information and the experiences that he heard from other people that he met and interviewed. Though for those who are not very religious as well, you might not like this book. The story does tend to come off a little preachy, with references to scripture. Jake was a good character. I like that he started out with no subjection to the matter of angels and kept an open mind. I just kept reading and telling myself…just one more sentence, just one more sentence. Messengers is worth your time and money.

Untamed Highlander

The warriors have escaped Deirdre’s grasp. Now that she has been defeated for the current moment. While checking for survivors, they come across an injured woman. Hayden for some unexplained reason feels very protective of this woman. Though, when he learns that she is a druid, Hayden’s feelings toward her are still of lust but he also is guarded around her. His family was destroyed by druid magic.

Isla is a druid but she was just a prisoner of Deirdre’s as the MacLeods and the rest of the warriors. Isla knows that every moment that she is recovering that Deirdre is as well. Though, there is one upside to staying with the MacLeod’s…Hayden. Isla can not deny the lust she sees in his eyes every time he looks at her.

Untamed Highlander is book four of the Dark Sword series. While each book can be enjoyed on its own, these books really should be read in order starting with book one, Dangerous Highlander. It was great to visit with all the warriors and see them band together even more against Deirdre. The passion between Hayden and Isla was sizzling off the pages of this book! Hayden only needed to look at Isla and he was already undressing her with his eyes. I am jealous of the women in these books. All the warriors are some good man candy. Though, I don’t like Deirdre, I am glad to see that she survived. This means that there are more books to continue in this series. I am addicted to this series and can not get enough. Untamed Highlander is worthy of a spot on by bookshelf.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Come and Find Me

Diana Highsmith has not left her house since her husband, Daniel died. While on a hiking trip in Switzerland, Daniel’s rope came lose and he perished. Diana can remember watching Daniel fall to his death. Since than, Diana has built herself a fortress and the main way that she interacts with people is through a virtual reality world, known as Otherworld.

When, Diana’s sister, Ashley goes missing, Diana will have to leave her virtual reality world and venture into the real world. Can Diana survive the real world?

I have been wanting to try out author, Hallie Ephron ever since I saw her first novel, Never Tell a Lie. I still had not read this book but decided to start with Come and Find Me. I have to say that while, I did like this novel, it was like I kept waiting for it to pick up and go full speed. It never really got there for me. Though, I did find Diana’s panic attacks intriguing. Not so much that she had them but what she experienced, when she had one. I have never really experienced someone having one as intense as Diana does. Like the first time that Diana went to get into her car for the first time in a long time and drive. She had barely gotten half way down the drive way before she drove back in her garage, parked the car, and ran and hide under a table for several hours. While, there was a surprise that came in the last third of the story, as I got to thinking about it after, it was not really such a surprise. I knew something was up and was not really what it was until it appeared. Overall, I thought this was an alright book but I still do plan to check out Never Tell a Lie.

A Heart Divided

The feud between the Wainwrights and the Caldwells has been going on for many years. Now, Sarah and her brothers are caught up helping their father with another scheme to get back at the Wainwrights. This time Sarah is ordered to distract Cord Wainwright, while her brothers and father made off with the Wainwright money.

Let’s say that Cord is not pleased. The next day, when Cord spots Sarah in town, he decides to take her to the sheriffs and have her arrested. Unfortunately, the sheriff is out of town for three days. Cord does not plan to let Sarah get away. He kidnaps her and brings her back to his place until the sheriff returns. Sarah grows close to not only one Wainwright brother but also another…Cord’s older brother, Nick. This feud just got more interesting.

A Heart Divided is the first book in the Heart of the Rockies series. Sarah had me smiling. She was feisty. Of course with three brothers and putting up with Cord, Sarah needed to be strong and defend herself. I thought it was funny that Cord was trying to be all tough and macho and did not want to admit his feelings at first, when it came to Sarah. He acted like a three year old and at one point during a conversation with his brother, Nick, he thought that Sarah loved Nick. When Sarah and Cord finally got together, there were sparks. The location was great. The beautiful Rocky Mountains. Who could ask for more? Of course, I might be a little biased as I also like the author live in Colorado and get to see these mountains. I could picture myself there with Sarah on the Wainwright ranch. I am sure book two will be just as good. I hope that Nick is the feature in the next book. I would like to see him find love.

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

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Wayward Son

Review by Nancy (My Friend and Fellow Reviewer)

Amanda, budding archaeologist; goes to Italy to assist in what just may be the Find of a lifetime. Or, it just may end her life. When asked by her ex-love Juan Carlos to fly over and assist in reading a set of panels Amanda jumps at the chance to get away for awhile and to see if there is possibly something left of an old flame.

The panels are massive but Amanda is able to decipher the lettering and to also solve the puzzle to open the doors. So far so good. Then things get really interesting. She is wandering around in a huge chamber when she begins to have a vision. Not fairies and dragons; not vampires or werewolves. Nope.

This is a vision of the life and times of Cain. Yes, THAT CAIN. You thought he killed Abel and just fell off the face of the earth, huh? Well, he certainly didn’t do that. Cain was cursed with eternal life by God. He couldn’t be killed and went on to become an engineer, boat-builder, map maker and numerous other things. Until he has a chance encounter with a certain carpenter form Nazareth.

Cain lived many centuries and made a difference in each of them in some positive way. He always tried to make up for killing his brother, even if it was an accident (maybe). Amanda learns the truth of many, many things during her visions, the last of which may be the most shocking.

I didn’t like this book at first. I was all caught up in the Amanda story when it switched over to Cain and I felt that it was a bit off-putting. I tried several times to read enough of this book to decently review it and let it go but I couldn’t. I kept coming back to the tale and its characters, biblically and historically correct in most places (great job of research, by the way!) until I found it was over. You may not like biblical history but you9 will LOVE the story of Cain, who killed his brother and spent eons repenting his sin.

The Lightkeeper’s Ball

Olivia Stewart is almost past marriage age. Though, she is only twenty-five, which is not that old, when you live in a society like Olivia, twenty-five is considered a spinster. Olivia and her mother are in desperate need of money. When they learn that Olivia’s sister, Eleanor has drowned prior to marrying her fiancé, Harrison Bennett, this is bad news. Both that Eleanor has died and without Harrison being married, Olivia’s mother has lost rights to part of the diamond mine. Before Olivia can stop her head from spinning, she is offered up to Harrison as his new wife. Olivia has suspicions about Harrison. She believes that he had something to do with Eleanor’s death. She aims to learn the truth.

The Lightkeeper’s Ball is the latest book in the Mercy Falls series. It can be read as a stand alone novel. Which is good as this is the first book I have read in this series. I was able to jump right in. I could tell right away that Harrison’s reputation was worse than his real personality. He actually did care and had great drive on his mission. I thought it was funny that everyone that he talked to about how some day airplanes will be the new way of transportation just laughed at him and said it would never happen. Well Harrison was right or I should say…”Wright” as in the Wright Brothers. While the romance between Harrison and Olivia was slow to get start, which is understandable considering that Olivia hated Harrison at first. When they did finally fall for each other it was alright, nothing to write home about. The Lightkeeper’s Ball did have some sweet moments, the story was alright but my favorite was Harrison.

Friday, May 13, 2011


Do you like adventure,suspense, mystery? If you answered yes to all three questions, than, you are in luck. I am giving away 1 copy of Blood Trust, author Eric Van Lustbader's newest release and 1 one of First Daughter. Open to US and Canada only. No PO Boxes. In order to enter to win, you need to do the following items:

Comment with your email address and tell me which books you want to win. If you want to enter for both, than which is your first choice. Giveaway ends May 28th.

It was once said that you must trust and believe in people or life becomes impossible . . .

Alli Carson has been through her own personal hell. With her father, the President of the United States, recently dead and her mother in a coma from a terrible accident, she has poured herself into her training to become one of the best FBI agents at the Fearington Institute. Her inspiration and solace comes from the one man with whom she has ever felt a kinship, National Security Adviser, Jack McClure. But when Alli becomes the prime suspect in a murder at Fearington, a wide ranging investigation is triggered, involving local homicide detectives, the secret service, the FBI itself, and Alli’s own uncle, the billionaire lobbyist Henry Carson. And yet nothing is what it seems.

What follows is a treacherous journey that leads Jack and Alli into a complex web of lies and deceit. Using Jack’s unique gifts to see the through the labyrinth of manipulation, their investigation leads them into the dark heart of the international slave trade, tied to a powerful Albanian crime lord whose ability and influence in global terrorism grows with each day.

The two find themselves in the crosshairs of vast global enterprise, one that lurks in the shadows of power and has infiltrated Washington and their lives in ways neither of them could ever have imagined. And hidden deep among it all sits a terrifying criminal mastermind, someone fueled by a hatred that can never be quenched, and a mind that knows neither feeling nor mercy.

Sometimes the weakness we fear most can become our greatest strength . . .

Jack McClure has had a troubled life. His dyslexia always made him feel like an outsider. He escaped from an abusive home as a teenager and lived by his wits on the streets of Washington D.C. It wasn’t until he realized that dyslexia gave him the ability to see the world in unique ways that he found success, using this newfound strength to become a top ATF agent.

When a terrible accident takes the life of his only daughter, Emma, and his marriage falls apart, Jack blames himself, numbing the pain by submerging himself in work. Then he receives a call from his old friend Edward Carson. Carson is just weeks from taking the reins as President of the United States when his daughter, Alli, is kidnapped. Because Emma McClure was once Alli’s best friend, Carson turns to Jack, the one man he can trust to go to any lengths to find his daughter and bring her home safely.

The search for Alli leads Jack on a road toward reconciliation . . . and into the path of a dangerous and calculating man. Someone whose actions are as cold as they are brilliant. Whose power and reach are seemingly infinite.

Faith, redemption, and political intrigue play off one another as McClure uses his unique abilities to journey into the twisted mind of a stone cold genius who is constantly one step ahead of him. Jack will soon discover that this man has affected his life and his country in more ways than he could ever imagine.

Check out Last Snow, which is now in paperback release.

New York Times bestselling sensation Eric Van Lustbader created the legendary Nicholas Linnear of The Ninja and brought Jason Bourne into the twenty-first century. Last year, in First Daughter, Lustbader introduced street-smart ATF agent Jack McClure, who saved the President’s daughter from a criminal mastermind.

When an American senator who is supposed to be in the Ukraine turns up dead on the island of Capri, the President asks McClure to investigate. Jack sets out from Moscow across Eastern Europe, following a perilous trail of diplomats, criminals, and corrupt politicians. His task is complicated by two unlikely, unexpected, and incompatible companions---Annika, a rogue Russian FSB agent, and Alli, the President’s daughter.

Thrust into the midst of a global jigsaw puzzle, Jack’s unique dyslexic mind allows him to put together the pieces that others can’t even see. As he struggles to keep both young women safe and uncover the truth behind the senator’s death, Jack learns just how far up the American and Russian political ladders corruption and treachery have reached.

How to Do Everything and Be Happy

Are you unhappy with your life? Do you wish that you could take a happy pill and things would magically be like sunshine and rainbows? Well it can be. Ok, so maybe not really but you do deserve to be happy. We all do!

In author, Peter Jones book, How to Do Everything and Be Happy, Mr. Jones helps provide you with the tools to make some changes in your life and start doing the things you want to do and not what you have to do. First off, I do want to warn you that Mr. Jones does not make you promises or try to preach to you, he only shares with you his experiences and what he did that helped make a difference. What you decide to do with this information in this book is up to you. I can tell you though that I was not finished reading this book and already I was talking to my co-worker about it.

In this book, Mr. Jones breaks out into different topics. The first is General Unhappiness. He explains how important it really is to have a even Work/Life balance. One of the saying in the book that I liked was “Everything will be alright in the end. If it’s not alright, it’s not the end.” Mr. Jones shares that when his wife was alive, he and her would have their own “Boxing Day”. This is the day, when they would do whatever they wanted…unplanned. This is the key to Boxing day…whatever you want to do have to be unplanned. There are three rules to having you own “Boxing Day”.
Rule 1 –no pre planning
Rule 2 plan the date
Rule 3 you can move the day but you can not cancel it

How to Do Everything and Be Happy is an insightful book. I think everyone should check out.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Talking with author, Joel Fox

Unable to close his previous case against the Monument Bomber, Senior FBI Special Agent Zane Rigby has been re-assigned to uncover a secret. Is Abraham Lincoln's body in his grave? When DNA from a hand found with a blackmail note traced back to 1901 matches the DNA from bone taken at Lincoln's autopsy, Rigby is shuffled off to Springfield, Illinois where all manner of obstacles threaten his success. He discovers a local congressman hiding a dreaded secret, a strange doctor who claims he can perform medical miracles, and his own ill-timed urge to rekindle a relationship with his college sweetheart. And then there is the dead body of a young woman found near Lincoln's Tomb. As the Monument Bomber threatens to strike again, Rigby searches for redemption in solving the murder and discovering the secret buried in Lincoln's Tomb.

Location, Location...Location.

They say that criminals often revisit the scene of the crime and I had that sense of returning to where it all happened when I went back to the place where a major portion of my first mystery novel, Lincoln’s Hand, is set: Springfield, Illinois.

The reason for my concern -- now that the book is out, I wondered if I messed up anything with the location. My novel came out six years after my last fact-finding trip to Springfield. A lot can change in six years. Did I remember everything correctly? Did streets become one-ways? What about the train depot in the near-by town of Lincoln, Illinois, up the road from Springfield, where I set a scene … were the railroad cars moved away for a more modern building?

On my return to Springfield, I was to speak in the evening at the city library– called the Lincoln Library, naturally. I had done research at the library six years before. In Lincoln’s Hand, I had set some scenes in the library as my protagonist, FBI agent Zane Rigby was chasing down clues. One particularly important scene was in a special collection room of the library known as the Sangamon Valley Collection. I assumed that this room must still be there.

But when I arrived at the library at midday and went up the main staircase to the second floor I couldn’t find the room! There was an open space with many study carrels and tables. I panicked.

I had highlighted the page in my book to read that night in which the scene took place in the Sangamon Valley Collection Room. Had the library been remodeled to make room for more tables? What was I going to say?

Muttering to myself, I began walking down the stairs when I had a revelation. Could the collection room be on the third floor? I didn’t think so but turned around and headed up to check.

There, to my great relief, was the room, pretty much as I remembered it.

But what about the pictures on a near-by wall that depicted Abraham Lincoln from various stages of his life in Illinois? I had described them in the book. I checked. They were still there. Good.

That night, I spoke to a gathering at the library and included my story of concern that the pictures would no longer be posted. (I was too embarrassed to admit I misplaced the room.) A librarian told me that the pictures had been donated by a former mayor who had passed-on and the pictures would soon be gone, too.

Apparently, I published just in the nick of time.

But it has me thinking, over the course of writing a book, which is set in an area that the author does not reside, how often should the writer check back to see that everything is as he or she remembers? In some cases, books take years to write. As we all know, many changes can occur in that time.

It is the author’s duty to get the facts and locations right. Therefore the writer should follow up to keep up with changes. With the use of modern technology that is easier than it once was. But there are occasions where old-fashion phone calls or a return trip to the site might be called for.

As I prepare for my next book I will keep this in mind. Problem is, I have an important scene in a place I probably won’t get to: Cocos Island three hundred miles off of Costa Rica. Google Earth will have to do.

What do you think, is it too risky using real but remote settings for a novel when the work could take a long time to complete?

Joel Fox likes to say he has a long rap sheet in California politics. For three decades he has been a taxpayer and small business advocate, served on numerous state commissions, worked on many ballot issue campaigns, and advised numerous candidates, including Arnold Schwarzenegger in the historic gubernatorial recall election of 2003. He is an adjunct professor at the Graduate School of Public Policy at Pepperdine University.

Fox has authored hundreds of opinion pieces for many publications including the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Los Angeles Times, and San Francisco Chronicle, as well as his well-respected blog on California business and politics, Fox and Hounds Daily.

His non-fiction works include a book, The Legend of Proposition 13, about California’s most famous ballot measure, and a chapter in the book, What Baseball Means to Me, sanctioned by the Baseball Hall of Fame.

In 2008, Fox completed the Los Angeles FBI Citizens Academy program gaining a deeper understanding of the FBI and its mission.

Fox grew up in Massachusetts. He says he got his love for history breathing the air in the Boston area, daily driving past the homes of the presidents Adams and visiting many historical sites.