Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Book of Summers is a must summer read!


My review

When Beth was just nine years old, she and her father left their mother, Marika in Hungary and returned to England. Marika told Beth that Hungary was her home.Beth was devasted. However, Beth was able to visit her mother every summer.Beth and Marika looked forward to these summers. They shared laughes, love, and heartache. This changed when during one summer, Beth learned a secret that her mother had been keeping from her. A secret that tore them apart forever.


The Book of Summers is Mrs. Hall's debut novel. I have to say after reading this book, I can not wait to see what Mrs. Hall has in story next. This book read more like Mrs. Hall's third or fourth book then her first. I started this book last night and about an hour and a half later I was finished. The Book of Summers reads like an old friend/journal then just a book. The Book of Summers is a must summer read!

I found Marika to be the star of this story. Her hippy ways and carefree living made me smile. I like that she encouraged Beth to act like a kid which included getting in trouble. Beth grew as the summers pasted. She enjoyed life more when she was vising her mother in Hungary. This is what I liked the most about younger Beth. The older Beth had forgotten about life and was kind of bitter. When Marika's secret was revealed, I could understand on one hand why Beth acted the way she did but on the other hand, I thought she over reacted. Mrs. Hall make Hungary a magical place. A place that I want to visit now after reading this book.


Writing Family by Emylia Hall

A friend of mine recently told me that as she was reading The Book of Summers she couldn’t help picturing me as Beth Lowe, even though she knew she wasn’t supposed to. I guess this is because at first glance the novel appears more autobiographical than it really is. I grew up in Devon, with an English father and a Hungarian mother – as does Beth. And I often travelled to Hungary as a child – as does Beth. I was always conscious of these obvious parallels when writing.

Rarely do ideas fall from the sky - the impetus to write has to originate from somewhere and for me the triggers lay in my own past. But rather than feeling strait-jacketed by this I revelled in it; not only did I feel as though I was writing with authenticity, I enjoyed the aspect of time-travel the process gave me. I’m a nostalgic kind of person, and to be able to weave my precious memories into a fictitious story, to create something new from something old, was a real joy. While the emotional storyline is one of pure fiction, many of the settings, sights and colours of Hungary stem from personal experience, and the inspirations behind the characters do partly lie with my own family. The mild-mannered Englishman David and the fiery Hungarian Marika are, on balance, much-exaggerated versions of my own parents.

My mother has always felt a strong connection with the country of her roots, but when we were children she would never have deserted or uprooted us to go and live there. Likewise my father is of a mellow disposition, but he’s not weak-willed like David. I could say that their similarities begin and end at a very basic, roughly sketched level, however I’ll let you in on a few secrets.

Marika’s infectious enthusiasm for the start of a new day comes from my mother. I’ve never known anyone sing out ‘good morning’ with such obvious delight. And the same goes for her love of wild flowers and nature; the excited spotting of a frog in the lane, a zig-zagging dragonfly or a clutch of new primroses – I wrote this spirit into Marika too.

David and Erzsi share several tender, domesticated moments together, one of which, is the gathering of mushrooms. When I was small my father and I would occasionally get up early and go looking for mushrooms in the woods behind our house. Upon our return he’d cook them for us, served simply on toast. This stands out in my memory, because he rarely ventured into the kitchen otherwise, nor did we go for many walks in the dawn light. And there is also something of my father in Zolt·n too, the easy-going artist, with his paint-splashed apron and stained fingers.

To me these small details – of which there are many more - lie like buried treasure in the story, and invest it with a real depth of personal significance.

As to Beth, I’ve often wondered whether in the same situation and faced with upheaval and seeming betrayal, I would behave as she does. I understand and I sympathise with her, but I like to think my own response would perhaps be more measured; although, without being really tested, which of us can ever truly say?

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Strike: The Hero from the Sky


Review by Dorothy

High school is a place of wondrous and dramatic events for most teenagers. Being a Senior makes that all the more exciting and fearful. After all your life will forever change after graduation, right? What to do, go to college, get a job, or coast for a while are the most difficult choices to make, right? But what if things do not work out that way and you wake up one day, someplace unfamiliar and scary; and you are pretty sure that you are going insane?


Strike: The Hero from the Sky takes us on an exciting rollercoaster ride in another world. A world where you are chased by T-Rex like lizards and evil robots, just because of who your father is. A world where your best friend is a 6 foot talking, beer drinking Siberian Husky. A world that shows you that you are no ordinary teenage boy, but a true SUPERHERO, like your father before you.

I truly was not sure about this book, after all alternate worlds have been done over and over again. However, Charlie Wood’s book not only starts from a different view point, but takes you on a journey that every teenage boy and a few girls, would love. After all what boy would not love finding out that they are the son of a Superhero, much less that they are also a Super Hero? I found this to be a truly enjoyable book and recommend it to any and all, especially if you have ever dreamed of being a Super Hero!

Purchase a copy here

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Most Wanted: Pursuing Whitey Bulger: The Murderous Mob Chief the FBI Secretly Protected



My Review

I must admit that I have never hear of Whitey Bulger until I read this book. This is probably a good thing. This means that one I don't keep up with the FBI's Most Wanted List and two that I have never had a run in with Mr. Bulger. After reading this book, it will change your mind about the FBI. I know it did for me. I mean I know the FBI has their secrets and some of them probably not good and we the public might not want to know about it but after hearing what they did to Mr. Foley, I was upset. Mr. Foley was the hero in this story. He stuck to his guns and it was like he was not only fighting to take down Bulger but also stop the other bad guys...FBI. Only Mr. Foley did not learn that they were the bad guys until later.


I liked that I got to know who Mr. Foley was and how he advanced in his career. Usually I don't care of this in a nonfiction novel unless the book is about the author, who is writing it. Then I just want to know about the person featured in the story. Getting to know Mr. Foley was as much as part of the story as to how Mr. Foley helped to bring Bulger to justice. Bulger was also a very smart man. He knew what he was doing and how to play the game of war. He studied all the combat moves including his opponents. This is what made him dangerous and why he eventually lead to becoming suspect number one on the FBI's Most Wanted List. While, I did enjoy this book as it felt like Mr. Foley did not leave anything out. I did skim the book a few times to make it move faster. Although, if you like reading true crime novels that do have a happy ending, then you should check out this book. This is a book that the FBI probably does not want you to read as you can imagine why.


James Joseph "Whitey" Bulger, Jr. (born September 3, 1929) is a former organized crime figure from Boston, Massachusetts. Local folklore depicted Bulger as a Robin Hood–style social bandit dedicated to protecting the neighborhood and its residents Bulger allegedly masterminded a protection racket targeting drug kingpins and those running illegal gambling operations. Based upon the testimony of former associates, Federal prosecutors have indicted Bulger for 19 murders.

Beginning in 1975, Bulger served as an informant for the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). As a result, the Bureau largely ignored his organization in exchange for information about the inner workings of the Italian American Patriarca crime family. Beginning in 1997, the New England media exposed criminal actions by federal, state, and local law enforcement officials tied to Bulger. For the FBI especially, this has caused great embarrassment. On December 23, 1994, after being tipped off by his former FBI handler about a pending indictment under the RICO Act, Bulger fled Boston and went into hiding. For sixteen years, he remained at large. For twelve of those years, Bulger was prominently listed on the FBI Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list.
The Whitey trial is scheduled to begin November 5, 2012.




Monday, May 28, 2012

Strindberg's Star and Giveaway


My Review

The year was 1897. Nils Strindberg traveled with several companions. Their balloon crashed in the North Pole during the Andree Expedition. What they left behind to this day still has people searching.


Erik Hall was checking out pictures of other mine explorers. One that had Erik's attention was of two women who went cave diving near where Erik lives. Erik decided to go explore the cave for himself. He finds more than he bargained for with a dead body. The body is holding an ankh.

Don Titelman is a religious symbol expert. He is the perfect person to investigate the mystery surround the ankh. Don is joined by his lawyer, Eva Strand.

This book did grab my attention in tbe beginning. This was a good and bad thing. Good as that meant, I was intrigued by the story but bad because I started it right before I went to bed. The suspense of what Erik would find down in the mind shaft was enough to keep me awake.

Don became the main man in this story. I had mixed feelings about him. On one hand, he was smart and did not lose his cool under pressure but on the other hand, he lacked a big personality. He did not jump off the pages at me. He is more like someone that slowly grows on you the more you spend time with him and get to know him.

Also, I felt that the mystery behind the ankh could have used the intensity button cranked up several mroe levels. It was alright but lacking some in action and intrigue. Also, it felt too drawn out. I started to grow bored and found myself at times skimming the book. Mr. Wallentin did a nice job incorporating the three story lines into one another. Overall, I would suggest this book to some of my friends. It had good potential. I am interested to see what Mr. Wallentin comes out with next.

A conversation with Jan Wallentin

Author of STRINDBERG’S STAR

Viking; On-Sale: May 28, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-670-02240-3; $26.95; 336 Pages

Q. Strindberg’s Star is a roaring adventure—can you tell us where your very first ideas for the novel came from?

A. Well, it’s very hard to pinpoint something in particular as the inspiration, writing a book is such a long and winding process I discovered.

However, my intention was to create an irresistible story of suspense that would have a strong forward-momentum without using a lot of violence and blood. Instead, I wanted to write something that would be completely unpredictable; where the reader wouldn’t even be able to know what kind of genre he or she was reading. It would take off as your usual crime story, a whodunit with all the common ingredients, and then after about fifty pages, the story would switch into a sort of Hitchcock-thriller—an innocent man being accused of a crime he did not commit, being on the run. After that, it would develop into an adventure story, a search for an ancient artifact, and then again shift into something completely different.

I also wanted to write about historical topics where the reader would have a hard time to distinguish between what were facts and what was indeed pure fiction and lies. Getting into the bizarre world of the Nazi esoteric and the Andrée Arctic balloon expedition of 1897 suited this purpose perfectly, I thought.

Q. Your book is brimming with many ideas, ranging from Nazis and Norse mythology to the Strindberg expedition. Of the plot points in your book, which ones stem from your own personal interests? And which ones required you to do the most research?

A. The most difficult thing writing this book was to make all these very different ideas and topics come together in a natural way, supporting and enriching each other and keeping the reader’s suspension of disbelief.

Personally I have always been very interested in the Arctic balloon expedition of 1897, it has such a romantic quality, being very much like a Jules Verne-novel in real life: three Swedish men trying to sail by the mercy of the winds to the North Pole.

The mastermind of this expedition, Andrée, had only piloted a balloon nine times before the take off. Nils Strindberg, a close relative of the great Swedish author August Strindberg, had no arctic experience at all, besides skiing around Djurgården in central Stockholm. The balloon they used had never flown before the actual takeoff, and the technique of steering this craft had never worked out. Yet they went.

Researching this and the occult world of the Nazi movement was probably the most time consuming effort, but also very interesting.

Q. Strindberg’s Star takes the reader to many exotic locales. Have you been to many of those places mentioned in the book? Which destination would be your favorite?

. Some of the places in the book I have taken many liberties with, the German town and castle of Wewelsburg is one example of that. Other places that I have visited, like the Belgian city of Ieper are very accurate, though I wouldn’t advise a reader to have Strindberg’s star as a travel guide. My favorite research destination would have been a cruise to the North Pole of course, but that was unfortunately quite beyond my budget.

Q. Are there any authors of works in particular that were influential in your development as a writer or in the early stages of writing Strindberg’s Star?

A. I’m very much a film person, and one source of inspiration writing Strindberg’s star was the movies of Quentin Tarrantino. In works like Kill Bill and Pulp Fiction Tarrantino plays around with and is able to transform a lot of worn out clichés in a very elegant fashion, and I find his work inventive and interesting.

Among the authors that were important inspiration for writing Strindberg’s Star, Jules Verne, Peter Hoeg, Haruki Murakami … it just goes on and on.

Q. What was your reaction when the book started gaining steam in Sweden, eventually becoming a bestseller? And then when the rights sold in so many other countries?

A. Basically I didn’t know anything about the book market and I was extremely surprised, because I thought that Strindberg’s Star was a bit too odd and twisted to become a bestseller, and in Sweden especially the readers are extremely fond of traditional crime stories – not wild adventures. Then, when the rights were sold in about twenty countries in a blink of an eye I was suddenly blessed with the opportunity to write full time, and that truly is a wonderful gift.

Q. Your main protagonist, Don Titelman, is made to cope with some very serious demons. What was the thought process behind giving him such complexity?

A. I knew from the beginning that writing this book, containing so many references to the Nazi esoteric, I needed a protagonist with a very strong personal connection to the real history of Nazi war crimes and the Holocaust, otherwise the story just wouldn’t work.

In addition, I have always been very fond of anti-heroes, and Don Titelman is very much that, he is the anti-Robert Langdon of The Da Vinci Code if you will. He is a guilt ridden, broken character that basically by chance gets drawn into this great conspiracy, triggering a chain of events which to him turns out to be a total nightmare. I really love this character, and I’m so sorry that I had to put him through hell writing this book.


Q. What’s next for you? Will you be working on a new book anytime soon . . . perhaps featuring Don Titelman?

A. Sadly, right now I’m working on a new novel with a very different theme, so Don Titelman will have to wait for a while anyway. Actually, I think that Strindberg’s Star contains about everything that I have to say about the Nazi esoteric, the Arctic, the underworld and Mr, Don Titelman … but then again, who knows?



TOUR DATES FOR JAN WALLENTIN:



Tuesday, June 5 / Decatur, GA / Eagle Eye Bookshop @ 7 PM

Wednesday, June 6 / Portland, OR / Powell’s Books (Cedar Hills Crossing) @ 7 PM

Thursday, June 7 / Los Angles, CA / Book Soup @ 7 PM

Friday, June 8 / San Diego, CA / Mysterious Galaxy @ 7 PM

Sunday, June 10 / Chicago, IL / Printer’s Row Book Lit Fest

 


I have a copy of this book to giveaway to one winner. US and Canada only. Just leave a comment with your email address. Contest ends June 10th.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

8 Apps Every Writer Should Have


If you’re tired of your Moleskine and think that Microsoft Word is for laughable tech dinosaurs, consider going mobile with your writing. With non-verbal communication becoming the norm in today’s fast-paced, tech-forward world, there are many new tools designed to help you get the most out of your writing time, and, indeed, your words. If you’re struck with inspiration when you’re on the go, at least one of these eight essential apps should be available at your fingertips. Beware, wannabe writers! Once you’ve downloaded any or all of these tools, you’ll have less of an excuse to say that you "just can’t find the time" to write. For professionals and amateurs alike, these eight mobile-friendly writing apps are great assets to your toolkit.







With all the clutter and noise out there keeping you from doing your best writing, there exists an app that silences all red underlines and dings until the time is write um, right. Boasting a "clean" user interface, "intuitive workflow," and hidden editing options that only show up when you’re ready, Clean Writer is good for both beginning and advanced mobile writers. If you’ve got ideas to map and brainstorming to do, Clean Writer is an easy and functional tool for keeping yourself both organized and optimized.



 


It’s an industry standard, and there’s no question why. If you already use the word-processing application on your desktop Mac, you’ll be ready to go mobile with Pages in no time. The no-frills word processor allows for distraction free writing, and has cross-platform functionality that makes it truly a writer’s greatest tool.


 


Story Tracker is an app that keeps track of your story submissions and pitches, and it’s a great tool for professionals and amateurs alike. Available in both paid and free versions, the creator of the app is intimately involved in transparently tracking sales, usage, and responding to feedback with important functionality updates. With the exception of guaranteeing that you’ll soon see your name in lights (or, in print, as it were), there’s not much you can’t do (or find help with) if you’re using Story Tracker.



To read about the rest of the apps, click here.

Kill You Twice is a one seat read and just might keep you up at night clutching a knife in one hand while you read this book in the other!



There is a serial killer on the loose. The killer is leaving a trail of chopped up bodies. Detective Archie Sheridan is on the case. He is joined by his partner, Henry and reporter, Susan, who Archie saved in The Night Season.

Archie receives a phone call from Gretchen's doctor. Gretchen is a patient in the Oregon State Mental Hospital. Her doctor says that Gretchen states she has a daughter and Archie needs to save her. At first Archie believes this is another of Gretchen's tricks but he can not resist checking into it.

Kill You Twice is book five of Gretchen Lowell books. So glad to see Gretchen again. Just like Archie, she has cast a spell over me and I can not get enough of her. I like that she was featured more in this book than the last one. She has a presence that captivates your attention. The way she described her first kill with no emotions was creepy. I really liked that in this book, I got to know more about who the "real" Gretchen is and what started her on her killed spree. The best scenes were the ones involving Gretchen and Archie. They have this great chemistry in a sick and twisted way. While, Gretchen still has power over Archie; he was getting stronger and finally starting to have a life again. It was also good to see Henry and his relationship with Clarie blossoming.

Susan has grown on me. I like her spunk. I don't know where her relationship with Leo will go but I hope that they can work things out. I think Leo is a good guy, even with his secrets. I would like to get to know more about him as well. The ending made me happy because I know the next book will be really good. The only down fall with this book was that now I have to wait for the next one. Kill You Twice is a one seat read and just might keep you up at night clutching a knife in one hand while you read this book in the other!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Eyes of Justice brings some hard hitting punches and answers back!



Cassidy is a crime reporter. She was just finishing up before she joined her friends, Nicole, FBI Agent and Allison, federal prosecutor for dinner and drinks. Cassidy receives a hot tip. It involves her ex and dirty cops. Cassidy agrees to meet the caller. It seems that Cassidy is on to something as the hot tip turns into something bigger than the Triple Threat group can handle alone. They relay on help from Private Investigator, Olivia.

Eyes of Justice is book four of the Triple Threat books. I was hooked by this series when I read book one, Face of Betrayal. I have grown to really like Cassidy, Niicole and Allison. It is like I am an honorary member of their group. After the bomb dropped in this book to the Triple Threat group, I was momentary shocked. I had to re-read the scence to double check that what I was reading really happened. This does not typically happen to me in a book that I get this invested with the characters or series. These books are quick reads.

I thought that the Triple Threat group did a good job of banding together. The action was non stop. The break out star for me though was Olivia. She was smart as a tack and quick on her feet. She brought a new prospective to the group and I liked that. I felt that Olivia was the one that solved the mystery and Allison and Nicole were kind of along for the ride. I hope that she does stay and she would make a good addition to the Triple Threat. I can not wait to read the next book. Eyes of Justice brings some hard hitting punches and answers back!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Paul Levine and the SOLOMON VS. Lord Series Giveaway

Mr. Levine has reissued all of his books in Kindle editions. In celebration of this, I have a copy of the first book Solomon VS. Lord to giveaway (ebook edition). Leave your email address and a winner will be picked on June 5th.


SOLOMON VS. LORD SERIES


In creating his main characters, Levine relied on 17 years practicing law...and his three marriages. Steve Solomon and Victoria Lord are combative Florida lawyers who love/hate each other and can't agree on "good morning." But life sizzles when they're together and fizzles when they're apart. A Coral Gables blueblood, Victoria plays by the book. A Coconut Grove beach bum, Steve ignores the rules in favor of Solomon's Laws. Together, the two make a surprisingly good trial team, although there's always the chance they'll kill each other while the jury is still out.

Solomon vs. Lord: Trial lawyer Victoria Lord, who follows every rule, and Steve Solomon, who makes up his own, bicker and banter as they defend a beautiful young woman, accused of killing her wealthy, older husband.


· The Deep Blue Alibi: Solomon and Lord come together – and fly apart – defending Victoria’s “Uncle Grif” on charges he killed a man with a speargun. It’s a case set in the Florida Keys with side trips to coral reefs and a nudist colony where all is more –and less – than it seems.

· Kill All the Lawyers: Just what did Steve Solomon do to infuriate ex-client and ex-con “Dr. Bill?” Did Solomon try to lose the case in which the TV shrink was charged in the death of a woman patient?

· Habeas Porpoise (formerly titled Trial & Error): It starts with the kidnapping of a pair of trained dolphins and turns into a murder trial with Solomon and Lord on opposite sides after Victoria is appointed a special prosecutor, and fireworks follow!






You have nothing to lose but yourself in a good book with The Hunger Angel.



Leo Auberg was just seventeen when two policemen went from house to house with a list. They were rounding up people to take them to a prison camp in the Soviet Union. Leo traveled by train to the camp. Once there, he spent five grueling years in the camp. Although, Leo did not know it yet, he would have a companion with him. HIs companion would be known as the "hunger angel".


Ms. Muller is a profilic writer. She described in much detail the hunger that Leo was experiencing. I wuld have to say though that the "hunger angel" felt more like a shadow or demon then an angel. The "angel' was always around Leo poking into his brain or teasing him with the many layers of hunger.

Leo started out on the quiet side but as the story progressed, he became a strong voice and good narrator. Speaking of good voices, I thought that Philip Boehm did a nice job of translating Ms. Muller's words on page in English. This is not an easy task. I have read several books that have been translated and you can tell there was a struggle. Not to say that the translator did not do a good job as there is a fine line between trying to translate the author's story and not take away anything from the story. With this book, I felt like nothing was missing from the story and in fact, I agree with some of the other readers that the story read poetic at times. This book is worth your time and money to check out. You have nothing to lose but yourself in a good book with The Hunger Angel.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Between You and Me



Logan has just celebrated her twenty seventh birthday. It was not anything to really cheer about. Logan kind of has a boring life. This probably would explain why she does not think twice when she receives an offer she can not refuse. Logan's cousin, Kelsey is a celebrity. She is going to join Kelsey on tour as her assistant. Logan will be in for the ride of her life.


I was intrigued to want to read this book. When I read the words Britney Spears, I admit that caught my attention. This book did not keep my attention. I wanted to like it more than I did. I probably could have liked this book better if most of the other characters did not rub me the wrong way or were more exciting. Logan started out a mouse but by the end of the book she had grown into a woman. Kelsey, I actually felt sorry for. I did not expect to as I thought she was going to be protrayed as self-centered but she bleeds like the rest of us. She was lost in a world of purple haze. For anyone who thought being a celebrity assistant sounds like fun, than you should check out this book. It is not all fun and games. In fact it can be a thankless job. The only real perk that Logan got was that Kelsey was her cousin and she did meet a nice guy. Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus do make a good duo. They write seamlessly that I can not tell where one ends and the next one picks up the story.
 
Purchase a copy here

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Never Knowing



Sara Gallagher has knew she was adopted and wondered who her parents were and why did they giv her up. Sara decides to search for her birth parents. Sara's fiance, Evan backs Sara up.


Sara finds her birth mother but she wants nothing to do with her. Sara learns the truth. Her mother was the only survivor of the Campsite Killer. Sara's birth mother may not want anything to do with Sara but her father does and he is reaching out to her.

I was excited to read this book after reading, Still Missing. While, this book was not as good, it was still an ejoyable read. My biggest problem was that I felt the story moved slowly and it could have ended about a hundred pages less than it ended up to be.

Again, I did like the concept of the main character, Sara talking to someone as the story unfolds. It makes me feel more involved with the story and the characters. I wanted Sara to have more depth. What I mean by this is that she kind of just went with the flow and did what the police told her to do. I wanted her to actually freak out and scream to show that she was human. I did agree with Sara's dad that I felt that she was being mean to Evan. He was just trying to help and she wanted nothing to do with him. The ending was not as shocking as you could see where it was leading to. Still do like Mrs. Stevens's writing and plan to check out her next book.
 
Purchase a copy here
 

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Soft Target



Ray Cruz was a Marine. He is trying to adjust to cilivan life. It is Christmas time. Ray and his friend, Molly are shopping. So are tons of other people on this day. People ae in a jolly mood and children are having fun sitting n Santa's lap, telling him their wish list. Suddenly, a shot is fired. Santa's brains go splattering. Soon people start to realize what has happened and panic arupts. People go screaming. More shots are fired. Terrorists come out from every direction. They gather people up as hostages. Ray, Molly and several others are hiding in a store on one of the upper levels. Ray knows that he must do something to try and stop the terrorists before the mall ends up a slaughter house.

Soft Target is book one of the Ray Cruz novels. Ray was a stand out in this book. His military back ground helped him in this situation. He was cool under pressure. While, I did like Ray, it was not enough to sustain me into really liking this book. The opening scene of this book when the first shot was fired and panic ensued had my attention and I could feel the intensity levels get high. Although, they were short lived. The terrorists were alright. I kind of grew tried of all of the polictics that were brought into the story. There was a lot more dialogue than there was action. The ending I felt was a bit of a let down. There was suppose to be all this built up hype about why the terrorists invaded the amll and killed all these people and when the reveal was made and the master mind behind it all was uncovered, the big climax moment was over fairly quickly. This book is a quick read.
 

Astor + Blue

I got an email from a contact that I have worked with previously. His name is Tony and he just started up Astor + Blue.

Here is some information about the company from their website. Like them on facebook for the latest information and updates.

ABOUT A+B


DIGITAL PUBLISHING. CLASSIC PUBLISHER

Astor +Blue Editions is an innovative “Digital First” Publisher dedicated to producing the highest quality ebooks and custom print editions by leveraging the very latest in digital technology. We do not merely publish books, we E-LAUNCH them through a long term, proactive marketing program that features the best of traditional, mass and emerging new media outreach. In short: We maximize each book’s readership and keep it alive indefinitely.


WHAT IS “DIGITAL FIRST” PUBLISHING?


The Publishing World is not changing, it has changed. At A+B, we’ve embraced that change, and are constantly seeking out—and fearlessly trying—new ways to serve readers and authors in this new world. This is the essence of Digital First Publishing.

On the surface, Digital First Publishing involves releasing alternative electronic formats of titles (like ebooks) first, even before its print edition counterpart. But beneath this simple equation, lies the overarching commitment (and courage) to serve book lovers in innovative new ways—while preserving the heart of what makes great literature great: Good ideas, unique voices and wonderful writing. (And yes, good old-fashioned entertainment value).

Digital First Publishing is still relatively new, and thanks to the technological revolution, there are still many undiscovered frontiers in the publishing world to explore. And so, we invite you to take the journey and explore with us. Or, if you’re already exploring, we ask you to allow us to accompany you.

We hope you enjoy the electronic book’s contribution to your overall reading experience.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Everybody's Daughter




Review by Dorothy

What do you do after returning to the 21st Century from the 1st Century and living in the time and places of Jesus Christ to living in our modern world? Does this experience change your outlook on modern times and your behavior to your fellow man? Do you keep looking for ways to go back and try to actually talk to Jesus or do you make the best of your life in the here and now? If you were able to go back and talk to him, what would you ask him? If he was able to help you talk to loved ones you have lost, would you ask them for forgiveness? If you were asked, would you give up your happiness to see someone else happy?


These are a few of the things that Michael Stewart has to confront. Along with raising his teenage daughter alone, he is a torn man and haunted by the things he could have and should have done. Then the portal opens up for him again and he takes the opportunity to go back to Jerusalem, back to see Jesus and to talk to him about his lost wife and possibly take his new love, Leah, back to the modern world. Unknown to him, his daughter, Elizabeth follows him, but ends up in a slightly different time than her father. When he returns to our world, he is the focus of a police investigation into her disappearance and they think that he has hurt her in some way as well.

While time travel is not a new concept for writers, this is a fresh and very different look at the possibilities of time travel. I do not generally read books with any religious theme to them, they tend to be preachy, But I was VERY impressed with this book. It made me stop and think many times and wonder what I would do if I had been in the same shoes as the Michael Stewart. I found this to be a well written and profoundly deep and thoughtful book. I recommend this book to anyone, even if you are not a religious person.



Michael John Sullivan graduated from St. John's University with a communications degree and a promising future in the field of journalism after working for the official school paper the previous two years. Six months later, he found himself washing his hair in a toilet at the same university as he prepared for a job interview. He was homeless at the age of 23 after first watching his mother ─ his protector in a dysfunctional family ─ die from cancer. A year later his father asked him to leave. Riding a New York City subway train at night, his only companion was a green plastic bag of belongings. During these bleak days he began writing his most reflective and emotional childhood and adult memories now featured in two of his novels.

On a bitterly cold New Year's Eve that year, Sullivan intentionally hid under a pew in the back of a church to stay warm for the night. After the doors were locked, he lay near a makeshift manger, writing and talking to the baby Jesus. It was a cathartic experience, one that would continue to resonate with him years later. He was eventually rescued by an aunt and uncle. After spending much of the past two decades raising their daughters while working at home, Sullivan returned to his notes in 2007 and began writing Necessary Heartbreak: A Novel of Faith and Forgiveness. It was published by Simon & Schuster's Gallery Books imprint in April 2010. The Library Journal named Necessary Heartbreak as one of the year's best in Christian fiction for 2010.

He recently finished the sequel, Everybody's Daughter, featuring more memories from his young adult life, including the day he walked to Forest Park as he contemplated taking his own life. Only the strains of a song prevented him from doing the unthinkable. Sullivan lives with his family in New York. He is a nominated board member for the Long Island Coalition of the Homeless.

http://www.michaeljohnsullivan.com/

Check out The Lifeboat before it sails off the book shelves!


The year is 1914.


Grace and her newly married husband, Henry boarded the Empress Alexandra. They were heading from the Atlantic to America. Things were going well until the cruise liner starting sinking like another famous cruise ship, the Titanic. Henry saves Grace and ensures that she gets a seat in a life boat. This is just the beginning of the rest of Grace's life.

Some of Grace's boat mates include John Hardie, one of Empress Alexandra's ship mates and Mrs. Grant, a bossy woman. As each passing day goes by, some people will die. Who will be left? Grace survives but what she has to experience afterwards, she may wish she had died in the ocean.

I was entralled by this book. Grace was such a good narrator. I fell for her as a person. This is very important in a story like this. Where there is not a lot of action and the whole time the characters are stuck in a boat in the middle of the ocean. The story has to be character driven. Which it was. I actually did not care so much about Grace and Henry's story and how they met, so much as I did the current story, where Grace was trying to survive in the life boat. It was like I was sitting next to her in the boat. Charlotte Rogan. did a good job with her first book. I will be keeping an eye on her. Check out The Lifeboat before it sails off the book shelves!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

I dedicate The Rock Star in Seat 3A to anyone who dared to dream or having a fling with a rock star!


Hazel is a major video gameaholic. This is perfect as she works for Badass Games. Their greatest claim to fame is Pimps N; Ho's. Hazel is going out to LA to coordinate the release party of Pimps N' Ho's, Volume 5. Hazel has a good job and a great boyfriend in Wylie. Wylie is a chef. Hazel loves to eat and thus she is the perfect taste tester for Wylie's food.


During a game with friends, they shared if they had a "pass" from their partner, who would they have sex with. For Hazel, this is a no brainer. Finn Schiller, lead singer of The Void. Hzael has the opportunity to make her dream come true, when during her flight to LA, she is seated next to Finn in the flesh. What is a girl to do when a rock star wants to jump her bones.

I dedicate The Rock Star in Seat 3A to anyone who dared to dream or having a fling with a rock star! Book your ticket for The Rock Star in Seat 3A. I liked this book a lot. I wanted to be mad at Hazel for hooking up with Finn and leaving Wylie as he was a sweet heart but I could not stay mad at Hazel. Finn was also a gentleman. He is not what you would first expect from his persona. Finn treated Hazel like a goddess. They were so dorky together, that they made a good match. Plus, I could never be upset with Hazel as she makes up for her imperfections with her snarkiness, which I love. I will be checking out more books by Jill Kargman.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Heartsick for Chelsea Cain





Last night I was on Twitter and friend and blogger Tara Gelsomino mentioned that FX had greenlit a television series about a female serial killer. The conversation then went like this:



laurakcurtis: So . . . like a female Dexter, or more like a Chelsea Cain character?

taragel: Actually is an adaptation of the Cain novels, FX greenlit

laurakcurtis: Whoa. That’s pretty grim for TV. But could be cool if done right.

taragel: Fitting that it’s FX taking it on, I think. Closest you’ll get to premium cable.

laurakcurtis: Indeed. And FX does Justified, so they might manage it.

taragel: And Sons of Anarchy.

For those of you unfamiliar with Chelsea Cain, her series is about Gretchen Lowell, a female serial killer, and Archie Sheridan, the Portland detective she captured and tortured and with whom she maintains a relationship of sorts. It’s very, very dark stuff.


According to Cain’s site,

The plan is for Heartsick to be season one, season two would be Sweetheart, etc. They would be short seasons, like 13 episodes.

We should note that before this series was a glimmer in anyone’s eye, blogger Tara Gelsomino (taragel above) posted her own Chelsea Cain Heartbreaker Series Fantasy Casting, with her choices for Gretchen, Archie, and young journalist Susan Ward. Tara’s wishing to see this series on screen was ahead of the curve, but now that the show’s a reality, we want to know your picks, too!

For those of you who know the books, what do you think? Can a network pull this off and make it as original and compelling as the books for a full season of television or more?

The Cottage at Glass Beach is a must summer read! Giveaway



Nora and her two daughters, Ella and Annie leave for Burke's Island in Maine. Nora used to live here when she was younger. Lately Nora has been feeling a powerful pull to return. Nora and her daughters are staying just for the summer. It is not long before the threee women have a man wash up into their lives...literally. His name is Owen. There is something mysterious about Owen. This will be the summer that Nora and her girls will never forget.
This book was way better than I could have imagine it to be. It had some aire of mystery surrounding it with the characters. While, I figured out where the story was leading pretty early on, I still kept reading and waiting to see how the big reveal would take place. Nora, I was unsure of in the beginning. I was not sure if she could hold her own but she did. She did it in a quiet way. Annie was a doll. She was just like any little seven year old girl...full of wonder, adventure and wise beyond her years. Ella, I could even forgive as well for being a brat. She did it because she was mad at her father but she was still a good sister to Annie.

I love to swim. So if I ever had to become a magical sea creature, I would want to be what was featured in this book. I don't want to saw, as I don't want to give anything away. You will just have to pick up a copy of this book to see if yourself. The Cottage at Glass Beach is a must summer read!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Heather Barbieri’s ancestors came from Western Ireland to the East Coast during the Famine, and the islands of New England have long held a fascination for her—their ruggedness, their sea glass, their storms and history. The author of two previous novels, The Lace Makers of Glenmara, and Snow in July, Barbieri has won international prizes for her short fiction. She lives in Seattle with her family. For more on Heather Barbieri and her books, visit her website: http://www.heatherbarbieri.com/

THE STORY BEHIND THE BOOK


THE COTTAGE AT GLASS BEACH

A Novel

by Heather Barbieri

Escaping the scandal in the wake of her husband’s infidelity, a woman attempts to reconnect with the place of her birth—a remote island off the coast of Maine—and comes to terms with her mother’s disappearance over three decades earlier.

Married to the youngest attorney general in Massachusetts state history, forty-year-old Nora Cunningham is a picture perfect political wife and doting mother. But her carefully constructed life falls to pieces when she –along with the rest of the world – learns of her husband Malcolm’s infidelity.

Humiliated, hurt, hounded by the press, Nora packs up her daughters, Annie, 7, and Ella, 12, and takes refuge with her maternal aunt on Burke’s Island, a craggy spit of land off the coast of Maine. Settled by Irish immigrants, the island is a place where superstition and magic are carried on the ocean winds, and wishes and dreams wash ashore with the changing tides.

Nora spent her first five years on the island but has not been back to the remote community for decades—not since that long ago summer when her mother disappeared at sea. One night, while sitting alone on Glass Beach, below the cottage where she spent her childhood, she succumbs to grief, her tears flowing into the ocean. Days later she finds an enigmatic fisherman, Owen Kavanagh, shipwrecked on the rocks nearby. Is he, as her aunt’s friend Polly suggests, a selkie, a mythical being of island legend, summoned by her heartbreak; or simply someone who, like Nora, is trying to find his way in the wake of his own personal struggles?




Just as she begins to regain her balance, her young daughters embark on a reckless odyssey of their own, a journey that will force Nora to find the courage to chart her own course—and finally face the truth about her marriage, her mother, and her past.

HOW DID THE IDEA FOR YOUR BOOK ORIGINATE?

My ancestors came from Western Ireland to the east coast during the Famine, eventually finding work in the mines of Pennsylvania, but longing for the sea. The stories my grandmother told of those early years instilled an abiding fascination in me—for what it meant to be an Irish immigrant and for the rugged islands off the New England coast that reminded them of home.

I’ve thought of setting a novel in that part of the world for years, but had yet to find the right story—until, on one of my walks, I ventured along a rock-strewn Puget Sound beach and glimpsed a seal, bobbing offshore. The seal followed me the length of the shoreline, as if it were trying to tell me something. I remembered the myth of the selkie my grandmother had told me as a child, in which a fisherman caught one of the mythical creatures in his net and she became his wife, as long as he kept the fur she had shed hidden from her. I went home and did some research, discovering a lesser-known side to the tale—that selkies can be male too. (Who says men get to have all the fun?) Finally, the outline of a story began to take shape in my mind, one that cried out to be set in the northerly reaches of New England, just across the water from Ireland, where so many Irish immigrants had settled after coming to this country, as my ancestors had, too. A modern fairytale, grappling with serious issues of divorce, politics, betrayals, abandonment, illness (one of the characters has cerebral amyloidosis, a hidden, little-understood condition that took my mother early this year, which I wrote about in Cottage, both to process the experience and raise awareness), and, ultimately, survival and redemption.



HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR NOVEL?

I think of the book as The Good Wife meets Alice Hoffman—a blend of magical realism and domestic drama.

HOW DOES THIS BOOK COMPARE TO YOUR PREVIOUS NOVELS?

The plot in The Cottage at Glass Beach is more complex than my previous novels. While the book is character- and setting-driven like my earlier works, this book includes the development of deeper themes and the unfolding of a family mystery. I made an outline, while writing this book, which I’ve never done before. Rather apt, since we’ve been talking about charting a course—in this case, the narrative sort.


WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE READERS TO TAKE AWAY FROM READING THE COTTAGE AT GLASS BEACH?

The overriding message is that it is possible to navigate life’s uncharted waters and find our own happiness and truth.

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE NEW ENGLAND AS THE SETTING FOR THIS BOOK?

There are certain places that are hardwired into our consciousness, places that feel immediately familiar once we set foot upon them. New England—Boston and the Massachusetts coast in particular, where I spent time as a teenager—and Quebec, where my mother’s ancestors are from (and where a grand-grand-grand pere, Michel LeMay, for whom my mother was named, founded the village of Loftbiniere near the St. Lawrence River; a statue of him keeps watch over the town square to this day) are such places for me. The novel insisted upon being set off the coast of New England, a place where storms rage and clear, and people, past and present, have sought refuge, as immigrants or merely from their daily lives, or even from scandal, as Nora has done.

I’ve long been drawn to such islands, surrounded, as they are, by the ocean. There is something truly primal about them. They call out to us, don’t they? Partly because they are, perhaps, some of the best places to experience, firsthand, the transformative power of nature—on the land, and on our very selves—and the power of community, to compel us to pull together and survive. Cottage seemed to emerge from the very narrative soil of Burke’s Island, as much as from my imagination.


Now that you have read my review and the story behind the book, all that is left is to leave your name and email address to win a copy of this book.Thanks to the publisher, I have 3 copies to giveaway! Contest Ends May 31st.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Blazing Bedtime Stories



Review by Nancy

Take a dog groomer, a hot private eye and a totally un-cute dog and you have the makings of Wild Thing, a short novel by Tawny Weber. Andrea is the groomer, proud of creating her own business out of financial crises. Percy is the PI and the doggy is called Medusa.

Ah, but this Medusa doesn’t have snakes in her head, she has DREADLOCKS. Probably a good thing since she is a Chinese Crested and they have no hair on this bodies except head and tail! Medusa has gone missing and, which Percy was trying to go on vacation, he figures he can use the cash and how hard can it be to find a dog? Not nearly as simple as he thinks.

Medusa is right in the middle of her parents’ divorce and both want her. They don’t like her but the WANT HER, just the same. She was stolen from Andrea’s grooming parlor and the bad guy left her tied up and hysterical and, unfortunately for him – MAD!! Nothing will do but Percy has to help Andrea find Medusa. Again, not simple. She doesn’t want his help since they had “a night” and she left. He didn’t want her to but the misunderstanding rolls throughout the book.

A fun, chick-lit tale of romance and dognapping. It appears in a book called Blazing BedTime Stories, Volume VII with a tale by Rhonda Nelson called The Steadfast Hot Soldier which is as good as this one. Take it to the lake!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

The Car Thief -Nancy's


Review by Nancy


This story is a “come to Jesus” moment for anyone who reads it. It tells us of Alex, the son and of Curly, the father. They are together on different planes - the same house, sleeping, eating, living together barely speaking, barely existing most of the time. Mom left with the young brother, Howard, several years ago and Curly’s world changed dramatically. His drinking before more, his life much less and his ability to care for a son alone isn’t even worth discussing.


Alex has, at 16, done something most adults haven’t done, much less kids his age: he is driving a Buick and it is the 14th car he has stolen. However, the Buick is different in that this time he is caught. Dad is working nights building cars and has no idea what Alex is up to. Curly is too depressed to notice. He knows he should do SOMETHING but doesn’t know what.

Alex goes to the 1960’s version of Juvie and there his world enlarges by leaps and bounds. It is a hard place, cleaning coal chutes, toilets with no seats and a blanket. White and black teens together doing “chores” meant to teach them behavior and respect. As soon as he can, Alex leaves and goes home to – nothing. He wants to enlist but by now is only 17 and can’t.

He goes to see his brother Howard and his errant mother but can’t stay. Home isn’t for him, at least home with a semblance of family. He is verbally cruel to Howard who only wants an older brother, someone to hang with and possibly look up to. Nothing to look up to in Alex. Alex goes back to school, gets a job as a caddy and looks forward to freedom. And he gets it – just not the way he planned.

Billed as “one of the best coming of age novels of the twentieth century”, The Car Thief was actually written in 1967. It is about juvenile delinquents, alcoholic fathers, cars, high school, crushes on girls and LIFE as most of us don’t have to live it. (Thank God!) A hard story to read but possibly an essential one


ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Theodore Weesner, born in Flint, Michigan, is aptly described as a “Writers’ Writer” by the larger literary community. His short works have been published in the New Yorker, Esquire, Saturday Evening Post, Atlantic Monthly and Best American Short Stories. His novels, including The True Detective, Winning the City and Harbor Light, have been published to great critical acclaim in the New York Times, The Washington Post, Harper’s, The Boston Globe, USA Today, The Chicago Tribune, Boston Magazine and The Los Angeles Times to name a few.

Weesner is currently writing his memoir, two new novels, and an adaptation of his widely praised novel—retitled Winning the City Redux—also to be published by Astor + Blue Editions. He lives and works in Portsmouth, NH.







Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Than Came You


My Review


Jules Strauss goes to Princeton University. She is approached one day while at the mall. A man tells her about a opportunity where she can make a lot of money. The catch is, Jules would have to give away her eggs. The man he is from the Princeton Fertility Clinic. Jules agrees to sell her eggs. She is really doing it for her father. He is an alocohtic. The money would help pay for him to go to rehab.

Annie Barrow is a mother of two boys and a wife. Her husband is in the military. They are struggling for money. Annie wants to help with the finances. That is why she signed up to be a surrogate mother.

India is married to weathly Marcus Croft. They have been trying to have a child. After two miscarriages, they decide to use a surrogate. Everything is looking up for India and Marcus until Marcus's daughter, Bettina finds out the truth about who India really is.

I felt the most connected to Annie. She is a good mother and wife. She was warm and friendly. The other person that I connected with in tbe beginning was Jules. She had a good heart. She still wanted to beleive that her father could be cured. I must admit that I did not see where her romantic relationship was headed. It was out of left field at first. In the end, it made sense.

India I was impartial to in tbe beginning. I thought like the rest of the people that she was just a trophy wife. I was intrigued by her although as I did want to learn her deep, dark, secret. In the end, she won me over and even had me cheering for her. Bettina, I found to be a very unhappy, bitter, and vendicative person. Even at the end, when she did step up and prove herself for me it was a little too late.

This book is more than just a fun, beach read. This book had depth, good story line, and nice characters. I sat down to start reading this book and when I did get up to take a quick break, I was already half way done with the book. You need to make sure that Then Came You is on your summer read list.

Purchase a copy on Amazon

Purchase a copy on B&N

Jennifer Weiner grew up in Connecticut and graduated with a degree in English literature from Princeton University. She is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the novels Good in Bed (2001); In Her Shoes (2002), which was turned into a major motion picture starring Cameron Diaz, Toni Collette and Shirley MacLaine; Little Earthquakes (2004); Goodnight Nobody (2005); the short story collection The Guy Not Taken (2006); Certain Girls (2008); Best Friends Forever (2009); Fly Away Home (2010); and most recently, Then Came You (2011).


Jennifer Weiner's books have spent a combined four years on the New York Times bestseller list with over 11 million copies in print in 36 countries. She has appeared on numerous national television programs, including The Today Show, The CBS Early Show, and The Rachael Ray Show, and has been published in such magazines as Seventeen, Redbook, Glamour, Cosmopolitan, and Good Housekeeping. She was the co-creator and executive producer of the ABC Family sitcom State of Georgia, which ran during the summer of 2011. She occasionally writes for the Huffington Post and on her own blog at http://www.jenniferweiner.com/, which she started over ten years ago in 2002 and where she now has over 1.5 million visitors a month.
She was recently voted #14 on Time magazine's list of "140 Best Twitter Feeds" -- placing hers among the feeds that are shaping the conversation, the magazine hailed her "must-read" live Bachelor tweets, noting that "rarely has there been such an ideal pairing of material and writer." She can also be found on Facebook, and, in real life, Philadelphia, where she lives with her family.

Jennifer’s newest novel, The Next Best Thing, will be published in July 2012.




Monday, May 7, 2012

Isabella: Protector of the Last Dragon



Review by Nancy

A young girl, her brother, uncle, grandmother and assorted other characters are out to find the very last Dragon – a female named Ling-Li. She is the mate to Tianlong and both are very, very old. The tale of how everyone got to this point is interesting, funny and thought-provoking.

Isabella Treehorn and brother, Kaelyn are very close to their Uncle Titus. A very good thing since they lose their mother early on in the story and go to live with him and his dog, Jake. Isabella has always been different, both culturally and spiritually. She is a United Nations of heritages and has odd dreams for a 12-year-old. She dreams of dragons who talk to her and the dark Lords of Death who want to kill her. Pretty serious for one so young.

She is amazed when she and family go to see the Ming Dynasty Dragon Exhibit and the exhibit starts talking to her! Tianlong was found in the frozen steppes and while researchers thought they had a body they were seeing mega-dollar signs when he took a breath. They’ve made more money than they thought possible and, as is too often the case in these situations; one gets greedy. There must be more dragons! No one seems to care that the one they have, over 700 years old, is wasting away. Isabella cares and convinces her family to help her in an escape plan. Chaos ensues, new friends and enemies are made and we go along to China to find Ling-Li and, possibly their child.

This story has a great plot, carries you along in a page-turner - a perfect book for the YA set. Except: there are many, many context mishaps and the chapters are quite short (thus there are many of them!). A chapter can certainly be more than 2 pages, even for the younger reader. Overall an interesting story but, personally, the short chapters and context issues made me a little nuts.





M. Anthony Phillips is a native of St. Louis and studied writing and history at Harris Stowe University. M. Anthony is an avid historian and reader of fine literature of fiction and non-fictional books. This is M. Anthony’s third novel with a sequel to follow with hopes of becoming a full time novelist. M. Anthony resides in St. Louis and Los Angeles where he loves acting as a SAG member, practicing martial arts, writing screenplays, and living the life of a modern day renaissance man.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Strange Flesh




James has a niche for finding people. His talent as a skilled hacker helps. That is why when his ex, Blythe Randall has come to James. She needs the best. Her brother Billy has gone missing. Billy is also a genius. He has created a virtual gaming world known as NOD. It seems that Billy has literally taken this new world too serious as he has disappeared within it.


I picked up this book with no expectances of whether I would like this book or not. The concept of it was intriguing. A virtual game world filled with sex, revenge and another alterative virtual world within a virtual world.

I was not prepared for what awaited me between the front and back cover of this book. James had the brain smarts. He would pick up on hidden clues fairly quickly. I tried several times to figure out where Billy was located at the same time that James would figure out clues but I finally gave up and just went with the flow.

For me what really drew mw in was the virtual world…NOD. This is not like the Sims. No in this world, you make one fatal move and you could end up dead. The videos of the deaths were like something I would see in the Saw movies. This book also had elements of the movie Lawnmower Man. The gory moments were far and few between and short. So for those with a weak stomach, don’t worry as you could still get through this book with out having to run to the bathroom. Strange Flesh is spellbounding, twisted, evil, and intriguing!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Objects of My Affection



Review by Nancy

Take two women. Each has a son, each has issues – different yet similar. One has spent her life doing things “her way” alienating many, becoming famous, losing a lover and finding out that things are more important to her than people. The other has given up everything, her home, her things her self-esteem to put her addict son into rehab. She, too, has lost a lover and feels that people are more worth holding on to than items.


What happens when these two meet and try to work together is a wonderful, funny, sad and meaningful story called Objects of My Affection. Marva has a house full of “things. Mostly worth tons of cash and she does NOT want to part with them. Movie trivia, statues, her own paintings worth millions, etc., etc., etc. Her son hires Lucy, author of a book on organization titled Things are Not People, to get around Marva and have the house clean and empty by May 15th. The date is decided by Marva as it is her 65th birthday.

She has acquired a lot in 65 years, neighbors have no idea because it’s all inside – there are paths to rooms. Hoarder? Possibly but there seems to be a reasons in there someplace and it’s up to Lucy to find it. Marva is a bitch. No holds barred, says what she thinks, calls in the middle of the night……Lucy is trying to find common ground where there is only trash. Marva’s son may hate her and we know from his phone calls that Lucy’s son feels the same about her.

How the trash becomes treasure and two women from opposite sides of the universe bond together is the stuff of a great novel. And it’s right here between the covers of Objects of My Affection by Jill Smolinksi.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Game of Thrones

A GAME OF THRONES by George R. R. Martin, Excerpt

Eversworn: Daughters of Askara



Review by Dorothy

When a dying breed of people discovers a new source of the one mineral that enables their women to get pregnant as well as stay alive during and after a pregnancy, the fight is on. Factions of one kind or another with of course the rich and powerful getting into the mix for their own purposes; it makes you wonder if there is anyone you can trust. Throw in magic and demons and alternate worlds along with slavery, exploitation, plots, subplots, a large dose of male ego and a woman’s need to save her child from her plight and you have Hailey Edward’s Eversworn: Daughters of Askara.


Eversworn takes us on a journey with Isabeau and Dillon. Isabeau has a secret that she cannot allow to be reveled even to the man she wants to spent the rest of her life with. However, one person knows her secret and is using her to gain what he most desires, more wealth and power, while promising to release her from slavery and to return to her the one thing she would die for, her daughter, only when she does what he wants! Dillon, a wounded male Evanti demon, finds that healing from the wounds he received during an attack on the mining operation he is sworn to protect is not so easy when he realizes he is in love with his healer, Isabeau. Will Isabeau do what she is told to do to get her hearts desire, or will she be stopped and forever lose her daughter and the demon she has fallen in love with. Will Dillon be able to stop the plot meant to destroy everything he has worked for as well as lose the only woman able to claim his heart?

While I am not a fan of romances, I did find this to be an interesting variation of this genre. I had requested and received all of the books in this series and recommend that anyone who wants to read Eversworn: Daughters of Askara should read the other two in the series first. While not fully necessary as the book does stand alone very well, there are references to the other books that can be confusing to anyone who had not read Everlong or Evermine. Eversworn has a wonderful plot and rhythm and I was pleasantly surprised with the book and found it to be a good read. While I did originally think this was going to be a fantasy book, the intimate details added to the story line left no doubt that this is a romance book. For those of you who like fantasy and romance you get both in this well written book.


Tuesday, May 1, 2012

FINDING KANSAS:Living and Decoding Asperger's Syndrome




Review by Nancy


Aaron Likens has done remarkable things but first he started out as a seriously annoying disruptive kid. He hated school; most kids do, but Aaron HATED school. He was bored, mostly, but also not functioning on the same level as his peers. By the time he was six, Aaron couldn’t play monopoly with his dad because he always won. Always.


Taken to counseling he was compared to….wait for it…..the Unabomber or possibly a serial killer. Thankfully that didn’t happen because we would have missed out the wonderful various of life that Aaron gives us in FINDING KANSAS. Aaron has autism in the form as Asperger’s Syndrome. “Asperger's syndrome, also called Asperger's disorder, is a type of pervasive development disorder (PDD). PDDs are a group of conditions that involve delays in the development of many basic skills, most notably the ability to socialize with others, to communicate, and to use imagination.” Thank you Wiki!

He wasn’t diagnosed until he was in his early twenties and his father did us all a favor by getting him a journal and encouraging him to write down his thoughts. They make up this book. Usually I don’t do short stories but this isn’t – it’s a compilation of thoughts, reminiscing girls, jobs, Life and auto racing

You soon learn that auto racing IS Kansas. A place of joy and comfort where Aaron is completely in control and where he excels. Aaron loves racing like most of us loves our kids; and that is also part of the Asperger’s: he can remember events down to the last drop of water but he cannot remember the people he was with. Racing is when he feels he is meant to be. Too bad the Powers That Be don’t agree.

A great story written by an amazing individual. A Must Read for those with Aspergers in the families and a Must Read for all the rest of us because it will completely change your frame of reference.

Play These Games



Play These Games: 101 Delightful Diversions Using Everyday Items is a book that everyone should pick up a copy of. This book had tons of fun and interactive games to play. Mrs. Swain does show you how to have fun without spending tons of money with this book. Some are new games and others are games just with a new twist to them. Games like:


Loony Balloons

Materials:

Writing paper

Pen or pencil

Scissors

Balloons


Write silly actions on the papers like..Bark like a dog, act like a chicken, Moo like a cow, etc. Write enough actions for each person playing. Put the papers in the balloons, blow them up.

How to play:

Everyone sits in a circle on the floor. Hand the first balloon to the first person, who bounces on it three times. If it pops, the player finds the instruction and follows it, than moves to the outside of the circle. Repeat until everyone has had a turn.

Love to play golf or even miniature golf. Well you can play it at home. Stuffed animal charades. There are so many games that I know me and my nephews will have tons of fun trying them all out.