Thursday, January 31, 2013

The Gates of Paradise

I have to admit that I am not a faithful fan of this series. However I have read several of the books in this series. For this reason, I never felt a strong connection to the characters but I was still curious to see how this series would end. For me, I found Mimi, Kingsley, Bliss and Lawson’s stories the most intriguing. The rest of the characters were alright. Schuyler who I thought to be a main character was disappointing to me. She was uninteresting. She did not do much during most of the book until the last third of the book when she was helping with the battle and faced with a decision.

Which the last third of this book seemed to go by really quickly. Not to say that the rest of the book was not a quick read as it was but it was more of a steady pace. The last third of the book being done so quickly had pros and cons. The pro is that it was quick and there was action. The con is that it was quick. The build up to the end of this book and knowing this book was the end of the series did not have to go by so quickly. It could have been savored a little more. A sad but happy ending to this series. I look forward to what Melissa has in store next.

The Adventures of Mrs. Browning by Marcia Carrington is a fun, quick, delightful read.

Mrs. Browning lives in the suburbs of Grayridge. She is a widow. Everyone who knows Mrs. Browning loves her but feels sorry for her as she lives alone. Mrs. Browning has her daily routine. She does live a boring life. That is except for Fridays. This is when Mrs. Browning trades in her stuffy digs for a posh place and a white mink coat. Mrs. Browning then starts her evening off right by going to Le Nouveau Riche so come gambling and finishes the night with dancing and romancing.

The Adventures of Mrs. Browning by Marcia Carrington is a fun, quick, delightful read. At only eleven pages, I felt like I was reading a full story and not a short one. Marcia did a good job capturing everything she needed to in this book within a little space. I love Mrs. Browning and her double life. I thought she had a great other life. It was fun and had me a little jealous of all the things she did. I almost did not want her to go back to her day job of being a widow. I thought it was too boring and sad. Except then if Mrs. Browning did not then she would not have the grand time of her Fridays. I hope to see Mrs. Browning again in the future. This book is worth the money.

Twitter for Marcia


Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The Bracelet

Abby Monroe needs to get away for a while. Especially after her boyfriend, Eric moved away and left her. Abby signs up to assist the UN. Abby is going for a morning run while on her last day in Geneva before she heads to Pakistan. While on her run, Abby hears a woman and a man arguing. The next thing Abby spies is the woman tumbling over the balcony to her death. All Abby can remember is the bracelet the woman was wearing on her arm. It was encrusted with lots of shiny jewels.

Abby travels to Pakistan. Abby can not get the woman or the bracelet out of her head. Abby meets Noah, a journalist. Abby’s boss, Najeela is hiding something.

This book held promise and had my attention. There were both pros and cons to this book. Of course, the negatives were really very minor. For example, I felt that Abby was a bit stiff in the way she presented herself, mean towards Noah, and naïve to the true horrors of the country she was residing in. Ok, so the last item about Abby I can forgive. I mean this is part of the reason that the author wrote this book is to help share great awareness of the horrific act of “human trafficking”. Readers may have heard about human trafficking but to be honest no one really know the full extent. Human trafficking is like a way underground dark secret that people are aware of but turn their backs to. Luckily I have never had to experience this act. However, the more that I learn about this subject the more that I am intrigued to help out being awareness to others to assist. It does not happen just in other countries but in the United States as well.

It was just that since Abby was working for the UN, I thought she would be a little familiar with human trafficking. Noah was a good character for me. He has the strong personality to put up with Abby and he was a go getter. I was cheering for him that he would bring down the bad guys. Najeela and her carefree attitude did get annoying after a while. The romance between Noah and Abby did not have me totally convinced. Not after how harsh Abby was to Noah when she did not even make an effort to get to know him first.

This book had a good, steady pace. I like that the author tackled the subject of human trafficking and I thought that Roberta did it in a nice presentation.

Author Bio

Roberta Gately, author of The Bracelet, has served as a nurse and humanitarian aid worker in war zones ranging from Afghanistan to Africa, about which she wrote a series of articles for the BBC World News Online. She is also the author of the novel Lipstick in Afghanistan.

Follow the author on Facebook and Twitter

The Can Do Duck and Doctor Duck

In honor of National Children’s Book Day on April 2nd, we interviewed “Ducktor Morty”, author of “The Can Do Duck” book series. These motivational books focus on building self-esteem, confidence and positive attitude.

Morty, a child psychiatrist, and his wife, a child psychologist, began writing these books 10 years ago with the help of their 2 children, who assisted with some of the book illustrations. They self-published the books by making copies at Kinkos during the first years of publication. Today, they have sold over 10,000 copies of “The Can Do Duck”. These books have been used in schools and reading programs all over the US.

Morty’s real claim to fame (just kidding) is his ability to read “The Can Do Duck” while uni-cycling through his neighborhood! Thanks to his “Can Do” attitude, Morty successfully unicycles to the top of the steepest hill in his hometown.

At HooplaHa - Life with a Smile, we create original videos and articles to inspire and spread positivity.

Then Like the Blind Man

Review by Nancy

In a fascinating story of growing up in a totally alien environment, Freddie Owens gives us the story of Orbie, oldest child of Ruby missing his dead father and left with his Kentucky grandparents while Momma, the new husband and his little sister go to Florida to start anew. Orbie hates Victor for several reasons and, during his stay in the hills; learns a few more.

Coming from Detroit to the hills is a drastic change for anyone but, if you are only nine it’s worse than most. No friends, odd cultures, black folk who come and go without being seen and then there is Church. The Kingdom Church is mainly black but Orbie’s grandparents are members so his attendance is expected.

There is one character names Moses who captures the attention of the reader more than most. Tall, black, odd speaking and odder acting Moses serves as the significance of Good\Evil. He can do magic, gets Orbie to handle a snake at Church, keeps care of Willis, a crippled boy with the artistic talent of Da Vinci, and does odd jobs that no one ever sees him working on.

Orbie learns a lot in Kentucky and his grandparents learn quite a bit as well. The city slicker becomes a true hillbilly with a talent no one saw coming. Just an excellent story!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The Hour of Peril: The Secret Plot to Murder Lincoln Before the Civil War

I do enjoy reading about historical events. Although, I would not call myself a history buff. I do have a love/hate relationship with history. This is because, while I do enjoy reading about history, I am particular to certain time periods and also, because it is history, I do grow easily bored of reading about the past after a while. This did happen with this book as well. I really appreciated Mr. Stashower’s explicit knowledge to details even to the little minor ones but after a while, I did grow tried and had to skim and flash forward sections of this book.

I expected this book to me more focused on the plot to murder Lincoln. Don’t get me wrong as Mr. Stashower did explain about the attempts on Lincoln prior to him becoming President but this book seemed like it was spent in detail talking about the Pinkertons. I did not mind reading about Allan Pinkerton as I did find him an entertaining character. I did like that he and his wife were part of the “underground railroad” movement. This part of history has fascinated me. Another person that was interesting was Kate Warne. She is considered to be the first woman private eye. She is someone that I would have imagined wanting to be if I lived in this time period.

The letters and photos that were inserted throughout this book were great. Overall, I found The Hour of Peril to be an enjoyable read.

The Winter Witch is a magical journey that you will not want to end!

Morgana’s mother marries her to Cai Jenkins. She does it out of love. She worries about Morgana and who will take care of her. Morgana is a nice girl but she has a slight flaw. She does not talk. Morgana has not spoken a word in years. In the beginning Morgana did not care for Cai. Over time, she came to love Cai and their home together. Morgana meets a woman who helps her unlock the magic within Morgana. Later strange things start happening in town. People grow anxious and blame Morgana for the cause.

I read The Witch’s Daughter but I remember thinking this book was good but I did struggle some with it. I did not have this problem at all with The Winter Witch. In fact, I had devoured the first half of the book before I made myself put it down. There was something spellbinding about Morgana and Cai. The way that Morgana and Cai interacted with each other, I thought brought them closer as Morgana did not talk.

Cai is a very caring and patient husband. The way that he cared for Morgana made me fall in love with his more. Morgana turned out to be a very intriguing character. She started out quiet and I don’t mean this literally. What I mean is that I wondered how this story was going to play out with Morgana not talking. It turned out just fine. I liked that Morgana gained her strength learning magic and with Cai’s love. While Morgana did not display her magic talents often. As she progressed they did get stronger. The ending put a smile on my face. The Winter Witch is a magical journey that you will not want to end!

Paula Brackston website

Stolen Nights will have you stealing a few more hours in your night to finish this book!

Lenah Beudonte preformed a ritual for her friend, Vicken. The ritual is to turn Vicken back into a human. Lenah awakes in the hospital with her other friend, Justin by her side. Lenah survived the ritual and Vicken is human again. Unfortunately, what Lenah did not know is that performing the ritual brought the elementals forward. The elementals are not the only ones that are interested in Lenah. A vampire named Odette wants the secret to the ritual. As if this was not enough for Lenah, she learns that her true love, Rhode has survived the ritual as well.

Stolen Nights is the second book in the Vampire Queen series. Rebecca has just about done with her revisions for the third and final book in the series. So, now is a good time to check out this series if you have not yet. Fans of this series will enjoy this book. I have to comment on the book cover as it is like a watercolor portrait. The design team did a great job on the cover. Also, to be honest, I have not read the first book, Infinite Days but I had no problems jumping right into this book. I got the jest of what had transpired in the first book. There was just something about the characters in this book that drew me into their world.

Fans of the Twilight series would enjoy this series. The romance was mild. This is only because Lenah and her true love, Rhode did not interact with each other in a romantic way. However, I could tell out of the three guys that Rhode really was meant for Lenah. The ending was a pleasant one. However, I am now wondering what will happen in book three. Stolen Nights will have you stealing a few more hours in your night to finish this book!

Haunted Moon will not let fans down!

Strange things are happening all over in the grave yards. More unusual then normal. Camille, Menolly, and Delilah are on the case. Someone powerful is behind the strange happenings as the sisters barely survived with their lives. They learn exactly who they are dealing with. It is Gulakah, Lord of Ghosts. As if the Lord of Ghosts is not enough, they also come face to face with Bran, son of the Raven Mother and Black Unicorn. In order to stop the Lord of Ghosts, Camille and her youkai-kitsune husband, Morio participate in a dangerous ritual that will bring them close as well as thrust them into the world of the dead.

I just love this series. The D’Artigo sisters are some of my favorite characters. Each one separately are good but together they are great. In the Haunted Moon, Camille is the main focus once again. In this book, readers get to see more of Camille and her transformation as a priestess. The sex scenes involving Camille and her husbands are really steamy. I have come to love all of Camille’s husbands. I do not have one favorite as they are all unique in their own way and they all mush so well together. The Lord of Ghosts is not someone that I would want to tangle with. The D’Artigo sisters had a good battle on their hands. At least they got one more seal. Now they almost have them all. The ending was a good one. Haunted Moon will not let fans down!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Saturday Introverts Giveaway

SATURDAY NIGHT WIDOWS is the transcendent and infectiously wise memoir of six marriages, six heartbreaks, and one shared beginning. In her forties – a widow, too young, too modern to accept the role – Becky Aikman struggled to make sense of her place in an altered world. Following her own remarriage, she forms a group with five other young widows and together, these friends summon the humor, resilience, and striving spirit essential for anyone overcoming adversity. The women meet once a month, and over the course of a year, they strike out on ever more far-flung adventures, learning to live past the worst thing they thought could happen. They share emotional peaks and valleys – dating, parenting, moving, finding meaningful work, and reinventing themselves – while turning traditional thinking about loss and recovery upside down. Through it all runs the story of Aikman's own journey through grief and her love affair with a man who tempts her to marry again. In a transporting story of what friends can achieve when they hold each other up, Saturday Night Widows is a rare book that will make you laugh, think, and remind yourself that despite the utter unpredictability and occasional tragedy of life, it is also precious, fragile, and often more joyous than we recognize. To connect with Becky on Facebook

Passionately argued, impressively researched, and filled with indelible stories of real people, the revolutionary New York Times bestseller QUIET shows how dramatically we undervalue introverts, and how much we lose in doing so. Taking the reader on a journey from Dale Carnegie’s birthplace to Harvard Business School, from a Tony Robbins seminar to an evangelical megachurch, Susan Cain charts the rise of the Extrovert Ideal in the twentieth century and explores its far-reaching effects. And she draws on cutting-edge research in psychology and neuroscience to reveal the surprising differences between extroverts and introverts. Perhaps most inspiring, she introduces us to successful introverts–from a witty, high-octane public speaker who recharges in solitude after his talks, to a record-breaking salesman who quietly taps into the power of questions. This extraordinary book has the power to permanently change how we see introverts and, equally important, how introverts see themselves. You can learn more about the book and find bonus content here.

I have 1 copy of each book to give away to US only readers. Leave me a comment as to which book and if it is both that is fine too you would like to win with your email address. Contest ends Feb 3rd.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Live Chat wih author, Pam Jenoff

Fans of Kate Morton and Alyson Richman should reach for popular Jenoff’s latest historical romance.

Join us for a BookTrib Live Chat with Pam Jenoff, bestselling author of THE AMBASSADOR’S DAUGHTER February 5 at 3:30pm (ET).

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The Reckoning

Lanore McIlvrae is the kind of woman who will do anything for love. Including imprisoning the man who loves her behind a wall of brick and stone.

She had no choice but to entomb Adair, her nemesis, to save Jonathan, the boy she grew up with in a remote Maine town in the early 1800s and the man she thought she would be with forever. But Adair had other plans for her. He used his mysterious, otherworldly powers to give her eternal life, but Lanore learned too late that there was a price for this gift: to spend eternity with him. And though he is handsome and charming, behind Adair’s seductive façade is the stuff of nightmares. He is a monster in the flesh, and he wants Lanore to love him for all of time.

Now, two hundred years after imprisoning Adair, Lanore is trying to atone for her sins. She has given away the treasures she’s collected over her many lifetimes in order to purge her past and clear the way for a future with her new lover, Luke Findley. But, while viewing these items at an exhibit at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, Lanore suddenly is aware that the thing she’s been dreading for two hundred years has caught up to her: Adair has escaped from his prison. He’s free— and he will come looking for her. And she has no idea how she will save herself.

With the stunningly imaginative storytelling and rich characterizations that fascinated readers worldwide and made The Taker a singular and memorable literary debut and an international sensation, Alma Katsu once again delivers “a powerful evocation of the dark side of romantic love” (Publishers Weekly) in her breathtaking new novel.

To browse this book some more, click here
Read my review here

Monday, January 21, 2013

Witch in the Wind

Review by Nancy

Bandit Creek, Montana, wasn’t much of anything. Until you looked a bit deeper, then you saw them: witches, warlocks, daemons and other thingies. Avy’s parents were killed so she is called home to wrap up the loose ends. Funerals, house, bills, that kind of stuff. She is a bit taken back to find their house trashed and an odd-looking dog hiding under the porch. She immediately takes to the dog which is good because he doesn’t act like he’s leaving anytime soon. Christened Busby the dog won’t leave her side, especially when she hauls him to the vet for a check-up. The vet isn’t too fond of Busby as he recognizes a familiar when he sees one. After all, Avy is the reason he’s currently in Bandit Creek! Marcus works for the Council – those who hold all the power in a system tightly controlled.

Two Council members cannot have a child together. It is impossible. But there Avy is standing in his exam room with a mongrel. Someone is NOT happy. They want Avy “put down” as a mutant. She doesn’t even know what magical power she has! In fact, she didn’t know her parents’ history at all!! Strange things keep happening as she finally realizes she has something someone wants very badly – but what? An excellent story with great characters and part of a series. Look them up and get them all!!

Book Tour Schedule

Quick Facts Release Date: May 1, 2012
 ​Genre: Sweet Paranormal Romance​
Formats: Paperback, Kindle, Nook, Koobo, Apple, Sony, etc.​

The Author Brenda Collins has wanted to write romance since she was twelve years old. At the age of twenty, she spoke to an editor who expressed an interest in her story; however, she soon realized it takes more than an idea to be an author. She joined a number of writing groups to learn about ‘the craft’ and completed two mystery manuscripts. When the Bandit Creek opportunity arose, Brenda jumped on board immediately.

WITCH IN THE WIND emerged, starting first with a murder, but then came to life with witches, warlocks, a “familiar” and a magical dimension called The Otherland. Brenda has also just completed STORIES OF CHANCE ROMANCE with her writing buddy, Roxy Boroughs. This is a collection of 11 short tales that reflect the hope that comes with the first bloom of romance, whether you find it in your youth, midlife, or the twilight years. All authors’ profits from the sale of this anthology are being donated to advance the research, education, diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer.

You can find it as an ebook on Amazon at

 To help her fellow writers develop strong business skills, Brenda has delivered workshops to hundreds of writers on career planning, professional networking and presentation skills, and regularly contributes articles on these topics to a wide range of publications, such as her recent piece, How to Improve Your Presentation Skills, in 2013 Writer’s Market Deluxe Edition (Brewer, R.L., ed., Ohio: Writer's Digest Books).

WITCH IN THE WIND isn’t the end of the story for Marcus and Avy—they will have a role to play in resolving the situation with the Witches Council at some point, but before that happens, Brenda promises magical people from The Otherland will continue to slip through the portal to the mortal world for more adventures. Brenda is also currently working on something completely different about a newly licensed, female private investigator who learns more than she bargained for while investigating diamond laundering. Learn more about the author at 

Sunday, January 20, 2013

The Wrath of Angels is a one seat read!

Harlan Vetters is on his death bed. Before he goes he has a tale to tell. A while back, Harlan and his friend, Paul were out hunting. They came upon an airplane. The airplane is abandoned however it looks like the forest has claimed the airplane and is trying to hide it away. Harlan and Paul investigate the airplane. They find tons of money and a list with names on it. This list is very valuable. The list is so valuable that it will wage a war between evil and good.

I have seen Mr. Connolly’s books around but I have never read one. That is until now. I had not problems jumping right into this book. The Wrath of Angels is a one seat read! There was so much action and the intensity was high all the way from beginning to end. I was hooked. You better grab a copy of this book before it flies off the bookshelves.

Charlie Parker is a dimensional character. He is definitely a good guy. He is the right person to fight the fight against evil and demons. His friends are great too. The Collector is one scary person. I would not want to piss him off or meet him in a dark alley. Two other creepy people were the young boy and the young girl in the woods. I could just imagine the boy being some weird demonic creature. However reading the last few chapters of this book and the scene involving the young girl and the boy, I have to say that my vote goes for the young girl. She is scarier. I enjoyed this book so much that I plan to go back and start from the beginning with book one.

The Girl Next Door

Reading his own newspaper’s obituaries, veteran reporter Carter Ross comes across that of a woman named Nancy Marino, who was the victim of a hit-and-run while she was on the job delivering copies of that very paper, the Eagle-Examiner. Struck by the opportunity to write a heroic piece about an everyday woman killed too young, he heads to her wake to gather tributes and anecdotes.

It’s the last place Ross expects to find controversy—which is exactly what happens when one of Nancy’s sisters convinces him that the accident might not have been accidental at all. It turns out that the kind and generous Nancy may have made a few enemies, starting with her boss at the diner where she was a part-time waitress, and even including the publisher of the Eagle-Examiner. Carter’s investigation of this seemingly simple story soon has him in big trouble with his full-time editor and sometime girlfriend, Tina Thompson, not to mention the rest of his bosses at the paper, but he can’t let it go—the story is just too good, and it keeps getting better. But will his nose for trouble finally take him too far?

Brad Parks’s smart-mouthed, quick-witted reporter returns in The Girl Next Door—another action-packed entry in his award-winning series, written with an unforgettable mix of humor and suspense.

Purchase a copy here

To read my review, click here.


To anyone who says newspapers only print bad news, I say: read the obituaries. For the most part, obits are the uplifting stories of people who led long and full lives, enriched communities with their accomplishments, died at peace with the world, and left behind many loving relatives. And sure, the subjects of these articles have to be more than just slightly dead in order to appear in our pages—that part is, admittedly, a bit of a buzz-kill. But otherwise, obits are some of the happiest news we print. My paper, the Newark Eagle-Examiner—New Jersey’s largest and most respected news-gathering and content-producing agency—organizes its obits alphabetically, last name first, followed by the deceased’s town and age. And I defy anyone, even the most jaded cynic, to read one day’s worth of obits without feeling at least a little bit better about the state of the world. Sometimes all you have to do is read one letter’s worth—like, say, the M’s.

You start with a guy like Milazzo, Vincent, of Elizabeth, 92, the high school football star who served his country in World War II, then worked his way up to foreman at a lawnmower parts manufacturer before enjoying a long retirement. You work your way to Monastyrly, Jane C., of Wharton, 81, the beloved mother of four, grandmother of ten, and great-grandmother of eight, who was an avid gardener and won the Wharton Elks Club pie-baking contest five times. Then you finish with Muster, Edward L., of Maplewood, 77, the son of South Carolina sharecroppers who earned scholarships to college and law school, set up his own practice, and became the first black treasurer of the Essex County Bar Association. All the wrinkles of their days on this planet have been smoothed away and turned into one seamless narrative. All their trials and struggles have taken on the aura of parable.

All their successes have been magnified, while their failures have been forgotten. And by the time they “passed on”—or “made their transition,” or “entered into eternal rest,” or any of those other wonderful euphemisms for the Long Dirt Nap—they seemed to have achieved some kind of understanding of why they walked this planet in the first place.

Or at least that’s how I like to imagine it. There’s also something about obits that, as an unrepentant newspaperman, I find comforting. Over the past dozen years or so, my business has ceded its dominance in any number of areas—classified advertising, national and international news, sports scores, and so on—to the Internet. But we still have a monopoly on obits. So while you can go anywhere to find out if the Yankees won, you have to come to us to learn if your neighbor is still breathing. It makes the obit pages a throwback to a better day for newspapers, one part of a crumbling industry that has somehow held strong. For me, it’s just one more reason to love them.

Some folks, especially the older ones, scan the obits each day to see if anyone they know has died. Me? I’m only thirty-two. So hopefully it will be a good fifty years or so until anyone has to read about Ross, Carter, of Bloomfield. And it will probably be forty years until my high school classmates start popping up with any regularity. In the meantime, I read them strictly for the inspiration. So there I was one Monday morning in July, sitting at my desk against the far wall of the Eagle-Examiner newsroom in Newark, getting my daily dose of good news—once again, from the M’s—when my eyes began scanning the entry for Marino, Nancy B., of Bloomfield, 42.

I read on: Nancy B. Marino, 42, of Bloomfield died suddenly on Friday, July 8.

Born in Newark, Nancy was raised in Belleville and graduated from Belleville High School. She was a popular midday waitress at the State Street Grill in Bloomfield. Nancy also had one of the largest delivery routes in the Newark Eagle-Examiner circulation area and was proud to serve as a shop steward in the International Federation of Information Workers, Local 117. She is survived by her mother, Mrs. Anthony J. Marino of Belleville; two older sisters, Anne Marino McCaffrey of Maplewood and Jeanne Nygard of Berkeley, Calif.; and many other friends and relatives. Visitation will be held today from 1 P.M. to 3 P.M. and from 7 P.M. to 9 P.M. at the Johnson-Eberle Funeral Home, 332 State Street, Bloomfield. A Funeral Mass will be offered Thursday at 10 A.M. at St. Peter RC Church, Belleville. Interment will be at St. Peter Parish Cemetery following the service. In lieu of flowers, please make a donation in Nancy’s name to the IFIW–Local 117 Scholarship Fund, 744 Broad St., Newark, N.J. 07102. Even though we were employed by the same newspaper, I didn’t know Nancy Marino.

The Eagle-Examiner has hundreds of carriers, all of whom work at a time of day when I try to keep my eyelids shuttered. But I have enormous respect for the work she and her colleagues do. The fact is, I could spend months uncovering the most dastardly wrongdoing and then write the most brilliant story possible, but we still rely on the yeoman paper carrier to get it to the bulk of our readers. That’s right: even in this supposedly all-digital era, our circulation numbers tell us the majority of our daily readers still digest their Eagle-Examiner in analog form. So every morning when I stumble to my door and grab that day’s edition—always one of life’s small pleasures, especially when it contains one of those stories I busted a spleen to get—I receive a little reminder that someone else at the paper, someone like Nancy Marino, takes her job just as seriously as I do. I leaned back in my chair and considered what I had just read. In obit parlance, “died suddenly” was usually code for “heart attack.”

But that didn’t seem to fit. A just barely middle-aged woman who delivered newspapers and waited tables was probably in fairly good shape. Something had taken Nancy Marino before her time, and the nosy reporter in me was curious as to what. By the time I was done reading her obit a second time, I had concluded that the newspaper she had once faithfully delivered ought to do something more to memorialize her passing. Most of our obits are relatively short items, written by funeral home directors who are following an established formula. But each day, our newspaper picks one person and expounds on their living and dying in a full-length article. Sometimes it’s a distinguished citizen. Sometimes it’s a person who achieved local fame at some point, for reasons good or ill. Sometimes it’s a Nancy Marino, an ordinary person who spent her life serving others—whether it was with newspapers or coffee refills—and whose presence had graced the world for far too brief a time.

A Bard’s Bed & Breakfast Mystery

Reviews by Nancy

What a joy it was to get to review these two novels! My only hope is that this isn’t the end of Bea and Ben, the proprietors of the said B &B. Although the Bard’s isn’t your usual B&B – nope, it’s main purpose is to create R&R for the CIA friends of Ben who are in dire needs of it usually. When things get boring (and they rarely do!) Uncle Edward and Lorna can getting a card game going or find a body someplace.

In Let Slip the Dogs of War, Bea, former bookshop proprietess and newly rescued bride, finds out that there are things to be found under the bed besides dust. A naked body, in fact. No one they know, fortunately; but Ben has his suspicions. Bea finds out things about Ben’s Uncle Edward she hadn’t known and Lorna isn’t the librarian Bea thought she was. Well, she was but she wasn’t. A young girl is affected by the war in Syria and Ben travels to the rescue. She is frightened and alone until she meets Bea and crew and immediately becomes the special person she is meant to be.

A Plague o’ Both Your Houses brings us the consummate witch with a capital B as a houseguest. Linda Romano hated everyone equally and did a good job of it. Supposedly dying and tended to by her nephew the Dr., Linda made everyone’s life miserable. No one more than her caregiver Manie, the Jamacian woman hired to take care of her. Linda had things on Manie and wasn’t above using them to gain cooperation; until they backfired. No one likes a witch. The wordplay between Bea and Ben is worth the price of the book in itself but the plots are good but Ben’s colleagues are all interesting and humorous and the presence of Uncle Edward does nothing but add to the plan. Go download these immediately. You’ll love them!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

City of Screams

Review by Nancy If you’re a James Rollins fan like I am, I jumped at the change to review an exclusive short story called City of Screams. Things are happening right and left in the 60 pages that comprise this introduction to the full-length novel, Blood Gospel which you’ve got to find! Jordan Stone hears the screams coming from a small town in Afghanistan. He sees the girl lying terrified on the bed in the hut. He also sees her taken away by creatures that speak a language so old that virtually no one can translate it. What happens to Jordan and his crew and to the people in the succeeding chapters is what makes Rollins one of my favorite authors – you just never know what will happen. Just when you’ve got it all figured out nice and cozy he throws in something that really rocks you. Do yourself a huge favor – go get Blood Gospel, keep the lights on and cuddle up with an afghan to protect you and read this one!

Friday, January 18, 2013


Skye Kingston tends to stay in the background with her camera. She is a photographer. If Skye wants to grab the attention of her crush, Craig, then she will have to shift from the background to the forefront. Skye will also have to get past Craig’s girlfriend, Beth. While I like the idea of the books in the Twisted Lit series, the books just are not connecting with me. No matter how much I want them to. Exposure is the second book I have read in this series. However, I do have to say that I did get into this story line better then the first one. Not because I am a history buff fan of literature but because there was a murder of I should say there was a dead body. I enjoy a good story with mystery. While the story was fine it was the characters that got to me. They were catty and weak. I could not see what Skye saw in Craig. I found him to be insensitive and he did watched out for his own back. I appreciate the authors trying to get me to like Beth but it would take more than finding out Beth was part of the working class for me to like her. In the end this book ended up not being for me. A tragic ending like MacBeth. Prologue of Exposure By Kim Askew and Amy Helmes, Authors of the Shakespeare-inspired YA series Twisted Lit, featuring Tempestuous and Exposure (Merit Press) Four girls in one dorm room. If it's not the very definition of hell, it's at least purgatory. Sharing a hundred and fifty square feet of living space in an ecru-painted cinderblock cell with three randoms, any of whom could turn out to have chronic Doritos breath, an unhealthy obsession with goth metal, or a tendency to slip into bizarre "baby talk" on the phone with her parents. School officials are forever insisting that roommate selection for incoming freshmen is completely arbitrary, but that never seems to explain how every dorm room ends up with a token weirdo. For the residents of Room 315 in Birnkrant Hall, Skye Kingston was that girl. There was nothing overtly freakish about her, aside from the semi-creepy Diane Arbus photographs of circus midgets and identical twins plastered on the wall next to her bed. She was majoring in fine arts, with a specialty in photography, bur "artsy" probably didn't entirely account for her singular personality; the way she seemed to hover attentively around campus like a studious fly on the wall. Skye didn't resemble the Quasimodo-types typically -- identified and ostracized -- within the first few days of the semester. She wasn't mousy, overweight, or sporting an unfortunate excess of hormonally induced facial hair. Rather, her looks tended to land her on the other end of the hot-or-not spectrum, somewhere between "stunning" and "drop-dead gorgeous." She was model tall, with Eastern European features: long red tresses, pale skin, and glacial blue eyes that appeared, at once, both severe and serene. Hers was an exotic beauty, in stark contrast to the tanned, toned bottled blondes with whom she shared tiny quarters on the dorm's third Boor. Whether or not she was cognizant of her good looks was up for debate. Her striking face was usually buried in a book -- not hogging the bathroom mirror. She seemed to have a quiet confidence that was uncharacteristic of most of the freshmen girls who roamed the campus in lemming-like packs, thus singling her out out as an "untouchable." Upon occasionally emerging from the study lounge or library stacks, she'd peer out at the world through an ancient-looking 35-millimeter camera, avoiding direct eye contact with the unwashed masses of undergrads surrounding her. With a name like Skye Kingston, many presumed she had climbed straight off Daddy's yacht prior to arriving on campus. Others, including her roommates, had been speculating for weeks about the real story behind this mysterious freshman who defied classification. "Did she live in an igloo or something?" "No, you idiot. She's not an Eskimo!" "I heard she lived in pitch black for half the year because the sun never rises there." "That would explain the pasty-white skin." "Well, I'd kill to have her skin, actually. It's like porcelain." Skye sighed underneath her covers, listening to her roommates' gossip with a detached fascination. Like the Northern Lights in her native Anchorage, these Skye-centric chat sessions had become a nightly phenomenon, a fun pastime they routinely turned to after exhausting all of their catty comments about other socially condemned undergrads. Surely they couldn't think she'd be asleep already at quarter to ten, and even if she were sleeping, being openly conjectured about while she was less than four feet away was ludicrously ballsy of them. "Maybe she's a vampire." "Um . . . in that case, I'm putting in for a room transfer!" "Well, supposedly she dabbles in the occult. That's what somebody in the caf told me at dinner yesterday." "For real?" "Yeah. Apparently she was involved with some lesbo coven of witches." "Oh, come on, guys. You really don't think--" "Some girl on the fourth Boor heard from her R.A. that her boyfriend murdered a dude." "No way." "I'm serious. It was apparently all over the papers and stuff in Alaska." "Holy shit." Skye's heart began to race furiously underneath the covers. Being called "Ice Princess" and "Nanook of the North" was bad enough, but this time they were nearing a dangerous precipice with their idle gossip, threatening to reopen old wounds. She shifted underneath her blanket and cleared her throat. She hated confrontation -- always had -- but she had to at least let them know she could hear every word they were saying from her top bunk. Her movements prompted a shushing giggle down below. "Uh . . . Skye? Are you awake?" "What?" she said, knowing she was likely to regret it. "You're from Alaska, right? And, well, it gets really cold there, right? And I'm wondering . . . " the roommate could barely stifle her laughter. "Did your butt cheeks ever freeze to the toilet seat?" The room below Skye's bunk erupted into self-satisfied cackles. *** Sleep continued to elude Skye as her three roommates performed their fastidious evening bathroom rituals and finally clamored noisily into their twin beds. As she lay roasting underneath her blanket, she reflected on her bunkmates, who, so far, seemed to be the type of girls more worried about the intricacies of performing the perfect keg stand than such trivial matters as homework or attending class. She recognized the insecurity behind their conceit, and hoped that time would help soften their cutting edges. She had survived their brand of callousness before -- barely, god knows. She didn't relish the thought of having to endure it all over again: the manipulation, the backstabbing, the selfish lust for power, the reckless disregard for people's feelings . . . people's lives. Skye threw the blanket off her sweaty torso -- Southern California was too hot for her -- and took a deep breath. She hadn't planned on delving into her tumultuous past, but a candid discussion seemed in order. If laying all her cards on the table helped to break the ice, then it might be worth reliving the pain. '''Murder' is a strong word, but not entirely off base," she said, breaking the dark silence. "If you insist on turning me into a movie of the week, I should at least provide you with some semblance of the facts." She could hear the unsettled sound of sheets rustling and bedframes creaking, and saw the silhouette of one startled roomie as she sat up from her pillow. "First, to answer some of your ongoing questions, the answers are, no: I've never seen Santa Claus. Yes: I have eaten reindeer meat, but it wasn't Rudolph. No: I would not strip for a Klondike Bar. And yes," she finally added, in a more stoic tone. "My boyfriend did kill someone . . . in a manner of speaking." Skye stared at the ceiling three feet above her bunk. She had affixed glow-in-the-dark star decals there to remind her of home, forming the constellations of Ursa Major, Cassiopeia, and Orion. California's night sky was virtually a starless swath of smoggy gray. But looking at her artificial version of Alaska's heavens gave her little comfort. The perspective was all wrong. She was too close to the ceiling. You needed distance to really appreciate the staggering scope of it all . . . . The above is an excerpt from the book Exposure: A Twisted Lit Novel by Kim Askew and Amy Helmes. The above excerpt is a digitally scanned reproduction of text from print. Although this excerpt has been proofread, occasional errors may appear due to the scanning process. Please refer to the finished book for accuracy. © 2012 Kim Askew and Amy Helmes, authors of Exposure: A Twisted Lit Novel Authors Bios Kim Askew, co-author of Exposure: A Twisted Lit Novel, whose work has appeared in Elle and other magazines, is a content manager for the Webby-winning teen site, for which she has covered the Teen Choice and MTV awards. Follow Kim on Twitter@kaskew. Amy Helmes, co-author of Exposure: A Twisted Lit Novel, is co-author of Boys of a Feather: A Field Guide to American Males and is also a weekly contributor to The Rundown, a free daily e-mail service that keeps subscribers informed on what's new and cool in LA. Follow Amy on Twitter @amyhelmes. Both Kim and Amy think Shakespeare understood the young's true love and pain like no other, from Hamlet's sorry stepdad to Juliet's trauma drama, hence this literate farce, based on "The Tempest." For more information please visit and and follow the authors of Facebook

The Namesake is a powerful novel. One worth your time.

Evan has a great talent as an artist. His teachers are encouraging him to pursue his talent. Evan has to write an essay. So he decides to write it based on his father. Evan’s father took his own life when he and his mother were attending Mass on Easter. Evan does not really know his father, so he decides that the essay will be a good way to get to find out who he really was. As Evan digs into his father’s past, he learns some dark secrets. Ones that the town would like to keep hidden. To be honest I had no clue where this story was leading when I first picked this book up. I did know there would be some dark secret with Evan’s father but the truth was pretty scary and chilling and maybe a little disturbing. I guess it is true how the saying goes “The truth shall set you free”. The past story involving Evan’s father and his story told through his journal entries was more intriguing then the present. Most of the other characters I did find to be less appealing. They just did not intrigue me as much as the past. What I liked about Evan is that he stood up and had a voice. He did not just sulk away like everyone else about his father’s death but wanted to learn more about him. In a way he was giving his dad a voice. The Namesake is a powerful novel. One worth your time. Excerpt By Steven Parlato, Author of The Namesake (Merit Press) Mister Pettafordi's office is examining room bright. It makes me queasy, like I'm here for X-rays -- which, in a way, I am. My art teacher slash guidance counselor slash "Think of me as your friend" wants to help. That's how I landed in the vinyl visitor chair on the wrong side of his desk. I should be in silent study, passing notes to Alexis. Instead, I'm here, embarrassed for Michelangelo's David. He's beside the file cabinet, a red umbrella hanging from his crooked elbow, looking a little vulnerable, naked under the lights. I need to write this stupid essay. Mr. P's fixated on getting me a full scholarship; he says I'm his "best student ever." But then, that's what my teachers always say. Mister P: "Evan, you need to pursue your art." Me: "Uh-huh." Mister P: "Evan, you've got what it takes." Me: "Hmm." Mister P: "Evan, follow your dream!" Thing is, I think it's his dream more than mine now. But I'm trying to get a jump on this heap of applications. Pettafordi said I need to "dazzle them" with my essay. I asked what I should write about. He said, "Evan, write what you know." As helpful as that was, I've chosen the opposite. See, I'm not sure I want to study art, or even go to college anymore. So I'll write what I don't know. I could do twenty pages on spark plugs or the reproductive cycle of the Andean potato weevil. Except, those I could research. No. I'll tackle the true unknown. I never knew my father. I don't mean that in a trash TV kind of way. Like, Up Next, DNA Tests: Real Dads Revealed! It's not like that. Mom wasn't a sperm bank patron. I wasn't raised by wolverines. I've lived most of my fourteen years in a room two doors down from the man, falling asleep to his snores. I could map you his morning stubble, a whorl on his chin like Madagascar. Nope. Nothing dramatic about the Galloways. We were typical. Mom made Campbell's soup casseroles. Dad fell asleep in the leather chair on movie night. We were about as normal as it gets. At least, that's what everyone thought. Before last April. Now when I think about stuff, it's all about how it used to be. We used to have Monopoly marathons. Build model planes. Gorge ourselves at China Buffet. We used to . . . whatever. A great philosopher once said, "Used-to-bes don't count anymore." Okay, it was this singer, Neil Diamond. My friend Alexis is a huge fan. But I disagree with Old Neil because, really, used-to-bes are the only things that do count anymore. Especially when today sucks so bad. It's funny how perfectly life splits into before and after. Before, it was just life, crappy or un'. After, everything's different. But I was going to tell you about my father. My Father by Evan Galloway My father is tall. My father is fun. My father reads stories and Plays with me. My father is the best, FATHER NUMBER ONE! I wrote that in first grade. You could say my opinion of him has evolved. For one thing, I realized he was never all that tall. I admit the poem loses something sans macaroni frame, but I think it shows real literary promise. I mean, after reading that, I'm sure you can see how I ended up in Honors English, right? Yeah, I'm smart. All through school I've been in the brain group: TAG, the Talented And Gifted Program. It's actually sort of cool, loads of field trips, elaborate, "self-guided learning opportunities." Sure, the regular kids call us "Tag Fags," but that's never really bothered me. Not much. It's jealousy, plain and simple. And come on -- tag fag? -- such an obvious rhyme. Leave it to a remedial reader. Now I'm at Saint Sebastian's Catholic High School, third year, following Dad's footsteps. Yeah, he went here. But I one-upped the old man; I'll graduate at sixteen. They jumped me a couple grades. So I'm the second Evan Galloway to attend SSCHS. My family calls me "Junior," but technically, I'm not. Dad and I don't have the same middle name. Or, didn't. I do that sometimes, refer to him like he's still here. Like he didn't kill himself last spring. Like Gran didn't find him hanging from a beam in her attic Easter morning, while Mom and I were at Mass. The above is an excerpt from the book The Namesake by Steven Parlato. The above excerpt is a digitally scanned reproduction of text from print. Although this excerpt has been proofread, occasional errors may appear due to the scanning process. Please refer to the finished book for accuracy. © 2012 Steven Parlato, author of The Namesake Author Bio Steven Parlato, author of The Namesake, is a writer, illustrator, and an English professor. His poetry has been featured in Borderlands, Freshwater,Connecticut River Review, Peregrine, and Pirene's Fountain, and he is the winner of the 2011 Tassy Walden Award for New Voices in Children's Literature. He lives with his family, and is at work on his next novel. For more information please visit and and follow the author on Facebook

Wednesday, January 16, 2013


If you haven't read The Pleasure of Your Kiss yet, you can steal a sneak peek at my bad boy hero Maximillian Burke right now since Pleasure is only $3.79 on the Kindle and $3.99 for the Nook and other e-readers. As a special bonus, Pocket is also offering The Devil Wears Plaid at that same great price. And you can plump up your e-library with all of my Avon titles for only $1.99! That includes One Night of Scandal, Yours Until Dawn, After Midnight, The Vampire Who Loved Me, Some Like It Wicked and Some Like It Wild. Purchase the Pleasure of Your Kiss for Kindle Or Nook The Devil Wears Plaid on Kindle or Nook

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Five Days of Fear

Review by Nancy For a first novel, Mr. Kovach has rung all the bells: mystery, romance, terrorism – you name it it’s in there! In a fast moving tale of kidnapping with many off shoots we worry over Angie Britton, well-meaning, loving grandmother, mother and wife who overhears something she shouldn’t and gets tossed into a van headed out of town. Her youngest daughter, Jessica, is determined to help the FBI solve the puzzle whether they want her to or not. Dan Hamilton, FBI Agent doesn’t mind jessica’s help. In fact, he’s kind of liking it since she is the most beautiful person he’s seen in a long time. Jess has some good ideas and Dan is running with some of them but his co-agents are trying to keep him out of trouble of the romantic kind while the search is going on. Meanwhile, Angie is traveling East with a co-terrorist who only considers her a complication. One he can well do without if necessary. She has managed to leave a clue here and there if someone is lucky enough to find them! There may be a bomb planted in San Francisco’s business district somewhere but Dan’s team has too many projects and too little time until the come on one of Angie’s clues. Do they make the deadline? Do we find Angie in one piece? Do God and Cupid conspire to put Dan and Jessica together? This book puts you in the middle of the action and doesn’t let go until it’s over.

Monday, January 14, 2013

The Things They Didn’t Bury

Review by Nancy Argentina wasn’t really the musical world shown in “Evita.” It was harder, crueler and, after Evita’s death when the men from the trucks entered villages and people: men, women and children – disappeared. Liliana’s mother was among them. Her father took his daughters to the US for safety but returns ten years later (Liliana is now 18) when his wife’s mother dies. There is a house and vineyard to care for and he goes home with the girls. Diego, grape and guitar picker saw the violence first-hand. Saw what was done to folks who only played music in alleys. He never saw them again, but found his life in his guitar. It is what keeps him breathing. He does not need involvement is useless adventures, no matter how pretty the girl is. But Liliana is determined to find out what really happened to her mother and Diego can’t stand for her to go into dangerous places in Buenos Aires alone. What a fascinating story! Diego and Liliana were perfectly done and the history of Argentina done with great research. There are things that should be known about revolutions and what happened to the disappeared people is one of them. Although the truth Liliana seeks may not be what she was hoping for, she was independent and strong just as Diego was caring and protective. History, a little romance, wars and family. It’s all there to suck you in and keep you until the end. It was wonderful And here's the synopsis: The war took everything. Except the truth. When Liliana and her family move back to Argentina after seeking refuge in the States during La Guerra Sucia, a lifetime's worth of wondering comes to a head, reigniting the search for what really happened to her mother, one of the thousands of los desaparacidos—the disappeared. With the help of a young Flamenco player who saw the atrocities committed by the military firsthand, Liliana not only makes the devastating discovery of what really happened to her mother but by forcing open the country's old wounds as well as her own she also learns a disturbing truth about her origins that will reconstruct the lives of the people she loves most. Seamlessly alternating between the voices of mother and daughter—one trying to survive the rising chaos of La Guerra Sucia and the other sifting through its aftermath, The Things They Didn’t Bury is a novel about forbidden love and family secrets. Gripping, heartbreaking and lyrical this is not a story about war or about the secrets still buried beneath its wreckage but it is a story about the things they didn't bury, intangible and infinite—love, truth, and family. If you need any more information feel free to shoot me an email or check me out on goodreads or on my blog! -- Laekan Zea Kemp Purchase on Amazon or Barnes and Noble

Sunday, January 13, 2013

The Summer of Angel is a book of courage, love, miracles, and a happy ending.

I wanted to read this book because my sister has three boys and two of them were born premature. The oldest, Alexander “Alex” was born three months early. My sister like author Sola had preeclampsia as well as due to this experiencing kidney failure. Alex was delivered via c-section. Luckily for Alex other then having to stay in the hospital for about another three to four months and having heart surgery, Alex did not experience all of the other things that Angel went through. My sister’s second son, Gabriel “Gabe” was born three weeks early. Lastly my sister’s third son, Matthew was born full term. I can remember seeing pictures of my dad holding Alex in the palm of his hand. He looked so small. His diaper was like the size of a tissue. I did not know that they made diapers that small. Now my sister’s boys are growing and you can not tell that they were born premature. Alex is 9, Gabe is 8, and Matthew is 3. So reading that Sola went through with Angel, I could relate with my sister. However, Angel’s situation was ten times worse. Angel is a fighter. She fought to stay in this world and she did. I am glad that her story has a happy ending. Sola’s second child, Lani was also born premature but he did not have as much problems as Angel did. I am with Sola that it is very important that all pregnant mothers do everything they can to make sure that they stay healthy and have a healthy baby. This means going to all appointments and telling your doctor if you experience anything out of the normal. Even if you think it is just a little thing. The sooner the doctor can catch it the better. The Summer of Angel is a book of courage, love, miracles, and a happy ending.
Book Trailer: The Summer Called Angel by GWExtra

The Thief of Auschwitz

Review by Nancy A family of four, Jacob, the father a barber; Eidel, the mother a very talented artist; Max, the 14-yr old son, big for his age and Lydia, a little slower and asthmatic but a beautiful child. They are taking a train ride like no other – to Auschwitz. Yes, they are Jews. Their trials, brief moment of happiness bring together an epic tale of love and sacrifice. Bittersweet reunions of a sort and the ultimate escape by one of them. This story was so moving to me that I actually cried through quite a bit of (hindsight, you know). Jacob and Eidel’s strength doing what they must in order to keep hopes alive in all of the ones who are left. The research that went into this was amazing and it was so well written that I could smell the ovens and even feel the chill of the hurt prisoners who went to hospital which had no heat, no good water and no hope of coming out any better than you went in unless. Unless you had an “in” with someone. Jacob did, in fact as one of the camp lieutenant’s wanted a family painting done and he knew of just the person thereby gaining favor with the officer, heat and extra bits of food for Eidel and recuperative time for Max who “somehow” had broken a leg. This is book is a must-read for anyone interested in WWII, concentration camps or just a wonderfully sad tale of the truth.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Escucha Means Listen and Giveaway

Escucha Means Listen

From the mowing of the lawn to the splish-splashing of rain puddles, Talia Aikens-Nuñez’s bilingual picture book Escucha Means Listen introduces toddlers and babies to the sweet sounds around them.

Take a journey through the world—just listening. Escucha Means Listen helps children discover sounds around them in English and Spanish.


Buzz. Buzz. Qué oyes? (What do you hear?)

Las abejas (The bees) circling the flowers.

Woosh. Woosh. What do you hear?

El viento (The wind) is whistling by.

Shh. Shh. Qué oyes? (What do you hear?)

Las hojas (The leaves) are dancing on the trees.

Book Review

I liked this book overall. I liked that it had Spanish and English words too so you can actually learn. The only thing I would like more is if this book had rhymes. I would recommend my friends to read this book because it was interesting.

Mason, age 7

Blog Tour Schedule

Purchase a copy here
    Author Talia Aikens-Nuñez
Talia Aikens-Nuñez wanted to be a meteorologist, a politician and a lawyer. She never thought she would be a writer. It was the birth of her daughter that caused her to start writing. Raising a bilingual child inspired Talia to write lyrical children’s books. These ‘first experience’ books introduce Spanish to children and parents too! Talia’s family loves nature so much that she and her husband vowed that they will always try to live close to water. She, her husband and daughter live on a river in Connecticut with their daughter Isabella.

Tour Giveaway

$25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash

Ends 1/21/12

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Chanel Bonfire is a book that will have you glad you grew up with the family you have.

To be perfectly honest, I first had no clue who Wendy Lawless or her mother were and second I picked up this book to help me before I went to bed. I wanted a book to read that I did not have to put much thought or focus into before I went to bed. Well this was the wrong book for that. Instantly as soon as I stated reading this book, I was intrigued and fascinated by Wendy and her sister, Robin’s childhood and growing up with their mother. Wow, after reading this book I felt sad for Wendy and her sister, Robin with all that they had to endure with their mother. Of course I did not blame Wendy and Robin for rebelling out towards their mother. Or I should say Robin who was the real rebel. Wendy was just trying to be the best daughter she could. Which I think that she did a really good job. She is a fighter. I also was happy that Wendy was able to reconnect with her father. The little bit that I got to see and know of him as featured in this book; he seemed like a nice guy. What I appreciated the most about this book was how candid Wendy was about her childhood. I felt like I got a real good look into her life and who she was as a child and who she has become as an adult. Chanel Bonfire is a book that will have you glad you grew up with the family you have. So pick up a copy of this book and see for yourself. Excerpt Chanel Bonfire by Wendy Lawless: Chapter One THE BIG SLEEP Perhaps because her second marriage had only lasted twenty months, or perhaps because she was having a bad hair day, in January of 1969 my mother swallowed a whole bottle of pills and called my stepfather at his hotel to say good-bye. Although they were still legally married, he had installed himself at the Carlyle while she sued him for divorce. After he received her farewell call, he quickly finished his Gibson, telephoned the fire department, grabbed his Burberry rain- coat, and jumped into a taxi. It was a time in New York when you could say to a cabdriver, " Take me to the St. Regis," or, " Take me to the Oak Bar," and he would just take you there—no further explanation was needed. " Take me to the Dakota," he said to the driver. While my mother arranged herself on her mono- grammed, baby-blue satin sheets and prepared to enter the Valley of the Dolls, and my stepfather chain-smoked and shouted at the cabdriver to go faster, goddammit, I slept in the top bunk of the bed I shared with my younger sister, Robin, dreaming of hot dogs. We had been living in the Dakota, the late nineteenth- century, neo-Gothic apartment house at the corner of Seventy-second Street and Central Park West, for about a year and a half. And while I would later think of the place— the setting for the film Rosemary's Baby and the future and final home of John Lennon—as a glamorous backdrop for my mother's tumultuous second marriage and divorce, at the time it was just our rather large and wonderfully spooky apartment, in which I was about to find myself awakened by my mother's rescuers. I was driven from my hot dog dreamworld by a plink- ing sound, high and silvery—the sound of something falling, like rain but heavier and coming from inside the house. I got out of bed, carefully climbed down the bunk-bed ladder past my sleeping sister, and walked out into the long hallway of our cavernous apartment. I peeked around the corner to find four firemen in big, dark coats and hats beating down Mother's bedroom door with axes. One of them stood on a ladder breaking the glass in the transom window above the door. The shards of glass rained down on the men below and bounced off their helmets, making a tinkly noise as they hit the polished parquet floor. I wondered why they didn't use a key or just knock on the door like I did. They were making a big mess, which always made Mother angry. And it was very loud and Mother hated loud noises. (" It's because I'm a Libra," she'd explain.)

The Tragedy Paper is a definite must read.

Duncan is a student at Irving. Duncan is a senior this year. As part of Irving’s tradition, the graduating seniors leave a “treasure” for the next senior who will occupy their room. The treasure can be anything ranging from a bottle of bourbon, a snowman kit, or Cds. In Duncan’s case, it is a stack of Cds. Although these Cds are not just your normal music Cds but recordings of Tim’s story. Tim was the senior prior to Duncan. Tim is giving Duncan his subject for his tragedy story. All students are given an assignment to write a tragedy story. A story where the hero has a tragic event. Duncan starts listening to Tim’s story. The one where he meets Vanessa and his life is changed forever. O-M-G! My reading year for 2013 is starting off with a big bang in a good way. The Tragedy Paper is a definite must read. I was spell bound by this book. I picked this book up and by the time I put it down to take a breather and go to bed I was already half way done with it. I woke up and finished the book. Just like Duncan I could not get enough of Tim and Vanessa’s story. Every time that Duncan would take a break, I would yell a silent scream “No”. So I was glad when Duncan did not stray long from listening to Tim’s Cds. I knew something tragic was going to happen involving Tim and Vanessa but I could not predict the truth. It was sad. Tim may have been the awkward misfit but I was cheering for him the whole time. Again, I can not say enough about how good this book is. You will just have to pick up a copy for yourself to really experience what I am talking about.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

The One I Left Behind. This book is a must read!

The year is 1985. It is the year that Reggie will never forget. This is the time when Reggie should be enjoying being a teenager, hanging with her friends, and crushing on a boy. Instead, it is masked with a serial killer named Neptune. Neptune kidnaps women. He cuts off their hand and leaves it in a milk carton on the police steps. Five days later, he disposes of their body.

Reggie sees her mom get into a car and knows it will be the last time she will she her. Yep, Vera is Neptune’s last victim. Only this time is different. Her body is never found. That is until Reggie receives a telephone call. It has been two years but all of a sudden Reggie’s mother, Vera has reappeared in a homeless shelter. Reggie has a chance to finally close the books on what happened to her mother all these years ago.

Jennifer McMahon is a new to me author. After reading this book, I plan to check out some of her prior novels. Also, you can bet that she will now be added to my list of authors to keep an eye on.

I picked this book up as it sounded intriguing and maybe something that would get me out of my reading slump. Wow, did this book ever get me inspired again. Ms. McMahon drew me in with her writing and the characters. This book was not so much about trying to find out the identity of Neptune as much as it was about the story and my connection with Reggie, Tara, Charlie, and Reggie’s mother, Vera. While, I was intrigued to figure out who the killer was and I thought I had it all figured out. I was even proud of myself as I thought I had it solved before Reggie. However I was wrong and let me say that I was not disappointed when the true identity of Neptune was revealed. This book is a must read! It deserves a permanent spot on your bookshelves.