Thursday, February 28, 2013

THE DAY IS DARK




Thora has received a telephone call from her lover, Matthew. His employer has an issue with one of their clients, Berg Technology. The company is in mining. It seems that all of the crew took a leave and is now refusing to return to the job. Well most of the crew. The few that remained on the site are presumed dead. Thora agrees to join Matthew and a crew to investigate.


Yrsa Sigurdardottir is another new to me author. I was really intrigued to read this book. It sounded chilling. This was a good book however I did have some issues following along. I did get lost a couple times and had to go back and re-read a part of section that I had just read. One problem being that the story while it was interesting the mystery was long drawn out. Another was all of the different characters that appeared in this book. Some names seemed so similar to each other that this made it difficult to figure out who was who.

However I liked Thora. She never overreacted to anything. Also, I like that she still showed that she was a woman. For example when she unpacked her suitcase after arriving at in Greenland. Right on top in the suitcase was a pair of high-heeled shoes along with Capri pants, skirts, dresses and a pashmina shawl. The ending was good. I wanted to point this out for the fact that sometimes a book can be good but the ending bad or not up to par. I do want to go back and read some of the prior novels.

Read an excerpt here

Pukka’s Promise: The Quest for Longer-Lived Dogs.

Any dog lover would agree that we all want to know the secrets to how to keep our loved pets around longer and healthier. So if there was a fountain of youth for dogs I would say where it is and I am gone. Since I am not aware of such a fountain the next best thing is Mr. Kerasote and his book Pukka’s Promise: The Quest for Longer-Lived Dogs.


Mr. Kerasote really did his homework. He outlines in extensive details and I mean the details have details. Mr. Kersote explains about the downfalls of bad breeding, especially crossbreeding. Which I never was a fan of cross breeding myself. I just do not like the look of many of the dogs that are a product of this.

While I appreciated all of the information that Mr. Kersote shared. After a while I could not take anymore of it as reading this book felt like reading a text book. Nothing learned new for me which was a bummer. However this book might make a good gift for a dog lover in your life or friend.

The Mapmaker's War + Giveaway


Aoife is a mapmaker. At the request of the king, she and a small crew are sent to investigate the rest of the land and chart it on a map. During this expedition, Aoife meets a village of people. They show her their land which includes great wealth of gold. When the king learns of this village he dispatches a group to check it out. Aoife warns the people and in turn makes herself a traitor to her own people. She is exiled. This is where Aoife’s journey begins.


I have never read anything by this author. However after reading this book, I am going to be checking out this author’s backlist and keeping her on my reading radar. Instantly I felt a connection to Aoife. I loved the way that this book was written. With Aoife as the storyteller telling her own story. The details and the pictures were exactly what she described as she traveled to new locations.

It was like I was Aoife. So as I was reading this book, it made it more interactive as if I could reach out and touch the dirt, smell the rain, and even fall in love. Ms. Domingue is a very prolific writer. I really do not know how else to describe this book. I am pretty much speechless in a good way. The Mapmaker’s War is priceless treasure! This is a book that you will not share but having your friends purchase their own copies.


Author Bio


Ronlyn Domingue is the author of The Mapmaker's War (Atria Books; March 5, 2013). Its epic sequel is scheduled for 2014. Her critically acclaimed debut novel, The Mercy of Thin Air, was published in ten languages. Her writing has appeared in The Beautiful Anthology (TNB Books), New England Review, Clackamas Literary Review, New Delta Review, The Independent (UK), and Shambhala Sun, as well as on mindful.org and The Nervous Breakdown. Born and raised in the Deep South, she lives there still with her partner, Todd Bourque, and their cats.

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Leave a comment with your email address to enter to win. Open to US and Canada. Contest ends March 9th.


Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz



I have read and watched the Wizard of Oz a bunch of times. A classic for sure. However, I have not read it quite like Mr. Baum wrote it. What I mean is in this book, the shoes that Dorothy gains from eliminating the Wicked Witch of the East are “silver”. Yes, you heard me the original shoes were silver and not “ruby”.

So, I checked it out to see why the change and the reason is:

In the original 1900 book edition of 'The Wizard of Oz', the slippers of the Wicked Witch of the East were silver in color. But in the beloved 1939 film version, they were ruby red. According to those involved in the making of the film, a silver color washed out in comparison to the beautiful, riotously rich colors of the dream sequences in the enchanted, magical land of Oz. In the search for a more photogenic alternative. ruby red came out the winner.

What I liked about reading the original story as the author wrote it is that he really went into detail about the characters and the land and story. Like who the Tin Man really was prior to becoming the Tin Man. He was a man who had fallen in love. A witch put a curse on his axe and every time that he would go out to chop wood, he chopped off a limp until he was nothing more then a Tin Man.

The illustrations that Mr. Sieben did were great. They were quirky but colorful and really portrayed the characters and the story nicely. So whether you are a fan or just want to read this book again, you need to pick up 2 copies. One to keep as a treasure on your bookshelf and another to read.








Quick Book Contest

I have 1 copy of each of the three books for giveaway. US. Leave email address with comment as to which book you would like to win. Ends Saturday, March 2nd.

Written with bracing wit and intelligence, Rachel Maddow's DRIFT argues that we've drifted away from America's original ideals and become a nation weirdly at peace with perpetual war, with all the financial and human costs that entails. To understand how we've arrived at such a dangerous place, Maddow takes us from the Vietnam War to today's war in Afghanistan, along the way exploring the disturbing rise of executive authority, the gradual outsourcing of our war-making capabilities to private companies, the plummeting percentage of American families whose children fight our constant wars for us, and even the changing fortunes of G.I. Joe.




CHINA’S SILENT ARMY is the incredibly important first book to examine the unprecedented growth of China's economic investment in the developing world, its impact at the local level, and a rare hands-on picture of the role of ordinary Chinese people in the juggernaut that is China, Inc. Cardenal and Araújo crisscrossed the globe from 2009-2011 to investigate how the Chinese are literally making the developing world in their own image.  What they discovered is a human story, an economic story, and a political story, one that is changing the course of history and that has never been explored or reported.  China’s “silent army” is made up of the many ordinary Chinese citizens working around the world - in the oil industry in Kazakhstan, mining minerals in the Democratic Republic of Congo, building dams in Ecuador, selling hijabs in Cairo - who are contributing to China's global dominance while also leaving their mark in less salutary ways.  With original and fresh reporting as well as top-notch writing, China's Silent Army reveals China's influence abroad in all its most vital implications -for foreign policy, trade, private business, and the environment
   
  In WHILE AMERICA SLEEPS, former senator Russ Feingold details our nation’s collective failure to respond properly to the challenges posed by the post-9/11 era. More than ten years after one of the greatest wake-up calls in human history, our nation seems to have again grown complacent about the issues that suddenly seemed so urgent immediately after 9/11.  WHILE AMERICA SLEEPS suggests ways in which we can awaken a new national commitment to engage with the rest of the world and one another in a less simplistic and more thoughtful way. Feingold’s hope is that when the history of this era is written, it will be said that our country was taken off guard at the height of its power at the turn of the century and stumbled for a decade in an unfamiliar environment, but in the following decade America found a new national commitment of unity and resolve to adapt to its new status and leadership in the world

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Bad Blood





There are dueling villages. The Kushtaka and the Kuskulana. The villages sit across the river from each other.


Pat Mack goes to check on Tyler. Tyler is suppose to be catching fish from the fish wheel. Something is stuck in the wheel. Pat pulls on the item and is left speechless by what he sees. It is Tyler. He has been crammed into one of the baskets in the fish wheel.

Jim Chopin heads up the murder investigation. Who would want to kill Tyler and why? Is there another grudge going on between the Kushtaka and the Kuskulana? These are all questions that Jim must find answers to. He is going to need some assistance, so he calls on his girlfriend, PI Kate Shugak.

I have seen this author’s name around but have not have not had the pleasure of reading one of Dana’s books yet. Bad Blood sounded intriguing to me, so I decided to start now. Ok, after reading this book my report is…Why?! Why have I not read this series sooner?

I liked Jim and Kate’s witty banter that they had with each other. I could tell that they made a good couple even though they spent most of the book apart from each other. For me I tended to like Jim more. This is only because he was more involved with the murder, which is where my focal point was at. However, I also did like Kate. She brought a nice female perspective to the book. Having not read any of the prior novels, there were things about her that made me want to get to know her better. Thus I will be going back to the beginning. The ending was just as promised. I was surprised by how it ended. There is nothing bad about this book. It is all good.

Hey Don't Forget the Sunscreen and Why you should Laugh


Review by Aspen, age 10

"Hey! Don't Forget The Sunscreen!" Is a really helpful book for kids to learn about the importance of sunscreen. It was nice that the story wasn't trying to scare kids but just to inform them. The pictures were so bright and I liked them a lot. If you read this book you will learn about the different kinds of skin cancer and how you can protect yourself. Thanks for shading this helpful information with kids!



Book Summary

Hey! Don’t Forget The Sunscreen helps parents to gently instruct children of the grave dangers of unprotected sun exposure while stressing the importance of of vitamin D.Author Kim Kennedy encourages families to take sun exposure seriously in order to avoid the consequences that so many have tragically suffered.She hopes that providing children with the knowledge needed for ultraviolet ray protection will better equip future generations of parents and children to be more proactive and prepared. Teach your children to effectively incorporate vitamin D into their diets , dress appropriately for sun exposure, and take other preventative measures to preserve the health of their skin.Hey! Don’t Forget The Sunscreen Would serve as a great edition to any family’s home or elementary school’s library!






Review by Aspen, age 10

The book "Why you Should Laugh Three Times a Day" is full of smiles. "You choose to feel grumpy or are you going to laugh with me. " I liked the different poems in this book because they are all cheerful and even silly. I read this book to my little sister and she really liked it and said its "fun"! This is a little book I see myself reading over and over again.



Book Summary
Why You Should Laugh Three Times a Day is wonderful rhyming book for kids of any age. It consist of seven uplifting and positive poems sure to tickle the imagination and make you giggle a little too! This book has a unique feature, it comes with a free audio download. Now this book has become a work station that any teacher can use in a classroom , or a parent can play the book while traveling with the family. This book encourages you to laugh , make better choices and even tells of a dog named Lefty who likes spaghetti and can also play the piano! Why You Should Laugh Three Times a Day, is sure to make you do just that!




Cloudland





A stunning literary thriller set in rural Vermont from the much praised author of Nightswimmer and Clara's Heart Once a major reporter for a national newspaper, Catherine Winslow has retreated to the Upper Valley of Vermont to write a household hints column. While out walking during an early spring thaw, Catherine discovers the body of a woman leaning against an apple tree near her house. From the corpse’s pink parka, Winslow recognizes her as the latest victim of a serial killer, a woman reported missing weeks before during a blizzard. When her neighbor, a forensic psychiatrist, is pulled into the investigation, Catherine begins to discover some unexpected connections to the serial murders. One is that the murders might be based on a rare unfinished Wilkie Collins novel that is missing from her personal library. The other is her much younger lover from her failed affair has unexpectedly resurfaced and is trying to maneuver his way back into her affections. Elegant, haunting and profoundly gripping, Cloudland is an ingenious psychological trap baited with murder, deception and the intricacies of desire.

Check out my review here.
Purchase a copy here

Kate Rhodes delivers up a nice sampling of what she has to offer as an author and why she is making a name for herself with Crossbones Yard.

Alice Quentin is a psychologist. Alice has a routine. She loves to run alone at night. This is a bad combination, especially running through a bad neighborhood filled with gangs and murders. During her run, Alice spots something on the ground at Crossbones Yard. Crossbones Yard is a former location for prostitutes.

With the murder, it brings back an reference to an old case of the Bensons. The Bensons were a husband and wife couple who killed about a dozen prostitutes and buried them all over their property. Alice helps with the case.

Crossbones Yard is a very nice debut novel from new crime author, Kate Rhodes. This book did deliver on my expectations. Kate Rhodes delivers up a nice sampling of what she has to offer as an author and why she is making a name for herself with Crossbones Yard.

Alice is a strong female lead. She can take care of herself. Even among lots of male testosterone. I had my mind made up between two suspects as to whom the real killer was. Let’s say that I was wrong and did not put it together until the last part of the book right before the killer’s identity was revealed. While there was a possible romance trying to start for Alice, I like that it never fully blossomed into anything serious. Alice may fall for a guy quickly but she still has her guard up. This book is milder in regards to crime novels go. There is not a lot of gore, so readers of this genre who do not like lots of blood or swearing will enjoy this book.

Jake...he could sweep you off your feet

Jake Conway is a veterinarian. Ever since he was a little boy on his grandfather’s ranch, he was always wanting to rescue and heal animals. Just like the time that Jake brought home a baby cougar. Now Jake is am adult and his love for animals is what makes him a great vet.


Meg Stanford returns to her home. She left when she was a little girl. For Meg coming back is no happy time. She is back for a week only to take care of her recent passing father’s affairs and then get back to Washington, D.C. However that was before she met Jake. Meg might be having a slight change in plans.

I am a sucker for a good cowboy story. I mean what woman does not like a good looking guy in a nice pair of denim jeans. Looking like he could sweep you off your feet and ride off into the sunset together. I am not just talking about the book cover!

Jake is the final book about the Conway brothers. It can be read as a stand alone novel. However, I bet that after you read this book you will want to go back and read the first two, Quinn and Josh. Jake is definitely a ladies man. He is charming, has a great smile, loves animals, is good with children, and always ready to help a lady in need. Jake and Meg shared nice chemistry together. I would rate the romance between then as about a 7 on a scale from 1 to 10. It was good but the romance scenes were more kissing and hints of more without going into too many details.

Some fun facts about this book:

When creating her characters, R.C. Ryan had Channing Tatum in mind for Jake and Emma Stone for Meg Stanford.

The Conway Ranch is modeled after the King Ranch and the Bell Ranch, two of the biggest ranches in the country.

Jake was originally supposed to be in law school, but R. C. decided being a veterinarian was a better fit for him.





FORBIDDEN SISTER


Emmie had only heard back things about his older sister, Roxy. How she was a trouble maker and this is why she left. Emmie’s father will not let Emmie follow in Roxy’s footsteps. Emmie is curious about who Roxy is. She decides to do some investigation of her own into her sister. Will Emmie have a happy reunion or heartache?


I have read a couple books by the ghost writer for V.C. Andrews. I have to say that while it is a nice gesture, the books are not the same. However I thought I would give them another chance. This latest book sounded good. Also, the cover caught my eye.

It is sad when I am more intrigued to get to know more about Roxy then I am her sister, Emmie. Especially when Roxy is the main focus in the next book. Part of the problem was that I felt that Emmie had no back bone. Her father was awful and I can see why Roxy ran away. He may not be physically abusive but he is almost as bad by being somewhat emotionally abusive. So, I wanted to see Emmie grow and stand up to her father. Instead she tried to be the good daughter but used her mother as her crutch to stand on. Also, I did feel she was gullible. Emmie did grow a little backbone in the end but by then it was too late for me.

My other issue I had with this book is that it moved too slowly for my taste. It too a long time for the story to pick up about mid way. The ending was a nice lead into Roxy’s story.



FORBIDDEN SISTER will have readers trapped from start to finish, eager to follow along with Emmie and her quest to discover her forbidden sister.

About V.C. Andrews®: One of the most popular authors of all time, V.C. Andrews has been a bestselling phenomenon since the publication of her spellbinding classic Flowers in the Attic. That blockbuster novel began her renowned Dollanganger family saga, which includes Petals on the Wind, If There Be Thorns, Seeds of Yesterday, and Garden of Shadows. Since then, readers have been captivated by more than sixty novels in V.C. Andrews’s bestselling series. The Daughter of Light and The Daughter of Darkness are her recent novels set in the vampire world. V.C. Andrews’s novels have sold more than 106 million copies and have been translated into 22 foreign languages.

Illicit

Lindsay is on her way to visit a friend. She rushes to the elevator only to run face first into a solid male chest of muscle. Once she removes herself from the chest she realizes that she is surrounded by three nice males.


Erik can sense that Lindsay is into him. Erik takes a chance and mysteriously invites Lindsay to a fun weekend. At first Lindsay thinks the invite is from her girlfriend and they are going to have a ladies weekend but once she realizes who the invite is from and that it is not a ladies weekend but more of a sexual one, will Lindsay accept?

In regards to erotic authors, Opal Carew is one of the best. She really knows how to spice things up and make me need a cool glass of water. There was no shortage of hot male flesh and foursomes in this book. Which sometimes I am not for foursomes or even threesomes for the fact that when you get these many people involved it just does not work well together. This can be a big problem. However I did not have to worry about this in this book.

The chemistry involving Lindsay, Erik, Travis, and Connor was good. However it was really obvious that the true sexual chemistry fell between Lindsay and Erik. This is where then I was fully invested in just Lindsay and Erik that it felt like then that Travis and Connor were the extra wheels in the group. For a woman like me who would never have the courage to voice out loud any type of sexual fantasies I might have, Erik’s secret would be perfect for me. To have a guy like him. My only other criticism is that Erik got to be a downer worrying about how Lindsay was going to react to his secret. Otherwise this was a good book.

HEART OF ICE


Now that Louis has found out he has a daughter, he is ready to bond with her. They head to Mackinac Island off the point of Michigan. While out bike riding around the island, Louis and Lily spot an abandoned hunting lodge. Lily takes off to investigate. Louis calls for her to come back, when suddenly he hears Lily scream. Lily has fallen through the floorboards. Lily is fine but she has fallen on top of a pile of human bones.


Louis is asked to help with the investigation. This puts a cramp in Louis’s plans to spend time with his girlfriend, Joe.

Heart of Ice is the newest book from sisters, Kristy Montee and Kelly Nichols otherwise known as P.J. Parrish. This book reads a little like it picks up from the prior book, however you don’t have to have read all of the prior books in order to jump right into this one.

My heart melts for a child in a book. Lily was no exception. She was sweet and very grown up like. I hope to see her again in the future. PI Kincaid is a good character. He not only was good at his job but I like the human qualities that he brings to the story. His relationship with Joe was not explored that much in this book. So fans of this series might be a little disappointed in this factor. However, I am sure that they will reconnect again in the next book. Heart of Ice is a new addition to this series.


About HEART OF ICE:

When Louis discovers a daughter he never knew, little does he imagine that she’ll lead him to new evidence in a decades old murder case. Louis Kincaid finally has a few precious days to get to know the daughter he didn’t even know existed until a few months ago. He’s taking 10-year-old Lily on a trip to Michigan’s enchanting Mackinac Island. The picturesque Victorian island is getting ready to close down for the season, but Louis hopes to use the three days to build a bridge with Lily that will give him a role in her life. But when Lily takes a fall onto a pile of old bones in an abandoned hunting lodge, Louis’s vacation is cut short. When the island’s inexperienced police chief asks for his help on what turns out to be a stone cold case, Louis can’t help but accept. Little does he know that he’d be forced to cooperate with state investigator Norm Rafsky, who had worked with Louis’s lover Joe Frye fifteen years ago in nearby Echo Bay. When Joe decides to come to the island to help, she and Louis must confront the simmering tension between her and Rafsky, right at the time when he is hoping to rebuild his bridge with Joe.

HEART OF ICE will keep readers turning pages late into the night as they follow along with highly renowned detective Louis Kincaid. P.J. Parrish is actually the writing team of Kristy Montee and Kelly Nichols—two sisters whose numerous New York Times and USA Today bestsellers include The Killing Song, The Little Death, South of Hell (nominated for a 2009 Anthony Award for Best Novel), A Thousand Bones, An Unquiet Grave (winner of the Shamus Award and the International Thriller Writers Award), and A Killing Rain. Kristy lives in Fort Lauderdale with her husband, while Kelly lives in a cabin in her beloved home state of Michigan. Kristy and Kelly welcome visitors to their website at http://www.pjparrish.com .

Monday, February 25, 2013

Why Unicorn Drinks


So I have a question for you. Have you either wondered “Why Unicorn Drinks?” Ok, so many you have never thought about it but I bet you are now. It is not easy being different.


Now that I have your attention, here are some of the reasons why Unicorn drinks.

Even the blind chick thought he was ugly/He was born on the same day as the popular kid/He is going bald/He thought it was cupid, She thought it was vodka/His wife doesn’t care that he is allergic to cats/People think he is a carnival game/He thought it was the only way to top the country music charts.

These are some of the nice and clean reasons. There are many other reasons but they are either real dirty (like Beavis and Butthead or The Family Guy dirty) or politically incorrect. So if you get offended very easy or are a delicate flower then this book is not for you. However, if sarcasm is your first language along with English and you have no problems laughing at dirty and corny jokes then this book is absolutely for you. Pick up a copy today or you will not know all the reasons why Unicorn drinks.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

There Once Lived a Girl Who Seduced Her Sister's Husband, and He Hanged Himself: Love Stories



I have to say that I do not have mush experience reading Russian books or authors. However I have read authors from other countries and I can tell a difference in the writing styles of these authors to U.S. authors. They are a little more vivid in their details, black humor can be borderline crude, and then there is the language. U.S. authors use more words to get their point across whereas other authors from other countries use less works and it can be like reading from a cue card.


The reason I wanted to check this book out was because of the title. Plain and simple. I thought the title was interesting and I wanted to know how you could get love from a girl who seduced her sister’s husband and hanged herself. Well I learned all about it in Hallelujah, Family!

These tales of love are not all about a happy ending. Some tales are kind of meant to shock you. Others may make you think the woman gets around a lot. In other stories the guy is a bastard. Like for example in A Murky Fate, a unmarried woman falls for a guy who commutes between his mother and his wife’s house. He is a womanizer. He talks about himself, gets himself some and then leaves the woman. The ending line goes like this “There was nothing but pain in store for her, yet she cried with happiness and couldn’t stop. “

While, I found these stories short and out of the ordinary, after a while I had to stop because I also found them somewhat depressing and dreary. Also, some of the stories I liked but then they would stop suddenly. This book is a unusual collection of love stories.

The First and Second Rules of Ten

Tenzing “Ten” Norbu is a Buddhist and newly appointed private investigator. This first client is a woman named Barbara Maxey. She asks ten to give her ex, Zimmy Backus a warning. That he might be in trouble. Ten does not really take Barbara too seriously. That is until she turns up in the morgue dead as a doornail.


I liked the idea of the character Ten. I like that he was a Buddhist private investigator. I have not come across a character like this before. So my interest was piqued. Unfortunately for me this book missed the mark. I found that Ten’s downfall was his Buddhist background. He never let himself react to anything too seriously. Like for example when he broke his first rule and it was early in the book that he broke it, he just commented that he broke his first rule. Never overreacted. Also, I thought that monks were taught discipline so that they had more patience and could hold out longer. So why did Ten break his first rule so quickly? Of course, I am no expert on this subject matter.

So what Ten’s reactions to everything, this book seemed mild. Even though the rest of the characters used some cuss words and the action was a good murder set up. Also, I felt that the story moved slowly. The action was not the type to be in your face. I had to skim lots of parts as if to press fast forward. The ending was nice and tidy. There were no loose ends left. The pairing of Mr. Hendricks and Ms. Lindsay was a good one. I could not tell where one stopped and the other one picked up.


Ten has been hired by big time movie producer, Marv Rudolph. Marv is having problems with his daughter. He wants Ten to find her and bring her back…again. Ten finds her about to shack up with one of the actors in Marv’s latest movie. Marv and the actor have a confrontation. The next morning, Ten gets a call form his friend, Bill. Marv has been found murdered.


Since I did not care for the first book, I had my reservations about wanting to even attempt reading the second book. Well I can say that the second book is much better then the first. Ten has really toughened up and has a little bit of a sarcastic attitude about him that I liked. Also, I got into this storyline more as well. It moved faster as if the two authors had started to find their stride with each other and this series.

Ten did not have the first time jitters anymore. He was a man on a mission. His relationship with his friend, Bill is a work in progress but a good one. They work well off each other. A star in his own right in this book is Ten’s cat, Tank. I like that Ten talks for him as if Tank really does have a voice. I have for years known that animals can speak even if it is just telepathically.

In this book, I also felt that I got a better understanding as to who Ten is and where he comes from. I hope that he and his father can repair their relationship. If the books get better like this one then the third one is sure to be good.

Friday, February 22, 2013

It Stings So Sweet


It Stings So Sweet by Stephanie Draven is an anthology involving three steamy stories that is the perfect gift to spice up any Valentine’s Day.


Love Me or Leave Me

Nora and Jonathan are married but not for long. Nora cheated on Jonathan with another guy. Jonathan is ready to leave Nora. Nora has just tonight to try and convince Jonathan to stay. It would seem that Jonathan has other plans in mind for Nora. One that will have her knees trembling with passion.

I thought that Jonathan was right in the way that he treated Nora. She was acting like a spoiled daddy’s girl in the beginning. However as the story progressed, I like how more real the love making between Jonathan and Nora got. They opened their hearts and boy was the sex then hot between them. I did have a smile on my face by the end of the story.

When I’m Bad I’m Better

Clara Cartwright is a movie star. Leo Vanderberg is a retired ace fighter pilot. From the first moment that Leo and Clara met, Leo was already trying to push Clara’s buttons. Clara is intrigued by Leo but she will not admit it. Leo is out to prove Clara wrong on just how much she wants him.

This was my favorite story out of the three. I am a sucker for a pilot probably due to my love of aviation. To be specific a sexy, cocky but good pilot. The banter between Leo and Clara was like four play. It helped build up the intensity. Also, I felt that Clara was a good match for Leo. She was strong and could hold her own against Leo. My only complaint about this book is the threesome. While, I have no problems with stories involving threesomes, I felt that Leo and Clara’s relationship was more intimate and did not call for a threesome. Plus, the guy that Leo and Clara had the threesome with, I briefly met him in Love Me or Leave Me and I did not care for him.

Let’s Misbehave

Sophie is an employee for Mr. Aster. She works at his hotel. Mr. Aster’s son is Robert. Sophie is really outspoken. She could contribute it to her Irish temper. Her big mouth is going to get her in trouble one of these days.

Robert is amused by Sophie. When Robert finds Sophie’s journal filled with all of her private fantasies, he decides to play a game with Sophie.

It took the final story for me to actually like Robert. In the first two stories, I did not care for him at all. In this story, he felt human and actually had a heart. I was glad that he got to have a happy ending. Of the three women featured, Sophie was my favorite. She was a spitfire. She kept me entertained. My only criticism of her was that she over thought things too much.


Excerpt from IT STINGS SO SWEET by Stephanie Draven

At home, from the safe height of my fancy penthouse apartment with its gilded furniture and velvet drapes, I find my stash in the sideboard and pour myself a shot of hooch. Downing it too quickly, I cough at the burn. Then I wipe my lips and hurriedly hide the evidence of my distress only moments before the doorman brings me the red roses and the note attached.

The man who sent them is waiting downstairs.

“Can’t you shoo him away, Charlie?”

“He’s not the sort to be given the bum’s rush, madam,” the doorman replies.

No, I don’t suppose he is. Leo Vanderberg has come at the worst time, but I find that I want to see him. Maybe the reckless aviator is just the tonic I need. “Alright, send him up. Wait fifteen minutes, then have the car brought around, won’t you?”

The penthouse, the doorman, and the driver are all perks of being a kept woman. I can afford without Teddy Morgan’s generosity, of course. But like I said before, I never turn down a gift. The days when I was clawing for crumbs in a cold one-bedroom apartment are over, but I haven’t forgotten them and I’m never going back.

When I hear the aviator’s footsteps in the hall, my pulse quickens. I can see his lean body in my mind’s eye, and those dark looks, hot and heavy. I still remember what he whispered in my ear, and it makes me a little shaky to think of it. I don’t have to guess what he wants.

When he comes in, I don’t turn around right away. “Why, Mr. Vanderberg, I didn’t expect to see you again so soon, much less bearing gifts,” I say, arranging the roses so that blooms are on fine display. I have to admit, their perfume lifts my spirits. “Are you falling in love with me?”

“Of course not. That would ruin the whole arrangement.”

I want to turn around and look him in the eye, but I don’t. “What arrangement would that be?”

“The one where I’m planning to debauch you and you’re planning to let me.”

My lips part in amusement. “I’m afraid I was thoroughly debauched long ago.”

“I’d like to test that—” He catches his breath when I finally turn from the mirror. He has both hands in his pockets, a languid slope to his shoulders, a snappy hat shadowing his face, but he can’t hide his surprise.

And his wide-eyed astonishment makes me laugh. “What’s the matter, Ace? Haven’t you ever seen a girl without powder on her nose before?”

“I—I just . . . I just need a second to get used to it, is all.”

“Is my skirt too long, my hat too wide, or don’t you recognize me without my war paint?”

“You look younger . . .”

“Like a farm-fresh freckled milkmaid? Like a sweet daisy ready to be plucked from a field?”

He shrugs. “Something like that.”

“Well, don’t let the baby face fool you. I only go out like this when I don’t want anyone to recognize me.”

“You’re Clara Cartwright. Why the devil wouldn’t you want anyone to recognize you?”

There is nothing I can do but lie. “Because, I’m going to a matinee at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre. I can’t go there looking like myself. My handprints are in the concrete forecourt right next to Charlie Chaplin’s. I’d spend the whole afternoon signing autographs.”

He smirks. “Must be hard to be you.”

“Positively a trial.”

He’s still smirking—and I see it’s his natural expression, as if he has the utmost contempt for the whole world. “If you’re going to the matinee, Clara, let me take you. My treat.”

My voice is low and husky with regret. “I’m not interested, Mr. Vanderberg.”

“Yes you are. And like I said before, you can call me Leo.”

“I haven’t decided if I want to be on a first-name basis. At the party I got the impression you weren’t just another wet blanket . . . you seemed reckless. A little bit dangerous. But flowers and a movie? Rather conventional, wouldn’t you say?”

“The courtship’s for your benefit, doll, not mine.” Then he leans in and everything turns deadly serious. “See, it’s like this. When you’re in bed with me, squirming in embarrassment for all the filthy things you’ve let me do to you, it should comfort you to remember that I did court you as a lady . . . even though I intend to treat you as anything but.”


Bio


STEPHANIE DRAVEN is a bestselling, award-winning and RITA-nominated author of historical, paranormal, and contemporary romance. Her newest project, IT STINGS SO SWEET is a collection of 1920s historical erotic romances that celebrate sex, women, and the Jazz Age. Her most recent novel with Entangled Publishing, IN BED WITH THE OPPOSITION, is a mix of humor and sex-appeal set against the backdrop of a zany political campaign inspired by the career of Baltimore legend William Donald Schaefer. Both novels are fun departures from her more serious Greek mythology-inspired series for Harlequin's Nocturne line, the debut novel of which was nominated by Romantic Times for Best First Series. The series has earned critical praise for its originality and awareness of social issues and garnered the 2012 SWIRL award for excellence in multi-cultural romance literature as well as the CataRomance's Reviewers Choice Award. Writing historical fiction about Cleopatra’s daughter as Stephanie Dray, she won the Golden Leaf Award for SONG OF THE NILE. Stephanie is currently a denizen of Baltimore, that city of ravens and purple night skies. She lives there with her favorite nocturnal creatures–three scheming cats and a deliciously wicked husband. And when she is not busy with dark domestic rituals, she writes her books. StephanieDraven.com


Blurb

They vibrated with incendiary Jazz. They teemed with sexual abandon. The Twenties were roaring and the women–young, open, rebellious, and willing–set the pace and pushed the limits with every man they met…

In the aftermath of a wild, liquor-soaked party, three women from very different social classes are about to live out their forbidden desires.

Society girl, Nora Richardson’s passionate nature has always been a challenge to her ever-patient husband. Now he wants out of the marriage and she has just this one night to win him back. The catch? He wants to punish her for her bad behavior. Nora is offended by her husband’s increasingly depraved demands, but as the night unfolds, she discovers her own true nature and that the line between pain and pleasure is very thin indeed.

Meanwhile, Clara Cartwright, sultry siren of the silent screen, is introduced to a mysterious WWI Flying Ace. If Clara, darling of the scandal sheets, knows anything, it’s men. And she’s known plenty. But none of them push her boundaries like the aviator, who lures her into a ménage with a stranger in a darkened cinema then steals her jaded heart.

Working class girl Sophie O’Brien has more important things on her mind than pleasures of the flesh. But when her playboy boss, the wealthy heir to the Aster family fortune, confronts her with her diary of secret sex fantasies, she could die of shame. To her surprise, he doesn’t fire her; instead, he dares her to re-enact her boldest fantasies and Sophie is utterly seduced.

One party serves as a catalyst of sexual awakening. And in an age when anything goes, three women discover that anything is possible…

Purchase Info: Amazon, Barnes and Noble

Thursday, February 21, 2013

New Birth of Freedom: The Translator + Giveaway

review by Nancy

The second installment of Robert G Pielke’s series A New Birth of Freedom: The Translator will make you waiting for the next book to come out. This compelling account of Aliens in a Lincoln-esque time is so well written that I was caught up on page one and didn’t stop until I had finished the book. The first book, NBOF: The Visitor laid down the plot line and this continues with new issues thrown in. You might want to read it prior to this one as it really does make more sense if you do.


As most time travelers are aware, if you play with history it never ends well. Edwin’s memory is failing or is it that he has altered history enough that what he knew isn’t any longer. His blinding headaches may also be a result of his tampering – does he still exist?

The “pests” as Edwin calls them apparently operate on a hive mentality. What one knows the others automatically assimilate. The captives are communicating in Indian sign language first, then switch to Morse code after a demonstration. This enables the captors (Lincoln and John Hay plus the armies) to learn more about them. In between dealing with pests, Lincoln is also running the Civil War from a tent in the field.

For history buffs, the examination of Lincoln and his closest advisors is fantastic and for sci-fi buffs, this continuation of a trilogy well begun will be a “must”.

Robert G. Pielke's Bio:

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

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

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

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

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


Prices/Formats: $16.95 paperback, $4.99 ebook

Pages: 394

ISBN: 9781611605426

Publisher: Whiskey Creek Press

Release: November 1, 2012

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There is 1 ebook copy for giveaway. Leave a comment with your email address.



 

House of Cobwebs

Review by Nancy

If frightening bookcovers make you think twice about reading a book you might want to close your eyes until this is begun. House of Cobwebs is a terrifying novel about a little girl whose whole family has been killed and the child psychiatrist who tries to help her. Judith Thomas has (if you’ll pardon the pun) woven the web of an exceptional journey into the minds of children who are “challenged” in that they all have a few things in common. Mostly bad things.


When Winter Fremont meets the Harris family she is immediately put off by Neema, the oldest. She can see into the child’s mine and what she finds isn’t pleasant. But the father is so hoping that Winter will find nothing wrong with his baby girl that she agrees to see Neema for a few sessions.

Inspector Len Axton is assigned the case in a station house where doing anything is considered absurd. He is surrounded by idiots. One is in love with him, one hates women and nearly everyone else, the commander resembles Hitler in word and actions. Commander wants answers and now – with no tainting of the psychic in the files. A little hard to do but Len promises to try.

What follows is a seriously twisted tale of murder, spiders (do not ask!) and a little girl. You won’t believe the ending (it sure caught me off guard!) and will be thinking about for quite some time.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Age of the Aura, Phase I: Champions of Power



Review by Monica


I'll start off by saying that this isn't a book I would typically pick up and read. I decided to step out of my comfort zone for a change, and let me assure you I'm very glad I did!

Age of the Aura was much more than I expected. I couldn't wait to find out the fate of Ludoran Imperium and how they would get out of their predicament with their beloved turned hostile Aura.

When the young Lowen Sars is unexpectedly appointed Chief Emissary of Off-Planet Relations by his Grandfather the Lords of the Assembly are left in utter disbelief. Will Lowen be able to protect his people from the growing menace of the once beloved Aura?

This book was exciting and full of action taking unexpected twists and turns along the way.

Definitely a must read book.


Book Summary
There was no other name for the Blessed Galaxy. After being gifted with the Auras, five great powerhouses of celestial creation, the title was a suitable fit. While harnessing such energies, the governing bodies have ruled their respected reaches of the Galaxy for a number of millennia, but now they face the threat of an inevitable calamity that could shake the lives of everyone, caused by one of the five Auras.


After accepting a sudden promotion, a devout man of science, named Lowen Sars, decides to take on the burden of saving the galaxy’s people after he learns of the calamity, but soon realizes that the role of a hero was a calling not meant for him. In his process of self-discovery, Lowen inadvertently begins the fateful saga of not only the Blessed Galaxy but also the kingdom in possession of the corrupt Aura, and especially its two young heirs of the throne.

Age of the Aura, Phase I: Champions of Power is the first book in a science fiction series that has yet to be seen elsewhere and it will certainly be one for the ages.   Purchase a copy here

Once Upon a Castle

Review by Nancy

1939 in Britain brought the war home with a vengeance and many London children were either sent to the country to stay with relatives or unknown families who volunteered to take them in. Among these are Tom and Mary Lovell, 12-yr old twins sent to live with their Aunt Victoria and Uncle Leslie.


Vicky and Uncle Leslie run a huge farm and don’t have a lot of time to spend with the kids so they find their own entertainment. They also find a cute small dog they name Scamp. The only odd thing is they only see him in times of stress. Mrs “M”, the housekeeper, has never seen him nor have the other two adults.

This short tale brings home the separation children of London were subjected to by many well-meaning parents. Some children’s trips didn’t turn out as well as the Lovell’s so they were fortunate. This YA novel will also be enjoyed by adults for the history content alone. Your World History student should read this one.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The Hangman's Replacement: Sprout of Disruption

Abel Muranda can not pay the bus fare to get from Gwenzi to Harare. So he makes his way on foot the long fifteen hours. Abel is applying for the new hangman position. Yep, you heard me right...hangman, executor, grim ripper, death dealer, etc. I never gave much thought into how someone got hired for his position until now. I can imagine the interview process would be awkward. For example, what do you ask a potential candidate? It is not as if you can really make small talk and ask about the weather. Or “Hey, so how many people have you killed?” Or maybe “I hear that hanging is more your style.”


I quickly grew attached to Abel. He had a kind and gentle soul. Everything that he did, he did for his family. I got way more then I bargained for with this book. I was expecting to read just about a hangman but got more. This book then quickly took a curve into some sci-fi like thriller stuff. I was hooked. As the story progressed I got more drawn into this book. There were only a time of two at the beginning that I did have to rush the story along to make it read faster but otherwise a good book. Readers will enjoy this book and the many more that comes after book one. The Hangman’s Replacement is worth your time and money!

Read a sample here

FOR INTERNAL USE ONLY Giveaway


Chloe Kassidy has just been accepted into one of Manhattan’s most exclusive art exhibits, Love Through Light. However, with her singular dedication to her career, she soon realizes that in sacrificing her personal life, she has never been in love. A hopeless romantic who is terrified of heartbreak, Chloe begins to enlist the help of her circle of friends to learn about love through their very different stories and experiences.

In Chloe’s emotional rollercoaster to having the greatest love story ever told, she’ll learn that like her photography she must use the negatives in life to develop and prove that she’s a strong woman who found her way to love through light.

In this excerpt, Chloe is anxiously awaiting for the envelope to arrive that contains her destiny.

Chapter 2

My love for photography had led me down an unimaginable career path. Most currently, it led me to anxiously sitting on a stoop outside the New York City mid-rise building that contained my overpriced one-room apartment. I closed my eyes, allowing the morning light to calm me while I took in the delightful bird chirps and excruciating taxi beeps of the East Village, ignoring the slight smell of urine that accosted my senses.

I started my afternoon again with stalking. I eagerly awaited the mailman’s arrival between 1:06 and 1:13 p.m., while he transported paper fate, sporting his pale blue polyester trousers, tucked in long-sleeve shirt pressed, and Converse sneakers.

We lived and loved through technology, so I was frustrated that my fate was arriving via snail mail and the timing matched every part of the description. Technology was the trusted source of banking transactions, meeting your husband, ordering your groceries, making restaurant reservations and even spying on your pets through a kennel cam while sunburning on a beach. But today, this life-altering letter crawled its way to me by a government official, a man I rarely saw, and never exchanged words with. I was waiting to hear if my dream would come true, and dreading it would never be.

“Good afternoon,” I said, with a smile, merely able to stare at the navy stripe that lined his pant leg. The clock showed that it was 1:11 p.m. I made a wish.

“What a surprise,” he muttered, while he manhandled the heavy stack wrapped with a thick, green rubber band and passed by me. I studied him meticulously stocking the empty boxes, one by one, approaching my slot.

“Do you mind if I just grab the mail for three-C, please?” I interrupted.

“If that’s what it’ll take,” he moaned.

Between my J. Crew catalogue and my electric bill was a fancy rectangle of heavy stock ivory paper with gold trim. I squeezed the four-by-six response card. Contained in this saliva-sealed envelope were the words that would inevitably change my life. The weight of those words was heavy in my fingers and I was hesitant to open it. Without the answer the card contained, I still was able to hold onto hope.

My destiny was in my lap with the warmth of the sun counteracting the fresh chill October presented while I flipped from sweating to freezing like an on/off switch. I reassured myself it was only rejection. I had my health and photography. Whether it was amateur or professional, it was still my first love. Even if it was a two-letter response, I would remember my love for art, and how every time I shot I searched for the immense beauty that existed within the balance, tone, and temperature of my tiny frame. Having an image worth a thousand words was never my intention. I wanted to capture one word to describe each photograph. One word can define everything, love being a true example. There is something compelling about visualizing a picture and capturing it. There is nothing compelling about the words, We regret to inform you.

My fingers trembled and taking a couple photographs would be soothing. Photography to me was the perfect cocktail: one part heart, one part head, a dose of imagination, with a splash of patience.

The tearing of the envelope felt like scratches on my heart. I proceeded with caution, hoping this document wouldn’t be only a keepsake to remind me what if.

Inch by inch, I slid out the card to reveal the twelve-point Apple Chancery font and held it to the light, observing the maker’s name in the watermark. Rubbing my index finger over the engraved symbol, I was impressed. The brand, Smythson of Bond Street stationery, supplied paper to the British royal family. I was holding the same stationery as the Queen.

________________________

Dear Miss Kassidy,

We write to inform you of your acceptance into the exclusive Bruce Smith Gallery as part of our exhibit for emerging artists, hosted by curator Grayson Gates. You will be receiving your review and luncheon date via e-mail. Please be prepared to present your theme for the Love Through Light exhibit within the deadline. You will be required to exhibit three pieces.

Opening Night & Reception

Friday, February 7, 8:00 p.m.

Bruce Smith Gallery

504 West 22nd Street

________________________

I read your acceptance at least ten times, intoxicated with excitement and then Love Through Light offered a swift sobering sense of reality. I began to panic. I couldn’t deny the exhibit theme made me uncomfortable.

The Love Through Light exhibit was inspired by the word photography itself and its Greek meaning, writing with light. As the emerging artists in Grayson Gates’s exhibit, we were to create stories of love. Instead of ink, we would be writing with our three photographs.

I composed a text to Stephanie, Kate, and Emma, my inner circle. I’m in!

Our bonds from beginnings to endings were unbendable. Each our own elements, but together our friendship made a rare metal.

Author Bio
Cari Kamm has worked in the beauty industry for over a decade, building brands, working behind the scenes, and even selling her own skin care line. She has a master’s in clinical nutrition from New York University. Kamm currently works in corporate social media management with clients in the beauty, fashion, and restaurant industries. Living in New York City with her mutt Schmutz, Kamm loves finding inspiration in the most unexpected places, being a novelist, and convincing her fiancé that ordering takeout and making dinner reservations are equal to cooking. More information can be found on her website.       Cari is nice enough to offer up 1 copy of this book to a lucky winner. The winner gets to pick either ebook or paperback. Open to US, Canada, UK. Just leave a comment with your email address. Contest ends March 5th.

DROP CAPS and the Rainbow

Daily Drop Cap is a project by designer & illustrator Jessica Hische. Since September of 2009, an illustrative initial cap has been posted daily (or at least regularly), to prettify the internet and beautify your blog posts. Individuals are welcome to use the drop caps on personal (non-commercial) sites within blog posts by following the instructions below each letter. The project will end after the twelfth alphabet is complete, but the site will remain up for your use and inspiration. Enjoy!

Introducing the first six volumes in a 26-book series of collectible hardcovers from A to Z…


PENGUIN DROP CAPS

It all begins with a letter.

Fall in love with Penguin Drop Caps, a new series of twenty-six collectible hardcover editions of fine works of literature with a series design inspired by typography. A design collaboration between Jessica Hische and Penguin Art Director Paul Buckley, each volume features on its cover a specially commissioned illustrated letter of the alphabet by Hische, a superstar in the world of type design and illustration, whose work has appeared everywhere from Tiffany & Co. to Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom to Penguin’s own bestsellers Committed by Elizabeth Gilbert and Rules of Civility by Amor Towles.

With exclusive designs that have never before appeared on Hische’s hugely popular Daily Drop Cap blog, each gift-sized book features a foil-stamped case and a decorative color stain on all three paper edges. As a whole, the series design encompasses a rainbow-hued color spectrum across all twenty-six book spines. The Penguin Drop Caps debut with the following titles (all on sale December 12, 2012):

Austen, Jane - Pride and Prejudice (978-0-14-312316-3, $22)

Brontë, Charlotte – Jane Eyre (978-0-14-312314-9, $22)

Cather, Willa – My Ántonia (978-0-14-312315-6, $20)

Dickens, Charles – Great Expectations (978-0-14-312379-8, $20)

Eliot, George – Middlemarch (978-0-14-312381-1, $22)

Flaubert, Gustave – Madame Bovary, translated by Lydia Davis (978-0-14-312380-4, $22)

Jessica Hische is a letterer, illustrator, typographer, and web designer. She currently serves on the Type Directors Club board of directors, has been named a Forbes Magazine "30 under 30" in art and design as well as an ADC Young Gun and one of Print Magazine’s "New Visual Artists". She has designed for Wes Anderson, McSweeney's, Tiffany & Co, Penguin Books and many others. She resides primarily in San Francisco , occasionally in Brooklyn .

WHERE THE LIGHT FALLS


Jeanette has been expelled from Vassar College. Jeanette is already to head back home in disgrace until a teacher at the college encourages Jeanette to go to Paris to pursue her painting. She has talent.


Edward fought in the American Civil War. He is now out of the war but fighting a new war. A war with his body. To help with the pain, Edward uses laudanum. He becomes addicted to it. Edward’s friends feel a new location will help Edward, so he is asked to accompany a friend to Europe.

It is in Paris that Edward meets Jeanette. They start out as good friends but as time progresses, their relationship grows into more.

What I enjoy most about books is that they can transport me all over the world and different time periods. Thus part of the reason why I chose to check out this book. Another reason is that it sounded really good. I am not going to say that this book was not good as it was. It read like a poem or one of Jeanette’s painting…flowing and picturesque. However as much as I enjoyed this aspect of the book, I could not get past the fact that I did feel like this book was too long. It seemed that even the author thought so too as much would flash forward chunks of time.

In addition, that there were many different secondary characters that were introduced into this story that at times it was hard to keep them straight and their stories. Lastly, I was expecting this to be a romance book but the romance was there but barely. It was not love at first sight between Edward and Jeanette. Jeanette was busy with her painting and Edward with his addiction to laudanum. Overall, this was a nice introduction to a new author. Where the Light Falls is an enchanting read!

Mind Games

Fia and Annie are sisters. A sister’s bond is one of the strongest bonds that can not be broken. The sisters attend Keane School. Although this school is not your normal school. Think of it kind of like Xavier’s school for the X-Men only this school is for girls. Fia has not been the perfect student type, so it would figure that she would learn to be an assassin. Annie on the other hand plays be the rules. Fia wants to get away and be free. Unfortunately she has to care for Annie. Their bond will be tested. I have been excited about all the new young adult books that have come out recently. Some of my favorite authors have picked up on the wave as well and have written series. What I like about this genre is that the books can go more fantasy or the book or series can have very relatable characters that make me want to follow them on their journey. I did not get the relatable characters from this book and the fantasy aspect was alright but not as well written or portrayed. Annie seemed weak and feeble minded. Where as Fia was strong. This one sidedness od Fia being the only strong character can only carry the story so far. I wanted Annie to grow and be just as strong a character as Fia but this did not happen. Another aspect of this book that drove me crazy is the “flow”. It was bumpy and did not flow as smoothly from present to past or Fia’s voice to Annie’s voice. Even though the start of each chapter told me if it was the past or present or Fia or Annie talking, I still got confused a few times. Also, it seemed that Fia and Annie never really aged from the past to the present. There will be a follow up book but I am not sure that I will read it.

Monday, February 18, 2013

At Drake's Command: The Adventures of Peregrine James during the Second Circumnavigation of the World

About the Book


It was as fine a day to be whipped as any he'd ever seen but the good weather didn't make Peregrine James any happier with the situation he was in. Unfairly convicted of a crime he had not committed, the young cook was strung from the whipping post on the Plymouth quay side when he caught the eye of Francis Drake and managed to convince the charismatic sea captain to accept him among his crew.

Soon England was receding in their wake and Perry was serving an unsavory collection of sea dogs as the small fleet of fragile wood ships sailed across the brine. Their destination was secret, known to Drake alone. Few sailors believed the public avowal that the expedition was headed for Alexandria to trade in currants. Some men suspected Drake planned a raid across Panama to attack the Spanish in the Pacific. Others were sure the real plan was to round the Cape of Storms to break the Portuguese monopoly of the spice trade. The only thing Perry knew for certain was that they were bound for danger and that he must live by his wits if he were to survive serving at Drake's command.   At Drake's Command

The Adventures of Peregrine James during the Second Circumnavigation of the World

Author: David Wesley Hill

Publisher: Temurlone Press

Format: 5.5 x 8.5 Trade Paperback

Pages: 424

Price: $14.95

ISBN-10: 0983611726

ISBN-13: 978-0-9836117-2-1

Publication Date: November 15, 2012

Cover Art: "The Golden Hinde off New Albion" by Simon Kozhin

Available from Amazon 
About the Author


David Wesley Hill is an award-winning fiction writer with more than thirty stories published in the U.S. and internationally. In 1997 he was presented with the Golden Bridge award at the International Conference on Science Fiction in Beijing, and in 1999 he placed second in the Writers of the Future contest. In 2007, 2009, and 2011 Mr. Hill was awarded residencies at the Blue Mountain Center, a writers and artists retreat in the Adirondacks. He studied under Joseph Heller and Jack Cady and received a Masters in creative writing from the City University of New York, as well as the De Jur Award, the school's highest literary honor.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Click: An Online Dating Story

Click: An Online Love Story -

Fast approaching her 30th birthday and finding herself not married, not dating, and without even a prospect or a house full of cats, Renee Greene, the heroine of Click: An Online Love Story, reluctantly joins her best guy pal on a journey to find love online in Los Angeles. The story unfolds through a series of emails between Renee and her best friends (anal-compulsive Mark, the overly-judgmental Ashley and the over-sexed Shelley) as well as the gentlemen suitors she meets online. From the guy who starts every story with "My buddies and I were out drinking one night," to the egotistical “B”celebrity looking for someone to stroke his ego, Renee endures her share of hilarious and heinous cyber dates. Fraught with BCC's, FWD's and inadvertent Reply to All's, readers will root for Renee to "click" with the right man.


Lisa Becker


Author of "Click: An Online Love Story"

Facebook Purchase a copy here    

When the Heart Heals


Rosemary used to be a nurse in the war. Now that there is a new doctor in town, Rosemary is hoping that the new doctor will be open minded about having a female nurse.

Dr. Elijah Stewart wants to make a good first impression on the townsfolk. One person that Elijah keeps sticking his foot in his mouth is Rosemary.

I liked this book. Rosemary really stood out for me. She was strong but kind hearted. She fought hard for what she believed in and what she wanted. I did not warm up to Elijah in the beginning. I thought he came off mean towards Rosemary. Even his teasing was unkind. In fact I did not care for Elijah so much in the beginning that I really hoped that Rosemary would fall for Jacob instead. Although I knew how the story would end with Rosemary and Elijah falling in love with each other. Eventually I did warm up to Elijah. However as nice and sweet as the ending was I was not fully invested. Due to the way Elijah came off in the beginning. I do have to give a shout out to Rosemary’s dog, Brodie. He was a sweetheart.

  “Available February 2013 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.”

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Petroleum Venus

Fyodor is an architect. He has a grown son named Vanya. Vanya was born with Down’s syndrome. Throughout the years, Fyodor has grown to love his son. They have a pretty good relationship. I would not call it the best as Vanya likes structure and as part of this he wants to know every detail about Fyodor’s day. Fyodor does not like this because Vanya acts like his mother in wanting to boss him around.


Things are about to change for both Fyodor and Vanya when Vanya finds a portrait of a woman.

To be brutally honest this book is not one that I would give a first or even second glance at. So, if this book had not been sent to me for a possible review, then I would never have read it. In fact, I picked up the book many times and put it back down. I had my mind made up before I ever started that this book was not going to be for me and I would not like it. This is where the saying “Don’t judge a book by its cover” fits appropriately in this situation.

I instantly fell in love with Vanya. It was his childlike innocence that won my heart for him. However, I found the other people to be mean towards Vanya. Just because someone else is “special” does not mean that they should be treated rudely. This book really shows that no matter what country you live in, this treatment of people does happen. It needs to stop. Luckily, Vanya found a place where he really belonged in the end. Who I did not care for from the get go were the “sisters”. They were extremely mean and loud. They did get a little better as the story went on but they were only barely tolerable. Also, after a while I did find myself skimming this book some. Just because I wanted it to more along faster. Still, a good book and one that I would suggest to people looking for new authors to check out.

The Terror comes to AMC for TV!

AMC, home of "The Walking Dead," is planning to bring a different kind of horror story to TV screens with "The Terror."

The Terror is the name of a 2007 novel by American author Dan Simmons. The novel is a fictionalized account of Captain Sir John Franklin's lost expedition of HMS Erebus and HMS Terror to the Arctic to force the Northwest Passage in 1845–1848. In the novel, while Franklin and his crew are plagued by starvation and scurvy and forced to contend with mutiny and cannibalism, they are stalked across the bleak Arctic landscape by a monster.

The characters featured in The Terror are almost all actual members of Franklin's crew, whose unexplained disappearance has warranted a great deal of speculation. The main characters in the novel include Sir John Franklin, commander of the expedition and captain of Erebus, Captain Francis Crozier, captain of Terror, Dr Harry D.S Goodsir, and Captain James Fitzjames.

In the final chapters of the book, Simmons explores and uses various aspects of Eskimo mythology to explain the existence of the monster (called the Tuunbaq) as a mythological creature made flesh, as well as its reasons for stalking and preying on the men of the Franklin Expedition.

The Madman’s Daughter is mad, crazy good!



Juliet Moreau is the daughter of Dr. Moreau. Dr. Moreau is a brilliant doctor and was considered a respected member of the community. That is until his latest science experiments were discovered. Now, Juliet is part of a cleaning crew at the university.


After an incident, Juliet needs to make a new start and quickly. After learning that her father is alive and experimenting on an island, Juliet makes her way to the island. Once there Juliet is met face to face with her father’s projects. Juliet must make a decision…stay or leave?

I absolutely love when a book actually turns out to be just as great as it promises to me. That book is The Madman’s Daughter. I devoured this book. I both was upset in horror by Juliet’s father and also intrigued by him. Mad because his “science projects” were more inhumane then just for science. Yet, I was very intrigued by what Juliet’s father was doing and the strange combinations that he put together.

As the story progressed, it got more entertaining. Megan really painted a vivid picture of the story she was telling. It was like I was there on the island and could picture the strange creatures. I am so glad to read that this book is the first in a trilogy. The way it ended I was hoping that there would be another one. I am on the edge of my seat awaiting in excited anticipation for book two. The Madman’s Daughter is mad, crazy good! I give two thumbs up to Megan.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Against My Will. A great story told well and one I’m sure you would enjoy!

Review by Nancy

Daniella Landau was a lovely Jewish girl in New York who is adored by her father and Nana, loved by her sister and friends but clueless when it comes to romance. Family keeps bringing over “such a nice boy” for her to meet but she was far more into passing the Bar than dating. Then her father met a “matchmaker”. In walks Jacob Liebowitz whom her father insists is “the perfect man. He has a good job, a new loft apartment and prospects. Marriage follows and Danielle quickly realizes the mistake she has made. She gives marriage her all but nothing satisfies Jacob.
He must be in control. Danielle tries to talk to her father about her unhappiness but he tells her to go home and be a good wife. Nothing changes until, one night, Jacob really crosses the line and Danielle goes to her grandmother. She gets enough money to leave and, leave she does. Intertwined with Danielle’s heartbreak is the story of another young Jewish girl named Rose. Rose lived in Austria in WWII and became a resident of the Mauthausen Concentration Camp. She is chosen to work in the Commandant’s kitchen and is thus saved from fate. However, Rose is subjected to a fate of her own, one she would not have picked for anything.

This is Berkley’s first novel. He has written four previous books including Before You Say I Do Again: A Buyer’s Beware Guide to Remarriage.” It is very well done with characters perfectly written for their parts. Nana is the grandmother everyone wants to have. Mr. Landau is trying to do right for his daughter but ultimately his culture causes him to make a huge error. The concentration camp environment was quite well written and I felt Rose’ fear when the family was taken. A great story told well and one I’m sure you would enjoy!

About Benjamin Berkley:

"Against My Will" is Benjamin Berkley's fifth book and debut novel. He is also the author of four self-help books: "My Wishes, Your Plan for Organizing Your Family's Needs" (Sourcebooks, June, 2006) "The Complete Executor's Guide" (Sourcebooks, June 2007) "Winning Your Social Security Disability Case" (Sourcebooks, February, 2008) and "Before You Say I Do Again, A Buyer's Beware Guide to Remarriage." (Frederick Fell Publishers, September, 2009).

And though writing is his passion, for over 34 years he has conducted a busy law practice in which he has seen many interesting clients come through his door. One in particular, an older woman with white hair, the kindest smile, and an amazing story became the inspiration for one of his characters for "Against My Will." Berkley lives in southern California with his wife Phyllis and their cat Riley. He has two grown children and is always bragging about his most beautiful grandson and granddaughter.