Saturday, October 31, 2015

Vendetta




No one needs to push Nikki Boyd to excel on the Tennessee Missing Persons Task Force. The case of her own missing sister, still unsolved after ten years, is the driving force in her work. When a Polaroid photo of a missing girl shows up at a crime scene, Nikki quickly recognizes similarities to the past. The closer she gets to the abductor, the more she feels this case has become personal, and she is not the hunter . . . but the hunted.

With this explosive first book in The Nikki Boyd Files, award-winning author Lisa Harris takes you on a fast-paced pursuit of justice that will have you holding your breath until the heart-stopping finish.



Review by Blanche Mancuso

Vendetta is a riveting mystery read involving agents with the Missing Persons Task Force. This is the first book I have read by this author and it will not be the last. This book is the first in a series. Which I thought this book was a strong showing for the first book in this series. It sets a nice pace. I like that Nikki and the rest of the characters stayed a strong force from start to finish of the case.

What I also liked about this book is that I am not a big mystery fan, only because I don't like the blood. This book was a good mix of being more than a cozy mystery but also without being too bloody. The characters are interesting. I had a fun time reading this book and did not see the twists and turns that the author put in the story. I look forward to reading the next book in this series.

The Sparrow Sisters

 
With echoes of the alchemy of Practical Magic, the lushness of Saving CeeCee Honeycutt, and the darkly joyful wickedness of the Witches of East End, Ellen Herrick’s debut novel spins an enchanting love story about a place where magic whispers just beneath the surface and almost anything is possible, if you aren’t afraid to listen

The Sparrow sisters are as tightly woven into the seaside New England town of Granite Point as the wild sweet peas that climb the stone walls along the harbor. Sorrel, Nettie and Patience are as colorful as the beach plums on the dunes and as mysterious as the fog that rolls into town at dusk.

Patience is the town healer and when a new doctor settles into Granite Point he brings with him a mystery so compelling that Patience is drawn to love him, even as she struggles to mend him. But when Patience Sparrow’s herbs and tinctures are believed to be implicated in a local tragedy, Granite Point is consumed by a long-buried fear—and its three hundred year old history resurfaces as a modern day witch-hunt threatens. The plants and flowers, fruit trees and high hedges begin to wither and die, and the entire town begins to fail; fishermen return to the harbor empty-handed, and blight descends on the old elms that line the lanes.

It seems as if Patience and her town are lost until the women of Granite Point band together to save the Sparrow. As they gather, drawing strength from each other, will they be able to turn the tide and return life to Granite Point?

The Sparrow Sisters is a beautiful, haunting, and thoroughly mesmerizing novel that will capture your imagination.
 
My Review
When I read the premise for this book I don't remember reading the references to Practical Magic or the Witches of East End. If I had this would have excited me more about reading this book. Now, that I have seen these references and experienced attempting to read this book, I am saddened. This is because this book was nothing like either of these references. I watched Practical Magic and found it charming, funny, and the sisters shared a great bond. Than there is the Witches of East End. I liked the books way better then the television series. It seems a bunch of other viewers felt the same way as the series was cancelled. However again with that series the family shared a strong bond and there was plenty of action to keep things intriguing.

The problem with this book is that I felt no strong connection with the Sparrow Sisters. Also, the tone of this book was monotone and I could only read a few pages at a time as I would get sleepy. Even when Patience got mad I felt nothing. I only got six chapters into this book and put it down.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Hidden Inheritance

Heidi Neumark’s life changed forever when her daughter’s late-night online searching exposed a generation of family secrets. From a few computer keystrokes, Neumark discovered her hidden Jewish heritage—and uncovered hundreds of questions: Did her grandfather really die in a concentration camp? How did she never know her grandmother was a death-camp survivor? Why had the family history and faith been rejected and hidden?

Heidi’s search for the truth quickly became more than a personal journey; it also became spiritual. It caused profound ponderings on her thirty-year vocation as a Lutheran pastor. It was a shocking revelation that her Jewish roots and successive family loss and trauma now suddenly and inherently connected her to the multi-ethnic, marginalized community she had been ministering to for three decades. Hidden Inheritance takes the reader on a journey that seamlessly weaves personal narrative, social history, and biblical reflection to challenge readers to explore their own identity, vocation,
and theology. Neumark boldly calls readers to explore the harsh places of the past, uncover the possible buried secrets, ask new questions,

forge new understanding, and discover new hope for transformation that is only possible when what has been hidden is finally brought to light.

 

My Review

Not to take anything away from the author and her family heritage but I as not enthralled but this book or learning the history of the author's past. This actually saddens me some. The biggest reason I wanted to check this book out is because I have always been fascinated by reading stories of the people who survived one of the worst events in history. Yet, I could not grasp any olive branch of a connection towards the author or her family history.

Maybe this had to do with the fact that the author did no know much about her family and so she talked like she them at a distance. So I felt disconnected. Additionally, it seemed that the author was feeling guilty that she was Lutheran and found many moments to insert passages from the Bible. So after a while, the book came off a little preachy. I got about half way into the book and could not finish the book.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

The Opposite of Right





Kylie Stafford has spent her whole life doing exactly what’s expected. The right major, the right sorority, the right guys, just like her mother and her sister before her. But when everything falls apart for her, Kylie wonders if doing everything right has been utterly wrong. There’s only one way to find out.

She decides to try making all the wrong choices for three months. Hit on a tattoo-covered rock musician? Check. Go back to his dressing room for a hot hook-up against the wall? Gulp. Drop everything to be a roadie for him to binge on more of the best sex of her life? Maybe. Start falling for him despite her better judgment? Um….yeah. Figure out why doing everything that seems wrong feels so darn right?


My Review

I have read a couple different books by this author. They were sweet, contemporary. So, this is my first taste of what Ms. Barth delivers in the sexy romance genre. Well after reading this book, I have got to say that "Sometimes being Wrong can be so Good."

Kylie kept cracking me up with her impulsive moments and the comments that would come out of her mouth. I loved that she just let loose and went with the flow of trying to be a "bad" girl. She did not regret anything she did.

Cam on the other hand, I would not have known he was the lead singer in a band. This is a really good thing. He was not an ego-maniac. In fact, it was he that was trying to get Kylie to be a good girl. The chemistry between these two was hot, hot, hot. Yet, Ms. Barth did it right with out over powering the story. I will be checking out the next book in this trilogy.

The Opposite of Right, book 1 in the Bad Decisions trilogy.
Book 2, The Reverse of Perfection, will release in 2016.
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http://www.christibarth.com/home/contact/


Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Devotion



For readers of Unbroken and The Boys in the Boat comes an unforgettable tale of courage from America’s “forgotten war” in Korea, by the New York Times bestselling author of A Higher Call.
 
Devotion tells the inspirational story of the U.S. Navy’s most famous aviator duo: Lieutenant Tom Hudner, a white New Englander from the country-club scene, and Ensign Jesse Brown, an African American sharecropper’s son from Mississippi. Tom passed up Harvard to fly fighter planes for his country. Jesse became the navy’s first black carrier pilot to defend a nation that wouldn’t even serve him in a bar.

While much of America remained divided by segregation, Jesse and Tom joined forces as wingmen in Fighter Squadron 32. Adam Makos takes us into the cockpit as these bold young aviators cut their teeth at the world’s most dangerous job—landing on the deck of an aircraft carrier—a line of work that Jesse’s young wife, Daisy, struggles to accept. Then comes the war no one expected, in faraway Korea.

Devotion brings us into the foxholes with U.S. Marines and soaring overhead with Tom and Jesse as they battle a North Korean invasion. As the fury of the fighting escalates, Tom and Jesse fly, guns blazing, to save a Marine division cornered at the Chosin Reservoir and outnumbered ten to one. When one of the duo is shot down behind enemy lines and pinned in his burning plane, the other faces an unthinkable choice: watch his friend die or attempt history’s most audacious one-man rescue mission.

A tug-at-the-heartstrings tale of bravery and selflessness, Devotion asks: How far would you go to save a friend?


My Review

I have read lots of war themed books but I have to say I have not read many related to the Korean War. So I was glad to expand my knowledge of other wars and the brave men and women who fight in them. Mr. Makos and his team really did their homework. I am so glad that Mr. Makos got the courage to approach Lt. Tom Hudner and ask for an interview. If he had not I would never have heard the names Lt. Hudner and Ensign Jesse Brown.

This book is more about a friendship that spans into death between Lt. Hudner and Ensign Brown. To me as I was reading this book and the relationship that Lt. Hudner and Ensign Brown had with each other, I saw it as just two people who formed a bond over what they loved and it had nothing to do with the color of their skin. Also, why reading this book I did get a better picture of the Korean War. It is just as important as WWI and WWII. Yes, I do agree with other readers that at times there were sections where it seemed to stretch but on a side note, I did find the bookmarks filled with lots of interesting facts.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Shake Cats



The fur flies in this irresistible third installment in the bestselling Shake series by popular pet photographer Carli Davidson, featuring adorable and hysterical color photographs of more than sixty cats caught mid-shake.

Pet photographer Carli Davidson has enchanted readers around the world with her adorable photographs of man’s best friend in Shake and Shake Puppies. Now, she turns her lens on felines in this sweet and heartwarming volume that is pure catnip for cat lovers.

Shake Cats includes more than 130 gorgeous, highly detailed color pictures of felines in mid-shake. Like its predecessors Shake and Shake Puppies, it showcases a charming double-page layout—each spread features two images of the same cat placed side by side to capture the unique movement of the shake.

Inside, fans will find a roster listing the names, ages, and breeds of cats photographed. Davidson also provides outtake images of her shoots with the cats, a short, insightful description that explains her process, and information about animal rescue to encourage people considering a new cat to choose a rescue animal.

A truly incomparable book—as beautifully designed as it is humorous—Shake Cats is the ultimate gift for every cat lover.


My Review

Another enjoyable, entertaining book that brings tons of laughs. While I am more of a dog lover, the cats in this book were funny. In fact, they just might be more funny then the dogs and puppies in the other books. Yet, there were some pictures of some of the cats that made them look outright possessed. What with no faces and evil looks in their eyes. However the pictures were still entertaining. What I really liked were the ones with their tongues sticking out or the ones with one eye closed. I could spend hours looking through all of the pictures in this book. Thus the reason this book makes a good table top book as you will want to keep it out on the table for friends and guests to look at as well. A good conversation starter.
Purchase a copy on Amazon


Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Murder at the Courthouse

Welcome to Hidden Springs
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Michael Keane's stressful days as a Columbus police officer are done. He's ready to relax into his new position as deputy sheriff in his sleepy hometown. Nothing ever happens in Hidden Springs, Kentucky--and that's just fine with Michael.

Nothing, that is, until a dead body is discovered on the courthouse steps. As Michael works to solve the case, it seems that every nosy resident in town has a theory. When the sheriff insists Michael check out one of these harebrained theories, his surprising discovery sends him on a bewildering search for a mysterious killer that has him questioning everything he has ever believed about life in Hidden Springs.

Bringing with her a knack for creating settings you want to visit and an uncanny ability to bring characters to life, A. H. Gabhart pens a whodunit that will keep you guessing.


A. H. Gabhart is Ann H. Gabhart, bestselling author of many novels, including Angel Sister, Small Town Girl, and Love Comes Home, and several popular Shaker novels such as The Outsider, The Believer, and The Innocent. Ann grew up in a small rural town in Kentucky much like Hidden Springs, but she is happy to report nobody was ever murdered on her hometown's courthouse steps. Ann and her husband still live on a farm near that same little town in Kentucky. Learn more at www.annhgabhart.com


Review by Blanche Mancuso

I just finished reading Murder at the Courthouse by A. H. Gabhart. I have read many other books by this author written under the name Ann H. Gabhart. I am a fan of this author's and her books. As she always does with her books she kept me reading as she unfolded the mystery surrounding Hidden Springs, Kentucky including the elected officials and town folk. The story was intriguing as a good mystery. It also had a surprising ending to the mystery of a "Who Done It". Murder at the Courthouse is a great story! Everyone who reads this book will not be bored. In fact, they will enjoy all of the characters as I did. Additionally, the author brings the story and the characters to a great climatic ending! This book is a must read.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Made to Kill




Raymond Chandler’s detective fiction meets Lawrence Block’s Keller novels . . . with robots

In an alternate version of 1960s Los Angeles, the world’s only robot detective has been turned into a hit man by his corrupted master computer.

Ray is good at the job, too—not only does nobody suspect the world’s last robot is a hit man, his fame allows the Electromatic Detective Agency to continue as the perfect front, and with a twenty-four-hour memory limit, he sure can keep a secret.

When a woman arrives at the agency wanting to hire Ray to investigate the brutal murder of a priest, his attempts to dissuade her are overruled when she produces a lucrative advance payment. Profit is profit, and Ray accepts the job, even though the woman demands total anonymity. She tells them not to try to reach her—she’ll call when the time is right—and she vanishes into the city.

Ray’s investigation leads him into a dark world of Hollywood intrigue, where the glamorous jet set societies are under the spell of a mysterious bandage-swathed man. The man and his champagne-sipping circle of followers conduct Satanic rituals behind Hollywood’s razzle-dazzle façade—rituals that lead to . . . murder!

   
Hardcover, 240 pages
Expected publication: November 3rd 2015 by Tor Books

My Review
I liked this book. The concept of it and Raymond. Raymond may have some human like aspects about him but it is his quirky robotic mannerisms that really make him fun, personable, unique, and Raymond. Oh and I can't forget Ada. She is the perfect girl Friday. Together they make a good working match. So why do you say then did I only give this book four stars? Well it is because of the rest of the story itself. If this book had just been about Raymond then my rating might have been different but the story itself while it had the glitch and glam of old Hollywood was "safe". There was not a lot of action and what little I did experience did not jump off the pages in my face. Plus, the characters were a tad boring. So I can remember the beginning some of the middle and then the ending. Yet, I did enjoy reading this book enough to check out the next one.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Two Dogs and a Parrot

Joan Chittister, one of our leading inspirational writers, invites us to embrace and celebrate the deep bond between humans and animals. 'Two Dogs and a Parrot' offers both heart-warming stories and thought-provoking reflections about sharing life with an animal companion. The relationships we form with animals—with dogs, cats, horses, birds, rabbits, and other pets—are full of joys and rewards. Our companion animals draw us out of ourselves and show us what it truly means to be alive. They teach us to accept life’s struggles and to cherish its pleasures and the importance of being able to accept ourselves and respect others. They help us to find purpose and meaning in what we do, and to overcome challenges and setbacks. In our treasured animals we observe varying degrees of excitement and play, of love and fear. And we realize their beautiful uniqueness, their sensitivities and strong sense of purpose.

 Whether we have an animal companion, long to have a pet or love someone who does, or cherish animals and nature, 'Two Dogs and a Parrot' will speak to us all. It illuminates the significance of sharing our lives with a pet and celebrates the great gift of animals in our world.  

My Review
I am a dog lover. While I have owned cats before and there have been some cool ones, I am more fond of dogs. My first dog was a yellow lab that was my protector and play friend when I was a little girl. Her name was Honey. Then there was Pepper, Nuke, Patriot, Harley, and now Keech, Kong, and Oreo (all pitbulls). Which I did not want any pitbulls to begin with but we ended up with Keech after my husband's youngest brother's death. Yet, now that I own three pitbulls, they do get a bad rap. It is not the dog but the owner that makes them bad. All three of my dogs are lovers. Plus my husband and I have joked that they would probably watch and lick any robbers who came into our house.

So back to this book. I have always believed and treated my dogs like they were human and we could share a nonverbal communication. Even now I find myself talking to my dogs like they are my kids and they understand me. SO I can relate to the different emotions that the author spoke about in this book with Danny and Duffy. Then there is Lady, a parrot. While I have never owned a parrot my Nana used to own a cockatoo. My sister and I would have so much fun playing with the cockatoo. I found this book to be an enjoyable treasure of a read.

The Devil sits in the Chair of the Valley

 
Rollins Industries is one of the nation’s largest distributors of organic food products, but Adam Osborn, a highly successful sales manager and the head of their sales department, has disappeared. Amelia Farrell, the head of human resources and Osborn’s love interest, has just terminated Gaston Reed, a senior salesman with a less than stable personality, after he made threats against Osborn and others in the company. What begins as a routine missing persons report quickly turns into anything but as LA County Sheriff Jim O’Brian and FBI Special Agents John Swenson and Steve Hoffman are drawn into the investigation when the Osborn investigation reveals that he was brutally murdered. Reed tops everyone’s list as the prime suspect; however, a deeper mystery begins to unfold as bodies pile up, and an unseen force is suspected of pulling the strings. Just when the men think they are closing in on the killer, a stunning development sends them careening into an unforgiving world of cruelty and torture — a world so depraved that only the Iron Eagle dare tread.

***Content Warning: The Iron Eagle Crime novel series contains mature subject matter, graphic violence, sexual content, language, torture and other scenes that may be disturbing to sensitive readers. This series is not intended for anyone under the age of eighteen, reader discretion is advised.***
 
My Review
I had grown immune to the brutal murders and vengeance dealt out by the Iron Eagle, so I was taken back when I experienced a gagging reflex moment at one gruesome scene. I regained my composer I kept on reading. This book instantly took me back to the first book. It was just as shocking and had the same type of intensity. My favorite thing about this book however was that I got to see Steve in action again. He had been out of commission for quite some time due to ALS. Steve brought back the human aspect to the story as he did not have the hardened shell like John and Jim. Although, Jim could never be on the level of John. The crime in this book was horrific but I was glad that it did not focus on young children. As much as I like these books the heinous acts that happen to the children are really rough to digest. Again, the Iron Eagle comes up on top.





Internal Affairs has fired LAPD Officer Garrison Cantrell, and less than a day later, Mary Schultz, head of IA, is murdered. Throughout the department, Cantrell is known as an overall rat, and all fingers point to him as the killer. He’s quickly arrested with no evidence to support his guilt and is now the prime suspect. However, as Cantrell sits in jail, several fellow officers are murdered, in order, according to a hit list found at one of the crime scenes. One after another, the cop killings become more brazen and brutal than the one before, and Sheriff Jim O’Brian and FBI Special Agents Steve Hoffman and John Swenson must catch the killer before the last name is crossed off. As they delve into the investigation, the corruption and motivation for the killings becomes blatantly clear. Ultimately, it will be the Iron Eagle who puts an end to the murders while delivering his own justice to those who have committed heinous crimes while wearing a badge.


***Content Warning: While the Iron Eagle Series can be read out of order as a stand-alone book the reader should be advised that backgrounds and details of the characters may be confusing if readers choose to do so. The Iron Eagle Crime novel series contains mature subject matter, graphic violence, sexual content, language, torture and other scenes that may be disturbing to sensitive readers. This series is not intended for anyone under the age of eighteen, reader discretion is advised.***

My Review

Another great book in this series. However this book dealt with heinous acts to children. So as I have mentioned before this is hard to swallow reading about these acts. Luckily the scenes were far and few between and short. So I did not have to read about these acts. However the punishment that befell the men that committed the acts was befitting to them. However I wished that they had suffered longer. That is one thing that I did notice about this book is that it seemed a little rushed unlike some of the prior books in this series. Not as much time spent on the punishment dealt by the Iron Eagle.

I was happy to see John, Jim, and Steve working together again. It had been a long time due to Steve's illness of dealing with ALS. Yet, I found Steve still to be a fighter. The women behind the men were also strong presences in the book. One in particular was emerging and that was Jade. She is a wild card. I can't wait to see what she does in the next book.


Saturday, October 17, 2015

Inside Out


For most of my life I was a struggling actor. I appeared on such shows as Mash,WKRP in Cincinnati, and General Hospital. For a short time, I even taught an acting workshop. Today I am a struggling acting coach in Northern California, but back in the mid-seventies I was a recent graduate of the very prestigious American Academy of Dramatic Arts where I was part of the first graduating class in Los Angeles. After that I joined the ranks of the other sixty thousand would ­be stars that acted in showcase plays, occasionally went on a professional audition, and attended a weekly workshop.


The women that ran my workshop got involved in an interesting experiment directing a group of prisoners at the Federal Correctional Institution, Lompoc, California, in a production of Short Eyes. Except for the lead character, all the roles were played by inmates. Because of its success she was granted a weekend to conduct an improvisational workshop with the men who had been in the cast, as long as she was accompanied by a male from the outside. When she proposed the idea to me, I was excited at the possibility of being part of something that unique and agreed to be her assistant. As it turned out, nothing of any real consequence came about, but it was a very interesting weekend that few if any will ever experience. I met some very fascinating guys, some of whom I got along with and others that—let’s just say, I was glad that there were guards stationed just outside of our room.

After I got back to my regular life, I had a scare that made me think, what would happen if someone were to be part of this program and, by a twist of fate, end up back inside as an inmate? Inside Out is that story. Danny Belson is a nice guy who could be considered a working actor. He has done a few guest spots and has a small recurring role on a soap. Follow Danny as he goes from a carefree beach volleyball­ loving, pool- shooting, nice American guy to a convicted murderer serving his time where he already has built ­in friends as well as enemies. This is a book of fiction based on real events that happen to inmates on a daily basis. Imagine how your life would be if it got turned inside out.

My experience in the late seventies inspired me to write a script in the mid­-eighties that led me to write this book in 2013. So dreams do come true, but sometimes you have to wait for them. At sixty-three I’m proof of that. This book is dedicated to my beautiful daughter Shannon, with a shout out to Pek and Jim.


My Review

Despite this book being written from experiences that the author himself encountered, this is not a memoir. This book is fiction but it also reads like a script from a television show while watching that script play out. Danny is the male lead in the story. He surprisingly turned out to be a loveable and engaging character. I instantly connected with him and felt his sorrows as he struggled in the acting world and in prison. This is why I was so engaged in reading this book. Well that reason along with most of the other characters. I found the moments when the story played out in the prison the most improved. Otherwise, at times when the story was not focused during this point, I found myself thinking the story dragged on long. For example, the first 25 pages of the book seemed to take forever but then the story picked up. Towards the end of the story, I liked the one scene that felt like it was playing out the famous scene from Julius Caesar. Overall, I did find this book to be an enjoyable read.


Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Rising Tide


Ben Gold sacrificed his ship in an effort to prevent pirates from attacking the hidden city of Tamoanchan. Now Malik, an old friend turned enemy, has captured Ben and Miranda—the scientist Ben loves. With Miranda held hostage, Ben has to do Malik's dirty work.

Miranda has plans of her own, though. She has developed a test for the virus that turned most of the population into little more than beasts called Ferals two generations ago. She needs Ben's help to rescue a group of her colleagues to perfect the test—but first they must rescue themselves.

When a terrible new disease starts spreading across Tamoanchan and people start dying, it seems there’s something more sinister afoot. Then an old enemy attacks. Can Ben fight off the invaders? And will it be in time to save anyone from the disease?


My Review

I was intrigued by this book when I read the premise not knowing that it was book two in a series. This type of book really could be one that almost would/could not be read as a stand alone novel but I had no issues jumping right into this book. In fact, I read it in one sitting. The best part about this book is the world setting. Again having not read this first book in this series, I was surprised that the world felt like a mixture of steampunk with dystopia. Fantastic.

If there ever was an bad guy, Malik is that person. I just kept hoping something bad would happen to him through out the story. There was great animosity between him and Ben and Miranda. Then there are the Ferals. I would never want to get up close and personal with one. I am looking forward to the third book with the way this book ended. Also, I do plan to go back and check out book one.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Copygirl





Mad Men meets The Devil Wears Prada in this lively debut about a young woman working at the hippest ad agency in New York...

So. You want to work in advertising. The glitz, the glamour, the cocktail-fueled brainstorming sessions and Xbox breaks. Sounds like a dream job, right?

Wrong. The reality can be a nightmare. There are five simple rules for succeeding in the ad world—and I think I’ve already broken every single one…

1) Never let them see you cry. Even if your best friend breaks your heart. And posts it all over social media.

2) Be one of the boys. And, if you were born with the wrong equipment, flaunt what you've got to distract them while you get ahead.

3) Come up with the perfect pitch in an instant—or have your resumé ready to go at all times.

4) Trust no one. Seriously. If you don't watch your back, they'll steal your ideas, your pride, even your stapler.

5) Most importantly, don’t ever, under any circumstances, be a CopyGirl.

Trust me. I know…



My Review


I never watched Mad Men but I did watch The Devil Wears Prada. I have to tell you that this book is not as funny or witty as Devil. Also, if this is what having a job in the advertising world is like then I am glad I don't work in this industry or would ever want to get a job in this industry. The men in this story came off as such egotistical jerks. Plus, I was not feeling Ben. The way he acted so childish made me want to scream. In the beginning, I found Kay to be a wallflower and I also found myself screaming at her to wake up and "grow a pair". As the story progressed, she did break out of her shell. I would award her the "most improved award".

My biggest disappointment with this book is that I was hoping to find myself laughing a lot throughout this book. This did not happen. There were a couple of moments but they were far and few between and I could count the many times on one hand. One moment that I did like was when Kay was describing her mother and she said "That woman does more prying than a fireman with a crowbar." Sadly, this book does not deliver on the Mad Men meets Devil Wears Prada.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Check out The World's Best Story Contest




2015 CONTEST!
Writers submit your Story
Enter for a chance to join the House of transmedia stories company



What is World's Best Story?

"This is not just a literary contest, we're looking for stories that will be consumed in multiple media formats – from books to the big screen and beyond," says Vincent Salera, founder of World's Best Story. "Our goal is to revolutionize the traditional literary contest and identify a story with blockbuster appeal. We're looking for a story that audiences will love and help authors turn that story into trans-media franchises, which is why we're empowering readers to judge the contest."

How does it work?

Readers will vote for stories and awarded judges will declare the final Top 10 winners.

2015 Judges: Warren Adler, Victor Malarek, Tamarra Kennelly, Brooke Burgess, Samreen Ashan, Alistair Cross, Rhonda Hayter

Timeline:

Entry Period Closes/Public Voting ends. (November 8)

Top 10 Winners Announced! (November 8)

Professional Review/Voting (November 8 - December 8)

Winner and Top 10 Ranking Announced (December 8)


What are the prizes?

The top 3 winners will receive a full publishing package by FriesenPress, trademark protection in the U.S. and Canada by IP agency Benoit & Cote, a virtual book tour by Laura Fabiani of iRead Book Tours as well as consulting/marketing services with book expert Anne Chaconas of BadAss Marketing. Busbud and YoDough will be providing lots of goodies for both writers and readers.

How do I submit my story?

To learn more about World's Best Story, including how to enter, please visit World's Best Story.

World’s Best Story : info@worldsbeststory.com

See what's buzzing at World's Best Story:

How to Get Readers Buzzing About Your Book: Secrets from the World of Book Blogging

Viral campaign with famous characters:

What if Oscar Wilde wrote Sex and the City? (series of posts)

What if Lady Gaga wrote Gone With the Wind? (series of posts)

The Current Top 10 Most Voted Stories

Connect with World's Best Story:

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Enter your story today!

LOCKDOWN ON RIKERS: Shocking Stories of Abuse and Injustice at New York's Notorious Jail


Mary Buser began her career at New York's Rikers Island as a social work intern brimming with ideas, ready to make a difference, and eager to help incarcerated women find a better path for themselves. Her initial experience working with mothers in the nursery and women in the Mental Observation Unit was rewarding, and she returned to Rikers for full time employment after finishing graduate school. But her second time around was radically different: assigned to a men's jail, her return coincided with the dawn of "stop-and-frisk" policy, unprecedented arrests, and the biggest jailhouse movement in history.

Committed to the possibility of growth for her charges, Buser tried to keep the new regime at bay-yet soon her patients began arriving to their sessions with bruises, black eyes, and punched-out teeth, whispering that they'd been beaten by officers. And-because of the anxiety surrounding their respective legal cases and the sheer impossibility of their release-they refused to report it. As she was transferred between different jails, including the Mental Health Center and the dreaded "solitary," she saw horrors she'd never imagined. Finally, it became too much to bear, and Buser escaped Rikers and never looked back-until now.

Lockdown on Rikers shines a light into the deepest and most horrific recesses of the criminal justice system, and shows how far it has really drifted from the ideals we espouse.



More on the author:
 
MARY BUSER worked as the Assistant Unit Chief in the Mental Health Department on Rikers Island from 1995 to 2000. Prior to that, she cofounded the Samaritans of New York suicide prevention hotline, directing the community-based organization from 1984 to 1990. Today, Buser is an outspoken advocate against the inhumane treatment of the incarcerated, especially the mentally ill. She is a member of a national social work taskforce seeking to bring reform to the practice of solitary confinement, and works in conjunction with the Urban Justice Center and the National Religious Campaign Against Torture.


My Review

I don't really follow world events, so to be honest I have not read any of the articles on the treatment of the prisoners at Rikers. So going into this book I had an open mind. I think this was an advantage to me as I was able to get a glimpse of what author, Mary Buser saw and experienced during her time at Rikers. I have to give Mary props as it takes a special kind of breed of people to do the type of job that Mary and her co-workers offer to prisoners in the judicial system.

Which I imagine there is injustice happening in the prisoners but the media does not report it because who really wants to hear about the criminals getting treated badly. I know when I think of that I don't feel sorry but then again I am imagining serial killers and not the petty criminals, who are in jail for things like drug problems and petty thief.

I was hoping that Mary would disclose more details about the injustice but what I did read did open my mind to the fact that the mental help problems that we have in place are not enough and we need to strengthen them as mental health is a serious problem like drugs and alcohol.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

New Pony Day




Title: New Pony Day!
Author: Jen K. Blom
Publisher: Jen K. Blom
Pages: 28
Genre: Children’s Picture Book
Today’s the day Josie gets her new pony – if she can find him, that is! Her cat Pasta’s along for the ride, too, but there’s no telling if he’ll help or not – he’s a cat!
With a healthy dose of real pony behavior and a slyly rhythmical bent on the story, the PONY101 series is for kids (and adults!) who love ponies and everything to do with them. Learn more at www.pony101.de

The FIRST BOOK in Pony101, NEW PONY DAY!, is now available for pre-order!

For More Information




My Review


I have always been a horse fan. This is such a cute book. I love Josie, her cat, Pasta and of course, Floki. The perfect pony that Josie finds to join her and Pasta on all of her adventures.

All of the illustrations in this book were great. They were very vivid and colorful. They helped portray the story of Josie and her mission to find the perfect pony. Also, I liked that the author kept the wording short and simple for quick, easy reading. So younger readers can read this book on their own with no difficulties.

Book Excerpt:
My name is Josie and I'm happy as I can be.

My kitty Pasta and I have a job just our size, you see.

Today’s the day I choose my pony.
 
All mine. Only for me me ME!
 
I’ll know him when I see him!

I KNOW I will. Only…



About the Author

 
Jen K Blom is an international award-winning author living in Berlin, Germany with her daughter, husband and hairless cat Yoda. Visit www.pony101.de to get all sorts of great updates and activity sheets featuring Josie, Floki and Pasta!

 

Her latest book is the children’s picture book, New Pony Day!

For More Information


 

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Death, Taxes, and a Chocolate Cannoli


TRUE CRIME DOESN'T PAY...TAXES.
IRS Special Agent Tara Holloway has risked her life to take down drug cartels and other dangerous tax frauds. But going after the mob is one offer she can't refuse...

He's no Tony Soprano. Still, local crime boss Giustino "Tino" Fabrizio is one shady character that Tara would love to see behind bars. He operates a security business—or so he claims on his tax forms—but his clients don't feel so secure when it's time to pay up. Problem is, no one can get close enough to nail this wiseguy for extortion. No one, that is, except Tara...

Going undercover, Tara lands a waitress job at Benedetta's Bistro—which is owned and operated by Tino's wife. Being surrounded by cream-filled cannolis could be hazardous to Tara's waistline...even though the way to a man's heart is through his stomach, right? Only thing Tara can't afford to do now is blow her cover. Because serving Tino his just desserts will surely come with a price...




My Review

I have read a few other books in this series. They are fun, quick reads. Fans of cozy mystery books will like this series. There is none of the blood and guts like a suspense/thriller book. Tara is always fun for laughs. Her and her relationship with Nick is a good one as well. They are kind of like Lucy and Ricky. They are great together and they keep things entertaining.

Although I enjoy reading these books, I found this one just middle of the road. There was nothing too intriguing about the characters to really suck me into the story. Which speaking of characters, the mob in this story were scary but not that scary. Although the descriptions of the food had my mouth watering. While this book was not in my top five in this series, I still enjoy reading these books that guarantee a good time.

Pop Goes the Weasel

DI Helen Grace returns in Pop Goes the Weasel, the electrifying new thriller from M. J. Arlidge.

The body of a middle-aged man is discovered in Southampton's red-light district - horrifically mutilated, with his heart removed.

Hours later - and barely cold - the heart arrives with his wife and children by courier.

A pattern emerges when another male victim is found dead and eviscerated, his heart delivered soon afterwards.

The media call it Jack the Ripper in reverse; revenge against the men who lead sordid double lives visiting prostitutes. For Grace, only one thing is certain: there's a vicious serial-killer at large who must be halted at all costs .

My Review

For those readers who have not read the first book, you can read this book but be warned as there are references to the events in the first book that will give it away if you have not read it. Yet, I am confident that you will still want to read the first book if you have not read it. M.J. Arlidge is my kind of author. Strong characters, a nice storyline, just as strong a killer, and a great ending.

Helen shows that she is an independent, strong female heroine. She can hang tough with the big boys. Then there is Charlie, who I thought was evenly matched to Helen. The dynamics between these two women was great. Due to their past history and the way that Helen felt towards Charlie just pushed Charlie to up her game that much more.

Also, I have to say that I did not feel sorry for any of the victims. They got what they deserved. There was nothing "heartless" about the murders. I read the first two chapters of the next book and I can not wait to read it.

Monday, October 5, 2015

The Stars Never Rise




Sixteen-year-old Nina Kane should be worrying about her immortal soul, but she's too busy trying to actually survive. Her town's population has been decimated by soul-consuming demons, and souls are in short supply. Watching over her younger sister, Mellie, and scraping together food and money are all that matters. The two of them are a family. They gave up on their deadbeat mom a long time ago.

When Nina discovers that Mellie is keeping a secret that threatens their very existence, she'll do anything to protect her. Because in New Temperance, sins are prosecuted as crimes by the brutal Church and its army of black-robed exorcists. And Mellie's sin has put her in serious trouble.

To keep them both alive, Nina will need to trust Finn, a fugitive with deep green eyes who has already saved her life once and who might just be an exorcist. But what kind of exorcist wears a hoodie?

Wanted by the Church and hunted by dark forces, Nina knows she can't survive on her own. She needs Finn and his group of rogue friends just as much as they need her.



My Review

I was first introduced to this author with her Shifter series. I own all of the books. I have tried reading other books since that series ended but could not really find my groove with them. This new series does show great promise. I was able to jump into the story and the characters. Nina may not be Faythe but she does show that she can be a strong female while staring danger in the face. Also, the relationship forming between Nina and Finn is nice but again not the love relationship that I grew to love in the shifters' series but who knows, I could change my mind as this series progresses.

What I do like about this series thus far is that it is dark. Evil dark like PG-17. There are mention of sexually, killings, etc. that the younger audience may not be able to handle like the older audience. Also, the storyline was strong and believable with plenty of action to keep it moving along at a fast pace. I am looking forward to continuing this journey with Nina, Finn, and the rest of the gang.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

The Art of Language Invention: From Horse-Lords to Dark Elves, the Words Behind World-Building

An insider’s tour through the construction of invented languages from the bestselling author and creator of languages for the HBO series Game of Thrones and the Syfy series DefianceFrom master language creator David J. Peterson comes a creative guide to language construction for sci-fi and fantasy fans, writers, game creators, and language lovers. Peterson offers a captivating overview of language creation, covering its history from Tolkien’s creations and Klingon to today’s thriving global community of conlangers. He provides the essential tools necessary for inventing and evolving new languages, using examples from a variety of languages including his own creations, punctuated with references to everything from Star Wars to Michael Jackson. Along the way, behind-the-scenes stories lift the curtain on how he built languages like Dothraki for HBO’s Game of Thrones and Shiväisith for Marvel’s Thor: The Dark World, and an included phrasebook will start fans speaking Peterson’s constructed languages. The Art of Language Invention is an inside look at a fascinating culture and an engaging entry into a flourishing art form—and it might be the most fun you’ll ever have with linguistics.



My Review

I got more then I bargained for with this book. While I have learned how Mr. Peterson wrote the Dothraki language for Game of Thrones; I have also learned a lot more about how everyone can read and use the same word in many different contexts. In addition, that there are so many ways to use your vocal range to produce a variety of different pronunciations and sounds. Which if you are a singer or an actor, I am sure you already know how to do the vocal exercises.

Yes, I agree that this book does read like a text book but a very intriguing and informative book. I did not think I would like reading this book as much as I did. Also, the Case Studies that were featured in this book I found to be interesting and like added bonuses. Geared with this additional knowledge, I will now be watching movies, television shows, and books with more of a critical eye on the language used.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Pretending to Dance


Molly Arnette is very good at keeping secrets. She lives in San Diego with a husband she adores, and they are trying to adopt a baby because they can't have a child on their own. But the process of adoption brings to light many questions about Molly's past and her family--the family she left behind in North Carolina twenty years before. The mother she says is dead but who is very much alive. The father she adored and whose death sent her running from the small community of Morrison's Ridge. Her own birth mother whose mysterious presence in her family raised so many issues that came to a head. The summer of twenty years ago changed everything for Molly and as the past weaves together with the present story, Molly discovers that she learned to lie in the very family that taught her about pretending. If she learns the truth about her beloved father's death, can she find peace in the present to claim the life she really wants?




My Review

I have read several books but this author. What I like about reading books from this author is that I can usually find a connection with the characters. Which in this case, I did but I also was turned off by Moly. What I mean by this is that the teenage rebellion phase grew old quickly. I had no sympathy for Molly with her dysfunction family and the way she acted out as she found out the truth about her family. In fact, I kind of found Molly to be a spoiled brat. So thus the story felt longer then it needed to be. Yet, I still kept reading as I do like reading books by this author and the story did weave into a good family drama that does have a happy ending. It just goes to show that sometimes cleaning the closet of those skeletons can be a good thing. I do look forward to reading the next book by this author. 






Thursday, October 1, 2015

Heartbound Book Blitz




About the Book:

 

Title: Heartbound
Author: P.I. Alltraine
Publisher: Soul Mate Publishing
Pages: 177
Genre: YA fantasy romance

Petyr has never found it necessary to consider the humans as anything more than distant, inferior beings–until now. They are the cause of the fatal disease that has plagued his realm, taking the lives of too many of his kind. As a future leader of a realm in peril, Petyr must find a way to resist and cure the affliction. He must enter the unfamiliar realm, appear to be an ordinary eighteen-year-old human, observe, and learn.

However, things don't exactly go according to plan. Instead of embarking single-mindedly on his sober mission, Petyr meets an 18-year-old girl who does things to his emotions that he can't quite fathom or control. Petyr is falling in love, and he almost forgets the gravity his choices have on his entire world. Despite the risk it poses to his life and hers, he wants to know her, and he wants her to know him–and his world.

 

For More Information


  • Heartbound is available at Amazon.
  • Watch the trailer at YouTube.
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.


About the Author

 

P.I. Alltraine is an award winning poet and author. She has won several international poetry competitions, and her poems have been published in separate anthologies.

She teaches English Language and Literature in London. She earned her degree in BA English from Queen Mary University of London, a Post Graduate Certificate in Education and Master’s in Teaching at the UCL Institute of Education, University of London.

Before moving to London, she lived in the Philippines where she was ensconced in the rich culture encrusted with dark myths and enchanted tales. She draws inspiration from these in her writing. Although she has lived indifferent places and experienced different cultures, she always enjoyed the constancy of writing in her life. Her favourite authors include John Milton, Virginia Woolf and James Joyce.

Her latest book is the YA fantasy romance, Heartbound.

For More Information


Book Excerpt:

I defied my fate the moment I leapt out of my apartment’s third-story window. I landed on the pavement without a sound. In the same instant, my feet blended into the measured pace in which humans carried themselves.

Gazing up at the sky, I tried to find something to remind me of my home, of my duty. The future leader of a realm in peril cannot be overcome by irrational desires, I thought.

Thick smoke obscured the heavens so much even the brightest stars were dull and barely visible. A reminder I was trapped in this city, in this realm. Too far away from everything I knew, too restrained, too human.

Through the chaos in my mind, I captured the image of the girl with brown and dark-auburn tones in her hair, the shine that bounced from her loose curls, the depth in her hazel eyes, and even the awkward half-smile when she caught me looking at her. But the memory wasn’t enough. I needed to see her again.

I kept walking until I reached the riverbank in the heart of London. The water rippled with a disheveled mesh of gold and red, reflecting a large architectural structure. My gaze lingered on the clock tower adjacent to the building, gauging its height. A temptation to feel even a fraction of my true nature became a need in every fiber in my body. No longer able to rationalize, my muscles coiled, and I let go. Wind enveloped me with its familiar warmth as I sprang across the River Thames. I aimed to land on the lower portion of the tower, to indulge in the pleasure of my ascent. Though too fast for human eyes, each maneuver, each somersault, each back flip was slow enough for me to savor every moment of my liberation.

On a part of the roof concealed from the passersby below, I was closer to the heavens than I’d been since arriving in the city. Still, I didn’t belong here. Hundreds of lights sparkled below me, each representing a life I didn’t comprehend. Allowing myself to break free from my human façade had made me a liability to the others. For a few moments of freedom, I let myself forget the importance of my purpose here—the lives that depended on it.

Somehow, having the girl’s image in my mind brought calmness within me. One that felt permanent. One that extinguished the sense of entrapment, despite the thick layer of smoke that was still very visible to me. I held on to the calmness as I regained the confidence to face the others.