Saturday, November 28, 2015

Our Lady of the Ice




Hope City, Antarctica. The southernmost city in the world, with only a glass dome and a faltering infrastructure to protect its citizens from the freezing, ceaseless winds of the Antarctic wilderness. Within this bell jar four people–some human, some not–will shape the future of the city forever:

Eliana Gomez, a female PI looking for a way to the mainland.

Diego Amitrano, the right-hand man to the gangster who controls the city’s food come winter.

Marianella Luna, an aristocrat with a dangerous secret.

Sofia, an android who has begun to evolve.

But the city is evolving too, and in the heart of the perilous Antarctic winter, factions will clash, dreams will shatter, and that frozen metropolis just might boil over.



My Review


I have not read anything by this author before. Instantly I was transported to Hope City. I got a clear picture of what the city looked like and could feel the icy, cold of the Artic. I think I would go out of my mind living in a place like Hope City during the long winter months. One I don't like winter and two having to ration my supplies all winter and worry that if the power went out how long would it be before everything started to freeze, is not my idea of a good life.

Right from the beginning I connected with Eliana and her boyfriend, Diego. They are a good couple but at the same time they could be like fire and ice. Marianella and Sofia are another story altogether. It did take me a while to slowly build up to them. In fact for the first third of the story, it was a blur what I read about them. It really was not until Marianella's secret was revealed and this happened later in the story that I than became intrigued by her and Sofia.

As I was reading the story, however it did feel like there were two sides of the story...Eliana and Diego and Marianella and Sofia. Yet the second half of the story was stronger and where I felt that all four of these characters stories came together and became one.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Who is Another Woman's Daughter?




Set against the tumultuous background of apartheid South Africa, a powerful and moving debut about family, sacrifice, and discovering what it means to belong… Celia Mphephu knows her place in the world. A black servant working in the white suburbs of 1960s Johannesburg, she’s all too aware of her limitations. Nonetheless, she has found herself a comfortable corner: She has a job, can support her faraway family, and is raising her youngest child, Miriam.

But as racial tensions explode, Celia’s world shifts. Her employers decide to flee the political turmoil and move to England—and they ask to adopt Miriam and take her with them. Devastated at the prospect of losing her only daughter, yet unable to deny her child a safer and more promising future, Celia agrees, forever defining both their futures.

As Celia fights against the shattering violence of her time, Miriam battles the quiet racism of England, struggling to find her place in a land to which she doesn’t belong—until the call of her heritage inexorably draws her back to Africa to discover the truth behind her mother’s choices and uncover a heartbreaking secret from long ago…

My Review

If you had asked me if this was a debut book or not, I would never have guessed it was a debut novel by new author Fiona Sussman. This book reads like Ms. Sussman is a seasoned professional.

I instantly was captivated by the world locations of South Africa and England. Although I was more drawn to South Africa. Yet, I was drawn to both Celia and Miriam. Both women overcame adversity and became stronger for it. Although I must admit that I was not surprised by the missing part in Miriam's past. However I was not disappointed by the news when it was revealed. I can not wait to see what Ms. Sussman comes out with next. If you are looking for a new author to read than you have to pick up a copy of this book, you won't regret it. 

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Christmas Love




A Christmas present for the man who has everything…

With one band of gold Prince Andres of Petras can erase his past—albeit pleasurable—sins. But his prospective bride is untamable Princess Zara, so the playboy prince must seduce her into compliance and crown her by Christmas!

The wayward princess of Tirimia has spent years hiding her untouched heart, and her convenient husband-to-be seems determined to keep it that way. Yet his caresses promise a sensual awakening that's impossible to resist. But once Zara's given him her hand and her body, it won't be long before he has her heart…


My Review

I actually was very surprised by how much I liked this book. I was really into Prince Andres and Princess Zara. They are the Yin and Yang to each other. Andres calmed his playboy ways and Zara emerged out of her cocoon into a beautiful butterfly. While their first experience together did make Andres come off as a jerk, I could feel the real emotions between them. As the story moved along, I grew closer to both Andres and Zara. The ending was a good one. A quick read.



The Wrong Bed—But the Right Guy! 

Ignited by Kimberly Van Meter 
What do you do when a sexy, naked fireman gets into your bed? If you're Alexis Matheson, you freak out. But now she's snowed in with Layton Davis, and suddenly Alexis's best intentions to behave seem to have disappeared up the chimney. Because a hot 'n' naughty firefighter in her bed might be the best Christmas surprise ever…

Where There's Smoke by Liz Talley 
Emma Rose Brent is sure she's dreaming when Erik Matheson, her bestie's überhot older brother—who she's been crushing on for years—mistakenly slips into her bed, all gloriously naked. But Emma must have been a very good girl this year, because she's been given the best gift of all: the chance to be really, really bad…


My Review

Both stories in this book are H-O-T. They will make the snow melt. However both women are different. Alexis is not shy about what she wants. So the chemistry between her and Layton was firing off on all cylinders. It is a good thing that Layton is a firefighter as he would have been called to put the fire out before it combusted.

Than there is Emma. She is not as talented in the "Sex Kitten" department. In fact, there is nothing more sexy and says come and seduce me like "mint green pajamas with puppy dogs." This is Emma's style. Yet, it works for her. Because in the end she does get the guy.


Summoned by the sheikh!

Sheikh Saladin Al Mektala isn't used to being disobeyed. Incomprehensibly, the woman he summoned to help his favorite mare, the best horse whisperer in the world, turned his generous offer down! So he takes matters into his own hands.

The snow is falling, the fire is roaring and the mince pies are in the oven when innocent Olivia Miller finds a darkly handsome and physically compelling man on her doorstep. The sheikh she dared to refuse is here to whisk her off to his kingdom, and this time he won't take no for an answer!

A passionate read for Christmas nights!


My Review

I have not read the first book in this series but that is ok as this book is a stand alone novel. This is another book that I have read recently where I found myself really into the storyline and the characters. Olivia takes the lead as a strong female but don't count Saladin out too quickly as he can dish it right back to Olivia as much as she can hash it out. Their chemistry was undeniable. Plus they kept the story entertaining with their comments. I would not mind being stuck in a cabin in the winter with someone like Saladin. Even though Saladin is rich, he never flatted it and was down to Earth. The Sheikh's Christmas Conquest is a fun, quick, steamy read.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Positive



In the bestselling vein of Guillermo Del Toro and Justin Cronin, the acclaimed author of Chimera and The Hydra Protocol delivers his spectacular breakout novel—an entertaining page-turning zombie epic that is sure to become a classic.
Anyone can be positive . . .
The tattooed plus sign on Finnegan's hand marks him as a Positive. At any time, the zombie virus could explode in his body, turning him from a rational human into a ravenous monster. His only chance of a normal life is to survive the last two years of the potential incubation period. If he reaches his twenty-first birthday without an incident, he'll be cleared.
 
Until then, Finn must go to a special facility for positives, segregated from society to keep the healthy population safe. But when the military caravan transporting him is attacked, Finn becomes separated. To make it to safety, he must embark on a perilous cross-country journey across an America transformed—a dark and dangerous land populated with heroes, villains, madmen, and hordes of zombies. And though the zombies are everywhere, Finn discovers that the real danger may be his fellow humans.
 
Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome meets World War Z and I Am Legend in this thrilling tale that has it all: a compelling story, great characters, and explosive action, making Positive the ultimate zombie novel of our time.


My Review

As far as post-apocalyptic books go this is a good book. I found the world really believable. It takes place twenty years after most of the population has been decimated. So I could understand the rest of the human race's need to loot and fight each other. If you are living day by day just trying to survive and it is a dog eat world than you may have to kill just to survive as only the strongest and smartest survive.

In this book it really is the humans that are the strongest presence and not the zombies. So if you are a zombie fan than you may be disappointed with the lack of zombies. Also, I found that this book could have been shortened at about 150 pages to even 200 pages and it would have been fine. It takes a while to build up the pacing of the story. However the ending does make up for some of the lack of action.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Every Girl Gets Confused

Katie Fisher and Brady James may be a match made in heaven, but that doesn't seem to guarantee them a happily ever after accompanied by angelic choirs. In fact, the sounds being heard at the bridal shop where she works are on the contentious side lately, as a bride- and groom-to-be try to mediate the growing rivalry between their basketball-obsessed families in the middle of play-off season. On top of that, Katie's parents are nagging her to get out of Dallas and come home to tiny Fairfield where her former boyfriend Carson is waiting for her, ready to rekindle their relationship. Oy vey! What's a girl to do? And will she ever be able to wear that gorgeous wedding dress she won?

The breezy fun continues as Janice Thompson throws everyone's favorite small-town girl into big-city bridal chaos--and makes her choose between the love she thought she lost and the love she stumbled upon in the aftermath.


Review by Blanche Mancuso

This book is a delightfully funny story about a cosmopolitan bride to be. Katie Fisher, a small town girl has dreamed since she was 12 years old of her own beautiful wedding. She enters a contest to win a designer wedding dress for her "dream" wedding. She wins the contest and is overly joyed about it but there is just one small problem...she doesn't have a fiancé or a wedding to wear it to. This is a problem!

Join Katie on her quest to find Mr. Right and find out if she ever gets to wear her "dream dress" and live happily ever after. I would recommend this book to everyone. This is a great, charming story. Don't worry if you have not read book one as this book can be read as a stand alone novel.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Lights Out: A Cyberattack, A Nation Unprepared



In this tour de force of investigative reporting, Ted Koppel reveals that a major cyberattack on America’s power grid is not only possible but likely, that it would be devastating, and that the United States is shockingly unprepared.
 
Imagine a blackout lasting not days, but weeks or months. Tens of millions of people over several states are affected. For those without access to a generator, there is no running water, no sewage, no refrigeration or light. Food and medical supplies are dwindling. Devices we rely on have gone dark. Banks no longer function, looting is widespread, and law and order are being tested as never before. 

It isn’t just a scenario. A well-designed attack on just one of the nation’s three electric power grids could cripple much of our infrastructure—and in the age of cyberwarfare, a laptop has become the only necessary weapon. Several nations hostile to the United States could launch such an assault at any time. In fact, as a former chief scientist of the NSA reveals, China and Russia have already penetrated the grid. And a cybersecurity advisor to President Obama believes that independent actors—from “hacktivists” to terrorists—have the capability as well. “It’s not a question of if,” says Centcom Commander General Lloyd Austin, “it’s a question of when.” 

And yet, as Koppel makes clear, the federal government, while well prepared for natural disasters, has no plan for the aftermath of an attack on the power grid.  The current Secretary of Homeland Security suggests keeping a battery-powered radio.

In the absence of a government plan, some individuals and communities have taken matters into their own hands. Among the nation’s estimated three million “preppers,” we meet one whose doomsday retreat includes a newly excavated three-acre lake, stocked with fish, and a Wyoming homesteader so self-sufficient that he crafted the thousands of adobe bricks in his house by hand. We also see the unrivaled disaster preparedness of the Mormon church, with its enormous storehouses, high-tech dairies, orchards, and proprietary trucking company – the fruits of a long tradition of anticipating the worst. But how, Koppel asks, will ordinary civilians survive?

With urgency and authority, one of our most renowned journalists examines a threat unique to our time and evaluates potential ways to prepare for a catastrophe that is all but inevitable.


My Review

I found this book very informative and enlightening. I took my time reading this boo only because I wanted to digest the information that was in this book longer. Mr. Koppel brings the news to you and does not stray from it. Anyone interested and intrigued by world events or the cyber world will find this book a great read. I was drawn in by Mr. Koppel's writing. Also, I found his interviews with people fascinating. It did not seem like the things the people said were edited to the point that you could read this information on the internet and I did not feel like I was shorted by facts.

In fact, the more that I read the more I realized that sometimes not knowing is living in happy bliss. What I mean by this is that when you don't know everything that is going on behind the scenes like a movie than you still enjoy that movie but how many times have you read about the way a movie was made and maybe your perspective about that movie was changed. All I have to say is that "Zombies" are not the thing that we need to fear but a cyberattack. Which the government already is aware of could happen and they have prepared while the rest of the world is living in "happy bliss".

Friday, November 20, 2015

Ditching the Drive-Thru



Ditching the Drive-Thru exposes the insidious hold the commercial food industry has taken over the fast-paced lives of the average American and the danger these processed foods and diet plans pose to our health, environment, and emotional well-being. Learn how to break free from the grind and return to a simpler relationship with food from farmers, not factories, and home-cooked meals that are created in your kitchen, not on a conveyor belt.  

My Review

While I do appreciate all of the research and depth of knowledge that Mrs. Winch portrayed and shared in this book, I did find reading this book to be some what dull. I read the first five chapters and than found myself skimming through the rest of the book. This is because to be this book read more like a text book. A lot of facts but not lot of information that I found new and interesting.

Plus, if you are looking for many recipes like other nutrition books feature then you might be disappointed. There are a couple in the back of the book but they seem time consuming in regards to prep work. Also, I noticed that Mrs. Winch used words that not everyone uses in their daily lives with no explanations.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

A Reason to Stay




As the host of her own television news show, Faith Marin works to expose the truth for her viewers. But in her personal life, she's anchored her world with firm boundaries in order to hide a family history she'd like to forget. Her pro bass fisherman husband Geary's life is an open book, and unfortunately his busybody family doesn't know the meaning of boundaries. Deception and crippling differences soon derail their tender relationship, leading Faith to believe her only option is to end the marriage. But while divorce papers sit on her desk waiting to be signed, tragedy strikes and her heartrending decision is interrupted. With her life in the balance, Faith finds that the one she has been shutting out may be the very one she cannot bear to lose.

Kellie Coates Gilbert takes readers on an emotional roller coaster as she weaves themes of unexpected trial, self-discovery, and forgiveness in this profoundly honest portrait of the tensions that can break a marriage--and the ultimate healing power of love.


Review by Blanche Mancuso

This book leads you on a memorable trip through the life of a young newly-wed woman with a hidden past who is trying to carve out a career in the television industry while holding her marriage together.

You will laugh and cry with her as she tries to reach the top of her career regardless of what happens to her friends and family.

The author truly takes you on an emotionally packed ride which I have to admit, was a bit much for me. This is because I was really into the story and the character, so I was not prepared for one of the events that took place in the story. In fact, I really like cozy mystery stories because when an event like what happened in this book takes place, there is really no mention of blood or gore. So for me the danger and suspense levels of the story line in this book was one that I did not care for. Again, this is just me. Other readers may not have any issues with the danger and suspense and will find this book an enjoyable read. Which some parts of the book I did like. I am glad that I read something outside of my comfort zone.

Friday, November 13, 2015

The Christmas Joy Ride

Miranda did not put adventure on her Christmas list, but thanks to her eighty-five-year-old neighbor Joy, that's exactly what she's getting this year. When Joy tells Miranda that she plans to drive an old RV decked out in Christmas decorations from their Chicago neighborhood to her new retirement digs in Phoenix--in the dead of winter, no less--the much younger Miranda insists that Joy cannot make such a trip by herself. Besides, a crazy trip with Joy would be more interesting than another Christmas home alone. Unemployed and facing foreclosure, Miranda feels she has nothing to lose by packing a bag and heading off to Route 66. But Joy has a hidden agenda for their Christmas joyride--and a hidden problem that could derail the whole venture.

No one captures the heartwarming fun of the Christmas season quite like Melody Carlson. Fasten your seat belt, because it's going to be an exciting ride!


Review by Blanche Mancuso

Ms. Carlson's book takes her readers on a joy ride in a motor home decked out in Christmas decorations and holiday cheer.

Miranda, an 85 year young woman takes her younger friend, Joy, on a road trip of a lifetime. These ladies experience joy, excitement, romance, and a near tragedy on the road from Chicago to Phoenix while spreading Christmas love at every stop along the way they make. Pick up a copy of this book and experience the people, places, and friends Miranda and Joy meet on this glorious road trip.

I would happily suggest that everyone that loves a true adventure whether you are young or young at heart, grab hold and take a journey with these two loveable ladies. The Christmas Joy Ride is a fun read that you will find hard to put down.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Rath's Deception Blog Tour



About the Book:

 

Title: Rath’s Deception
Author: Piers Platt
Publisher: Piers Platt
Pages: 350
Genre: Sci Fi/Thriller

On the cut-throat streets of Tarkis, orphaned teens like Rath end up jailed … or dead. So when the shadowy Janus Group offers Rath a chance to earn riches beyond his wildest dreams, he seizes it. But the Janus Group is as ruthless as the elite assassins it controls. Rath will have to survive their grueling, off-world training, and fulfill all fifty kills in his contract before a single cent comes his way. And ending so many lives comes with a price Rath can’t anticipate. It’ll certainly cost him what’s left of his innocence. It may well cost him his life.

For More Information


  • Rath’s Deception is available at Amazon.
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.



About the Author
 
Piers Platt is the New York Times bestselling author of "Combat and Other Shenanigans," a memoir of his year-long deployment to Iraq as a tank and scout platoon leader. Piers grew up in Boston, but spent most of his childhood in various boarding schools, including getting trained as a classical singer at a choir school for boys. He joined the Army in 2002, and spent four years on active duty.

When he's not writing or spending time with his lovely wife and daughter, Piers works as a strategy consultant in New York city.
 
His latest book is the sci fi/thriller, Rath’s Deception.
For More Information
 
 
Book Excerpt:
A light flickered on the edge of Rath’s peripheral vision: his internal heads-up display had an incoming message.

Rath felt a bead of sweat form at his brow. He smiled at another group of guests and offered them his tray of canapés, simultaneously advancing through screens in his heads-up display to find a photo of Sorgens in order to identify him.
Okay, got it.
“We’re all done, thanks,” one of the guests told him.
“Of course,” Rath said. “Sorry.”
Guess I lingered a little longer than a normal server would have. He stepped away from the group, spinning slowly in place as if planning which group he would approach next.  There’s Sorgens – far side of the room.
Rath stopped at three other groups of party-goers, working his way around the outside of the room in a looping curve, careful to avoid heading directly for the Deputy Ambassador. As he left the third group, he rearranged the napkins on his tray, as if straightening them, and surreptitiously jabbed one of the canapés with a tiny hypodermic needle, before slipping the needle back into his sleeve. Then he turned and headed for the Deputy Ambassador, but a security guard cut in front of him. Rath changed direction smoothly and headed for a different group, but he kept Sorgens in his line of sight. The security guard was leaning in close to Sorgens, covering his mouth to whisper in his ear. Rath dialed up his audio implants.
“… credible threat. Intelligence is rated ‘High Reliability,’ so we’re taking it very seriously,” Rath heard the man say. The Deputy Ambassador blanched, his face turning nearly as white as his tuxedo shirt. “I’d like to get you out of here right now, sir.”
Sorgens turned to the other guests, and made his apologies. “I’m sorry – I’m afraid duty calls, there’s an urgent message that needs my attention.” He headed toward the room’s exit, closely followed by the guard.
Want a snack before you go? Rath thought, chagrined. He broke away from the group he was serving and walked briskly toward the kitchen, which was in the same direction Sorgens was headed.
Let’s hope the kitchen has another exit close to wherever Sorgens is headed.
Rath ducked inside – to his relief, he saw an exit at the far side of the crowded room. He dumped his tray into the first trash can he saw and elbowed through the servers and cooks, heading for the door.
“Hey, watch it, asshole!” a busboy protested, spilling several plates onto a steel countertop.
Rath ignored him and continued toward the back of the room, pushing through the swinging door. Sorgens was just disappearing through a side door halfway down the corridor, while the guard positioned himself outside the door. That looks like a restroom. Rath walked toward the guard, who was watching his approach closely, hands behind his back.
Probably got a pistol in a belt holster back there, Rath decided.  So much for the frontal assault.
Instead he took a sharp right turn down a side corridor, disappearing from the guard’s view. Mechanical plates implanted within his face shifted, obeying Rath’s commands, while his hair greyed, and his skin tone lightened. In the space of three seconds, he looked exactly like his original target. He turned on his heel, and stepped back out into the main corridor, looking both ways before appearing to notice the guard.
“You,” Rath pointed at the man, “have you seen my deputy around here?”
“Sir?” the guard asked, confused. “Oh, yes, Mr. Ambassador: Deputy Ambassador Sorgens is right in here.”
“Ah, excellent,” Rath said, walking up. He was at least two inches shorter and thirty pounds lighter than the real ambassador, but people were slow to notice body type differences – if the face and hair matched, such discrepancies were usually dismissed. Rath’s voice matched the Ambassador’s as well. As ever, hearing another man’s computer-generated voice from his own lips made Rath’s skin crawl. “Let me just have a word, and then you can get him out of here,” Rath told the guard.
“Of course, sir,” the guard said, holding the door open for him.
Rath let the door close behind him, then strode over toward Sorgens, who was standing at a urinal along the wall. Sorgens looked up and saw Rath.
“You heard about the threat?” Sorgens asked.
“I did,” Rath replied. “Glad to see you’re on your way out of here.” He called up the targeting module in his heads-up display, and slipped a pen out of his pocket. The implement was known as a ballistic pen, built out of reinforced titanium for use as a close-quarters weapon, and modified by Rath to include a nerve toxin coating, for a faster kill. As Sorgens zipped himself up, Rath’s eye implant overlaid an anatomical model on his image, matching it to fit his size and body orientation relative to Rath, highlighting his bone structure and major organs. Sorgens turned away from the wall, and Rath stepped forward, putting his full body momentum behind the thrust. The pen punched between two ribs, directly into the highlighted outline of Sorgens’ heart, while Rath covered Sorgens’ mouth with his other hand, stifling his shocked gasp of pain. Rath left the pen embedded to minimize the bleeding, and, still covering Sorgens’ mouth, he grabbed him under the arm and dragged him silently across the room into one of the toilet stalls. He propped the dying man on top of the toilet, pulled the door shut behind him, and walked over to the sink, where the ambassador’s reflection stared back at him.
Need to wash this blood off my hands. But my guess is that guard is supposed to escort Sorgens out of the building, so it’ll be an easier exit if I pose as him.
“Everything okay, sir?” The security guard was pushing open the door.
Rath reacted instinctively, and bent over the sink, splashing his face with water as he shifted his hair and face to match Sorgens’. He stood up and reached blindly for the paper towels, and dabbed at his face as he completed the transformation. When he opened his eyes, the guard was eying him in the mirror.
“Ready to go, sir?” the man asked.
“Yes – let’s get going,” Rath told him. The guard glanced at the closed stall door and Rath tensed himself in readiness, but the man simply turned and walked back out into the hall, checking in both directions before motioning for Rath to follow.  That was close, Rath thought, falling into step as they headed off down the hallway. He’s going to be pissed when he finds out he personally escorted the killer out of the building.
 

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Dark Turns

Nia Washington fought her way up from the streets and was nearing the pinnacle of her profession when an injury and a broken heart derailed her career. Taking a temporary job as a dance instructor at an elite boarding school was supposed to give her time to nurse both body and soul. It was supposed to be a safe place to launch a triumphant comeback. It is anything but.
Not long after she arrives at the beautiful lakeside campus, she discovers the body of a murdered student, and her life takes a truly dark turn. Suddenly, she is drawn into a dangerous game of cat-and-mouse with a ruthless killer. And Nia isn't the only target. She must use all of her street smarts to protect her dancers, save a wrongfully accused student, and rescue the man she loves.

A stunning and suspenseful tale of passion and betrayal, Cate Holahan's Dark Turns will take readers deep into the mind of a murderer and the woman who must put an end to the killing.



My Review

I seem to be in the minority when it comes to this book. I was not over joyed or head over heels in love with this book. In fact, I struggled through the first half of the book. I was not feeling the suspenseful build up surrounding the killing of the young girl that Nia found in the water. Also, the fact that the story took place at a school for ballerinas did not add any dimension to the story. If anything I found myself doing a little comparison to Black Swan. In my eyes I felt this book was lacking in how dark Black Swan was.

Nia was alright but she did not pop off the pages and make me fully intrigued with her. At times I wanted to scream at her because I found her naive. Also, I found the relationship she had in the story to be dull as well. Yet, the second half of the story did pick up and was better. The ending was a bit predictable. 
 
Cate Holahan headshot
 
 
CATE HOLAHAN is an award-winning journalist and former television producer. Holahan’s articles have appeared in BusinessWeek, The Boston Globe, The Record and on web sites for CBS, MSN Money, NorthJersey.com, BusinessWeek.com, and CNBC. Her short fiction won first place in the 19th annual Calliope competition, a magazine published by the writer's group of American Mensa.
 
 
 

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Borrowed Time


Praise for Chronal Engine:  “Think Survivor and Robinson Crusoe, with a helping of Jurassic Park and a seasoning of The Time Machine.” —School Library Journal    “This is exactly the book young dino fans would write themselves.” —Booklist    In this time-travel dinosaur adventure, Max Pierson-Takahashi and his friend Petra return to the days of the dinosaurs, where they must survive attacks from mosasaurs, tyrannosaurs, and other deadly creatures, including a vengeful, pistol-toting girl from the 1920s. The fast pace, mind-bending time twists, and Greg Leitch Smith’s light, humorous touch make this an exciting, fun choice for readers looking for adventure and nonstop action.

My Review

I have not read any of the prior books from this author so I am not familiar with the adventures that Max and his friend, Petra have encountered with the prehistoric age. Yet, despite having not read the prior books, this book can be read as a stand alone novel even though it states it is a sequel to Chronal Engine. My nephews will have fun reading this book about all of the different dinosaurs. Some that I have never heard of myself. The pictures help tell the story and really show the lay of the land.
Again my nephews will enjoy reading this book but there are some large words, so to read this book on their own they may struggle some and need help with pronouncing the larger words. The characters in the book were smart and there was the right amount of action to keep the flow of the story moving along at a good pace. I will check out the prior novels as well for my nephews.

Monday, November 9, 2015

STOP THE DIET, I WANT TO GET OFF + Giveaway





Book Description for Stop the Diet:


The Paleo. The Zone. The Gluten-free. Another day, another diet. We’re caught in a never-ending merry-go-round of weight loss plans, fueled by celebrity endorsers, TV doctors and companies angling for a piece of a $60 billion industry. But do these diets really work? And how healthy are they?


Registered Dietitian Lisa Tillinger Johansen examines dozens of the most wildly popular diets based on medical facts, not hype. And along the way, she reveals tried-and-true weight loss strategies, relying on her years of hospital experience, weight-loss seminars and community outreach efforts.


With insight and humor, Stop The Diet, I Want To Get Off shows that the best answer is often not a trendy celebrity-endorsed diet, but easy-to-follow guidelines that are best for our health and our waistlines.


Buy the book:    Amazon    Barnes & Noble


My Review

I have never been a fan of diets. Only because I don't have the discipline to stick with one. Also, I don't want to be tied down to counting calories or being told what to eat. So why do you say would I want to read this book? Well because I already have the exercise part checked but the eating healthy part is a little struggle.

Wow, I did not know there were so many different diets currently circulating around the globe. Some I had heard of before like Atkins, South Beach, Paleo, and Zone. I liked the way that Lisa broke down each diet and how they are unhealthy in one form or another. Which as I was reading this book I appreciated that Lisa talked at my level and not above me. However I do have to admit that there are parts where I could skim this book and still not feel like I missed anything. I did not feel like I took that much more knowledge from this book then what I have already read from the internet. Overall, this was a good read.



Author's Bio:


LISA TILLINGER JOHANSEN is a Registered Dietitian who counsels clients on a wide range of health issues. Her debut nutrition book, Fast Food Vindication, received the Discovery Award (sponsored by USA Today, Kirkus and The Huffington Post). She lives in Southern California.


Connect with the author:  Website   Twitter   Facebook
 
 

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Keeping Christmas




For the first time since their children were born, empty nesters Judith and Stan Winters spent Thanksgiving without the kids, and it's looking like Christmas will be the same. Judith can't bring herself to even start decorating for the holiday; her kids always hung the first ornaments on the tree, ornaments they had made each year since they were toddlers. Sure they were strange-looking--some could be called downright ugly--but they were tradition. A tradition she's heartbroken to miss this year.

With Judith refusing to decorate the bare spruce tree in their living room, Stan knows something must be done. And his only hope for saving the holiday is found in a box of handmade ornaments.

Fan-favorite Dan Walsh invites readers to enjoy this nostalgic Christmas story that celebrates all of our most cherished seasonal traditions, especially the importance of family. Readers will join in remembering the things that make their own Christmas season so special.


Review by Blanche Mancuso

Keeping Christmas is a beautifully written story of how we can keep Christmas traditions alive as we build new traditions of our own. I loved and enjoyed a lot how I could share the wonder and joys of how Judith and Stan, empty nesters, learned how to celebrate the Christmas season after their children marry and leave home. It is a hart-warming story learning how handmade ornaments bring Judith and Stan and their children and families all back together.

A great read that I would recommend to anyone wanting some good old fashion Christmas joy.

Abandon


On Christmas Day in 1893, every man, woman, and child in a remote gold mining town disappeared, belongings forsaken, meals left to freeze in vacant cabins - and not a single bone was ever found. One hundred thirteen years later, two backcountry guides are hired by a history professor and his journalist daughter to lead them into the abandoned mining town, so they can learn what happened. With them is a psychic and a paranormal photographer, as the town is rumored to be haunted. A party that tried to explore the town years ago was never heard from again. What this crew is about to discover is that twenty miles from civilization, with a blizzard bearing down, they are not alone, and the past is very much alive.

My Review

After having read the third and final book in the Pines trilogy by Mr. Crouch I wanted to go back and check out some of his other work. The concept for this book really intrigued me.

This book did start out that way. I was intrigued by the disappearance of all of the townfolk. Yet, as I kept reading I found that that my excitement for this book went downhill. Not quickly but slowly until the point that I was about twenty chapters in and I was ready to be done with this book. I actually did skip ahead until the last four chapters of the book. I wanted to see how it ended. What I read in the last four chapters was not exciting enough to make me go back and read the rest of the book. Not Mr. Crouch's best work.

Hockey Agony




Peer Pressure and Honesty many times go hand-in-hand. What is Larry to do when his teammate asks him to cheat when he is given the responsibility to run the clock during the big hockey game? Outwardly, it may seem he will follow suit, but his conscious tells him otherwise at the moment of truth.

My Review

This is a good book. I wanted to read it because of the title, Hockey Agony. I am a hockey fan, so I enjoy reading book that center around hockey. While this book did have the hockey aspect incorporated into it, it was not the main focal point of this book. The main focal point and lesson of this book was respect, honesty, and sportsmanship. All three good attributes that people should learn and display all of the time. I think good sportsmanship is extremely important whenever you are playing a sport or just a friendly game of cards. I liked how Larry learned this lesson.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

The Great Christmas Knit-Off




In the tradition of Trisha Ashley and Jenny Colgan, this first book in a new series by Alexandra Brown—author of the popular Cupcakes at Carrington’s series—tells the hilarious, heartwarming story of a jilted bride who anticipates a lonely Christmas but instead finds herself in the tiny village of Tindledale, where the residents share her obsession with knitting.
When life unravels, it’s time to knit…

Sybil has always taken comfort in her passion for knitting, creating beautiful knits stitch by stitch. But her world suddenly unravels when her fiancé ditches her for her identical twin sister at her Star Wars-themed wedding, leaving her sporting a Princess Leia do. Then things go from bad to worse when an incident at work jeopardizes her job.

Hoping to escape her woes and forget that she’ll be alone for Christmas this year, she visits her friend in Tindledale—a winter wonderland of quaint shops and snowy rooftops. When she arrives in the idyllic town, she can’t help feeling like she’s in a Hallmark greeting card. She’s embraced by welcoming—if eccentric—locals wearing handmade knits that remind Sybil of her own creations as well as her unrealized ambitions of selling them. So when the vintage boutique asks her to make an assortment of knits for their display window, she’s thrilled. The hot town doctor has even taken an interest in Sybil, hoping to heal her broken heart.

But just when Sybil thinks she’s going to have her fairytale Christmas after all, an unexpected turn of events threatens to unspool her happily ever after.


My Review

My first attempt at reading anything by this author was Cupcakes at Carrington's. I only read about three chapters and put the book down. Despite my efforts of trying that book I just could not get into it.

To be honest when I picked up this book I did not recognize that it was the same author until I saw the list of titles in the beginning of the book. Yet I have to say that this book is ten times better than the prior novel. I now have a different reaction to this author and will probably check out more books by this author in the future. This book is a charming, fun read. It really does get you into the holiday spirits. Everyone at Tindledale is so friendly. If this town existed I would want to visit it.   

Friday, November 6, 2015

Jesusita + Giveaway




Book Details:

Book Title:  Jesusita by Ronald L. Ruiz
Category:  Adult fiction, 275 pages
Genre:  Literary
Publisher:  Amika Press
Release date:  May 2015
Available for review in:  Print, ebook (mobi for Kindle) other
Will send print books:  USA & Canada
Tour dates:  Nov 2 to 2, 2015
Content Rating:  R  (There are subject matters of physical and sexual abuse in this novel as well as prostitution.)

Book Description:  

Jesusita is the story of immigrants—legal and illegal—trying to survive in California in the years after World War II. Jesusita, alone and impoverished, struggles to keep her four young children together. Though she finds support from Padre Montes at St. Teresa’s Catholic Church, her faith won’t solve her problems, especially those with her daughter, Paulina. Far from home, Filipino laborers are denied by law any contact with white women. Angie, the young daughter of an illiterate and unmarried mother, knows only one way to make money. And Felix, abandoned by his mother and separated from his only brother, is placed in a foster home on an isolated ranch. The interrelated lives of these people provide a complex, sometimes violent, and often tragic image of American poverty within the nation’s postwar boom.

Buy the book:    Amazon  ~  Barnes & Noble

Praise for the work of Ronald L. Ruiz:

“The sparse, simple prose lets the story tell itself… The supporting characters are briefly but fully drawn… Few readers will be able to forget the chilling experiences of a forlorn hero who’s destined to take his place next to Bigger Thomas (of Richard Wright’s Native Son) in the honor roll of seminal characters in American literature.”
–Publishers Weekly (featured review) on Happy Birthday Jesús





Meet the author:  

Ronald L. Ruiz is the author of a memoir, A Lawyer (2012), and three previous novels—Happy Birthday Jesús (1994), Giuseppe Rocco (1998), and The Big Bear (2003). Born and raised in Fresno, California, Ron was educated at St. Mary's College, California, University of California, Berkeley, and University of San Francisco. He practiced law from 1966 to 2003 as a Deputy District Attorney, a criminal defense attorney, and a Deputy Public Defender. He was appointed to the California Agriculture Labor Relations Board by Governor Jerry Brown in 1974 and later served as the District Attorney of Santa Cruz County, California.

Connect with the author:  Website  ~  Facebook


My Review

I was intrigued to check this book out but then when I picked it up to start reading it, I started having second thoughts. I had my mind made up that I was going to have to tolerate this book as I had committed to reading it. This is one of those books that you can't judge but the book cover or back summary. The reason for this is because I had an amazing good time reading this book. I instantly felt a strong emotional connection with everyone in this book.

Although I will warn you that the reason that this book worked so well is because it was "raw". Filled with drama, sex, religion, family, abuse, and heartache. As the story progresses it does get darker with all of the characters and the experiences they encounter. So if you are looking for a good book to read then you should check this book out.




 
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Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Heartbound



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.

My Review

This is one of those books that sounded really good. When I opened it up to read it. I found myself only sitting and reading one chapter at a time. I got to chapter four and then took a break from this book. When I came back to this book revived and ready to jump into it, I found that my feelings about this book had not changed from the first four chapters.

There was nothing exciting about Petyr's world or Petyr himself. Also, I did not feel the connection between him and Scarlett. I was trying to figure out what it was about this book besides what I already stated that made me struggle with this book and I realized it was comments like "This was also the day when I started to eat human food." "The cafeteria food was far from tolerable." I did not need a play by play of everything that Petyr was experiencing. Plus the lack of the story moving from talking to action was another issue. Overall, this book was not for me but it is not to say that this book might be some other reader's cup of tea.

Murder on Safari + Giveaway

Only a reality TV producer and an expert safari guide can stop a terrorist attack.


Every adventure starts at the fringes of civilization. For expert safari guide Mbuno and wildlife television producer Pero Baltazar, filming in the wild of East Africa should have been a return to the adventure they always loved. This time they’d be filming soaring vultures in northern Kenya and giant sea crocodiles in Tanzania with Mary, the daughter of the world’s top television evangelist, the very reverend Jimmy Threte.


But when a terrorist cell places them in the crosshairs, there is suddenly no escape and they must put their filming aside and combine all their talents to thwart an all-out al-Shabaab terrorist attack on Jimmy Threte’s Christian gathering of hundreds of thousands in Nairobi, Kenya.


Buy the book:     Amazon    Barnes & Noble     Chapters/Indigo

My Review

I got the audio version of this book. Which by the way narrator, R.D. Watson is really good. I have listened to some narrators that have a monotone voice that could put you to sleep, no matter how good or bad the book is written. Then there are other narrators that being the story to life. This is what Mr. Watson did for this book. To be honest, while I liked listening to this book, if I had been reading it I might have given up on it. There were points that even while listening to Mr. Watson reading the story that I felt it droned on and the story slowed down and lost some of the excitement and action. Yet again, it was for Mr. Watson that I did stick with listening to this book. Well this reason and I did feel that Mr. Riva could tell a good story. He made East Africa come alive. It was like I was instantly transported to East Africa and could see the movie of this book playing out in my head. While I may not have loved this book I would check out other books by Mr. Riva and also listen to more audio books narrated by Mr. Watson.

Author's Bio:


Peter Riva spent many months over thirty years in Africa, many of them with the legendary guides for East African white hunters and adventurers. He created a TV series (seventy-eight 1-hour episodes) in 1995 called WildThings for Paramount TV. Passing on the fables, true tales and insider knowledge of these last reserves of true wildlife is a passion.


Connect with the author:     Website  ~   Twitter  ~   Facebook

 
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Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Put a Ring On It





The author of New Uses for Old Boyfriends returns to the Delaware seashore town of Black Dog Bay, where one woman learns to put passion before practicality…

Brighton Smith doesn’t do outrageous. As an insurance actuary, it’s her job to assess risk and avoid bad investments. But when her fiancé calls to confess he’s married someone else on a whim (“I looked at her and I just knew!”), she snaps…

That night, at a local bar, Jake Sorensen—hot, rich, and way out of her league—buys Brighton a cocktail. At midnight, she kisses him. And by dawn, they’re exchanging vows at a drive-through chapel.

Brighton knows Jake is a bad bet, but she doesn’t care. After a lifetime of playing it safe, she’s finally having fun. Until the whirlwind romance gives way to painful reality...and Brighton finds out the truth about why a guy like Jake married a girl like her. With her heart on the line and the odds stacked against them, Brighton must decide whether to cut her losses or take a leap of faith that this love affair is one in a million.


My Review

I have not read any of the other books in this series. However after reading s book I will be checking them out. I love the town of Black Dog Bay and the people in it. I really did not know how much I was going to be in love with this book. I could not stop reading it. I found myself chuckling and smiling throughout the book with all of the funny moments. It was not the chemistry that sucked me into Brighton and Jake's world but the witty banter between them.

Brighton really let loose and was a fun loving lady. This was refreshing as I thought she was going to be the stuffy old lady in the suit. Then there is Jake. Yeah, he may be rich but he has a heart of gold. Put this book on your must read list.