Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Two to Six: A Sex Offender’s Story by James P. Cornelio

Product Description
Mr. Cornelio spent over 20 years of his life as a corporate attorney in Manhattan. On December 12th, 2003, he was arrested and charged with crimes alleging child sexual abuse. This is his story of how he struggled to cope with those devastating charges. It begins when he receives a phone call from a woman claiming to be the mother of a teenage male prostitute. It ends when he hears the recording of a phone call used by the police to obtain his criminal indictment. In between, Mr. Cornelio seeks to uncover the truth about his crime, about his life, about himself. Only you can decide if he does so with the searing honesty such a quest demands.

My thoughts
“Two to Six: A Sex Offender’s Story” by James P. Cornelio is the story of the author’s life after being arrested of having sex with a minor. The author was an attorney, knew better than to have solicited the sex with a minor, but didn’t seem worried until he was caught. Did he learn anything form this experience, maybe, it was hard to tell. Did this reader feel sorry for him? No. Was the book worth reading, maybe? It is well written, but having no sympathy, I didn’t care how it ended.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Dragon House by John Shors Galley Copy Giveaway

I have a galley copy of “Dragon House” by John Shors to give away. This book is going to be released September 1st. I received this galley copy directly from the author. This is similar to an advanced readers copy only since it hasn’t had its final proofread and does have a few typos. But this galley copy is printed on 8½ x 11 paper is bound differently. Nothing wrong with that, it is still fun to read.

This contest is open to U.S. residents only, and will end on July 6th. To enter leave a comment. Subscribers and followers will receive an additional entry.

Here’s a little bit about the book:
Dragon House tells the tale of Iris and Noah—two Americans who, as a way of healing their own painful pasts, open a center to house and educate Vietnamese street children. In the slums of a city that has known little but war for generations, Iris and Noah befriend children who dream of nothing more than of going to school, having a home, and being loved. Learning from the poorest of the poor, the most silent of the unheard, Iris and Noah find themselves reborn. Resounding with powerful themes of suffering, sacrifice, friendship, and love, Dragon House brings together East and West, war and peace, and celebrates the resilience of the human spirit.

Palos Verdes Blue by John Shannon

Product Description
In the latest Jack Liffey novel, L.A.'s most famous child-finder finds himself enmeshed in a race-fueled turf war on the Palos Verdes peninsula. Barely recovered after nearly loosing his daughter to religious fanatics in what could only be termed a "witch-hunt" in Bakersfield (The Devils of Bakesfield, 2008), Jack is hired to find another girl, Blue, the missing teenage daughter of his ex-wife's best friend. The investigation leads him to discover an intense turf war on L.A.'s posh Palos Verdes peninsula. The Bayboys, rich teenage surfers, routinely vandalize cars and terrorize outsiders to enforce a strict locals-only policy for their own Lunada Bay. They have also started terrorizing the Mexican day laborers who camp in the ravines between the mansions where they work as gardeners and houseboys.

When one stubborn Mexican boy decides that he wants to learn to surf the waves of Lunada Bay, the feud turns violent, drawing in arsonists, angry bikers, racist border vigilantes, and Jack's daughter Maeve, who once again puts herself at risk to help her father.

My thoughts
I have never heard of the Jack Liffey series and therefore never read one before. Was I afraid that “Palos Verdes Blue”, the eleventh book in the series would confuse me? Yes. Did it? No. Jack Liffey is a detective specializing in finding missing children and he takes on the case of a missing daughter of a friend of his ex-wife. In this novel we deal with illegal immigrants, the different social classes and the surfing community. California got it all. What Liffey doesn’t realize is that his daughter Maeve is helping him. All this makes for some exhilarating drama. John Shannon can certainly write a compelling mystery.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Wrongsized by Larry Solomon

Product Description

Local Man Loses 27 Jobs In One Month

What do Barak Obama, Jack Kevorkian, Mother Theresa, Bill Gates, Fran Dresher, John Wayne Bobbitt, Jane Fonda, Dr. Phil, Madonna, and Rush Limbaugh have in common? They, and beaucoup others, are interwoven into this timely and hilarious saga about becoming chronically unemployed in 26 easy steps.

Currently, hundreds of thousands of people are losing their jobs per month. Are you one of them? Do you know someone who just lost his or her job? Is your boss a total jerk?

Wrongsized is a somewhat true story of what happened to me when I found myself in the same situation. Basically, it sucks. While I was off, I started making notes on alternative jobs to look for, and these notes became the basis for Wrongsized. When you have finished reading Wrongsized, you can spend some more time following the tips I have cleverly included to broaden your job search scope. Or, you can color the drawings. Your call.

I make this pledge of 100% guaranteed satisfaction...

If you are not satisfied with the contents of this book; if it did not lead you on the course of gainful employment; or, for any reason whatsoever you did not laugh your ass off, you may contact me and I will feel really, really, bad.

My thoughts
“Wrongsized” is a hilarious book on being unemployed. Unemployment, itself is not funny, but the spin that Mr. Solomon puts on the various temp jobs and their outcomes had me falling onto the floor. Okay maybe not on the floor, but certainly laughing enough to say this is a great book. Need a break from reading about our failing economy, read “Wrongsized” and see how Mr. Solomon endured various crazy jobs and survived.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Old World Daughter, New World Mother by Maria Laurino

Product Description
A warm, smart, and witty personal investigation of ethnicity and womanhood. In the second-generation immigrant home where Maria Laurino grew up, “independent” was a dirty word and “sacrifice” was the ideal and reality of motherhood. But out in the world, Mary Tyler Moore was throwing her hat in the air, personifying the excitement and opportunities of the freedom loving American career woman. How, then, to reconcile one’s inner Livia Soprano—the archetypal ethnic mother—with a feminist icon?
Combining lived experience with research and reporting on our contemporary work-family dilemmas, Laurino brews an unusual and affirming blend of contemporary and traditional values. No other book has attempted to discuss feminism through the prism of ethnic identity, or to merge the personal and the analytical with such a passionate and intelligent literary voice. Prizing both individual freedom and an Old World in which the dependent young and old are cherished, Laurino makes clear how much the New World offers and how much it has yet to learn.

My thoughts
“Old World Daughter, New World Mother” focuses on Maria Laurino’s experiences as a both a mother and daughter and the roles in today’s society. She chronicles her life and compares what it was life for her mother and the role she played in their Italian family and herself; a working woman. Her amusing writing style and the questions she brings up makes this an interesting book for all those mothers and daughter facing the same dilemmas.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Fred Flintstone in my Garden

So, it’s no Boston Crème, but here is a photo of my latest creation. Okay, I didn’t create Fred Flintstone, but just a plywood rendition of him. He stands about 4 feet tall and will adorn our garden this summer.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Gone Tomorrow by Lee Child

Book Description
New York City. Two in the morning. A subway car heading uptown. Jack Reacher, plus five other passengers. Four are okay. The fifth isn’t.

In the next few tense seconds Reacher will make a choice--and trigger an electrifying chain of events in this gritty, gripping masterwork of suspense by #1 New York Times bestseller Lee Child.

Susan Mark was the fifth passenger. She had a lonely heart, an estranged son, and a big secret. Reacher, working with a woman cop and a host of shadowy feds, wants to know just how big a hole Susan Mark was in, how many lives had already been twisted before hers, and what danger is looming around him now.

Because a race has begun through the streets of Manhattan in a maze crowded with violent, skilled soldiers on all sides of a shadow war. Susan Mark’s plain little life was critical to dozens of others in Washington, California, Afghanistan . . . from a former Delta Force operator now running for the U.S. Senate, to a beautiful young woman with a fantastic story to tell–and to a host of others who have just one thing in common: They’re all lying to Reacher. A little. A lot. Or maybe just enough to get him killed.

In a novel that slams through one hairpin surprise after another, Lee Child unleashes a thriller that spans three decades and gnaws at the heart of America . . . and for Jack Reacher, a man who trusts no one and likes it that way, it’s a mystery with only one answer–the kind that comes when you finally get face-to-face and look your worst enemy in the eye.

My thoughts
Lee Child does it again. Jack Reacher finds himself in the wrong place at the wrong time, or is it the rights place at the right time. Either way, he is there to resolve what could a disastrous problem for a presidential wannabe. “Gone Tomorrow” does not disappoint. There are twists and turns and things that make you wonder. There is also a lot of action and unfortunately, graphic death. You would think that with each new Jack Reacher novel that Mr. Child would run out of ideas to excite the true fan, but not yet. I think Jack Reacher will be collecting social security before these stories run out. Great job, Lee Child.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Carve Your Own Road by Jennifer Remling and Joe Remling

Product Description
There is an epidemic facing our world today. People everywhere, even those who are successful by most standards, are utterly disconnected from what they really want out of life. We've abandoned our true passions and dreams in exchange for a daily grind that offers no fulfillment. Some estimates say that fully 80 percent of people don't enjoy their work and wish they could exert more control over their lives.
Carve Your Own Road offers a powerful process for reconnecting to your dreams and expanding your opportunities. You will receive firsthand insight from people who have successfully made the leap to careers that invigorate and inspire.

You'll learn how to:
* Reconnect deeply with yourself to discover what you really want out of your career.
* Breathe new life into your days and take action that is in alignment with your vision.
* Expand your thinking about possibility, finances, success, and fulfillment.
* Apply the latest advancements in brain research and sports psychology to achieve your goals.
* Minimize risk and reduce stress while making a major change in your life.
* Let go and let your career vision evolve while opening yourself up to new possibilities.

Carve Your Own Road also offers stories of dozens of inspiring entrepreneurs and individuals who have done something intimidating to most of us--quit their jobs to pursue a whole new path, one filled with uncertainty and fear...and passion and excitement.

My thoughts
“Carve Your Own Road” by Jennifer Remling and Joe Remling is a motivational book to get you to reconnect to what you want to do with your life since you may have gotten off the path. If you picked up the book, then maybe you took the wrong path and need to get back on track. I was hoping to learn how to get myself back on track and motivate myself to see the possibilities that are out there. Instead, they talk about how they were able to secure a book deal and a free Airstream so that they can interview people that went out and changed their careers and lives. That was okay, but I was yearning for more.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

The Night Gardener Book Giveaway Winners

Congratulations to the winners of my THE NIGHT GARDENER by George Pelecanos giveaway. They are:

Rebecca Cox
Marie Burton

I will be contacted you via email to get your mailing addresses.

Congratulations again. I am now off to a wedding. See you all Monday!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Surviving High Society by Elizabeth Marvin Mulholland

Product Description
To the outside world, Elizabeth Marvin Mulholland had it all. Adopted into a wealthy New England family, the young Elizabeth was afforded the luxury many people only realize in their dreams. She joined her family on lavish European vacations, lived in a finely decorated home, grew up in a world heavily infiltrated by power and money, and hob-knobbed with celebrities. As a close friend of Katherine Hepburn's niece, she gained an inside look into Katherine Hepburn's guarded inner life, which she details in Surviving High Society.
Her real life, however, was not the fantasy it seemed to others. Elizabeth grew up in a volatile household. Her adopted brother attempted to murder her mother and remained estranged in the decades to follow. Her father, who was her strongest ally, died suddenly when she was twenty-two. And, until her death, Elizabeth's mother used all means possible to exert control over her life. Her mother bounced Elizabeth in and out of psychiatric facilities and used her wealth to persuade doctors to keep Elizabeth locked up and medicated. Throughout, Elizabeth struggled to keep the pieces of her life together.

After her mother disinherits Elizabeth, she successfully seeks to find freedom and a life of her own away from her mother s ever-watchful gaze. Her life becomes a life without fantastic riches, filled with its own obstacles and triumphs. But it is now her life.

My thoughts
The author definitely has had a life that is worth writing about; being born out of wedlock, adopted into a rich family, losing her adopted father at a young age, having an abusive mother and a suicidal brother. I found Ms. Mulholland’s story an interesting one that and found her book to be a rich in detail as what is what like to live in such a world and how she overcame it. Oh, did I forget to tell you that her mother had her confined to a mental institution? With this and more, she explains how she was able to live a fairly normal life.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

The Last Generation to Die by Marc L. Paulsen

Product DescriptionCharlie Carr is a Pulitzer Prize winning reporter deeply devoted to his ten year old daughter who is dying of a fatal disease. During the investigation of the mysterious circumstances surrounding the crash of a luxury private airliner he uncovers a biotechnology company that has discovered the cure for many of the most serious of human diseases through the use of stem cell technology. The deeper he digs the more complex and risky things become. Soon he finds himself the subject of an investigation and then targeted for murder as he methodically uncovers a conspiracy between the super rich and the highest levels of government to keep humanity's most sought after treasure exclusively for themselves.

My thoughts
I have read many screenplays, so it was easy to read this one. With reading a script you have to use your director’s mind and create the scenes in your head. They are fast to read and I got through “The Last Generation to Die” in no time at all. It is an interesting story and Marc L. Paulsen has created an interesting concept. Hopefully, he can get this film made.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Roastbeef's Promise by David Jerome

Product Description
When Jim Roastbeef Hume embarks on a quest to sprinkle his father's ashes in each of the forty-eight contiguous states, he has no idea that a series of bizarre and ridiculous adventures await. But nothing will deter him from fulfilling the promise he made to his dying father--not a brief incarceration in Iowa or a punctured lung in South Dakota. As he travels across the country, he picks up numerous new friends, presides over the ultimate party, poses as a lesbian s boyfriend, and gives away a very pregnant bride in a Las Vegas wedding. And who could have dreamed that somewhere amidst the craziness of dropping ashes from a crop duster and finding Elvis's toenail, Roastbeef would stumble upon a lucrative new career?

My thoughts
To honor his father’s wish, 21 year old Jim “Roastbeef” Hume takes a road trip to spread his father’s ashes in each of the 48 contingent states is what “Roastbeef’s Promise” by David Jerome is about. But the situations that Roastbeef experiences, the people he encounters and things he must do to honor his promise is hilarious. Jerome writes an amusing, yet endearing story about being on the road in this crazy country of ours. I loved this book. It made me want to go out and take a road trip, sans ashes and experience life!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Chasing Demons by R. L. Geerdes

Product Description
The fantasy book Chasing Demons takes place a year after the conclusion of the first Mistress of Beasts book, Wizard's Secrets. Our friends, Castin, Katrina, Drestin, and Cypris find themselves the target of a sorceress bent on revenge. Using magic, cunning, and sword-play, they struggle to learn trust and overcome betrayal as they out-wit the sorceress.

After choosing to stay in Arconia instead of returning to Earth, Katrina settled with Castin in a small cabin in the Black Forest to lead a secluded life away from the problems of the rest of the races. Trouble comes calling, when a sorceress kidnaps Katrina and sends her to Earth, using a powerful spell to make her think she's been in a coma. Quickly forgetting her time in Arconia, she tries to pick up her life where she'd left off before being taken to the magical land by her griffin father. But strange occurrences, memory lapses, and nightmares quickly make her and others question her sanity, landing her in an asylum.

Castin and Drestin follow, searching for her on Earth. Unable to use his natural druid magic, Castin begins his own journey of self discovery, relearning to use abilities from his elven upbringing. After facing off with local law enforcement and a beast in the guise of Katrina's ex-fiancé, the group realizes that the sorceress has cut off their means of returning to Arconia, leaving them with the question of how to get home.

Left behind, Cypris and Rueben, druid apprentice, travel the lands searching for the troublesome sorceress. But the only way to track her is for Rueben to sync his mind with the sorceress', unwittingly giving her the ability to know where they are as well, and she is more than happy to take advantage of the knowledge. They begin to wonder if they'll reach her before being killed by some nasty trap she's set.

My thoughts
“Chasing Demons” by R.L. Geerdes is an exciting ride between two worlds and although it is book two of a series; you do not need to read the first one to enjoy this one. After waking up from a six-month coma, Katrina, keeps on talking about the world of Arconia, this mythical world she dreamed about while in the coma. But did she dream it, and what happens when some of the inhabitants of that world visit our world? This fantasy novel is enjoyable but leaves questions unanswered for the next book in the series.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Blood and Ice by Robert Masello

Product DescriptionIn this haunting and suspenseful thriller, Robert Masello delivers an adventure that spans continents and centuries—a spellbinding story that ranges from Victorian England to a remote antarctic research station, where an ancient glacier yields a shocking prize it has held captive for nearly two hundred years….

Journalist Michael Wilde—his world recently shattered by tragedy—hopes that a monthlong assignment to the South Pole will give him a new lease on life. Here, in the most inhospitable place on earth, he is simply looking to find solace . . . until, on a routine dive in to the polar sea, he unexpectedly finds something else entirely: a young man and woman, bound with chains and sealed forever in a block of ice. Beside them a chest filled with a strange, and sinister, cargo.

Now, in a bleak but breathtaking world of shimmering icebergs, deep blue crevasses, and never-ending sun, Wilde must unravel the mystery of this doomed couple. Were they the innocent victims of fear and superstition—or were they something far darker? His search will lead from the barracks and battlefields of the Crimean War to the unexplored depths of the Antarctic Ocean, from the ill-fated charge of the Light Brigade to an age-old curse that survives to this day.

As the ice around the murdered lovers begins to melt, Wilde will have to grapple with a miracle—or a nightmare—in the making. For what is dead, it turns out, may not be gone. And here, at the very end of the known world, there’s nowhere to hide and no place left for the living to run.

My thoughts
“Blood And Ice” by Robert Masello is two stories, the first the love story of a doomed Victorian couple from two hundred years ago and the other, a scientific expedition to the South Pole. One journalist Michael Wilde finds the frozen bodies of the couple chained together in the ice, the adventure begins. But when the ice melts and they become alive again, terror takes over. This isn’t really a horror story and I wasn’t sitting on the edge of my seat. But the story unfolds nicely to keep one’s interest in what would happen next. It was an enjoyable weekend read.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Jesse's Girl by Gary Morgenstein

Product Description
The story opens as a jarring phone wakes lifelong Brooklynite and widowed father Teddy Mentor well after midnight. It's the Montana wilderness program saying that his 16-year-old adopted son has run away - and they haven't a clue where he's gone. Only two weeks ago, Jesse had been taken to the program by escorts to deal with substance abuse problems. Jeopardizing his flagging PR job in New York, Mentor rushes across the country to find Jesse, who is off on his own quest: to find Theresa, the sister he's never known. When Teddy finally discovers Jesse at a bus stop in Illinois, he is torn between sending him back or joining his son on a journey to find this girl in Kentucky. But he decides to go and they become embroiled in a grisly crime when Theresa's abusive husband Beau attacks her - Jesse stabs the big beast of a man, leaving him for dead.

My thoughts
“Jesse’s Girl” by Gary Morgenstein is an interesting venture into family dynamics. The main character, Ted Mentor is the father of a sixteen-year old adopted son with drug problems. The story opens up with the Jesse (the son) running away from rehab. We also learn in the beginning that Ted’s estranged wife was recently killed in an auto accident. Leaving Brooklyn and his job, Ted travel to Montana to find his son. After finding him it is a roller coaster of a ride as they travel the Midwest and try to reconnect. Okay, Ted tries, Jesse could care less. With that said, I could not put the book down. I wanted to know what was going to happen next and how these characters will react. I recommend this book for anyone looking for a heartwarming family drama.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Boundless by Kurt Lee Hurley

Product Description
America's #1 Personal Trainer And Author Has Cracked The Code To Effective Personal Achievement, Successful Transformation And Lasting Change...

Learn How To Build A Truly Extraordinary Life, To Possess Superior Health, Infinite Wealth, Lasting Happiness And Limitless Prosperity... To Live A Boundless Life That Matters!

My thoughts
Kurt Lee Hurley fills his book “Boundless” with tons of information on how to be healthy, wealthy, happy and prosperous. Although, he does mention himself and his business a lot, I do not see this as a promotional piece to sell his products. I believe he truly wants to help others. I was not crazy about pushing on how to be wealthy by making a lot of money. Wealth is more than being rich. Family and health are two points that come to mind. Hurley explains on how to be healthy in the last half of the book. Some of the stuff is common sense. I suggest you read the book and take what you can from it. It does have a lot of good information for a better you.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Boston Kreme by LC Neill

Here is a small painting that I recently purchased. I couldn’t resist and it now sits on a tiny easel in my kitchen. It’s a 6” x 6” oil on panel by LC Neill from Mooresville, NC. Her studio is named Still River Studios.

This picture doesn't do it justice; it looks so much better in person. Almost edible!

Check out her blog and see more of her artwork! Great stuff!

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

The Blue Tattoo by Margot Mifflin

Product Description
In 1851 Olive Oatman was a thirteen-year old pioneer traveling west toward Zion, with her Mormon family. Within a decade, she was a white Indian with a chin tattoo, caught between cultures. The Blue Tattoo tells the harrowing story of this forgotten heroine of frontier America. Orphaned when her family was brutally killed by Yavapai Indians, Oatman lived as a slave to her captors for a year before being traded to the Mohave, who tattooed her face and raised her as their own. She was fully assimilated and perfectly happy when, at nineteen, she was ransomed back to white society. She became an instant celebrity, but the price of fame was high and the pain of her ruptured childhood lasted a lifetime.

Based on historical records, including letters and diaries of Oatman’s friends and relatives, The Blue Tattoo is the first book to examine her life from her childhood in Illinois—including the massacre, her captivity, and her return to white society—to her later years as a wealthy banker’s wife in Texas.

Oatman’s story has since become legend, inspiring artworks, fiction, film, radio plays, and even an episode of Death Valley Days starring Ronald Reagan. Its themes, from the perils of religious utopianism to the permeable border between civilization and savagery, are deeply rooted in the American psyche. Oatman’s blue tattoo was a cultural symbol that evoked both the imprint of her Mohave past and the lingering scars of westward expansion. It also served as a reminder of her deepest secret, fully explored here for the first time: she never wanted to go home.

My thoughts
I learned about the Oatman Family Massacre while doing some research on Arizona (was thinking about moving there) and became intrigued by the story. I knew nothing about the event beforehand. When “The Blue Tattoo” by Margot Mifflin was published, I had to read it. Ms. Mifflin did a amazing job in capturing the life of Olive Oatman; before, during and after her capture by the Indians. This is definitely a winner.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Judge tosses Crunchberry lawsuit

I had to share this only because I can not believe it. What is this country coming to?

Source: www.wavy.com
Judge tosses Crunchberry lawsuit
Woman thought they were real fruit
Updated: Monday, 08 Jun 2009, 12:00 PM EDT
Published : Monday, 08 Jun 2009, 10:14 AM EDT

By FRANK CARNEVALE, Special Contributor
SACRAMENTO, California - A woman lost her case against the makers of Cap'n Crunch with Crunchberries. Janine Sugawara claimed she was deceived by the cereal’s marketing and packaging. She claimed she had been eating the cereal for four years under the assumption that the Crunchberries were in fact real berries.

A California judge dismissed the complaint stating there's no such fruit as a Crunchberry and that the box clearly depicts them as round, crunchy, brightly-colored cereal balls.

U.S. District Judge Morrison England Jr. of Sacramento found that that a reasonable consumer would not have been deceived by the packaging . The cereal box makes no claim to be particularly nutritious, nor does it contain any images of actual fruit, he said.

The judge in the case also noted that the same plaintiff's firm, Hewell Law Firm in San Diego, filed a similar claim against the packaging of Froot Loops cereal , which was rejected by another California district court.

Death Piled High by W. Patrick Lang

Product Description
When Claude Devereux's brother, Patrick, is killed at the Battle of Gettysburg, he's devastated.
But there is little time for grief. Devereux, a Confederate spy, has worked his way behind enemy lines in the North to become a prominent adviser to Secretary of War Edwin Stanton.
If General Robert Lee and his comrades in the South have any chance of succeeding in beating the Union, Devereux knows that he must keep his cover at all costs. So he steers clear of danger even when he doesn't want to do so.
One of Devereux's main tasks is to find out more about General Ulysses Grant, who has come to Washington to assume command of the Union army. The general is about to lead his troops on the Overland Campaign, a series of battles through the heart of Virginia.
Devereux must do all that he can to stop Grant in his tracks and help the South win its independence in Death Piled Hard.

My thoughts
“Death Piled Hard” by W. Patrick Lang is an exceptional book about the Civil War experience. You can sense that Mr. Lang has done extensive research in developing such a realistic approach to this story. You feel as though you are a part of it. Although, I did not read the first book of this series, it doesn’t take away from this story. Coming form the North, it’s interesting to see the South’s point of view. I commend Mr. Lang in writing a stunning portrait of American history.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Jack's Shop Beyond the Front Porch by James P. Herndon

Product Description
Follow the antics and adventures of a young boy growing up in rural Virginia during the1950s and '60s. It may bring to mind a far simpler and, in some ways, misguided period in the history of the south. A bygone era of outhouses, skunks, and the simple pleasures of country living is fondly recalled with a unique sampling of poignant humor. Through his eyes, the serenity and simplicity of the day is continually questioned until finally a life-threatening illness forces a painful reality.

My thoughts
“Jack’s Shop Beyond the Front Porch” by James P. Herndon is a look back at what is was like to be a little boy in rural Virginia in the 50s and 60s. I enjoyed reading the stories of what it was like to live with an outhouse, going fishing in the pond, visiting with friends and relatives, and losing pets. There are 26 chapters in this book, and each one is a story all its own and Mr. Herndon made me laugh, cry and reminisce about an easier time.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Of Bees and Mist ARC Winner

Sorry, I was enjoying the nice weather out there today. But I did pick a winner for the OF BEES AND MIST ARC giveaway. The winner is:


And isn't that an appropriate name. Congratulations! Now, I am going back outside to cherish the rest of the weekend!

Inspirational Books by Karl Moore

Product Description
Stop being a seeker - Start being a finder! Self-development is an amazing quest. It's the desire to find your own freedom and happiness. It's about letting go of limitations, and learning how to live successfully. This book is a series of 16 simple "pep talks" for that self-development journey. No hype, no rituals, no follow-on courses. Just a series of conversations to help you finally discover your own true freedom. Forget The Secret, set aside religious texts and ignore the so-called gurus. This book will guide you straight to the only true authority on your own self-development. You.

My thoughts
I enjoyed reading “The Secret Art of Self Development” and the 16 “pep talks” were somewhat helpful, but didn’t show you how, just what you needed to do for that self development journey we all are seeking. I really appreciated Appendix 3 – Experiences to Open Your Eyes Again with a long list of things to do to get us out of the rut of a routine life. That was quite helpful.

The biggest gripe I have with this book is the huge margins and the double spacing. If you reduced the margins and printed each page like a regular book, took out all numerous pages of quotes from others praising the book and the recap at the end, I would say this book would only be about 20 pages. Enjoyable, but too short on substance.

Product Description
Would YOU like to discover your own true happiness? Right now, you spend 24 hours a day searching for happiness. It's the single motive behind absolutely every action you take. But are you experiencing enough genuine happiness in your daily life? If not, you need to take action. This book is a mini-course in mega-happiness. It unveils 18 simple secrets that you can use to begin enjoying profound happiness and freedom in your life. From simple shifts in attitude to powerful mind-body "hacks", this guide will show you how to easily tap into the sunshine that already exists within you - and, quite simply, become the happiest person you know.

My thoughts
The 18 simple secrets to happiness are now revealed, and quite obvious once you read this book and realize it. As with his other book, “The Secret Art of Self Development”, Karl Moore, spreads out a little bit of information on many pages using wide margins and blank lines. Again, this all could fit in a pamphlet. Not that I am not going to use his rules, I will be because I want to be happy also!

Friday, June 05, 2009

The Night Gardener Book Giveaway

Thanks to Valerie at the Hatchette Book Group, I am hosting a giveaway for THE NIGHT GARDENER by George Pelecanos. I have 5 copies to give away.

Available only in the US and Canada and no shipping to PO Boxes, please.
To enter, leave a comment. Extra entries for subscribers and followers.
This contest will end Friday, June 19th. Winners announced Saturday.

The Night Gardener
George Pelecanos' biggest novel ever: the haunting story of three cops—one good, one bad, one broken—and the murder that reunites them in a showdown decades in the making.
Gus Ramone is "good police," a former Internal Affairs investigator now working homicide for the city's Violent Crime branch. His new case involves the death of a local teenager named Asa, whose body has been found in a local community garden.
The murder unearths intense memories of a case Ramone worked as a patrol cop twenty years earlier, when he and his partner, Dan "Doc" Holiday, assisted a legendary detective named T. C. Cook. The series of murders, all involving local teenage victims, was never solved. In the years since, Holiday has left the force under a cloud of morals charges, and now finds work as a bodyguard and driver. Cook has retired, but he has never stopped agonizing about the "Night Gardener" killings.
The new case draws the three men together on a grim mission to finish the work that has haunted them for years. All the love, regret, and anger that once burned between them comes rushing back, and old ghosts walk once more as the men try to lay to rest the monster who has stalked their dreams. Bigger and even more unstoppable than his previous thrillers, George Pelecanos achieves in The Night Gardener what his brilliant career has been building toward: a novel that is a perfect union of suspense, character, and unstoppable fate.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Testimony by Anita Shreve

Product Description
At a New England boarding school, a sex scandal is about to break. Even more shocking than the sexual acts themselves is the fact that they were caught on videotape. A Pandora's box of revelations, the tape triggers a chorus of voices--those of the men, women, teenagers, and parents involved in the scandal--that details the ways in which lives can be derailed or destroyed in one foolish moment.

Writing with a pace and intensity surpassing even her own greatest work, Anita Shreve delivers in TESTIMONY a gripping emotional drama with the impact of a thriller. No one more compellingly explores the dark impulses that sway the lives of seeming innocents, the needs and fears that drive ordinary men and women into intolerable dilemmas, and the ways in which our best intentions can lead to our worst transgressions.

My thoughts
Anita Shreve’s “Testimony” is written from various points of view, all persons involved in sex scandal at a private high school. I was shocked as the story unfolded, but couldn’t put this book down once I started reading it. The author captures the feelings of all the individuals involved and those outside the sphere. The lives ruined and changed from one incident caught on tape and the effect ripples throughout the community. This is such an intense book that leaves you wondering if things could have been different. This is a must read.

Dark Places by Gillian Flynn

Product Description
Libby Day was seven when her mother and two sisters were murdered in “The Satan Sacrifice of Kinnakee, Kansas.” As her family lay dying, little Libby fled their tiny farmhouse into the freezing January snow. She lost some fingers and toes, but she survived–and famously testified that her fifteen-year-old brother, Ben, was the killer. Twenty-five years later, Ben sits in prison, and troubled Libby lives off the dregs of a trust created by well-wishers who’ve long forgotten her.

The Kill Club is a macabre secret society obsessed with notorious crimes. When they locate Libby and pump her for details–proof they hope may free Ben–Libby hatches a plan to profit off her tragic history. For a fee, she’ll reconnect with the players from that night and report her findings to the club . . . and maybe she’ll admit her testimony wasn’t so solid after all.

As Libby’s search takes her from shabby Missouri strip clubs to abandoned Oklahoma tourist towns, the narrative flashes back to January 2, 1985. The events of that day are relayed through the eyes of Libby’s doomed family members–including Ben, a loner whose rage over his shiftless father and their failing farm have driven him into a disturbing friendship with the new girl in town. Piece by piece, the unimaginable truth emerges, and Libby finds herself right back where she started–on the run from a killer.

My thoughts
“Dark Places” by Gillian Flynn is a secret yearning to be told. This is the story of Libby Day, whose mother and two sisters were brutally murdered when she was seven years old, and her only brother convicted of the crime. Her testimony put him away. Twenty five years later, broke and desperate, she attends a convention of the Kill Club, a weird assortment of people interested in infamous murder cases. Since they are willing to pay her to find the people that may know something more, but aren’t telling, she goes along with it. Finding answers to questions, she had no interest in; she slowly begins to think maybe her brother is innocent. Flynn alternates between Libby’s present and that fateful night (seen through the eyes of various characters). We get to understand what happened as the truth slowly unravels. I couldn’t put the book down, as each new chapter brought Libby closer to the truth. The ending was a little too fitting but still enjoyable, nevertheless.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Chemical Cowboys by Lisa Sweetingham

Book Description
For nearly a decade, Ecstasy kingpin Oded Tuito was the mastermind behind a drug ring that used strippers and Hassidic teenagers to mule millions of pills from Holland to the party triangle--Los Angeles, New York, and Miami. Chemical Cowboys is a thrilling journey through the groundbreaking undercover investigations that led to the toppling of a billion-dollar Ecstasy trafficking network--starting in 1995 when New York DEA Agent Robert Gagne infiltrated club land to uncover a thriving drug scene supported by two cultures: pill-popping club kids and Israeli dealers. Gagne’s obsessive mission to take down Tuito’s network met unexpected challenges and personal discoveries that almost crippled his own family. Weaved into the narrative are the stories of Tuito’s underlings who struggled with addiction as they ran from the law, and the compelling experiences of a veteran Israeli police officer who aided Gagne while chasing after his own target--a violent Mob boss who saw the riches to be made in Ecstasy and began to import his own pills and turf warfare to the U.S. Chemical Cowboys offers a taut, behind-the-scenes glimpse into an international criminal enterprise as daring as it is deadly.

My thoughts
Lisa Sweetingham does an excellent job of making non-fiction not dry and boring. CHEMICAL COWBOYS flows easily and one gets to know the characters involved by the comprehensive information that she has gathered about the players. At first, I thought maybe I was reading a novel, but photographs proved otherwise. This book is about on how the drug “Ecstasy” became so popular in the clubs, the people who got them into this country and the DEA agents who fought to bring it all down. Ms. Sweetingham’s research is thorough and detailed and she leaves no stone unturned. This is an enjoyable true crime story.

NOTE: With Father's Day coming coming up, this would make a great book for the father who loves to read!

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Hurricane by Arnaldo Ricciulli

Product Description
Daniel Mayhew, a brilliant weather researcher, works with Kelly Delaney, totally dedicated to protecting the environment, to build Sub-Zero, a hurricane suppression system. When Kelly’s theories about a Category Six hurricane are proven true, Sub-Zero is pressed into service. Unknown to either of them, General Stefano Lowe, part of a shadowy group known as the “Lucky Thirteen”, is out to stop them. As Daniel and Kelly fight to disperse the storm, Kelly’s family asks her to come home. They’re convinced the world is entering the “End of Times”. Meanwhile, Daniel’s father—ignoring the signs of a storm approaching, goes sailing. General Stefano Lowe is electrocuted trying to sabotage the system, and the Sub-Zero system successfully disperses the storm. Later, Daniel’s father is found—alive! Taking him to the hospital, Kelly and Daniel realize that they have a future together—even as another storm starts to build.

My thoughts
“Hurricane” reads likes it could be a movie of the week. Not that that is a bad thing. The first two thirds of the book develops the characters and we get to know them and what motivates them. The last third is all about the storm and whether or not these characters will survive. Daniel Mayhew, the lead character develops the hurricane suppression system, and tries to find out why the government backed out of developing yet. Will he be able to use it when the big one hits? Arnaldo Ricciulli story is an interesting one and he created some likable and unlikable characters. I give him kudos for creating this book. What I didn’t like was the smaller the normal typeface and the small margins on the pages. This jammed so many words onto one page, I found it hard to read clearly.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Dreamstone by P.A. Hendrickson

Product Description
When Joebin Vassiter's home world of Prothia is faced with extinction at the hands of vicious slavers from Gildus-5, a voice in his dream lures him on a journey to the mysterious, uncharted regions north of his settlement. A mismatched band of volunteers join him as he searches for the one thing that can save Prothia?The DREAMSTONE. To hold the Dreamstone is to hold the power of transforming the subconscious into the conscious, the dream into reality. But pursuing the stone is not without risks. There are others in the hunt. Governor Kress Moltaire, a self-serving manipulator, desires its power for the sake of building her new order in the galaxy, and Colonel Penzin and Captain Klonda seek the stone for its financial value on the black market. As time runs out on the once-insignificant world of Prothia, Joebin wrestles with his own deep-set insecurities and new truths concerning his home planet. Can he conquer his fears and defeat the slavers and rival seekers of the stone before it's too late? ?Not on his own and not without the Dreamstone.

My thoughts
Moltaire, the greedy want- to-be ruler, Klonda, the slaver whose only interest is himself, Dahlia, the queen of the Atlomians, Joebin, the Dream Lord and his wife, Maldia are among the characters in P.A. Hendrickson’s “Dreamstone”, a sci-fi fantasy novel that is exciting. The people of Prothia live in a world of peace, until the slavers threatened to destroy their lives. Unknown to the people of Galnar, there are other inhabitants (the Atlomians) sharing their world. Together, they try and save their planet by strengthen and using the powers of the Dreamstone. Can dreams become reality? Is Joebin the true Dream Lord? With many plot twists, delightful characters and surreal worlds, the is debut novel is quite a ride!


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