Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Review: I Have a Bad Feeling About This by Jeff Strand

Henry Lambert would rather play video games than spend time in the great outdoors—but that doesn't make him a wuss. Skinny nerd? Fine. But wuss is a little harsh. Sadly, his dad doesn't agree. Which is why Henry is being shipped off to Strongwoods Survival Camp. 

Strongwoods isn't exactly as advertised. It looks like the victim of a zombie apocalypse, the "camp director" is a psycho drill sergeant, and Henry's sure he saw a sign written in blood...

Wilderness Survival Tip #1 
Drinking your own sweat will not save your life. Somebody might have told you that, but they were trying to find out if you'd really do it. 

Wilderness Survival Tip #2 
In case of an avalanche, don't despair. You're doomed, but that's a wicked cool death. 

Wilderness Survival Tip #3 
If you're relying on this book for actual survival tips, you're dead already. 



ARC received for review.

Really, how could I pass up a book about a nerdy guy attending a military style survival camp?  Just reading the book description made me laugh so I knew it would be good - and it was!

The story was genuinely funny and I loved reading about Henry's various adventures at camp.  I actually found myself chuckling out loud at points - it was that funny.  The whole thing is just crazy and funny and an excellent read.  

I also loved the Wilderness Survival Tip provided at the end of each chapter.  Two of my favorites were:  "Always bring a first-aid kit that contains bandages, antiseptic, and a surgeon's operating table." and "If a bear is chasing you, you don't have to outrun the bear.  You just have to outrun the person you're with.  Always bring a slow-running relative for just such an occasion."

This is an absolutely wonderful, funny, perfect for summer read and I highly, highly recommend it to all ages.  I am definitely looking forward to the author's future releases.

★★★★ = Really Liked It


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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Giveaway: Tower of Tears by Rhoda D'Ettore




Despair. 
Hope. 
Love. 
Murder. 
Betrayal. 
Mystery. 
Blackmail. 
Romance.

In 1820, a young woman embarks on a journey for a better life in America. She brings with her a three year old son, and plans to live with relatives she has never met in Philadelphia. Her loving husband remains in Ireland, taking in boarders and working the farm to save money for his departure.


Along the way, Jane realizes she is pregnant, then soon is told she is expected to pay rent, and work in a factory. Her new boss begins to sexually assault her, convincing her that a pregnant Irish woman would never find work. She turns to her priest with no results. She is trapped!



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Review: Tower of Tears by Rhoda D'Ettore




Despair. 
Hope. 
Love. 
Murder. 
Betrayal. 
Mystery. 
Blackmail. 
Romance.

In 1820, a young woman embarks on a journey for a better life in America. She brings with her a three year old son, and plans to live with relatives she has never met in Philadelphia. Her loving husband remains in Ireland, taking in boarders and working the farm to save money for his departure.


Along the way, Jane realizes she is pregnant, then soon is told she is expected to pay rent, and work in a factory. Her new boss begins to sexually assault her, convincing her that a pregnant Irish woman would never find work. She turns to her priest with no results. She is trapped!



Received for review.

This had an interesting premise but was ultimately a bit of a disappointment.

I wanted to feel for Jane and I know that a woman in the 1800s is different from a modern woman but she was just so stereotypical that she was hard to feel anything for.  An immigrant having to work long hours in a factory, being harassed by her employer, and living without her husband because they couldn't leave their homeland for a better life together.  Yawn.  I really spent most of the time reading this wanting to smack Jane and tell her to get it together and stop her incessant whining.  And, really, I was a bit disappointed with the author for dragging sexual harassment into the book.  It was just overkill and completely unnecessary.

The book was well written and did bring Jane's world to life for the reader, for better or worse.

If you're a dedicated historical fiction fan with a feminist spin you will certainly appreciate the historical detail provided and may enjoy the story.

★★☆☆☆ = Just Okay



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Monday, September 15, 2014

Author Interview: Mike Robertson author of The Pizza, the Peach, and the Platypus

Mike Robertson, author of the book The Pizza, the Peach, and the Platypus: Creating Your Life of Wonder, stopped by for an interview.



Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

I'm a speaker, author, musician and storyteller from Austin, Texas. My wife Lisa and I have been married for almost 27 years and we have one daughter, Lindsey, who currently lives in New York where she's writing and doing comedy at the Upright Citizen's Brigade.


What do you do when you're not writing?

Writing is not my full-time job, nor would I want it to be the only thing I did. I'm a professional speaker, a member of the National Speakers Association. That is probably the most fulfilling thing I do, standing in front of an audience, could be a dozen, could be three thousand‚ and saying something that makes them laugh, maybe cry, and, hopefully, be inspired to make changes that can lead to amazing new paths.


When did your first start writing?

I wrote a little bit in school, but then I didn't do anything longer than a letter for quite a few years. My first book was a collection of short, humorous-but-inspiring essays, sort of like newspaper columns. For the next book, though, I decided to write a historical novel about the birth of the movie business. That was a great experience. I set a quota of three pages a day and in a couple of months, I was rather amazed at the amount of work I'd produced. That novel ended up being 101,000 words, and I am very proud of it, both as a story and as an achievement. I learned so much! The story went in directions I never foresaw and even I was surprised how it ended up. It's thrilling when your characters start to become real to you.


Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?

I was a voracious reader, starting very early. The authors who influenced me most were those who knew that the story is the main thing. I don't like paragraph after paragraph describing the wallpaper and the gentle breeze wafting hauntedly through the‚ never mind! I was impressed with people like Elmore Leonard and William Goldman, writers who got you into the story immediately and then you were hooked.


What inspired you to write this particular book?

The Pizza, the Peach & the Platypus is a book about creativity. That's the topic I speak about in most of my speaking engagements. I'm convinced that most people are stuck at a place in their lives where they stop dreaming, stop believing that there is another level they could reach. So I share with audiences a three-part formula on how to start thinking in a more creative way. When you do that, awesome new possibilities spring up that were never visible before. To illustrate this formula, I share true stories from my life, times when I changed my thinking and wondrous things occurred: a complete career change at the age of 35; how I proposed to my wife in a most creative and unusual way; and even how I managed to lose 75 pounds last year, when I decided to see if even dieting could be done creatively. Short answer: Yes!

After I did this speech, people often asked if I had a book on the same subject; they wanted something to take away with them, something they could revisit later, or share with a friend. So I finally sat down and expanded the content of the speech into this book, adding many additional stories about creative adventures I've had.


What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why?

Since the book is full of very personal stories, it's hard to choose one. But the story of my proposal and engagement is one that always charms audiences.


What is best writing advice you can give?

For me, it was difficult to get over the feeling that you're writing something that a teacher is going to grade. That causes you to write in a tone that's not natural or comfortable. Instead, try writing something you'd like to read yourself. The vast majority of your audience will NEVER write anything; don't let them intimidate you and keep you from creating something unique and beautiful.
The other tip is to have some sort of discipline. That's not my strong suit, but it's the only way I can produce a book. For this book, I tried to do 1500 words a day. Once I got some momentum, I actually did over 4000 words on a day or two. But without a quota or benchmark, I can procrastinate endlessly.


Is there anything else you'd like your readers to know about the book?

As I said earlier, it's all about creativity. For that reason, there are a couple of little bonuses within the book. You'll be able to see (and hear) pertinent details from that proposal story. And there's a hidden message in the book that will lead observant readers on a little treasure hunt‚ with a cool prize if they solve it.

It's not a dry, scholarly treatise on being creative; it's a batch of fun stories which can help you awaken that dreamer who is dormant within you. Life is art. Make your mark!



About the book:

If your life were a story, would it be a good read? 

If you're unsure, Mike Robertson reminds you that you are the author of this story and that it is never too late to write a better life for yourself. 

The Pizza, the Peach & the Platypus is a charming book about creativity and the benefits it can bring to every aspect of your life. Robertson uses entertaining, true personal stories from his own life to illustrate many of the possible changes that can enrich your life, too. 

With a simple, three-part formula, you will learn how to use your own innate abilities to become more creative, to solve problems in novel ways, to live a much happier, exciting life. Never stodgy or academic, The Pizza, the Peach & the Platypus is a fun read that will motivate and equip the reader to achieve new heights in business, relationships and even in personal health.



About the author:

Mike Robertson is a professional speaker, writer, musician, and storyteller based in Austin, Texas. He speaks to audiences of all types, sharing his passion for creativity and providing keys for listeners to unlock and enhance their own creative powers. His presentations are also famous for the artistic and surprising visuals which he creates to accompany his words. The design of these items owes much to over 20 years experience as a professional graphic designer. After a presentation to an audience of professional speakers in which Mike shared many of his tips and techniques for creating amazing slides, he began a series of short video podcasts called ClickStarters--available on iTunes and YouTube--which will inspire and excite anyone who uses slide presentations.



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Review: High as Horses' Bridles by Scott Cheshire

It’s 1980 at a crowded amphitheater in Queens, New York and a nervous Josiah Laudermilk, age 12, is about to step to the stage while thousands of believers wait to hear him, the boy preaching prodigy, pour forth. Suddenly, as if a switch had been flipped, Josiah’s nerves shake away and his words come rushing out, his whole body fills to the brim with the certainty of a strange apocalyptic vision. But is it true prophecy or just a young believer’s imagination running wild? Decades later when Josiah (now Josie) is grown and has long since left the church, he returns to Queens to care for his father who, day by day, is losing his grip on reality. Barreling through the old neighborhood, memories of the past—of his childhood friend Issy, of his first love, of the mother he has yet to properly mourn—overwhelm him at every turn. When he arrives at his family’s old house, he’s completely unprepared for what he finds. How far back must one man journey to heal a broken bond between father and son? 



ARC received for review.

I'd heard good things about this so I was intrigued enough to give it a try.  It was interesting, but I wouldn't particularly call it good.

The story of a father and son coming together at the end of the father's life was pretty standard.  The father didn't approve of the son, they spent years apart, then they reconcile when the father is dying.  What sets this apart is that the entire thing is soaked with religion.  It's everywhere.  Seriously, from the very first page to the last it's nothing but God, church, bible references, etc.  I know this religious aspect was supposed to be a selling point for the book but it really wasn't for me.  It was just too heavy handed and left me irritated more than anything.  It really took away from the story rather than adding to it.

I didn't particularly either like or care about the characters either.  I just didn't care one way or the other what happened to them.  I wasn't excited or saddened by any of their experiences because there was just no emotional connection at all with them.  It was actually a bit of a let down.

While this is very well written and an interesting story about the relationship between a father and son it's really only intended for those with an affinity for religion.  If that's not you then it's probably best to give this a pass.

★★★☆☆ = Liked It


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Sunday, September 14, 2014

Review: The Beginner's Guide to Making and Using Dried Foods by Teresa Marrone

Food Preservation Made Simple 

YOU CAN DEHYDRATE vegetables, fruits, meats, herbs, and even prepared meals. 

Drying is simple and safe, and it offers delicious, lightweight options for campers, food gardeners, raw foodists, and anyone with a surplus of fresh foods. 

Whether you’re using a dehydrator, experimenting with sun-drying techniques, or starting out with your regular oven, you’ll be an expert in no time with this book’s complete instructions for drying dozens of foods. 

Plus, you’ll find more than 140 recipes for using your dehydrated ingredients in delicious ways.



E-galley received for review.

I love my dehydrator and am always looking for new ideas on how to maximize its uses to preserve the harvest from my garden so I was excited to pick up this book.

While I liked that the book covered various means of dehydrating (solar, electric dehydrator, oven) it quickly became overwhelming as it added considerable length to the section for each fruit and vegetable since the author had to give tips for each method.

This does comprehensively cover everything from apples to jerky but the organization of the book leaves a bit to be desired.  It feels rather disorganized and hard to follow.  I also really, really disliked that each fruit or vegetable did not start on its own page - they were all run together which made quickly locating the information you were after virtually impossible.

Overall, this is a good introduction to the subject for complete beginners but those with any sort of experience or those who want a reference book to refer to again and again will find this a bit lacking.

★★★★ = Really Liked It


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Saturday, September 13, 2014

Review: Man-Corn in the Promised Land by Chairman Wow






Chairman Wow's Man-Corn in the Promised Land is a no-compromise, stomach-churning vision of the intersection between horror and revelation. Read at your own risk...








Received for review.

I'm always up for a good horror book but this wasn't really a horror book.  It was more a collection of poems and short stories that were extremely disjointed.  When I came to the Sex Zombies portion which featured "rape-ghouls" I finally had to abandon this.  It was just too ridiculous.  I gather this is meant to be scary but it's really just silly.  It reminded me more of a low budget horror movie than anything else.

I was not particularly impressed and really cannot recommend this.

★★☆☆☆ = Just Okay


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Friday, September 12, 2014

Review: Sweet by Editors of Food Network Magazine

TAKE ALL THE GUESSWORK OUT OF DESSERT! Food Network Magazine editors have picked their all-time favorite treats and put them into one amazing book. In Sweet, you’ll find over-the-top brownies, super fun cupcakes, show-off layer cakes, one-of-a-kind cookies and so much more.

This great collection includes recipes for any occasion, with step-by-step instructions and full-page color photographs to help you along. You don’t need to be an experienced baker to get started. Every dessert in this book is easy to follow—and totally foolproof. Each recipe has been triple-tested, so you know it’ll come out just right. Flip through and you’ll find some fun surprises, too: a bowl made of chocolate, a spectrum of frosting colors and a cake that looks like a giant caramel apple.



Received for review.

I love the Food Network and was thrilled to discover that they had released a book focused entirely on desserts since I enjoy baking.

This is simply packed with recipes covering everything you might possibly want to make as a dessert.  I really liked that each recipe featured a photo of the finished product so you knew ahead of time exactly what it was supposed to look like.

Each recipe was clearly and concisely set out and the instructions are easy to understand.  I have to say that this is not for the amateur baker though.  There are some recipes which are super easy, such as brownies and cookies, but there are others, such as a cake shaped like a burger that is way beyond my skill set and I've been baking for years.

So, if you're looking to impress and have the time and patience to make a cake that looks like a burger then this is a great option.

★★★★ = Really Liked It



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Review: Poisoned by Steve Shukis

A gripping tale of murder, sorcery, and criminal justice in turn-of-the-century Chicago,Poisonedis the fascinating true story (1907) ofa mysterious Bohemian fortune teller charged with murdering a half-dozen peopleby slowly poisoning them with arsenic. 

Poisoneddetails the horrific murders, and the incredible events that followed HermanBillik'sconviction: last second reprieves; legal battles carried all the way to the Supreme Court; frenzied mass demonstrations; corpses secretly exhumed in the middle of the night; and the revelation that key witnesses lied under oath. The case affected political campaigns, involved a Chicago Mayor, and featured an eventual showdown in the race for Governor of Illinois between two of the story's central figures. Indeed, if it were not true, no one would ever believe it.



Received for review.

This was a genuinely interesting tale of true crime.  While I found myself actually hoping that Herman Billick was the killer since, despite the author's attempts to make him seem friendlier, I found him to be a rather disagreeable person.  This, of course, was not the point of the story and you were supposed to be rooting for him, but I didn't.

This thoroughly covers every step of the investigation as it progressed with an amazing level of detail considering the time that has lapsed since the events.  The one thing I didn't quite understand was why the author was so surprised by the level of corruption in the legal system at the time and mentioned it so frequently.  It was early 1900s Chicago - of course it was corrupt.

If you're interested in true crime this is a well written and intriguing look into real life events which you are sure to enjoy and I definitely recommend it.

★★★☆☆ = Liked It


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Thursday, September 11, 2014

Giveaway: No Time to Die by Kira Peikoff

In a Washington, D.C. research lab, a brilliant scientist is attacked by his own test subjects. At Columbia University, a talented biochemist is lured out of her apartment and never seen again. 

In the Justice Department's new Bioethics Committee, agent Les Mahler sees a sinister pattern emerging...

Zoe Kincaid is a petite college student whose rare genetic makeup may hold the key to a powerful medical breakthrough. 

When she is kidnapped, the very thing mankind has wanted since the dawn of time threatens to unleash our final destruction.




Thanks to the publisher I have one copy to give away!

US only, no PO Boxes.

Ends 9/25

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Author Interview: Rosalind Solomon author of Notes On How To Get To Heaven

Rosalind Solomon, author of the book Notes On How To Get To Heaven, stopped by for an interview.



Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? 

Rosalind D. Solomon, Prophetess and CEO of Prophetic Voice of Yahweh Ministry, is now hosting a weekly podcast of Blogtalkradio. Solomon, who spends hours in prayer and praying for those who need help, is offering her visions and advice to the world, doing the Lord’s work via the internet. Also have a popular YouTube channel called Prophetic Voice of Yahweh Show I have a decree from Ames International College and three years at Liberty University in Religion. 


What do you do when you're not writing? 


A lot of ministry work and research for my radio show and learning and living life with God and my family. Walking out the Race with The lord and helping to bring other to the lord Jesus and God.


When did your first start writing? 

JUNE 2ND 2012


Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?

NO THE LORD JUST GAVE ME THE GIFT TO WRITE A BOOK THAT DAY JUNE 2ND 2012 AND FINISH IT June 6th 2012.


What inspired you to write this particular book? 

The lord Jesus and the deliverance Journey the lord took me on and through. Also to help other so they won’t fall in to satan trap like I did. Also to make other aware that there is a thing as family curses we need to break off of our blood lines.


What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why? 


The whole book was because it came from my heart that King Jesus is the King over.


What is best writing advice you can give? 

To write from your heat always allow God in on it as well. See if he likes it approve of it. Also ask if it is bring God glory or man Glory it should always bring God glory. This is very important in all we do in this life time.


Is there anything else you'd like your readers to know about the book? 


THIS BOOK WILL HELP MANY IN MANY WAYS. IT IS A DEIVERENCE BOOK, a teaching book, a prayer book a training book. A learning book. A BOOK THAT WILL HELP YOU TAKE SREPS CLOSE TO GOD, THIS BOOK WILL WAKE MANY UP T OO THE SPIRITUAL RELAM OPRATEION. ALSO HOW IT EFFECTS ONE LIFE IN EVERY WAY. ALSO HOW WE MUST STAY CLOSE TO GOD AND IN PRAYER AS MUCH AS POSSIBALE BECAUE WHAT EVER HAPPEN IN THE SPIRTUAL FIRST HAPPEN IN OUR NATURAL LIFE SECOND. GOD BLESS YOU ALL N JESUS NAME.



About the book:

Learn about heaven and God’s promises in this book inspired by the Holy Spirit. Minister Rosalind spent hours in prayer, reading and listening to the Holy Bible. She has gathered and now published numerous prayers to help you with your struggles in every area of life. Never knowing how soon life will end, are you prepared to meet God? The Good News is that you can be ready to spend eternity in heaven no matter what happens in life. Get ready now to triumph even in death.

Notes On How To Get To Heaven reveals God’s promises. Minister Rosalind D. Solomon spent hours in prayer, reading the Word of God in The Holy Bible and listening to King Jesus Christ in Vision and Dreams. She has gathered and now published this teaching guide, so you can learn how to make it to Heaven, how to walk with King Jesus with God and with the Holy Ghost Spirit of God. There are numerous prayers to help you with your struggles in every area of life. Never knowing how soon life will end, are you prepared to meet God? The Good News is that you can be ready to spend eternity in Heaven no matter what happens in life. Get ready now to triumph in life and even in death.



About the author:

Prophetess Rosalind Solomon is ordained and is licensed to preach, teach, and perform marriages and baptism and to serve in prison ministry. She was subsequently ordained and licensed by the National Association of Christian Minister since April 2011. She is gifted in the prophetic and Faith Healer Preaching and teaching,Evangelizing.

Prophetess Rosalind Solomon Haa a Degree in Bible Studies from Ames International Bible College. She's Author of the Book "Notes On How To get To Heaven"



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Featured Book: Velicious by Shelique Lize



About the book:

Justice Morel always had her life perfectly planned.

Her goals were to graduate from the University with exceptional grades and get into the best law school Canada has to offer.


Then one day, Justice tried to kill herself.

Well, not her technically. It may have been Justice Morel's body, but those actions weren't intentional and the suicidal thoughts were not hers. Or, so she keeps telling her therapist and family.

Justice is afraid she’s losing her mind and just wants to forget everything. But when her best friend is murdered, another one is being mind-screwed by a Vampyre, and her ex is back in town, looking as scrumptious as ever and very suspicious, maybe she isn't all that crazy!

Just when she thinks that life couldn't throw her anymore curve balls, Justice figures out that she is Vampyre Doll and there's a vampyre who seems very familiar to her, but she can't figure out from where. 


Justice is suffocating and drowning in a dark world she's been tossed into, forced to survive.

It’s a world she never wanted to know about and would love to ignore, like it doesn't exist. But, with every passing day, she's pulled deeper and deeper into the rabbit hole, wishing for everything to go back to the way it was.



About the author:

I'm a stay at home mother who loves to write about Vampires and the paranormal for young adults. I enjoy reading. I was born in Toronto, Ontario. Inspirational quotes keeps me positive. Music helps me to get away when I need too. I'm an amateur photographer. Movie holic. Lactose intolerant but loves cheese pizza. Vampires and things of a sort I adore. Shopping is my therapy and I'm an Aries.


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Review: No Time to Die by Kira Peikoff

In a Washington, D.C. research lab, a brilliant scientist is attacked by his own test subjects. 

At Columbia University, a talented biochemist is lured out of her apartment and never seen again. 

In the Justice Department's new Bioethics Committee, agent Les Mahler sees a sinister pattern emerging...

Zoe Kincaid is a petite college student whose rare genetic makeup may hold the key to a powerful medical breakthrough. 

When she is kidnapped, the very thing mankind has wanted since the dawn of time threatens to unleash our final destruction.



ARC received for review.

Bio-thrillers usually freak me out - and not in a good way - but this was deliciously thrilling and intelligent and left me feeling more excited than disturbed.

The author did a brilliant job of combining action and science with genuinely likable characters which made for an incredibly satisfying read.  The fact that the science in the book was quite feasible made it just that extra bit better.  The whole book had a very Orphan Black feel to it which was awesome.

This is a must read for bio-thriller fans and I definitely highly, highly recommend it to Michael Crichton and Michael Palmer fans who will thoroughly appreciate the gorgeously crafted story.  I am eagerly awaiting the author's next release!

★★★★ = Really Liked It


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