Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Giveaway: Presumed Innocent by Scott Turow

PRESUMED INNOCENT brings to life our worst nightmare: that of an ordinary citizen facing conviction for the most terrible of crimes. Prosecutor Rusty Sabich is transformed from accuser to accused when he is handed an explosive case--that of the brutal murder of a woman who happens to be his former lover.

Listen to an excerpt

Join Scott on Facebook

http://www.scottturow.com




Thanks to Hachette Book Group I have three copies to give away!

Contest ends 11:59 PM EST April 17, 2010. Open to residents of US and Canada only. No PO boxes.

To enter:

Required Entry:

You must be a Google Friend connect follower of this blog, and leave me a comment on this post that says "I'm a Google Friend Connect Follower". Please include your e-mail address so I can contact you.

Extra Entries:
  1. Follow me on Twitter, and leave me a comment on this post that says "Twitter Follower".
  2. Tweet this, by clicking the Tweet This button and come back here and leave me a comment with the link to the tweet. (once daily, leave a new comment each time)
  3. Blog about this contest and include a link to this post. Leave a comment with a link to your blog entry.
  4. Leave a comment on any other post (anything except another giveaway, i.e. reviews, interviews, Bored Now, etc.) and leave a comment here telling me which post you commented on. You can do this up to five times for five additional entries.
  5. Grab my button (in sidebar), post it on your blog, and leave me a comment with a link to your blog. If you already have my button, leave a comment telling me that.
  6. Visit The Animal Rescue Site, click the Click Here to Give - It's Free! button and come back here and leave me a comment telling me you clicked. (once daily, leave a new comment each time)
  7. Visit The Rainforest Site, click the Click Here to Give - It's Free! button and come back here and leave me a comment telling me you clicked. (once daily, leave a new comment each time)
  8. Visit The Hunger Site, click the Click Here to Give - It's Free! button and come back here and leave me a comment telling me you clicked. (once daily, leave a new comment each time)

Post one comment for each entry.
Each comment must include your e-mail address.



Giveaway: An Absence So Great by Jane Kirkpatrick

Inspired by the engaging stories told through her grandmother’s photographs taken at the turn of the century, award-winning author Jane Kirkpatrick provides a portrait of the tension between darkness and light in the soul of a young woman pursuing her professional dreams.

Despite growing in confidence as a photographer, eighteen-year-old Jessie Ann Gaebele’s personal life is still at a crossroads. Hoping she’s put an unfortunate romantic longing behind her as “water under the bridge,” she exiles herself to Milwaukee to operate photographic studios for those ill with mercury poisoning.

Jessie gains footing on her dream to one day own her own studio and soon finds herself in other Midwest towns, pursuing her profession. But even a job she loves can’t keep those painful memories from seeping into her heart, and the shadows of a forbidden love threaten to darken the portrait of her life.




Thanks to WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group I have one copy to give away!

Contest ends 11:59 PM EST April 10, 2010. Open to residents of US only. PO boxes are okay.

To enter:

Required Entry:

You must be a Google Friend connect follower of this blog, and leave me a comment on this post that says "I'm a Google Friend Connect Follower". Please include your e-mail address so I can contact you.

Extra Entries:
  1. Follow me on Twitter, and leave me a comment on this post that says "Twitter Follower".
  2. Tweet this, by clicking the Tweet This button and come back here and leave me a comment with the link to the tweet. (once daily, leave a new comment each time)
  3. Blog about this contest and include a link to this post. Leave a comment with a link to your blog entry.
  4. Leave a comment on any other post (anything except another giveaway, i.e. reviews, interviews, Bored Now, etc.) and leave a comment here telling me which post you commented on. You can do this up to five times for five additional entries.
  5. Grab my button (in sidebar), post it on your blog, and leave me a comment with a link to your blog. If you already have my button, leave a comment telling me that.
  6. Visit The Animal Rescue Site, click the Click Here to Give - It's Free! button and come back here and leave me a comment telling me you clicked. (once daily, leave a new comment each time)
  7. Visit The Rainforest Site, click the Click Here to Give - It's Free! button and come back here and leave me a comment telling me you clicked. (once daily, leave a new comment each time)
  8. Visit The Hunger Site, click the Click Here to Give - It's Free! button and come back here and leave me a comment telling me you clicked. (once daily, leave a new comment each time)

Post one comment for each entry.
Each comment must include your e-mail address.



Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Giveaway: 300 Follower ARC Giveaway!


I'm approaching 300 followers and it's time to celebrate!

When I reach my 300th follower I'll choose one lucky winner who will receive a box of books (as many as I can fit in) of their choice from my GoodReads Bookswap list. The list is always changing, so the winner should be able to find enough to fill the box.

*Note: You must be a GoodReads member to view the list of books - Sorry!*



One winner will be chosen.

Contest ends after I get my 300th follower. Open to residents of US only. PO boxes are fine.

To enter:

Required Entry:

You must be a Google Friend connect follower of this blog, and leave me a comment on this post that says "I'm a Google Friend Connect Follower". Please include your e-mail address so I can contact you.

Extra Entries:

  1. Follow me on Twitter, and leave me a comment on this post that says "Twitter Follower".
  2. Tweet this, by clicking the Tweet This button and come back here and leave me a comment with the link to the tweet. (once daily, leave a new comment each time)
  3. Blog about this contest and include a link to this post. Leave a comment with a link to your blog entry.
  4. Leave a comment on any other post (anything except another giveaway, i.e. reviews, interviews, Bored Now, etc.) and leave a comment here telling me which post you commented on. You can do this up to five times for five additional entries.
  5. Grab my button (in sidebar), post it on your blog, and leave me a comment with a link to your blog. If you already have my button, leave a comment telling me that.
  6. Visit The Animal Rescue Site, click the Click Here to Give - It's Free! button and come back here and leave me a comment telling me you clicked. (once daily, leave a new comment each time)
  7. Visit The Rainforest Site, click the Click Here to Give - It's Free! button and come back here and leave me a comment telling me you clicked. (once daily, leave a new comment each time)
  8. Visit The Hunger Site, click the Click Here to Give - It's Free! button and come back here and leave me a comment telling me you clicked. (once daily, leave a new comment each time)

Post one comment for each entry.
Each comment must include your e-mail address.



Giveaway: The Art of Choosing by Sheena Iyengar

The nationally recognized, leading authority on choice exposes the surprising truths behind the decisions we make everyday.

Listen to an Excerpt









Thanks to Hachette Book Group I have three copies to give away!

Contest ends 11:59 PM EST April 17, 2010. Open to residents of US and Canada only. No PO boxes.

To enter:

Required Entry:

You must be a Google Friend connect follower of this blog, and leave me a comment on this post that says "I'm a Google Friend Connect Follower". Please include your e-mail address so I can contact you.

Extra Entries:
  1. Follow me on Twitter, and leave me a comment on this post that says "Twitter Follower".
  2. Tweet this, by clicking the Tweet This button and come back here and leave me a comment with the link to the tweet. (once daily, leave a new comment each time)
  3. Blog about this contest and include a link to this post. Leave a comment with a link to your blog entry.
  4. Leave a comment on any other post (anything except another giveaway, i.e. reviews, interviews, Bored Now, etc.) and leave a comment here telling me which post you commented on. You can do this up to five times for five additional entries.
  5. Grab my button (in sidebar), post it on your blog, and leave me a comment with a link to your blog. If you already have my button, leave a comment telling me that.
  6. Visit The Animal Rescue Site, click the Click Here to Give - It's Free! button and come back here and leave me a comment telling me you clicked. (once daily, leave a new comment each time)
  7. Visit The Rainforest Site, click the Click Here to Give - It's Free! button and come back here and leave me a comment telling me you clicked. (once daily, leave a new comment each time)
  8. Visit The Hunger Site, click the Click Here to Give - It's Free! button and come back here and leave me a comment telling me you clicked. (once daily, leave a new comment each time)

Post one comment for each entry.
Each comment must include your e-mail address.



Announcement: Winners Response Update

I will no longer be e-mailing winners to let them know that they have won. Instead, I will post the usual list of winners and it will be the responsibility of the winners to read the winner's list and e-mail their addresses. I will include a deadline for responses in each winner post.


If you have any questions or concerns about this new procedure, please let me know.

Winners will need to e-mail me their address to bethsbookreviewblog @gmail.com.



Monday, March 29, 2010

Giveaway: Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith

While Abraham Lincoln is widely lauded for saving a Union and freeing millions of slaves, his valiant fight against the forces of the undead has remained in the shadows for hundreds of years. That is, until Seth Grahame-Smith stumbled upon The Secret Journal of Abraham Lincoln, and became the first living person to lay eyes on it in more than 140 years.

Listen to an Excerpt
View the Video
Download the iPhone App
Become a Fan on Facebook
Join the Undead Book Club



Thanks to Hachette Book Group I have three copies to give away!

Contest ends 11:59 PM EST April 17, 2010. Open to residents of US and Canada only. No PO boxes.

To enter:

Required Entry:

You must be a Google Friend connect follower of this blog, and leave me a comment on this post that says "I'm a Google Friend Connect Follower". Please include your e-mail address so I can contact you.

Extra Entries:
  1. Follow me on Twitter, and leave me a comment on this post that says "Twitter Follower".
  2. Tweet this, by clicking the Tweet This button and come back here and leave me a comment with the link to the tweet. (once daily, leave a new comment each time)
  3. Blog about this contest and include a link to this post. Leave a comment with a link to your blog entry.
  4. Leave a comment on any other post (anything except another giveaway, i.e. reviews, interviews, Bored Now, etc.) and leave a comment here telling me which post you commented on. You can do this up to five times for five additional entries.
  5. Grab my button (in sidebar), post it on your blog, and leave me a comment with a link to your blog. If you already have my button, leave a comment telling me that.
  6. Visit The Animal Rescue Site, click the Click Here to Give - It's Free! button and come back here and leave me a comment telling me you clicked. (once daily, leave a new comment each time)
  7. Visit The Rainforest Site, click the Click Here to Give - It's Free! button and come back here and leave me a comment telling me you clicked. (once daily, leave a new comment each time)
  8. Visit The Hunger Site, click the Click Here to Give - It's Free! button and come back here and leave me a comment telling me you clicked. (once daily, leave a new comment each time)

Post one comment for each entry.
Each comment must include your e-mail address.



FYI: The Well-Dressed Reader


You may or may not know about The Well-Dressed Reader website, but a friend recently sent me a link to it and I thought I'd let you know about it as well since they sell all sorts of fun jewelry for readers.

Here's a wee bit about them:

Jewelry and accessories for people who love books! We offer one-of-a-kind, custom jewelry and bookmarks designed by artisans all over the United States and Canada. Free gift wrapping is available!

We have a new charity for 2010! Ten percent of the proceeds from our sales will be donated to First Book, a nonprofit organization that provides new books to children in need. In the past 20 years, First Book has delivered more than 65 million books to programs serving children in need across the United States and Canada. Visit firstbook.org.

Anyway, just thought I'd let you know. And for Big Brother's information, no I was not compensated in any way for this post.




Update


You may have noticed that I've been MIA the past week or so. No, I haven't been vacationing in Rio, I've been abed with a nasty cold that developed into a sinus infection. Yeah, I know, too much information.

Anyway, I'm almost recovered and will be catching up on my backlog of blog tasks this week so expect a flurry of posts.

Thank you to everyone for understanding!




Thursday, March 25, 2010

Review: The Lumby Lines by Gail Fraser

Prepare to fall for Lumby.....

What Garrison Keillor did for Lake Wobegon, Gail Fraser has done for Lumby in this delightfully touching new novel. An engaging cast of characters populates Lumby, a one-moose town in the Pacific Northwest where pigs literally fly and goats invade the bank vault, a dog runs for mayor (and wins!) and Sheriff Dixon keeps a gentle watch over all the quirky goings-on.

Arousing the suspicions of the townsfolk of Lumby, Pam and Mark Walker, a couple of "East Coasters" purchase the community's fire-ravaged and neglected monastery, intent on converting it into a historic inn and regaining it's Historical Register status. With the aid of the sometimes helpful, often humorously hapless local tradespeople, the Walkers begin their renovation project, while trying to unravel the town that is Lumby. Facing the open hostility from the cranky old newspaper publisher, the newcomers attempt to 'fit in' and piece together the mysteries of the benefactor who leaves unsolicited checks in old journals and the flamingo in their front yard with a flare for fashion.

It doesn't take them long to realize that the local paper, The Lumby Lines, provides many of the answers. The daily "Sheriff's Complaints" column reveals many of the town's foibles and benign mayhem, and introduce Pam and Mark to some of the more colorful locals, while the young reporter of the weekly, "What's New Around Town" feature longs to land the big "expose", but somehow never gets it right. Despite the setbacks that occur, Pam and Mark's commitment to the inn and the town never sways.


As the previous tenants of the monastery assist the Walkers in learning its history, the intrigue builds and romance blossoms, and they unknowingly discover long-hidden relationships which lead to unexpected reconciliations. Joining in the annual Lumby Raft Race ensues, Pam and Mark find themselves in the middle of a near disastrous scenario, and the people of Lumby learn the true nature of their newest residents.

The LUMBY LINES paints a picture full of laughter and love that readers will take to their hearts-and conjures up magic in an everyday place called Lumby-setting the stage for more charming stories to come.



Received from the publicist for review.

This one gets three stars. It was amusing with a Northern Exposure small town life feel to it. It was especially nice to read about a small town not in New England to prove that we don't have a monopoly on quirky small towns a la Gilmore Girls and Murder She Wrote. The cute articles from the local paper, The Lumby Lines, really added to the story. The Sheriff's Complaints were extra fun. This was a nice, solid start to the series, with fun characters and a nice setting. It is definitely recommended for someone looking for a lighter, happier fiction.

★★☆☆ = Liked It



Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Review: West to the Sun by T.G. Good

WE'RE MOVING TO OREGON


With these words, Jedediah Symons changes the life of his entire family forever. Leaving behind farm, family, and friends, the Symons begin a journey of thousands of miles across prairies, rivers, and mountains. With nothing more than the possessions that can be packed in a single wagon, their reliance on one another, and their faith in God, they battle storms, animals, hunger, and disease. Will they be able to overcome these obstacles? And how can 11-year-old Jeremiah help his family reach Oregon-their new home?

In West to the Sun, young Jeremiah experiences firsthand the adventure and the heartbreak of the Oregon Trail, the sorrow of leaving everything behind, and the joy of pursuing a new life. From the daily drudgery of hiking through the dry lands of the western frontier, to the extreme excitement of a buffalo hunt, mountains that reach the sky, bighorn sheep that battle for primacy, and rivers that threaten to swamp wagons and drown occupants, Jeremiah grows to appreciate the majesty of the country. Throughout their travels, Jeremiah and his family meet some of the men who made the western frontier: Joseph Robidoux, Jim Bridger, and Peg Leg Smith. Most importantly, Jeremiah learns the importance of family, friends, and faith-and what it means to be a man.



Received from the publisher for review.

I'm not entirely sure if this was meant for children since it does feature an eleven year old boy as the main character. The book seemed to have rather advanced language and weighed in at almost 250 pages, which gave me doubts as to its target audience.

This one gets two stars. While it was well written from the boy's point of view I can't say that I particularly enjoyed it. The story was rather a downer, but it was interesting at points and most likely quite accurate to the situations in that time period. Perhaps someone else might benefit from it more, but it just wasn't for me.

☆☆= Just Okay



Review: SUPERCOACH by Michael Neill

IF SUPERMAN NEEDED A COACH,HE’D HIRE MICHAEL NEILL! In this fun, easy-to-read book, best-selling author and internationally renowned success coach Michael Neill shares the secrets of transforming your life and the lives of the people you care about most—your family, friends, colleagues, and clients.Inside, you will learn:· How to stop thinking like a victim· The secret to financial security in any economy· Proven techniques to produce dramatic changes in yourself and others· Simple ways to create lasting relationships· The key to lifelong happiness· Strategies for increasing productivity, energy, well-being . . . and more!Whether you want to powerfully impact the lives of the people around you or simply wish to create a deeper, more meaningful experience of being alive, this book is your essential guide to helping yourself and assisting others.


Received from the publicist for review.

My favorite quotes from the book were:

You are a diamond, buried in horse crap, coated in nail polish.

The number of reasons you have for doing something is inversely proportional to how much you want to do it.

This was clear, concise, and well presented. The Supercoaching Tips and In a Nutshell tidbits helped to reinforce the text which had an amusing supportive feel reminiscent of Tony Robbins.

This one gets four stars. While it may take a while to work through all the material presented and do all the exercises, it is well worth the investment. The author provides a plethora of information that has worked for his clients and the reader can model his or her life after their successes. This is certainly recommended as a great first step in the direction of one's goals.

★★★★ = Really Liked It




Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Review: The Risk Takers by Renee and Don Martin

The Risk Takers is about ordinary people, all with good ideas, who faced daunting challenges, but took a leap of faith and started their own business. The book tells the stories of the personal and professional journeys of sixteen fascinating men and women who built hugely successful, multimillion dollar companies. They started with very little, opted to strike out on their own, and struggled with disappointment and failure. Yet, they overcame adversity and through persistence and resiliency determined their own destiny.

You’ll meet the founders of companies familiar to most Americans: Geek Squad, Curves, Liz Lange Maternity, Kinko’s, Paul Mitchell, Spanx, Amy’s Kitchen, along with nine others. Don and Renee Martin, successful entrepreneurs in their own right, personally interviewed these men and women whose inspiring stories demonstrate it’s never been easy to start your own business and navigate it through all the inevitable storms to ultimate success—in any economy, in any era. But can be done.

The personal stories in this volume remind us of what is possible when you combine an inspired business idea with faith and tenacity. It’s the right book at the right time—it’s time to resurrect The American Dream.



Received from the publicist for review.

I have to admit, I was a bit put off by the authors being multimillionaires. I mean, really, what do they know about the real world now when they made their millions during the 80s boom? I also found it extraordinarily arrogant for the author to tell his own story as part of the book.

This one gets two stars. The selection of entrepreneurs was questionable considering most of them were kind of slimy with a used car salesman feel to them. I didn't find the book inspiring in the least. One of the entrepreneurs profiled – Liz Lange – grew up in the lap of luxury on New York's Upper East Side. I can't fathom how her story was supposed to be inspirational to the average person. This collection of profiles was unrealistic, and uninspiring and struck me more as a group of rich people bragging about their success than anything. It is completely unrealistic for the average person to apply the outdated techniques suggested, so unless you're already upper middle class or above, don't bother with this one.


☆☆= Just Okay



Monday, March 22, 2010

Giveaway: Foxy by Pam Grier

Beautiful, bold, and bad, Pam Grier burst onto the movie scene in the 1970s, setting the screen on fire and forever changing the country's view of African American actresses. With a killer attitude and body to match, Grier became the ultimate fantasy of men everywhere. But she quickly proved that she was more than just a desirable film goddess. She had the brains, courage, and tenacity to sustain a career that would span more than 30 years. In FOXY, she chronicles the good, bad, and steamy highlights in her life and career.









Thanks to Hachette Book Group I have three copies to give away!

Contest ends 11:59 PM EST April 10, 2010. Open to residents of US and Canada only. No PO boxes.

To enter:

Required Entry:

You must be a Google Friend connect follower of this blog, and leave me a comment on this post that says "I'm a Google Friend Connect Follower". Please include your e-mail address so I can contact you.

Extra Entries:
  1. Follow me on Twitter, and leave me a comment on this post that says "Twitter Follower".
  2. Tweet this, by clicking the Tweet This button and come back here and leave me a comment with the link to the tweet. (once daily, leave a new comment each time)
  3. Blog about this contest and include a link to this post. Leave a comment with a link to your blog entry.
  4. Leave a comment on any other post (anything except another giveaway, i.e. reviews, interviews, Bored Now, etc.) and leave a comment here telling me which post you commented on. You can do this up to five times for five additional entries.
  5. Grab my button (in sidebar), post it on your blog, and leave me a comment with a link to your blog. If you already have my button, leave a comment telling me that.
  6. Visit The Animal Rescue Site, click the Click Here to Give - It's Free! button and come back here and leave me a comment telling me you clicked. (once daily, leave a new comment each time)
  7. Visit The Rainforest Site, click the Click Here to Give - It's Free! button and come back here and leave me a comment telling me you clicked. (once daily, leave a new comment each time)
  8. Visit The Hunger Site, click the Click Here to Give - It's Free! button and come back here and leave me a comment telling me you clicked. (once daily, leave a new comment each time)

Post one comment for each entry.
Each comment must include your e-mail address.



Review: A Certain “Je Ne Sais Quoi” by Chloe Rhodes

Organized alphabetically for easy reference, A Certain "Je Ne Sais Quoi" is an accessible lexicon of foreign words and phrases used in English, containing everything from aficionado (Spanish) to zeitgeist (German). Inside you'll find translations, definitions, origins, and a descriptive timeline of each item's evolution. Entries include:

* À la carte: from the card or of the menu (French)
* Fiasco: complete failure (Italian)
* Dungarees: thick cotton cloth/overalls (Hindi)
* Diaspora: dispersion (Greek)
* Smorgasbord: bread and butter (Swedish)
* Cognoscenti: those who know (Italian)
* Compos mentis: having mastery of one's mind; with it (Latin)

Attractively packaged with black and white illustrations, this whimsical yet authoritative book is a great gift for any etymologically fascinated individual. Use this book to reacquaint yourself with the English language, and you'll be compos mentis in no time.



Received from the publicist for review.

This was a charming little book. It was organized alphabetically, which made for easy skimming.

This one gets four stars. I was very pleasantly surprised and really enjoyed it. I learned quite a bit and it was fun to find out the true origins of words. Discovering the wide variety of word origins – from French to German to Afrikans to Japanese – was genuinely enlightening. This is definitely highly recommended and would make a lovely gift for any word lover.


★★★★ = Really Liked It



Sunday, March 21, 2010

Winners: Worst Case (Audiobook)

The winners are:

  • D.Calvert
  • roswell
  • Natalie W
Winners must e-mail me at bethsbookreviewblog @gmail.com with your mailing address by midnight April 1st.

Congratulations and I hope you enjoy it!

Thank you so much to Hachette for providing the giveaway!

Thank you to all who entered!



Winners: On the Brink (Audiobook)

The winners are:

  • rhapsodyinbooks
  • Bev
  • Dawn M.
Winners must e-mail me at bethsbookreviewblog @gmail.com with your mailing address by midnight April 1st.

Congratulations and I hope you enjoy it!

Thank you so much to Hachette for providing the giveaway!

Thank you to all who entered!



Winners: Just Let Me Lie Down

The winners are:

  • CinciMom11
  • Jaime
  • Simply Stacie
Winners must e-mail me at bethsbookreviewblog @gmail.com with your mailing address by midnight April 1st.

Congratulations and I hope you enjoy it!

Thank you so much to Hachette for providing the giveaway!

Thank you to all who entered!



Winners: Black Hills (Audiobook)

The winners are:

  • afineday
  • Karen in TN - confirmed
  • justpeachy36
Winners must e-mail me at bethsbookreviewblog @gmail.com with your mailing address by midnight April 1st.

Congratulations and I hope you enjoy it!

Thank you so much to Hachette for providing the giveaway!

Thank you to all who entered!



Meme: What I Do and Do Not Like

While browsing my Google Reader this morning I saw this fun post from Wordsmithonia about a meme entitled What I Do and Do Not Like. I simply had to give it a whirl.

The rules are pretty much self explanatory - all you have to do is fill in the blanks after each bold word and then tag 3 of your friends. I'm ignoring the tagging bit, but if you do post yours feel free to leave your link.

I like almost all BBC mystery/detective shows.
I like soft, fleecy blankets.
I like Doctor Who.
I like spinach.
I like writing with a freshly sharpened pencil.
I like opening parcels.
I like bath products that smell like food.
I like sticky notes.
I like shortbread and tea.
I like quiet time alone.
I like reading in the sun.
I like pastries.

I love my furry babies.

Today is beginning to feel like Spring.

I hate when other people eat off my plate without asking.
I hate screaming/sticky/crying/etc. children.
I hate waiting in line.
I hate hot, humid days.
I hate cigarette smoke.
I hate being cold.

I (secretly) like E! reality shows.

I love reading.



Saturday, March 20, 2010

Review: Metafizzical Essays and Others by Nicholas Hancock

Put on your 4D glasses, stand on your mental head.

These 87 essays and assorted writings came into being over the past thirty years. A glance at the Contents will show that they have been collected under some fifteen different headings, among which are Liverpool, God, the primacy of the physical and the United States of America. The aim, when Hancock's single finger hovered over the keyboard, was simply to hit the right letters and never - despite his thirty-two years in the profession - never to teach. At all times he has tried to see the underside of things, to become aware of aspects of experience that habit or optimism, or both at the same time, sometimes blind us to. In choosing which of his stock of 197 essays to include, Hancock, together with his mentor and adviser, John Dixon, were driven by the desire to achieve some degree of variety in both style and subject matter.



Received from the publisher for review.

This was an interesting collection of essays, but it wasn't entirely cohesive as they addressed a wide variety of topics. I also wasn't sure whether some of the essays were meant to be serious or funny, which was unfortunate. One essay in particular, Women in Paradise, left me with an “I don't get it” grimace.

The large section on gods and religion was especially strange as I wasn't sure what the author's views actually were, although he later identified himself as a “convinced atheist” whatever that is.

This one gets one star. I must say that I was not impressed. Of course, the author would probably tell me that I'm just too stupid to fully comprehend his intellectual essays. In any case, the book did nothing for me and I was left with a slightly disconcerted feeling wondering about whether the author truly believed all of what he wrote in the essays. I truly hope not. I'd have to recommend a pass on this one.


☆☆ = Didn't Like It



Review: Plain-Written Poems by Anthony Antin

"Plain-Written Poems" are not for plain people, but, rather, for normally intelligent readers who are fed up with what's published as poetry today -- totally undisciplined lines broken in ways that make absolutely no sense and, worse, lines that say nothing to you. This down-to-earth poet works hard to make his poems easily understandable and a delight to read as he pulls your eyes smoothly down the page, getting meaning from every word and with you ending with your own word of "YES!"


Received from the publisher for review.

I'm not a poetry lover at heart (I just don't get it and I don't care to get it normally) so this slim book, just 38 pages, was right up my alley.

My favorite quote from the book appeared in the introduction:

In fact, it seems the deeper the ambiguity supposedly the more heavyweight the poem, e.g. poems in The New Yorker.

Some of my favorites poems from the book include: Love in Old Age and Animal Adultery.

This one gets three stars. It was a refreshing, light, nice read. Although it is poetry, it isn't poetry, so it is good for all readers. Very well done and recommended.

★★☆☆ = Liked It



Friday, March 19, 2010

Announcement: Goodreads Bookswap


I've had a couple people ask me what I do with my ARCs after I read them since they're (supposedly) in high demand. Well, sometimes I pass them on to friends, or I do a giveaway, but I don't really get that many actual ARCs.

I did recently discover the very lovely Bookswap feature on Goodreads where users can post books they would like to give away and other users can request the books and pay a minimal shipping charge (similar to Paperbackswap and BookMooch but without credits). So, I've been posting my ARCs, as well as other books that I receive from various sources (either off my personal shelf, duplicates I ordered for a friend, from my aunt, etc.) over there. So, if you want to browse my shelf, here's the link.

So, that's the fate of my ARCs whether you were interested or not. :)



Review: Mead's Trek by Tom Gauthier

The Vice President of the United States working with the Communists to undermine President Roosevelt? President Truman lays the groundwork for the tragic Vietnam War in 1945? History may be stranger than the fiction in this book. The World War II China/Burma/India Theater of Operations was a confusing array of competing interests and undefined battle fronts. Major Amos Mead, USMC, on assignment with the OSS, is thrust violently into enemy territory and endures a trek from Burma to China marked by death and survival to pursue his mission - a mission that evolves beyond his knowledge by the intrigues of governments and corrupt officials that may include the Vice President of the United States. Assumed friends become enemies, assumed enemies become friends, as Mead finds himself drawn into a struggle that has its roots in the previous millennia.

Tom Gauthier once again weaves a tale of intrigue and deadly action from the historic events of a little known corner of a war, and the actions of real men and women who lived and died there.



Received from the publisher for review.

This was the sequel to Code Name: Orion's Edge, which I did not read, so that obviously affected my experience with the book, although the book did work well as a stand-alone novel.

This one gets three stars. It was a good read with interesting characters. The story was nice and solid, with a strong base in historical truth. Some of the military terminology could be a bit unwieldy at times but overall it had a good flow. The time period it was based in felt very real without bogging you down with excessive details. It is rather more of a “guy” book though. I would confidently recommend this to fans of military fiction.


★★☆☆ = Liked It



Review: The Old Meadow by George Selden

Chester Cricket and the meadowfolk band together to save Mr. Budd from being evicted from the Old Meadow by the town council. Through their efforts and dreams, they are able to stop the world one magical night just long enough to make a difference.


From the library.

This one gets three stars. I have to admit that I didn't enjoy it as much as the others. There was just something missing and it was quite dark. I didn't particularly like Ashley the Mockingbird either. He just didn't do anything for me. I think it was the prevalence of humans in the story which made it less charming. It was nice to revisit Chester, Simon, and our new friend Walter the Water Snake. The illustrations by Garth Williams were also lovely, as usual.




Thursday, March 18, 2010

Review: The Wimpy Kid Movie Diary by Jeff Kinney

Go behind the scenes with Jeff Kinney and the making of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid movie!

If you've ever wondered how a movie gets made, you're not alone. Author and illustrator Jeff Kinney didn't know either, but when his bestselling series,
Diary of a Wimpy Kid, was turned into a live-action movie by 20th Century Fox, he learned how a book gets adapted into a major motion picture.

Complete with photographs, script pages, storyboard sketches, costume designs, and original art by Jeff Kinney,
The Wimpy Kid Movie Diary is the perfect companion to the bestselling series.


Received from the publisher for review.

This was my first experience with the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series and I was pleasantly surprised.

This one gets four stars. The book itself was a great format as a nicely sized hardcover with no just jacket. I found this cute, funny, and educational, and packed with lots of great pictures and illustrations. The description of movie making process from start to finish was comprehensive and entertaining. I actually learned quite a bit myself! Fans of the series should certainly enjoy this, but it is also a great introduction to the series for new fans brought in from watching the film. I definitely recommend this!


★★★★ = Really Liked It



Guest Post: Paul V. Stutzman

Paul V. Stutzman, author of the book Hiking Through: Finding Peace and Freedom on the Appalachian Trail, stopped by to share with us a piece he wrote.



Living

In a recent interview, I was asked how I wanted to be remembered and what I wanted my obituary to say. Asking myself the same question in the fall of 2007 was one of the factors that pushed me to make the drastic decision to leave a secure job and do nothing but walk for almost five months.

I admit it—I’d pretty much fallen into the trap of the rat race, running as fast as I could to make as much money as possible. That didn't leave much time in my life for living. Wife, family, God—they pretty much had to settle for whatever leftover bits of time I could find in my busy days.

Then my wife died of breast cancer in 2006, and dying suddenly forced me to think about living. Two-thirds of my life was probably already gone—what had I done with it?

How would my obituary read?

It's too easy to let the hours slip away without evaluating how we’re spending our allotted days. We make decisions based on the immediate need or want. We put off until tomorrow attention to the most important ingredients of life. We try to ignore our mortality and the fact that our days are indeed numbered. We forget that today determines tomorrow.

This talk of mortality is not meant to be morbid—instead, I want to encourage you to find the best ways to live today! Today is your life.

I did quit the job that had consumed my days. I undertook a long and extremely difficult journey to living. But now I have a firm answer to the question. When folks remember me, I hope they say, “He enjoyed the journey.”



About the book:


After losing his wife to breast cancer, Paul Stutzman decided to make some big changes. He quit his job of seventeen years and embarked upon a thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail, a 2,176-mile stretch of varying terrain spanning fourteen states. During his nearly five-month-long hike, he battled brutal trail conditions and overwhelming loneliness, but also enjoyed spectacular scenery and trail camaraderie.With breathtaking descriptions and humorous anecdotes from his travels, Stutzman reveals how immersing himself in nature and befriending fellow hikers helped him recover from a devastating loss. Somewhere between Georgia and Maine, he realized that God had been with him every step of the way, and on a famous path through the wilderness, he found his own path to peace and freedom.



About Paul:

Paul V. Stutzman left his job and thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail in the summer of 2008, in search of healing as he grieved the loss of his wife. His new book, Hiking Through: Finding Peace and Freedom on the Appalachian Trail, recounts both his experiences on that hike and also his life's spiritual journey from a strict Amish/Mennonite upbringing to a new relationship with God.






Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Guest Post: Richard Brian Davis and William Irwin editors of Alice in Wonderland and Philosophy: Curiouser and Curiouser

Richard Brian Davis and William Irwin editors of Alice in Wonderland and Philosophy: Curiouser and Curiouser, stopped by to share with us an excerpt from the book.



Introduction: You're Late for a Very Important Date
Edited by Richard Brian Davis with series editor William Irwin,
Editors of Alice in Wonderland and Philosophy: Curiouser and Curiouser
(The Blackwell Philosophy and Pop Culture Series)

"You take the blue pill," Morpheus says to Neo in The Matrix, "and the story ends . . . . You take the red pill and you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit-hole goes." It's a tempting offer, isn't it? For at one time or another in our lives, we've all wanted to escape -- from a dull and tedious job, an impossible relationship, from a world in which we often have so little control over what happens to us. Perhaps it's for reasons such as these that our culture has become positively obsessed with the idea of transcending the confines of this world for the cool fresh air of another. Whether it's by a red pill, a secret wardrobe, a looking glass, or a rabbit-hole, it doesn't really matter. We'll take it.

Of course, we don't just want to know how deep the rabbit-hole goes. That's a given; after all, it's a portal to another world -- "four thousand miles down, I think." We also want to know how to make sense of what we discover when we suddenly land "thump! thump!" in Wonderland and pass through the looking glass. And Alice's Wonderland is an oh! so curious place filled with both dangers and delights. Here we encounter blue caterpillars who smoke hookahs, babies who turn into pigs, cats whose grins remain after their heads have faded away, and a Mad Hatter who speaks to Time. There is a White Queen who lives backward and remembers forward, and there are trials in which the sentence is handed down first with the evidence and verdict given out only afterward. And you'd better be on your best behavior while there. As the Red Queen sees it, beheading is a punishment that fits every crime!

We've spoken of Wonderland's dangers, but what of its delights? Why should anyone want to travel to such a world? As Cheshire Puss tells Alice, you must be mad "or you wouldn't have come here." Is Wonderland simply a land of sheer nonsense, or is there a method to Lewis Carroll's madness? Well, as the Duchess wisely observes, "Everything's got a moral, if only you can find it." And the moral of the book you now hold in your hands is that there are deep philosophical riches to be had in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass, answers to life's ultimate questions, if only you have the proper guide.

You don't have to be blue, a caterpillar, or under the effects of the hookah to ask a deep question like "Who in the world am I?" As Alice says, "That's the great puzzle!" Indeed it is. How can I know whether this or that job is right for me, if I don't know who me is? Indeed, how can I know what I can become in the future? (Hardly any of us, I dare say, is satisfied with who we are at present.) And to know the answers to these questions, I must know who I have been. I must remember. But that's often my problem: I forget. What to do? What to do? The Alice-addicted philosophers in this book will clear the air of the hookah smoke and forward you the decryption codes for unlocking your personal identity. And you'll be glad they did.

As you read on, you'll be amazed to discover why nice girls don't make history (and Alice is better than any Disney princess); what the Red Queen can teach us about nuclear strategy; whether we should do more with mushrooms than just eat them (and what sort of "trip" to expect if we do); and how Alice, procrastination, and the Spice Girls are all mysteriously connected. "What a curious feeling!" You can put it all together for the first time. So "Read Me." Venture to taste this book, and if "finding it very nice," we recommend that you "very soon finish it off."

The above is an excerpt from the book Alice in Wonderland and Philosophy: Curiouser and Curiouser (The Blackwell Philosophy and Pop Culture Series) edited by Richard Brian Davis with series editor William Irwin. The above excerpt is a digitally scanned reproduction of text from print. Although this excerpt has been proofread, occasional errors may appear due to the scanning process. Please refer to the finished book for accuracy.

Copyright © 2010 Richard Brian Davis with series editor William Irwin, editors of Alice in Wonderland and Philosophy: Curiouser and Curiouser (The Blackwell Philosophy and Pop Culture Series)



About the book:

Should the Cheshire Cat's grin make us reconsider the nature of reality?
*
Can Humpty Dumpty make words mean whatever he says they mean?
*
Can drugs take us down the rabbit-hole?
*
Is Alice a feminist icon?

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland has fascinated children and adults alike for generations. Why does Lewis Carroll introduce us to such oddities as a blue caterpillar who smokes a hookah, a cat whose grin remains after its head has faded away, and a White Queen who lives backward and remembers forward? Is it all just nonsense? Was Carroll under the influence? This book probes the deeper underlying meaning in the Alice books and reveals a world rich with philosophical life lessons. Tapping into some of the greatest philosophical minds that ever lived -- Aristotle, Hume, Hobbes, and Nietzsche -- Alice in Wonderland and Philosophy explores life's ultimate questions through the eyes of perhaps the most endearing heroine in all of literature.



About the editors:

Richard Brian Davis is an associate professor of philosophy at Tyndale University College and the coeditor of 24 and Philosophy.

William Irwin is a professor of philosophy at King's College in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. He originated the philosophy and popular culture genre of books as coeditor of the bestselling The Simpsons and Philosophy and has overseen recent titles, including Batman and Philosophy, House and Philosophy, and Watchmen and Philosophy.

The Blackwell Philosophy and Pop Culture Series:

A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down, and a healthy helping of popular culture clears the cobwebs from Kant. Philosophy has had a public relations problem for a few centuries now. This series aims to change that, showing that philosophy is relevant to your life–and not just for answering the big questions like "To be or not to be?" but for answering the little questions: "To watch or not to watch House?" Thinking deeply about TV, movies, and music doesn't make you a "complete idiot." In fact it might make you a philosopher, someone who believes the unexamined life is not worth living and the unexamined cartoon is not worth watching.

To learn more about the Blackwell Philosophy and Pop Culture series, visit www.andphilosophy.com.




Review: Able Danger by Kensington Roth

Able Danger introduces agent Harrison Court-006, a black-ops spy with a license to kill in a world where fear and deception have the power to take over governments and create war propaganda. Agent Court stumbles upon China's secret attack planned for the U.S., taking him on a new mission across Asian and Europe and against time to stop a rogue ex-CIA agent, DaSage. Court discovers that the Communist Party has obtained a deadly super weapon from a known terrorist leader hiding in the caves of Tora Bora. One pivotal piece of information must be obtained from DaSage, but DaSage realizes Court is getting too close and must be eliminated. Court must find out what American cities the silent gravity weapon will destroy before it's too late by defeating the phantom of reverse gravity before history is altered forever.


Received from the publicist for review.

I was initially hesitant as the book had a very strange double spacing to the text which looked downright strange and reinforced the almost play or movie script feel. It just didn't have that novel "feel" to it, but once I got used to it, it flowed along nicely.

This one gets three stars. It was well written, if oddly formatted, with a nice blend of action. It was an interesting story with an intriguing twist on current international relations. Think of it as a cousin to the Jason Bourne novels.

★★★☆☆ = Liked It



Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Guest Post: Vivian Diller Ph.D. and Jill Muir-Sukenick authors of Face It: What Women Really Feel As Their Looks Change

Vivian Diller Ph.D. and Jill Muir-Sukenick Ph.D., authors of the new book Face It: What Women Really Feel As Their Looks Change, stopped by to share with us a piece they wrote.



Ten Tips that Will Change How You Look and Feel About Beauty
By Vivian Diller Ph.D. with Jill Muir-Sukenick Ph.D., edited by Michele Willens,
Authors of Face It: What Women Really Feel as Their Looks Change

Face it: there is no magic solution to aging with grace and dignity. Having just written a book offering guidance to millions of women who feel trapped by conflicting feelings, we think we are on to something. We have found satisfying, long term solutions that help us deal with a culture that virtually programs women to have a crisis over their aging appearance. We were once professional models, so we were made acutely aware how quickly a premium on physical beauty can fade with age. It took hard work and time, but we learned the secret of how to enjoy our changing appearance. Now we are therapists treating hundreds of women who may be fulfilled and evolved in many ways, but are still having difficulty coming to terms with the lines of time. Here are some great psychological tips we tell women to "think" about that help them change the way they "feel" and "look." They worked for us. They can work for you!

1) Beauty is not just a physical experience, but a psychological one as well. We all tend to think of beauty as a skin-deep issue, all about how we physically look. But research tells us that perception of what is deemed attractive and unattractive is much more complicated. Why do you think some beautiful women say, "I've never thought I was pretty"? Yes, even beauties like Uma Thurman and Michelle Pfeiffer have drawn attention to what they consider flaws. Similarly, there are women who may not be your typical image of beauty, yet when you ask them they say they are quite confident in their looks. Serena Williams never tries to cover up her unconventionally muscular physique: in fact, she flaunts it and somehow it makes her more appealing. What makes people feel attractive goes well beyond our physical self. It runs deep, much deeper than the eye can see.

2) Although we can't stop the physical changes of aging, we can change our experience of aging. No one, not any doctor, dermatologist or surgeon can stop physical changes of aging. There may be ways to look better, take care of your skin and bodies that put things temporarily on hold, at least on the surface. We're all for that! We're also for ways we can experience -- and even enjoy -- our changing looks. If we take care of ourselves, it makes us feel better and we smile more. When we smile, we look more attractive. The sooner we go through an interior process, (we offer six steps in our book) the better you will feel inside and out.

3) While aging is inevitable and irreversible, self-image is not. Self-image can be fluid and timeless. Self-image is not an actual still picture of oneself. It is an internal experience, how we see ourselves from within, over time throughout our lives. It's flexible and malleable. And if we understand that self image is changeable, then that is what we try to help women conquer. Not age itself. That's a battle we can't win.

4) Beauty is in the "I" of the beholder. If we become our own internal "eye," we can take control over how we see ourselves, rather than give it over to other people to determine if we're attractive or not. Our six steps serve to change the internal lens through which we see, not only ourselves, but others as well. The result? Women will be less self critical and less critical of each other.

5) Chronological age does not have to define you. You can define yourself at your chronological age. A particular age has little to do with how old you feel. You can define how you want to be 40, 50 and onward. We also don't have to let magazine images define what is beautiful. Some women in their 20's feel old. Some women in their 60's feel young.

6) Put your beauty in your identity, not your identity in your beauty. Your identity is made up of many aspects of yourself. How you look is just one of them. As you get older, more aspects of yourself can make up your identity; for example, your experiences in life, your accomplishments and your relationships. If you hold onto youthful beauty as a narrow definition of yourself, you're especially unlikely to enjoy your looks as you age. You leave out so many other ways to feel good about yourself.

7) Take an honest look at who you are, not what you look like. Mirrors tell only a little of what we really look like. Gaze again and go beyond, past your reflection and see who you are as a person. Think of what you see as only the image of yourself, that informs the world of your physical self. But who you are is more than what they see.

8) Rob beauty of its power over you. Take back that power and you will feel more beautiful. Our culture has given beauty power over women. We are told who and what is beautiful. We know that youth is beautiful. Most people see babies as beautiful. But grandmothers can be beautiful as well. Some of the most beautiful women in the world are those who smile, engage and appear happy at any age. If you take back the power of what makes you feel attractive, you will become more attractive to yourself and others.

9) Become less afraid of aging and you will look more beautiful. When you see a face that is scared, you would hardly call it beautiful. There is nothing pretty about fear. Women need to accept that aging happens and that becoming more courageous about all aspects of our lives will enhance them . . . and us.

10) Beauty matters to all women, but to those who age beautifully, it matters neither too much nor too little. We all know that a core aspect of our identities is our appearance. No doubt our looks matter. But women who allow beauty to matter, but keep it in balance with all other aspects of their lives, can enjoy their looks at any age.

Bottom line: Dealing with your looks as they inevitably change is a psychological process as well as a physical challenge. Master the first and the second will come with much more joy. When it comes to your face, your body and your aging process, be smart, be thoughtful and you'll be more beautiful.

© 2010 Vivian Diller Ph.D. with Jill Muir-Sukenick Ph.D., edited by Michele Willens, authors of Face It: What Women Really Feel as Their Looks Change


About the book:

Let’s face it: everyone’s getting older. But millions of women, raised to believe that success and happiness are based on their intelligence and accomplishments, face an unexpected challenge: the physical realities of aging. If looks are not supposed to matter, why do so many women panic as their appearance changes?Their dilemma stems from two opposing societal views of beauty which lead to two different approaches to aging. Should women simply grow old naturally since their looks don’t define them, or should they fight the signs of aging since beauty and youth are their currency and power? This Beauty Paradox leaves many women feeling stuck.Face It, by Vivian Diller, Ph.D., is a psychological guide to help women deal with the emotions brought on by their changing appearances. As a model turned psychotherapist, Diller has had the opportunity to examine the world of beauty from two very different vantage points. This unique perspective helped her develop a six-step program that begins with recognizing “uh-oh” moments that reveal the reality of changing looks, and goes on to identify the masks used to cover deeper issues and define the role beauty plays in a woman’s life, and ends with bidding adieu to old definitions of beauty, so women can enjoy their appearance—at any age!


About the authors:

FACE IT: What Women Really Feel As Their Looks Change by Vivian Diller, Ph.D, with Jill Muir-Sukenick, Ph.D. and edited by Michele Willens is a psychological guide to help women deal with the emotions brought on by their changing appearances. As models turned psychotherapists, Diller and Sukenick have had the opportunity to examine the world of beauty from two very different vantage points. This unique perspective helped them develop a six-step program that begins with recognizing "uh-oh" moments that reveal the reality of changing looks, goes on to identify the masks used to cover deeper issues, defines the role beauty plays in a woman's life, and ends with bidding adieu to old definitions of beauty so women can enjoy their appearance -- at any age!

For more information on the book, authors, and events, please visit http://www.faceitthebook.com or visit their fan page on Facebook.




Review: Burn by Ted Dekker and Erin Healy

The past Janeal thought had burned away is rising from the ashes.

Years ago, the Gypsy Kumpania where Janeal Mikkado lived was attacked by outsiders. With her best friend about to be consumed by a fire, Janeal had two options: try to save her friend—at serious risk to her own life—or disappear with the million dollars that she had just discovered . . .

But the past is quickly coming back to haunt her. Both the best friend and the boyfriend that she was sure were dead have reappeared in her life, as has someone who knows about the money. There's a debt to be paid for the money she found, but there's an even greater debt she must face—and if the chaff isn't burned from her own heart, it will consume her.



Received from the publicist for review.

This one gets four stars. It immediately sucked you right in to the fascinating story and although it was a fat book at 350 plus pages I didn't mind since it was so darn good. The incredible level of detail made me feel as if I was right there in the story with the characters. The chapters were short enough to provide nice breaking points, but I didn't want to stop reading the story because it was so engrossing. The ending left me with a shiver and a “damn, that was good!” feeling. The twists and turns were awesome and I totally did not see that ending coming! This is definitely recommended! I enjoyed this so much that I already requested the duo's first book, Kiss, from the library and am eagerly awaiting their next release, as well as Erin Healy's upcoming solo debut.

★★★★ = Really Liked It



Review: Life Choices

This is a book of hope written by 26 authors who have reached into the depths of their souls to share the stories of their life experiences and the lessons they have learned. Overcoming heredity, environment and their own fears to make choices that led them to new adventures and better lives, these authors share their journeys through pains, sorrows, trials and tribulations in the hope of giving the reader the encouragement to make better life choices.


Received from the publicist for review.

The book helpfully divides the 26 stories among several categories: Love, Inspiration, Family, Empower, Courage, Hope, Opportunity, Independence, Challenge, Experience, and Spirituality.

This one gets four stars. It was printed in rather densely packed text but it read nicely. There was a nice selection of topics and authors. The author profiles after each story were particularly nice. The stories themselves were perfectly sized to be consumed in a single sitting. The entire book was well done and nicely presented. Everyone who reads this will find at least one story they resonate with and that they can take away a valuable lesson from. It would also make a lovely gift.

★★★★ = Really Liked It



Monday, March 15, 2010

Review: Lesser-Known Giants of the 20th Century by Charles M. Aulino

Wonderful life stories quickly fade from collective memory, so that the lessons and inspiration they offer are lost to future generations. Every age has produced people who accomplished great things in life and became celebrities as a result, but whose stars have grown faint over time. Here are 11 stories that form a mosaic of 20th century history. Two of the subjects, though not Americans themselves, identify closely with the American experience of the 20th Century. All the others were either people of long-standing American heritage or the descendants of more recent immigrants. They were Polish, Italian, Jewish, German, African-American and Palestinian. They include figures from professional sports, politics, journalism, entertainment, academe and banking. Diversity, however, was a happy byproduct. The objective was to find stories that amaze, inspire and warm the heart. People of great achievement seem to attract and cross paths with the most powerful, talented, wealthy, glamorous and famous. Biographical vignettes are sprinkled throughout these stories. Among the many historical figures encountered are Bernard Shaw, Mark Twain, Herbert Hoover, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Babe Ruth, Will Rogers, Wild Bill Donovan, J. Robert Oppenheimer, Jesse Owens, Jimmy Braddock, Damon Runyon, Red Barber, Fiorello LaGuardia, Joseph McCarthy, Herb Block, Thomas Dewey, Martin Luther King, Jr., Rosa Parks, Marie Curie, Claude Pepper, Sam Ervin, Christiaan Barnard, Henry Heimlich, Ralph Nader and Daniel Barenboim. The primary objective of this work is to inspire a sense of amazement. The achievements of the main subjects, their portrayal within the American century, and their inter-actions with other sleeping giants are the results.


Received from the publicist for review.

This was a fat book at 445 pages that profiles eleven fascinating individuals. Each profile contained quite a bit of background information, making each profile almost a novella onto itself. These lengthy profiles could be a bit overwhelming and read rather like a textbook. The profiles also focused rather too much on racial and religious accomplishments.

This one gets three stars. It was not my favorite, but was still a solid work. If you can manage to wade through the lengthy profiles the material presented is interesting, as are the choices of individuals profiled. It is certainly not light reading though. History buffs should find it intriguing.


★★☆☆ = Liked It