Friday, March 30, 2012

Featured Book: Memories Made and Lessons Learned by David Van Lear

About the book:
David Van Lear first experienced fishing with his father, on the beautiful Cowpasture River, and these memorable outings began a lifelong fascination – a way of life aligned with the rhythms of rivers and streams, and an outlook sensitive to the wonders of America’s wilderness. From his local river to Yellowstone Park to Canada and many points in between, David embraced the fishing lifestyle and all it had to offer. With adventures ranging from the hilarious to the hair-raising, David shares his decades of uncomfortable camping, unexpected bear encounters, risking life and limb in unsafe terrain, and the frustration of fish that refuse to be caught. But the heart of this book is the deep, life-enriching experience that fishing – especially fly fishing – brings: the luminous solitude of the wilderness; the appreciation of ecosystems and how humans contribute to their preservation or downfall; the excitement of mastering new waters; the reminders that persistence, patience, and ingenuity restore and redefine themselves with every new opportunity. Appealing to a wide variety of readers, David’s friendly voice and unique perspective, balancing wisdom and humor, will keep you engaged even after you have turned the final page.

About the author:
David Van Lear worked for 35 years as a professor of forestry, teaching courses in silviculture, ecology, and forest soils. He has published more than 130 articles on the effects of forest practices on forest growth, water quality, wildlife habitat, and soil productivity. Carolyn, his wife of 33 years, has been his faithful companion and supporter throughout this lifetime fishing adventure. They live in South Carolina and have two grown children, Christopher and Melanie, and a son-in-law, Charlie.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Featured Book: Flash Bangs:A sparkling array of hundred-word short stories by Andy Underwood

About the book:
A new hundred-word story, every day, for a hundred days... these 100 different tales leave out no genre; they will amuse, inspire and delight all book lovers, who may dip into the collection when they have five minutes to spare. In this book, one can find humour and drama, protest and celebration, intrigue and science; even ghost stories and animal lovers are catered for. Favorite twists and turns in these stories reveal the author’s commitment to nature conservation, family values and physical well-being. It will astonish readers that even subjects like alcohol-abuse, human-relationships and historical-drama can be tackled in such a novel and succinct fashion. In addition, students of literature will get an inspiring introduction, in the author’s foreword, to the art form of Drabbles... as hundred-word short stories are called. The author shares his artistic passion in this foreword and one can uncover the original stimulus for some of his stories. 

About the author:
Andy Underwood, is a roving Englishman, now living in beautiful New Zealand; he is well-known as a photographer and observer of life, who regularly gives talks on travels with his camera, the joys of scuba diving, climbing and caving. A keen writer about his artistic and adventurous life; he plans to launch more books of short stories and wild anecdotes about his outdoor adventures. Readers of Flash Bangs: a sparkling array of hundred-word short stories will discover that the author cares deeply about the directions in which modern business, science and technology may be leading the World. His writing promotes civilization, health and education, without losing sight of the goal of entertaining and amusing his readers. This new book will make a great gift, to suit an extensive diversity of tastes and it will prove the saying... variety is the spice of life!_______ One Hundred Varieties... Do not miss this book!_______ Also Why Not Visit... ______ DID YOU KNOW?--- Andy Underwood is the inventor of a new kind of poem... BYCO POETRY... Check-out the website! .....

Monday, March 26, 2012

Giveaway: My Mother, My Son by Dwayne Clark

"Too often when people get sick, we refer to them as their disease. We overlook the richness of experience and personality that underlies that person. We forget their life, their contributions. And this is never truer than when facing the reality of memory loss, when a person slowly recedes from the identity they've manifested for so long. I wrote my book to share the story of my mother and to provide an antidote to this invisibility."

So says Dwayne J. Clark in his new book, "My Mother, My Son". Clark is the founder and CEO of Aegis Living, a
progressive company that runs assisted living communities. His mother, Mary Colleen Callahan Clark, was diagnosed with both Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease. "Several years into her decline, in a sad irony, my mother became a resident in one of the assisted living communities run by the company I had founded. The mother, the person who had pushed me so hard to achieve worldly success, was now living in the very business I had started as a fulfillment of our shared dream," Clark explains. "In describing her ten-year-long odyssey with Alzheimer's and interweaving it with the stories and lessons that made up the whole of her life, and mine, too, I hope others will take away lessons in how to 'do' this passage and to find one's way - in spite of the challenges."

 Thanks to the publisher I have three copies to give away!

US only, 18+
Enter via the Rafflecopter form below.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Giveaway: On Celestial Music by Rick Moody

Rick Moody has been writing about music as long as he has been writing, and DISCREET MUSIC provides an ample selection from that effort. His anatomy of the word "cool" reminds us that, in the postwar 40s, it was infused with the feeling of jazz music but is now merely a synonym for neat, "a grunt of assent." "On Celestial Music," which was included in Best American Essays, 2008, begins with a lament for the loss in current music of the vulnerability expressed by Otis Redding's masterpiece, "Try a Little Tenderness;" moves on to Moody's infatuation with the ecstatic music of the Velvet Underground; and ends with an appreciation of Arvo Part and Purcell, close as they are to nature, praise, "the music of the spheres." 

Modern groups covered include "Magnetic Fields" (their love songs), "Wilco"(the band's and Jeff Tweedy's evolution), "Danielson Famile" (an evangelical rock band), "The Pogues" (Shane McGowan's problems with addiction), "The Lounge Lizards" (John Lurie's brilliance), and Meredith Monk, who once recorded a song inspired by Rick Moody's story "Boys." Always both incisive and personable, these pieces give us the inspiration to dive as deeply into the music that enhances our lives as Moody has done--and introduces us to wonderful sounds we may not know.

Thanks to Hachette I have three copies to give away!
US/Canada, 18+. 
 Enter via the Rafflecopter form below.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Review: The Psychology of Wealth by Charles Richards, Ph.D.

Why do some people feel a perpetual state of lack and fear about money, while others feel genuinely prosperous, regardless of the size of their bank accounts? Why do some people shudder with dread when it comes to setting financial goals, while others embrace it with enthusiasm and confidence?

What makes the difference? Could it be in their relationship with money itself?

People who enjoy a healthy relationship with money share common habits and traits. So, how do they think, and what do they do differently? Are these behaviors hardwired in an individual’s psyche, or can they be learned?

In this provocative book, psychotherapist Dr. Charles Richards provides unexpected and encouraging answers to these questions. Based on his research and expert interviews, Dr. Richards shows how each of us can develop a thriving relationship with money and create a rich and rewarding life.

At the book’s heart are the stories of people who have faced adversity with courage and created extraordinary lives. Their accounts—along with Dr. Richards’ interviews with finance professors, legislators, entrepreneurs, and mavens of success—pave a path to a brighter future for us all.

Today we live in a trying economic environment. Every day, popular financial advisors exhort us to hunker down, play it safe, and protect ourselves from an uncertain future. To the voices who promote fear and doubt, Dr. Richards answers with balance, wisdom, and optimism.

The Psychology of Wealth is for anyone interested in succeeding personally or professionally, and in achieving true prosperity. It offers golden steps on the path to a better life.

Received for review.

This was okay but clearly meant for a certain audience - mainly those who are either already middle to upper middle class.  The author simply has no concept of what it is like to be truly broke so his whole concept is that you can just change the way you think and you'll change your income.  Essentially, this is the psychology version of The Secret.  So, if you're broke and want to know why you're broke (according to the author) give this a go.  Or if you're rich and you want to glory in your superiority to the rest of humanity a la Donald Trump you'll also find this worthwhile.  Otherwise, give this a pass.

☆☆= Just Okay

Friday, March 23, 2012

Featured Book: Keep Dancing by Rosie Giesie

About the book:

Advance Praise for Keep Dancing “Dear Rose, I wanted to send something related to the book you are writing. What a wonderful idea—to share your experience. I must say that I have always marveled at your strength, your ability to be so full of life in the face of such overwhelming loss. All your children gone. The thought boggles the mind. You've incorporated Rick's friends as your new family, and we are privileged to be a small part of this. You are my role-model for living life to its fullest!” – Pam White “I will read this book and I will keep it somewhere in my home where I can see it and be reminded daily that whatever I am going through is manageable. Never mind “The Secret” that I learned from this will be my “positive affirmation.” Gene and Rosie inspire me to find the courage to deal with things that test me and find the hope to push through to the beauty of life that still awaits me on the other side.” – Renee Edmonds “The Giesies have an amazing gift for remembering and celebrating the happy times and letting the sadder things in life slip into distant memory, where they are only to be recounted for a purpose. Thank you Mama Rose and Gene for the original gift that was Rick and for the gift of teaching me how to continue enjoying him every day of my life.” – Brian Toffoli

About the author:

Rosie Annie (Krejci) Giesie was born on December 26, 1939, the second of a set of twins. She attended grade school in a one-room school house and graduated from El Campo High School in El Campo, Texas. She is married to her teenage sweetheart. They had three children and live in Sun City, Arizona.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Review: Rabbi Rami Guide to Forgiveness: Roadside Assistance for the Spiritual Traveler

Most books on ethics and morality view forgiveness as a way to escape suffering, as if anger or hatred were something to brush off with the breezy words “I forgive you.” Rabbi Rami sees forgiveness differently because he understands the trickster nature of the self. In his Guide to Forgiveness, he’ll help you to stop identifying with the slights and grudges borne against you so that forgiveness can begin to happen naturally. 

Received for review.

This slim little volume packed quite a punch.  While the book is written bu a Rabbi you don't need to be Jewish to benefit from its wisdom.

The author has a great tone and reading it makes it feel like you're having a conversation in his living room, rather than being lectured to by some guru, the way some books of this type come across.  He truly is a breath of fresh air in the genre.

The messages are valuable and can be applied to many different circumstances so if you're looking into the whole forgiveness thing, for whatever reason, give this a try.

★★★★ = Really Liked It

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Reading Challenge: 2012 Color Coded Reading Challenge

This challenge looked so intriguing that I simply had to sign up.  I'm not sure where my books will come from but I have a couple in mind.

Here are the rules:
*Read nine books in the following categories.
1. A book with "Blue" in the title.
2. A book with "Red" in the title.
3. A book with "Yellow" in the title.
4. A book with "Green" in the title.
5. A book with "Brown" in the title.
6. A book with "Black" in the title.
7. A book with "White" in the title.
8. A book with any other color in the title (Purple, Orange, Turquoise, Pink, Magneta, etc.).
9. A book with a word that implies color (Rainbow, Polka-dot, Plaid, Paisley, Stripe, etc.).

* Any book read from January 1 through December 31, 2012 will count.

*Crossovers with other challenges are fine.

*Everyone who completes all nine categories will be entered in a year-end drawing for a book-related prize package.

*Please post about the challenge on your blog. Sign ups accepted until Nov 30, 2012.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Giveaway: The Taker by Alma Katsu

Critics and authors were spellbound by Alma Katsu's debut novel, The Taker, her stunning tale of a mysterious young woman, Lanore, and an unwitting Maine doctor who falls into her world, a hidden world that exists outside the boundaries of time. In this magical realm, where the predatory use pleasure to corrupt the innocent, Lanore's incredible devotion to Jonathan, her first, true love, captures the attention of Adair, the dangerous man who rules this world, and ignites within him an all-consuming desire to possess her.

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

US only.  Enter via Rafflecopter form below.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Featured Site: Gone Reading

I was contact by Brad Wirz, creator of and a genuinely nice guy, who told me about his fabulous website and the work he is doing to raise money for libraries and reading-related charities and I simply had to share it with you!

Here is a bit about them:


GoneReading markets a unique collection of gifts for readers, and donates 100% of after-tax profits to libraries and reading-related charities.  Buy our products and spread the magic of reading!


Choose from our growing collection of gifts for readers, including many exclusives to GoneReading.  FREE Standard Shipping on all orders of $25 or more, and a 30-day Money-Back Guarantee.

Gone Reading International spreads the magic of reading by donating 100% of after-tax profits to libraries and reading-related charities.  Read more about GoneReading’s philanthropic mission.

They have some of the most lovely gifts for readers.  Some of the things I parrticularly loved were:

Cake Charm Bookmark - I mean, who doesn't love cake?

Owl Print Bookplates - These just struck me as so beautiful!

Reading T-Shirt - So cute!

If you visit the site be sure to stop back by and tell me your favorite item!

As a special thank you to my readers, Brad has offered us a 25% off coupon code for your first shopping trip!

 Just visit GoneReading and use the coupon code BETHSBR25.

Coupon expires April 17th.  Good for all products except bookends.

Follow GoneReading on Twitter, Facebook or Pinterest.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Featured Book: From Humble Beginnings by Philip Guy Rochford

About the book:

How do we define a successful life? From Humble Beginnings provides a powerful inspiration in the story of Anthony Norman Sabga, and his astonishing journey from poverty and obscurity to become a leader in the business world. In 1930, at the age of seven, Sabga migrated from Syria to Trinidad and Tobago, as part of a family with meagre resources, and he could not speak a word of English. But with an inward determination and vision that overcame all odds, he conquered the obstacles in front of him with a persistence and integrity worthy of emulation by people of differing incomes, talents, education, and opportunities. From Humble Beginnings interviews thirty people who knew Anthony Norman Sabga, who identified the principles of his model for success: • Complete dedication to your vision and intention • Leadership by example • Persistence and tenacity • Balance between work life and family responsibilities • Nurturing a determination to succeed • Helping others in need, and being kind to others • Keeping up to date with new knowledge • Embracing mistakes and learning from them • Giving the best, and being honest • Discipline and integrity One commentator captured the spirit of the man when he said, “Anthony Norman Sabga has shown through his courage, conviction, and commitment to his vision that anyone can achieve his or her dreams by being relentless in their pursuit. Moreover, he was willing to make the sacrifices necessary to achieve the success he wanted.”

About the author:

Philip Guy Rochford is the author of five motivational books, including his autobiography, and co-author of two others. He has been a business associate of Anthony Norman Sabga for forty years. He was a former chairman of a commercial bank, and an international airline. The author is also a Life Empowerment Coach, business economist, chartered accountant, chartered secretary, and chartered banker. He has six children, and married to Edlin Rochford, herself an author. The Rochford family lives in Trinidad and Tobago.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Giveaway: Fit Moms for Life by Dustin Maher

Discover the 5 secret pillars that, when combined, will result in rapid fat loss, but more importantly lasting fat loss. 

This will be the last fitness book you will ever need.  Fit Moms For Life talks about what it takes to make this a lifestyle and not just another flash in the pan diet and exercise program that you do for a few weeks and stop.

Get to know 31 amazing women who have taken the Fit Mom For Life Challenge and dropped anywhere from 30-100 lbs, and kept the weight off!

Are you ready to…
  • Look 20 years younger?
  • Have a flat stomach again?
  • Take your husband's breath away each time he sees you?
  • Bring sexy back into being a mom?
  • Melt the muffin top?
  • Fit into your skinny jeans and still have room left over?
  • Be a mom that your kids are proud of?

In this book you will discover:
  • One exercise that will make your stomach 2-4 inches smaller within two weeks 
  • Why cardio makes you fat and how you can burn 5X9 times more fat than doing boring cardio 
  • How to burn fat 24 hours a day How to eat like a linebacker and have a metabolism of a hummingbird 
  • How to change your thoughts to produce lasting fat results

Dustin Maher, self-proclaimed “Mama’s Boy” has given his life to serving moms and helping them look and feel their best.  He believes that moms must start putting themselves first in order to be the rock star mom.  He asks the question to mom, “Who is taking care of you?”  To learn more about Dustin Maher visit his website at and join the Fit Moms For Life Community.

Dustin has generously partnered with me to offer a giveaway for his book to my readers!

The giveaway is for US and Canadian residents.  

Enter via the Rafflecopter form below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I received no compensation for hosting this giveaway.  I did receive a copy of the book for review.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Featured Book: Galway Romance by Thomas D. O'Hare

About the book:

It is 1961. Times are uncertain around the world – the tension of the Cold War has been building for years, and the tragic conflict of the Vietnam War has just started. At the US Army base in Mannheim, Germany, soldiers have been in constant preparation for war. The Berlin Wall has just gone up; the Bay of Pigs crisis is in full swing. While conventional war would be bad enough, the threat of nuclear war is continual. Stress levels are high, and there is a pervasive sense that time may be short…too short. A young American soldier goes on leave to Dublin, after one year in Mannheim, and on the enchanted Emerald Isle he finds a gift he couldn’t have imagined. At the Sea Point Ballroom, he meets Mary, a beautiful and independent woman – a commercial artist, who shares a dance with the young soldier. But that dance leads to so much more…in each other’s arms they waltz out the back door and surrender to the beauty of the moonlit Galway Bay. Follow this adventurous pair as they embrace all that life has to offer during dangerous times, and savor every moment of the eighteen days they shared in a Galway Romance.

About the author:

Thomas O’Hare grew up surrounded by history and interesting people – he was born in a 300-year-old Dutch farmhouse where George Washington may have slept during the Battle of Long Island, and he shared high school science and English classes at Erasmus Hall High with Barbra Streisand. Always a rebel, former Lord of Flatbush O’Hare left school to join the Army. He was stationed close to Elvis Presley and also his friend Hugh Murphy. Galway Romance is inspired by the memories of those happy and traumatic days.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Giveaway: 250 PrintRunner Stickers

The lovely people at PrintRunner, the online print service, have offered me the opportunity to host a giveaway for 250 of their professionally printed stickers!  PrintRunner is the place online for printing stickers with beautiful full color printing and a super fast turnaround time.

So, the details:

            Sticker Shape:  Standard Stickers
            Flat Width:  2"
            Flat Height:  3.5"
            Quantity:  250
            Paper:  Premium Sticker Stock
            Colors:  Full Color ( 4 Color Process), Black and White
            Proof:  NONE
            Ready to Ship In:  3 Business Days

           Giveaway is open to US Residents only, ages 18 years old and above.

Enter using the Rafflecopter form below.  Giveaway ends April 10, 2012

a Rafflecopter giveaway

PrintRunner will be providing me with a set of 250 stickers for hosting this giveaway.

Reading Challenge: 2012 Wishlist Challenge

I have a giant wishlist and am looking forward to reading some books from it this year.  They will overlap with other challenges, of course.

My list may be found here.

Read 12 books (one for every month of the year) that you would like to read, but don’t already have on your shelves.


1. The challenge runs from January 1st, 2012 to December 31st, 2012.

2. You are to read 12 books from your current wishlist. If you don’t have a list anywhere, write down books that you are eager to read, that you don’t own yet, and choose 12 books off that list.

3. If you can’t find a book that’s on your wishlist (your library doesn’t have it, or you don’t want/can’t buy it) then you can use another book. But: you are not allowed to include any NEWLY added books for this challenge. So, whatever your list is now, that’s it.

I.e. you can’t read amazing things about a book on someone else’s blog, decide you want to read it, then read it for the Wishlist Challenge. The opposite is true: you want to read something for the Wishlist Challenge, so you go to your wishlist, find a book that was on that wishlist before January 1st, 2012, and read it for the challenge.

4. You can overlap with other challenges, as long as you read books that were on your wishlist before January 1st, 2012.

5. Sign up here by leaving a comment with a link to your announcement post for this challenge. I will then add it to the linky list below.

6. When you’ve read your 12 books, come back here and leave a comment with a link to your final post about the challenge. Make sure you’ve done this by January 15th, 2013 (I know! How does that sound?)

Monday, March 12, 2012

Review: The Devil's Elixer by Raymond Khoury

FBI agent Sean Reilly and his girlfriend, archaeologist Tess Chaykin, heroes of Raymond Khoury's bestselling Templar novels, return in another edge-of-your-seat thriller that reaches from present day back to 1700s Mexico-and possibly beyond. What if there was a drug, previously lost to history in the jungles of Central America, capable of inducing an experience so momentous-and so unsettling-that it might shake the very foundations of Western civilization? What if powerful forces on both sides of the law got wind of that drug and launched a vicious, uncompromising pursuit to possess it? In Raymond Khoury's million-copy-selling Templar novels, Reilly and Tess traveled the globe to unravel ancient mysteries with present-day ramifications. In The Devil's Elixir, they find themselves dragged into a race-against the clock, against a brutal drug kingpin known as "El Brujo"-the sorcerer-and even against government authorities-to merge two divergent trails, one several hundred years old, the other as current as a heartbeat, that could drag humanity to the brink of self- destruction. Packed with the nonstop suspense and unexpected twists Raymond Khoury fans delight in, The Devil's Elixir is destined for bestseller lists everywhere.

Received for review.

This was an adventure story on par with the best Hollywood has to offer.  The premise was interesting, and timely in these days of pharmaceutical superpowers, and the writing had my heart racing and me reading as fast as my fingers could flip the pages.  The characters, while not people I'd like to know in real life, were intriguing and felt well rounded.  It wasn't overly long at 371 pages, but it's not something you breeze right through either.

I highly recommend this to Steve Berry and Douglas Preston fans who will appreciate the action and vivid storytelling.

★★★★ = Really Liked It

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Review: 52 Small Changes by Brett Blumenthal

Whether as New Year’s resolutions, birthday wishes, or daily promises, most everyone vows at some point to make a major life change. But change is easier said than done, especially when it comes to better managing our wellness amidst the chaos of everyday living. Fortunately, wellness coach and award-winning writer Brett Blumenthal has devised a way to inspire and motivate her readers to live healthier and make positive changes in their lives. Although Blumenthal’s method is not a quick fix, it is a surprisingly simple one: make one small change per week, for fifty-two weeks, and at the end of a year, you’ll be happier and healthier. After all, it is the small changes that are the most realistic, instead of trying to overhaul your lifestyle all at once. 52 Small Changes addresses all areas of wellbeing, including nutrition, exercise, stress management, mental wellness, and even the health of one’s home environment. By guiding readers through these changes at an easy, manageable pace, Blumenthal provides an engaging roadmap to lasting results and “a happier, healthier you.”

Received for review.

I was quite pleasantly surprised by this.  I thought it would be the usual rah-rah self-help book, but it turned out to be a calm, thoughtful volume filled with changes that are attainable and will genuinely change your life for the better when implemented.

The author suggests changes such as drinking more water, eating whole grains, and getting regular exercise.  Yes, we all know we should do them but somehow they seem to fall by the wayside in a busy life.  This volume provides a a path to gradual implementation that, as Kathy Freston says, has you "leaning into" the lifestyle and doesn't overwhelm.

I'd certainly recommend this to anyone looking to make a broad series of positive changes in his or her life.

★★★★ = Really Liked It

Friday, March 9, 2012

Featured Book: Tears of the Phoenix by Lonnie Beerman

About the book:

Do you remember when you were young and having friends was the most important thing in the world....and how bad it felt not to have any? Three young boys in a small southern town know what it’s like to be outcast, never picked on the playground…always the butt of jokes. Then one day, a violent playground assault by bullies brings them together, sowing the seeds of friendship and opening the door for a summer of wonder where they discover the feeling of being called “my friend”. Suddenly their world becomes bigger as they experience new adventures together. But the town has its dark side. The boys struggle to cope with old prejudices and bigotry. A hateful remark reveals a secret that threatens to destroy one boy’s world and raises difficult questions for the boys to sort out. Personal tragedies change their lives forever and draw them closer. To their delight, their families also grow close as their equally isolated mothers discover friendships of their own and find shoulders they will lean heavily upon during the heartbreaks. Their mothers discover more about themselves as they watch their sons bloom. As boyhood frolics toward manhood, each boy ponders his relationship with his father, or lack thereof. Tragedy and family secrets make them wonder what it means to be a man...or a father.

About the author:

Lonnie Beerman is a new author. He is married and the father of a daughter and a son, Lonnie is a dog lover and an avid car enthusiast. In his first book, Lonnie delves into the complexities of family relationships and social bigotries, offering insight into the importance of love, friendship and acceptance.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Review: Far From Here by Nicole Bart

How long do you hold on to hope?

 Danica Greene has always hated flying, so it was almost laughable that the boy of her dreams was a pilot. She married him anyway and together, she and Etsell settled into a life where love really did seem to conquer all. Danica is firmly rooted on the ground in Blackhawk, the small town in northern Iowa where they grew up, and the wide slashes of sky that stretch endlessly across the prairie seem more than enough for Etsell. But when the opportunity to spend three weeks in Alaska helping a pilot friend presents itself, Etsell accepts and their idyllic world is turned upside down. It’s his dream, he reveals, and Danica knows that she can’t stand in the way. Ell is on his last flight before heading home when his plane mysteriously vanishes shortly after takeoff, leaving Danica in a free fall. Etsell is gone, but what exactly does gone mean? Is she a widow? An abandoned wife? Or will Etsell find his way home to her? Danica is forced to search for the truth in her marriage and treks to Alaska to grapple with the unanswerable questions about her husband’s mysterious disappearance. But when she learns that Ell wasn’t flying alone and that a woman is missing, too, the bits and pieces of the careful life that she had constructed for them in Iowa take to the wind. A story of love and loss, and ultimately starting over, Far From Here explores the dynamics of intimacy and the potentially devastating consequences of the little white lies we tell the ones we love.

Received for review.

As you know, I don't do Chick Lit very often but this sounded intriguing so I decided to give it a try.  The whole premise of the book was just strange and the story left me vaguely unsettled.  The writing and presentation were good, it was just the story itself that disconcerted me.  I didn't really connect with the characters and as such didn't care a whole lot about what happened to them.  I felt like I should have cared more about them, but I just didn't.

If you're a fan of the type of books Oprah recommends you should find this a good read.

★★☆☆ = Liked It

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Featured Book: Puppies and Poems by Nancy Sack

About the book:

Puppies and Poems is a lovely collection of story poems that celebrate family, friendship, creative playtime, festivities, and outdoor activities. Young children, parents, teachers, and those who love puppies will delight in this joy-filled collection of children’s poetry. Illustrator Kaitlyn Fuchs has created two endearing puppies whom the reader will want to take home.

About the author:

Puppies and Poems is Nancy’s second published book. Her first book, Musing Along the Ike, is an adult contemporary collection of poetry and prose. Nancy is an English and ESL teacher at Schaumburg High School in Illinois. She has been inducted into the International Library of Poetry for Outstanding Achievement in Poetry. She has had several of her poems and prose published in national anthologies and literary magazines throughout her years of teaching. Nancy is published in the National Council of Teachers of English Gallery of Writing. She lives in Elmhurst, Illinois, with her two children.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Reading Challenge: 2012 Mystery & Suspense Reading Challenge

Since I'm already planning to read quite a few cozies for the Cruisin' Through the Cozies Challenge I decided I may as well sign up for this as well.  I'm a little bummed that audiobooks do not count but I have plenty of cozies to read so I'm sure I'll be fine.  I'm going for the 12 book level. 

My list for the challenge can be found here.

Challenge Details

• Timeline: 01 Jan 2012 - 31 Dec 2012

• Rules: There are TWO LEVELS you can choose from:

 - Read TWELVE (12) mystery & suspense novels in 2012 
 - Read TWENTY FOUR (24) mystery & suspense novels in 2012 

• You don't have to select your books ahead of time, you can just add them as you go. Also if you do list them upfront you can change them, nothing is set in stone! The books you choose can crossover into other challenges you have on the go.

• You can join at anytime. All books read in 2012 count towards the challenge regardless of when you sign up.

• At the beginning of Jan 2012, you will find a link to specific month to add your reviews.

Audiobooks do not count, but all other formats are accepted.

This challenge can crossover to other challenges.

• You DO NOT have to write reviews of the books you read, but if you decide you would like to then Mr Linky will be available each month so you can link up your reviews.

• You don't have to have a blog to join in - for those without a blog but who use Goodreads, Amazon, LibraryThing etc, you can add the URL to where you track your books. If you don't have a URL at all then choose a name you would like to use and then copy and paste the following link:

You can choose from the numerous sub-genres of mystery and suspense, from cosy mysteries such as Agatha Christie to the more hard-boiled kind like V I Warshawski by Sara Paretsky, or romantic suspense written by the likes of Linda Howard, forensic crime such as those written by Kathy Reichs and even paranormal/supernatural suspense such as Kelley Armstrong. I'm sure this challenge will have something for everyone! :)

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Featured Book: A Patient's Guide to Liposuction by Jeffry B. Schafer

About the book:

Choosing a liposuction procedure should be taken seriously, and with adequate research. This book will assist you in making that decision.

An informed patient can expect optimal results from a procedure by knowing what questions to ask during the initial consultation, as well as during and after the procedure. Once you’ve decided to proceed, your body — as well as your self-esteem — will be greatly improved.

A PATIENT’S GUIDE TO LIPOSUCTION: How to Make an Informed Decision, offers a thorough description of liposuction techniques and was written to help patients confidently select both procedure and surgeon. Dr. Schafer details what to expect before, during, and after surgery.

About the author:

Jeffry B. Schafer, MD, FRSM, is a reconstructive and cosmetic surgeon practicing in Coronado, California. He has been in practice since 1973. He specializes in liposuction/body-sculpting. Dr. Schafer’s New Image Cosmetic Surgery has been selected as a Center for Excellence by laser and liposuction companies. Dr. Schafer has been called the Father of Modern Laser Liposuction. He is the Medical Director of the International Institute of Stem Cell Research and Regenerative Medicine.