Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Reading Challenge: 2012 52 Books in 52 Weeks

Another challenge!  This one should be easy!  :)  My list may be found here.




The rules are very simple and the goal is to read one book (at least) a week for 52 weeks.
  1. The challenge will run from January 1, 2012 through December 31, 2012.
  2. Our book weeks will begin on Sunday.
  3. Participants may join at any time.
  4. All books are acceptable except children books.**
  5. All forms of books are acceptable including e-books, audio books, etc.
  6. Re-reads are acceptable as long as they are read after January 1, 2012.
  7. Books may overlap other challenges.
  8. Create an entry post linking to this blog.
  9. Come back and sign up with Mr. Linky in the "I'm participating post" below this post.
  10. You don't have a blog to participate. Post your weekly book in the comments section of each weekly post.
  11. Mr. Linky will be added to the bottom of the weekly post for you to link to reviews of your most current reads.
All the mini challenges are optional. Mix it up anyway you like. The goal is to read 52 books. How you get there is up to you.

**in reference to children books. If it is a child whose reading it and involved in the challenge, then that's okay. If an adult is doing read aloud with kids, the book should be geared for the 9 - 12 age group and above and over 100 pages. If adult reading for own enjoyment, then a good rule of thumb to go by "is there some complexity to the story or is it too simple?" If it's too simple, then doesn't count.



Monday, January 30, 2012

Review: Weeknights with Giada by Giada De Laurentiis

Giada De Laurentiis is one of America’s most-loved culinary stars, adored for her Food Network hit shows and her New York Times bestselling cookbooks alike, both of which feature her fresh, flavorful Italian recipes. For the first time, Giada tackles weeknight cooking, sharing her favorite tips and go-to dishes—all in her vibrant signature style—to get a delicious meal on the table in a flash.

After a full day, Giada, like most parents, wants nothing more than to sit down for a home-cooked dinner with her husband, Todd, and their daughter, Jade. Weeknights with Giada rises to the challenge, delivering soups, sandwiches, pizzas, pastas, and meat and fish dishes that come together quickly as stand-alone main courses—most in half an hour or less: Rustic Vegetable and Polenta Soup, a hearty soul-warming one-pot dish, cooks in under twenty minutes; Lemony White Bean, Tuna, and Arugula Salad is a great meal that’s quickly assembled from pantry and fridge essentials; Spicy Linguini with Clams and Mussels is a fifteen-minute-or-less spectacular pasta; and you can’t beat Grilled Sirloin Steaks with Pepper and Caper Salsa, which are also ready in just fifteen minutes. From inventive breakfast-for-dinner dishes and meatless Monday vegetarian recipes—both weekly traditions in Giada’s house—to picnic sandwiches and hearty salad recipes for reinventing leftovers, Weeknights with Giada reveals every secret in her repertoire. Even the desserts are quick to mix and bake, should a craving—or a last-minute school bake sale—strike.

Here is Giada at her most inventive—and at her most laid-back. Flavor, freshness, and fun take center stage while cooking times, pots dirtied, and stress are kept to a minimum. With gorgeous color photographs and intimate home snapshots of Giada and her family, Weeknights with Giada is a welcome handbook of fantastic recipes and surefire Monday-to-Friday strategies for every home cook.



From NetGalley.

As with all of the author's cookbooks the photography in this is beautiful.  While not every recipe is represented with a picture, enough are (about half) that you get the feel of the recipes.  The recipes are presented in a simple, clean format which makes for easy reading while cooking.

I actually made the Rustic Vegetable and Polenta Soup from Page 31 when the recipe was featured on her show Giada at Home and it was quite good.  Finding the instant polenta to make it in Connecticut was quite a feat (thank you Whole Foods)!

I especially liked the Breakfast for Dinner section which was a fun addition and the Almond Pancakes sound like a fun recipe to try.  I also found several recipes in the Desserts section that I will be making.

Overall, this would make a lovely hostess or general gift for Giada fans and soon to become fans alike.  Of course, it would also be a solid addition to any cook's personal library as well.

★★★★ = Really Liked It



Saturday, January 28, 2012

Featured Book: A Conspiracy of Mirrors by David McLeod



About the book:

We are all mirrors, reflecting one another so that we can see ourselves more clearly. The provocative and moving poems in A Conspiracy of Mirrors speak to our universal human need to connect deeply with another person, to marvel at the wonder of the world, to fully experience the spectrum of emotion revealed through experience. David McLeod’s deeply felt work brings you into powerful connection with ideas and feelings revealed through the unique lens of his words. David has collaborated with artists who have been invited to create visual depictions of his work, resulting in a rich feast for the senses, the mind, and the soul. Relax, breathe, and immerse yourself in this prismatic constellation of images and perceptions, where you will be captivated, soothed, and inspired.



About the author:

David McLeod discovered the mystery and truth of poetry when he was twelve years old, and has been on a lifelong journey to express the depths of his heart. In writing many hundreds of poems, David has found healing, liberation, and great joy. While most of his work remains private, a select number of his poems have been shared with friends and family, and published in magazines and journals – and now he shares this gift with you, in his first published collection, A Conspiracy of Mirrors.








Friday, January 27, 2012

Review: Sweet Macarons by Mercotte

With macarons firmly in place as the latest baking craze, famed French foodie and macaron maker extraordinaire Jacqueline Mercorelli, known as blogger Mercotte, provides 25 no-fail French macaron recipes in Sweet Macarons, now available for the first time in English.







From NetGalley.

I love all cookbooks about baking and I simply could not pass this one up, however, I was sorely disappointed.  Despite the lovely photographs by Sigrid Verbert, the recipes themselves are incredibly complicated and simply not for the average, or even advanced, baker.  Seriously, you actually need to be Martha Stewart to get these right.  The "level of difficulty" on each recipe is just a joke.  It refers to the difficulty of making the fillings not the nightmare of making the cookies themselves. 

The book does present a wide array of unusual flavor combinations, each one beautifully photographed which is always nice in a cookbook, from Licorice to Mint Chocolate but most of the recipes require specialty ingredients that you need to order online and will most likely never use again. 

This would make a nice gift book for a pastry chef or an interesting flip through for everyone else.  The photography alone is worth a peek.

☆☆= Just Okay



Thursday, January 26, 2012

Reading Challege: 2012 Chunkster Challenge

Yup, another challenge!  Since I have some heavy reading planned for the year (a re-read of The Lord of the Rings series, etc.) I decided this was just what I was looking for.  I'm going for The Chubby Chunkster level.  My list may be found here.




Definition of a chunkster:
A chunkster is 450 pages or more of ADULT literature, whether non-fiction or fiction. A chunkster should be a challenge.

If you read books in large print, your books will need to be 525 pages or more. The average large type book is 10-15% larger or more so it’s a fair estimate.

The rules:
  • No audio books. (There are exceptions to this rule.)
  • No e-books allowed. This was discussed in much detail in the 2011 challenge. The short version: a chunkster isn’t a challenge if you’re reading it on an e-reader. (There are exceptions to this rule.)
  • This year for the first time, essay, poetry, and short story collections will be allowed. Collections have to be read in their entirety to count. If you’ve needed a reason to finally pick up your copy of The Collected Works Of ____ now is the time.
  • Books may crossover with other challenges.
  • Anyone may join. (If you don’t have a blog, just leave a comment on this post with your challenge level and your progress throughout the challenge.) 
  • You don’t need to list your books ahead of time.
  • Once you’ve picked a level, that’s it. You’re committed to it!
You must pick a level of participation:
  1. The Chubby Chunkster – this option is for the readers who want to dabble in large tomes, but really doesn't want to commit to much more than that. FOUR Chunksters is all you need to finish this challenge.
  2. The Plump Primer - this option is for the slightly heavier reader who wants to commit to SIX Chunksters over the next twelve months. 
  3. Do These Books Make my Butt Look Big? - this option is for the reader who can't resist bigger and bigger books and wants to commit to SIX Chunksters from the following categories: 2 books which are between 450 - 550 pages in length2 books which are 551 - 750 pages in length2 books which are GREATER than 750 pages in length (for ideas, please refer to the book suggestions page for some books which fit into these categories).
  4. Mor-book-ly Obese - This is for the truly out of control chunkster. For this level of challenge you must commit to EIGHT or more Chunksters of which three tomes MUST be 750 pages or more. You know you want to.....go on and give in to your cravings.



Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Featured Book: Mrs. Pinkelmeyer and Moopus McGlinden Burn the Rrrrump Rrrroast by Jennifer Kelman



About the book:

Meet the Silliest, Warmest Know-It-All™, Mrs. Pinkelmeyer from Poppingham, England and her furry brown dog, Moopus McGlinden, in their first adventure. This fresh, funny, and charmingly illustrated story will make even the youngest children laugh and smile. When Mrs. Pinkelmeyer tries to put her rrrrump rrrroast in the oven, she talks on the phone to a mysterious stranger in New York who is caring for her nephew while his parents are away. Any child who has felt the sadness of separation from a loved one knows a good story can provide just the right comfort. Mrs. Pinkelmeyer distracts Henry who missed his parents so much that he was no longer singing or playing. As Mrs. Pinkelmeyer talks to little Henry on the phone from the other side of the Atlan c, he forgets his absent parents while concentrating on Mrs. Pinkelmeyer and Moopus. 

Mrs. Pinkelmeyer goes on to tell Henry of Moopus's adventures at the butcher shop where he skips and sings and takes a juicy steak bone home to hide away and eat in private. A er slobbering all over the bone, Moopus is in need of a bath. Mrs. Pinkelmeyer scrubs her furry friend everywhere, even behind his ears. Hearing this sends Henry into giggles all over again (in addi on to giving him a subtle message about cleanliness). Though in the end Mrs. Pinkelmeyer burns her rrrrump rrrroast (don't forget the rolling r's), she is unconcerned, because she is so happy to have helped Henry feel better. This book is the perfect gift for a child whose parents are leaving on a trip or going to be absent for any reason. All children, however, will fall in love with the irrepressible joy embodied by Mrs. Pinkelmeyer and her dog Moopus. Burn the RRRRump RRRRoast is the first in a series of Pinkelmeyer stories. It won't be long before Mrs. P. and Moopus come skipping by again.



About the author:

Jennifer Kelman grew up in Jericho, New York, where at age 14 she began babysitting and volunteering at her local hospital to help children suffering from illness. Her love of children prompted her education and career path, graduating with a BA in Sociology from American University and then a Masters in Social Work from NYU. She founded a non-profit organization to prevent eating disorders, lecturing to more than 10,000 students and parents. As soon as Jennifer became an aunt, she spent as much time as possible with her niece and nephews. That is how she discovered her storytelling muse-improvising characters, channeling silly voices, and doing impersonations. Taking care of her nephew when his parents were away, Jennifer was inspired to create Mrs. Pinkelmeyer, Silliest, Warmest Know-It-All™. Now she has created a line of products including dolls, music, temporary tatoos, and a children's book series based on Mrs. Pinkelmeyer.

It is possible to see Jennifer around town, dressed as Mrs. Pinkelmeyer, spreading her love and warmth to children she encounters. Jennifer continues to develop Pinkelmeyer products, and when not in Pinkelmeyer mode, she is an avid athlete who enjoys tennis and golf. Jennifer's greatest joy, however, is motherhood; she is blessed with new twins, a boy and a girl, who inspire her creativity.




Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Guest Post: John Mariotti author of The Chinese Conspiracy

John Mariotti, author of The Chinese Conspiracy, stopped by with a piece he wrote.



The Crimes No One Can Stop; The Attackers No One Can Find
by John L. Mariotti

If a thief were invisible, he might be able to steal at will and never be caught. How would anyone catch him? No one would know what he looks like. What could you look for? Next imagine groups of malicious vandals that cannot be seen ... or found. How can you stop them? Can anyone stop them?

These simple metaphorical questions describe the dilemma of dealing with cyber-crime and cyber-terrorism. There may be telltale traces of the crime, but these usually don't point back to any specific enemy. There is no way to counter-attack if you cannot find who attacked you, or how, or where they are.

Though it is not often headlined in the news, cyber-crime is something many people should be concerned about, "The continued rise of organized cyber-criminal gangs and emergence of targeted advanced malware threats are the most concerning trend we've seen." said Dan Hubbard, CTO at Websense. Malware is defined as programs that are intended to do harm, and hackers, or "organized cyber criminal gangs," are people who try to "hack" into systems to alter them, either mischievously, or maliciously.

The conclusion of the United Nations Brief: "The Prevention of Cyber-Terrorism and Cyber-War" is not very comforting, because it reaches similar conclusions about cyber-attacks and cyber-crime, "In sum, until the U.N. issues an effective international treaty to combat cyber crime, states, businesses and individuals have to protect themselves from cyber-attacks. THis is nearly impossible as cyberspace is too large, too sophisticated and too interconnected to be dealt with alone without cooperation. Therefore, it is time for governments to sit together and formulate a single solution to this top concerning problem at the international level."

The trouble with this conclusion is that few believe any U.N. International Treaty will ever inhibit cyber-terrorists or cyber-criminals. Instead, they will laugh at it, and then hack into the sites and systems describing the treaty, disrupting them or ridiculing the efforts.

However, experts around the world are puzzling over this challenge constantly, and some solutions are emerging. According to Matt Jonkman, founder of Emerging Threats Pro, some existing security strategies are effective agains cyber-terrorism; some of these include:

IDS (Intrusion Detection Systems)
IPS (Intrusion Protection Systems)
Antivirus, anti-malware, and anti-spyware software and hardware
Regular third-party testing

Other experts strongly recommend a multi-faceted approach. Keep existing measures in place and up to date; use the most secure networks possible; make sure firewalls are "on," use passwords that are robust and changed often, assure that virus protection is completely up to date, (because virus writers are constantly changing their invasion methods and places), and so forth. For example, virus writers are now creating viruses that morph, changing just a little bit of their code to avoid detection by anti-virus programs that looks for "signatures" - small sequences of coding that are common to a given kind of virus. When a little bit of that signature changes, does the anti-virus scan pick it up or not? It depends on how "little" the modification is.

All of the preceding is intended to make readers aware of the large and imminent threat presented by malware and hackers. When these hackers are many in number, the problem multiplies. "Crowd sourcing" gathers many hackers together electronically and aims them at the same target. THis has become a popular form of attack. A report out of Dubai disclosed that al-Qaeda has combined the global reach of the Internet as a cyber-terrorism tool to influence and win over non-Arab sympathizers. Many believe that the Russian government used "crowd sourcing" attacks to shut down the nation of Estonia - a former Russian province - to show the Estonians that they were not really independent of Russian quite yet.

The largest problem is when a country - referred to as a nation-state - is the sponsor and perpetrator of cyber-crimes or cyber-terrorism. China has long been allege to be the source of some of the nastiest worm viruses yet launched, most notably the famous Conficker worm virus. It is reported to have infected tens of millions of computers, perhaps far more, because no one knows with any certainty. China is also the alleged source of Ghostnet, an attack on Tibet, which also inadvertently infected more than 1200 important systems in over 100 countries.

The problem is that no one can yet identify these crimes or criminals. They cannot "see" or trace them with enough certainty to stop them, apprehend or counter-attack. Some invasions leave "back doors" through which the perpetrators can easily "re-enter". Clean them out, and some time in the future, they reappear, as if magic.

We have come full circle to the original dilemma. How do you stop a criminal you can't see, or prevent them from committing a crime you can't trace? The answers, thus far, are more conjecture than certainty. Use all the best known tools: be vigilant; collaborate against them, just as they collaborate to do harm, or create chaos. Above all, do not be complacent. The threats are real and imminent.



John Mariotti is an internationally known, award-winning author.

In The Chinese Conspiracy he merges an exciting fictional thriller with the factual reality of America's risk of Cyber-Attacks.

His last book, The Conspiracy Crisis was chosen one of 2008's Best Business Books.

Mariotti does keynote speeches, serves on corporate boards and is a consultant/advisor to companies on strategy/execution.  He can be reached at www.mariotti.net or www.thechineseconspiracy.com.

The Chinese Conspiracy is available now at on-line booksellers.



When Jim Martini goes back to his WV hometown to see why its major employer failed suddenly he finds more than a failed company. He risks his life, finds a lost love, and stumbles into an international conspiracy. A Chinese revolutionary group is using viruses, hacking, malware and cyber-technology to over-throw its own government and attempt to control the US--by shutting down all forms of computers and communications--all at once.

Suddenly nothing works-communications are "silenced". The US is preoccupied fighting global terrorism, so it's up to Jim, hometown friends and a small team of CIA, FBI, and NSA agents to overcome this devastating threat and stop The Chinese Conspiracy.

Set in the lush mountains of West Virginia and half-way around the world in China, The Chinese Conspiracy weaves a chilling tale of cyber-terrorism, current events and a tender love story. Read The Chinese Conspiracy and then call or e-mail someone you love, but do it while everything still works.





Monday, January 23, 2012

Review: The Pretzel Cookbook by Priscilla Warren

Pretzels have been a beloved snack ever since their creation more than 1200 years ago. Today, everybody has their own favorite pretzel-be they sweet or savory, crunchy or soft-all of which are included in this great collection of more than 150 different recipes, twists, toppings, and fillings for the world’s favorite snack! Packed with fun tidbits and information about the pretzel’s history and lore, The Pretzel Cookbook helps indulge and entertain pretzel lovers with a variety of ways to enjoy their favorite snack, and helps new pretzel lovers learn that the world of pretzels goes way beyond the plain hard-salted variety.





From the library.

My love of warm, soft pretzels began at Fenway or Shea when I used to eat them at the games as a little girl. Heck, I liked the food more than the games. After forming somewhat of an addiction to the giant soft pretzels from Whole Foods I decided to try my hand at making some at home. I thought it couldn't be that hard since I've made pizza, bread, and rolls by hand before. I picked this up from the library and tried both the Basic Pretzel and Raisin Pretzel recipes. With the aid of my KitchenAid mixer the results weren't half bad. They were certainly tastier than particularly attractive but taste trumps looks in this case.

So, if you're looking for a basic pretzel introduction, this is the book for you. And, if you're looking for a comprehensive interestingly flavored, stuffed, and/or dipped compendium, this is the book for you as well. It truly does cover everything from the most basic of pretzels to add-ins, dipping sauces, stuffing pretzels, and sandwiches and meals made with pretzels. Any pretzel enthusiast will be quite pleased and this would definitely make a lovely gift. This is certainly recommended.

★★☆☆ = Liked It



Sunday, January 22, 2012

Baking by the Books: 1 Mix, 100 Muffins by Susanna Tee

I read a lot of cookbooks and cozy mysteries that include yummy recipes for cookies and other baked items and I love to try the recipes (but I can't reprint them for obvious copyright reasons so you'll have to pick up the book if you want to try them!) so I've decided to share my results in a new post series called Baking by the Books. I'd love your feedback!



Spice & Cream Muffins 
from 1 Mix, 100 Muffins by Susanna Tee 


These were a lovely, spiced by not spicy, muffin.  My testers and I agreed that their moist texture and spiced flavor were perfect when warmed with a bit of butter and would be good with either coffee or tea.

This third attempt from the cookbook was another success and I can't wait to try more recipes from it!



One recipe and a hundred variations - guaranteed to satisfy every taste and occasion.  Included are both sweet and savory muffins, from class Blueberry Muffins and indulgent Chocolate Chunk Muffins to fruity Apple Streusel Muffins and savory Smoke Salmon & Dill Muffins.  There are even healthy, wholesome recipes, and ones dedicated to celebrations.  In fact, there's something to please everyone in the family and all you have to do is master one very easy recipe.











Saturday, January 21, 2012

Giveaway: American Dervish by Ayad Akhtar

Hayat Shah is a young American in love for the first time. His normal life of school, baseball, and video games had previously been distinguished only by his Pakistani heritage and by the frequent chill between his parents, who fight over things he is too young to understand. Then Mina arrives, and everything changes. 

Mina is Hayat's mother's oldest friend from Pakistan. She is independent, beautiful and intelligent, and arrives on the Shah's doorstep when her disastrous marriage in Pakistan disintegrates. Even Hayat's skeptical father can't deny the liveliness and happiness that accompanies Mina into their home. Her deep spirituality brings the family's Muslim faith to life in a way that resonates with Hayat as nothing has before. Studying the Quran by Mina's side and basking in the glow of her attention, he feels an entirely new purpose mingled with a growing infatuation for his teacher.

When Mina meets and begins dating a man, Hayat is confused by his feelings of betrayal. His growing passions, both spiritual and romantic, force him to question all that he has come to believe is true. Just as Mina finds happiness, Hayat is compelled to act -- with devastating consequences for all those he loves most.

American Dervish is a brilliantly written, nuanced, and emotionally forceful look inside the interplay of religion and modern life. Ayad Akhtar was raised in the Midwest himself, and through Hayat Shah he shows readers vividly the powerful forces at work on young men and women growing up Muslim in America. This is an intimate, personal first novel that will stay with readers long after they turn the last page.



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

Contest ends 11:59 PM EST February 11, 2012. 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. 


Winners are subject to the one copy per household rule, which means that if you win the same title in two or more contests, you will receive only one copy of the title (or one set in the case of grouped giveaways) in the mail.



Friday, January 20, 2012

Giveaway: Are You Smart Enough to Work at Google by William Poundstone

You are shrunk to the height of a nickel and thrown in a blender. The blades start moving in 60 seconds. What do you do? If you want to work at Google, or any of America's best companies, you need to have an answer to this and other puzzling questions. 

ARE YOU SMART ENOUGH TO WORK AT GOOGLE? guides readers through the surprising solutions to dozens of the most challenging interview questions. The book covers the importance of creative thinking, ways to get a leg up on the competition, what your Facebook page says about you, and much more. ARE YOU SMART ENOUGH TO WORK AT GOOGLE? is a must read for anyone who wants to succeed in today's job market.





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


Contest ends 11:59 PM EST February 10, 2012. 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. 


Winners are subject to the one copy per household rule, which means that if you win the same title in two or more contests, you will receive only one copy of the title (or one set in the case of grouped giveaways) in the mail.



Thursday, January 19, 2012

Giveaway: Girl Land by Caitlin Flanagan

Caitlin Flanagan's essays about marriage, sex, and families have sparked national debates. Now she turns her attention to girls: the biological and cultural milestones for girls today, and how they shape a girl's sense of herself. 

The transition from girl to woman is an experience that has changed radically over the generations: everything from how a girl learns about her period to how she expects to be treated by boys and men. Girls today observe these passages very differently, and yet the landmarks themselves have remained remarkably constant-proof, Flanagan believes, of their significance. In a world where protections of girls' privacy and personal freedom seem to disappear every day, the ultimate challenge modern parents face is finding a way to defend both.


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

Contest ends 11:59 PM EST February 9, 2012. 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. 

Winners are subject to the one copy per household rule, which means that if you win the same title in two or more contests, you will receive only one copy of the title (or one set in the case of grouped giveaways) in the mail.




Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Featured Book: New Digs by Pamella Ann Miller



About the book:

Phases of abandoning bitterness are SIMPLY AND UNIQUELY DEFINED. Fully illustrated, this COLOR PAPERBACK WORKBOOK is an engaging handbook to use and recommend over and over again. Leave the forgiving to God...No stranger to good times and equally familiar with the most difficult of challenges, in her book NEW DIGS…Abandoning the Bog of Bitterness, the author shares the startling shifts in outlook and method that freed her from years of toxic rancor. Owing to Pamella’s fervent desire to improve upon her lengthy and difficult struggle to understand conventional teachings about forgiveness, a thorny and confusing topic is at last addressed in a cordial, practical and hopeful way. A significant portion of the book’s value is reflected in the uplifting, colorful art that allows for quick assimilation and recall of its messages. Also thoughtful and economically thrifty, a vibrant journal page is authorized for copying and formatted for noting what section those memoirs correspond with. Users of this workbook will travel a one-of-a-kind journey through the stages of recovering a compassionate spirit and enjoy the curious, but deliberate, absence of snarly detours as classic advice is reshaped into clear and logical guidance. A swift route to the satisfying final destination of Renewal Island is creatively mapped out. Readers will visit several other picturesque locales as well, beginning their journey in Swamp City and stopping over in Hiatus Township, Uncertainty Village, Prideful Palisades and Cape Horizon as they pause to work through the meaningful but brightly sketched phases of reclaiming a merciful heart. So, pack your drifter duds for passage to NEW DIGS…Abandoning the Bog of Bitterness!



About the author:

The author was born and raised in Rochester, Minnesota and currently resides in Mantorville, Minnesota with her husband, Mitch, and their adopted toy poodle, Charlie. Fifth of seven children, and the only girl on her father’s side, Pamella was named after her paternal grandmother, Ella, who rushed out to buy her namesake’s first dress upon hearing she finally had a granddaughter. The story is told that Grandma Ella was sick before the birth, but all thought she willed herself on to see if she would “get her girl.” She did and was able to enjoy six short months with baby Pamella.




Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Reading Challenge: Vintage Mystery Reading Challenge

I know, I know, another reading challenge?  I wasn't going to, but this looked so cool.  I'm a sucker for anything mystery related!

I'm going for Murder by the Numbers, Occupational Hazards, Golden Age Girls, and Cherchez le Homme.  My lists can be found here.




Once again, I will be sponsoring the Vintage Mystery Reading Challenge--but with a bit of a twist. I wanted to mix things up a bit to keep it interesting for all of you who have joined me in Vintage fun for 2011. This year it's all about Vintage Themes. In order to participate, you will need to choose at least one Vintage Theme listed below (minimum 8 book commitment). Here are the general rules:

*All books must have been written before 1960 and be from the mystery category (crime fiction, detective fiction, espionage, etc.). Please remember that some of our Vintage authors wrote well after 1959--so keep an eye on the original publish date.*You are welcome to count these books towards any other challenges as well.

*Challenge runs from January 1, 2012 to December 31, 2012. Sign up any time between now and November 30, 2012. If you have a blog, please post about the challenge and your theme commitment. Then sign up via the linky below. And please make the url link to your Challenge post and not your home page.*I would love to see reviews of your challenge books, but it is not necessary to participate. If you do not have a blog, post to the comments what your challenge commitment will be and then post again at the progress site (see below) when you have completed your challenge (include a list of books read).

*No matter what theme you choose, please read from at least two different vintage authors.

*Everyone who completes their declared theme/s will be entered for a prize drawing at the end of the year. Anyone who completes two or more themes (16 or more books) will automatically receive their choice from a prize list.

*On January 1st, I will post a site where you can link up your reviews/progress.

Vintage Themes:

1. Colorful Crime: 8 books with colors in the title
2. Murder by the Numbers: 8 books with a number in the title
3. Occupational Hazards: 8 books with a "detective" who is not a P.I.; Police Officer; Official Investigator (Nurse Keate, Father Brown, Miss Marple, etc.)
4. Perilous Policemen: 8 books with a policeman as the primary investigator
5. Lethal Locations: 8 books that are all about place (for instance: country houses, hospitals, schools or even particular cities/countries)
6. Dangerous Beasts: 8 books with an animal in the title (The Bat; The Canary Murder Case; etc.)
7. Deadly Decades: 8 books, one from each time period plus one of your choice (Pre-1900s; 1900-09; 1910-19; 1920-1929; 1930-1939; 1940-1949; 1950-59)
8. Golden Age Girls: 8 books by female authors OR 8 books with female detectives
9. Cherchez le Homme: 8 books by male authors OR 8 books with male detectives
10. Murderous Miscellany: Choose your own theme. Get creative--surprise us! The only stipulation is that the theme cannot be reading books by a single author.



Monday, January 16, 2012

Reading Challenge: 2012 A to Z Mystery Author Challenge


Red Headed Book Child is hosting the A to Z Mystery Author Reading Challenge and I simply had to sign up even though I probably won't finish the entire alphabet this year!  My progress list is here



RULES:

  • Challenge runs from January 1 - December 31, 2012. Sign up ends February 1, 2012.
  • Each letter represents the last name of the mystery author. G= for Sue Grafton.
  • You decide your level.
  • Mystery genre can include Cozy, Suspense, Thriller, or Noir. All Adult novels please.
  • Sign up on Mr. Linky.
  • Write a post about this challenge and what letters you want to read. You can list the authors you choose or do it as you go.
  • When you post your reviews, mention this challenge and link back to this sign up post.



Sunday, January 15, 2012

Baking by the Books: 1 Mix, 100 Muffins by Susanna Tee

I read a lot of cookbooks and cozy mysteries that include yummy recipes for cookies and other baked items and I love to try the recipes (but I can't reprint them for obvious copyright reasons so you'll have to pick up the book if you want to try them!) so I've decided to share my results in a new post series called Baking by the Books. I'd love your feedback!



Coffee & Cream Muffins 
from 1 Mix, 100 Muffins by Susanna Tee 


Coffee lovers rejoice!  Now you can have your coffee and a coffee flavored muffin to go with it.  Overkill you say?  No!  :)

These were very moist with a coffee flavor that was just strong enough but not overpowering.  My testers were quite impressed.  Yet another keeper from this cookbook!



One recipe and a hundred variations - guaranteed to satisfy every taste and occasion.  Included are both sweet and savory muffins, from class Blueberry Muffins and indulgent Chocolate Chunk Muffins to fruity Apple Streusel Muffins and savory Smoke Salmon & Dill Muffins.  There are even healthy, wholesome recipes, and ones dedicated to celebrations.  In fact, there's something to please everyone in the family and all you have to do is master one very easy recipe.











Saturday, January 14, 2012

Featured Book: True to Life by Duane Ashley Poole



About the book:

Love is priceless love doesn’t care if you are rich or poor. Money cannot buy love, so it’s not about who has more! Love is embracing, nurturing, strength, and support. Love stays with you through the good and bad, never selling you short. Love is doing good deeds, without a conscious of giving. Love is the ultimate, and all that this world needs to heal the living. Love exists for everyone in this world, love doesn’t discriminate. Love’s the savior of all humanity that will rid hatred, war, and heartache. From “Love” I could visit the Great Wall of China, Statue of liberty, Big Ben and the Taj Mahal. Only to find out none of them conquer you because you’re the finest of them all. I could go visit Africa on a wild life safari and observe the king of the jungle. To find out you’re the only person alive who can make me humble. Because nothing in the world captivates me or moves me the way that you do You’re the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen that’s why nothing compares to you! From “Beautiful (nothing compares to you)”









About the author:

Duane Ashley Poole is twenty-six. He was born in Hawaii and traveled to Japan, Korea and Germany while his Father was serving in the United States Air Force. He was raised and educated in England, but now resides in South Carolina, USA.




Friday, January 13, 2012

2012 Animal Reading Challenge Sign Ups


I'm a little late getting this up, but I've been signing up for a bunch of themed reading challenges this year and haven't seen an animal themed one yet and decided to start my own!  So, here it is!

The Rules:
  • Challenge runs from January 1, 2012 to December 31, 2012.
  • Read 12 books with an animal in the title (i.e. Dog, Cat, Bee, Rhino, you get the idea).
  • E-books and audiobooks count.
  • These should be adult titles, if possible.
  • Books can, of course, crossover with other challenges.
  Sign up by leaving a comment below.



Thursday, January 12, 2012

2012 Food Themed Reading Challenge Sign Ups



I'm a little late getting this up (as usual), but I've been signing up for a bunch of themed reading challenges this year and haven't seen a food themed one yet and decided to start my own!  So, here it is!

The Rules:
  • Challenge runs from January 1, 2012 to December 31, 2012.
  • Read 12 books with a food or food theme in the title (i.e. Cookies, Honey, Pie, Cooking, Baking, you get the idea).
  • E-books and audiobooks count.
  • These should be adult titles, if possible.
  • Fiction or Nonfiction.
  • Books can, of course, crossover with other challenges.
  • If you don't have a blog, just leave a comment.
Sign up with Mr. Linky:



Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Featured Book: Keep Out!: Top Secret Places Governments Don't Want You to Know About by Nick Redfern



About the book:

Area 51, Hangar 18, the Montauk facility, the Dulce Base, the undersea world of Sanya, HAARP in Alaska, Pine Gap, Fort Detrick, Rudloe Manor, and the Zhitkur underground realm--these are just a few of the select, highly classified installations about which the governments of the United States, Australia, China, Russia, the United Kingdom, and others prefer that we, the general public, remain steadfastly ignorant.


And these same governments have excellent reasons for wanting to keep us in the dark. It is at these secret facilities that for decades, clandestine research has reportedly been undertaken into crashed UFOs, deceased alien entities, bizarre creatures and unknown animals, lethal viruses, biological warfare, mind-control experimentation, and much, much more.


Whether situated deep under the ocean, far below the ground, or within the heart of remote, fortified desert locales, these and many other supersecret places are guarded with a near paranoid zeal by those in power who wish to keep their secrets buried and locked far away from prying eyes.


And they have succeeded.


Until now.



About the author:

Nick Redfern works full-time as an author, lecturer, and journalist. He writes about a wide range of subjects, including Bigfoot, UFOs, and paranormal phenomena. Redfern is a regular contributor to UFO Magazine, Fate, and Fortean Times.

He has appeared on many television shows, including the History Channel's Monster Quest; the National Geographic Channel's Paranatural; and the SyFy Channel's Proof i.

His previous books include The NASA Conspiracies, Contactees, and The Real Men in Black.

Redfern can be contacted at his Website, nickredfern.com.




Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Reading Challenge: Rizzoli & Isles Reading Challenge

My lovely Goodreads friend Yvonne of Socrates' Book Reviews invited me to join her Rizzoli & Isles Reading Challenge and since I'm a fan of the show and have been meaning to read the books I jumped on board.

My list of books for the challenge can be found here.




I love the TV series and I've been wanting to start reading the books. I thought a reading challenge might keep me focused on doing that. I didn't see any other reading challenges for this so I decided to start my own.

These are the current books in the series...


1) THE SURGEON (2001)

2) THE APPRENTICE (2002)
3) THE SINNER (2003)
4) BODY DOUBLE (2004)
5) VANISH (2005)
6) THE MEPHISTO CLUB (2005)
7) THE KEEPSAKE (UK title: KEEPING THE DEAD) (2008)
8) ICE COLD (UK title: THE KILLING PLACE) (2010)
9) THE SILENT GIRL (July 2011)

If you'd like to join me, here are the guidelines.


1) Grab the button on top and put it on your blog and link to this challenge.


2) Sign up with the link below. Please make sure the url you use goes directly to your blog post about this challenge.


3) If you don't have a blog, that's okay. Just comment below that you want to join. Then come back to let us know which books you've read. Or you can post them on other sites such as Goodreads or Shelfari. For those with a blog and posting reviews, I will have a link for completed reviews.


4) Make a list of which books in the series you still have to read. Whether you are just beginning or up to #2, 3, 4, etc...that's how many books you have to read.


5) Books can be in any format (print, ebook, audio) and you can crossover to other challenges.


6) The challenge goes from January 1, 2012 to December 31, 2012.




Monday, January 9, 2012

Review: The Return of the Gods by Erich von Däniken

With over 140 photographs, specially designed maps, models, and drawings, Von Däniken applies the same fact-filled analysis to Nazca that launched his 1968 Chariots of the Gods to continuous bestsellerdom. 

He reports on his many visits to the lost civilization of Nazca, an ancient, isolated settlement deep in the Peruvian desert. He analyzes aerial views and closeups of extraordinary markings that stretched across the land for miles, forming complex shapes and designs unnoticed from the ground but unmistakable from the air. 

How could primitive people have achieved such an amazing feat? Von Däniken concludes: Forget the theories about religious rituals, irrigation systems, and astrological calendars; these are creations of extraterrestrials. Impossible to explain or even envision from the ground, the mile-long "landing strip," the curious etchings of beasts, and the immense geometric designs and giant mandalas are simple to execute--if their creators could see them from the air.



From my personal collection.

I picked up this audiobook edition free from Tantor audiobooks. All I can say is thankfully it was free!

The premise is just crazy and the author comes across as a complete nutjob.

After about the first chapter I just pretended that it was the science fiction it sounded like and it became much more enjoyable. Most of it was amusing, and the whole discussion of "alien abductee" rights being ignored by their alien abductors was just so darn funny I actually laughed out loud. By that point it had become almost a scene from Jose Chung's From Outer Space!


☆☆= Just Okay 



Sunday, January 8, 2012

Baking by the Books: 1 Mix, 100 Muffins by Susanna Tee

I read a lot of cookbooks and cozy mysteries that include yummy recipes for cookies and other baked items and I love to try the recipes (but I can't reprint them for obvious copyright reasons so you'll have to pick up the book if you want to try them!) so I've decided to share my results in a new post series called Baking by the Books. I'd love your feedback!



Chocolate Cream Muffins 
from 1 Mix, 100 Muffins by Susanna Tee 


My testers and I found this chocolate with white chocolate chips muffin a bit more like a cupcake than muffin, but really, anything with chocolate is fabulous.  The cream added an extra layer of richness to it and the muffins were very moist and yummy.  This is definitely a keeper!

As an added bonus, the recipe makes exactly 12 muffins, like it says it does.  Which is good in that you only need one pan, but "bad" in that you don't get that extra muffin or two that most recipes make to sample yourself and pretend never existed!  :)



One recipe and a hundred variations - guaranteed to satisfy every taste and occasion.  Included are both sweet and savory muffins, from class Blueberry Muffins and indulgent Chocolate Chunk Muffins to fruity Apple Streusel Muffins and savory Smoke Salmon & Dill Muffins.  There are even healthy, wholesome recipes, and ones dedicated to celebrations.  In fact, there's something to please everyone in the family and all you have to do is master one very easy recipe.











Saturday, January 7, 2012

Featured Book: Parallel Lives by Martin Gwent Lewis



About the book:

Richard is at the lowest ebb of his life—and he’s determined to end it. Desperate to recapture and change the past, what if it was possible to see life as it could have been. Could it show life as he dreamed it would be? Is it even possible to make contact with a parallel existence? Parallel Lives explores what happens when one encounters the possibilities of roads not taken—and what we can learn from these alternate versions. After a mysterious yet strangely familiar figure interrupts his suicide attempt, Richard embarks on a journey traveling the globe as part of a unique problem-solving team. Together with his doppelgangers, Richard overcomes substantial challenges and discovers his own heart with the love of a young actress. The group set off on a mission to destroy an international crime syndicate. It’s a high-risk expedition through London, Geneva, and Africa. And the results will surprise everyone. A thought-provoking novel of fate, choice, and possibility, this smart and savvy story will keep you guessing right up to the thrilling finale.



About the author:

Born in Wales and educated in London, Martin graduated from medical school in 1962. Dr. Lewis spent years living and working in Africa, as well as traveling extensively throughout the course of his career. Dr. Martin Lewis is in private practice, a Clinical Professor for several Florida universities, and a U.C.C. Minister in Seminole. He currently lives in St. Petersburg, Florida.




Friday, January 6, 2012

Guest Post: John Mariotti author of The Chinese Conspiracy

John Mariotti, author of The Chinese Conspiracy, stopped by with a piece he wrote.



Wiki-Leaks:  Warning and Wakeup Call
by John L. Mariotti

Are you nervous about Cyber-threats now that Wiki-Leaks has been widely publicized?  I am, and you should be.  We all know about the dangers to privacy and securty on the Internet, but until now, we somehow seemed immune from it.  These so called "invasions" happened to somebody else.  Now it is closer to home.

When hundreds of thousands of classified memos are blasted into our consciousness, that blanket of comfortable distance falls away.  Wiki-leaks touched off a "cyber-storm" of awareness and concern.  It is a wake-up call - and a warming - of what might come next.

Used in the right combinations, hacking, viruses, worms, invasions, malware and distributed denial of service attacks can invade and/or shut down almost any modern system.  When the human element is added to the mix, the problem grows.  Humans are markably ingenious and flexible, yet, at the same time emotional and unpredictable.  Early hackers did it for fun and mischief.  If mischief turns malicious, trouble is not far behind.  Julian Assange, founder of WikiLeaks, started as a young hacker in Australia.  Now, backed by a larger group of (mostly) youthful rebels, WikiLeaks steals and reveals hundreds of thousands of classified cables and memos.  Suddenly, any illusion of privacy or security is gone.  Aided by a single insider, WikiLeaks touched off a "cyber-storm" of awareness and concern, creating "instant involuntary transparency."

Computer systems, which run everything, are the product of human and electronic logic.  If someone tries to break into them, that can be detected and, sometimes, prevented.  Security companies everywhere create firewalls and software to identify and stop most of the invasions - but not all of them.  The intervention of people and the dynamic nature of computer networks, means that if just one invasion gets through, the system is breached.  Then, invaders can pour through the breach.  Former U.S. Government expert Richard Clarke describes such barriers with brutal honesty, saying, "They just don't work."

I don't believe anyone knows how to stop these attacks.  The U.S. government has been ominously silent.  It doesn't know how to stop hackers, or even slow them down.  The Chinese, known to be among the world's most advanced hackers, are concerned.  China claims to have the ultimate protection:  named the "Great Firewall of China," it can disconnect China's Internet from the global network, but that remains untested and unproven.  No one has any idea how to retaliate, either.

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA, the Pentagons's most advanced scientific group, is trying to tackle these invasions.  A cyber-security researcher and former hacker, Peter Zarko, leads the project.  Zarko proved his prowess by showing he could shut down large chunks of the U.S. telephone system, and claimed he and his hacker friends could shut down the Internet in 30 minutes.  But can his new effort stop the new wave of invasions?  No one knows, including him.

Finally, and perhaps worst of all, is the untraceable nature of most cyber-security breaches.  Current systems are always reacting to the last attack, without knowing where the next one will originate.  The dilemma is not just stopping the attack, but how, and against whom to retaliate.

Welcome to the new world of "involuntary transparency," where very little is truly private.  From your Facebook page to your Twitter tweets, someone might be watching and listening.  Maybe it won't be Wiki-leaks, but it sure is a warning and a wake-up call.



John Mariotti is an internationally known, award-winning author.

In The Chinese Conspiracy he merges an exciting fictional thriller with the factual reality of America's risk of Cyber-Attacks.

His last book, The Conspiracy Crisis was chosen one of 2008's Best Business Books.

Mariotti does keynote speeches, serves on corporate boards and is a consultant/advisor to companies on strategy/execution.  He can be reached at www.mariotti.net or www.thechineseconspiracy.com.

The Chinese Conspiracy is available now at on-line booksellers.



When Jim Martini goes back to his WV hometown to see why its major employer failed suddenly he finds more than a failed company. He risks his life, finds a lost love, and stumbles into an international conspiracy. A Chinese revolutionary group is using viruses, hacking, malware and cyber-technology to over-throw its own government and attempt to control the US--by shutting down all forms of computers and communications--all at once.

Suddenly nothing works-communications are "silenced". The US is preoccupied fighting global terrorism, so it's up to Jim, hometown friends and a small team of CIA, FBI, and NSA agents to overcome this devastating threat and stop The Chinese Conspiracy.

Set in the lush mountains of West Virginia and half-way around the world in China, The Chinese Conspiracy weaves a chilling tale of cyber-terrorism, current events and a tender love story. Read The Chinese Conspiracy and then call or e-mail someone you love, but do it while everything still works.



Thursday, January 5, 2012

Review: Re-Bound by Jeannine Stein

Re-Bound shows readers how to take every day materials from around the house, flea markets and thrift stores, and hardware and office supply stores, and turn them into fabulous books. Instead of saying, "What can I make a book out of," readers will be thinking, "What can't I make a book out of?" 

In Re-Bound, a vintage souvenir wallet becomes a photo album. Last year's trendy sweater becomes a take-along journal. Even potato chip bags get a second life as a handy pocket notebook. 

This fun pursuit is economical as well as ecological. A variety of attractive, uncomplicated bindings, how-to instructions, and step-outs bring each project to life.



From the library.

When I first saw this at the library I was immediate intrigued but as soon as I cracked it open I was sorely disappointed.  Unless you are an actual Martha Stewart clone and have all the specialty tools required this book is essentially a collection of pretty pictures.  The "patterns" are virtually unusable for 99.9% of the population.  What could have been a nice, fun craft book was instead a waste of time.

Unless you are a very specialized artist give this a pass.  It's not even worth the two minutes it takes to flip through the project photographs.

☆☆ = Didn't Like It



Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Featured Book: The Universe Speaks by Roar Sheppard



About the book:

You can feel that changes are coming, but do you really know why?

Is it as simple as the fact that we have unbalanced the Earth with our behavior?

Or are there also deeper reasons...?

This is a guidebook for the changes to come after 2011 in terms of future culture, politics, society, spirituality, chakras, climate changes, eco villages, breathing, photon belts and Mother Gaia.

Providing a panoramic view of the future and giving us the necessary tools for the changes to come, this is the most comprehensive reference book available for the New Humanity. Everybody should have this on their bookshelf to prepare for the love that comes after a short period of pain.

With deep love, the Universe speaks to us about specifics changes we must make and why.

The Universe has a plan for the Earth.

Would you like to find out what it is?



About the author:

Roar Shep­pard was born in 1972.  He is Amer­i­can and has been resid­ing in Korea for about 15 years.  While stay­ing in Korea, he stud­ied Korean tra­di­tional cul­ture and lan­guage.  He was inter­ested in the secret of the Uni­verse and searched for it through med­i­ta­tion.  Med­i­ta­tion and the breath­ing train­ing have been his daily rou­tine for 8 years and through the deep silence of his train­ing he began to com­mu­ni­cate with var­i­ous beings through wavelengths.

Roar grad­u­ated from the Uni­verse of Maine, Orono and received a B.A. in His­tory.  After briefly trav­el­ling around Amer­ica and Mex­ico, he moved to S. Korea. He stud­ied for his M.A. in Inter­na­tional Rela­tions from Yon­sei Uni­ver­sity in Seoul and then he turned his inter­ests towards dan­jeon breath­ing, med­i­ta­tion, tra­di­tional Korean arts of the five ele­ments, ori­en­tal med­i­cine and div­ina­tion. He is actively shar­ing with oth­ers the meth­ods for a New Soci­ety, which he says is com­ing sooner than we think, and for prepa­ra­tion.  The new soci­ety will be based on breath­ing and love for human beings, nature and the Universe.




Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Reading Challenge: Cruisin' Thru the Cozies

One of my GoodReads friends, Yvonne of Socrates' Book Reviews, is hosting her second annual Cruisin' Thruu the Cozies Challenge.

Due to my love of cozies I couldn't pass this one up and am going for Level 3 - Super Sleuth.  My list of challenge books will be posted here.

See the rules below if you'd like to participate.





I love cozy mysteries and I want to read more of them this year. To find out exactly what a cozy mystery is, check out Cozy-Mystery.com. This site is dedicated to cozy mysteries and does a great job of defining them as well as giving a list of cozy mysteries. This challenge is NOT restricted to what is on their list, it's just to be used as a guideline in case you need some hints on what to read.

So, here are the rules...

1. Choose the level you wish to participate:

Level 1 - Snoop - Read at least 6 books
Level 2 - Investigator - Read 7-12 books
Level 3 - Super Sleuth - Read 13 or more books

2. The challenge runs from January 1, 2012 and ends December 31, 2012.

3. You don't have to choose your books in advance. If you do, you can change your list at any time during the year. Books can overlap with other challenges.

4. Books can be in any format - paper, audio, ebooks...it all counts!

5. You don't have to post a review, but I'm sure others would love to know about the books you are reading and may even want to add it to their reading lists. 




Monday, January 2, 2012

Giveaway Reminder: Beth's Book Reviews Bookmarks

This is your weekly reminder to enter if you haven't yet.

I wanted to share a little something with my readers so I ordered some bookmarks.  They came out super cute, if I do say so myself.

I'll be giving away one a week to a random reader who enters his or her name in the nifty little form below.

This is an ongoing giveaway so you can enter at any time and you only need to enter once!

The contest is only open to readers with a US mailing address (but it can be a PO Box!)