Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Review: Exodus Lost by S.C. Compton

Aztec and Mayan chronicles told of voyagers who arrived from across the Atlantic Ocean centuries before Columbus. Remembered as founding fathers, they hailed from a remote land called Tlillan Tlapallan, "Black Land Red Land." Now, for the first time, Exodus Lost presents compelling evidence that this lost homeland was Kemet Deshret, "Black Land Red Land," the ancient Egyptian name for Egypt. From this follow a series of groundbreaking discoveries into the origins of Mexican civilization, the roots of Western civilization, the creation of the alphabet, the history of the pyramids, and even new archaeological evidence for several major Bible stories. Enter a world of exploration and discovery, mystery and revelation. Whether your passion is archaeology or religion, history or simply a great adventure, Exodus Lost delivers.

Beautifully illustrated with 126 photos, maps, and engravings.



Received for review.

I've always been interested in history so this was particularly intriguing for me to read. I was already reasonably familiar with the history of the groups involved (Aztecs, Mayan, Egyptian, etc.) so that did help a bit but the author explained everything so clearly, and provided lots of excellent charts, graphs, and pictures to fully illustrate his points, that you really don't need to have any previous knowledge to thoroughly enjoy this volume.

The author's research and conclusions may seem controversial to some but the evidence presented has been thoroughly vetted which certainly adds to the veracity of his genuinely fascinating arguments.

I will admit that this is on the longer side and does require a time investment, but it is certainly well worth it.

I highly recommend this well written, intelligent, and cohesive volume. Both those already familiar with the subject matter and those new to it will benefit from this excellent read.

★★★★ = Really Liked It



Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Review: The Macaroon Bible by Dan Cohen

Despite perennial interest in French macarons, as well as other unique dessert subjects like cake pops and whoopie pies, this is the first book that celebrates traditional macaroons. But these are nothing like the old-fashioned macaroons you may remember. Famous for his flavors of Danny Macaroons like salted caramel, Baileys, and red velvet, Dan Cohen offers macaroons for a new generation with nostalgic appeal for people who grew up on them. This unique cookbook is sure to delight anyone who loves to bake, but one special thing about macaroons is that they’re naturally gluten-free, made mostly with shredded coconut, sweetened condensed milk, and egg whites, plus whatever flavors you can imagine. This is great news to people who can no longer eat many desserts like cookies, cakes, and pies. Almost all of the fifty recipes are shown in beautiful photographs, and though making macaroons can hardly be any easier, there are step-by-step technique photos for first-timers.



E-galley received for review.

You know I love cookies and you know I love cookbooks so a cookbook of cookies I simple could not pass up!

I have to say that I am not enamored of the French macarons. I know, I know, they're pretty and delicate but they are impossible to make unless you actually are Martha Stewart which sort of takes any joy away. But macaroons can be made by mere mortals and are chewy with a crispy crust and are virtually impossible to screw up. Hence my love for them. I haven't made any in simply ages so I was thrilled to get plenty of ideas from this fabulous collection of recipes!

So, the recipes - yum! There are recipes for all palates from PiƱa Colada to Chocolate to Cappuccino to the traditional Vanilla. This book has them all! And each recipe is stunningly photographed by the clearly talented Alice Gao.

The recipes are concisely written and easy to follow. They also come together very quickly with just a few basic ingredients that came be purchased ahead of time and kept until needed - sweetened condensed milk and coconut. The fact that they use just egg whites is fabulous
as well, since I always wonder when I'm making a gelato what the heck I'm going to do with all those egg whites - now I know - a batch of macaroons!

This would make a lovely and unique gift for the cookie lover or baker on your list. Or just a special treat for yourself to add to your collection. It is sure to be enjoyed by all. I highly recommend it!

★★★★ = Really Liked It



Monday, September 23, 2013

Giveaway: Blackmoore by Julianne Donaldson

At eighteen, Kate Worthington knows she should be getting serious about marriage, but her restless heart won t let her settle down. To escape her mother s meddlesome influence, she dreams of traveling with her spinster aunt to exotic India. But when the opportunity arises, Kate finds herself making a bargain with her mother: she will be allowed to go only if she spends a season at the family s wealthy estate, Blackmoore, where she must secure and reject three marriage proposals. Enlisting the help of her dearest childhood friend, Henry Delafield, Kate sets out to collect her proposals so she can be on her way. But Henry s decision to help threatens to destroy both of their dreams in ways they could never imagine. Set in Northern England in 1820, Blackmoore is a regency romance that tells the story of a young woman struggling to learn how to listen to her heart. With hints of Jane Austen and the Bronte sisters, Blackmoore is a page-turning tale of romance, intrigue, and devotion.



Enter to win a copy!

US/Canada only








Friday, September 13, 2013

Featured Book: Stories by Kevin Raney



About the book:

This book is for anyone who has ever wanted to be a park ranger, forester or wildland firefighter.

At the ripe old age of 30 I ask for help to grow up.

You will read about problems and solutions, illness and healing.

I have written this book because I believe my experiences are interesting.

I believe you will be interested too.





About the author:

My name is Kevin and I am 59 years old. I have a bachelor and masters degree. These stories are based on my life even though they are fiction. I feel my life has been and is interesting. I live with my Mom in Little Rock, Arkansas. I am one of Mom's caregivers.




Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Book Excerpt: Ghosts and Ballyhoo: Memoirs of a Failed L.A. Music Journalist by Thomas Wictor

Thomas Wictor, author of the book Ghosts and Ballyhoo: Memoirs of a Failed L.A. Music Journalist, stopped by to share with us an excerpt from his book.



Excerpt, Ghosts and Ballyhoo: Memoirs of a Failed L.A. Music Journalist by Thomas Wictor
(Schiffer Publishing, 2013), copyright: Thomas Wictor, 2013, all rights reserved.

Since Bass Player had never written anything about Gene Simmons, I pitched him to Jim Roberts. Jim agreed, telling me it would be another feature article, my third. I contacted Simmons's publicist, who asked if Gene would get the cover. That decision was out of my hands. Jim said he never made deals and had to see the interview first. The publicist and I called back and forth a few times until I threatened to move on to another project.

Simmons himself called me without warning a few days later and wanted to do a phoner, which I refused. The point for me was to meet him and hone my chops. He abruptly hung up, called the next day, and asked if I could meet him in half an hour. When that didn't work, I cleared my schedule and waited until he called a third time and we worked out a deal to talk at the studio where Kiss put the final touches on their new album. I interviewed Simmons on January 28, 1996.

The interview began with him actually taking my tape recorder out of my hands and cradling it in his lap as he sat on the sofa with his legs stretched out on the coffee table. He went into his standard interview, which I let him do for a while, and then I started in with questions I'd never heard anyone ask him before. I don't know how I figured this out, but with someone as famous as he is, it's a complicated dynamic: You can't be too deferential, or they get bored because everyone kisses their rumps all the time, but you also can't be too familiar, because then you're disrespecting their hard-earned position in society. The key is to simply be perceptive. I took my cues from my interview subjects; they always let me know exactly how to interact with them.

When speaking to Simmons, I remembered a story I'd read about the actress Ethel Barrymore, who was a legend in her day. At a party, a stranger kept addressing her as "Ethel." Finally, she shouted, "Ethel, hell! Just call me 'Cuddles'!" So you have to show that you're not a sycophant, but you're also not in any way taking liberties. I can tell you the exact moment I won him over: I referred to myself as an insignificant insect, and he whistled the way you do when you witness a terrible disaster or something you simply can't believe. At that point he knew I was camping it up for him, and he knew that I knew he was camping it up for me, and everything was going to be okay. It was something neither of us acknowledged, of course; if I'd punched him on the arm and said, "Aw, ya nut!" he would've rightfully cut me off at the knees.

Initially, the Gene Simmons interview was the most difficult balancing act I performed in my career. When I asked him my most combative questions, I actually got out of my chair and sat cross legged on the floor at his feet, like an acolyte. From this position, I could then really challenge him. An extremely intelligent man, he knew exactly what I was doing and appreciated my strategy. All was well, as long as I didn't overstep my bounds by acknowledging the art we created together. That would've been boorish and disrespectful, and would've shown unearned familiarity. It also would've put me at the center of the story. My goal was to telegraph to Simmons that he was entirely the focus; he'd set the agenda; and I'd make him shine by playing the straight man. He got it--understanding that in no way was it manipulation--and ran with it. I always shudder at interviews I read, thinking, No, no! Why'd you ask him that?

Though the interview was originally supposed to last no more than an hour, he gave me two. We had a huge, shouting fight over tone when I told him I could tell different brands of bass by the sound, and he said I was full of it. The fight wasn't real, but we had to pretend it was. It's very hard to be deferential while yelling at someone, but it can be done. I told him that he was full of it because the tone of the bass in his songs changed and so did his instruments. If it didn't matter, he wouldn't have changed tone or basses. He eventually admitted that tone is important, but he refused to tell me a thing about his equipment, settings, or anything technical. At least twice in the interview he said he needed to be on the cover; what I did to allay his concern was to present him ever more opportunities to say outrageous, entertaining things. It was up to him.




About the book:

Ghosts and Ballyhoo: Memoirs of a Failed L.A. Music Journalist chronicles Thomas Wictor's ten years in the Los Angeles music industry and his quest to free himself from the past. Ostensibly a memoir, Ghosts also asks - and possibly answers - provocative questions about fate, destiny, and life after death. The book is structured as a collection of anthologies rather than a continuous narrative; the seven anthologies detailing Wictor's failed career are separated by six interludes with the "Collateral Ghost," one of the most brilliant, yet unsuccessful, musicians who ever played - former Frank Zappa bassist Scott Thunes. Thomas Wictor's experiences include multiple failures across multiple spectra and an endless series of coincidences that always returned him to the notion that there is a Plan. Losing nearly everything he loved gave the author clarity, enabling him to see patterns of guidance and sustenance visible everywhere once he was no longer blinded by rage and negativity. This clarity exorcised Thomas Wictor and brought him peace of mind, which allowed him to transform the anger over what he lost into gratitude for what he once had. Written with profane humor and no self-pity, Ghosts and Ballyhoo includes previously unpublished articles, excerpts from interview transcripts personal correspondence, and photos.



About the author:

Thomas Wictor is the author of five books. A failed music journalist, failed military historian, failed novelist, failed ghostwriter, failed biographer, failed poet, failed essayist, failed rock musician, failed miniaturist, failed photographer, failed field representative for a document-retrieval service, failed delivery driver, failed temporary worker, failed voiceover actor, failed copyeditor, failed technical writer, failed editor of the world's first online newspaper, failed bartender, failed archivist, failed longshoreman, failed ladies' man, and failed ally, he is the planet's only expert on World War I flamethrowers. He lives happily by himself in Southern California.




Monday, September 9, 2013

Guest Post: Elizabeth Romero author of Means to an End

Elizabeth Romero, author of the book Means to an End, stopped by to share with us a piece she wrote.



I’ve been asked many times how my novel MEANS TO AN END came to be. Was it an autobiography? Did I dream one night and suddenly an idea formed in my subconscious mind?

No, this story is not about my life… not exactly, but we certainly draw from our life experience and my life was full of unusual experiences. How can one write believable stories unless there is some experience that lends authenticity to the emotions? Actors are often asked to draw on a very sad event in their lives to allow them to feel the depth of a particular scene. Does the scene at hand have anything to do with the experience that was drawn upon? No, probably not, but given that, the emotion will appear more real than it would have been without anything to draw on.

I knew that one day I would write, and I believe that many first novels draw primarily on some aspect of us. So it was just a matter of time. For my entire childhood, I knew that my life was different from that of my peers. I also knew that I had an inner strength that set me apart.

The novel begins when Ashby Devereaux (the protagonist) is a young teen and brings the reader along as she struggles through her teen years. I had already determined that Ashby would go far in life and reach out to the most vulnerable. She would right the wrongs and face the demons that she had not been able to do for herself. So I knew where she started and what had brought her to her seventeenth birthday. I knew where I wanted her to be by the end of the book. It was just a matter of filling the trip with interesting characters and suspenseful events. It was during that “filling in” that I realized that my heroine would go on to fulfill my dreams in two more upcoming novels.

So all these elements came together at just the right time and MEANS TO AN END was born. A professor once told me that she taught writing because she always wanted to be a writer. Certainly she knew the functional elements of a story but just could not pull these elements together for herself when she sat down to write. So she was more like me than I realized. I had always wanted to be an attorney and serve the underprivileged and downtrodden but given my history that was an impossible dream. Now with writing I can be anyone I wish to be, do anything I dreamed of doing. My hope is that my stories and my insight will light a spark in someone who may otherwise think that their life has limits. We can all soar in our own individual way.

Struggle was a way of life for me growing up but never would I have believed that those very struggles would give me the strength that I needed later in life. Additionally I could never have predicted that the tragedies and triumphs of my life would come together, be restructured, and molded into a trio of psychological thrillers. I am working on the second novel and have no idea where my protagonist will go next. None the less, I can’t wait each day to grab her hand and follow along on her suspenseful journeys.

Elizabeth Romero
Author of MEANS TO AN END




About the book:

When Marie Broudreaux, the beloved daughter of wealthy and prideful Louisiana Cajuns finds herself disgraced, pregnant with twins and abandoned by her family, she is forced to save the family name by becoming the wife of Garrett Devereaux, who unbeknown to her Father is a cruel and abusive man. Both twins, Ashby and Danny along with their now drug addicted mother struggle to survive in the backwards mountains of North Carolina. Abuse and murder are hidden behind a veil of ignorance in the mountains and hollows of a region far removed from the many changes of the world in 1985. Seventeen-year-old Ashby Devereaux is growing up fast. Escape to a better life seems impossible as long as Garrett is alive... Alone and running from the authorities Ashby assumes a new identity and returns to the New Orleans of her mother's stories in search of her runaway twin. While hiding amongst a group of interesting characters and with the law nipping at her heels Ashby unwittingly catches the attention of a local Judge. Will he still love her when he finds out the truth or will he turn her in? Has that been his plan all along? Follow Ashby and a diverse group of powerful characters as you turn the pages of this fast-paced mystery. You will meet a personality that you will not soon forget.



About the author:

Elizabeth Romero was born the third of four children in North Florida. She relocated to Louisiana in her early teens where she remained for the greater part of her life. Her interest in writing started with reading as a child when books would whisk her away to wonderful places where the author controlled the outcome. Her own novel was always waiting for just the right time. Well that time came when Katrina hit in 2005. She moved to Las Vegas, Nevada where she started her novel, while working in real estate. In 2010 she retired to Miami to write full time. Elizabeth lives on a lake with her writing pal and constant companion, her dog Charlie. ‘Means To An End’ is the first of three novels in the ‘Monique Moreaux Series’ and the second a psychological thriller is presently in the works.




Saturday, September 7, 2013

Giveaway: The Voice Is All by Joyce Johnson

A groundbreaking new biography of Jack Kerouac from the author of the award-winning memoir Minor Characters

Joyce Johnson brilliantly peels away layers of the Kerouac legend in this compelling new book. Tracking Kerouac’s development from his boyhood in Lowell, Massachusetts, through his fateful encounters with Allen Ginsberg, William S. Burroughs, Neal Cassady, and John Clellon Holmes to his periods of solitude and the phenomenal breakthroughs of 1951 that resulted in his composition of On the Road followed by Visions of Cody, Johnson shows how his French Canadian background drove him to forge a voice that could contain his dualities and informed his unique outsider’s vision of America. This revelatory portrait deepens our understanding of a man whose life and work hold an enduring place in both popular culture and literary history.



Thanks to Penguin Books I have 2 copies to give away!

US only.  No PO Boxes.

Enter via the Rafflecopter form below.





Thursday, September 5, 2013

Book Excerpt: The Call of the Soul by Aila Accad

Aila Accad, author of the book The Call of the Soul, stopped by to share with us an excerpt from her book.






About the book:

The Call of the Soul presents a new perspective on the quest to find your authentic self. When that quest is successful, you know who you truly are and what your life's purpose is. This book provides a new way to approach the journey, with a map and effective tools to ease the struggle and assure success.

The Call of the Soul shows you how renegotiate the relationship between the ego and the soul so you can step fully into your purpose. Step by step, you will discover inner passion, purpose, peace, prosperity, and love--all by learning how to hear the call of your soul.

With a down-to-earth writing style combined with true-life examples, this book offers accessible wisdom to achieve the self-knowledge you are seeking.

The Call of the Soul will guide you to:
  • Compassion and appreciation for all of you, including the part that resists change
  • A quick way to release emotions and beliefs that stop you from expressing your true self and purpose
  • A new feeling of ease and confidence in yourself and your purpose
  • Your authentic self


About the author:

Aila Accad, RN, MSN, is an award-winning international speaker, best-selling author, and certified life coach who began her quest for the purpose of life at age nine. She became an energy healer, reiki master, and stress expert in the process of exploring numerous wisdom paths. As president and founder of LifeQuest International, LLC, she shares uniquely simple experiences to help clients hear and heed their soul's calling. Thousands have achieved self-knowledge and freedom from stress through her groundbreaking process, Breaking the Perfection Myth, and best-selling book, 34 Instant Stress-Busters. As a stress expert and healthcare futurist, she is a popular keynote speaker and radio and television guest. Aila lives in the beautiful hills of Charleston, West Virginia.




Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Review: Notting Hill, Actually by Rachel Johnson

Rachel Johnson is one of Britain 's best-loved journalists.

Now, many of her finest articles are gathered in one place for the first time - together with an exclusive essay on the fall and rise of the area she is most closely associated with, London's Notting Hill.

From Hugh Grant to the housing bubble, families to fro-yo, Rachel realises that the devil is in the detail and that there are reasons to be cheerful even during the economic gloom.

In her fearless prose, Rachel tackles what not to wear, pet-hates, social media pests, holidaying in Syria and life as a me-columnist. With a quick wit and an eye for satire, she cuts to the hilarious truth of life in modern Britain.

Whether it be battling yummy mummies at a sport's day or considering whether housework really is the new sex, Rachel is neither tired of London, nor of life.

Rachel's columns have kept readers laughing for years - now the cream of the crop is brought together in this lively and irreverent read.



E-galley received for review.

I'm an admitted lover of all things British, so I was delighted to come across this collection of articles and I genuinely enjoyed every page of it!

The author has a wonderful feel to her writing that makes it seem as if you're sitting chatting with your best friend over coffee (or tea). She's honest and funny and someone you'd actually like to have as a friend in real life.

The articles themselves are, obviously, beautifully written with a refreshing humor and frankness and cover a wide variety of topics. Whether you read them all or just a few, they're sure to entertain. And, as they're articles they're short enough to be read whenever one has a few minutes. Or you can do what I did and read them all in one go over the course of a morning.

I highly, highly recommend this lovely collection!

★★★★ = Really Liked It



Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Guest Post: Aila Accad author of The Call of the Soul

Aila Accad, author of the book The Call of the Soul, stopped by to share with us a piece she wrote.






About the book:

The Call of the Soul presents a new perspective on the quest to find your authentic self. When that quest is successful, you know who you truly are and what your life's purpose is. This book provides a new way to approach the journey, with a map and effective tools to ease the struggle and assure success.

The Call of the Soul shows you how renegotiate the relationship between the ego and the soul so you can step fully into your purpose. Step by step, you will discover inner passion, purpose, peace, prosperity, and love--all by learning how to hear the call of your soul.

With a down-to-earth writing style combined with true-life examples, this book offers accessible wisdom to achieve the self-knowledge you are seeking.

The Call of the Soul will guide you to:
  • Compassion and appreciation for all of you, including the part that resists change
  • A quick way to release emotions and beliefs that stop you from expressing your true self and purpose
  • A new feeling of ease and confidence in yourself and your purpose
  • Your authentic self


About the author:

Aila Accad, RN, MSN, is an award-winning international speaker, best-selling author, and certified life coach who began her quest for the purpose of life at age nine. She became an energy healer, reiki master, and stress expert in the process of exploring numerous wisdom paths. As president and founder of LifeQuest International, LLC, she shares uniquely simple experiences to help clients hear and heed their soul's calling. Thousands have achieved self-knowledge and freedom from stress through her groundbreaking process, Breaking the Perfection Myth, and best-selling book, 34 Instant Stress-Busters. As a stress expert and healthcare futurist, she is a popular keynote speaker and radio and television guest. Aila lives in the beautiful hills of Charleston, West Virginia.




Monday, September 2, 2013

Guest Post: Thomas Carey and Donald Schmitt authors of Inside the Real Area 51

Thomas Carey and Donald Schmitt, authors of the book Inside the Real Area 51, stopped by to share with us a piece they wrote.






About the book:

The true nature of what actually crashed in Roswell, New Mexico, in 1947 remains classified. Only a select few have ever had access to the truth about what became known as Area 51.But what happened to the remnants of that crash is shrouded in even greater mystery.

What began in the high desert of New Mexico ended at Wright-Patterson, an ultra top secret Air Force base in Dayton, Ohio. The physical evidence of extraterrestrial visitation was buried deep within this nuclear stronghold.In spite of its rich history of military service to our nation, Wright-Patterson also stands as the secret tomb of one of the greatest occurrences in recorded history.

But be prepared: the real Area 51-Wright-Patterson's vault-is about to be opened.



About the authors:

Thomas J. Carey has spent more than twenty years investigating the Roswell incident. The holder of a master's degree in anthropology, he is an Air Force veteran who held a top secret security clearance. He has appeared as a guest on many radio and TV shows and contributed to a number of Roswell related–documentaries. He is also coauthor, with Donald R. Schmitt, of the bestseller Witness to Roswell. Carey lives with his wife in Huntingdon Valley, Pennsylvania





Donald R. Schmitt is coauthor, with Thomas J. Carey, of the bestseller Witness to Roswell. He is the former codirector of the J. Allen Hynek Center for UFO Studies, where he served as director of special investigations for ten years. An internationally known investigative journalist and lecturer, Donald resides in Hubertus, Wisconsin. Paul Boehmer appeared for two seasons at the Old Globe Theatre in San Diego, California, where he played Oberon/Theseus in A Midsummer Night's Dream and Lucius in Titus Andronicus. He also appeared in The Constant Wife, played Banquo in Macbeth, and was Antipholus of Syracuse in The Comedy of Errors in the 2005 Summer Rep Season at the Globe. He has appeared in Sir Peter Halls's acclaimed Broadway production of Oscar Wilde's An Ideal Husband, Off-Broadway in the New York premiere of Miss Evers' Boys, and Off-Off-Broadway in New Yorrick, New Yorrick and End of the Day. He has appeared regionally at the Pioneer Theatre Company, Arena Stage, Seattle Rep, Huntington Theatre Company, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, Cleveland Playhouse, Missouri Repertory Theatre, Walnut Street Theatre, Syracuse Stage, Berkshire Theatre Festival, and Theatre Works Palo Alto. His film and television appearances include The Good German, The Thomas Crown Affair, Star Trek: Enterprise, Star Trek: Voyager, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Frasier, Judging Amy, Guiding Light, and All My Children. Paul is most proud of his award-winning unabridged recording of Moby Dick. He holds a BFA in acting from Southern Methodist University and an MFA in acting from the Professional Theatre Training Program at the University of Delaware.




Sunday, September 1, 2013

Featured Book: Spank the Bank by Karlene Sinclair-Robinson



About the book:

This step-by-step guide shows startups and smaller companies how to locate and tap into non-bank financing. Rising financial star Karlene Sinclair-Robinson shares the wealth of knowledge she gained through personal experience as an entrepreneur.

Spank the Bank clearly and succinctly explains each type of funding, the amounts typically available, and time frames to secure the money. You’ll see real-world examples of businesses that successfully accessed funding through sources such as asset-based loans, microloans, peer-to-peer lending, crowdfunding, purchase order financing, and more. Technical financial terms are demystified, and you will see funding potential and opportunity for your business that you never guessed at—options that bypass the short-sighted credit policies of traditional lending.

In tough times, entrepreneurs and small business owners have to think creatively to keep their doors open. Spank the Bank provides the dos and don’ts so vital to business survival in tough times.






About the author:

Karlene Sinclair-Robinson is the Managing Member of KsR Solutions, LLC, a business consulting firm focused on strategic business solutions, including financing and diversification. She has successfully assisted numerous clients in accessing millions of dollars through non-traditional financing.

In addition, she teaches entrepreneurship and alternative financing at local small business development centers and community colleges in Northern Virginia and Maryland. Karlene is married, with two children: a son diagnosed with autism, and a daughter. She lives in Northern Virginia with her family. If you would like to connect with Karlene, you may contact her via info@SpankTheBank.biz, or follow her on Twitter @KarleneSinRob.