Sunday, November 30, 2014

Review: She Effin' Hates Me by Scarlett Savage

Molly has arrived home from Vassar to reveal that she has an important announcement to make. Her mother, Suzanne, is convinced that Molly’s news is history repeating herself — and that she’s about to become a thirty-six-year-old grandmother. Suzanne’s mother, Ava, develops a case of impending great-grandmother fever—that is, when she’s not spying on the new next-door neighbor, Buddy McKinley, who turns out to be a blast from her past. 

Decades earlier, Buddy was the business partner of Ava’s late husband, as well as his best friend during the Vietnam War. Ava feels she has good reasons for hating Buddy—she blames him for the fall of their business, an Irish pub that was a staple of the community. The loss not only destroyed her husband but also pushed her headfirst into the vodka bottle. 

Suzanne eventually finds out that Buddy and Ava’s past goes back much further than either has admitted. She begins to wonder whether Ava truly hates Buddy, or whether her feelings are much more complicated, as are her own when Molly announces that she’s not pregnant, but gay. 

Based on the award-winning play, She Effin' Hates Me is about three women relearning to love one another for who they are … and more importantly, for who they’re not.

Received for review.

Despite a promising premise this turned out to be pretty standard Chick Lit featuring whiny and thoroughly unlikeable women.  The "big reveal" that Molly had to announce was just obnoxious.  There was no love or warmth from any of these annoying women.  I was sick of them by the end of the very first chapter.  I continued, hoping that they would grow or change, but they didn't.  They remained miserable and selfish right to the end.  

The character who annoyed me the most was Molly who thought she was supposed to be so special because of her announcement.  Really?  What she announced didn't make her special or a better person it just made her sound like an uberbitch for thinking it made her so much better than everyone else.  I kept hoping she'd get over herself but, of course, she didn't.

This was a total disappointment and I really cannot recommend it unless, of course, you enjoy reading about greedy, selfish, miserable women.

★★☆☆☆ = Just Okay

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Saturday, November 29, 2014

Featured Book: The Millionaire Within Us by Chris Carley

About the book:

From down and out, laid off airplane factory whistleblower to multi-millionaire. She broke all the rules in network marketing and never looked back. Overweight and depressed, Chris visualized a world of abundance for herself and brought it to life.

Starting with a small $79 loan from her father, Chris strategically promoted her network marketing company with handmade flyers, turning her into a millionaire in less than 5 years. Since then she has gone on to make over $25 million in an industry that only a few people fully understand. Along the way she has been a key note speaker and has helped mentor and teach thousands of her marketing strategies. 

For the first time ever she has put her knowledge in a book “The Millionaire Within Us”.

  • Chris shares her no-nonsense approach to putting the customer’s needs first
  • Teaches you the 3 words you must know to win the sale
  • How to instill faith and confidence in your customers, no matter the product
  • What it takes to make your life happy, healthy, and profitable
  • The 5 marketing secrets every business should know (Yes, you network marketing people are in business) 
  • Why everyone in business needs to empower their customers in order to increase their revenues
  • Plus so much more.
Chris Carley leaves no stone unturned in this phenomenal book on marketing, advertising, and life. Enjoy and learn more at www.TheMillionaireWithin.Us

About the author:

Chris Carley is a world renowned speaker and business expert. She has delivered her message of mastering the entrepreneurial spirit in 70 different countries. From her humble beginnings as factory worker making only $10.50/hour to becoming a millionaire in less than 5 years, Chris Carley knows what it takes to work “smarter not harder”.

Her journey to becoming a multi-millionaire was not a straight path, but with the help of her father’s $79 loan, her library card, and her deep desire to fulfill her dreams, she has helped thousands to achieve theirs.

Review: Sniper by Vaughn C. Hardacker

Overview When a sniper kills four people on Boston Common, Boston homicide detective Mike Houston and his partner Anne Bouchard are sent to investigate the case. Amidst the blood and terror, Houston discovers similarities, likenesses—the killer’s positioning, his choice of victims, and his code of ethics—between the crime scene and his own training as a US Marine scout and sniper. And with the staging of the scene set for prime shock value, Houston has to wonder what it is this murderer intends to accomplish. 

The connection is confirmed in the worst possible way when the sniper strikes again, this time killing Houston’s ex-wife, severing what’s left of the bond between Houston and his estranged daughter, Susie. It’s personal now, and as the death toll rises, Houston and Bouchard will stop at nothing to find the cold-blooded sniper who’s making a mockery of their department. In a final gesture of cat and mouse depravity, the killer kidnaps Susie, luring Houston to an island on a remote lake in Maine for a deadly, sniper-to-sniper showdown.

Received for review.

This was an interesting read and perfect for those intrigued by military fiction.  The sniper angle takes it more from detective fiction into the military fiction range despite Houston and Bouchard actually being detectives since it features a sniper and lots (and lots) of sniper and military discussions.

The story was well written and contained plenty of action and suspense but I never really connected with either Houston or Bouchard so it wasn't quite as engaging as it could have been.

Overall though this was a good read and I certainly recommend it.

★★★☆☆ = Liked It

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Friday, November 28, 2014

Featured Book: Vicious Circle by Linda Robertson

About the book:

A girl's got to do what a girl's got to do.... 

Being a witch doesn't pay the bills, but Persephone Alcmedi gets by between reading Tarot cards, writing her syndicated newspaper column, and kenneling werewolves in the basement when the moon is full — even if witches aren't supposed to mingle with wolves. She really reaches the end of her leash, though, when her grandmother gets kicked out of the nursing home and Seph finds herself in the doghouse about some things she's written. Then her werewolf friend Lorrie is murdered...and the high priestess of an important coven offers Seph big money to destroy the killer, a powerful vampire named Goliath Kline. Seph is a tough girl, but this time she bites off more than she can chew. She needs a little help from her friends — werewolf friends. One of those friends, Johnny, the motorcycle-riding lead singer for the techno-metal-Goth band Lycanthropia, has a crush on her. And while Seph has always been on edge around this 6'2" leather-clad hunk, she's starting to realize that although their attraction may be dangerous, nothing could be as lethal as the showdown that awaits them.

About the author:

Linda Robertson is the mother of four wonderful boys, owns three electric guitars, and is followed around by a big dog named after Bela Lugosi. Once upon a time she was a lead guitarist in a heavy metal cover band and has worked as a graphic artist. She still composes and creates art, when time permits. Linda currently writes and rocks in northeast Ohio.

Visit her at and @authorLinda.

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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Featured Book: B.O.A.T.S. by David Nesten

About the book:

Misanthropes are considered unseemly, if they are considered at all. 

They are always being told to let things go. 

But sometimes, there are reasons for misery. Roland McKnule is a young college student, an angry young man, and no fan of Hollywood phoniness. 

So when one of his best friends winds up getting an audition for a major motion picture, tagging along is not his idea of fun. 

And being forced to go with his arch-nemesis, his simple-minded roommate Steve, is just the icing on the cake.

Can Roland survive a few days amongst terrible people? 

Will it shake his whole world view...or confirm it?

About the author:

David Nesten is 26 years old and has been writing for 10 years in his spare time. With a lousy part-time go-nowhere job and living with his parents, Nesten has few chances for real happiness, short of writing novels about weirdos.

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Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Review: The Other Typist by Suzanne Rindell

Suzanne Rindell’s story of a 1920s police stenographer who becomes increasingly obsessed with a glamorous new typist reminds me at points of Notes on a Scandal and Patricia Highsmith, but has creepy charms all its own.”—The Paris Review 

Confessions are Rose Baker’s job. A typist for the New York City Police Department, she sits in judgment like a high priestess. Criminals come before her to admit their transgressions, and, with a few strokes of the keys before her, she seals their fate. But while she may hear about shootings, knifings, and crimes of passion, as soon as she leaves the room, she reverts to a dignified and proper lady. Until Odalie joins the typing pool. As Rose quickly falls under the stylish, coquettish Odalie’s spell, she is lured into a sparkling underworld of speakeasies and jazz. And what starts as simple fascination turns into an obsession from which she may never recover.

Received for review.

Very rarely do I read a book that leaves me so confused yet oddly satisfied.  When I finished this I found myself thinking "I have no idea what just happened but it was awesome!".  I still have no idea what to think about it but I really enjoyed it nonetheless.

The story is very well written and completely captures your attention from the very first page.  The story is a bit confusing and difficult to follow at times but that's all intentional.  It throws you off just enough to make you wonder just why you're still reading when you have no idea what is going on, yet makes you want to read more ... and more.

Despite the incredibly small and difficult to read text I devoured this amazingly quickly.  It just has that certain something that makes it irresistible and impossible to put down.

While I did not identify with any of the characters, and I found both Rose and Odalie both annoying, the story was compelling enough to keep me reading.

If you are looking for a completely different and unclassifiable read then this is it.  It's one that you simply will not be able to put down and I definitely recommend it!

★★★★ = Really Liked It

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Monday, November 24, 2014

Featured Book: The Studio by Walter F. Todd With Stacey Todd

About the book:

When Walt’s eye and heart are captured by two beautiful but damaged stained glass panels, he couldn’t have dreamed of how they would impact the course of his life. The Studio is the story of Walt’s journey with the art of stained glass, as he and his daughter enroll in a class with the idea of repairing the panels, but soon find themselves completely immersed in this fascinating craft, with Walt, who never considered himself an artist, even showing and selling his work. But when Walt is 69, life has some unexpected surprises for him. The expected death of his loving mother is followed by the tragic death of Sandy, his beloved wife of 40 years, and shortly after that, his brother. Walt stays focused during this year of loss—and then he and his daughter Stacey embark on a year-long adventure of travel and spending, leaving a lifetime of penny-pinching behind. Their wonderful trips to Canada, Scotland, Ireland, and the Caribbean culminate in a memorable Christmas in Hawaii. The road ahead has another detour in store for Walt, as Stacey’s unexpected illness causes him to pull up his roots in Washington and move to southern California to help her. Through it all, Walt’s love of art and the joy he finds in his studio help him to keep his perspective, and find inspiration and a reason to carry on during the hardest times. This candid, warm memoir will resonate with everyone who has experienced love and loss…and everyone who has found their center in a creative pursuit.

About the authors:

Walter Todd was born in Brooklyn, New York and has written many short stories, often including family history, ski trips, family cars, his love for dogs, and many other adventures. He currently moved from University Place in Washington State to Los Angeles, California, and enjoys reading, traveling, photography, creating stained glass art and writing.

Stacey Todd is an actor, artist, photographer, dog lover, and author. She is a graduate of Marymount College and Loyola Marymount University with majors in theater and philosophy. She currently lives in the Beverly Hills area of Southern California.

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Sunday, November 23, 2014

Featured Book: Philosophical Fragments Of Your Ancient Name by Doug Bentley

About the book:

A Journey of Self-Discovery into the Sanctuary of Your Soul - and Beyond!

An eclectic compilation of thoughts, musings, rants, observations, fears and hopes, Philosophical Fragments Of Your Ancient Name takes you on a journey of self-discovery from the outer edges of our solar system to the sanctuary of your soul - and beyond!

The book is divided into three parts: on Science, Christianity and Mysticism. Like adjacent letters in a word which are distinct from each other but follow underlying patterns the fragments assembled in it are puzzle pieces which each reader’s imagination must juggle and fashion. And you need not be a scholar or an expert in any of these fields to enjoy it. For this is a book written by 'everyman' for 'everyman.'

My goal is that by the end of it the reader will have fitted together a few more fragments of our always already here changeless original face: the face we all share, the face of humanity itself. For our ancient name is none other than the name we all share. That name is 'everyman;' 'everyman'- he who speaks by the authority of being a human being, an authority in which we all participate.

About the author:

Doug Bentley lives quietly in Vancouver, Canada.

He is the author of four books currently available in digital and soft cover formats at major online retailers and ebookstores worldwide:

a journey of self-discovery into the sanctuary of your soul - and beyond!;

one of the best kept secrets in Canadian English Poetry today;

GO -21st Century Existentialism in an Absurdist Theme:
a full-length 4 Act play based on the landmark play by Samuel Beckett, Waiting For Godot;

GRAIN -Mystical Poems:
an English sonnet sequence of 28 classic love poems and one long contemplation on death and dying.

Review: The Conscious Leader by Shelley Reciniello

Why do things go wrong in companies that shouldn’t? 

The answer, according to Dr. Shelley Reciniello, often lies deep beneath the surface in the unconscious processes of leaders and their employees. 

Working as a sort of psychological detective, her job has been to consult with organizations and individuals to figure out what the real problem is when a poised for success corporate initiative fails, when a promising individual or team can’t perform, or when a well-conceived departmental project doesn’t deliver. When what has gone wrong doesn’t make sense, she looks for the unrecognized, underlying psychological issues that caused the problem. What’s going on unconsciously, out of awareness, is often more important than what is happening on the surface. 

How can you wake-up and become conscious of secret motivations, unrecognized Achilles heels, and hidden agendas in yourself and your employees? 

The Conscious Leader describes the nine most fundamental but often neglected truths about human beings and their workplace behavior in jargon-free, accessible concepts and examples. With humor and inspiration, Dr. Reciniello provides you with the principles and practices necessary for conscious leadership which you can immediately apply in your organizations.

Received for review.

If you enjoy psychological studies then this is the perfect book for you.  It delves into the reasons why people do things and will give any supervisor reading it a lovely warm, fuzzy feeling that he now understands the people under his control.  

However, this was written both by and for people who have never actually had lower positions in the workplace so they have clue what it's actually like for the people working for them.  The book presents some nice ideas and they are clearly well thought out, but they are simply not effective.  Yes, they sound wonderful but they just aren't applicable in the real world.

So, if you are a manager looking for some insight into manipulating your employees this may be a good read, but just don't expect it to actually translate into real results in your organization.

★★★☆☆ = Liked It

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Saturday, November 22, 2014

Featured Book: A Christmas Embrace by Margarita Felices

About the book:

A Model Christmas. Did Ashley make a terrible mistake leaving the man she loved to pursue her career? She’s home for Christmas and about to find out. 

A Christmas Dance. Christmas is the time to be with your loved ones, but not for Jane this year. Christmas will never be the same when you’re left alone. But this year a promise will come true. 

The Christmas Gift. Maya didn’t do Christmas, but this year she’s met Nick and it feels like he’s the perfect gift. But Nick holds a very dark secret and after he leaves Maya with a special gift, she’s anxious to repay him for it.

About the author:

I live in Cardiff with my partner and three little mad dogs and I work for a well-known TV broadcasting company. I love living in Cardiff because, for all its modernisation, there are still remnants of an old Victorian city. I love writing and base my stories in Cardiff because it has such character. When I can, I go out to the coast and take photographs, mind you, we have a lovely castle in the city centre and a fairytale one just on the outskirts, so when I feel I can't write anything, I take a ramble to those locations and it clears my head.

I suppose it was inevitable that some day I would write a novel. My teachers at school used to limit me to no more than ten pages. When I left school, I wrote short stories for magazines, and it paid my way through college. I am Gothic, I love the fashion, the architecture and the music. The club in my novel is real. When I was writing book one, I got all my club material and clientele from here, I wouldn't have finished that section without it.

Review: Dead Behind the Eyes by Brock Car

Newly promoted CEO Max Riley boards the corporate jet in Denver. When it lands in Omaha he is dead - murdered by an unseen assailant. As the people closest to Max are investigated we learn relationships are rarely what they seem. While police compile the hard evidence, private investigator Claudia Sullivan seeks answers she will find only by examining the deeper psychological mysteries that are more difficult to solve. Like why Max - a good man and loving father - put his children through such mental torture. Or, what turns bad behavior for some into chronic obsessions for others? 

The stories of infidelity, sexual addiction, devoted spouses, and the privilege that comes with power are both touching and tragic. As much a whydunit as a whodunit, Dead Behind the Eyes weaves a patchwork of compelling stories and relatable characters that explore why some of us are strengthened by adversity and others fold.

Received for review.

I liked the idea of this book more than the actual reality.  The story was intriguing and very well done but it did not create any sort of emotional connection with the characters.  It felt like reading about a true crime story or watching a documentary.  It was interesting, but easy to put down.  There was nothing compelling enough to keep me reading.

I did enjoy that the story covered everything from the circumstances before the murder to the murder itself, and through to the trial and its aftermath.  It was an interesting choice and added to the story.

The resolution was quite unexpected but, frankly, rather disappointing.  By that point I just didn't care anymore.  I didn't care who murdered Max or why, I just wanted the book to end.

Overall, this was a decent read but not one that will keep you up late at night reading past your bedtime.

★★☆☆☆ = Just Okay

*This post may contain affiliate links*

Friday, November 21, 2014

Featured Book: Tame the Wild Land by Patrick Shannon

About the book:

In the year 1700, a young French Army Captain sets foot on the Gulf Coast of our continent, trudges off into the wilderness and becomes one of this country's overlooked Founding Fathers. Warrior, explorer, intimate friend of the Indian nations, imprisoned twice for smuggling, Louis Juchereau de St. Denis was the driving force in the settlement of French Louisiana and Spanish Texas. In the Novel, "Tame the Wild Land", the drama of his remarkable life is portrayed. After enduring extreme hardships and risking his life for the King of France, he becomes disillusioned and dedicates the rest of his life to his two remaining loves: Louisiana and the beautiful Manuela. But the impetus that repeatedly places him in harm's way is the dilemma his colony faces: to keep Louisiana French, he must insure that Texas remains in the hands of his Spanish adversaries. The book is a fictional treatment of a period in our history that is somewhat neglected: the role played by France and Spain in the taming of wild America.

About the author:

Patrick Shannon is a direct descendant of his book’s protagonist, Louis de St. Denis, which gave special meaning to the writing of Tame the Wild Land. His three previous books have won five literary awards. Born and raised in Southern California, he currently resides in Montana. He is 82 years old and still writing.

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Thursday, November 20, 2014

Review: The Spoils of Avalon by Mary F. Burns

The death of a humble clergyman in 1877 leads amateur sleuths Violet Paget and John Singer Sargent into a medieval world of saints and kings-including the legendary Arthur-as they follow a trail of relics and antiquities lost since the destruction of Glastonbury Abbey in 1539. Written in alternating chapters between the two time periods, The Spoils of Avalon creates a sparkling, magical mystery that bridges the gap between two worlds that could hardly be more different-the industrialized, Darwinian, materialistic Victorian Age and the agricultural, faith-infused life of a medieval abbey on the brink of violent change at the hands of Henry VIII and Thomas Cromwell. First in a new series of historical mysteries, The Spoils of Avalon introduces two unlikely detectives and life-long friends-beginning as young people on the verge of making their names famous for the next several decades throughout Europe and America: the brilliant and brittle Violet Paget, known as the writer Vernon Lee, and the talented, genial portrait painter John Singer Sargent.

Received for review.

I'm a huge mystery fan and love to try new authors so I was excited to give this a read.  I liked the idea of the using two real people as fictional detectives but it seemed as if the fictional versions of the characters had a bit too much modern thinking imposed upon them.

While John was a likeable character Violet came across very cold and, frankly, bitchy.  She just seemed spoiled and obnoxious.  I'm sure that wasn't the author's intent but it was the result nonetheless.

The mystery itself was interesting, although switching back and forth between the two time periods interrupted the flow and sapped some of the reading enjoyment.  The resolution was nicely handled though, which was a bonus.

Overall, this is rather unwieldy reading but if you enjoy historical fiction as well as mysteries it may be worth a try.  It's certainly an intriguing start to a new series.

★★★☆☆ = Liked It

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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Featured Book: A Holiday From Time by John Mero

About the book:

Turtle is desperate for a holiday. He has been holding the world’s timepiece, a clock, on his back for so long that it is now stuck to his shell. 

His friend Frog agrees to carry the clock while Turtle is away on vacation. But Frog catches a terrible cold, and each time he sneezes, the clock jumps forward—causing utter chaos in People Land. 

Meanwhile, Professor Hare, whose job it is to keep the clock running smoothly, races to find a cure for Frog’s cold, but can he set things right before Turtle returns? 

Find out in this delightfully illustrated story, where time has gone mad!

About the author:

John Mero is a writer and storyteller who enjoys creating characters kids can identify with and a sense of excitement and action. A Holiday From Time was co-written by his wife Ros and two children, Bonnie and Cal.

*This post may contain affiliate links*

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Review: Sinful Folk by Ned Hayes

A tragic loss. A desperate journey. A mother seeks the truth. 

In December of 1377, four children were burned to death in a suspicious house fire. Villagers traveled hundreds of miles across England to demand justice. 

Sinful Folk is the story of this terrible mid-winter journey as seen by Mear, a former nun who has lived for a decade disguised as a mute man, raising her son quietly in this isolated village. For years, she has concealed herself and all her history. But on this journey, she will find the strength to claim the promise of her past and create a new legacy. Mear begins her journey in terror and heartache, and ends in triumph and redemption. 

The remarkable new novel by Ned Hayes, illustrated by New York Times bestselling author/illustrator Nikki McClure, Sinful Folk illuminates the medieval era with profound insight and compassion.

Received for review.

I really liked the idea of this book more than the actuality.  The concept of a  band of parents undertaking a long, hard journey to get justice for their murdered children sounded touching but it really wasn't.  It was frankly rather boring and it took me forever to slog through it.

The main problem was that you were supposed to feel for Mear and side with her during the journey.  This was a bit difficult since she was so thoroughly unlikeable.  I felt sympathy that her child was murdered but I felt so sympathy for her concealing herself as a mute man.  This concealment was a necessary plot point but it just felt heavy handed.  And, the final few chapters and epilogue made me dislike her even more.  I gather they were supposed to be a triumphant end to her ordeals but they did nothing for me.

If you can get past the decided unsympathetic main character then this is a very well written but tedious read that some historical fiction fans may enjoy.

★★★☆☆ = Liked It

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Monday, November 17, 2014

Author Interview: Ritoban Chakrabarti author of When She Smiled

Ritoban Chakrabarti, author of the book When She Smiled, stopped by for an interview.

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

I like to call myself a jack of all trades. I want to live a complete life following the goals I've set in my dream board. I don't believe in making lots of money. I don't believe happiness depends on my bank balance. I believe in leaving a legacy in this short life of mine. In the last eight years, I've taken up several roles. Programmer, Manager, Entrepreneur, HR, PR, Editor, Marketer, and now, a writer. Writing a novel has been on my dreamboard for a while, and its checked off now. 

What do you do when you're not writing?

When I'm not writing, I'm working on new technologies and marketing strategies that we implement in my startup, MarkAce; apart from managing my team, and handling operations. I love travelling, and try to get as many vacations as possible.

I also love karaoke, and I'm seriously considering taking that seriously and release a music album in 2015. Let's hope that goes well.

When did your first start writing?

I have written a couple of marketing books that were released as ebooks a few years ago. I also frequently write official company communications, press releases and blog posts. I also write on my personal blog, but not too frequently. On my blog, I typically write about motivation and ideas. 

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

While growing up, I was heavily influenced by Enid Blyton's works. I used to read one novel a day as a child. As a teen, Harry Potter played a big role in my life and I have JK Rowling to thank for that. My recent favourite is Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger. I read it a few months ago, and it gave me the push I needed to write my own novel. I really liked how Holden Caulfield's character developed as the pages turned. 

What inspired you to write this particular book?

I grew up in Shimla, which is a little hill station nestled in the Himalayas. Life is very different there compared to major cities and metros. I had an interesting set of characters based on the people around me, and there was a story waiting to be written. So I wrote.

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

My favourite part is the ending. That's when all the feelings and actions of Mrityunjoy Roy's character reach a decisive point and that's when he makes the choices he's supposed to make.

When She Smiled is book that relays how important little decisions and choices influence our destiny and I believe everyone can relate to that. 

What is best writing advice you can give?

Hustle. Take time out, drown down all the noise, take yourself out of your comfort zone, and just write. Writer's block is merely an old wives tale. If you have something to write about, anything to write about, just go ahead and write it down. It doesn't matter how bad you write. Putting down your thoughts into words is the only way good writing is done. If you keep writing every day, soon your book will be finished.

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

Its coming out in February next year, in digital and paperback. It will be available worldwide in all major ecommerce stores and in major bookstores.

If you'd like to win a free copy, then you may sign up for the Goodreads giveaway here.

To get the latest updates and developments before the launch of the book, you may sign up here.

About the book:

Mrityunjoy Roy is a fifteen year old Bengali who has spent the last ten years of his life growing up in Shimla. 

While his family is completely academically oriented, he wants something more. 

Finally he meets Akanksha in school, who turns his world upside down with her gorgeous looks and mind boggling smile. 

As fate would have it, she joins his tuition, and thus begins the torrid year of puppy love, romance, heartbreak, tragedy, and self discovery. 

Set among the scenic Shivalik hills of Shimla when mobile phones and internet were non-existent, this is a story of how an average young teenager comes to terms with his destiny. 

About the author:

Hi. My name is Ritoban Chakrabarti and I am a full time Internet Marketer… That was easy.

Well, I haven’t shared my past anywhere else, so I’ll try to be as clear as possible.

I used to be a good student in school because my parents forced me to study long hours (I’m glad they did). As I reached 9th and 10th grade, my main motive was to get in the Armed Forces, but somehow I had a big fracture that shattered those dreams.
So, I did my Computer Science Engg from UIET in the beautiful city Chandigarh. My college days are fully responsible for what I am today.

I have loved the internet since I got my internet connection in 2005. Earlier, I used to just surf and chat and make friends in social networks. But, slowly I started developing websites for fun. I love creating things and therefore I used to build websites without any motive of earning.

By some twisted change of fate, I somehow got a few people who wanted me to build/code their websites for them and were willing to pay me good money for doing so. Now that’s what I liked: ‘People were paying me for doing something I loved’. So, I got involved in freelancing and used to charge a nominal amount for my work. I always overdelivered on my projects and got amazing ratings/reviews.

After doing that for about 6 months, I suddenly thought of launching my own product on Joomla (I love this CMS). So, after about 3-4 weeks of effort, I launched ReadyMadeJoomla with no marketing knowledge, no launch tactics, no list, no planning, no affiliates, no nothing! It was just me and the product in the Clickbank marketplace.

Somehow, people started buying the product and affiliates started promoting it. So, I made quite a lot of sales (which gave me the initial capital to invest further) and it still sells a few copies each week.
In November 2008, I had my CAT exam (MBA Entrance) for which I got a few calls for great colleges in India. But, I didn’t appear for any interviews because I had decided I would get totally involved in Internet Marketing.

I always hated ‘working for somebody’ because I wanted to do what I wanted to do, and when I wanted to do it. There is a sort of magic when you don’t work under somebody: ‘You have a freedom and peace of mind unlike any other job’.

I like experimenting and discovering new techniques that I can implement and also teach others. I believe information should be free.

Visit me on Twitter and Facebook.

Featured Book: Property Cop, the Patrol: My Time in the Concrete Jungle of Phoenix, Arizona by Timothy W. Newton

About the book:

When criminal justice student Timothy Newton applied for work in private policing of a group of apartment complexes, he found himself in an abyss of urban warfare, pitting law enforcement against gangs, and law and order against out-of-control crime. Newton became a man on a mission: to create a safe and crime-free environment for honest, law-abiding citizens in the most violent policing precinct in Phoenix. In Property Cop, Newton shows how the war on drugs can be won and how urban apartment complexes can be made safe. With fascinating, suspenseful, and even humorous tales of his patrol experience, Newton’s book offers an entertaining and fast-paced ride on the wild side of urban policing. “If you feel you missed your calling in law enforcement, then look no further than this book for an arresting read. Follow the adventures and see the challenges which drugs, gangs, and prostitution brought to one neighborhood, through the eyes of one courageous officer.” —Sharon Dancu, WPC, Gloucestershire Constabulary (UK), (Ret.). “In an entertaining and informative fashion, Newton brings to life the dark side, light side, and realities of crime prevention from the unique perspective of private policing/security, a valuable, yet often unacknowledged industry over a million strong.” —Coy Johnston, Professor of Criminal Justice, Arizona State University. Book Signing Event Schedule: September 2, 2014- Carroll County Memorial Hospital Lifestyle Fitness Center at 1pm-? Posters and Books will be available.

About the author:

Timothy W. Newton was born in Chillicothe, Missouri, but has lived and worked in Kansas, Oklahoma, and England for the last ten years. He presently resides in Arizona, where he works as a patrol sergeant and supervising overnight patrol for a master-planned community and is enrolled in a graduate degree program in Law Enforcement Management. His first published work was an article on his experiences in the private security industry in Careers in Criminal Justice (2014). He has two sons and a daughter, who reside in Missouri and Arizona.

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Sunday, November 16, 2014

Guest Post: Jeannine Wiest author of The Alchemy of Self Healing

Jeannine Wiest, author of the book The Alchemy of Self Healing, stopped by to share with us a piece she wrote.

About the book:

We have more power to heal ourselves than we have been led to believe.

Your body is "Instant Messaging" you all the time.

These messages contain a unique cellular treasure waiting to be accessed. The discovery that your body (not your mind) is listening to you will transform your life. Your mind runs old programs, "defaults" to all that is familiar in your life, even when what's familiar is pain. The Alchemy of Self Healing will show you how to tap into your body wisdom that craves health and joy.

Take the Alchemy Quiz, follow the exercises, read the essays. At the end of 30 days, when you retake the quiz, you'll discover you have new resources and tools at your fingertips.

Jeannine Wiest, CMT, CST has created a week-by-week guidebook for tuning into the body so you can:

  • Transform old stories energetically lodged in your body that drain your well-being.
  • Reconnect with your body wisdom to access your creative resources.
  • Develop habits to navigate the cellular information your body communicates.
  • Respond to challenges with calm, focused energy.
  • Transform into the extraordinary version of you.

About the author:

Wiest is an advanced certified craniosacral therapist, Reiki master, and holistic coach. She has danced on Broadway, dissected a human cadaver, and today works with a wide variety of clientele from movie stars, stressed-out executives to clients who are living anxiety-ridden lives.

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Saturday, November 15, 2014

Featured Book: The Village of Dead Souls by Michael G. Wallace

About the book:

Killed in battle, the ancient Athenian Prometheus, awakes inside a body that is not his, in a future world unfamiliar to him. 

Trapped in modern day Denver during the annual Zombie Pub Crawl, he is surrounded by humans with their strange language of moans and hisses. 

Joined by a growing number of living dead, the new arrival helps them form into a well organized army during the zombie uprising. 

Only they are not here to destroy the living, they have come to save their species. 

The future of the human race relies on necromantic secrets inside the shadows of The Village of Dead Souls.

About the author:

Michael Wallace grew up reading all the history texts and novels he could find. His library shelves are filled with a range of genres from H.G Wells and Jules Verne to Michael Crichton and Tom Clancy. It is only natural he writes thriller time travel adventures with some history thrown in for fun. At the point the reader becomes comfortable with the pace of his stories, he will hit you with a plot twist which will change the game.

His first novel The Red Fire Fly, broke new ground when it was released with its own soundtrack. The combination of music with a novel adds a third dimension by letting the readers hear the background of the scenes. His second novel, Eternal Patrol, tells the story of a submarine that disappeared during WWII and resurfaced 70 years later. A story so detailed, it will make the reader feel as though they are inside a navy sub during the war. His first venture into zombie apocalypse is The Village of Dead Souls. A different perspective recounted through the eyes of the undead.

Review: The Universe Builders by Steve LeBel

We have all heard of the fabled perfect being, the Greek God. 

Well, how about a geek god? Named Bernie, yet. Fresh with his diploma from God School, determined but unsure, bright but without confidence, Bernie faces the challenge of building his own universe. If only it were that easy... 

An old school rival will do whatever it takes to ensure Bernie's failure, even if it means destroying his world. 

Get ready for a battle of good and evil between gods where only one of them plays by the rules. The noose tightens around Bernie's neck as the stakes are driven higher, threatening to cost him everything unless he can outwit his evil foe. 

A fascinating tale of good vs. evil and a young hero on a journey of self-discovery in an original, humorous, fantastic wrapper.

Received for review.

With a bumbling universe builder and his fellow god who just wants to see him fail this sounded like a fun read and it was.  It's basically the story of one jealous boy trying to hurt another (the standard good versus evil) but it has elements of humor and kindness that are missing in many books of this sort.

This was an entertaining and worthwhile read and I certainly recommend it.

★★★☆☆ = Liked It

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Friday, November 14, 2014

Featured Book: Kakos 401 Haiku Poems by Kakos Kakos

About the book:

In the annals of mankind, philosophers have offered wisdom about the purpose of life and man’s place in the universe, whereas poets explore the nuances of life itself. The role of the poet is to illuminate experience. The poet sings of his love for freedom, and in turn, he is indebted to the soldier, who is the protector of freedom. Kàkos left Greece, his homeland, where philosophy and poetry have thrived for 4000 years to come to the new world of America, where he served as a soldier, and was blessed by all three of the special attributes of poetry. Kàkos’ bloodline of Greek wisdom and lyricism became infused with the tradition of haiku, a poetic form that originated in China prior to the age of Confucius, and eventually arrived in Japan. The Japanese poets loved haiku poetry, and had the honor of bringing this literary form to a higher level, circa the 11th century. Haiku did not arrive in Europe until the 1830s, and it came to America in the 1880s. The elegant attenuation of haiku deeply inspired Kàkos, who found it reminiscent of the Greek saying that “a thought-provoking poem is worth more than a thousand pictures.” Kàkos’ 401 Haiku Poems brings the ancient traditions of Greece and Japan together to create a unique aesthetic, emotional, and spiritual experience.

About the author:

Chris George Demopoulos, who writes under the pen name Kakós Kàkos, is a longstanding and proud resident of Southern California. A pioneer in the computer industry in the 1960s, Demopoulos later became an entrepreneur, chess player, writer, poet, and philanthropist. He is married, with three children, and is currently working on his next book.

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Thursday, November 13, 2014

Review: Copycat by David Yow

David Yow's cat portraits, captured here for the first time in book form, are bold, striking, hilarious, and beautiful. Each portrait is based around a pun, but they capture so much more than wordplay. All cat lovers will find something to relish in this gorgeous coffee-table book, which is the perfect gift for cat enthusiasts, animal lovers, and anyone with a playful sense of humor. 

About the book, David Yow says: "I love cats. Always have. The only time I didn't have a cat was a brief hell in Chicago where I lived in an apartment whose landlord didn't allow them. At that place, I had a life-sized cardboard cutout of a cat which I named Toody. I also love wordplay. I'm the only adult I hang out with who still gets a kick out of puns. I make up palindromes. I used to write songs and poems (these days, I leave that for the songwriters and poets); in this book of cat-pun drawings, I have made a concerted effort to come up with ideas that range from really funny to really amusing. The entire litter of animals in this book are line drawings that are 'colored in' with photographic textures, and each cat is dropped into a photographic setting. Yep, that's the truth."

Received for review.

When I first saw this book I thought it had to be cute since a book full of cat cartoons had to be cute.  Sadly, it was not as expected and was just plain bad.

Some of the illustrations were okay, but a good portion passed the line between just plain stupid and completely tasteless.  Catheter, Catcall, Catnip, and Category were among those that made it into the tasteless group.

If you are at all a fan of cats then this is simply not the book for you.  I really cannot recommend it.

★★☆☆☆ = Just Okay

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Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Featured Book: When Caring Takes Courage by Mara Botonis

About the book:

After twenty nine years in healthcare, working throughout the United States in the senior housing industry, Mara's life and career trajectory was forever changed when a close family member was stricken with Alzheimer's. Her everyday work at the national level alongside families coping with the impact of Alzheimer's/dementia as well as countless medical and healthcare professionals specializing in this disease offered unparalleled opportunities to learn from their collective expertise. 

The tools provided can be tailored to fit specific needs and are designed to assist caregivers with all aspects of caregiving. Topics include tips to help with everyday challenges such as bathing, toileting, managing medications, and dealing with difficult behaviors as well as communicating with healthcare professionals, finding affordable care options, and adapting recreational activities. Readers will learn from the best practices and proven techniques widely utilized in Alzheimer’s/dementia care today, in a way that empowers them to personalize their use of these resources.

About the author:

Mara’s passion and life’s work has always been to support families in finding hope and happiness on a day-to-day basis in the face of this devastating disease. She often cites the influence of her beloved Grandfather, Bill, as the inspiration for her commitment to those coping with the impact of Alzheimer’s. 

Mara continues to be a sought after speaker and valued partner in caregiving for families affected by Alzheimer’s/dementia as she shares her positive and empowering message.

Her company, Biography Based Care, offers Alzheimer's caregivers the resources they need to create better, brighter days.

Learn more at:

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Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Book Excerpt: The Andreasson Affair by Raymond E. Fowler

Raymond E. Fowler, author of the book The Andreasson Affair, stopped by to share with us an excerpt from his book.

About the book:

The Classic Case of Alien Abduction Rereleased with a New Afterword for a New Generation

The Andreasson Affair is more than just a classic example of a close encounter. It is--to use the jargon of ufologists--a case of such "high strangeness" that even the most open-minded investigators were at first inclined to dismiss it out of hand. Yet it has become probably the best documented case of its kind to date, the subject of an intensive 12-month investigation conducted for the Center for UFO Studies (CUFOS) that involved, among other things, the recording of large quantities of testimony given under hypnosis, extensive lie detector testing of witnesses, detailed analysis of corroborative circumstantial evidence, exhaustive comparison with other such accounts, and much more.

The Andreasson Affair includes:

  • The most detailed description of any UFO abduction experience.
  • Betty's precise drawings of her experience.
  • A supporting foreword to the book by astronomer Dr. J. Allen Hynek.
  • Verification of all events associated with Betty's experience.

About the author:

Raymond E. Fowler is an international authority on UFOs and has appeared on numerous television shows and networks, including Good Morning America. He has written 11 books on UFOs, has served as director of investigations for the Mutual UFO Network, and has contributed reports to Congressional hearings, military publications, and numerous newspapers, magazines, and professional journals. Fowler is retired in Kennebunk, Maine, where he teaches adult education courses on UFOs and astronomy.

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Monday, November 10, 2014

Featured Book: Lou Lou by Safia Guerras Illustrated by Mai S Kemble

About the book:

Lou Lou loves her life on beautiful Kayla Island, where the beaches are golden sand, and beautiful fish and plants glow like jewels in the coral reef. 

But life on the island is changing. As the climate is impacted by global warming, Lou Lou and her family have to find somewhere else to live. 

Although Lou Lou is very sad to leave, she finds that inspiration and hope are waiting for her—and finding her new home will be the journey of a lifetime! 

Join Lou Lou and her family on their worldwide travels, as they learn how love, community, and courage can come together to do wonderful things!

About the author:

Safia Guerras began writing while expecting her third child. She has always been passionate about the written word and about story-telling. Born in Algeria, Safia travelled extensively through Europe, the USA, Africa and Asia before settling in the Middle East to raise a family. Her own children's sense of adventure and their wonderful ability to connect with others during their travels were an inspiration to her, and she began to work on a story about a little girl who travels around the world interacting with other cultures. Safia created her character Lou Lou after a trip to the Maldives in 2008. She was captivated by the islands, but distressed to find that they were being catastrophically affected by climate change. Drawing on her own experiences and observations, she writes in English (her third language) and works closely with illustrator Mai Kemble.

Find out more at

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Saturday, November 8, 2014

Review: Uprush by Jo Barney

UPRUSH is a story, four stories actually, of four women who come together at a beach house to gossip, laugh and drink wine, only to discover that one of them is determined to kill herself. 

Madge, a writer, has reasons to do so and to ask for their help, and her friends, of course, have reasons to agree - or not. Madge's gift to them is four fictionalized stories of their lives, lives she has followed since they all graduated forty-some years before from a small college on the west coast. Her stories are not finished yet, just as the women are not yet finished. Their stories will not end, but will take new directions by the time the weekend is over. 

This novel celebrates the friendships that endure and nourish even after many years and many miles. This book is designated as a contemporary women's novel.

Received for review.

I liked the idea of this book but it just did not live up to its potential.

The first issue was the editing, or lack thereof.  I really cannot imagine that any editing was performed on this book.  The writing is very clunky and it comes across almost like English is not the author's native language.  The poor sentence structure and word choices just ruin the story.

The story itself has potential but Madge really just came across as a bitter, cruel woman who wanted to cause harm to her friends rather than writing about people she loved.  It all seemed a bit sadistic to me.

Overall I really cannot recommend this.

★★☆☆☆ = Just Okay

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