Friday, February 28, 2014

Book Excerpt & Giveaway: You2preneur by dee VANAD

dee VANAD, author of the book You2preneur, stopped by to share with us an excerpt from his book.



My Baby, She Wrote Me A Letter
by
dee VANAD
(Excerpt from the novel: You2Preneur)

You’re gearing up to do a lot of business. If you are like most people, a face/face (face to face meeting) and then possibly a hand bump (more germs are transferred with the common handshake, then there are visible stars in the nighttime sky) is always preferable. If a face/face is not desired or possible, there are many more options. Cellphones allow us to do business from an airplane, the beach or a boat, a mall or nightclub, the golf course or an amusement park ride. Emails, texting and electronic pads travel with us everywhere. All of these mentionables and more, are wonderful for moving our You2Preneurial endeavors forward at a pace designed to accommodate fast, faster and warp-speed.

Still, the memorialization of agreed terms, proposals of important ideas, the concept of demands coupled with terms of acceptance, things like written propositions and communications . . . are now and always will be the way that we keep our understanding of what we set out to accomplish with someone else – safe and protected. After all, if we don’t watch our own backs, who will? Writing it down simply offers a person the chance to really think about what is to be said, including nuances like fine-tuned phraseology, emphatic terms and clauses – and the exact chronological order in which the ideas will be presented to the reader/recipient(s).

I can’t forget the time my office intercom beeped. I was corporate counsel for a large insurance company and it was the CEO calling. “I need you in my office on a project.” Responding that I’d be right there, the walk across the office complex gave me a couple minutes to wonder about what was up. Did we get sued? Was a take-over threat perceived? Were we about to go head to head with a national provider/competitor? Maybe we were about to go on the offensive and file a lawsuit against a target.

I sat down at the top-dog’s desk. He was always pleasant to deal with and interesting to talk to. In his case, good looks and good fortune produced a genuine human being who liked having interpersonal relationships on a business level: “I need you to write a letter for me.” There’s a first time for everything and I was on it with expected anticipation. “What’s the legal scenario,” I wondered out loud. “It’s not legal,” came the somewhat surprising reply. My boss went on to quickly explain that he needed to correspond with a business associate over what turned out to be a rather bland set of fairly commonplace business particulars.

I guess the look on my face gave away the fact that I really didn’t understand why he needed me on an elementary task that seemed so far beneath my talents. “I want this to sound intelligent, and I knew you’d be the right man for the job,” was sort of the ending part of a quick meeting where, when you find yourself in this type of situation – one just sort of nods one’s head up and down a few times, knowingly. I assured him he’d have it on his desk pronto.

What I wrote really doesn’t matter, because the point is that what happened next shocked me. I spit the letter out into my Dictaphone; my secretary typeset it; I proofed it and had it shot over to the company’s fearless leader. It wasn’t more than a few minutes and he called me. “I like your letter in general, but why all the big words,” he wanted to know? Surely, he hadn’t run into a problem understanding the letter, which I knew flowed rather nicely. He’d married into this family-run business, as big as the company was . . . but still, the man had to have some sort of a formal education. I pulled the letter I wrote, purportedly from him to his associate. The biggest word from start to finish was: ‘distinguished’. How do you tell a college-educated CEO who is helping run a multi-billion dollar nationally-known insurance company, that the letter he is describing is simplistic, clean, free of legalese . . . and that going any simpler with it meant that I might have considered consulting my grade-school-aged daughter?

Thinking it over for a few moments lead me to the realization that the problem I’d been called in to solve had little to do with content. Whittling it down, I figured my boss realized he needed a short lesson in the art of communicating in the written form. In other words, he now intended to write the entire content of the letter himself and use my format to produce a polished look.

Most people take getting a business letter out, for granted. One really doesn’t think too much about it until there’s a need for the perfect combination of written words to make an impressive visual presentation on someone’s screen or even on a piece of paper. Like photographic snapshots – there are some that are good and many that stink. A letter makes an overall appearance on behalf of the author. With that appearance comes a certain ‘feel’ that is picked up by just about anyone who ends up reading what you wrote. It’s not just the words themselves. A letter is a picture of words and like the old saying goes . . . every picture tells a story. My boss knew that much. And he felt uncomfortable enough with his own skills, to call upon a corporate lawyer to author his own non-legal, simple business communique’.

Your business letter is best if you simply ask yourself what you would like to read, if you were the person getting your letter. Mistakes in this arena are made all the time. Correction of errors caused by lack of clear foresight, absence of reality, laziness or just plain haphazardness – takes a little training.

*In my next installment, with the approval and invitation of BethsBookReviews.com – I have some great examples and all of the keys to ensure your next written communication or documentation … sparkles. dee VANAD



About the book:

Through an irreverent, whimsical and always entertaining style of storytelling, You2Preneur takes us on a journey. This includes an introduction to a master revelation from a colorful and crusty circus mid-way barker. A professor appears who is all theatrical thespian with his tortured delivery of black-letter law. Angels descend from the heavens to intercede in much beyond matters of life and death, including the future of a weathered 1964 National electric guitar. Self-deprivation writhes and rises up to hunt down and harpoon a back-monkey. Open these pages to the immediate thrill of a maniacal toboggan ride, while midgets look on with pleasure. A glowing cigarette coal brings 40 years of alma mater banishment; but do not give into the temptation to judge a lifetime ban as a bad thing, necessarily.

Your curiosity, passion and driving desire to launch you as a brand is the engine that You2Prenuer was created to fuel. This is not a business-tips treatise, nor is it a self-help manual, because for concrete formulas - the soul cares not. Human desires reside therein, and it's the soul from where they boil forth.

All of life's best was waiting for VANAD to claim it. Then launch from it.

You2.



About the author:

dee VANAD had his first novel, You2Preneur – Twelve Nuts Torqued for Maximum Life Momentum published recently. The popular book is available in hardbound, softbound and Ebook formats on Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com, AuthorHouse.com and wherever finer books are sold. The book is able to be visited on its own website: You2Preneur.com

VANAD is a well-known trial lawyer based in Columbus, OH. Two years ago, he took much of what appears in his book to heart, to follow some of his yet unfulfilled dreams. A longtime musician, he was asked to join a rock band in order that the Central Ohio group could travel to the world famous Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in Sturgis, SD – to entertain the throngs. With his wife’s permission, he did that … and went on to perform with the same band throughout Central Ohio and then again the following year for a return week of performances at the Sturgis Rally. He has expanded his horizons now, while keeping involved with the law – to deliver entertaining and engaging public speaking appearances throughout the country, loving the travel and adventures on the road with his wife of 22 years – Beth. VANAD continues to deliver blazing public appearances performing as lead guitarist for a variety of rock and country rock musical acts, as well. Lately, calls are coming from some in Washington, DC who at this point, will remain anonymous. It seems that the lawyer’s skills as a poignant, thoughtful and entertaining writer … have caught the attention of several national leaders in need of his services. But whether a household move is in the offing presently, or not – he would love your access and review of what he predicts is just the first of many more novels to come from – the VANAD. Two fiction novels are presently underway. Stay tuned.



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Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Review: The Vintage Teacup Club by Vanessa Greene

Three women’s lives are about to change because of a few delicate pieces of china...

When Jenny Davis comes across a beautiful vintage tea set at an outdoor market in the English countryside, she’s convinced it’s fate. A young bride on a budget, she has her heart set on a vintage tea-party theme for her wedding—and the gorgeous gold-rimmed china before her is perfect. There’s only one problem. Two other women have fallen in love with it, too. So they come up with a solution: They’ll share it.

They establish a sisterhood, sharing the ups and downs of their lives—from broken hearts and weddings, to family drama and career dreams. When a figure from Jenny’s past threatens to ruin her big day, Alison’s teenage daughter pushes her to the limit, and Maggie’s romantic life is thrown into turmoil, the members of the Vintage Teacup Club band together—proving their newfound friendship will last a lifetime.



Received for review.

I'm not normally a huge fan of Chick Lit, but the combination of a tea set and the English countryside was just too much for me to pass up.

I actually didn't particularly like or identify with any of the characters, which is really never a good sign.  I just didn't really connect with any of them so my enjoyment of the book suffered a bit from that.

The idea of a group of women sharing a vintage tea set was intriguing and, frankly, more than a bit reminiscent of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants.  I came to discover that that's really what it was.  It was a Sisterhood of women at different stages of their lives and living in England.  It didn't have the emotional impact of the The Sisterhood but it was well written enough to make it a tolerable read.

If you enjoy Chick Lit this will most likely prove to be an enjoyable read for you.

★★☆☆ = Liked It



Featured Book: Musika by Alberto Herrera



About the book:

Matisse, an Intuitive young boy,discovers music while feeding his beloved birds. Little did he know that the simple act of love he showed for his birds, would change the world with music forever!


About the author:

Nationally Known Contemporary artist Alberto Herrera is known for his use of color and depiction of Latino culture. Particularly his own Mexican ancestry and heritage. Alberto is the Artist in Residence at Fruitvale Middle School in Bakersfield CA. He makes his home with Elizabeth,young son Matisse and their dog Cooper.



Monday, February 24, 2014

Featured Book: Mississippi Docking by Vivian B.H. McAfee



About the book:

Broken hearts and fairy tales, dark days and bright nights will take you along the Mississippi Gulf River as you journey through Mississippi Docking. No skillet is left unturned in this collection of short stories and poems about the traditional South. Inspired by the journeys of traveling down the Mississippi River, you'll be carried away to experience what it's like on the Mississippi Dock.


About the author:

Both an artist and an author, Ms. Vivian B.H. McAfee prides herself in southern traditions. Born in Jackson, Mississippi, Ms. McAfee has taken her work all across the state of Mississippi. She has been featured in the Jackson Free Press, and participated in Arts Alive, The Farish Street Festival, Tougaloo Art Colony, and numerous art exhibits. As the mother of four beautiful children, Ms. McAfee has been able to establish her own family traditions. This book is one of many that the author hopes you'll be inspired to share with your families as well.




Sunday, February 23, 2014

Book Blast & Giveaway: I Want Your Body, Candy Starr by Tom Kempinski




Joe Andretti is a hospital porter living in New York, an eager member of the fan club of movie superstar, Candy Starr. One fine day, the way these things go in life, he suddenly snaps during a particularly boring session of the fan club and decides that instead of messing around looking at Candy’s movies and assessing her artistic qualities, he is going to drop everything and fly to Hollywood, and get to know Candy in the biblical sense.

However and alas, Life thwarts him at every turn. Each moment that he takes a step towards meeting his heart’s desire, little things and big things get in his way. He finds he owes his landlord money, and so must work weeks and hours of overtime to pay off the debt. And so it goes on. However much he plans and prepares, he seems glued into a world without Candy. Does he make it in the end and attain eternal happiness? Well does he?



About Tom:

Tom Kempinski was an actor, then a playwright for 33 years, during which he had 40 plays produced, 4 in the West End of London, 1 at the National Theatre of G.B., won and was nominated for Best Play Awards, had plays produced in 40 countries.



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Review: A Taste Fur Murder by Dixie Lyle

Introducing an animal-loving Gal Friday with a telepathic cat, a shapeshifting dog, and a ghost of a chance of solving supernatural crime…

Meet Deirdre “Foxtrot” Lancaster. Trusted employee of eccentric zillionairess Zelda Zoransky, Foxtrot manages a mansion, a private zoo, and anything else that strikes her boss’s fancy. Her job title is Administrative Assistant, but chaos handler would be more accurate. Especially after she glimpses a giant ghost-beast in Zelda’s pet cemetery. For some strange reason, Foxtrot is seeing animal spirits. And, ready or not, in this mystery from Dixie Lyle, the fur’s about to hit the fan…

A TASTE FUR MURDER

Still reeling, Foxtrot comes home to find her cat Tango—her dead cat Tango—alive and well and communicating telepathically. But that’s not all: There’s an ectoplasmic dog named Tiny who changes breeds with a shake of his tail…and can sniff out a clue like nobody’s business. So when a coworker drops dead while organizing closets, Tiny is on the case. Can Foxtrot and her new companions ferret out the killer among a menagerie of suspects—human and otherwise—before death takes another bite?



E-galley received for review.

As soon as I saw the title I just knew I had to read this!  Despite the rather odd premise (a woman who sees the spirits of animals) it was a delightful and charming read.

I really liked Foxtrot, and her relationships with both Tiny and Tango were so sweet.  As a dedicated animal lover the entire idea of the animal graveyard and its activities was lovely and it was handled so beautifully that you just knew that the author is an animal lover as well.

The mystery itself was intriguing and well thought out.  The cast of suspects was intriguing and each was quite well developed.

I highly recommend this and look forward to reading more books in the series!  It will be a treat to visit with Foxtrot, Whiskey, and Tango again!

★★★★ = Really Liked It



Saturday, February 22, 2014

Giveaway: Above All Things by Tanis Rideout

1924. George Mallory is arguably the last great British explorer, having twice tried—and failed—to conquer Mount Everest. The mountain has haunted him, but his attempts have captivated the hearts of a nation desperate to restore its former glory after World War I. Yet George has sworn to his wife, Ruth, that he will not mount a third attempt. He will remain with her and their three children instead of again challenging the unreachable peak.

Then, one afternoon, Ruth reads a telegram addressed to George: “Glad to have you aboard again.” And with this one sentence, the lives of the Mallorys, and the face of the nation, are irrevocably changed.

A beautifully rendered story about the need for redemption and the quest for glory, Above All Things is a captivating blend of historical fact and imaginative fiction. It is a heartbreaking tale of obsession, sacrifice, and what we do for love and honor.




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

US Only. No PO Boxes.

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Friday, February 21, 2014

Giveaway: The Fever Tree by Jennifer McVeigh

With a perceptive and penetrating narrative, McVeigh unspools the story of Frances Irvine, a young Englishwoman forced by hopeless circumstance to immigrate to the Cape in pursuit of a reluctant marriage. There she discovers a strange new world where greed and colonial exploitation are bringing vast wealth to some and dire misery to countless others. As she struggles to find her place in this inhospitable land, Frances tethers her fate to two very different men: one serious and idealistic, the other charming and ambitious. When a smallpox epidemic threatens the financial dynasty of the most powerful Englishman in South Africa, Frances will be cast into a vortex of dangerous consequences—and find an unexpected, purposeful path.

A sweeping novel of romance and South African history that has been compared to Gone with the Wind, The Thorn Birds, and Out of Africa, THE FEVER TREE is an epic, heart wrenching tale not to be missed.




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

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Guest Post: Susan Shumsky author of The Power of Auras

Susan Shumsky, author of the book The Power of Auras, stopped by to share with us a piece she wrote.






About the book:

Are you a psychic sponge? Do external influences drain and deplete your energy? The Power of Auras shows you how to cleanse, strengthen, lift, and expand your aura and experience greater energy, love, and happiness through simple, proven, and effective methods.

Thousands of people have found this book invaluable—especially those in the holistic health field who use its methods in their daily practice. This new edition will bring the message of self-sufficiency to even more people who desperately need greater strength during this time of change.

With this book, you will learn how to:
  • See or sense auras
  • Develop spiritual self-defense and protection
  • Increase power, balance, focus, and clarity
  • Heal and release dense vibrations
  • Release attachments and addictions
  • Cut psychic ties and cords


About the author:

Susan Shumsky, DD, author of eight books published by Simon & Schuster, Random House, and New Page Books, has spent more than 45 years teaching meditation, yoga, prayer, affirmation, and intuition. Her book titles include Exploring Meditation, Ascension, Miracle Prayer, Instant Healing, Divine Revelation, The Power of Chakras, and How to Hear the Voice of God. A long-time close associate of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi--founder of Transcendental Meditation and guru of the Beatles and of Deepak Chopra--Dr. Shumsky is a highly acclaimed and greatly respected spiritual teacher, award-winning author, retreat leader, tour guide to sacred destinations, and founder of Divine Revelation®--a unique technology for clearly hearing and testing your intuition. Her website is divinerevelation.org.




Thursday, February 20, 2014

Book Spotlight & Giveaway: Retail Marketing Management by Claudia Buhamra Abreu Romero




Born from studies and the experiences of its author, Retail Marketing Management provides guidelines, concepts, and practices of marketing, with a special focus on retail management. The guidelines aim to encourage and facilitate the development of marketing strategies that enable organizations to achieve greater competitive power and build brands that are respected and valued in the market, while the concepts are intended to give the theoretical background to the practices commented on and suggested here. As the language is accessible and direct, the work has the advantage of proposing immediate solutions for business, especially for market professionals who are eager for results and have no time for heavy academic reading. Moreover, the teachings contained herein are also useful to students and teachers who wish to enhance their knowledge about marketing. Application This book is recommended for professionals and academics from different areas and can be used for reading in business environments, and as part of the literature of technology courses for undergraduate and postgraduate studies in business administration and marketing.



About Claudia:

The book by Professor Claudia Buhamra reflects the intense conceptual and practical knowledge of the author, and offers a valuable contribution to retailers of all sizes and industries. This work includes a very complete range of themes for marketing retailer, bringing a wide range of practical examples which are analyzed and updated illuminated by solid marketing concepts. Structured in a very didactic way, and in a language accessible to different levels of the company, the text facilitates learning and the practical exercise of the themes of retail marketing. I recommend this excellent book to all retailers who responsibly seek to win the hearts and minds of their consumers. Preface by Prof. Juracy Parente, PhD. Professor at Fundação Getúlio Vargas – EAESP/FGV Sao Paulo, Brazil.



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Guest Post: Dean Koontz at the Movies by Spencer Blohm

Dean Koontz at the Movies
by Spencer Blohm

If you’re familiar with Beth’s Book Reviews, odds are you’re familiar with the work of Dean Koontz, since both he and his writing have been discussed here many times in the past. However, this time the discussion is about Koontz and his work in a different medium. Fans of the author’s may be familiar with his best-selling Odd Thomas series, which revolves around a young man named Odd who can communicate with the dead and also see bodachs, demonic ghosts whose presence signals imminent death and suffering.

What many fans may not be aware of is that Odd Thomas has already been made into a film, and though production wrapped up in 2011/2012, it’s only just now being released. The film has been in the news for months due to the current legal fighting between the producers and financial benefactors, which has led to a complete marketing failure for the movie. The producers allege that the financiers never provided them with the agreed upon $35 million to help market, promote, and distribute the film. When the lawsuit hit, the film was stopped dead in its tracks and it suddenly became doubtful the film would ever see the light of day. Now, however, the film is available exclusively through DirecTV video on demand as well as their online streaming services (details here), with a DVD release date for this spring.

The drama surrounding this film is no doubt a disappointment for Koontz, who has yet to see any film adaptations of his books (there are 15 so far) become major hits. What made Odd Thomas such a promising film was the possibility of it evolving into a film franchise with multiple installments, since there are six books in the series, as well as the relatively large cult following the books have online. With other sci-fi and paranormal book series becoming massive international film hits, Hunger Games and the upcoming Divergent being prime examples, Koontz, no doubt, hoped for a similar response from his own fan base. For a while the film showed great promise: it had an attractive newcomer in the lead role (Anton Yelchin of Charlie Bartlett and Star Trek fame), some well-known names like Willem Dafoe and Patton Oswalt, a blockbuster director (The Mummy’s Stephen Sommers), and the supernatural element that all popular film series seem to have today. However, despite all its potential, the film looks like yet another flop for Koontz.

Koontz’s novels have been adapted to film since the late 70’s when Christopher Frank adapted his novel Shattered into the French film Les Passagers. Since then, many screenwriters have tried time and time again to adapt Koontz’s work into films. There have been big stars attached to his work, a few examples are Ben Affleck, Jeff Goldblum, Alicia Silverstone, Rose McGowan, and Julie Christie. But it appears no star power has been enough to draw in the crowds. The last theatrical adaptation of his work was in the 90’s, with the most recent adaptations of his work appearing in the realm of made for TV movies.

So, why can’t Koontz’s work draw in moviegoers? It might be his trademark genre crossing that make so many people enjoy his books, but uninterested in his films. Koontz is an author who isn’t bound to one specific genre. He’s able to mix action, horror, paranormal activity, science fiction, satire, mystery, and suspense. While these combinations make his novels edgy and difficult to put down, the extensive plot lines in his books are unable to properly unfold on screen. While a Koontz novel may take you days, weeks, or months to finish, a movie with the same storyline has less than two hours to do the same. This usually results in an almost schizophrenic plot line that leaves viewers confused.

He isn’t a romance writer like Danielle Steele or a legal thriller writer like John Grisham. What makes him such a great author, namely his ability to cross and combine genres, appears to be his downfall in films, and until a filmmaker is willing to take the time to create longer films (as has been done with other lengthy novels) it’s unlikely Koontz will see a novel properly handled on screen.




Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Book Spotlight: The Billionaire's Demands by Addison Fox

Booth Harrison has made a habit of getting what he wants, be it a new addition to the Harrison media empire, or a better relationship with his half-brother.  But meeting his brother’s new sister-in-law, Camryn McBride, poses a new challenge.  The savvy CFO of McBride Media has a brain he wants to pick…and a body he needs to claim.

Camyrn has spent the past few years helping to rebuild her family’s magazine company, focusing on that rather than her disastrous personal life.  But when Booth Harrison invites her to be the keynote speaker at a sales conference in Hawaii, she’s tempted to combine business with pleasure.

But meeting the billionaire’s demands won’t be easy, because someone doesn’t want a merger between them to happen.



About Addison:

Addison Fox can’t remember a time when words weren’t part of her life. An avid reader, her love of the written word started at the tender age of one with The Owl and the Pussycat by Edward Lear (a poem she could recite by heart to any family member who would listen.) Dr. Seuss, C.S. Lewis, Judy Blume and a host of others quickly followed until she discovered THE CLAN OF THE CAVE BEAR by Jean M. Auel while writing a paper at the library in the seventh grade. Although not a classic romance, Ayla and Jondalar’s love story moved her firmly into the romance section and she hasn’t looked back!

Addison writes paranormal and contemporary romance for NAL, category-length romantic suspense for Harlequin Romantic Suspense and category-length contemporary romance for Entangled Indulgence.

Addison lives in Dallas. She loves to get email from readers.

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Goodreads



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Featured Book: Military Fly Moms by Linda Maloney



About the book:

Military Fly Moms is a gorgeous coffee-table book with a collection of true stories by seventy women who shared the same two dreams-becoming a military aviator, and being a mom. The first few women, who, in the seventies, took their places in the world of all-male military aviation, paved the way for other women to follow. From flying during the Cold War to rescue missions during Hurricane Katrina to flying in combat during the current war on terror, these gutsy women-our nation's sisters, daughters, neighbors, friends, and, yes, even moms-have done it all.

Illustrated throughout with 75 stunning color photos, Military Fly Moms depicts women aviators in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard alongside their helicopters, transport aircraft, or fighter planes, as well as highlighting their families. These stories and their accompanying photographs weave a beautiful tapestry, passing on a lasting legacy to inspire future generations to reach for their dreams.



About the author:

Linda Maloney, one of the first women in U.S. history to join a combat military flying squadron, is a retired military aviator and officer and a recipient of numerous military awards, including the distinguished air medal for combat, awarded for flights flown over Southern Iraq in support of the no-fly zone during her deployment to the Arabian Gulf. Along with her passion to share the stories from Military Fly Moms, Linda is a motivational speaker highlighting the importance of passing down a lasting legacy to future generations. She is also actively involved in several mentoring programs in which she encourages young people, especially young women, to reach beyond the boundless ceiling of success. She recently started My Mom Flies, a women/mom focused company, which encourages and supports moms who are managing family and career priorities while striving to achieve balance and margin in their lives. She currently lives in Rhode Island with her husband, Dan, and two young sons.




Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Review: The Girl You Left Behind by Jojo Moyes

From the New York Times–bestselling author of Me Before You, a spellbinding love story of two women separated by a century but united in their determination to fight for what they love most.

Jojo Moyes’s bestseller, Me Before You, catapulted her to wide critical acclaim and has struck a chord with readers everywhere. “Hopelessly and hopefully romantic” (Chicago Tribune), Moyes returns with another irresistible heartbreaker that asks, “Whatever happened to the girl you left behind?”

France, 1916: Artist Edouard Lefevre leaves his young wife, Sophie, to fight at the front. When their small town falls to the Germans in the midst of World War I, Edouard’s portrait of Sophie draws the eye of the new Kommandant. As the officer’s dangerous obsession deepens, Sophie will risk everything—her family, her reputation, and her life—to see her husband again.

Almost a century later, Sophie’s portrait is given to Liv Halston by her young husband shortly before his sudden death. A chance encounter reveals the painting’s true worth, and a battle begins for who its legitimate owner is—putting Liv’s belief in what is right to the ultimate test.

Like Sarah Blake’s The Postmistress and Tatiana de Rosnay’s Sarah’s Key, The Girl You Left Behind is a breathtaking story of love, loss, and sacrifice told with Moyes’s signature ability to capture our hearts with every turn of the page.



Received for review.

I recently finished another book by the author, Me Before You, and was quite impressed.  The author clearly has a talent so I was intrigued to check out this, her latest release.

I'm not normally a huge historical fiction fan, but the writing really drew me into Sophie's story and her world of wartime France.  I wasn't quite as enthralled by the present day component of the story in Liv's tale, frankly because I spent a large part of her story disliking Paul and his connections with returning art stolen during wartime to its "rightful" owners.  While this was a fascinating and thought provoking aspect to the story it left me angry most of the time.  I simply could not agree with Paul and his actions.  The moral aspects of his business are certainly controversial.  This completely overshadowed the romantic aspects of the book for me.

Overall, this was a very well written book with a very believable story.  While I didn't like some of the characters it was definitely still worth the time to read.

I definitely recommend this to historical fiction fans.  The book is clearly well researched and has a very realistic feel that you will appreciate.

★★★★ = Really Liked It



Monday, February 17, 2014

Giveaway: A Fall of Marigolds by Susan Meissner

A beautiful scarf, passed down through the generations, connects two women who learn that the weight of the world is made bearable by the love we give away....

September 1911. On Ellis Island in New York Harbor, nurse Clara Wood cannot face returning to Manhattan, where the man she loved fell to his death in the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire. Then, while caring for a fevered immigrant whose own loss mirrors hers, she becomes intrigued by a name embroidered onto the scarf he carries…and finds herself caught in a dilemma that compels her to confront the truth about the assumptions she’s made. Will what she learns devastate her or free her?

September 2011. On Manhattan’s Upper West Side, widow Taryn Michaels has convinced herself that she is living fully, working in a charming specialty fabric store and raising her daughter alone. Then a long-lost photograph appears in a national magazine, and she is forced to relive the terrible day her husband died in the collapse of the World Trade Towers…the same day a stranger reached out and saved her. Will a chance reconnection and a century-old scarf open Taryn’s eyes to the larger forces at work in her life?



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

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Featured Book: A Cry in The Night by Mary S Brown-Durr



About the book:

Canton, Mississippi, Madison County, the New City of Lights Was Once a City Saturated with Murder, Hatred, Violence, and Darkness During the Early Years. A Cry in the Night is based on the life and murder of an 18-year-old civil rights worker in the small, sleepy town of Canton, Mississippi, during the early ’60s.


About the author:

I was born in Belzoni, Mississippi in 1953. The family moved to Madison County ten miles west of Canton, Mississippi in 1956. However, school years were spent at Cameron Street Elementary, Rogers Junior-Senior Colored, and Canton Public High Schools. I received an extensive education from Mississippi College, Jackson State University, and Walden University. I currently hold degrees in Business Administration and Instructional Design and Technology with a specialist in Training Development and Performance Improvement, an Ed.D. concentration in Educational Technology. My lifetime achievement includes, but is not limited to, the Civil Rights Crusade, business development, curriculum design and development, corporate training, research, program evaluation, instructional design and development, technical writing, competency-based instruction, supervisory/management in customer care instructions, leadership and diversity training, and creative problem solving skills in an Andragogy learning environment.




Sunday, February 16, 2014

Review: The Gift of Adversity by Normal E. Rosenthal, M.D.

The noted research psychiatrist explores how life's disappointments and difficulties provide us with the lessons we need to become better, bigger, and more resilient human beings.

Adversity is an irreducible fact of life. Although we can and should learn from all experiences, both positive and negative, bestselling author Dr. Norman E. Rosenthal, believes that adversity is by far the best teacher most of us will ever encounter.

Whether the adversity one experiences is the result of poor decision-making, a desire to test one’s mettle, or plain bad luck, Rosenthal believes life’s most important lessons—from the value of family to the importance of occasionally cutting corners—can be best learned from it.

Running counter to society’s current prevailing message that “excellence” must always be aspired to, and failure or mistakes of any sort are to be avoided at all costs, Rosenthal shows that engaging with our own failures and defeats is one of the only ways we are able to live authentic and meaningful lives, and that each different type of adversity carries its own challenges and has the potential to yield its own form of wisdom.

Using stories from his own life—including his childhood in apartheid-era South Africa, his years after suffering a violent attack from a stranger, and his career as a psychiatrist—as well as case studies and discussions with well-known figures like Viktor Frankl and David Lynch, Rosenthal shows that true innovation, emotional resilience, wisdom, and dignity can only come from confronting and understanding the adversity we have experienced. Even when life is hardest, there are meanings to be found, riches to be harvested, and gifts that can last a lifetime.

Rosenthal illustrates his message through a series of compact, memorable chapters, each one drawn from episodes in the lives of his patients, colleagues, or himself, and concluded with a take-away maxim on the lesson learned.



Received for review.

This was my first experience with the author so I really had no idea what his particular philosophy was.  Frankly, I was expecting more of a standard self-help book with tips and techniques but this is really more of an autobiography.  Yes, the author does present the lessons he has learned through dealing with life's ups and downs but it's not really something that you can really apply in your own life.  It's filled with rather cliched tidbits such as grudges harming the person holding the grudge more than they harm the other person, and with hard work all your dreams can come true.

I actually found this more than a little annoying.  Yes, the author experienced various challenges in his life, but the book left me with more of a feeling of Oprah or J.K. Rowling looking down their rich noses and saying "If you just work hard enough and hold onto your dream you'll be rich and fabulous like me".  Sure, that's great if you're actually rich, but I think it's more than a little dangerous to tell people to pursue their dreams no matter what.  That you can overcome adversity, blah, blah, blah.  It's just plain wrong to tell someone that they can become a fashion model if they just "dream" it enough.  Well, if you're five feet tall it's just not going to happen.  The author doesn't seem to take this into account.

While potentially motivating for some, I did not find this inspirational in the least.  It was cliched and really did not provide much value to the reader.  I really cannot recommend it.

☆☆☆ = Just Okay



Audiobook Excerpt: Runner by Patrick Lee

Patrick Lee, author of the book Runner, stopped by to share with us an excerpt from his audiobook, as read by Raul Esparza.




Listen to an excerpt here




About the book:

THE NEW YORK TIMES AND USA TODAY BESTSELLING AUTHOR OF THE BREACH LAUNCHES HIS EXPLOSIVE NEW THRILLER SERIES FEATURING FORMER SPECIAL FORCES OPERATIVE SAM DRYDEN – READ BY ONE OF TV AND BROADWAY’S FINEST!

Sam Dryden, ex-Special Forces, lives a quiet life in a small town on the coast of Southern California. Out for a run in the middle of the night, he encounters a young girl on the seaside boardwalk. Barefoot and terrified, she’s running from a group of heavily armed men with one clear goal – to kill her. Dryden learns that the twelve-year old can only remember the past two months, during which she’s been kept in a secret prison by forces within the government. Beyond her own name, Rachel, she knows only that she has a skill that makes her very dangerous to these men and the people in charge of them. Dryden, who lost his wife and young daughter in an accident, agrees to help Rachel try to unravel her own past and make sense of it, and to protect her from the people who are moving heaven and earth to find them both. Although Dryden is only one man, he’s a man with extraordinary skills and experience – as a Ranger, a Delta, and five years doing off-the-book black opps with an elite team. However, as he slowly begins to discover, the highly trained forces on their heels are only part of the danger they must face, because there’s something else in Rachel’s past, something more dangerous, more deadly, than Dryden can even imagine.

The audiobook, read by the extremely talented Raul Esparza, who currently has a recurring role on Law and Order: SVU, brings this already thrilling novel to life with his fast-paced, high energy narration. Esparza’s rough tone and suspenseful pacing contribute additional depth to Dryden and the book’s other characters, making the audiobook the most exciting way to enjoy Lee’s incredible story.




About the author:

Patrick Lee is the author of three previous bestselling novels: The Breach, Ghost Country, and Deep Sky. He lives in Michigan. Visit the author’s website at: www.patrickleefiction.com or on facebook at facebook.com/PatrickLeeFiction.


About the Narrator:

Raul Esparza is a four-time Tony-nominated actor, singer, ad voice artist noted for his award-winning performances in Broadway Shows. His television credits include roles on Medium, Pushing Daisies, and Law & Order: SVU. Recently, narrating the audiobook for Stephen King’s Under the Dome, AudioFile Magazine raved “his impeccable timing keeps the story moving.”




Saturday, February 15, 2014

Book Giveaway: Ethel Merman, Mother Teresa...and Me by Tony Cointreau

Tony Cointreau is an heir of the French liqueur family. His voice took him to the stage, and his heart took him to Calcutta. After a successful international singing career and several years on the Cointreau board of directors, he felt a need for something more meaningful in his life.

Tony’s childhood experiences with an emotionally remote mother, an angry bullying brother, a cold and unprotective Swiss nurse, and a sexually predatory schoolteacher left him convinced that the only way to be loved is to be perfect. This led him on a lifelong quest for unconditional love and for a mother figure.

His first “other mother” was the internationally acclaimed beauty Lee Lehman. Then the iconic Broadway diva Ethel Merman became his mentor and second “other mother.” His memoir describes his close family relationships with both women, as well as his years of work and friendship with Mother Teresa, his last “other mother.”

Tony believes that he had no special gifts or talents to bring to Mother Teresa’s work and that if he could do it, then anyone could do it. All that really matters is a willingness to share even a small part of oneself with others.



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

US Only, No PO Boxes

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Book Excerpt: Written in Ruberah by Christina Greenaway

Christina Greenaway, author of the book Written in Ruberah, stopped by to share with us an excerpt from her book.






About the book:

New York real estate broker Miriam Lewis takes off for a brief getaway to a remote inn on the rugged cliffs of Cornwall. Rest and romance with her boyfriend seem like the perfect cure for a life that appears to be going nowhere, and too fast.
Entering Cornwall, Miriam crosses the River Tamar and glimpses a luminous girl floating in the river. A memory from long, long ago begins to unfold in Miriam's thoughts-something about a promise she made to perform a selfless act of courage. Could it be true? Could she ever rise to such heroism or is it just a hallucination?

While at the inn, Miriam experiences a series of flashbacks from a life she lived in an ancient land called Ruberah. These startling images convince Miriam that she did write the promise and that she must keep it. But to do so, Miriam will have to let go of everything in her life and place her trust in a guide-the river girl-the wise and eternal spirit of the River Tamar.



About the author:

Christina Greenaway, author of "Dream Chaser: Awakening" was born on the rugged land of Cornwall and now lives in the United States. A traveler at heart, Christina may be found anywhere in the world writing the next book in the "Jeweled Intelligence" series.




Friday, February 14, 2014

Book Excerpt: Golden State by Michelle Richmond

Michelle Richmond, author of the book Golden State, stopped by to share with us an excerpt from her book.






About the book:

Perfect for fans of Jodi Picoult, Jacquelyn Mitchard, and Anna Quindlen, Golden State is a powerful, mesmerizing new novel that explores the intricacies of marriage, family, and the profound moments that shape our lives.

Doctor Julie Walker has just signed her divorce papers when she receives news that her younger sister, Heather, has gone into labor. Though theirs is a strained relationship, Julie sets out for the hospital to be at her sister’s side—no easy task since the streets of San Francisco are filled with tension and strife. Today is also the day that Julie will find herself at the epicenter of a violent standoff in which she is forced to examine both the promising and the painful parts of her past—her Southern childhood; her romance with her husband, Tom; her estrangement from Heather; and the shattering incident that led to her greatest heartbreak.

Infused with emotional depth and poignancy, Golden State takes readers on a journey over the course of a single, unforgettable day—through an extraordinary landscape of love, loss, and hope.




About the author:

Michelle Richmond is the bestselling author of The Year of Fog, No One You Know, Dream of the Blue Room, and the award-winning The Girl in the Fall-Away Dress. A native of Alabama’s Gulf Coast, she makes her home in Northern California.




Giveaway: Curl Up and Dye by Sharon Sala

In The Curl Up & Dye no piece of gossip can get past the sassy women who run the Curl Up & Dye salon.

As patron LilyAnne Bronte declares she’s finally ready to move on 11 years after the death of her fiancé to the war in Iraq, the women of the salon take matters into their own hands.

Sala explores the hopelessness within LilyAnne that’s all too relatable, and reveals with honest humor and cutting emotions the realities young American women must face when they lose a partner and try to move on

It’s Sala’s soulful writing that will make readers want to befriend LilyAnne and join the ladies of the Curl Up & Dye in in helping her find love again.



Thanks to the publisher I have one copy to give away!
US/Canada Only.

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Thursday, February 13, 2014

Giveaway: The Last Letter from Your Lover by Jojo Moyes

A heartbreaking, stay-up-all-night novel from the New York Times bestselling author of Me Before You and One Plus One

A Brief Encounter for our time, The Last Letter from Your Lover is a sophisticated, spellbinding double love story that spans decades and thrillingly evokes a bygone era. In 1960, Jennifer Stirling wakes in the hospital and remembers nothing—not the car accident that put her there, not her wealthy husband, not even her own name. Searching for clues, she finds an impassioned letter, signed simply "B," from a man for whom she seemed willing to risk everything. In 2003, journalist Ellie Haworth stumbles upon the letter and becomes obsessed with learning the unknown lovers’ fate—hoping it will inspire her own happy ending. Remarkably moving, this is a novel for romantics of every age.



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

US Only. No PO Boxes.

Enter via the Rafflecopter form below.




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Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Book Blast & Giveaway: What's Up? by Jimmy Gyasi Boateng




Learning the lingo used in the United States can be hard enough for a native speaker, but it’s even more daunting for immigrants. Jimmy Gyasi Boateng, a native of Ghana, has been living in the US since 1978—long enough to successfully adapt to life in a new place. Determining how to use vocabulary has been critical to his success.

Learn how to use certain words and phrases and overcome problems that confront many speakers of English as a second language with this guidebook. You’ll discover how to

• use slang properly—and at the right times;
• adapt to a new style of speaking English; and
• decipher hidden meanings behind certain words and phrases.

You can find out exactly what people are saying and know how you can join the conversation. By understanding the language and employing it properly, you can start down a path that leads to success. Be yourself while discovering how to relate to new people in a new environment through What’s Up?



About Jimmy:

Jimmy Gyasi Boateng, a native of Ghana, served in that country’s parliament for ten years before going to work as a librarian at the State Insurance Corporation of Ghana. He moved to the United States in 1978 and has worked for numerous employers, including serving as an interpreter for the Massachusetts judiciary. He graduated from Rhode Island Trade Shops School earning a diploma in culinary arts as well as a certificate from the New England Gerontology Academy. He has been voted three times to the board of trustees for the American Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers Union Local—1832T.



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Featured Book: When Dreams Come True by Cathy Maxwell



About the book:

Everyone knew the Earl of Penhollow needed a wife, so one thunderous night the villagers gathered together to ask the ocean to deliver a bride to the bachelor lord . . .

When Pierce Kirrier rescues a mysterious beauty from the billowing ocean waves, he has no idea who she is or where she came from. But at first sight of this enchanting maiden, he knows he must claim her for his own. Taking her back to Penhollow Hall, he pampers her like a princess, determined to win her trust and her heart.


For Eden, awakening in an elegant bedchamber in a remote corner of Cornwall is like a perfect dream. In Pierces arms she has discovered true love, true joy, and a passion she never imagined could exist. Yet she knows in her heart that, once her secret past catches up with her, her dreams could be shattered . . . forever.



About the author:

Cathy Maxwell spends hours in front of her computer pondering the question, "Why do people fall in love?" It remains for her the great mystery of life and the secret to happiness. She lives in beautiful Virginia with her children, horses, dogs, and cats.




Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Giveaway: The Widow's Guide to Sex & Dating by Carole Radziwill

The Widow's Guide to Sex and Dating is Carole Radziwill's deliciously smart comedy about a famously widowed young New Yorker hell-bent on recapturing a kind of passionate love she never really had

Claire Byrne is a quirky and glamorous 34-year-old Manhattanite and the wife of a famous, slightly older man. Her husband, Charlie, is a renowned sexologist and writer. Equal parts Alfred Kinsey and Warren Beatty, Charlie is pompous yet charming, supportive yet unfaithful; he’s a firm believer that sex and love can’t coexist for long, and he does little to hide his affairs. Claire’s life with Charlie is an always interesting if not deeply devoted one, until Charlie is struck dead one day on the sidewalk by a falling sculpture ... a Giacometti, no less!

Once a promising young writer, Claire had buried her ambitions to make room for Charlie’s. After his death, she must reinvent herself. Over the course of a year, she sees a shrink (or two), visits an oracle, hires a "botanomanist," enjoys an erotic interlude (or ten), eats too little, drinks too much, dates a hockey player, dates a billionaire, dates an actor (not any actor either, but the handsome movie star every woman in the world fantasizes about dating). As she grieves for Charlie and searches for herself, she comes to realize that she has an opportunity to find something bigger than she had before—maybe even, possibly, love.



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

US Only. No PO Boxes.

Enter via the Rafflecopter form below.


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Book Excerpt: The Widow's Guide to Sex and Dating by Carole Radziwill

Carole Radziwill, author of the book The Widow's Guide to Sex and Dating, stopped by to share with us an excerpt from her book.






About the book:

The Widow's Guide to Sex and Dating is Carole Radziwill's deliciously smart comedy about a famously widowed young New Yorker hell-bent on recapturing a kind of passionate love she never really had

Claire Byrne is a quirky and glamorous 34-year-old Manhattanite and the wife of a famous, slightly older man. Her husband, Charlie, is a renowned sexologist and writer. Equal parts Alfred Kinsey and Warren Beatty, Charlie is pompous yet charming, supportive yet unfaithful; he’s a firm believer that sex and love can’t coexist for long, and he does little to hide his affairs. Claire’s life with Charlie is an always interesting if not deeply devoted one, until Charlie is struck dead one day on the sidewalk by a falling sculpture ... a Giacometti, no less!

Once a promising young writer, Claire had buried her ambitions to make room for Charlie’s. After his death, she must reinvent herself. Over the course of a year, she sees a shrink (or two), visits an oracle, hires a "botanomanist," enjoys an erotic interlude (or ten), eats too little, drinks too much, dates a hockey player, dates a billionaire, dates an actor (not any actor either, but the handsome movie star every woman in the world fantasizes about dating). As she grieves for Charlie and searches for herself, she comes to realize that she has an opportunity to find something bigger than she had before—maybe even, possibly, love.



About the author:

Carole Radziwill grew up in upstate New York and earned a BA at Hunter College and an MBA at New York University. She spent more than a decade at ABC News, reporting from around the world, and earned three Emmys.

Her first book, What Remains, a memoir, spent over twenty weeks on the New York Times bestseller list. She has written for many magazines, including Marie Claire, Harper’s Bazaar, and Glamour. She currently is a star of and "the voice of reason" on Bravo’s The Real Housewives of New York.




Monday, February 10, 2014

Book Spotlight & Giveaway: Love Poems and Musings from an 86 year old Widower by Lester Greenman

This book is written by an eighty six yer old recent widower. The poems and Musings are here to show that age does not diminish love and romance.


Romance
Romance the greatest mental
Gift to mankind.
Yes I said it.
What more wonderful than the
Overwhelming feeling of love.
To be able to be near And to
Smell the scent, to caress the tresses, to
gently hold a hand,
This is rapture at its acme.
When there are times that I Am
Alone without you the seconds
Go painfully slow. To espy you
Again is as if the heavens have
Brought forth the shining sun.
The flowers bloom in all their
Radiance and aromas. To be in love is all. This is a reality made
In heaven.
L.D.G.



About Lester:

Lester David Greenman Born in Brooklyn, N, Y, graduate of East New York Vocational High School. In the merchant marine till the end of World war 2 .Married wife Harriet in 1949. Three children, 6 Grandchildren and two Great-grandchildren. Business man , owned 2 diners then became a builder of homes and commercial real estate. Moved with family to Ottawa, Canada in 1971. my wife passed way in 2012 after 63 years marriage. I now live in a retirement home and am in good health. I have 6 Girlfriends all in pristine friendships. I produce and pay for 2 floor shows a year at my present abode. I enjoy singing and writing. I am now writing a Biography of my father.



Featured Book: California Girl by Terry Huntingdon Tydings



About the book:

On Saturday, June 27, 1959, Terry Huntingdon was crowned Miss California; less than a month later I became Miss United States of America, and two days after that I stood beside Akiko Kojima, Miss Universe, holding the trophy that I had been awarded for delivering the best speech at the pageant. In that address I spoke with great pride of my family background -- ten percent of the immigrants aboard the Mayflower in 1620 were my ancestors. I spoke of my relatives who, two hundred later, crossed the Isthmus of Panama to arrive in San Francisco during the California Gold Rush; and of the ancestors who were the first white people to settle in Wintun Indian territory. I talked about my great, great, grandfather, who had driven the stagecoach from Strawberry Valley to the Oregon border, forging the route now known as Interstate 5. The book then narrates television and motion picture careers during the year of my reign, includes social exchanges with the incomparable Bob Hope, American Bandstand performer, Paul Anka, Groucho Marx, of The Price Is Right, Ricky Nelsen, and his parents, Ozzie and Harriett, Los Angeles Sheriff Peter Pitchiss, Gunsmoke's James Arness, teen-throb crooner Fabian, bandleader Lawrence Welk, photographer Ernest Haas, San Francisco Chronicle columnist, Herb Caen, and my experiences as Hostess for the VIII Winter Olympic Games at Squaw Valley -- a tale laced with irony, humor, and of course romance, including attempts to lose my virginity, and equally passionate attempts to preserve it. The memoir concludes a few days after I relinquished my crown, when I flew back to L.A. to attend a party at the Biltmore Hotel for John F. Kennedy's top supporters following his nomination at the Democratic National Convention. There, I met Maryland delegate Joseph Tydings, who four years later was elected to serve in the United States Senate, and who, following an eight year courtship, became my husband.




About the author:

Terry Huntingdon Tydings' memoirs are informed by her varied, multilayered careers: After reining as Miss California, and Miss United States of America, she worked as an actor in the motion picture and television industries. Modeling assignments took her to New York and Europe. She was a free-lance photographer with the United States government, and a staff member on Capital Hill for California's Senior Senator, Alan Cranston. Following her marriage to United States Senator Joseph Tydings, she became immersed in the world of politics, co-chaired and chaired fund-raising events in our nation's Capitol, and served as scheduler on Senator Gary Hart's 1984 Presidential campaign. In 2011 she enrolled in The Writer's Studio at Stanford University, and was quickly immersed in her life-long passion of writing. She is currently adding finishing touches to her second memoir, Fire In The Head, which she occasionally puts aside to focus on Barbed Wire, a work of fiction. A fifth-generation Californian, Ms. Tydings lives in a century-old cottage overlooking the sea.




Sunday, February 9, 2014

Featured Book: Remnants of the Gods by Erich von Däniken



About the book:

The author of books that have sold more than 63 million copies, Erich von Däniken now reveals startling new evidence that extraterrestrials with superior technology directed the design and construction of built complexes long before the pyramids of Egypt and Mayaland, the temples of Delphi and thousands of years before the ancient civilizations with which contemporary archeologists are familiar. The third in a series of five titles about previously unknown facts of prehistory, Remnants of the Gods: A Visual Tour of Alien Influence in Egypt, Spain, France, Turkey, and Italy lays out compelling proof of how whole continents were surveyed thousands of years ago and hundreds of Stone Age holy places were located at equal distances from one another, forming giant squares and triangles.

Where did the master builders of the massive 1,200 BC Phoenician cities learn complex architectural techniques? Von Däniken finds examples across the entire Mediterranean region and Europe of precisely chiseled and erected megalithic temples, pyramids, obelisks, cities and a vast network of grid lines connecting them, that the people of those times could not have possibly have known how to build.

Within this book, the author answers the question: From whom did primitive Stone Age builders receive this sophisticated architectural and structural engineering knowledge?



About the author:

Erich von Däniken is arguably the most widely read and most-copied nonfiction author in the world. He published his first (and best-known) book, Chariots of the Gods, in 1968. The worldwide best-seller and was followed by 32 more books, including the recent best-sellers Twilight of the Gods, History Is Wrong, Evidence of the Gods, and Odyssey of the Gods (all published by New Page Books). His works have been translated into 28 languages and have sold more than 63 million copies. Several have also been made into films. Von Däniken's ideas have been the inspiration for a wide range of TV series, including the History Channel's hit Ancient Aliens. He lives in Switzerland but is an ever-present figure on the international lecture circuit.




Saturday, February 8, 2014

Audiobook Excerpt: The Odyssey Narrated by Dan Stevens

English stage and screen actor Dan Stevens is set to narrate a new and exciting production of the Fitzgerald translation of The Iliad and The Odyssey for Macmillan Audio. The new programs will go on sale in August 2014, just in time to be included in fall 2014 classroom curriculums.

Robert Fitzgerald's translations of The Iliad and The Odyssey are the best-loved modern translations of the greatest of all epic poems. Since 1961, Fitzgerald’s translation of The Odyssey has sold more than two million copies, and it is the standard translation for three generations of students and poets. Of the many translations published since World War II, only Fitzgerald's has won admiration as a great poem in English.

Macmillan Audio is delighted to publish the new audio editions of these classic works. Fitzgerald's supple verse is ideally suited to the story of Odysseus' battle epic and long journey back to his wife and home, and the melodious narration of the incomparable Dan Stevens succeeds in further electrifying the story. Homer's tale of love, adventure, food and drink, sensual pleasure, and mortal danger is brought to life for English speakers with this perfect combination of translation and reader.

The Iliad and The Odyssey are part of an oral tradition, and although people have been reading them for centuries in written form, audio is actually the original method through which to enjoy these works. In a clear, controlled, and authoritative voice, Dan Stevens brings listeners back to the original method through which Homer’s stories were meant to be absorbed. His narration makes these complex and intricate verses easy for students to comprehend, making them ideal for inclusion in classroom curriculums and study-guides. The programs will be available wherever audiobooks are sold in stores and online.







Dan Stevens is about to start shooting Night at the Museum III. Television credits include Downton Abbey (seasons 1-3), Sense & Sensibility (BBC), Dracula (Granada/BBC), and Frankenstein (Hallmark). Upcoming theatrical releases include The Cobbler, The Guest, and A Walk Among Tombstones. Theater Credits include The Heiress on Broadway and Arcadia in the West End. Previous audiobook narrations include And Then There Were None and Murder on the Orient Express. Stevens was also part of the Judging Panel for the Man Booker Prize in 2012, has contributed a regular column to The Sunday Telegraph, and is the Editor-at-Large for The Junket, an online literary quarterly. He resides in New York.




Book Spotlight: Anybody's Daughter by Pamela Samuels Young

Is Anybody’s Daughter Ever Safe?

Based on the real-life horrors faced by thousands of girls, award-winning author Pamela Samuels Young takes readers deep inside the disturbing world of child sex trafficking in a fast-paced thriller that educates as much as it entertains.

The opening chapter of Anybody’s Daughter introduces readers to thirteen-year-old Brianna Walker. She’s ecstatic because she’s about to sneak off to meet her first real boyfriend—a boyfriend she met on Facebook. But Brianna is in for a horrifying surprise because her boyfriend doesn’t exist. Instead, Brianna unwittingly becomes the captive of a ring of drug dealers-turned-human traffickers who prey on lonely girls from dysfunctional homes. But they’ve made a big mistake in targeting Brianna because she doesn’t meet either of those criteria.

Brianna’s Uncle Dre, a man with his own criminal past, is determined to find the niece who is more like a daughter to him. Rather than sit back and rely on police to bring Brianna home, Dre scours the dark corners of Los Angeles looking for her. He is stunned to learn that the trafficking of children isn’t just happening in other countries. It’s occurring at epidemic levels right in his own backyard.

Dre is not alone in his desperate search. Loretha Johnson knows this world well. A social worker who previously lived “the life,” Loretha now dedicates her time to saving as many young girls as she can find. She turns out to be an invaluable resource for Dre, who ultimately gets a lead on The Shepherd, a mastermind in the trafficking world whose every move is fueled by ego and greed. Dre vows to bring The Shepherd’s reign of terror to an end, even if he has to break the law to do it.

While Brianna makes a futile effort to thwart her captors, Dre is getting closer and closer to finding her. The woman he loves, attorney Angela Evans, knows the dangers faced by sexually exploited children because she represents them in juvenile court. Angela lends her moral support and, eventually, an important clue to Brianna’s whereabouts.

As he races against the clock, Dre ultimately comes up with a daring plan—one that puts many lives in danger, including his own. But will he find Brianna before it’s too late?

Kirkus Reviews called Anybody’s Daughter “A fast-paced, well-written thriller that’s grounded in important social issues.”



About Pamela:

When attorney and author Pamela Samuels Young isn’t practicing law, you can usually find her penning her next legal thriller. Described by one reviewer as “John Grisham with a sister’s twist,” Pamela is an award-winning author of six novels.

Pamela has always abided by the philosophy that you create the change you want to see. Fed up with never seeing women or people of color depicted as savvy, hot shot attorneys in the legal thrillers she read, the Compton native decided to create her own characters. Despite the demands of a busy legal career, Pamela accomplished her ambitious goal by getting up at four in the morning to write before work, dedicating her weekends to writing and even spending her vacation time glued to her laptop for ten or more hours a day. In the process, she discovered her passion.

Her debut novel, Every Reasonable Doubt (2006), won the Black Expressions Book Club’s Fiction Writing Contest, received an honorable mention in the SEAK Legal Fiction Writing Competition and was a finalist for USA Book News’ Best Books of 2006 awards in the mystery, suspense and thriller category. Her second novel, In Firm Pursuit (2007), was honored by Romantic Times magazine as a finalist for Best African-American Novel of 2007. Murder on the Down Low (2008), Pamela’s third release, was an “Editor’s Pick” by Black Expressions magazine and a finalist for the 2009 African-American Literary Awards in the fiction category. The Black Caucus of the American Library Association honored Pamela’s fourth novel, Buying Time (2009), with its 2010 Fiction Award, calling the book “a captivating, suspenseful thriller.” Attorney-Client Privilege (2012) was Pamela’s fifth legal thriller, followed by Anybody’s Daughter (2013), which examines the shocking world of child sex trafficking.

The prolific writer has also penned the short stories Easy Money, featured in the anthology Scoundrels: Tales of Greed, Murder and Financial Crimes (2012) and Setup, selected for the Sisters in Crime anthology, LAndmarked for Murder (2006).

A former journalist, Pamela began her broadcasting career with WXYZ-TV in Detroit and later worked as a news writer and associate producer for KCBS-TV in Los Angeles. Burned out by the news business, Pamela took a big and scary step a few months before her 30th birthday and entered law school—a long-held dream. Pamela currently moonlights as a mystery writer while working full-time as Managing Counsel for Labor and Employment Law for a major corporation in Southern California, specializing in employment law and social media law. Prior to that, she served as Employment Law Counsel for Raytheon Company and spent several years as an associate with the law firm of O’Melveny & Myers, LLP, in Los Angeles.

A graduate of UC Berkeley’s School of Law, Pamela has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from USC and a master’s degree in broadcasting from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. She formerly served on the Board of Directors of the Los Angeles chapter of Mystery Writers of America and is a diehard member of Sisters in Crime-L.A., an organization dedicated to the advancement of women mystery writers. A graduate of Compton High School, Pamela lives in the Los Angeles area and attends Hope in Christ Community Church in Compton.

Pamela is a frequent speaker on the topics of fiction writing, discrimination law and pursuing your passion. To read an excerpt of Pamela’s books or to schedule her for a speaking engagement or book club meeting via speakerphone, Skype, FaceTime or in person, visit her website at www.pamelasamuelsyoung.com or email her at authorpamelasamuelsyoung@gmail.com.