Monday, March 31, 2014

Featured Book: Beneath the Surface by Stanley Yokell



About the book:

Beneath the Surface is an anthology of fictional stories about Scuba divers, their Scuba dives and the people with whom they dove.

The stories are based upon the author's experiences and observations of divers during his more than 600 Scuba dives described in his book, An Old Timer's Scuba Tales, published by Amazon.com in 2011.


About the author:

Stanley Yokell is Professional Engineer who lives in Boulder, Colorado. Like many other Coloradans he has had a full life of outdoor activities. His published books are A Working Guide to Shell-and-Tube Heat Exchangers, Tubular Heat Exchanger Inspection, Maintenance and Repair, written with Carl F. Andreone, The Ship, a book about a Landing Ship Tank that served in the Pacific during World War II, The Ride, written under his pen name S. Israel, a book describing a solo coast to coast bicycle that the author took to celebrate his 59th birthday, Dog Stories, a book about dogs who loved him, House of Mirrors an erotic novella and Love, Sex and Erotic, an anthology, both written under his pen name. He is awaiting publication of Murder on the Mall and The Body in the Park, the next two murder mysteries in his trilogy that revolves about Big Rock Colorado's detective chief Marie Quizno.




Friday, March 28, 2014

Review: Capture the Mindshare and the Market Share Will Follow by Libby Gill

Capture the Mindshare and the Market Share Will Follow reveals how strong branding creates awareness, provides authentic value, motivates others to act, and builds long-term customer loyalty based on trust and respect.

Author Libby Gill helps businesses define and articulate their unique brand promise by exploring case studies and client success stories to help readers master the Six Core Mindshare Methods, including concepts to Clarify, Commit, Collaborate, Connect, Communicate, and Contribute.

Readers will see their relationships deepen, opportunities expand, and careers flourish as they learn to differentiate themselves in a competitive environment by promising and delivering massive value.




Received for review.

I genuinely enjoy reading business related books and this was no different.  The author did a very nice job of bringing the material to the layperson without being condescending.  Her clear, concise approach was refreshing and very readable.

Her ideas, and the stories presented to reinforce them, are applicable in most businesses.  The only issue I had with them was that it many of the suggestions seem to be for established businesses with a larger cash flow.  This is really not for new businesses with a restricted budget.

So, if you are a bit more established with your business or are simply looking for techniques that you can apply when your business has a bit more cash this is the book for you.

★★☆☆ = Liked It



Thursday, March 27, 2014

Review: Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Hard Luck by Jeff Kinney

Greg Heffley's on a losing streak.

His best friend, Rowley Jefferson, has ditched him, and finding new friends in middle school is proving to be a tough task.

To change his fortunes, Greg decides to take a leap of faith and turn his decisions over to chance.

Will a roll of the dice turn things around, or is Greg's life destined to be just another hard-luck story? 


Received for review.

Despite its reputation for being a "boy" book series the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series is a good one for any child.

This latest installment continues Greg's adventures in middle school trying to make friends and dealing with life in general.  This had a cute twist where Greg decides to hand over all decision making to a Magic 8 Ball for a while.  I think we've probably all considered that at one point or another.

The journal format filled with tons of cute illustrations makes for super fast and fun reading.  This is sure to be a hit with kids and I highly recommend it for boys and girls alike.

★★★★ = Really Liked It



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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Featured Book: The Last Buffalo by Ed Kienzle



About the book:

Little Kettle sadly watched the last buffalo fall lifeless to the ground in what he had come to call “The Winter of the Red Snow.” Educated as a lawyer, he has been waging a legal war to protect the buffalo—their killing sanctioned by the Interagency Bison Management Plan in Yellowstone National Park—but he has been unable to stop the carnage. When his nephew Wyman is born, Little Kettle proclaims him the “Keeper of the Buffalo” and instills in him a deep love for the buffalo as he grows. But the boy struggles under the weight of his title. At twelve years old, Wyman sets out on a great adventure in the wilderness of Yellowstone to save the buffalo—a journey driven by his vivid and compelling dreams. With help from his friends Alex and Jacob, a peace pipe, an Indian maiden, and a mysterious shape shifter, Wyman is determined to discover the secret of his dreams and fulfill his role as the Keeper of the Buffalo.



About the author:

Ed Kienzle is an avid outdoorsman, former teacher, and a huge dreamer. He lives in Bar Nunn, Wyoming, and can be contacted at edkienzle@yahoo.com




Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Review: The Revenant of Thraxton Hall by Vaughn Entwhistle

Arthur Conan Doyle has just killed off Sherlock Holmes in “The Final Problem,” and he immediately becomes one of the most hated men in London. So when he is contacted by a medium “of some renown” and asked to investigate a murder, he jumps at the chance to get out of the city. The only thing is that the murder hasn’t happened yet—the medium, one Hope Thraxton, has foreseen that her death will occur at the third séance of a meeting of the Society for Psychical Research at her manor house in the English countryside.

Along for the ride is Conan Doyle’s good friend Oscar Wilde, and together they work to narrow down the list of suspects, which includes a mysterious foreign Count, a levitating magician, and an irritable old woman with a “familiar.” Meanwhile, Conan Doyle is enchanted by the plight of the capricious Hope Thraxton, who may or may not have a more complicated back-story than it first appears. As Conan Doyle and Wilde participate in séances and consider the possible motives of the assembled group, the clock ticks ever closer to Hope’s murder, in The Revenant of Thraxton Hall by Vaughn Entwistle.



E-galley received for review.

I'm a Sherlock Holmes fan so when I came across this I had to check it out.  It sounded intriguing at the very least.  Well, it was intriguing and vaguely entertaining but I wasn't overly impressed.

I think we all know that in real life Conan Doyle was a whiny brat who resented his creation, Sherlock Holmes, but the author harped on it constantly in the book.  Conan Doyle crabbed about how people were horrified when he up and murdered Holmes, whined that he wanted to do "real writing", blah, blah, blah. Of course, you didn't see him giving back any of the money that he made from his creation.  Nope.  Such a tough life Conan Doyle.  Boo hoo.

His whiny attitude in addition to his callous treatment of his wife - she's on her deathbed and he's off to the country to spend a week at a frivolous psychical research retreat and to save a beautiful and young Lady - made him more than a bit unlikable.  Tolerable, but unlikable.

Conan Doyle's Watson was played by Oscar Wilde in all his shameless and tasteless glory. I know the basics of Wilde's shenanigans in real life and this was simply a parody of them.  He was, again, whiny but at least he had some charm while Conan Doyle was just an ass.  There was a lovely scene with Conan Doyle riding in Wilde's coach with Wilde's wife and Wilde's latest flavor of the week and his wife took said flavor shopping with her.  Um, yeah, I don't think so.  So, Wilde was not only a complete jerk in real life, his fictional self was as well.  Oh, and the author has him portrayed as some sort of charming Captain Jack type omnisexual when he was just out and out gay in real life and married a woman and had children with her despite this.  So, he wasn't all that much more sympathetic than Conan Doyle.

In any case, despite the horrible character and behavior of the characters they were written well with just a few continuity and setting related errors in evidence.  The story was reasonably good and rather entertaining, if far fetched.  The "big twist" was a bit obvious, the author is no Conan Doyle himself, but still amusing to see it unfold.

All in all this was a good effort and worth a look.  If you're a hardcore Holmes fan though you may want to give this a pass as the incessant Holmes bashing can quickly become wearying.

★★☆☆ = Liked It



Monday, March 24, 2014

Featured Book: Love Me Two Times by Philip Michaels



About the book:

Love Me Two Times is a poignant, ill-fated, love story that vividly recreates the sights, sounds, thoughts, mood, and tumultuous events of the late 1960s.





About the author:

Philip Michaels writes from personal experience about San Francisco, Berkeley, and Harvard during the dynamic and turbulent late 1960s. Before taking an early retirement to focus on writing, he was an executive for a major financial services firm in San Francisco, where he still resides with his wife.



Sunday, March 23, 2014

Giveaway: Tempting Fate by Jane Green

In Tempting Fate by Jane Green, Gabby and Elliott have been happily married for eighteen years. They have two teenaged daughters; they have built a life together. So why does forty-three-year-old Gabby feel like she has only three more minutes left of youth? Why do her friends so desperately try to hang on to their attractiveness? And why does she ever even look at the handsome guy—ten years younger—at the other end of the bar one night? Gabby is the last person to have an affair—a physical one, at least. But Matt makes her feel sparkling, fascinating—something she hasn't felt in years. Surely there's no harm in continuing a long-distance friendship? Surely there's no harm in an emotional affair? As Gabby steps ever deeper into the allure of attraction and attention things turn perilous. If she makes one wrong move she could lose everything—and find out what really matters most.



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

US only. No PO Boxes.

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Friday, March 21, 2014

Review: Forever Cash by Jack Bosch

There are only two ways to retire young and wealthy:

• Building a pile of cash large enough that can’t be outspent. For many, this is an unrealistic task what would take an entire lifetime. And many who have built it have lost it in a market crash or by squandering it

• Building multiple sources of recurring “Forever Cash” income. These eternal income sources relieve the need for working paycheck to paycheck and create a financial fortress safeguarding from market changes. "Forever Cash" also allows for the luxuries of life without worrying about losing the asset. Each and every month this golden goose replenishes your monetary reserves. This is how the wealthy around the world remain wealthy.

After stumbling upon these principles Jack Bosch escaped the “hamster wheel of financial hell” to retire at the age of 37. He now shares these strategies around the world teaching that anyone—-no matter the situation, working fulltime starting with little money or assets—-can reach financial freedom by following the simple proven strategies laid out in Forever Cash.

Packed with real-world examples of success and struggle this inspirational guide to wealth without quitting your job will show you:

• A completely new way of looking at money

• Why building a mountain of cash to retire on—-“your Number”—-is not working

• Why not all cash is created equal and why "Forever Cash" is the best.

• Why the truly wealthy never run out of money and how neither will you.

• How to thrive in economic uncertainty.

• How to build $50,000 to $200,000 in extra income per year and turn that into financial security forever.

• How to get out of debt and build a financial future without cutting your credit cards.
Forever Cash is a "Real World Blueprint" on how to get from where you are to being financially independent forever in 5 years or less.



Received for review.

I was quite excited to read this book but it was really just a regurgitation of information that everyone who has read investment books already knows.

This is really a collection of remarkably unhelpful information from someone who is already rich.  Yeah, that's great that he can invest in real estate and make millions but the majority of his readers can't or they wouldn't be buying his book.  This book really reminded me of the Rich Dad book series - just invest in real estate and keep starting business and you'll be rich!

What does separate this book from others of its kind is that it does provide some ideas of how you can create a second income source and then use that to do your investing with.

While I had high hopes for this I was quite disappointed and really cannot recommend this.

☆☆☆ = Just Okay



Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Featured Book: Daughters of Twilight by Collette Jackson-Fink



About the book:

A quiet little city in the Midwest town of Waterloo, Iowa is about to come to life...with angels! 

When an earthquake measuring seven hits Waterloo, a huge black pyramid shaped tower pushes it’s way up through a corn field in Blackhawk County spinning the city into the national spot light. 

It’s thought that the “Black Tower” is dormant, but when special tactical teams are sent inside to investigate, special team member Dane Coles is confronted by the impossible...a beautiful creature that has been cursed and cast down into oblivion within the Garden of Eden, using the ‘Black Tower’ as a doorway to the surface....







About the author:

Collette Jackson-Fink has been writing stories since she was 13 years old. She’s written several short stories, poems, a screenplay with some published. A Persian Gulf veteran, Collette works as a Respiratory Therapist at a trauma medical center in her home state of Iowa with her husband of 31years, son Alex, daughter Ashley and four grand-children.




Monday, March 17, 2014

Featured Book: Little Time Capsule by Devonte Gardner



About the book:

“I’m just searching for myself in a little time capsule that remodels itself with each spring that passes by, and I know I’m buried with questions that outnumber the answers, but I can’t find myself the further I dig.” — Devonté

My first poetry collection “Little Time Capsule” captures the most self-reflecting and introspective poetic moments of my young adulthood. In weeding through my old journals and napkin scribbles and online posts to gather enough material for this book, I put together a compilation that I’m hoping will make people smile and want to re-read over and over again. Within these pages are twenty-three unique poems delving into everything from my father’s sudden passing to my struggles accepting myself as an LGBT youth and much more.



About the author:

Devonté is the recipient of the Winifred Farrar Award for English and also the Earl Love Guyton Scholarship which is awarded for showing “promise in the field of communication (demonstrated) through a portfolio.” In 2007 he won first place in the Meridian Community College Literary Review for poetry with the poem “Twisting My Tongue in Pig-Latin” and earned his bachelor’s degree in communication from Mississippi State University in 2012. Here’s a little more about Devonté: He was born in Chicago in 1989 to parents Claudette and Avery but spent his coming of age years in Meridian, MS. He loves maintaining long term friendships and spending time with his beloved grandmother Lee who helped put him through college.




Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Featured Book: Space Gamble Volume 2: War by J. W. Delorie



About the book:

Operator Furgis stood with his hands behind his back staring at the big blue giant planet. However his thoughts traveled elsewhere with concern. He knew after five years of debate from the Earth Tribune, the Solar Council wanted Acela Vega in their custody and they sent their best to accomplish their goals. Marshall Scoop would arrive soon for an arrest warrant with his senior pit boss’s name, and he knew he would not turn her over, even if it meant independence for his orbiting wagering station. His concern also grew with Dr. Gerlitz’s secret weapons research as this caused a lot of unnecessary debate about the legitimacy of his entertainment facility. He also felt excitement as his thoughts turned to the newly announced worm hole discovery past the Kuiper belt, and knowing the new science vessel would stop at Neptune One before exploring the new territory. His thoughts were interrupted by the vid com chime, he already knew it was his future wife, and he also knew she would be asking about Darkstar’s next Mech match, he smiled to himself knowing if Taby won, she would be in the championship match. He turned to the vid com and accepted the link.



About the author:

J.W. DeLorie was born in Boston, Massachusetts, and now lives in Las Vegas, Nevada. In the second installment of the Space Gamble series, J. W. DeLorie uses his casino and engineering education to continue the adventures of Neptune One and her crew, the largest orbiting casino in the solar system. Space Gamble II captures the reader’s imagination as the journey continues with the action and drama unfolding with excitement and glory from the beginning of the Space Gamble universe. J. W. DeLorie continues to use his experience to capture the characters with realistic qualities from the real Vegas in this original novel set in our distant future.




Monday, March 10, 2014

Featured Book: The Viruses and Microbes Within Our Bodies by James B. Hudson



About the book:

We live in an age of paranoia, bombarded daily by the media about the dangers of infectious microbes and viruses that threaten our very existence. The pharmaceutical and biotech industries insist that we are in a continuous state of war with our microbes and we have to protect ourselves with their elaborate weapons of microbial destruction. But do we really need them? Each of our bodies is teeming with trillions of microbes and viruses. Many of them are normal lifetime residents that do us no harm. In fact, some of them are essential to our health.

Microbes and viruses were on the planet long before humans appeared, and we must learn to live in harmony with them. Professor Hudson takes us on a fascinating journey into the world of microbes and viruses, and puts things into perspective in a nontechnical, lighthearted exploration of this amazing microcosm within us all.



About the author:

James Hudson is Professor Emeritus at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, where over the last 45 years he has carried out teaching and laboratory research on many human, animal and bacterial viruses, and the use of safe natural products to keep them under control when necessary. This has included several collaborative projects with institutes in developing countries. He has published more than 150 papers in peer - reviewed scientific journals. Since his semi-retirement from academic life he has lived in peaceful Tsawwassen, British Columbia, with his first and only wife, Louise.



Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Featured Book: Great Falls by John Lopas



About the book:

Great Falls National Park, Virginia: Dakota Wesley drops his kayak into the river’s shallow edge. Below him the waterfalls roar in a maelstrom of nature’s fury. Shaking off last-second jitters, he peels out into the Potomac’s chilly waters, the fast current sweeping his boat downstream and into the realm of no turning back…chasing the big whitewater thrill. But then something goes terribly wrong. When he comes to, Dakota finds that his modern surroundings have vanished. Instead, he discovers the Virginia landscape of an era long past—nearly 150 years earlier—a time torn by civil war. In order to survive, he joins another man’s desperate plight, and together they fend off starvation, foraging parties, and locals who question Dakota’s identity. Desperate to return to his future, Dakota finds hope in the form of a modern gadget, one that can change his fortunes. But it may also lead to his demise… Expertly weaving a passion for the great outdoors with historical events, Great Falls is a unique and compelling new novel of unexpected journeys and chance encounters.






About the author:

John Lopas pursues his passions with an imaginative mind that incorporates his love of art, music, history, and literature. While whitewater kayaking the Potomac River and its tributaries, as well as exploring and hiking through Virginia and Maryland, he found the perfect backdrop for an encompassing tale along the Potomac River in the greater Washington D.C. area. John lives with his wife and two cats in the Baltimore area and is working on his next novel in the series.



Monday, March 3, 2014

Book Spotlight & Giveaway: Lying Dead by Aline Templeton

This moody and arresting thriller is perfect for fans of Tana French.

On a beautiful, eerily quiet May morning, a girl is found brutally bludgeoned to death. When Detective Marjory Fleming arrives, the silence of the scene is broken only by the ringing of the girl's cell phone. The nearby community is small and close-knit, but the veneer of contented prosperity conceals nasty secrets and deep betrayals.

When another corpse is discovered, Fleming quickly realizes she must watch her own back while she searches for the link between the murders. As she uncovers layer upon layer of intrigue and deceit, it becomes apparent that, while the dead can't tell lies, the living most certainly can.



Excerpt

The wind had dropped with the sunrise. It was a beautiful May morning, with the soft, pearly light so typical of the south-west corner of Scotland, but it was cool still; vapour clung to the tops of the trees and there was a sweet, damp, earthy smell after a heavy dew. He got up to have a chilly shower – he must see if something couldn’t be done about the hot-water supply – then dressed in his working jeans and checked shirt and went down the rickety staircase and across the living room to open the door.

The wooden shack, his home since he was freed on licence six months ago, had walls weathered by time and the elements to a soft silvery grey. It stood in a clearing surrounded by rough grass studded with the stumps of felled trees, crumbling and mossy now. Beyond that, a tangle of undergrowth formed a natural enclosure: at this time of year the grass had feathery seed heads and thecreamy flowers of hawthorn and cow parsley gleamed against the lush dark green of nettles and docks. From a snarl of brambles, a robin was shouting a melodious challenge to all comers. Sitting down on the dilapidated bench outside the back door, he drank in the peace and freedom which remained a novelty still.



About the Author:

Aline Templeton grew up in the fishing village of Anstruther, in the East Neuk of Fife. She has worked in education and broadcasting and was a Justice of the Peace for ten years. Married, with two grown-up children and three grandchildren, she now lives in a house with a view of Edinburgh Castle. When not writing, she enjoys cooking, choral singing, and traveling the back roads of France.



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Featured Book: 52! by Michael Wayne Cottle



About the book:

What do you see when you look at a deck of playing cards? Do you see the elegant designs that are drawn on the back of the cards? Do you look right through the deck as they clutter the drawer and your mind wanders to other thoughts of the day? Do you think of the last time that you played a friendly game of Poker or Gin Rummy? Do you see more grains of rice than the richest king can afford to buy? Do you see an infinite number of monkeys typing nonsense on typewriters for all eternity? Do you see eggs lined up until they are in a galaxy far away? Do you ponder questions of life and sometimes simply “the reason for it all”? 52! is a journey to comprehend numbers that are relative to reality and the universe that we live in. It is a mathematical and a spiritual journey to understand the numbers behind life and perhaps more importantly shares the author’s personal journey to find an axiom of faith.


About the author:

Born and raised in Alabama, Michael Cottle is a borderline math nut with a common sense approach to life. He is a self-admitted night owl by nature, a writer and publisher of musical melodies, an applied discrete mathematician, coffee drinker, a part-time redneck, comedian, chemist, woodworker, father and husband. However, only a couple of those traits bring in any significant revenue and he only holds a Master’s Degree in mathematics.