Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Featured Book: The Sense of Darkness by Cinzia De Santis


About the book:
A world of intimacy, of smell and touch, is all Clara knows. Her blindness doesn't bother her: she is gifted with an extraordinary sense of smell which guides her through life. Raised by her aunt Trinidad in a small village in Latin America, Clara becomes a renowned healer. She can smell people's diseases and can heal them with her particular recipes. Their lives fall apart when members of a guerrilla gang bring to their home a wounded prisoner whom Clara has to heal. While she struggles to understand the feelings he produces in her, Trinidad's past returns, carrying the power of an obsessive love, but, will it be enough to save hers and Clara's lives? "...it is a story about love and magic - touched by the narrative power that Venezuelan writers can have - and also a fable that make us remember that the most important things are seen by the heart and not by the eyes" Javier Puebla, Cambio16


About the author:
Cinzia De Santis is an Italian-Venezuelan living in the UK. She is a Marine Biologist and used to work full time to add a grain of sand to the much needed protection of the Environment. As a child, inspired by her mother's stories about Gabriela Mistral - a Chilean Nobel Prize winner with whom Cinzia's mother worked - she started writing. Later she became an amateur theatre actress and story teller, performing her own stories. For many years, Cinzia was busy raising her family and working as an environmentalist, so she stopped writing. Then, 11 years ago, she had to leave her country, Venezuela, for political reasons. Her nostalgia for the warmth of the people and its staggering beauty found solace in writing. Two years ago she decided to give up her full time job. Now she is an author and has a small publishing company "Books from Oasis". "The Sense of Darkness" is her first novel, available both in English and Spanish. She has also published a book of short stories, "Amor Mercúrico", which she wrote mainly in airport lobbies and hotel rooms. Since she left the corporate world, she is very relieved that she doesn't need to appear to be normal.

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Sunday, July 26, 2015

Featured Book: The Wishing Tide by Barbara Davis


About the book:
rom the acclaimed author of The Secrets She Carried comes a novel about the pull of the past and the power of love. As offseason begins on the Outer Banks, a storm makes landfall, and three unlikely strangers are drawn together… Five years ago, Lane Kramer moved to Starry Point, North Carolina, certain the quaint island village was the place to start anew. Now the owner of a charming seaside inn, she’s set aside her dreams of being a novelist and of finding love again. When English professor Michael Forrester appears on Lane’s doorstep in the middle of a storm, he claims he’s only seeking a quiet place to write his book. Yet he seems eerily familiar with the island, leaving Lane wondering if he is quite what he appears. Meanwhile, Mary Quinn has become a common sight, appearing each morning on the dunes behind the inn, to stare wistfully out to sea. Lane is surprised to find a friendship developing with the older woman, who possesses a unique brand of wisdom, despite her tenuous grip on reality. As Lane slowly unravels Mary’s story and a fragile relationship between Lane and Michael blooms, Lane realizes the three share a common bond. But when a decades-old secret suddenly casts its shadow over them, Lane must choose between protecting her heart and fighting for the life—and the love—she wants.

About the author:

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Saturday, July 25, 2015

Featured Book: Ring Around the Rosy by Jackie Fullerton


About the book:
Law student and amateur sleuth Anne Marshall and her attorney fiance Jason Perry leave their Midwestern town for a Florida vacation at the home of Jason’s parents. When they land in Florida, they find that Jason’s father has discovered the murdered body of his wife’s best friend, Maude. The only clue left behind is a note pinned to her that is the second verse of the nursery rhyme Ring Around the Rosy. Unable to pass up the opportunity to investigate a juicy murder, Anne soon discovers that Maude’s brother was killed in a hit-and run accident several months before. The first verse of Ring Around the Rosy was pinned to his chest. Anne thinks the perp is a serial killer who will strike again. When Maude’s son, Ron, is brutally attacked and left for dead, Anne knows his work is just beginning. Racing against the clock, Anne soon finds herself in a serial killer’s crosshairs while battling an untimely attraction to homicide detective Don Reynolds. Ring Around the Rosy takes you on an adventure from present to past and back again as Anne and her crime-solving partners shift in to high gear to stop a killer before he strikes again!

About the author:
Jackie Fullerton is a successful businesswoman and attorney who grew up in rural Ohio. A mother of five, Fullerton returned to college when her last child was in grade school. She graduated summa cum laude from both Franklin University, where she earned her BS degree in business, and Dayton University, where she earned her MBA. Fullerton later attended Capital Law School, where she graduated cum laude. She was admitted to the Ohio Bar in 1993, the U.S. District Court, Southern District of Ohio, in 1995, and the Supreme Court of the United States in 1996. Although she is not in active practice, Fullerton volunteers her legal services at a local homeless shelter. While she lived in Ohio, she was an active member of the Columbus, Ohio, community, Fullerton served on several boards and commissions, including the Ohio Department of Alcohol and Drug Abuse; Franklin County ADAMH (Alcohol, Drug Abuse, and Mental Health) Board; Community Shelter Board; Habitat for Humanity Board; and Court Appointed Special Advocates of Franklin County, Ohio (CASA). Fullerton now lives in Florida, with her husband, Tom, and their dog, Flash.

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Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Featured Book: Nurturing the Soul of Your Family by Renee Peterson Trudeau


About the book:
What would it feel like to experience more ease, harmony, and flow in the midst of navigating homework squabbles, mealtimes, commutes, and the other challenges of everyday life? Nurturing the Soul of Your Family is a guidebook for personal and spiritual renewal from the award-winning author of The Mother’s Guide to Self-Renewal. It offers nurturing support and practical ideas to guide you toward a new way of being. Enjoyable, down-to-earth, and empowering, Renée Peterson Trudeau’s ten paths to peace will help you learn how to: 

* find your center and move through chaos and uncertainty with renewed strength and ease 
* live every day aligned with your values and what matters most * slow down, tap the wisdom of your wise self, and know what’s best for you and your family 
* release old habits, fears, and anxieties as you explore a new way of being 
* access more joy by living in the present moment (the best antidote to stress!) 
* experience more freedom and unscheduled time

About the author:
Renée Peterson Trudeau is an internationally recognized life balance coach/speaker, president of Austin-based Career Strategists, and the author of The Mother's Guide to Self-Renewal: How to Reclaim, Rejuvenate and Re-Balance Your Life and Nurturing the Soul of your Family: 10 Ways to Reconnect and Find Peace in Everyday Life. For the last 20 years, she has created and facilitated life-changing women's workshops, retreats and programs, speaks regularly to women's leadership networks and has been featured in US News and World Report, Woman's Day, Good Housekeeping, AARP, Ladies Home Journal and more.

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Sunday, July 19, 2015

Featured Book: The Secret of Happily Ever After by Lucy Dillon


About the book:
Michelle doesn’t believe in fairy tales. She’s a hard-headed businesswoman, making a fresh start in a new town. And when she decides to take over a neglected book shop, she knows the perfect manager. For book-loving Anna, it’s a dream come true—and not just because it gives her an escape from her three demanding step-children and their adorable but hyperactive Dalmatian. Although she’s been thinking that her own fairytale ending hasn’t really turned out the way she hoped, Anna’s passion for the classics is transforming the shop. The customers, and even Michelle, are falling under the spell of the magical stories of romance, adventure, and lost dogs. But when secrets from her past threaten Michelle’s new beginnings, and trouble strikes at the heart of Anna’s household, can the wisdom and courage of the stories in the bookshop help the two friends—and those they love—find their happy ever after?



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Saturday, July 18, 2015

Featured Book: Rubber Band Girl by Jennifer Nielson


About the book:
Rubber Band Girl is a heartwarming story of a mother and daughter who never give up on life or on each other.

Marfan Syndrome, or “Rubber Band Disease,” as it is commonly called, has taken the lives of too many, too soon. A disease that attacks the ligaments of the body, it is associated with heart and vision problems, extreme flexibility of the joints, and, its most noticeable feature, excessive height. 

In this inspiring memoir, Jennifer Nielson recounts her journey as the mother of Hadley, a beautiful young girl with Marfan Syndrome. Together, they climb the mountains of life-threatening health problems and endless doctor visits. Together, they travel through the deep valleys of sorrow and loss. Together, they successfully manage Marfan’s—and forge an unbreakable bond in the process. 

Rubber Band Girl is a heartwarming story of a mother and daughter who never give up on life or on each other. Because of its honesty, positive tone, and happy ending, it will find an eager audience with any parent who has struggled with the health challenges of a child.

About the author:
Jennifer Nielson graduated Summa Cum Laude from Arizona State University with a degree in elementary education. A self-proclaimed “recovering perfectionist,” she has learned to fuse her creativity and energy to raise a family, teach music, and produce a successful home-based interior design business. She lives in Gilbert, Arizona, with her husband, Talan, and their five children

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Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Featured Book: The Art of Planning Allergen-Free Events by Stephanie Courtney


About the book:
Are Your Events Safe for People with Food Allergies? Food allergies and intolerances are coming more into the public eye. Those who are at risk deserve to have a safe, enjoyable experience at social events. As an event planner, you can have the satisfaction of providing an allergen-safe event, and the knowledge that your expertise is increasingly valuable in a growing market. This must-have book is designed to help you to: Identify and understand what food allergies and intolerances are; Identify potential risks and exposures by gathering information up front; Manage event risks through protocols with food service providers; Educate clients about how they can help you to keep them safe; Track and communicate necessary allergy information during an event; Learn how to modify goods and services to accommodate allergies. Expert allergen-/gluten-free event planner Stephanie Courtney shares these secrets to success, and gives many more expert tips and tricks learned from first-hand experience with family food allergies, and as a consultant for allergen-free events.

About the author:

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Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Review: Shakespeare for Grown-Ups by E. Foley and B. Coates

An essential guide to Shakespeare, from the international bestselling authors of Homework for Grown-Ups 

The Bard was so incredibly prolific that even most Shakespeare scholars would welcome the occasional refresher course, and most of the rest of us haven’t even got a clue as to what a petard actually is. Fear not, the bestselling authors of Homework for Grown-Ups are here to help. For parents keen to help with their children’s homework, casual theatre-goers who want to enhance their enjoyment and understanding, and the general reader who feels they should probably know more, Shakespeare Basics for Grown-Ups includes information on the key works, historical context, contemporaries and influences, famous speeches and quotations, modern day adaptations, and much, much more.







Received for review

I'm the first to admit I truly loathed Shakespeare in high school and college and did not enjoy a single moment of slogging through his works for courses.  As an adult I have developed a grudging admiration for the man as a writer (which was mostly due to an episode of Doctor Who) so when I saw this I figured it was the least painful way to give myself a refresher course on Shakespeare.

The authors did a brilliant job of translating the rather impenetrable Shakespearean world and text into wording that is readily understandable and not headache inducing.  This is essentially the Cliffs Notes version of Shakespeare's entire works.  It reduces everything to its absolute essentials and makes it tolerable for those of us without English degrees.

Overall, while I still would not rush out to read Shakespeare this was a wonderful look into all of his works, characters, and famous speeches.  I highly recommend it for anyone who is looking for a clear, concise guide to the Shakespearean world.

★★★★ = Really Liked It




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Monday, July 13, 2015

Review: The Histories by Herodotus

No one is fool enough to choose war instead of peace – in peace sons bury fathers, but in war fathers bury sons’ 

One of the masterpieces of classical literature, the Histories describes how a small and quarrelsome band of Greek city states united to repel the might of the Persian empire. But while this epic struggle forms the core of his work, Herodotus’ natural curiosity frequently gives rise to colourful digressions – a description of the natural wonders of Egypt; an account of European lake-dwellers; and far-fetched accounts of dog-headed men and gold-digging ants. With its kaleidoscopic blend of fact and legend, the Histories offers a compelling Greek view of the world of the fifth century BC. 

This celebrated translation of The Histories has been extensively revised and includes an updated bibliography, chronology, glossary and additional notes.



Received for review.

I've always meant to read this but I never did get around to it until now and I'm so glad I finally did.  While not the most historically accurate document around this is a fascinating look into an important time in human history.

While I found the six hundred plus pages of text (not even including the notes) beyond boring at times it still made for a truly engrossing read.  Yes, it took me absolutely forever and I thought it might actually be growing new pages daily but it finally did (and wasn't).

The text is extremely dry, despite the translator's best efforts but the notes he provides are invaluable and really help to make the text accessible to laymen.  The maps are also a wonderful addiction so you can really see where cities and countries in the ancient world were located in reference to each other.

Overall, if you're looking for an accessible, beautifully done volume of The Histories then this is it.  You simply cannot go wrong with it.  I definitely recommend it.

★★★★ = Really Liked It




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Sunday, July 12, 2015

Featured Book: A North Country Life by Sydney Lea


About the book:
A North Country Life is the story of author Sydney Lea’s powerful connection to his family, friends, and the northern outdoors. Loosely organized by the changing of seasons, different sections feature essays on such topics as childhood family fishing trips in the wilds of Maine, trophy fly-fishing the northern reaches of the Connecticut River, the opening day of turkey hunting season in Vermont, and getting lost in the deep woods while deer hunting. The essays are introspective and dramatic illustrations of the blending of the human and natural worlds; emotion is attached to both spheres and adds texture to the sketches. Readers of varied interests will be drawn to the sincerity of the author’s voice. 

A notable writer and poet, Lea’s lyrical writing preserves a picture of people and places from the past with vivid scenes recalling former times and contrasting them with modern life. Thoughtful portraits of New England elders and the author’s friends bring to life the outdoors as seen through many different eyes, inspiring readers to take a new look at the world around them. With the author’s knack for descriptive language, this compelling read will strike a chord with anyone interested in the contemplative side of nature—which, in truth, is most of us.

About the author:
Sydney Lea is Poet Laureate of Vermont. A recipient of fellowships from the MacArthur, Rockefeller and Fulbright Foundations, Lea founded, and for thirteen years edited, NEW ENGLAND REVIEW. Retired after 43 years of college teaching, he is active in literacy and conservation efforts in northern New England. He has published ten volumes of poetry (most recently I WAS THINKING OF BEAUTY, Four Way Books, NYC, 2013), the novel A PLACE IN MIND, a selection of literary essays, A HUNDRED HIMALAYAS (University of Michigan Press 2012,and three collections of naturalist essays, most recently A NORTH COUNTRY LIFE: TALES OF WOODSMEN, WATERS AND WILDLIFE (Skyhorse Publishing, 2013), of which BOOKLIST said: "There is a soulful quality to his words and a strong conviction that a connected life is one to be admired and emulated. A cross between Thoreau and David James Duncan, Lea is a northern treasure." Lea has also co-authored GROWING OLD IN POETRY: TWO POETS, TWO LIVES with Fleda Brown, available from amazon in electronic format.

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Saturday, July 11, 2015

Featured Book: The Delphi Deception by Chris Everheart


About the book:

















About the author:
A recovering reluctant reader turned award-winning author, I try to infuse every book - for young readers and adults alike - with a visual storytelling style that keeps the reader on the edge of their seats and turning pages. Fifty percent of my childhood was spent staring out a classroom window, wondering what was going on "out there." I daydreamed about interesting places, fascinating people and exciting adventures. As a reluctant and struggling young reader, my hunger for stories was fed mostly by TV and movies. I still haven't read all the classics (I promise I will eventually). PRIDE AND PREJUDICE wasn't on my reading list as a kid. But I distinctly remember going to the drive-in movies with my dad and little brother and seeing SMOKEY AND THE BANDIT for the first time! I wanted to LIVE in a world where a Trans Am really could jump a creek from a collapsed bridge and keep tooling down a dirt road away from the county mounties. In high school, though, I was lucky enough to be inspired by a dedicated teacher to read and connect to the arts and humanities. It opened up a world that I might otherwise never have known. I went on to study art and anthropology/archaeology in New Mexico and Minnesota and traveled throughout the lower-48, Western Canada and Alaska. My jobs have included: archaeological illustrator; art gallery manager; motion picture/TV/indy film crew, writer, director and actor; waiter; maitre d; pool boy; slime line worker (people who've worked in an Alaskan fishery know what this is). While working at an ad agency, I started writing my first book - a political thriller - because I needed to express my passion for stories but couldn't afford to go to film school. It stuck. I found that story is always lurking just below the surface of my conscious mind, so writing fiction comes very naturally to me. I got a contract to write action/adventure books for young readers and found it so easy and fun to write to my 12-year-old self (ref: "reluctant and struggling reader" above). So I write for young readers and grown ups alike - short stories, novels, chapter books, graphic novels. I still love daydreaming about interesting places, fascinating people and exciting adventures. But window gazing has gotten even better - because today I get to share my daydreams with you. Enjoy! Some of my past endeavors that prove how easily distracted I am: Award winning writer (Moonbeam, 2009); award-winning filmmaker (Shamrock Film Festival, 2008; Secret City Film Festival 2010); actor (various independent productions); former archaeological illustrator (Maxwell Museum of Anthropology), exhibits specialist and art gallery manager; continental traveler.

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Friday, July 10, 2015

Review: The Medea Complex by Rachel Florence Roberts

A deep and riveting psychological thriller inspired by true events of the Victorian era, The Medea Complex explores the nature of the human psyche: what possesses us, what drives us, and how love, passion, and hope for the future can drive us to insanity.

1885. Anne Stanbury wakes up in a strange bed, having been kidnapped from her home. As the panic settles in, she realizes she has been committed to a lunatic asylum, deemed insane and therefore unfit to stand trial for an unspeakable crime. But all is not as it seems…. 

Edgar Stanbury, her husband as well as a grieving father, is torn between helping his confined wife recover her sanity and seeking revenge for his ruined life. But Anne’s future rests wholly in the hands of Dr. George Savage, chief medical officer of Bethlem Royal Hospital. 

The Medea Complex is the darkly compelling story of a lunatic, a lie, and a shocking revelation that elucidates the difference between madness and evil….

Received for review.

Very few books have me wondering what the heck just happened as I close the book and this was one of them.  I think I actually said it out loud.  It was that good.

The story is compelling from the very first page and draws you right in.  I was flipping the pages as fast as I could read them wondering just what the heck was going on and, more importantly, why.  While I didn't actually like the characters I found them fascinating and the way they interacted to be quite intriguing.  

This is not a book you read after dark, and if you do you'll be sleeping with the lights on.  It's dark and creepy and disturbing and leaves you feeling wanting to do a Joey and put it in the freezer during reading breaks.

This is also not a book for feminists who will, predictably, find the historically accurate but not politically correct treatment of women to be teeth grindingly unacceptable.

Overall, this was a truly engrossing read that I thoroughly recommend to anyone looking for a book you simply cannot put down.  Penny Dreadful fans should thoroughly enjoy it.  I highly recommend it.

★★★★ = Really Liked It




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Thursday, July 9, 2015

Review: Beach Town by Mary Kay Andrews

Greer Hennessy needs palm trees. 

As a movie location scout, picture-perfect is the name of the game. But her last project literally went up in flames, and her career is on the verge of flaming out. Greer has been given one more chance, if she can find the perfect undiscovered beach hideaway for a big-budget movie. She zeroes in on a sleepy Florida panhandle town called Cypress Key. There's one motel, a marina, a long stretch of pristine beach and an old fishing pier with a community casino-which will be perfect for the film's explosive climax. 

There's just one problem. Eben Thibadeaux, the town mayor, completely objects to Greer's plan. A lifelong resident of Cypress Key, Eben wants the town to be revitalized, not commercialized. After a toxic paper plant closed, the bay has only recently been reborn, and Eb has no intention of letting anybody screw with his town again. But Greer has a way of making things happen, regardless of obstacles. And Greer and Eb are way too attracted to each other for either of them to see reason. 

Between an ambitious director and his entourage-including a spoiled "It Boy" lead actor-who parachute into town, a conniving local ex-socialite, and a cast of local fangirls and opportunists who catch the movie bug, nothing is going to be the same in Cypress Key. Now Greer is forced to make some hard choices: about the people and the town she's come to care about, and about her own life. True love is only for the movies, right? Can Greer find a way to be the heroine in her own life story? Told with inimitable heart and humor, Mary Kay Andrews' Beach Town is the perfect summer destination.

Received for review.

I'm not normally a huge romance reader but I couldn't pass this up since it sounded like such a perfect summer read.  I was not disappointed.

As with all romance novels the premise is completely ridiculous but the characters make it a fun and enjoyable read which is a very good thing since this is over four hundred pages of decidedly small print.  

Greer is genuinely likable and someone you would actually like to be friends with in real life.  She's a well rounded, interesting character.  Eb is unrealistic (which is to be expected) but still quite likable as well.  The two have a great dynamic that really takes this out of the usual rom-com territory and makes it more enjoyable for a wider audience.

The author does a lovely job with creating characters that you really are about and want to be happy in a beautiful setting.  She also writes beautiful, readable dialogue that just flows wonderfully.

Overall, whether you are a fan of the author or new to her work this is a must read for summer and should be considered an essential in every beach bag this season.  I definitely recommend it.


★★★★ = Really Liked It




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Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Featured Book: An Inquiry into Love and Death by Simone St. James


About the book:
In 1920's England, a young woman searches for the truth behind her uncle’s mysterious death in a town haunted by a restless ghost… Oxford student Jillian Leigh works day and night to keep up with her studies—so to leave at the beginning of the term is next to impossible. But after her uncle Toby, a renowned ghost hunter, is killed in a fall off a cliff, she must drive to the seaside village of Rothewell to pack up his belongings. Almost immediately, unsettling incidents—a book left in a cold stove, a gate swinging open on its own—escalate into terrifying events that convince Jillian an angry spirit is trying to enter the house. Is it Walking John, the two-hundred-year-old ghost who haunts Blood Moon Bay? And who beside the ghost is roaming the local woods at night? If Toby uncovered something sinister, was his death no accident? The arrival of handsome Scotland Yard inspector Drew Merriken, a former RAF pilot with mysteries of his own, leaves Jillian with more questions than answers—and with the added complication of a powerful, mutual attraction. Even as she suspects someone will do anything to hide the truth, she begins to discover spine-chilling secrets that lie deep within Rothewell…and at the very heart of who she is.

About the author:
Simone St. James is the award-winning author of The Haunting of Maddy Clare, which won two prestigious RITA® awards from Romance Writers of America and an Arthur Ellis Award from Crime Writers of Canada. She writes gothic historical ghost stories set in 1920s England, books that are known for their mystery, gripping suspense, and romance. Simone wrote her first ghost story, about a haunted library, when she was in high school. She worked behind the scenes in the television business for twenty years before leaving to write full-time. She lives just outside Toronto, Canada with her husband and a spoiled cat.

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Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Review: Face the Music by Greg Anton

Overview San Francisco, 1975. Woody, an artistically brilliant, socially inept street musician, is just getting by. Inspired by Stephanie, the love of his life, he writes an amazing song that could launch his musical career. Then an unexpected betrayal leaves him fighting for his relationship, his song and his future.

Hopelessly disorganized, armed only with his guitar and unique sense of humor, Woody tries to persevere against the inequities of the music business. Passion, desperation and intense idealism propel him head-on into the challenges of surviving as an uncompromising artist. 

Face the Music is a story of love, self-discovery, and the spiritual power of music.






Received for review.

I wanted to like this, I really did, but I just couldn't.  I just didn't care about Woody as a person in the least and the descriptions of the music business and its failings left me more bored than anything.  While the writing itself was adequate the dialogue felt stiff and was often outright uncomfortable to read which did not add to the experience.

Overall, unless you really, really like reading about whiny musicians then I really cannot recommend this.

★★☆☆☆ = Just Okay




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Monday, July 6, 2015

Review: What Else Is in the Teaches of Peaches by Peaches

"[Peaches] has teamed up with her longtime tour photographer Holger Talinski to look back at a brazen career that has captured the attention of outsider artists and massive pop stars alike, ranging from Michael Stipe to PJ Harvey to Iggy Pop...Along with Holger's uncompromising, often raw imagery, the book includes stories from artists who have championed Peaches's work over the years." --New York Times T Magazine 

"One flip through the glossy new monograph What Else Is In the Teaches of Peaches is all it takes to get absorbed into the post-punk wonderland of pop culture icon Peaches." --W Magazine 

"Peaches is an attitude and a sensibility....She's iconic, and her iconography is important." --The Globe and Mail 

"What Else Is in the Teaches of Peaches, a new book of photography, attempts to capture more: Peaches onstage, backstage, in her 30-boob breastplate, on the crapper, on a cross, passed out, convalescing, performing for Yoko Ono, curled up with family, recording with Iggy Pop. It's a groupie's delight." --SF Weekly 

"For Peaches fans, the collection offers glimpses into both the public and private life of the artist who put feminist electroclash on the map. Peaches led the way, not only for other underground electronic acts like Le Tigre, Ladytron, and Chicks on Speed, but also artists that went on to major mainstream success. Would M.I.A. exist without Peaches? Lady Gaga? In her current iteration, Miley Cyrus?...In the end, [What Else Is in the Teaches of Peaches] is a reminder that Peaches, the artist and the musician...forged a vibrant, genre-bending career that continues to throb with spirit, transgression, energy, and ambition." --KQED Arts 

"The outrageous and provocative new book...presents [Peaches] as more than the onstage provocateur most know her to be; instead we see her at home with family, rehearsing, sprawled out backstage, exhausted from giving her fans the musical lunacy they crave." --Frontiers Magazine

"Peaches is ferocious, relentless, sexy, confident, and gives all of herself to her audience...She is a person who inspires." --Ellen Page, actress, from the book 

"Peaches is an incredible artist...Thank you, Peaches, for adding a long and exciting life to performance art." --Yoko Ono, from the book 

"Peaches stands tall and she is fearless. That is my definition of a hero, heroine, progressive, icon--locked in, and ready to rumble." --Michael Stipe of R.E.M., from the book 

This volume presents a mesmerizing collection of Holger Talinski's evocative and sometimes erotic photos of transgressive musical icon Peaches, on and off stage, with accompanying text by Peaches, Michael Stipe (R.E.M.), Yoko Ono, and the actress Ellen Page, best known for her lead role in the film Juno, which garnered her an Oscar nomination for Best Actress.

Received for review.

I'll admit that I was a bit sketchy on Peaches and her music before receiving this but I was intrigued by the concept and had to give it a try.  I'm quite pleased that I did.

This was an intriguing look in to the artist's life and work and, I really liked that the pictures weren't perfect or retouched.  This is the artist at her best and worst.  It shows her as powerful, vulnerable, joyful, and exhausted.  It's a very raw and real look into her life and is really quite emotional.

This is a must have for fans and an interesting read for those recently introduced to the artist.  I certainly recommend it.

★★★☆☆ = Liked It




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Sunday, July 5, 2015

Featured Book: Unload Email Overload by Bob O'Hare


About the book:
Email steals too much of your precious time, doesn't it? Processing email takes way too much time because we never learned to manage it effectively. We are constantly interrupted, invest countless hours in it, re-read emails that languish in our inbox, store email we don't need and suffer from email overload. Don't you agree? This book provides what you need to manage email, eliminate the overload and save your precious time. It will help you minimize interruption, overcome indecision and empty your inbox. It will help you organize priorities and manage time, so you can get your work done-at work. You can give up doing email at dinner and in bed. Good idea?






About the author:
Bob, as an engineer and computer scientist, developed computer communication systems and one of the first personal computers. After that career in digital technology, Bob did postgraduate work in organization development and founded Performance Improvement Technologies, Inc. With this company, Bob facilitates corporate change, coaches executives and provides professional development services. He emphasizes the human side of leadership. Concern by professionals and management about information overload, excess email, and productivity loss encouraged Bob to seek a solution for these issues. He researched the field and developed the MasteringEmail™ methodology to help knowledge workers, professionals, leaders and managers achieve the benefits of email without the burden. Bob wrote chapter eight of the book especially for upper management, to help them explore productivity issues that cost corporations millions of dollars annually. To help companies change email culture and apply the MasteringEmail™ principles, Bob designs and facilitates workshops and coaching sessions to meet their needs. Bob and his wife, Carol, two married children and three grandchildren, live and work in the Philadelphia area.

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Saturday, July 4, 2015

Featured Book: The League of Delphi by Chris Everheart


About the book:
History's darkest secrets hide in plain sight. One of the freshest new voices in the world of young adult suspense, Chris Everheart confirms that he's here to stay with this fast-paced, ingeniously plotted, unputdownable thriller. 

A lone teen, a suspicious death, an ancient conspiracy. The first book of the gripping new Delphi series, The League of Delphi draws you in, takes you on a tense and thrilling ride, and leaves you wanting more. 

Ten years after his father's mysterious death, 17-year-old Zach secretly returns to his wealthy hometown in search of answers. Why did his mother move him away then go into hiding to die alone? Why did she change his name, forbidding him to ever reveal his true identity? Why was he never allowed to return home? 

Left with nothing and no one, Zach is desperate to reconnect with this seemingly "perfect" town. But something isn't right. When a local teen commits suicide and no one seems to care, Zach's hopes collapse into disenchantment and suspicion. Ashley, a local teenager on the fringe, piques his interest with whispers of a secret committee controlling the lives of everyone around them. Could it be true? Together, Zach and Ashley delve into the hidden life of the town and discover a dark connection to Ancient Greece and the Oracle at Delphi. Their suspicions are confirmed - but the conspiracy is more terrifying and dangerous than they ever imagined... 

The League of Delphi is "...suspenseful, engaging, imaginative." Fans of Charles Benoit (You; Fall From Grace) and Suzanne Collins (The Hunger Games) will instantly connect with Chris Everheart's "visual" storytelling style and relatable characters. The League of Delphi delivers a fascinating thriller filled with nerve-wrenching suspense that confounds the reader to the very end and solidifies Everheart's status as one of the hottest newcomers to hit the shelves.

About the author:
A recovering reluctant reader turned award-winning author, I try to infuse every book - for young readers and adults alike - with a visual storytelling style that keeps the reader on the edge of their seats and turning pages. Fifty percent of my childhood was spent staring out a classroom window, wondering what was going on "out there." I daydreamed about interesting places, fascinating people and exciting adventures. As a reluctant and struggling young reader, my hunger for stories was fed mostly by TV and movies. I still haven't read all the classics (I promise I will eventually). PRIDE AND PREJUDICE wasn't on my reading list as a kid. But I distinctly remember going to the drive-in movies with my dad and little brother and seeing SMOKEY AND THE BANDIT for the first time! I wanted to LIVE in a world where a Trans Am really could jump a creek from a collapsed bridge and keep tooling down a dirt road away from the county mounties. In high school, though, I was lucky enough to be inspired by a dedicated teacher to read and connect to the arts and humanities. It opened up a world that I might otherwise never have known. I went on to study art and anthropology/archaeology in New Mexico and Minnesota and traveled throughout the lower-48, Western Canada and Alaska. My jobs have included: archaeological illustrator; art gallery manager; motion picture/TV/indy film crew, writer, director and actor; waiter; maitre d; pool boy; slime line worker (people who've worked in an Alaskan fishery know what this is). While working at an ad agency, I started writing my first book - a political thriller - because I needed to express my passion for stories but couldn't afford to go to film school. It stuck. I found that story is always lurking just below the surface of my conscious mind, so writing fiction comes very naturally to me. I got a contract to write action/adventure books for young readers and found it so easy and fun to write to my 12-year-old self (ref: "reluctant and struggling reader" above). So I write for young readers and grown ups alike - short stories, novels, chapter books, graphic novels. I still love daydreaming about interesting places, fascinating people and exciting adventures. But window gazing has gotten even better - because today I get to share my daydreams with you. Enjoy! Some of my past endeavors that prove how easily distracted I am: Award winning writer (Moonbeam, 2009); award-winning filmmaker (Shamrock Film Festival, 2008; Secret City Film Festival 2010); actor (various independent productions); former archaeological illustrator (Maxwell Museum of Anthropology), exhibits specialist and art gallery manager; continental traveler.

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Friday, July 3, 2015

Review: The Only Words That Are Worth Remembering by Jeffrey Rotter

A darkly comic, wildly original novel of a family in flight from the law, set in a near-future America -- a Clockwork Orange with a Huck Finn heart 

In a not-so-distant future, astronomy has become a fairy tale, Copernicus is forgotten, and the Earth has resumed its lonely spot in the center of the universe. But when an ancient bunker containing a preserved space vehicle is discovered beneath the ruins of Cape Canaveral, it has the power to turn this retrograde world inside out. 

Enter the Van Zandt clan, whose run-ins with the law leave them with a no-win choice: test-pilot the rocket together as a family or be sent separately to prison for life. Their decision sets off an antic and heartbreaking search for human solace in a world bent on isolation, as the Van Zandts embark on an unforgettable road trip across the ass-end of an America only slightly more dissolute than our own. 

Uniquely tying an absurdist future to gut-bucket wit, The Only Words That Are Worth Remembering hauls our dark humanity into the light and shows us the precious places where it gleams.

Received for review.

This sounded vaguely interesting but I just couldn't get into it.  Most of that was due not only to the characters, who were just not engaging, but also the horrendous folksy tone the author used for the narrator.  I found myself asking, sometimes even aloud "Seriously, are you kidding me with this?".  

The story was supposed to be fun but with characters so alternately boring and annoying I didn't care what they were doing as long as it ended as quickly as possible.  Anything to make it stop.

Overall, this was not enjoyable, light, or witty read as suggested.  It was yawn inducing and grating and I really cannot recommend it.


★★☆☆☆ = Just Okay




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Thursday, July 2, 2015

Author Interview: Zabre Nicholas author of Haven of Mercy

Zabre Nicholas, author of Haven of Mercy, stopped by for an interview.



Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

I like to think of myself as an around a way type of girl. But today every girl feels that way, so I will just say that I live my life in contradiction and I love everyday of it.


What do you do when you're not writing?

I am currently deployed in Afghanistan serving with the US Military 12 hours a day, 7 days a week.


When did you first start writing?

When I was 13 my diary was my very best friend and I have been writing my BIO ever since. LOL.


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

The Coldest Winter Ever was very inspirational to me. I was very in sync to the main character. I had never heard of it until some girls told me that I reminded them of the girl in the book. I read it and I somewhat agreed.


What inspired you to write this particular book?

When I was younger I was in Job Corps and I went home on emergency. I talked to my roommate and she told me that someone had gotten a hold of my diary and the girls were passing it around like a book. From that point on I knew A BOOK MUST HAPPEN.


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

All of them, every experience means something special and they all play a key part in the woman I am today.


What is best writing advice you can give?

Be genuine and honest. Write freely you can always go back and edit.


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

It is from the heart so read it with your heart and an open mind. For those that can relate to the pages, you will be inspired. For those who cannot relate, you are in for one heck of a ride. Be ready!



About the book:

This book is an intriguing and adventurous timeline based on factual events and people from an everyday around the way girl.

As her life started to spiral out of control Zee realized that she had much to lose but more to gain if she could just get her life back on track.

After multiple episodes of love gone wrong, financial losses and dead end decisions, living her life without the acceptance or approval of others became her own definition of success.

Right or wrong she decided to do what it took as long as she remained true to herself. The chapters of her life are honest and detailed enough to keep you engaged but wanting more in the end.



About the author:

Zabre Nicholas is not the type of woman you can place in a single category. She is a loving mother, veteran, humanitarian and has now created a short story genre of her own. Classy, fun, beautiful and honest, this author and her journey is guaranteed to be the topic of many conversations.  A woman who found balance during moments of feeling lost and acceptance of herself with a side of enthusiasm for whatever cards her life may hold.  



Review: At the Corner of King Street by Mary Ellen Taylor

The author of The Union Street Bakery presents a new novel about a woman searching for a fresh start—while unable to forget the past… 

Adele “Addie” Morgan grew up in a house filled with pain and loss. Determined to live life on her own terms, Addie moves to the country and finds a job at a vineyard where she discovers stability, happiness, and—best of all—love with the kind owner, Scott. 

But an unexpected call abruptly pulls Addie out of her new and improved life. Her sister has just given birth and Addie’s Aunt Grace wants her to return home to help the family—even if it means confronting things she’s tried so hard to forget. 

When Addie arrives, she quickly realizes that she hasn’t truly let go of her former life, at least not completely. After making a surprising connection with her sister’s baby—and her sister’s ex-husband, Zeb—Addie must choose between her picture-perfect future with Scott and the family roots she thought she’d left behind for good…

Received for review.

I wanted to like this more than I did but it was just so beyond cliched that I couldn't.  Chick Lit about strong Southern women and romance mixed with witchcraft has been done so many times before in much better ways and this fell short.

I wish I could say that this is a great beach read but it's really not.  It's boring and tedious and filled with stereotypical, flat characters that you really don't care about in the least.  Not to mention that no one seems to have a full length name - Zeb, Shep, Addie - the names are beyond annoying.  

Overall, while I had modest hopes for this sadly it fell short of even those.  I really cannot recommend this. 

★★☆☆☆ = Just Okay




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Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Featured Book: Buried Threads by Kaylin McFarren


About the book:
A disturbing prophecy sends a treasure hunting duo on an urgent race to rescue a country in Kaylin McFarren's heart pounding new novel, Buried Threads. Full of erotic suspense and wild adventures, this is one trip that readers will never forget! 

Rachel Lyons and Chase Cohen work together as the successful owners of a treasure hunting company. But a seemingly simple assignment--to track down a priceless gem that is believed to be buried in a shipwreck deep within the Sea of Japan--takes a startling, and dangerous, turn. 

Faced with a monk's dark prophecy that a natural disaster will soon strike Japan, killing millions, Rachel and Chase must embark on the mission of a lifetime in order to uncover the three cursed samurai swords that can avert the catastrophe. Chaos ensues as their adventure takes them from shark infested waters and creepy caves to haunted hidden tombs and a confrontation with Yakuza gang members. Time is running out as the prophecy's day of reckoning draws near. Will Rachel and Chase succeed before disaster strikes?

About the author:
Kaylin McFarren is a rare bird indeed. Not a migratory sort, she prefers to hug the West Coast and keep family within visiting range. Although she has virtually been around the world, she was born in California, relocated with her family to Washington, and nested with her husband in Oregon. In addition to playing an active role in his business endeavors, she has been involved in all aspects of their three daughters' lives - taxi duties, cheerleading coaching, script rehearsals, and relationship counseling, to name but a few. Now she enjoys spending undisciplined time with her two young grandsons and hopes to have many more. Although Kaylin wasn't born with a pen in hand like so many of her talented fellow authors, she has been actively involved in both business and personal writing projects for many years. As the director of a fine art gallery, she assisted in furthering the careers of numerous visual artists who under her guidance gained recognition through promotional opportunities and in national publications. Eager to spread her own creative wings, she has since steered her energy toward writing novels. As a result, she has earned more than a dozen literary awards and was a 2008 finalist in the prestigious RWA® Golden Heart contest. Kaylin is a member of RWA, Rose City Romance Writers, and Willamette Writers. She received her AA in Literature at Highline Community College, which originally sparked her passion for writing. In her free time, she also enjoys giving back to the community through participation and support of various charitable and educational organizations in the Pacific Northwest, and is currently the president of the Soulful Giving Foundation - a non-profit she and her husband founded and continue to support.

FUN TIDBITS She is proud of the fact that her great aunt Bessie B. Cordell, an evangelistic missionary during WWII, was instrumental in opening an orphanage in Tientsin, China and also wrote two published novels, Precious Pearl and Blossoms of the Flowery Kingdom, documenting her dangerous, harrowing experiences. She keeps a glass of wine close by while writing love scenes, Kleenex on her desk while writing heart breakers, and has been known to empty a box of chocolates when she's completely stumped. A consummate "pantser" and perfectionist, she writes and edits as she goes, and uses photographs of models and actors from tabloid magazines to visualize her characters. She loves her husband of 40 years dearly. However, if Brad Pitt or Orlando Bloom came knockin', well... their marriage just might be put to the test.

ON A PERSONAL NOTE Kaylin sat before her computer writing FLAHERTY'S CROSSING as a source of personal therapy after losing her beloved father to colon cancer. You might say she was angry at him, at God, at the world in general. However, after writing this story, she had the opportunity to really look into her soul and consider the fact that so many other sons and daughters have had to deal with similar and even worse situations. Rather than a memoir, her novel evolved into a fictional journey which brought about the resolution she needed to find. She never expected this exercise in writing to go to press, touch lives, or win literary awards. But as a result of her good fortune, she has arranged for proceeds from the sale of this book to go directly to the Providence Medical Foundation's colon cancer research department in her father's name. She's now convinced and proudly shares her belief that good things can grow out of the worst times in our lives if you just take the time to open your heart.

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