Monday, February 29, 2016

Book Excerpt: The World's Most Haunted Hospitals by Richard Estep

Richard Estep, author of The World’s Most Haunted Hospitals stopped by to share with us an excerpt from his book.

In a dynamic vortex between life and death, a hospital is where people enter this world, and leave it. And, what tales a hospital could tell!

In The World’s Most Haunted Hospitals: True-Life Paranormal Encounters in Asylums, Hospitals, and Institutions, paramedic and paranormal investigator, Richard Estep, researches and recounts chilling stories of hospital hauntings around the world.

Fans of his previous books on hauntings and new readers will turn up the lights, lock the doors and sink into stories of:
  • Frightening apparitions at an old Utah hospital, now a nursing home, whose appearances predict patients’ deaths.
  • A former Kentucky sanatorium haunted by thousands of patients who died there, and some of the nurses who cared for them.
  • Terrifying screams and violent scenes that scare visitors away from an abandoned airbase hospital in the Philippines.
  • A nurse in grey who haunts the corridors of a London hospital and terrifies doctors and nurses who encounter her restless spirit.
The World’s Most Haunted Hospitals is a goosebump-producing ride around the globe, stopping at fascinating old and new hospitals and asylums where doctors, nurses, patients, and others can’t wait to tell of their real-life, alarming encounters with strange and scary specters.

About the author:

Richard Estep has been a paranormal investigator for the past twenty years, and is currently director of the Boulder County Paranormal Research Society. He makes a living as a paramedic chief, clinical educator, and teacher in several EMT and paramedic training programs. When not working or investigating claims of the paranormal, Richard can either be found serving as a volunteer firefighter-paramedic, adding to his vast collection of Star Wars memorabilia and Lego, or working on his next book. He is the author of several books on the subject of ghosts and hauntings, and the “Wellington Undead” series of novels. He lives with his wife Laura in northern Colorado, along with a dog and more rescue cats than their homeowners association would like.

*This post may contain affiliate links*

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Featured Book: The Haunting of Wolfe Haven by Debbie A. Heaton

Riley Russell is gorgeous, smart, and successful. She also has a broken heart she's managed to keep secret from everyone-including herself. Three years ago, she walked away from her marriage to entrepreneur Tristan Russell, believing there was no hope for the relationship. But when he reenters her life unexpectedly, Riley must fight to remain independent and in control of the life she has built.

Tristan, as handsome and accomplished as ever, is planning to get remarried, but first he must divorce Riley. To save her broken heart, Riley must confront her feelings for Tristan, his family, and his haunted ancestral house, Wolfe Haven. Along the way, she must navigate a minefield of secrets and mysteries, including arson, betrayal, and murder.

As Riley and Tristan try to find love with each other a second time around, they come to grips with things that go bump in the night. If Riley isn't careful, she may fall prey to enemies that are closer than she thinks.

About the author:

Debbie A. Heaton has worked as a therapist for more than twenty-five years, specializing in mental health, substance abuse, domestic violence, and families with children. Writing provides the balance in her life. Heaton lives in southeastern Arizona and is a member of the International Women’s Writing Guild.

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Saturday, February 27, 2016

Featured Book: Risen: The Battle for Darracia by Michael Phillip Cash

Imprisoned on the dead moon of Bina, trapped at the bottom of the cold Hixom Sea, locked in a cell in the flooded Desa and blinded & defeated in the Eastern Provinces, the ruling class of Darracia is defeated without hope.

In the stunning conclusion of the Darracia saga, V’sair, Tulani, Zayden and Reminda must dig deep and find both strength and faith to rise from the depths of the impossible and restore order to their home planet from Lothen, Staf Nuen and the evil armies of Geva.

About the author:

Michael Phillip Cash is an award-winning screenwriter and novelist. He's written ten books including the best-selling Brood X, Stillwell, The Flip, The After House, The Hanging Tree, Witches Protection Program, Pokergeist and Battle for Darracia series.

Michael resides on the North Shore of Long Island. He writes full-time with his screaming kids in the background.

*This post may contain affiliate links*

Friday, February 26, 2016

Book Excerpt: Lightworker Relationships by Sahvanna Arienta

Sahvanna Arienta, author of Lightworker Relationships, stopped by to share with us an excerpt from her book.

Can you give too much love?

Lightworkers are sensitive and highly empathic souls who have an innate need to help and heal others. These peaceful supporters of humanity are here to make positive changes and create personal, balanced, and loving human connections.

But many Lightworkers become so caught up in their divine mission to heal that they sometimes overlook the importance of receiving love. Do you find yourself always loving generously and rarely feeling valued? Do you feel you're always responding to the needs of others? Because of this inner calling to heal, many Lightworkers find themselves in situations that create an endless cycle of sorrow in their own relationships. Eventually these beautiful souls close off their channel to receive love altogether.

Lightworker Relationships: Creating Lasting and Healthy Bonds as an Empath will help you understand how to:
  • Balance the human and spiritual experience.
  • Create healthy boundaries in relationships.
  • Learn to receive love and why it's essential.
  • Recognize when you are closing off your own love source.
  • Live your divine mission but also receive the joy and happiness of healthy human connections.

About the author:

Sahvanna Arienta is an internationally known psychic advisor and spiritual counselor. Her work helps others recognize their authentic selves and find purpose in living a heart-centered existence. Her unique style and connection to others are powerful healing tools that have been revolutionary forces for change in the lives of her worldwide clientele.

She is the author of Lightworker and The Lightworker's Source.

Her website is

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Thursday, February 25, 2016

Review: Cemetery Lake by Paul Cleave

A chilling case of unsolved murders and mistaken identities unravels when a lake in a Christchurch cemetery releases its grip on the murky past in this exciting crime thriller from the internationally bestselling author of The Laughterhouse.

Cemetery Lake begins in a cold and rainy graveyard, where Private Detective Theodore Tate is overseeing an exhumation. But doubts are raised about the identity of the body found in the coffin.

Originally published in Paul Cleave’s native New Zealand in 2008, Cemetery Lake is the first novel to feature Theodore Tate. Full of the clever plot twists and sardonic humor for which Cleave has become known. Encompassing the universal battle against the darkness within in this entertaining crime novel.

From the library

This was my first experience with the author so I wasn’t sure exactly what to expect and I must admit that I wasn’t particularly impressed.

The main character, Theo, is an arrogant ass. Really, his arrogance knows no bounds. He’s a disgraced former cop and, frankly, a psychopath. He has no respect for the law or people in general. He routine steals from dead bodies, withholds information and outright lies to the police, and deliberately causes emotional damage to grieving families because he believes that he is a better person that anyone else and what he does is right. Oh, and he’s a murderer too, but that’s okay because he murdered the drunk driver who killed his family. The guy really deserves to be in a mental institution and not out with the general population, or given some quality time with Dexter. He has no conscious and uses violence and emotional trauma to get what he wants from people. He also has no compassion for anyone who he deems not normal - he ridiculed and dismissed someone who showed clear signs of untreated mental illness and took a sort of glee in their suicide. A suicide which took place in his office and after which he returned to said office and USED it while blood spray still covered his phone and computer. He just calmly laid down a towel over his chair and used tissues to pick up his phone so he wouldn’t get dirty from the individual’s blood. What kind of person even does that? However, this guy is supposed to be the “hero” of the book and, somehow likable. I frankly, have no idea how.

The mystery was vaguely interesting but Theo’s heavy handedness during his (unauthorized and illegal) investigation took any sort of joy from the reading experience.

The reader was also problematic as he had an unfortunate nasal voice that made him sound like he had a cold throughout the entire eleven plus hours. His performance was perfectly acceptable, but his voice was beyond annoying.

Overall, I was not impressed and do not feel the need to read any more books in the Theodore Tate series. With a psychopathic main character with zero redeeming qualities and a mediocre story I really cannot recommend this.

★★☆☆☆ = Just Okay

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Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Featured Book: Smoking Springs by Robert C. Mowry

"Ain't gonna die," Judah Ward repeats over and over. The surgeons want to amputate his festering, wounded foot. He's been shot in the shoulder by one of his own officers. Then too, his skull is ravaged by shrapnel. Frostbite and sheer exhaustion plague even the healthiest of these Confederate soldiers after their invasion of New Mexico Territory has been ingloriously halted at Glorieta Pass and they forge a hasty retreat out of this rugged wilderness.

"Ain't going back to Texas," Judah also often asserts. "Hate you, Pa--your God, too," he bitterly proclaims. But for the tenacity of his cousin, Sam Houston McCoy; the affection of Ramona, a kind-hearted Mexican girl and her trader uncle; the help of Bones, a semi-free slave; help and protection from some fellow Confederate deserters and a troop of compassionate, Union spies; and especially for the aid and wisdom of an outcast, Apache woman he names Red Bear who uses the healing of the steamy, mineral springs and other indigenous remedies, Judah wouldn't survive.

Fleeing his mountain sanctuary, now all alone, his body is on the mend. But, what about his confused mind and tormented soul?

About the author:

Robert Mowry lives with his wife in the heart of the land where Smoking Springs is set. His historical stories are based on real events that he has extensively studied and places he has visited. His books are known to move the reader as well as entertain.

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Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Review: Twisted by Lola Smirnova

In the corrupt economy of post-Soviet Ukraine opportunities are scarce. Young and eager sisters – Natalia, Lena and Julia – harbor dreams of a better life. Na├»ve and tempted by the allure of ‘quick’ money, the girls set off on an adventure that changes their lives forever.

Can they stay out of trouble enough to fulfill their ambitions?

Can they hold on to their idealism in a world where depravity and danger are constant companions?

How far are they willing to go to make a buck?

TWISTED is a true life shaped into fiction story of vulnerability, courage and the art of making a living in the sex trade.

Received for review.

I wanted to like this more than I actually did, although I still found it quite interesting.  What annoyed me the most was that the narrative was presented as though told by the author, with all the flaws inherent in someone not speaking in their native tongue.  I was left wondering if this was a deliberate choice on the part of the publishers to get the "feel" of the author as a person or it was just poor editing.  Sentences such as "I am prostitute." were common and took away from the reading enjoyment instead of adding to it.

The story itself was interesting, but rather cliched and read rather like a plot of an episode of The Americans rather than something unique.

I didn't particularly find myself drawn to the characters, but that may also be due to the poor word choices and sentence structure that made reading a bit of a chore, so I never became emotionally invested in their journey and really couldn't find myself caring either way what happened to them.

Overall, this was an interesting read and I recommend it to those looking for something a bit out of the ordinary, but I certainly would not rush to get it.

★★☆☆☆ = Just Okay

Monday, February 22, 2016

Guest Post: Richard Estep author of The World's Most Haunted Hospitals

Richard Estep, author of The World’s Most Haunted Hospitals stopped by to share with us an article he wrote.

In a dynamic vortex between life and death, a hospital is where people enter this world, and leave it. And, what tales a hospital could tell!

In The World’s Most Haunted Hospitals: True-Life Paranormal Encounters in Asylums, Hospitals, and Institutions, paramedic and paranormal investigator, Richard Estep, researches and recounts chilling stories of hospital hauntings around the world.

Fans of his previous books on hauntings and new readers will turn up the lights, lock the doors and sink into stories of:
  • Frightening apparitions at an old Utah hospital, now a nursing home, whose appearances predict patients’ deaths.
  • A former Kentucky sanatorium haunted by thousands of patients who died there, and some of the nurses who cared for them.
  • Terrifying screams and violent scenes that scare visitors away from an abandoned airbase hospital in the Philippines.
  • A nurse in grey who haunts the corridors of a London hospital and terrifies doctors and nurses who encounter her restless spirit.
The World’s Most Haunted Hospitals is a goosebump-producing ride around the globe, stopping at fascinating old and new hospitals and asylums where doctors, nurses, patients, and others can’t wait to tell of their real-life, alarming encounters with strange and scary specters.

About the author:

Richard Estep has been a paranormal investigator for the past twenty years, and is currently director of the Boulder County Paranormal Research Society. He makes a living as a paramedic chief, clinical educator, and teacher in several EMT and paramedic training programs. When not working or investigating claims of the paranormal, Richard can either be found serving as a volunteer firefighter-paramedic, adding to his vast collection of Star Wars memorabilia and Lego, or working on his next book. He is the author of several books on the subject of ghosts and hauntings, and the “Wellington Undead” series of novels. He lives with his wife Laura in northern Colorado, along with a dog and more rescue cats than their homeowners association would like.

*This post may contain affiliate links*

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Featured Book: Stillwell by Michael Phillip Cash

Paul Russo’s wife just died.

While trying to get his family’s life back in order, Paul is being tormented by a demon who is holding his wife's spirit hostage on the other side.

His fate is intertwined with an old haunted mansion on the north shore of Long Island called Stillwell Manor.

Paul must find clues dating back hundreds of years to set his wife's soul free.

About the author:

Michael Phillip Cash is an award-winning screenwriter and novelist. He's written ten books including the best-selling Brood X, Stillwell, The Flip, The After House, The Hanging Tree, Witches Protection Program, Pokergeist and Battle for Darracia series.

Michael resides on the North Shore of Long Island. He writes full-time with his screaming kids in the background.

*This post may contain affiliate links*

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Featured Book: The Birth of Death by Joseph Macolino

Discover the world of Evorath, a magical land with a diverse population of creatures. As you pay a visit to Erathal forest, everything looks nice and peaceful on the surface. With his first fantasy epic, author Joseph Macolino demonstrates that what you see on the surface is not always what you get.

Meet Artimus, the head investigator for the elvish kingdom of Erathal who begins to notice the flaws in his apparently perfect society. As he develops feelings for Savannah, a beautiful elvish druid hiding an important secret, he struggles to separate his personal feelings from his responsibilities to the kingdom.

In a nearby center village, the young warrior Irontail struggles to distinguish himself in a tribe where independent thought is discouraged. When their paths cross, they both discover that their own people’s shortcomings may be the least of their concerns. Putting aside their own personal troubles, they must fight against the clock to ensure the very survival of their peoples. As they work towards this common goal, they find that they each have their own, unique gifts to offer. But, will they be strong enough to survive?

The first tale of many taking place in the world of Evorath, this series gives readers the thrill of a fantasy epic while introducing heroes that probably have more flaws than they do good. One thing is for sure: at the end of it all, nothing will be the same.

About the author:

Contemporary Scribe of Epic High Fantasy

In the tradition of JRR Tolkien and GRR Martin, Joseph Macolino is a builder of worlds. While other works may be derivative of their worlds few can create at the level of these revered masters. Following the path of his mentors, Macolino constructs epic high fantasy tales of extreme depth and extraordinary richness. As a famous hobbit once said, "If you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to."

When he is not pouring his heart, soul, blood, sweat, and tears into writing good fantasy books, Joseph spends time studying the politics and economics of Earth, and also enjoys studying philosophy from nearly every school of thought; if it has anything to do with social philosophy, he wants to know about it. Through this learning, he admits that most philosophy books are relatively dry in their presentation, but hopes to convey these concepts in a way that people can enjoy and relate to. He looks to accomplish this by providing good epic fantasy books for years to come.

Ultimately, Joseph Macolino built Evorath to be his ultimate fantasy book getaway and wants his readers to enjoy the same luxury.

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Friday, February 19, 2016

Review: The Further Adventures of Ebenezer Scrooge by Charlie Lovett

A delightful sequel to Dickens’s beloved A Christmas Carol by the bestselling author of First Impressions and The Bookman’s Tale.

On a hot summer day some twenty years after he was famously converted to kindness, Ebenezer Scrooge still roams the streets of London, spreading Christmas cheer, much to the annoyance of his creditors, nephew, and his employee Bob Cratchit. However, when Scrooge decides to help his old friend and former partner Jacob Marley, as well as other inhabitants of the city, he will need the assistance of the very people he’s annoyed. He’ll also have to call on the three ghosts that visited him two decades earlier. By the time they’re done, they’ve convinced everyone to celebrate Christmas all year long by opening their wallets, arms, and hearts to those around them.

Written in uncannily Dickensian prose, Charlie Lovett’s The Further Adventures of Ebenezer Scrooge is both a loving and winking tribute to the Victorian classic, perfect for readers of A Christmas Carol and other timeless holiday tales.

Received for review

Christmas really just isn't Christmas without some incarnation of A Christmas Carol, whether read at home, viewed as a play, or watched as a movie so I was excited to see this continuation of Scrooge's journey.

I'm a Doctor Who fan so as I read the story I heard it in my head as read by Simon Callow who played Charles Dickens in "The Unquiet Dead" and it made it just that much better. It's certainly not a requirement, but it was a fun imagining nonetheless.

The story itself is really quite fun. It's so beautifully written and carries with it the spirit of Dickens so much that I'm sure he would be proud of this continuation of his work.

Happy Scrooge is a really enjoyable character. You really can picture him going around London spreading Christmas Joy in June just because he can... and the Londoners being slightly less than enamored of his enthusiasm.

I really like how this story takes place twenty years after the original so you can see that Scrooge's transformation is permanent. I also enjoyed that while the story focuses on another transformation we got to revisit our favorite ghostly helpers and other favorite characters so reading this was truly like visiting with old friends.

Overall, this is an excellent read for anyone who loves A Christmas Carol and you will not be disappointed. It also works well as an independent story so if you have yet to read the original you will not miss anything if you choose to read this first. Needless to say, I highly, highly recommend this instant holiday classic.

★★★★ = Really Liked It

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Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Featured Book: Prodigal Time, 1969 by David Morpheys

Three people's lives interplay for love, for protest, and for family. Caught in the conflicted end of the Sixties, they pursue a life worth living. Over the course and fullness of a prodigal time, 1969 the three experience the end of the Sixties revolution, the beginning of the underground and GI Resistance, and travel in exile from the draft and its inclusion of youth in the distant and ever-present War in Vietnam. Kady and David travel Europe, work in France, come home for a wedding in Hudson Park, NY and a funeral in Dalhart, Texas, travel to California where Kady's sure she's pregnant, return to Woodstock, work a Freres' vacation in Vichy, France, where Kurt Kallini comes between the two of them. David returns from a walled-in Berlin to Kady working for Les Freres. They tell each other truths they can't bear to hear. The love they shared like the prodigal time of the Sixties runs out. Kady goes home, while David retreats to Munich. There Kurt Kallini offers big money if David will use GI-ID and buy PX supplies, which Kallini sends to GI bases, his diamonds and dust packaged as gifts to fund the GI Movement. David refuses. In the huge canvas bag Kady left with him, Kallini has taken from him, filled with diamonds and dust, and someone else brings it through customs. The empty bag tossed to him outside Kennedy Airport David takes home to Hudson Park. Then sends Kady her carpetbag and its tainted remains. Her huge bag once packed the cornucopia of all good things: music, freedom, love, travel, and especially the shared life worth living. Now it's only an empty bag that brought illegal contraband through customs. The Sixties end as the shadow of Nixon's Seventies falls over their lives.

About the author:

Born in suburban Dutchess County, NY, David Morpheys enjoyed the Big Boom through high school, played football, attended Hamilton College, and afterward traveled the voyage of discovery west and journey east, worked in Paris with Les Freres, before he returned to teaching work in San Diego, Texas, NY Military Academy, the Catskills, Mid-Hudson prisons, and 25 years work near Caribou and Calais, Maine. Released into the green pastures of teacher retirement, he writes of his Sixties generation, who loved life, lingered long at the fair, and regret at leisure their prodigal time.

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Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Review: Everything But the Squeal by Timothy Hallinan

Robert B. Parker and Robert Crais fans will enjoy Edgar Award nominee Timothy Hallinan's novels featuring over-educated private eye Simeon Grist.

In this third book in the cult series, Grist takes a case that leads him to the phantom neighborhoods of Los Angeles' lost children.

Missing thirteen-year-old Aimee Sorrell ran all the way from Kansas to be a star.

But Aimee's trail soon leads Simeon to the city morgue, the first stop on a perilous journey to find out what happens to America's lost children when they go looking for love in all the wrong places.

From the library

Let me begin by saying that I'm quite glad I didn't actually pay for this or I'd be demanding a refund. As it was, I got it from the library and still feel rather gypped since I had to pay all of fifty cents or so in gas to get there and back.

I've read several of the author's other books and was not particularly impressed by them but they weren't actually bad enough to stop listening to so I decided to give this a try as well.

The problems start about two seconds in with the reader's scratchy, annoying voice. I'm sure he's a perfectly nice person but audiobook performances are definitely not one of his skills. Ten hours of his grating voice made me want to throw my iPod against a wall but I had nothing else to listen to so I persevered.

The "hero" Simeon is still a complete prick. He actually seems to have gotten worse since the earlier books. He's a pill popping borderline alcoholic who is frankly just a rude asshole. Plus, he has developed a charming new habit of torture in this latest volume. I have never wanted a main character to die so much. Really, I'd like to set up an appointment for him with Hannibal Lector. He seems like he could use some quality time with another sociopath. Although I really would hate to inflict his miserable self on Dr. Lector. No one should have to put up with this prick.

Simeon's sidekick for the story - his goddaughter Jessica - was an uber bitch as well. A whiny thirteen year old she was born with a silver spoon in her mouth and was a complete and utter nightmare. She'd be right at home in the backstabbing evilness of Gossip Girl. She is just a miserable human being and each and every scene with her left me wanting to smack her. I found myself gritting my teeth and pondering a wonderful future for her where she ends up in Orange Is the New Black.

The story itself was marginal and I can't even really call it interesting but it was tolerable enough that I could suffer through until the end. I suppose I should have cared what happened to the "victim" of the story but she was a miserable human being as well (although, marginally less than the other two) so I didn't have much sympathy for her either.

Overall, this was a borderline waste of time and I would have abandoned it if I had had anything at all else to listen to, but it was tolerable. This is the equivalent of eating a year old Hershey's bar with an unfortunate case of chocolate bloom when you really want a Godiva truffle. It's okay and it won't make you sick but it's not an enjoyable experience. Needless to say I really cannot recommend this.

☆☆☆☆ = Didn't Like It

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Monday, February 15, 2016

Review: Summer Secrets by Jane Green

When a shocking family secret is revealed, twenty-something journalist Cat Coombs finds herself falling into a dark spiral. Wild, glamorous nights out in London and raging hangovers the next day become her norm, leading to a terrible mistake one night while visiting family in America, on the island of Nantucket. It's a mistake for which she can't forgive herself. When she returns home, she confronts the unavoidable reality of her life and knows it's time to grow up. But she doesn't know if she'll ever be able to earn the forgiveness of the people she hurt.

As the years pass, Cat grows into her forties, a struggling single mother, coping with a new-found sobriety and determined to finally make amends. Traveling back to her past, to the family she left behind on Nantucket all those years ago, she may be able to earn their forgiveness, but in doing so she may risk losing the very people she loves the most.

Told with Jane Green's keen eye for detailing the emotional landscape of the heart, Summer Secrets is at once a compelling drama and a beautifully rendered portrait of relationships, betrayals, and forgiveness; about accepting the things we cannot change, finding the courage to change the things we can, and being strong enough to weather the storms.

Received for review

Jane Green is the beach novel writer extraordinaire so I was excited to receive this to read since I was sure it would be a pleasant read, and I was not disappointed.

I gather we're supposed to like, or at the very least sympathize with, Cat but I just couldn't. She was was a spoiled, self indulgent poor little rich girl and I found it really rather wearying. I frankly wanted bad things to happen to her. Did I care that she was "struggling" with sobriety? No, simply because she was such an obnoxious human being with approximately zero redeeming qualities. However, that is really a testament to the writing that I could read an entire book about such a heinous person and still find the book enjoyable. So, while I couldn't care less about Cat and her "struggles" the story surrounding her and her family secrets was intriguing enough to keep me reading.

Overall, while the main character is on par with Miranda Priestley from The Devil Wears Prada on the bitch scale the story itself is wonderfully written and quite compelling. I found myself wanting to know what would happen and was ultimately quite surprised and satisfied by the resolution of the book. Fans and not-yet-fans of Jane Green alike should find this incredibly enjoyable and I certainly recommend it.

★★★☆☆ = Liked It

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Sunday, February 14, 2016

Featured Book: The Hanging Tree by Michael Phillip Cash

Enter a world where spirits roam the earth in Michael Phillip Cash's haunting new novella, The Hanging Tree.

Set amid the eerie backdrop of Long Island, an area famously steeped in old legend, two young would-be lovers contemplate their future while visits from those who have come before them reveal the lure of fate...and the power of free will.

At seventeen years old, Arielle's relationship with her parents is slowly deteriorating. Angry and defiant, she is at a loss on how to cope with the tumultuous situation in which she finds herself. Arielle's only comfort is Chad, an eighteen-year-old young man who seems to truly understand her struggles.

Arielle and Chad meet beneath the low-hanging branches of what the local community has nick-named the "Hanging Tree". An ancient and majestic landmark, it has long been rumored that the tree is haunted by ghosts. These ghosts span various centuries and vary wildly in age, but each one of them has one thing in common: their deaths are all somehow connected to the tree itself.

As Arielle and Chad commiserate over their current situation and their precarious nature of their future, the spectral inhabitants of the Hanging Tree witness their conversation. One by one,the ghosts begin reminiscing about their own lives-and deaths- as they examine the inner demons with which their human forms long struggled.

An eerie meditation on the oft-overlooked power of choice, Cash's The Hanging Tree will stay with readers long after they turn out the light.

About the author:

Michael Phillip Cash is an award-winning screenwriter and novelist. He's written ten books including the best-selling Brood X, Stillwell, The Flip, The After House, The Hanging Tree, Witches Protection Program, Pokergeist and Battle for Darracia series.

Michael resides on the North Shore of Long Island. He writes full-time with his screaming kids in the background.

*This post may contain affiliate links*

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Featured Book: Annie's Third Wind by Wally Carlson

Readers of Annie's Second Wind delighted in the lively antics of one Annie Perkins and her unusual band of residents on Seven Sisters Island. Now, in Annie's Third Wind, they're back--a little older, but no less driven to see justice served, be it for fellow human beings or an abandoned orca in Puget Sound. A few new characters arrive, including some familiar names. Some depart.
RIch in description and dialogue, Annie draws us into life in the Northwest--its character, its beauty, and its spirit.

Try this recipe and you'll want to keep it around for years!

1 well-seasoned 76-year-old great grandmother, 1 fistful of eccentric cronies, 1 swizzle stick of wacky weed, a double-fisted bottle of wild turkey, a tumbler of kayak sex, 1 crapload of country bureaucrats, 2 twin toddlers with dirty diapers, make mine a double splash of NW rain,1 chain-smoking snarky nun, a gaggle of conspiracy theories, 6 know-it-all sisters (deceased), a dash of danger, 1 angst-ridden orca, a 42 foot cedar canoe, 1 sprig of hope, a proof of randy Pickles, clam chowder w/mother's milk, lightning strike of geoduck.

About the author:

Wally Carlson and his family live on Kitsap Peninsula off Puget Sound, where he divides his time between remodeling and restoring homes and writing. He is currently working on his third novel, the further adventures of Annie.

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Friday, February 12, 2016

Review: The Untold by Courtney Collins

It is 1921. In a mountain-locked valley, amid squalls of driving rain, Jessie is on the run.

Born wild and brave, by twenty-six she has already lived life as a circus rider, a horse and cattle rustler, and a convict. Yet on this fateful night she is just a woman wanting to survive—though there is barely any life left in her.

She mounts her horse and points it toward the highest mountain in sight. Soon bands of men will crash through the bushland, desperate to claim the reward on her head. And in their wake will be two more men—one her lover, the other the law—each uncertain whether to save her or themselves.

But as it has always been for Jessie, it is death, not a man, who is her closest pursuer and companion. And while all odds are stacked against her, there is one who will never give up on her….

Received for review

I'm always hesitant to read books recommended by authors whose work I've loathed and this was highly rated by Elizabeth Gilbert whose books I simply cannot stand so I was not expecting good things from this. Thankfully I was pleasantly surprised.

Initially I found the complete lack of chapter numbering to be more than a bit annoying but I eventually became accustomed to it, especially since the chapters were usually only a handful of pages so numbering quickly would have gotten out of control.

The story was interesting and immediately drew me in even though I was not overly fond of Jessie. Okay, I really didn't like her much at all. I certainly didn't like or respect her and would never, ever want to meet her in real life. The writing style was okay, but it rather more of a literary fiction style which made it slightly less enjoyable to read than it could have been.

Overall, this was a pleasant read and those who appreciate a strong female protagonist in a story filed with adventure should find this enjoyable and I recommend it to them. I look forward to reading the author's future works.

★★★☆☆ = Liked It

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Thursday, February 11, 2016

Review: Skin Deep by Timothy Hallinan

The Simeon Grist private-eye novels by 2011 Edgar and Macavity Award nominee Timothy Hallinan have become cult favorites, and here is the one that started it all.

For a fee so big he can't turn it down, Simeon Grist is hired to watchdog the kind of guy he'd usually prefer to throw through the nearest window. Toby Vane is the golden boy of prime-time television, whose gee-whiz smile and chiseled features mask a dark secret that would take the shine off for his millions of adoring female fans: every now and then he beats up a woman, and almost any woman will do. When some of the women around Toby begin to turn up dead, Simeon has to figure out whether he's protecting a murderer -- or whether one of Toby's multitude of enemies wants to put him away forever. And when Simeon meets the beautiful Nana, the whole situation becomes very personal, very fast.

From the library

This series is supposed to be great for readers who love Robert B. Parker and similar authors but I just didn't see it.

The story itself is rather blah with a drug addicted misogynistic pretty boy actor and a a drug addicted washed up stripper. Yes, there were a lot of drugs in this. So, so many drugs. Too many drugs. So many drugs that I just wanted the author to stop describing all the drug taking because it was just plain getting repetitive. It got to the point where I was thinking "Really? They're popping another handful of pills? Why haven't they overdosed yet? Maybe they'll overdose this time and I won't have to read about their drug habits anymore."

The characters were bland and one dimensional. The strippers were stereotypical drug addicts who drank too much with "boyfriends" who pimped them out. No one was likable, least of all the main character, Simeon who was whiny, annoying, and condescending. Really, Dexter is more empathetic than this guy.

I'm not normally one to harp on supposed misogyny depicted in novels, but it was so over the top in this that I really must mention it. The characters (and I'm seriously beginning to wonder if the author as well) firmly believe that women are a lower class of person and are weak and less intelligent than the male characters. Approximately two of the female characters were portrayed as relatively capable, but they were also portrayed as overweight, bitchy, or lesbian. I'm not entirely sure if the author really hates women, but I'm beginning to think that he actually does after reading this.

Overall, this was mildly amusing at best and if you don't mind being hit over the head with the author's dislike of women then it's a decent enough mystery. I would never go so far as to call this good but it's tolerable. I really cannot recommend it though since there are so many other, better books out there.

★★☆☆☆ = Just Okay

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Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Featured Book: Just Ask the Universe by Michael Samuels

Just Ask the Universe is not a book of New Age gobbledygook filled with empty promises. Angels won't fly from above and touch you while you're reading. You will not be asked to practice unusual or tedious rituals. There will be no preaching or sage advice and there will most certainly be no channeling of your inner chakras or dressing like Friar Tuck. Just Ask the Universe is a realistic guide to personal development. By creating a blueprint for self-growth and commanding your subconscious mind, the Universe will manifest all your dreams.

For over two decades, Michael Samuels has studied and methodically tested hundreds of books on self-improvement, spirituality, and the metaphysical. Just Ask the Universe accumulates the wisdom from "thought teachers" like: Wallace Wattles, Anthony Robbins, Rhonda Byrne, Joseph Murphy, Robert Collier, and Napoleon Hill, and compiles it under one unified lesson: if your thoughts are clear and in harmony with your mind and the truth of your surroundings, your life can be filled with all the richness the Universe has to offer. As a culmination from these teachings, Michael will show you how to use simple and fun techniques to create a more desirable future. This approach, coupled with real-life stories, will teach you how to achieve personal power to overcome any barrier.

Regardless of what your present circumstances might be, by following the principles in this book, you will be able to gain power over your destiny. The Universe is listening. All you have to do is just ask.

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Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Review: No Comfort for the Lost by Nancy Herriman

In 1860s San Francisco, gold buys the best life has to offer. Without it, not even justice is guaranteed.

After serving as a nurse in the Crimea, British-born Celia Davies left her privileged family for an impulsive marriage to a handsome Irishman. Patrick brought her to San Francisco's bustling shores but then disappeared and is now presumed dead. Determined to carry on, Celia partnered with her half-Chinese cousin Barbara and her opinionated housekeeper Addie to open a free medical clinic for women who have nowhere else to turn. But Celia's carefully constructed peace crumbles when one of her Chinese patients is found brutally murdered...and Celia's hotheaded brother-in-law stands accused of the crime.

A veteran of America's civil war, detective Nicholas Greaves is intent on discovering the killer of the girl, whose ethnicity and gender render her as powerless in death as they did in life. Nicholas's efforts are complicated by Celia, who has a knack for walking into dangerous situations that may lead to answers...or get them both killed. For as their inquiries take them from Chinatown's squalid back alleys to the Barbary Coast's violent shipping docks to the city's gilded parlors, Celia and Nicholas begin to suspect that someone very close to them holds the key to a murderous conspiracy...

Received for review

I wanted to like this but I really couldn't. It's essentially a cozy mystery set in late 1860s San Francisco which sounded good but the reality was a just a mess of a feminist rant about racial discrimination disguised as a mystery.

The author seems to believe that Chinese immigrants were treated very poorly in San Francisco (because all immigrants were treated so well) and that the Irish were completely to blame for this. So she enjoys free reign in her racial discrimination was against the Irish, but according to her that's not discrimination because all Irish are charming but abusive drunks. Of course! Who knew?! While the Chinese are innocent, lovely people who were at the mercy of the big bad Irish. This alone made my stomach turn.

The horror continued with the author's feminist agenda. The characters act extremely out of character for the time period and were just frankly annoying rather than rousing any girl power feelings in me. I just outright did not like them.

The mystery itself was acceptable, but I frankly didn't even care at that point because I hated the characters so much. I found myself rather hoping that it was a murder spree and someone would go all Dexter on one of them.

Overall this was a barely acceptable read and if you enjoy reading about Irish hating feminists this would make a lovely read for you but otherwise I really cannot recommend it at all.

★★☆☆☆ = Just Okay

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Monday, February 8, 2016

Review: The Romanov Cross by Robert Masello

Army epidemiologist Frank Slater is facing a court-martial, but after his punishment is mysteriously lifted, he is offered a job no one else wants-to travel to a small island off the coast of Alaska and investigate a potentially lethal phenomenon. The permafrost has begun to melt, exposing bodies from a colony that was wiped out by the dreaded Spanish flu of 1918. Frank must determine if the thawed remains still carry the deadly virus in their frozen flesh and, if so, ensure that it doesn't come back to life. Frank and his handpicked team arrive by helicopter, prepared to exhume history. The colony, it transpires, was once settled by a sect devoted to the mad Russian monk Rasputin, but there is even more hiding in the past than Frank's team is aware of. Any hope of success hinges on their willingness to accept the fact that even their cutting-edge science has its limits, and that the ancient wisdom of the Inuit people who once inhabited this eerie land is as essential as any serum. Frank soon finds himself in a brutal race against time. With a young, strong-willed Inuit woman by his side, he must put a deadly genie back in the bottle before all of humanity pays the price.

From the library

First, I’m not entirely sure why the author was so vehemently pro-Czar and anti-Communist but he really, really was. There was constant harping on how wonderful the Czar and his family were (with, of course, not a single mention of any of the problems with the Czar’s rule) and how bad everyone else was. I’ve really never read any fiction where the author was such a fan of a truly evil figure. It was really like listening to someone proclaim just what a wonderful and caring human being General Sherman was and how inspiring his complete destruction of the South on his infamous March to the Sea was. Apparently the Czar could torture puppies and kittens and the author would be okay with it because he’s the Czar and that makes it okay.

Oddly enough, the author seems to dislike New Englanders as much as he loves the Czar (which was particularly offensive since I’m a New Englander myself). The only two characters from New England are pale faced, gingham garbed religious zealots (one an uber bitch and one with below average intelligence who loves vampire romances) with horrific accents. Clearly, the author still believes that everyone in New England is a batshit crazy Puritan because it’s obviously still 1635 in his world.

I gather the reader was supposed to somehow sympathize with Anastasia through the portions about her “traumatic” life but, frankly, all I felt for her was complete disgust. I’m pretty sure the author intended her to come across as marginally tolerable but she really wasn’t. She was a spoiled little brat, constantly complaining about the “horrors” she had to endure (i.e. being “trapped” inside the Winter Palace after the revolution, having to endure no longer being a Grand Duchess, etc.). If I had to listen to one more word about her “poor treatment” as a prisoner (riding on a luxury train complete with staff) I might have actually thrown my iPod against the wall. She was an obnoxious, horrible creature and I was frankly quite pleased at her ultimate fate as she quite deserved it. Although, I wish it had happened earlier and she hadn’t been able to hurt anyone else with her disgusting selfishness.

The “hero”, Frank Slater, was annoying as well. He had an unfortunate “holier than thou” attitude since he thought his level of education and status in the U.S. Army made him infallible. He was irresponsible beyond belief on multiple occasions and was shocked each and every time that he was reprimanded. His arrogance truly knew no bounds. He also clearly had no compunction to actually honor his medical oath of doing no harm since he was constantly putting multiple people’s lives at stake to somehow satisfy his own hero complex. I found myself muttering “OMG, what a prick!” several times while suffering through this nightmare. By the end of the book I genuinely found myself rooting for his slow and painful death - which would not help the people who died because of his incompetence but it would have been some small comfort. If Slater is a representation of what actually goes on with the people supposedly protecting the public health in the United States then I’m certain we will all die from an outbreak.

Also included was the ever popular headstrong but beautiful female sidekick. Because she could be as irresponsible and outright dangerous as she wanted and it was okay because she was beautiful. So, the message is, “Sure, put the entire Earth’s health at risk because of your outrageous behavior but it’s okay because you’re gorgeous.”.

The reader was also problematic. I’m not entirely sure English was his native language since he felt the need to emphasize nearly every word in a sentence. Seriously, nearly every word. The flow was completely messed up by his over emphasis and the story very quickly lost whatever joy it might have had. He also mispronounced many, many words. Just outright mispronounced them. I was under the impression that there was someone at least supervising the reading of this audiobook, but clearly they were too busy on Facebook to actually do their job and listen to the performance since it was a giant mess.

Overall, I really cannot recommend this at all. The story was marginally intriguing but the characters were obnoxious at best and completely unsympathetic, and the performance was abysmal.

☆☆☆☆ = Didn't Like It

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Sunday, February 7, 2016

Featured Book: Schism: The Battle for Darracia by Michael Phillip Cash

On the planet Darracia, an ever-widening social gap between its inhabitants is causing turmoil that is fracturing a once peaceful world.

Struggling with his identity, nineteen year old Prince V'sair must harness the power of the elusive Fireblade, the secret to a warrior's heart, in order to overcome his uncle Staf Nuen's lust for supremacy.

Will the energy of the Elements guide the young prince to his true destiny or will Staf Nuen conquer Darracia?

About the author:

Michael Phillip Cash is an award-winning screenwriter and novelist. He's written ten books including the best-selling Brood X, Stillwell, The Flip, The After House, The Hanging Tree, Witches Protection Program, Pokergeist and Battle for Darracia series.

Michael resides on the North Shore of Long Island. He writes full-time with his screaming kids in the background.

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Saturday, February 6, 2016

Featured Book: Have It All by Gregory Nicholas Malouf

Do you feel frustrated that you don't have the time to do everything needed each day to ensure consistent career and financial success?

Are you stressed and worn out from trying to balance your work and personal life?

Looking for strategies to overcome the constant stream of work challenges that arise?

Have It All! Turn Your Thinking Around and Find Success in 6 Simple Steps will enable you to:
  • Attain happiness and abundance in all areas of your life
  • Increase your wealth by improving your productivity
  • Replace your old beliefs, which are holding you back, with new and productive ones
  • Access strategies to handle life's challenges
  • Gain work/life balance and improve your relationships at home and work
  • Overcome self-criticism and doubt and take control of your life
  • Stay passionate and motivated for consistent results.

About the author:

Gregory Nicholas Malouf, founder of Epsilon Healing Academy, a successful Australian businessman and entrepreneur, had a traumatic childhood. He became a workaholic in order to run away from his past and allow himself to live the "perfect life," or so he thought. Throwing lavish parties, and flying all over the world. Despite running numerous businesses, all of which were successful --and even leading motivational and meditation retreats and programs for his teams-- Greg knew deep down that he was still looking at things from the outside in, rather than from the inside out. It wasn't until the hollowness of his existence caused his world to fall apart that Greg ultimately found his road to wellness and healing.

At the age of fifty, Greg realized for the first time that his priorities were misguided, that he was living a lie. Anxiety and obsessive control disorder were just two of many addictions he suffered in his life. Why? Because he had not yet been able to confront the truth of his past. Thanks to a genuine intent to experience true abundance in his life, Greg did face his past and discover the truth that had previously limited his life. Greg was an insatiable reader, studied neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) and Transcendental Meditation with Thom Knoles, an internationally respected thought leader and celebrated speaker. He additionally underwent rehabilitation, intensive individual therapy and group therapy, and attended the 12 step meetings to seek a wholesome and differing approach to healing. Subsequently, in 2009, Greg founded Epsilon Healing Academy, and has since been working with thousands of people throughout the world, as a natural expression of his commitment to share the lessons he himself learned on how to liberate the mind and body, live in the present with gratitude, consciously create life on one's own terms and experience the abundance one deserves.

Greg has made it his mission to better the world through his passion of helping people explore their anxiety, challenge their fears, and reach their full potential. Today, through books like Silent, Shallow Love, and Tunnel Vision, programs like the University of Self, and other valuable tools, Greg and his incredible Epsilon Healing Academy team help people to live lives that in every way reflect who they are and what they most deeply desire.

Gregory lives in Sydney with his children and travels abroad to share his message of healing.

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Friday, February 5, 2016

Review: Cosega Search by Brandt Legg

Ripley Gaines, a brilliant archaeologist, has spent his life searching for an elusive artifact to prove his controversial theory.

What he finds shocks even him.

The discovery rewrites human history and promises to change the planet's future. It has to be suppressed.

The most powerful forces in the world align against him, and a deadly competition for the artifact ensues.

Capturing Gaines is not enough; he, and everyone who has seen the artifact, must be killed.

His only hope is to stay alive long enough to decode the Cosega Sequence.

From the Library

I don't normally review my personal reading but this was so bad I simply had to share the horror.

The only reason I actually finished this was because it was an audiobook and I was doing other things while listening to it. If it had been a physical book I would have tossed aside partway through the first chapter.

The book just throws you right into the story, which is normally a good thing, but in this case you have no clue what is going on. There is virtually no introduction to the characters or the situation and leave you thinking "But, what?" through about the first third of the book.

There's a heavy conspiracy theory theme to this which could have been interesting but there were just so many members of so many conspiracies that you're left not really caring who was covering what up or why because everyone is so darn annoying.

The situations are completely ridiculous. I suppose the story is supposed to inspire a level of excitement and intrigue but it just falls flat. It's like biting into a cupcake expecting it to be devil's food and finding it's just a brown Twinkie material. It's just blah.

There is no connection with the characters because you don't learn anything beyond the bare minimum about them and what you do learn you just don't care about. I frankly couldn't have cared less whether the "heroes" of the story were killed or "won" as long as the stupid story ended.

And, speaking of endings, the book just up and ended. It wasn't even a cliffhanger or anything, and there was no resolution. It's like they just took a manuscript and randomly separated it and decided "Okay, this is book one." without actually looking at the story. I probably would have been disappointed had I cared at all about the story or the characters.

Overall, this was a huge disappointment. What could have been interesting and well done was just bland and boring and almost as palatable as a cold McDonald's french fry. I really cannot recommend this unless you literally have nothing else to read. Even the ingredient list on a cereal box would be more entertaining. The only reason this even got two stars was because I limped my way to the end and still had some brain cells remaining. Don't waste your time and just walk on by this one.

★★☆☆☆ = Just Okay

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Thursday, February 4, 2016

Review: More Notes From the Universe by Mike Dooley

The Universe returns in this second volume of Notes from the Universe, overflowing with even more valuable reminders of the absolute power you have over your life. Whether opened at random or read from front to back, the powerful affirmations penned by author Mike Dooley will have you once again thinking positively, feeling confident, and walking the path to personal fulfillment.

It's never been easier, with the inspiration and empowerment of the Universe's eternal love open-ing all the doors. The secret to manifesting change was unlocked in the first book of the Notes from the Universe trilogy, and the lessons continue here, drawing you ever closer to the life you always dreamed you would live.

From the library.

This was recommended by an acquaintance as "life changing" and I'm really rather disappointed that I listened to said individual and picked this up. The only redeeming quality was that this was from the library and I didn't actually pay any money for this or I'd have it back it at the store demanding a refund.

This is your typical Napoleon Hill BS. The "if you can imagine it, you can have it" feel good vibe crap that is supposed to change your life but actually just changes the lives of the authors who write this crap. The only ones getting rich are the authors.

The advice provided within this little crapfest is just to feel great and live your dreams and trust in the universe and all will be well and you'll get everything you've ever wanted. Well, newsflash, life doesn't actually work like that so this is a giant waste of time. In the case of this audiobook it was two hours of wasted time accompanied by teeth grinding. If I hadn't been in a car with no decent radio stations available I would have just abandoned it after about two minutes. As it was, I probably would have found it significantly more relaxing to just listen to radio static for two hours than this.

Overall, this is really only a good option for the New Age crystals and love crowd. If you truly believe that "if you can imagine it, you can achieve it" then this is a great choice for you. For the other 99.999% of the population who knows that that is complete BS I'd recommend a pass on this.

☆☆☆☆ = Didn't Like It

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Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Featured Book: How to Barter for Paradise by Michael Wigge

Most people like to travel in comfort: they stay in fancy hotels, never leave tourist spots, and stay away from the locals. Michael Wigge isn’t like most people, though. After travelling the world without money for 150 days while writing How to Travel the World for Free, his next challenge: turn an apple into a house in Hawaii.

Wigge goes around fourteen countries and six continents exchanging goods for more valuable ones, and he meets an array of good-humored people who take his deals. Taking on his Barterman persona, he trades the apple for sixteen cigarettes in Germany; a couple of trades later in India, he fixes up a motorized rickshaw and trades it for silk; in Australia, a millionaire amuses himself by offering him an art piece for the silk if Wigge feeds a wild crocodile. Finally, he arrives in Hawaii armed with two bicycles, a surfboard, Portuguese porcelain, three solid-gold coins, a Porsche wristwatch, a record by musician Coati Mundi and accompanying contract for 25 percent of the proceeds from his next single, a voucher for a two-night stay in a mansion in L.A., and a piece of original artwork by painter Alex Stenzel—now he just has to find someone to give him a house in exchange.

On the 200-day journey around the world, Wigge makes forty-two trades and meets strange, kind, funny, friendly, eccentric, and good-natured people who help him in his quest. It’s a journey you won’t want to miss!

About the author:

Michael Wigge is an author, filmmaker, and journalist. He began his career as an anchor on the German VIVA program London Calling, and the world has been his newsroom and playground ever since. From reporting for MTV from a prison, to entering the Buckingham Palace in England dressed as King Henry VIII, Wigge has always thrown himself into the most unusual situations, including riding a donkey for more than sixty hours in an effort to obtain a Guinness World Record. He has lived with the native Yanomami Indian tribe in the Amazon rainforest and fought sumo wrestlers in Japan. He is the author of How to Travel the world for Free. He lives in Berlin, Germany.

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Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Review: Alex's Wake by Martin Goldsmith

Alex’s Wake is a tale of two parallel journeys undertaken seven decades apart.

In the spring of 1939, Alex and Helmut Goldschmidt were two of more than 900 Jewish refugees fleeing Nazi Germany aboard the St. Louis, “the saddest ship afloat” (New York Times). Turned away from Cuba, the United States, and Canada, the St. Louis returned to Europe, a stark symbol of the world’s indifference to the gathering Holocaust. The Goldschmidts disembarked in France, where they spent the next three years in six different camps before being shipped to their deaths in Auschwitz.

In the spring of 2011, Alex’s grandson, Martin Goldsmith, followed in his relatives’ footsteps on a six-week journey of remembrance and hope, an irrational quest to reverse their fate and bring himself peace. Alex’s Wake movingly recounts the detailed histories of the two journeys, the witnesses Martin encounters for whom the events of the past are a vivid part of a living present, and an intimate, honest attempt to overcome a tormented family legacy.

Received for review

There are so many Holocaust stories out there that it's difficult to come across one that moves you any more than the others. This is true of this volume. It's a sad story and beautifully written, but there's nothing particularly new or different about it.

I liked that it detailed not only the story of the St. Louis but also the author's journey to discover more about his family history as well. It felt rather like an episode of Who Do You Think You Are?.

Overall, while there is nothing really new about the story the presentation is pleasant and the many photographs really help the reader to visualize the story. If you are interested in heartbreaking Holocaust stories then this is for you and I certainly recommend it to you but be prepared for many, many tears along the way.

★★★☆☆ = Liked It

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Monday, February 1, 2016

Review: Wilber's War by Hale Bradt

A father's odyssey. A mother's strength. A son's story. The trilogy, Wilber's War, chronicles the story of two ordinary Americans, Wilber and Norma Bradt, during an extraordinary time, World War II. It offers fresh insight-on a deeply personal level-into the historic conflict as it was fought by the U.S. Army in the Solomon Islands, New Guinea, and The Philippines and by a family on the home front. It is an epic tale of duty, heroism, love, and human frailty. The story is told in large part in Wilber's own words in a sensitive editing of his some 700 richly detailed wartime letters. The work spotlights the ways in which individuals shaped, and were shaped by, World War II. It offers a nuanced view into the complexities faced by one family and by U.S. society as a whole when it ships soldiers off to war and asks loved ones to forge new lives on the home front. Author Hale Bradt, Wilber and Norma's son, shares his parents' stories with insight, compassion, and a wealth of carefully selected images that bring their experiences to life. Visiting in the 1980s the battlefields where his father fought, he adds another uniquely American voice to this rich story: that of a son seeking to unravel the tangled threads of his family's legacy. Beautifully produced, three hardcover books n a slipcase, a collector's item.

Received for review

This truly massive set of three books is remarkably engaging and readable. You might think that a set that could break your toe if you drop it on your foot would be dry and boring but this really isn't.

I really liked that this was mainly a collection of letters written by Wilber and his family along with many personal photographs. It adds a dimension to the story that makes it even more easy to get lost in. I also liked that this back and forth correspondence illustrated what the war was like not only for Wilber as a soldier, but his family as civilians as well.

Overall, while I may not agree with all of Wilber's life choices this is a genuinely interesting and well presented read and I certainly highly recommend it to anyone interested in the time period. It would also make a lovely gift.

★★★★ = Really Liked It

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