Tuesday, November 30, 2010

November Summary

November Summary 
  1. Cate and the Lost Colony by Lisa Klein - read 11/3/10
  2. Calico Pennants by David A. Ross - read 11/4/10 
  3. Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney - read 11/5/10
  4. Thrill of the Chase by Christina Crooks - read 11/6/10
  5. Last Exit in New Jersey by C.E. Grundler - read 11/11/10
  6. Christmas at Harrington's by Melody Carlson - read 11/16/10
  7. A Cedar Key Christmas by Terri DuLong - read 11/17/10
  8. First Family by David Baldacci - read 11/19/10
  9. Turn of the Karmic Wheel by Monica Brinkman - read 11/21/10
  10.  Cryer's Cross by Lisa McMann - read 11/23/10
  11.  Halo by Alexandra Adornetto - read 11/24/10
  12. This Gorgeous Game by  Donna Freitas - read 11/25/10
  13. The Active, Creative Child by Stephanie Vlahov - read 11/27/10

Review books:11
Library Books: 2
Books from my bookshelf: 0

Favorite of the month: This Gorgeous Game by Donna Freitas - it was powerful and creepy and very interesting.

This was a slower month for me, but still a good month.  I was plagued by a reading funk in the middle of the month and then it became busy around the house with Thanksgiving.  I'm getting back into the groove with reading and reviewing so hopefully December will be a better month!

So how was your reading month?

Author Interview: Laura Griffin (Unforgivable, The Tracers series)

Please join me in welcoming author Laura Griffin today to My Reading Room.  Laura has the third novel in her Tracers series coming out today, Unforgivable.  So check that out and check out my review coming soon, but until then, please join Laura and myself for a quick chat.

Thanks for inviting me to hang out with you in your reading room! Always fun to talk to book lovers.

I know these aren’t your first books, but how did you celebrate when you found out the Tracers series would be published?

Fun question. When I finally heard from my agent that my publisher wanted the Tracers stories, I was so elated, so I dropped everything and went out for Tex-Mex and margaritas.

How would you describe Unforgivable to others?

Unforgivable is about a very passionate woman, Mia Voss, who has devoted her life to helping put repeat, violent offenders behind bars. She’s a DNA expert, and her unique abilities have helped homicide cops and cold case detectives solve some of their very toughest cases. When Mia finds herself the target of a vicious criminal, she turns to a cop she knows for help… Ric Santos, but they have a past together, which complicates things. Unforgivable is both a mystery and a romance… my favorite kind of story!

Where did the idea for Unforgivable come from?

The first spark of the idea came when I was interviewing a cold case detective. I asked him how he prioritized the hundreds of unsolved cases in his jurisdiction, and he said that sometimes it’s a new clue that comes to light and other times it’s a family that applies pressure, year after year, so that detectives don’t forget about their loved one. I wanted to write a story about a woman who lost someone close to her and became committed to the idea of seeking justice for victims of violent crime.

How much research have you had to do for this series of books?

Each story involves different kinds of research, but I love all of it. For my current story, I’m researching SWAT teams and snipers. The next story will have parts about forensic anthropology, or bones. Every time I set out to write a new book, I like to learn about what my characters do, whether that character is a hair stylist or an FBI agent.

I read Unspeakable and have Untraceable on my TBR pile. When I read Unspeakable I was introduced to Mia and I can’t wait to read the book about her. Was she an easy heroine to write?

Mia is smart and gifted at what she does, but she isn’t your typical kick-ass law enforcement heroine. She hates guns. She doesn’t know how to fight. I enjoyed writing her because she has a certain vulnerability, but she’s also very tough.

Did you plan this book out or do you just write and see where it took you?

I had some vague ideas about what I wanted to do, but as always, the book kind of develops a direction of its own. I never plan out every detail because so much changes as I go.

Do you get time to read? What are your favorite types of books to read?

I love all types of books. At the moment I’m reading a thriller called 61 Hours by Lee Child. After that, I’m going to start a book about burial recovery training at the National Forensic Academy. And then it’s The Help by Kathryn Stockett.

What is your favorite room in your house?

My office. It’s filled with books.

What is your favorite spot to read in?

My armchair.

What is your favorite snack food?


What is your favorite season?

Don’t have one.

Do you have a schedule for writing each day or do you just do it when you can?

I start in the early morning, finish up by mid-afternoon, and then sit back down at my computer in the evening.

Any book signings/conferences/public/blog appearances in the near future?

I just returned from a wonderful weekend in Dallas with a number of terrific authors, including Sherrilyn Kenyon and Dianna Love, who were my co-authors for the Deadly Promises anthology. It was fun to meet readers and sign copies of the book. I’m sure I will put another book signing on the schedule for later this winter.

Do you have a new book in the works (please tell me there is another Tracers book - I love this series)?

I am so glad to hear that! Yes, there are more. I’ve been so excited about the success of the series, and my publisher has asked me to write three more Tracers books, starting with Snapped in 2011.

Anything else you would like to say?

I should probably answer the question I get asked most by readers: Do you have to read the Tracers books in order? The answer is nope, not necessary. The characters overlap, but each suspense plot stands on its own, so feel free to dive right in!

Thanks so much for having me. I hope you enjoy Unforgivable as much as I enjoyed writing it!

UnforgivableAbout the book:

For Mia Voss, tracing killers is business.  But her work just got personal.

At first, Mia thinks it is just bad luck when her already lousy day ends with a carjacking, but what seems like a random incident is followed by another sinister episode.  As a DNA expert, Mia has made it her mission to put away vicious criminals, but suddenly, she has become the target of one.  The only way to protect the people she loves most is to deliberately destroy her reputation and risk letting a killer walk free.

Mia is the sexiest, most intriguing woman Detective Ric Santos has ever met, and he can tell she’s lying--and that she’s scared.  There was a time when Mia trusted Ric—but that was before Ric let his turbulent past get between them.  Now, Mia must face her own past, as the key to catching a sadistic madman may lie within one of her long-buried cold cases.  Only she can uncover the truth, but first she will have trust Ric with her secrets… and her life.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Book Review: The Active, Creative Child by Stephanie D. Vlahov

The Active, Creative Child: Parenting in Perpetual MotionThe Active Creative Child by Stephanie Vlahov
Publisher: Hohm Press
Publish Date: April 10, 2005
105 pages
Non-Fiction, Parenting

My Review:
Why I read this: I'm not sure that I would say The Active Creative Child is full of new ideas that will just blow you away, but it is full of little nuggets of wisdom that I think are easier to incorporate into daily life more than any new child-rearing strategy.  What the book is full of is tidbits of advice on adjusting your life to a more challenging child without changing your life, without going overboard and really changing your life or catering to one child over the other.  These are all struggles I have.  I adore my youngest but he does challenge me.  Sometimes his antics are adorable and sometimes they embarrass me completely.  One think I think Ms. Vlahov does very well is show parents that they are not alone.  That is  what the book taught me the most - it may me fell like I was in a sisterhood with her and many other mothers dealing with active creative children.

The book reads quickly and easily.  Ms. Vlahov does not get bogged down in research or terminology an average mother won't understand.  She keeps it real and easy-going so you feel that you are right there with her having a girlfriend chat and sharing your woes.  After the comfort factor of the book comes the learning factor.  I wasn't quite sure what I learned after reading the book, but now several days later I realize that I have learned a lot because I am incorporating little ideas into my daily life.  Not changing my life or my sons' lives in any way, but things I can change to make me more understanding of my child and to better communicate with him.  I can see me continue to use these ideas as well into the future.  The ideas are simple but great, they will be easy to incorporate and there is no need to use all the ideas at once.

I think Ms. Vlahov has written a book on exactly what she knows, dealing with an Active Creative Child and I think this book is a must-read for any mom at a loss.  Ms. Vlahov will make you feel better about yourself as a parent or at least not as alone and while she does that she offers helpful advice for day-to-day life with children that can challenge you, entertain you, make you smile, make you laugh and make you cry all within the span of minutes.  I can't recommend this book enough.  I am glad I got a chance to read it and will keep it on my bookshelf when I need a refresher in the future as well.

My Rating: 4.5/5.0

About the Book:
With an active,creative child, parents and teachers need to be flexible, energetic and smart! Here is a practical handbook for coping, establishing realistic boundaries and avoiding labels when you have a really inquisitive child. Active/creative children are often misunderstood by the medical community, by schools, and by their own parents. Their energy can be astounding; their curiosity is boundless -- and channeling that energy is necessary. This is encouragement and genuine help to support a child's natural curiosity and energy: * work with your child's energy, don't squelch it * keep your own ego from interfering with your child's passion * how to avoid over-stimulation * how to choose the best artistic outlets * how to choose the best teachers
About the Author:
Stephanie Vlahov, who holds an MS in Psychology/Theatre Arts, is a native Californian, a watercolorist, writer, tender of the hearth and a mother who also runs a recruiting business from home. She has travelled to other countries to observe how creative children are raised around the world.

FTC Information: I received this book through Pump Up Your Book Promotion for review.  I have Amazon links on my review pages but I do not make any money from these because of NC laws.  I put them solely for people to check out the books on a retail site.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Book Feature: Scourge by David H. Burton (releases tomorrow)

Scourge (A Grim Doyle Adventure)Scourge (A Grim Doyle Adventure) by David H. Burton
Official Release: November 29, 2010

I have this in my tbr pile and plan to read it and review it later this week.

About the Book:

Two dads, five siblings, and goggles!

Grim Doyle has always known his life was not exactly "normal", and things get even more curious when he discovers a set of stones that sweep him and his

family to the fantasy, steampunk world of Verne - a place they had escaped from years ago. Now that they've returned, Grim and his siblings hide from the

evil Lord Victor and his minions. And while learning about Jinns, Mystics, and the power of absinth they try to discover who is trying to kill them with the deadly Scourge.

Scourge is the first novel in the Grim Doyle Adventure series by author, David H. Burton. He can be found online at http://davidhburton.com
The link to purchase:

Amazon Kindle release is available here:

Print version should be released in 2 weeks time.

Book trailer:

Book trailer can be seen here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Qbj7qqwBr0
Personalized version of Scourge (from the author):

I am offering a personalized ebook version of Scourge at my site. With it comes an autographed dedication page as well as a fun feature where I alter the

name of one of the minor characters in the story with the name of the purchaser.

The link to purchase is here: http://davidhburton.com/?page_id=4113


And of course, my site is at http://davidhburton.com

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Book Feature: When No One is Watching by Joseph Hayes

When No One is Watching

When No One is Watching by Joseph Hayes
Publisher: Synergy Books
Publish Date: October 5, 2010
Trade Paperback, 320 pages

Since I'm running slightly behind, I thought I would bring back my book feature posts.  It's simply information about a book I have in my queue to review.  So check this one out, doesn't it sound good?  I'm getting ready to start it so watch for the review soon.

About the Book:
On the eve of announcing his run for Congress, a charismatic Chicago politician causes a deadly accident. Panicked, he frames his best friend, a good-hearted alcoholic, and flees the scene. As one man tries to pick up the pieces of his shattered life, the other embarks on a meteoric rise to political stardom. But when a dogged detective digs deeper into the case, the political superstar must decide just how far he is willing to go to keep his dark secret and avoid an explosive scandal that could ruin him and rock the entire nation. In this suspenseful thriller, author Joseph Hayes asks, is "the greater good" just a lie we tell ourselves to justify the sins we commit when no one is watching?
With all the pressure surrounding this wedding, Bella's not sure she's going to make it through. Add her starstruck sister, her feuding aunt and uncle, and a trio of large, sequined church ladies with even bigger personalities, and you've got a recipe for disaster—and a lot of laughs. This hilarious romantic comedy is sure to delight both fans and new readers alike.

About the Author:
Since obtaining his law degree from Berkeley, Joseph Hayes has practiced law in Chicago, San Diego and Houston. He currently serves the chief ethics officer for a Fortune 1000 company. Hayes resides in The Woodlands, Texas, with his wife, Susan, and their three children

FTC Information: I received this book from Phenix and Phenix Literary Publicists for review.  I have Amazon links on my review pages but I do not make any money from these because of NC laws.  I put them solely for people to check out the books on a retail site.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Author Interview: Monica Brinkman (Turn of the Karmic Wheel)

Today I would like to welcome Monica Brinkman to My Reading Room.  Monica is author of Turn of the Karmic Wheel which I spotlighted and reviewed yesterday.  Welcome Monica!

How did you celebrate when you found out Turn of the Karmic Wheel would be published?

After my initial reaction of squealing with delight, rushing to my spouses side and hugging him, I decided that since it occurred it August, I would hold an ‘August Party’ to celebrate, not only the acceptance of my manuscript for publication, but also to celebrate all birthdays and anniversaries in August. I made traditional lasagna and antipasto. It was wonderful being surrounded by those I love who are supportive of my writing endeavors.

How would you describe Turn of the Karmic Wheel to others?

A story of justice in an unjust world, a tale which will leave you contemplating the choices you have made in life, a book written to bring people hope where they may have none.

You see, I wrote this book in a unique manner where each reader will get their own personal ‘take’ on the books meaning. It has been quite interesting to read the reviews and comments from the readers. Though they have embraced the book, each has found their own interpretation of the meaning of the work.
Set in a small, college town in Missouri, it is universal in its story. It touches on suspense, horror, spirituality and a touch of the paranormal. One weekend, when universal law takes over, forcing individuals to come face to face with their actions and choices made in life.

Where did the idea for Turn of the Karmic Wheel come from?

A profound need to show the world their deeds and actions in life hold purpose.
It was from the point of loving humankind that I felt this story must be told.

I have heard the voice of many who question why they bother to live with morals, high principles and fine ethics. As they continue life’s journey, they doubt their individual actions have meaning or affect others. Some turn to greed, corruptness and self-indulgence or live their lives a shell of their former selves.

Also, I found so many popular books written about false realities, other worlds and dimensions, surely a sign people are wishing to escape from the pain life has brought them. There is certainly nothing wrong with this but why not create a book that involves magical surrealism along with reality?

Did you plan this book out or do you just write and see where it took you?
The concept of the story has been with me for years awaiting its release. As I knew the basic outline, I narrowed in on the characters and how I wished to present them to the reader. Once this was satisfactory, it was a matter of sitting down at the computer as the words flowed forth in rapid succession. This element of writing was easy; it is the editing which is more difficult. The characters are real to you and it is as if you are silencing their voice when editing is performed. Getting the correct balance of omission and retention, while maintaining the characterizations and story line is the most challenging, yet rewording aspect.

Do you get time to read? What are your favorite types of books to read?
I make time to read and am currently reading many new authors books to review.  In fact, I am finding how enjoyable and diverse the stories.

I tend to read books that are a bit different from the norm as I am a huge fan of     creativity.  I want the book to question accepted behavior or beliefs to some degree and make me think. Break the rules a bit, please.

Fiction is my favorite and I adore that touch of surrealism. I also like horror if it is not bloody and torturous, the type of horror that jumps out at you when you least expect it approaching from everyday items or settings.

Most recently, I have read ‘The Healings, by Oana, Flashes From the Other World, by Julie Ann Weinstein, and Widows Walk, by Kenneth Weene, though I have several books on my ‘to read’ list. What sets these books apart from others is the fact they all have great meaning and made me think while being humorous and enjoyable.

One more type of writing I may never omit is poetry, as I am a poet at heart, along with Flash Fiction. Presently, I am set to read, Flashing My Shorts, by Salvatore Buttaci. It has been highly recommended.

What is your favorite room in your house?

The office, which in reality is ‘my room.’ Not only does it hold the computer for endless writing but also it is where my oil and acrylic painting supplies are stored.  My cat, Punky, and I get lost in this room for hours and sometimes an entire weekend. Thank goodness, my husband understands, though I do believe he harbors some resentment toward the computer.

What is your favorite spot to read in?

The bedroom where I can snuggle under the covers, lay my head against the pillows and get lost in a story.  It is my place to get warm and fuzzy.

What is your favorite snack food?

Cashews are my indulgence.  I find that they are easy to tote and don’t spread the hips and midriff area as much as cookies and brownies. 

What is your favorite season?

I’m contemplating the answer to this question. Perhaps it is not so much what is my favorite season rather why I enjoy each time of year.
Spring allows me the joy of gardening, the feel of the earth and brings forth the beauty of flowers, the time our animal kingdom mates and bares new life.
Summer provides enjoyment of reunions, barbecues and family connections.

Fall, perhaps the most beautiful of all seasons, inspires the artist within my soul to capture the essence of the multi-colored scenery via acrylic and oils. It reminds us that the ever changing leave colors capture their magnificence through pending death as they fall in mass upon the ground.

Winter, though bitter cold, reminds you of the pure enjoyment of home as you sit beside the fireplace or snuggle close to your loved ones. Such a restful period and perhaps a time I tend to write more often.

Do you have a schedule for writing each day or do you just do it when you can?

It varies according to the responsibilities and commitments in my life. Though I would love to write every single day, I find it happens in waves of inspiration.  If forced, the words do not seem precise and I find myself rewriting this entire portion of the story. All in all, I write at least the equivalent of two days per week.

Any book signings/conferences/public/blog appearances in the near future?

Can we set something up? Sorry, couldn’t pass that one by.

My book signings will not take place until the Spring due to the impeding weather but I do have several places I am set for blogging and review the remainder of November and into December. Here is a list of the November appearances as I am awaiting the December dates and sites. You may also find my blogs at my web site, Meaningful Writings http://www.monicabrinkmanbooks.webs.com
Monday, November 22
Book Reviewed at My Reading Room
Tuesday, November 23
Interviewed at My Reading Room
Wednesday, November 24
Book Reviewed at Emeraldfire’s Bookmark

Thursday, November 26
Book Reviewed at Rundpinne
Interviewed at Emeraldfire’s Bookmark
Do you have a new book in the works?

Two are in the works presently.  The first is the sequel to The Turn of the Karmic Wheel, aptly named The Wheels Final Turn. I don’t expect it to be released until the end of 2011 or the beginning of 2012 due to the intensity of the subject matter and the length of the book. It should bring a few surprises to those who read The Turn of the Karmic Wheel.

Anything else you would like to say?

Thank you for asking as I do have two communications to voice.

One of the main reasons I wrote The Turn of the Karmic Wheel was to provide much needed funding to EBMRF or ebkids.org. They are a medical foundation who research Epidermolysis Bullosa or EB.  If you haven’t’ heard of EB, don’t feel alone. It is a rare, incurable genetic disease and one in nine million children throughout the world are born with EB. They live a painful life, their limbs ultimately deforming. In fact, if you saw one of these children or young adults, you would believe them to be a victim of fire, their arms, legs, feet and hands wrapped in gauze bandages.

I have pledged to EBMR a donation from each sale of, The Turn of the Karmic Wheel. I am hopeful the readers of the world will enjoy my story along with knowing the purchase shall provide funds for EBMRF.  A gift that keeps on giving.

The other immediate thought is to suggest to our readers and authors, they reach out to unknown authors. Some of the most interesting stories I have read have been from the less known writers. Go to Amazon and read a bit of the book for many authors have the ‘Look Inside’ accessibility.  If you like it, purchase it and share it with your friends. In addition, many readers fail to realize the importance of communicating with authors or writing reviews on the book sites.  As with any marketable item, popularity means the items success or failure.  I know the authors would appreciate the time and effort put forth. In fact, my website, Meaningful Writings showcases some books I favor.

In addition, readers, if you’d love to have your voice heard, be sure to check out our blogtalkradio show, Six Unsynchronized Souls. We discuss different topics and air the first and last Thursday of each month. Everyone is welcome to call in live or go to the internet and chat with us. The show is relaxed and all about fun and communication. Here is the link if you’d like to check us out http://www.blogtalkradio.com/search/six-unsynchronized-souls/

Thank you so much for allowing me the opportunity to speak of what is inside this crazy mind of mine and showcasing my work.  It has been a pleasure.

Thank you Monica for joining us today!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Book Review: Turn of the Karmic Wheel by Monica Brinkman

The Turn of the Karmic WheelTurn of the Karmic Wheel by Monica Brinkman
Publisher: All Things That Matter Press
Publish Date: August 13, 2010
204 pages
Fiction, Suspense, Supernatural

My Review:
Why I read this: It sounded interesting when I received information about the tour with Pump Up Your Book so I signed on.

How is the novel driven: Primarily character-driven because really this book is all about character.

My thoughts: I don't know exactly what I thought I was going to read when I picked up Turn of the Karmic Wheel, but after the first few page I went back and read the description and realized that I didn't quite get the premise of the book until I started reading.  I don't mean that as a criticism at all, because I think I liked this book better than what I thought it would be.  I know that is confusing.  Let me elaborate.  I thought this book was a cozy feel-good novel about Karma and character.  Trust me it's not.  It's much more than that - it has a line of suspense, a touch of horror, and a lot of supernatural that makes the book tick.  It's very interesting from the beginning.  You have good characters and bad characters.  They are fleshed out as the book goes.  And the bad characters really have horrible character.  They are pretty much selfish, uncaring people.  Then this group of characters from all over  Raleigh, Missouri begin to hear voices, some hear good ones, other hear scary things.  It's a great supernatural thriller.

I found it hard to put down and thoroughly enjoyed it.  It's an intriguing storyline that revolves around character and how it affects life and others.  It has a great message to not hurt others.  The supernatural being was vague so don't think you are looking at a Christian book.  I truly think the supernatural on the good side in this book can be interpreted over many religions and the message is one for all of us - do good in life, don't hurt others and take care of each other.  Hurting others can lead to bad consequences.

I loved the book and think Ms. Brinkman did a great job developing the characters and the plot, I truly enjoyed getting to know Angela, Euclid and Karman.  There are a few typos in the book, but they are easily overlooked with a good story.  Want to try out a new author who's not with one of the major presses?  If so I suggest you give Ms. Brinkman a try - her book is fascinating and it's the first one in a series.  I'm anxiously waiting for the next installment, The Wheel's Final Turn.

My Rating: 4.5/5.0

About the Book:

"What goes around, comes around." Truer words were never spoken, as evidenced by the complex interactions and fates of the characters in "The Turn of The Karmic Wheel." When the residents of Raleigh begin to hear music and voices that aren't "there", and to receive frightening messages from no discernable source, it soon becomes apparent that changes must - and will - be made: to their everyday lives, to their relationships, to their bodies, and, most importantly, to their souls.

About the Author:
Check out my tour post for more information about the author and for an excerpt from the book.

FTC Information: I received this book from the author for review.  I have Amazon links on my review pages but I do not make any money from these because of NC laws.  I put them solely for people to check out the books on a retail site.

Book Tour: The Turn of the Karmic Wheel by Monica Brinkman

The Turn of the Karmic Wheel

Join Monica Brinkman, author of the paranormal suspense novel, The Turn of the Karmic Wheel  (All Things That Matter Press), as she virtually tours the blogosphere in November and December her first virtual book tour with Pump Up Your Book!

My review is coming later today and tomorrow I will have an interview with Monica, stay tuned!

About Monica Brinkman

Monica Brinkman
Monica M. Brinkman lived in the Philadelphia, PA area, relocated to the California Bay, where she resided for thirty years and now resides in the St. Louis, MO area, which was the inspiration of her newest book, The Turn of the Karmic Wheel.
She views herself as a citizen of all the States, finding that people throughout the country are warm, caring and most want the same things in life, to enjoy their passions, make a living and be surrounded by those they love. In her own words, “Life is truly an adventure. I believe in giving everyone the opportunity to go after their passions in life. To not do so, creates hostility, depression and emptiness.”
A free-lance author and poet, she embraces stories that have meaning and purpose. Though a bit of a rebel, when some authors told her that no one would ever read a story set in the Missouri Ozarks, nor would they wish to read a mixed genre, that was all it took. “How dare they insult the intelligence of our readers by placing them in a box”. Off she went, and wrote this exact type of story, set in the small rural college town of Raleigh, MO. It is a mixed genre of suspense, horror, spiritutality and a touch of the paranormal. Monica is working on the sequel, The Wheels Final Turn, set in the State of California.
You can find out more about Monica and her work athttp://monicabrinkmanbooks.webs.com/

About The Turn of the Karmic Wheel

The Turn of the Karmic WheelThe Turn of the Karmic Wheel is a unique, fresh approach of how each individual’s actions in life affect the masses.
Set in the small college town of Raleigh, MO, the author delves into the psyche of several residents who live vastly different lifestyles. From the affluent to the poor, we follow each characters’ journey through life be it one of faith, self-indulgence, greed, kindness or diversity.
Angela Frank, a young wife, mother, psychiatrist and reluctant psychic, holds the key to unleashing a force more powerful than humankind has ever experienced as universal law takes hold, ultimately revealing the characters inner self, their soul. Under such scrutiny, some will face horrific consequences of their life’s actions, while others will find absolute pleasure.
From Joshua Allen, an egotistical, handsome, dashing young man to Euclid Hannigan, a simple country middle-aged retiree, you will be moved with emotion when the demons hidden deep within or the joy of gentleness and compassion surface as each characters story unfolds to a final climatic finish.

Book Excerpt

“You’ll be able to pick up the rifle tomorrow. Give me a call mid-morning. Should be cleared and ready to go by that time.” Euclid nodded and exited the store.
Harry had owned his shop for many years, seen some come in and go out in a sea of police gunfire, but, hell, he couldn’t worry about every customer who purchased a weapon. Fact was, he had given up trying to figure out man’s nature years ago. Course, Euclid wasn’t one to carry arms of any sort. He didn’t remember him ever going hunting or even showing interest in the sport. Perhaps now that he was alone in life, with much time on his hands, he had decided to take it up and save some money by providing his own meat for the table. In any event, Harry knew Euclid to be a solid citizen of Raleigh, a man with a pure heart. Yes, he was a good man and a great friend.
Harry went to the window and watched his friend walk down the street. He wondered if he should be concerned. For some reason, he felt a bit of uneasiness; just couldn’t put his finger on the why or wherefore. Aw, hell, he reasoned, it ain’t none of my business. Yet there was something eating at his mind, a voice telling him to go no further with this transaction. It was a gut feeling he couldn’t shake, a feeling that his friend and neighbor of over 30 years was not ‘quite right’. There was definitely something ‘off the scale’ about Euclid today.
A vivid image entered his mind. A vision so unfathomable he had to let it go. Harry shivered as he moved to slowly close the store’s door, continuing to watch the retreating figure kicking stones along the road, unable to shake his feelings of dread.



Monday, November 1
Book Reviewed at Five Monkies
Tuesday, November 2
Interviewed at Five Monkies
Wednesday, November 3
Guest Blogging at Five Monkies
Thursday, November 4
Book Spotlight at Review From Here
Friday, November 5
Guest Blogging at Lori’s Reading Corner
Monday, November 8
Guest Blogging at Thoughts in Progress
Tuesday, November 9
Interviewed at Pump Up Your Book
Wednesday, November 10
Interviewed at Allvoices
Thursday, November 11
Interviewed at As the Pages Turn
Friday, November 12
Interviewed at Personovelty
Monday, November 15
Book Reviewed at Tell Me a Story
Tuesday, November 16
Guest Blogging at Tell Me a Story
Wednesday, November 17
Guest Blogging at Divine Caroline
Thursday, November 18
Book Reviewed at Stiletto Storytime
Guest Blogging at The Book Faery Reviews
Monday, November 22
Book Reviewed at My Reading Room
Tuesday, November 23
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Book Reviewed at Rundpinne
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Friday, November 19, 2010

Partial Book Review: A Cedar Key Christmas by Terri DuLong (part of the Holiday Magic anthology)

Holiday MagicA Cedar Creek Christmas by Terri DuLong (in the anthology Holiday Magic by Fern Michaels, Cathy Lamb, Mary Carter and Terri DuLong)
Publisher: Zebra
Publish Date: November 1, 2010
384 pages
Fiction, Christmas, Romance

My Review:
Why I read this: I finished and reviewed Terri's latest Cedar Key book, Casting About and she sent me the anthology because I whined about wanting to read  more about Cedar Key :)

How is the novel driven: Character-driven

My thoughts: I wanted  more of Cedar Key after reading Casting About and this was a delightful taste of the small town and it's inhabitants.  In this brief and fun installment we meet Josie and her daughter Orlie.  These two are as close as mother and daughter can be and I really enjoyed their relationship.  In these days of books filled with teen angst and dislike of parents, I really enjoy Ms. DuLong's take on positive parent-children relationships while still keeping them real feeling.  This isn't Leave it to Beaver, but it's happy and positive.

It's amazing that in this short of a book Ms. DuLong could show character development, but she does it wonderfully.  I loved watching how Josie handled things and how she grows and changes through the book.  I really liked her as a character and saw her as a strong female without being too domineering.  I also liked Orlie, she's a young girl with a good head on her shoulders and respect for her elders that a lot of children seem to lack.  She's fun to read about.

The storyline is interesting and as usual with this book, the whole town turns out.  There are glimpses of people from previous books and new books.  I think stories in anthologies are tricky when you are use to writing longer books, but Ms. DuLong balances story development and character development well in this short format.  I didn't feel cheated of a story, in fact I felt like I had read a whole book - she puts a lot into the 100+ pages she has in this book.

If  you are wondering if you can read this story out of order - yes you can.  You can read any of the Cedar Key stories by themselves.  They are all crafted in a way that they stand on their own.  Though for the whole Cedar Key experience I do recommend reading all three, Spinning Forward, Casting About and A Cedar Key Christmas.

I can't seem to get enough of Cedar Key and while A Cedar Key Christmas has satisfied me for the moment, I can't wait until she releases the next book next year.

My Rating: 4.75/5.0

About the Book:

Mistletoe, magic, twinkling lights, and stolen kisses. . . Experience all the wonders of the holiday season with these four irresistible stories. . .
"Holiday Magic" by Fern Michaels
Ski shop manager Stephanie Marshall is counting on a holiday bonus so she can put a down payment on a home for herself and her daughters. But her handsome boss, Eddie O'Brien, has his own Christmas wish--one that could lead to a lifetime of loving. . .
"A Very Merry Christmas" by Cathy Lamb
Meredith Ghirlandaio's to-do list is already overflowing, between keeping her B&B afloat, directing the town's holiday concert, and trying to avoid rancher Logan Taylor. Doesn't he know Meredith's through with men--even rugged, alpha, drop-dead-gorgeous men? Then again, some vows were meant to be broken. . .
"A Very Maui Christmas" by Mary Carter
Tara Lane has the perfect plan to avoid another hellish family holiday--fly to Maui. Too bad her family decided to follow suit. But a laid-back handyman is about to prove you don't need snow to have a sparkling, sexy Christmas. . .
"A Cedar Key Christmas" by Terri DuLong
Single mom Josie Sullivan is proud of her young daughter, Orli, for helping local fisherman Mr. Al restore his crumbling home. And when Mr. Al's nephew, Ben, pays a visit, Josie realizes just how much Christmas magic one good deed can bring. . .
About the Author:
You can read about Terri on her website here.

FTC Information: I received this book from the author for review.  I have Amazon links on my review pages but I do not make any money from these because of NC laws.  I put them solely for people to check out the books on a retail site.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Book Review: Christmas at Harrington's by Melody Carlson

Christmas at Harrington'sChristmas at Harrington's by Melody Carlson
Publisher: Revell
Publish Date: October 1, 2010
176 pages
Fiction, Christmas, Christian

My Review:
Why I read this: I received a description from the publisher and thought it sounded like a delightful Christmas read.

How is the novel driven: Character-driven

My thoughts: A fun delightful Christmas read, I'm not usually one for seasonal-reads, but books like this one could make me want to read more of them.  Christmas at Harrington's is a quick read, a mere 178 pages, but a lot is packed in those pages and it makes for a great read for the busy Christmas season.

I loved getting to know Lena and some of the townfolk in this book.  Lena is just getting out of prison and is trying to figure out how to adjust to normal life again.  She has no real ties so thinks starting over in new town is the way to go.  Life seems to throw interesting things at her as she starts off and the story moves quickly.  It seems very realistic but fun at the same time.  I found myself really loving Lena and I wasn't sure I would at the start.  She's a good person through and through and that shines through.

The Christian focus of this book is there but it's not the beat you over the head kind.  It's subtle.  Lena does things like stand up for the fact that Christ is a part of Christmas and she's honest and caring.  She's trying to get past the Christianity she thought she knew (the type that preaches almost everything you do is wrong) to the true kind that looks for goodness while holding you accountable at the same time.  The caring, loving kind that all people should be regardless of their religion.  That's what this book shows, and it shows it through a magnificent cast of characters.  Sure there are some bad apples in the bunch, but that makes the good really shine.

And good really shines in Christmas at Harrington's.  I can see me re-reading this one during the Christmas season year after year because it really shows some of the true meaning of Christmas and does so in a wonderful way.  I believe Ms. Carlson has hit a homerun with this one and I will continue to seek out her books in the future (I already love her young adult novels).

My Rating: 4.75/5.0

About the Book:

Christmas is approaching, and Lena Markham finds herself penniless, friendless, and nearly hopeless. She is trying to restart her life after false accusations landed her in prison, but job opportunities are practically nonexistent. When a secondhand red coat unexpectedly lands her a job as Mrs. Santa at a department store, Lena finally thinks her luck is changing. But can she keep her past a secret? This tender story about fresh starts will charm readers as all of Melody Carlson's Christmas offerings do. Full of redemption and true holiday spirit, Christmas at Harrington's will be readers' newest Christmas tradition.

About the Author (from author's website):
Melody Carlson is the award-winning author of over two hundred books, several of them Christmas novellas from Revell, including her much-loved and bestselling book, The Christmas Bus. She also writes many teen books, including the Diary of a Teenage Girl series, the TrueColors series, and the Carter House Girls series. Melody was nominated for a Romantic Times Career Achievement Award in the inspirational market for her books, including the Notes from a Spinning Planet series and Finding Alice, which is in production as a Lifetime Television movie. She and her husband serve on the Young Life adult committee in central Oregon.



FTC Information: I received this book from the publisher, Revell, a division of Baker Books for review.  I have Amazon links on my review pages but I do not make any money from these because of NC laws.  I put them solely for people to check out the books on a retail site.