Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Review: Remarkable Creatures by Tracy Chevalier




ISBN #: 978-0-452-29672-5 (se)
Page Count: 312
Copyright: 2009








About the Author:
(Taken from author's website)

"I was born in 1962 and grew up in Washington, DC. I have a BA in English from Oberlin College, Ohio, and an MA in creative writing from the University of East Anglia, Norwich, England. I have lived in London for over 20 years, and am married, with one son. I was a reference book editor for several years before turning to writing full-time. My second novel, Girl with a Pearl Earring, won the Barnes and Noble Discover Award. It has sold almost 4 million copies worldwide and was made into a film starring Colin Firth and Scarlett Johansson."
To view more about the author and Remarkable Creatures, you can visit the author's site here.



Summary:
(Taken from back cover)

From the moment she's struck by lightning as a baby, it is clear Mary Anning is different.  Though poor and uneducated, she learns on the windswept, fossil-strewn beaches of the English coast that she has a unique gift: "the eye" to spot fossils no one else can see.  When she uncovers an unusual fossilized skeleton in the cliffs near her home, she sets the religious community on edge, the townspeople to gossip - and the scientific world alight with both admiration and controversy.  Prickly Elizabeth Philpot, a middle-class spinster and also a fossil hunter, becomes Mary Anning's unlikely champion and friend, and together they forge a path to some of the most important discoveries of the nineteenth century.



My Review:

I received this book from FSB Media in exchange for an honest review.

The book is told in first-person, but by two different people which I found unique and enjoyable.  The two people, Mary Anning and Elizabeth Philpot, take turns telling the story one chapter after another.  I liked this because you don't get tired of only seeing one person's view of what's happening ... which can sometimes be narrow, depending on the character.

Despite their differences in age and status, they shared a unique common bond which forged them into friends.  I applauded Elizabeth for being Mary's champion and for becoming a confident independent woman, which wasn't easy in the 1800s.  I found myself cheering for Mary when she finally spoke her mind and stopped letting people take advantage of her.  I would have enjoyed befriending both Mary and Elizabeth had I been there.

The book itself was an intermediate read.  When I say that, I mean that, although there are only ten chapters and the font is easily readable, the chapters themselves can be a little lengthy for easy reading.  However, there are breaks within the chapters that one can pause at if they chose to.

Overall, the book was a definitely interesting and somewhat thought-provoking.  And while it was thought-provoking while reading it, I don't know that I'll think about it after this review.  I don't want to discourage others from reading this novel, because I think it would be worth their time.  It's just not something that I will read again anytime soon as once was sufficient for now.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Review: A Rush of Wings by Kristen Heitzmann





ISBN #: 978-0-7642-0845-4 (se)
Page Count: 382
Copyright: 2003 (Original); 2010 (This version)







About the Author:
(Taken from back cover)


Kristen Heitzmann is the bestselling author of seventeen novels, including Freefall, The Edge of Recall, and the Christy Award winner Secrets.  Kristen and her family live in the foothills of the Colorado Rockies.



Summary:
(Taken from back cover)

Though her panic is real, Noelle St. Claire is uncertain what danger she is fleeing.  Fragmented images and slivers of memory have driven her to abandon her wealthy, sheltered life in New York for the hope of a haven - remote and safe.

Noelle's arrival at the Rocky Mountain horse ranch owned by Rick Spencer and his brother Morgan causes more than a little stir.  Beautiful, vulnerable, yet strangely secretive, Noelle is an enigma the two contrasting brothers seek to unlock.  But as their attentions breach the wall she hides behind, the past becomes a menacing threat from which Noelle can no longer hide.


My Review:

I received a paperback copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for my honest review.  If you would like to review books for Bethany House Publishers, you can click here to sign up.

I really enjoyed reading this novel.  The characters were well thought out, the storyline kept me guessing until almost the very end and there was just enough romantic elements to make it believable without being sappy.

One of the main characters, Noelle, was a New York socialite.  Because of her sheltered life, she can come across as being slightly uppity, but not overly so.  She is incredibly naive when it comes to the real world.  Then, due to an unfortunate set of circumstances, she ends up in Colorado where her eyes are opened, she opens herself up to her past and finds true love.

I really enjoyed the contrast of the two brothers, Morgan and Rick.  Morgan, with his devil-may-care attitude, is fun-loving and tends not to take anything too seriously.  He has money, but is so down-to-earth you would never even know it.  Rick, who is the serious one of the two, takes his responsibilities seriously.  He likes to have fun, but not by bar-hopping as Morgan is want to do.

Both brothers are drawn to Noelle, but for entirely different reasons.  For awhile, I thought I knew who Noelle was going to choose, but then the author flipped it up a little and had me guessing.  The way the love triangle plays out, though, is feasible and believable.  It was nice to see Rick lose some of his pious nature as well.

Overall, this book was a thoroughly enjoyable read.  It is not mainly a love story, but there is love in it.  I would say that this book is mainly about a young woman who has had traumatic experiences and ends up finding herself in a place that is in complete contrast with everything she knows.  She matures emotionally and mentally and is finally able to create her own persona.  By doing that, she has finally come to accept who she is, can now begin to work through what has happened to her and is stronger because of it.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Review: The Curse of the Mummy's Tomb by R. L. Stine



ISBN #: 0-590-45369-6 (se)
Page Count: 132
Copyright: 1993









Summary:
(Taken from back of book)

Gabe just got lost - in a pyramid.  One minute, his crazy cousin Sari was right ahead of him in the pyramid tunnel.  The next minute, she'd disappeared.

But Gabe isn't alone.  Someone else is in the pyramid, too.

Someone.  Or some thing.

Gabe doesn't believe in the curse of the mummy's tomb.  But that doesn't mean the curse isn't real.

Does it?


My Review:

This is the 5th book in the original Goosebumps series, which is #94 on the Top 100 Banned/Challenged Books: 2000 - 2009.  The series was banned/challenged because of people complaining it was too scary for the targeted age group to read.

After reading this book, I would have to disagree with the complaints.  Yes, the book has a sense of mystery and suspense, but it is in no way scary.  Even though there is a kidnapping, curse and attempted murder in this book ... it is still not too scary for pre-teens to read.

I actually enjoyed this story, even though I did find it a little predictable.  Although, I am sure I found it predictable because of all the scary books I've read over the course of my life. =)

Happy Reading!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Review: Then Sings My Soul Special Edition by Robert J. Morgan





ISBN #: 978-0-7852-3182-0 (se)
Page Count: 310
Copyright: Portions of this book were originally copyrighted in 2003, 2004 and 2005







About the Author:
(Taken from inside back flap)

Robert J. Morgan, pastor of the Donelson Fellowship in Nashville, Tennessee, is the author of best-selling Then Sings My Soul (volumes 1 and 2), Come Let Us Adore Him, From This Verse, On This Day in Christian History, Nelson's Complete Book of Stories, Illustrations, and Quotes, and The Red Sea Rules.  He conducts Bible conferences, parenting and marriage retreats, and leadership seminars across the country.

Rob is available for speaking engagements and may be contacted through his Web site.



Summary:
(Taken from back cover)

Is there a festive season of the year that is complete without one of your favorite hymns?  Not only do hymns connect you to great memories, but they also reveal the faith of those who lived throughout history.  As Robert Morgan explored the stories behind some of the best-loved hymns, he found fascinating accounts of tribulations, triumphs, struggles, and hope - ordinary people who connected with God in amazing ways, sharing their experiences through song.

Discover the inspiration behind your favorite hymns.  Find new favorites as you relate to the people whose walk of faith led them to write these classic songs of praise.  Share these stories with your family, friends, and church, and find more depth and meaning as you worship God through song.


My Review:

Growing up in a Pentecostal church, I've always loved hearing the old hymns sung.  So, when I saw that this book was available on the BookSneeze website for review, I took the opportunity to read it.  BookSneeze gladly sent it to me in exchange for my timely review.

I loved reading how many of these songs came to be.  Many of the stories were truly inspiring.  To think that some songs came about because of tragedy, love of a King, love of a child or from someone's own personal experience was often heartwarming.

I love the fact that not all the page edges were straight cut.  Some had a torn uneven look that was a welcome pleasant change.

As a fledgling pianist, I also love the fact that every song whose story was portrayed also had sheet music available within the book.  So, not only was I able to read this book, but I was able to play the songs within it as well!  I was in Heaven! =)

Overall, this book is a multi-tasker.  You are able to learn how your favorite hymns came to be while being able to play those hymns on a piano at the same time.  It was a lovely experience through time and music.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Review: Bending Toward the Sun by Leslie Gilbert-Lurie





ISBN #: 978-0-06-177672-4 (Softcover)
Page Count: 357
Copyright: 2010 (Softcover by Harper Perennial); 2009 (Hardcover by HarperCollins)







About the Author:
(Taken from inside book)

A writer, lawyer, and former executive at NBC, Leslie Gilbert-Lurie is a member and former president of the Los Angeles County Board of Education and a teacher of Holocaust studies.  A founding board member and past president of the nonprofit Alliance for Children's Rights, she has worked at a major Los Angeles law firm, served as a Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals law clerk, and is a member of the board of directors for several nonprofit organizations, including the Los Angeles Music Center.  Leslie is a recipient of the American Jewish Congress's Tzedek Award for Outstanding Commitment to Civil Rights, Civil Liberties, and Justice, and the Alliance for Children's Rights Child Advocate of the Year Award.  She is also an honoree of the organization Facing History and Ourselves for her work as an author, educator, and child advocate.  She lives in Los Angeles, California, with her husband, two children, and stepson.


Summary:
(Taken from back cover)

A miraculous lesson in courage and recovery, Bending Toward the Sun tells the story of a unique family bond forged in the wake of brutal terror.

Rita Lurie was five years old when she was forced to flee her home in Poland to hide from the Nazis in a cramped, dark attic with fourteen members of her family.  Young Rita watched her younger brother and her mother die before her eyes.  But the tragedy of the Holocaust was only the beginning of Rita's story.

Decades later, Rita's daughter Leslie began probing the traumatic events of her mother's childhood to discover how Rita's pain has affected not only Leslie's life and outlook but that of her own daughter, Mikaela, as well.  The result is Bending Toward the Sun, a collaboration between mother and daughter that brings together the stories of three generations of a family to understand the legacy that unites, inspires, and haunts them all.

To view Leslie's website concerning this book, click here.


My Review:

I received this book from FSB Media in exchange for my review.

I normally try to steer clear of historical recounts, but when I read the summary for Bending Toward the Sun on the FSB Media website, it intrigued me.  To actually read about what occurred to an actual survivor of a terrible historical event and how it affected her future generations was something I couldn't pass up ... and I'm glad I didn't.

We've all heard of the story of Anne Frank when we were in school.  While terrifying, her story has lost its affect on me.  This book has restored my awe of the horrific events of the Holocaust.  To live through a time where a leader as powerfully evil as Hitler is beyond my imagination.  Although anything is possible and something like that COULD happen again ... it's hard to picture it actually taking place.

Reading the accounts of three generations of women who are either directly or inadvertently affected by the Holocaust has been enlightening.  Even though Leslie and her daughter, Mikaela, were not alive during the time of the Holocaust, they have been genetically disposed to the fear with which Rita now lives her life.  I began to wonder ... "How many generations is it going to take until an offspring is born in their family without a fear of life?"

Yes, bad things happen to good people.  Yes, there are evil people who will use others' differences for their own personal selfish gain.  While I understand the fear Rita has acquired concerning living, I don't understand how a person could let that fear control them every day.  My not understanding undoubtedly lies in the fact that I've not lived through a horrific event parallel to the Holocaust.  Or, in the fact that my immediate family has never lived through such an event.

In essence, this book has opened my eyes and given me a deeper look into and a deeper understanding of the Holocaust victims.  It has also reaffirmed my belief that we should never judge a person by how they look on the outside.  We should treat EVERYONE, no matter the race, color or religion, with respect because we never know what they've been through or what they're currently going through.  In the immortal words of John Lennon, "Give Peace a Chance."

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Review: The Ghost of a Flea by John Brinling

The Ghost Of A Flea


ISBN-10: 0011076658
ISBN-13: 2940011076657
Pages: 630 (paperback), 316 (e-book)
Copyright: 2010





About the Author:
(Taken from AuthorsDen.com)

"I lived and worked in Europe for seven years. I met my wife In Italy where we both worked for the same company, and were married in 1975. The contract we were working on ended that year and we took two years off to live in England, in a 300 year old farmhouse in Wiltshire. It was in that farmhouse that I wrote “The Ghost Of A Flea,” as well as another book titled “Quarantine,” which is a science fiction thriller."

"“The Ghost” has a strong autobiographical component. I was a programmer/analyst. The office ambiance in the novel is similar to life in my New York office, although the intrigues were of an entirely different nature. I had a good friend who lived in Sparta. I lived for a time near the George Washington Bridge. The building manager was an Irishman, who became a good friend, and an integral character in the book."
To view the complete bio for John Brinling on the AuthorsDen website, simply click here.

Summary:
(Taken from AuthorsDen.com)

The novel is a mystery/suspense/action/ thriller that tests the endurance and love of a man and a woman, and threatens the security of a great city. It is a tale of greed, passion and death centered on a painting of haunting beauty and mystifying significance.  “The Ghost Of A Flea,” painted by William Blake 200 years ago.

Time: 1975.
Location:  New York City.

The murder of Roger’s musician friend, Gideon Whiting, turns Roger’s world up-side-down.  His wife, Natalie, lies to him.  His best friend, Ted, lies to him.  His boss and U.S. Senate candidate, Charlie Holt, lies to him. And Lieutenant Tarrington, a homicide detective, is convinced Roger killed Gideon—but is Tarrington who he claims to be, or is he lying, too?

Peggy Curtis, the blond bombshell who dropped into Roger’s life one snowy night after he left Gideon’s apartment, might be the only person who can unravel the Gordian knot facing Roger, yet she has serious credibility problems, and is the last person he would want to rely on with his life and freedom on the line.

The drug cartel masterminding much of the chaos seeks an address book it thinks Roger took from Gideon.  As their ruthless pursuit intensifies, the police learn of the book and join the chase.  The problem is, Roger doesn’t have what they want and he must get it before they decide he is expendable.

My Review:

When I saw the first chapter was set in 1975, I thought it was going to be one of those novels that illustrates an important clue that happened in the past and then jump forward to present day for the remainder of the novel.  Not so.  When I realized the entire novel was going to be set in 1975, I was surprised, but pleasantly so.  To have a novel published in 2010, but be entirely set in 1975 is a form of bravery in my opinion.  The same bravery that was evident of authors who published novels in the early 20th century, but wrote about the future.

It was refreshing to read a novel without modern day electronic capabilities.  To write in such a way, makes me believe the author actually thought about the details of the book: how a character would get out of a certain predicament, how a scene would play out without the use of cell phones, etc.  The author was actually able to focus on and perfect the plot of the story rather than take the easy way out.  It was wonderful.

The two main characters, Roger and Peggy, were a nice contradiction to each other.  Roger was a little wimpy and naive, whereas Peggy was cunning and strong-willed.  It took Roger a little longer than I liked to stop being so naive.  I was grateful when he finally started acting with some authority and backbone.

There was a part of Peggy that reminded me of myself ... flitting from relationship to relationship until finally meeting that one nice guy that changes the way I see men.  Despite Peggy's independence, there was an underlying vulnerability to her that I recognized and understood.  I did wonder about her honesty for most of the book and was hoping that she wouldn't betray Roger in the end.

Overall, this novel was rather enjoyable.  It was a classically written mystery without the overshadowing of modern conveniences.  It kept you turning the page wanting to know more.  It is definitely one that I will remember and enjoy reading again.

Guess Who's Back?

Yes, I mean me! =)  Surgery was successful.  I'm still a little sore, but am back to functioning on my own.  Thanks to my surgeon, I have two glorious weeks off from work! =)

My husband about drove me nuts trying to take care of me ... I know he was concerned and all that jazz, but I am the strong independent type.  I can only handle so much care and concern before it drives me bonkers.  He has FINALLY gone back to work today leaving me alone in blissful peace and quiet.

What better way to celebrate than with a review, right? =)  Stay tuned for my next post ...

Friday, November 19, 2010

M.I.A.


Hello faithful followers and newbies! =)

I wanted to let everyone know that I will be M.I.A. for a few days beginning after this post.  I am typing this before I head off for some outpatient surgery.  It's a simple procedure to remove my gallbladder, something I'm sure quite a few of you have had done before.

What makes me a little nervous about this is that, despite the fact that I am 33 years old, this is my first surgery EVER!!!  When I went to the emergency room this past Sunday, they gave me my first IV ever!  =)  I'm just taking this as one more experience in my resume of life and am kind of looking forward to the experience.  I'm not going to enjoy the sore feeling or feeling like an invalid, but it is only short-lived.  Plus, since I'll be out of work for a week or two, it will give me PLENTY of time to read, read, read ... of which I am excited about!!! =)

So, even though I may be M.I.A. for two to three days, please be assured that as soon as I am able to get back on the computer, I will return.

Happy Reading! =)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Multiple Giveaways!

Do you have a giveaway that you'd like to create more traffic for?  If so, then add your giveaway linky to I Am A Reader, Not A Writer's blog here.

She has created this weekly meme as a way for people to find a bunch of different giveaways in one spot.  So, go, enter your linky for your giveaway.  While you're there, you may see a giveaway you would like to enter!

Happy Reading all! =)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Teaser Tuesday #5




Teaser Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by Mizb at Should Be Reading.  To participate, you need to:

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two teaser sentences from somewhere on that page
  • Be careful not to include spoilers
  • Share the title and author so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR list if they like your teaser
This week's teaser comes from:


Remarkable Creatures: A Novel

When we were together, she become quieter and sharper when she did speak.  Then she made excuses, leaving us to walk farther down the beach, and I would see her in the distance, her back very straight, even when she stooped to examine something.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

In My Mailbox (#6)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi, The Story Siren.  This meme was began so we could all share what books we received the previous week ... whether it was in the mail, from the library or what we bought at a store.

From the Author:

Lodestone Book One: The Sea of StormsLodestone - Book One: The Sea of Storms by Mark Whiteway:  Ail-Kar, a white-hole portal from another universe, rains meteoroids onto the surface of the planet Kelanni. But the so-called "lodestones" behave according to different physical laws, transforming Kelanni's society. With the aid of the fearsome Keltar in their flying cloaks, the Kelanni are being put to forced labor to mine the lodestones. Shann, an orphan with a fiery disposition, witnesses a battle between a Keltar and a stranger bearing a similar flying cloak. She tracks down the stranger, and learns of the technology behind the Keltars' power, joining him on a mission to free the slaves and cut off their supply of lodestones. Meanwhile Keris, a Keltar, is sent on a mission to track down the rebels. She is attacked by a flying creature and saved by the enigmatic Chandara. At their Great Tree, she learns that a mysterious "Prophet" is out to destroy the Kelanni people. Their only hope is a powerful instrument hidden in the distant past. Pursued by Keltar, the party will encounter bizarre creatures, ancient technologies and terrifying dangers. Finally, they must seek to cross a massive storm barrier in order to reach the other side of their world, where a world-shaking revelation awaits.

Lovers and Beloveds: An Intimate History of the Greater Kingdom (Volume 1)Lovers and Beloveds: An Intimate History of the Greater Kingdom Book One by MeiLin Miranda:  The Tremont family has conquered kingdom after kingdom, and rules its continent. Now, Tremont stands on the cusp of an industrial revolution; trains and steam engines are new, and the Scholar Priests of Eddin's Temple make exciting discoveries daily. Magic is long forgotten, but the Gods are not.
Prince Temmin must now leave his childhood home to live with his father--Harsin the Fourth, by the Grace of Pagg, King of the Greater Kingdom of Tremont and Litta, Emperor of Inchar. Harsin expects his son to become the kind of ruthless, pragmatic man he is. But his immortal advisor Teacher has other plans, involving the seductive human avatars of the Gods called the Lovers. Teacher intends to bind Temmin to the Lovers' Temple, bring him closer to his people, and set him on a path that will lead to ultimate glory for Tremont--or its end.

From Various Sites:

Remarkable Creatures: A NovelRemarkable Creatures by Tracy Chevalier:  From the moment she's struck by lightning as a baby, it is clear Mary Anning is different.  Though poor and uneducated, she learns on the windswept, fossil-strewn beaches of the English coast that she has a unique gift: "the eye" to spot fossils no one else can see.  When she uncovers an unusual fossilized skeleton in the cliffs near her home, she sets the religious community on edge, the townspeople to gossip - and the scientific world alight with both admiration and controversy.  Prickly Elizabeth Philpot, a middle-class spinster and also a fossil hunter, becomes Mary Anning's unlikely champion and friend, and together they forge a path to some of the most important discoveries of the nineteenth century.

I received this book from FSB Media in exchange for my review.

Then Sings My Soul Special EditionThen Sings My Soul (Special Edition) by Robert J. Morgan:  Is there a festive season of the year that is complete without one of your favorite hymns?  Not only do hymns connect you to great memories, but they also reveal the faith of those who lived throughout history.  As Robert Morgan explored the stories behind some of the best-loved hymns, he found fascinating accounts of tribulations, triumphs, struggles, and hope - ordinary people who connected with God in amazing ways, sharing their experiences through song.

I received this book from BookSneeze in exchange for my review.


Bought:

Bumps in the Night (First Choice Chapter Book)Bumps in the Night by Harry Allard:  Dudley the Stork's new house is haunted!  When the clock strikes twelve there are thumps in the den, creaks on the stairs, and bumps everywhere.  Dudley's friend Trevor Hog says Madam Kreepy will find out what's causing the spooky noises.  And so, just before midnight, Dudley's friends gather with Madam Kreepy.  No one can guess what will happen when the clock strikes twelve.


Home in Time for ChristmasHome in Time for Christmas by Heather Graham:  Centuries ago rose petals drifted gently to the ground ... like the snow on this Massachusetts night.

Melody Tarleton is driving home for Christmas when a man - clad in Revolutionary War-era costume - appears out of nowhere, right in the path of her car.  Shaken, she takes the injured stranger in, listening with concern to Jake Mallory's fantastic claim that he's a Patriot soldier executed by British authorities.

Bringing Jake to her parents' house, Melody concocts a story to explain the handsome holiday guest with courtly manners and strange clothes.  Mark, her close friend who wishes he were more, is skeptical, but her family is fascinated.  So is Melody.  Jake is passionate, charming and utterly unlike anyone she's ever met.  Can he really be who he claims?  And can a man from the distant past be the future she truly longs for?


A Blue and Gray Christmas (Ladies of Covington)A Blue and Gray Christmas by Joan Medlicott:  A rusty old tin box holding nineteenth-century letters and diaries is unearthed at the Covington Homestead, and the contents reveal a thrilling drama to longtime housemates Grace, Amelia, and Hannah.  Two Civil War soldiers - one Union and one Confederate - were found dying on a battlefield by an old woman and nursed back to health.  After the war, they chose to stay in Covington, caring for their rescuer as she grew frail ... but they never contacted the families they had left behind.

With Christmas coming, Amelia is inspired.  What is she and her friends were to find the two soldiers' descendants and invite them to Covington to meet?  What better holiday gift could there be than the truth about these two heroic men and their dramatic shared fate?  With little time left, the ladies spring into action to track down the men's families ... and to make preparations for the most memorable, most historic Covington Christmas yet.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Blog Tour: The Reflections of Light for Daily Living by Dr. Tiffany Brown

ISBN #: 978-1-4512-3143-4
Publisher: PublishAmerica
Page Count: 480


Book Excerpt & My Thoughts:
(Book excerpt was taken from book)

DAY 1

Today is about being unstoppable.

I am a believer in positive thinking. You can manifest anything if you just believe.
We are living in some weird times. There are people who are experiencing the best times in their life and enjoying the fruits of their labor. For them, everything is great. Then there are people like me who are grindin. For us, every day is a different struggle.

Every time you go up one level, the problems become more complex and harder to solve. The hate goes up as well. There are things that we cannot discuss with everyone. The risk is greater for all involved.

I am no longer in the minor leagues; I am in the major leagues with a lot of danger lurking around every decision. This is when your faith is essential. You must transform yourself into being unstoppable.

An unstoppable person is someone who doesn’t falter in the face of adversity, a person who will get knocked down millions of times and continue to fight, a person who can change tactics in order to achieve his or her goals, a person who is willing to make sacrifices in order get to the next level, a person who has an uncompromising spirit and a general hunger to succeed.

The requirements to become unstoppable are faith in yourself and a direct lifeline to God.
The only person you can really depend on to constantly uplift you is God. Everyone else is human and bound to fail you at least once. Know inside that you are larger than the circumstances around you and that God will give you favor to help you reach the next level.

God is such an awesome God that He protects you from enemies you don’t even know about. These enemies, a.k.a. haters, are double agents. They have friend- or family-like characteristics but they don’t have your best interest at heart.
Be careful who you share your goals with; you never know their secret motives.
Some people have just one simple motive: to make sure you never reach your full potential. They can be friends and family. No one is immune.
4
So on this day, believe in yourself and become unstoppable. Once you believe and have faith in yourself, you will have the ability to move mountains.


Be the catalyst for change. :)

Wow ... when I read this for the first time, I knew I was reading affirmations from someone who got it.  Dr. Tiffany Brown understands the every day struggle of the every day person.  These affirmations have opened up my eyes, made me think, given me hope and has uplifted my spirits.  What a breath of fresh air!  God is an awesome God and that He has allowed me to read this book at this particular time in my life is amazing.  It shows me that He really does care about us.

By the way, and I hope Dr. Brown doesn't mind, but I am now using the phrase "Be the catalyst for change" on my Facebook profile page. =)


Q&A with Dr. Brown:
(As provided to me by Dr. Brown's publicists)


How did you start out your writing career?

I have always liked to write. But I really begin to write more through my Twitter page from my mayoral campaign. I started with leaving famous quotes and begin to gradually share my thoughts about life for the ambitious.

What did you learn while writing this book?


I also learned that having just me is enough because of God’s love. I now feel comfortable in my own skin; imperfections in all. I may not be perfect but I am attempting to be a best that I can. And that is enough as long as I try to stay aligned with God.


What did you hope to accomplish with this book?

Never give up on your goals in life but allow God to revise or tweak them into being aligned with his Will. Every failure is not a nightmare and every opportunity is not a blessing. Some failures can be blessings; some opportunities can be nightmares.

Allow God completely into your heart and watch your life begin to expand in the most amazing ways. I trust God in completely different way than before because I now have a testimony that I never had before. There is nothing like spectacular fall to truly give you a new relationship with God.

Can you give us one do and one don’t for those aspiring to be a writer?


One do is to be to be strategic about selling your books. Hiring your own publicist may be a good idea to ensure you get your desired response. Don’t assume you’re a major priority just because you have book deal.

One don’t is similar to the do. Do not wait on the publicity department for your publisher . Do not rely on your publisher for everything. You can miss out many additional revenue streams by waiting on your publisher to act.


What one thing about writing do you wish other non-writers would understand?

That it is not as easy as it looks and it is a emotional experience. You are really putting yourself out there; good and bad. You are allow yourself to be complete transparent and it can be scary experience.

How can readers get in contact with you? (mail, email, website)

Readers can contact me by email at info@tiffanycbrown.com

Review & Giveaway: Stan's Leap by Tom Duerig




ISBN #: 978-0-595-50848-8 (sc)
ISBN #: 978-0-595-50106-9 (dj)
ISBN #: 978-0-595-61675-6 (ebook)
Page Count: 386
Copyright: 2009








About the Author:
(Taken from back cover)

Tom Duerig, a physicist by training, is the president of a medical device company.  While he has a long history of scientific writings, this is his first work of fiction.  His hobbies include sailing and studying the history of the South Pacific, two intricate elements of this novel.


Summary:
(Taken from back cover)

What would you do if you found yourself stranded in Paradise?


Newlyweds Jenny and Stan are eager to travel before they begin building their family.  After seeing an intriguing ad in a travel magazine, Jenny arranges a vacation to a remote Pacific island.  The advertisement promises a completely authentic Polynesian experience.  Despite an arduous journey to reach their paradise, they are excited to immerse themselves in the history, adventure, and culture of the Polynesian islands as they were before contact with the western world.


Led by the zealous Kimo and his beautiful partner Nani, Henderson Island first appears as idyllic as hoped.  The island's natural environment promises to provide for all their needs without modern materials and technology.


Several days after arriving, however, an unusual storm disrupts their routine.  And when the weekly flight back to civilization fails to arrive, tempers flare and deep rifts among the guests are formed.  Day after day passes with no sign of life beyond Henderson Island's shores.


As days extend into weeks and months, Jenny, Stan and the other vacationers are left searching for explanations, rescue, and finally a new reality.


Review:

This book is one of the reasons why I started a book review blog with the hope that publishers and authors would contact me about their books.  It has turned out to be one of those rare precious gems found amongst all of the knock-offs.  I received it from Tom's publicist in exchange for a review.

Even though this book is reminiscent of the infamous Lord of the Flies, Stan's Leap has its own unique voice ... perhaps unique enough to be as memorable as its similar predecessor.

Stan and Jenny are newlyweds who decide to go on an island adventure.  Getting there is somewhat of an annoyance, but once they reach the island and get used to island living ... it appears to be a dream come true.  They meet several other couples on the island ... who aren't all there for fun.

Kimo, the main man/leader/guide, seems nice enough, but some of his actions are questionable.  He'll go off for walks on his own and cannot be found, but is always around when needed.  He keeps everybody's possessions in a locked bunker and will not allow them to get anything out of it that could potentially harm the island.  His wife, Nani, is quiet and pleasant, but has a seductive side that shows itself at a gathering.

 Bob and Claire are the couple that travel to the island with Stan and Jenny.  Bob seems loud, overbearing and somewhat abusive.  His girlfriend, Claire, seems like the typical blond-headed ditz from Los Angeles that cannot think for herself and relies on Bob to tell her what to do and how she should act.  Bob and Claire made me upset ... him for being a neanderthal and her for being Bob's door mat.  Over time though, things changed.  I became proud of Claire and happy that Bob was knocked down a few notches.

I won't go into detail about every couple on the island, but I will say that they all meld together wonderfully.  The interaction between them all is depicted well throughout the book.  There's murder, seduction, love affairs and intrigue.  This book has become one of my all-time favorites and I will read it again and again.

Giveaway Info:

This giveaway ended November 19, 2010

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Aesop's Fables: Translated by S. A. Handford



Stats:

Ranking:  #1001 on the 1001 Books to Read Before You Die list
ISBN #: 978-0-14-036984-7
Format: Paperback
Page Count:  212






About the Author:
(Taken from first page after front cover)

Aesop was a slave who lived in the early sixth century BC on the island of Samos, which lies off the coast of modern Turkey.  Aesop came originally from Thrace, which was in those days separate country, though it now forms part of Greece and Bulgaria.  After being enslaved, he went to work on Samos for a master called Iadmon.  That is all that is known for certain of his life, although a large number of legends grew up around him - including one which claims that he came back to life!

Summary:
(Taken from first page after front cover)

The particular quality of Aesop's fables is that they use the imaginary adventures of animals to make a moral point about human life.  The reader will be astonished at how familiar most of the stories are.  Some of them have even given phrases to the English language: we use 'sour grapes' as a synonym for 'envy', for example.  But the stories have the ability to seem familiar even if one has never come across them before, because they reflect common-sense and folk wisdom, which everyone in any culture learns from childhood onwards.

Review:

That a slave spoke fables in sixth century BC does not amaze me.  What does amaze and awe me is the fact that Aesop's fables are still being used by a wide range of people.  To this day, Aesop is still teaching and making people think about moral issues.

The summary was correct when it stated that the stories have the ability to seem familiar.  There were quite a few that when I finished reading them I'd stop and think, "I never knew that was where that saying came from."

The fables were easy to read.  Many of them were only a paragraph long.  The moral was written at the beginning or end of most of the fables.  The fables that did not have the moral so blatantly depicted were still easy to understand and comprehend.  You could almost read this book like you would a devotional ... one fable every morning to start your day so you can contemplate its meaning all day long.  Who knows ... perhaps it would slowly change the way a person thinks and sees the world.

Overall, I enjoyed reading these fables and being able to re-familiarize myself with the morals of each.  I can understand why this book made the 1001 Books to Read Before You Die list.  I think everyone should get a copy and read a fable or two whenever they have a few minutes to spare each day.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Review & Giveaway: Dark Muse by BrokenSword




ISBN #: 9-780615196312
Page Count: 622
Publisher: GreenDragon Publishing
Copyright: 2008









About the Author:

I really didn't find any bio info on the web or on the back cover of Dark Muse.  So, to learn more about this web-reclusive author, I requested an interview ... which he graciously accepted.  Click here to learn more about the author, BrokenSword.

(Interview has been removed by the blog's owner)


Summary:
(Taken from back cover)

Jason, a miller from 18th Century Carolina, seeks to escape a loveless marriage while on an Atlantic voyage to Italy, aboard a ship whose captain hides a pirate past.  As he watches his wedding ring disappear beneath the waves, he's chosen to alter his path.  Within his yearning to find true love, is a hidden passion for rhyme and verse.  Taking strength from his words, he builds relationships with others onboard who share his passionate nature, including a supernaturual muse who shapes his words and ideas, and ultimately, the truths he finds within himself.

When his poetry becomes more than a connection between himself and his emotions, Jason finds the opportunity for love that he seeks.  But another has already claimed him.  Exotic and erotic, the Dark Muse clings to his senses, forming the kiss on his lips.

Immortal, Leanan Sidhe is a Queen of the Fae, and daughter of the Sea Gods.  As Jason holds a hand out to the love he's been seeking, as lust crashes like Atlantic waves on the rock of his soul, his experiences with both will be defined in terms of betrayal...


Review:

Poetry is something that runs in my family.  It's something that I, myself, have written many times.  Although, I feel that I am simply an artist and not a craftsman (explanation of differences to be found inside Dark Muse).  Even still, I wanted to love this book for the poetic foundation it was built on.  Sadly, I did not.  Now, don't get me wrong ... I did enjoy the book, but I did not fall in love with it as I had hoped.

For one thing, the cover of the book is a little ... lackluster.  I would have liked to see a little interaction between the two characters on the cover... a little sexual tension, a little heat ... a visual preview of what was in store in between the covers ... of the book, that is.  =)

I did feel bad for Jason.  He was locked inside of a loveless marriage.  All he wanted was to love and be loved.  He would've gladly poured out his affection on his wife, but she was the type to find excuse after excuse as to why she would not, or could not, fulfill her 'wifely duties.'  After quite a few months of being told 'no,'  what else would a virile man do but find someone else?

It's then that Jason meets a lady on the ship he falls in love with.  It's also around this time that his Dark Muse comes to him and makes herself known to him.

I'm not going to tell you what happens (I don't want to ruin the story for you), but I will say that there were incidents, reveals and happenings in the story that I didn't expect.  Some were a pleasant surprise, while others were disappointing.  Of course, that makes a good story doesn't it ... Ones that draw you in, make you think, reveal the unexpected and cause you to feel a wide range of emotions?  If this, and the fact that there is a happy ending (slight spoiler, I know), intrigues you then you'll enjoy this book.  =)

Giveaway:

This giveaway has now ended.  Click on the Giveaways link at the top right of this page to view the winners.

Teaser Tuesday #4


Teaser Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by Mizb at Should Be Reading.  To participate, you need to:

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two teaser sentences from somewhere on that page
  • Be careful not to include spoilers
  • Share the title and author so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR list if they like your teaser
This week's teaser comes from:


Rush of Wings, A: A Novel

"She tensed at the earnest look in his eyes, the touch of his hand.  A shard of panic shot through her and must have shown."

I've not read this story yet, but now that I've read this teaser, I'm thinking ... "Why is she panicking?  Is she in trouble?  Are they in public?  Alone?  Is he somebody she likes?  Somebody she's trying to avoid?"  I have so many questions already.  Guess I'm going to have to read this book soon.  =)

Sunday, November 7, 2010

In My Mailbox (#5)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi, The Story Siren.  This meme was began so we could all share what books we received the previous week ... whether it was in the mail, from the library or what we bought at a store.

I've had a pretty good week, this week.  Here's what I've received:


Stan's LeapStan's Leap by Tom Duerig:  I received this book from the author's publicist for review.  The main concept of the story is about a couple who takes a vacation on a remote island and are stranded there with several other couples.  I'm anxious to begin reading this to find out what happens to them!



Rush of Wings, A: A NovelA Rush of Wings by Kristen Heitzmann:  This is one of three books I received from Bethany House Publishers for review.  After reading the back cover, I've gathered that this story is about a woman running from her past and winds up at a horse ranch.  While there, two brothers vie for her attention and affection as her past catches up with her.



Hatteras GirlHatteras Girl by Alice J. Wisler:  This is book two of the three books I received from Bethany House Publishers for review.  The synopsis of this book is about Jackie, a reviewer of local business owners, who dreams of finding Mr. Right and owning her own business one day.  She meets a man who holds the key to her dream of owning a business, and could possibly be Mr. Right, but the details she learns of his past make her wonder if she's on the right path to her future.



Amy InspiredAmy Inspired by Bethany Pierce:  This is the third book I received from Bethany House Publishers this week for review.  I'm anxious to read this one as well because it's about an aspiring writer, Amy, who gave up her job to pursue a life of writing (how appropriate for National Novel Writing Month!).  After being rejected many times by publishers, she meets a man who makes her want to be more than friends.  Is this meant to be or a distraction from her dream of being a writer?



Bending Toward the Sun: A Mother and Daughter MemoirBending Towards the Sun by Leslie Gilbert-Lurie:  I received this book from FSB Media for a review.  It's a memoir written by a woman and her mother.  The mother had to flee her home at five years of age to hide from the Nazis.  While in hiding, she saw her younger brother and mother die before her eyes.  Years later, the daughter digs into her mother's past to discover how her mother's pain has affected her life.  It is a legacy that unites, inspires and haunts them.


The Reflections of Light for Daily Living: A Book of Affirmations for the Ambitious
The Reflections of Light for Daily Living by Dr. Tiffany Brown:  I received an ebook copy from the author's publicist.  I will be hosting this author on her blog tour on Friday, November 12th. 

"This book will provide daily tools to endure storms while dealing with haters and toxic friends all while grindin' to get to the next level of your life ... (this book) consists of a series of 365 daily passages or 'teachings' to help give you an inspirational boost to your day. While it is possible to read the passages straight through as you would a novel, think of the book as a collection of individual stories, each of which tells its own tale and can be approached one at a time." (Taken from the PublishAmerica website)

Friday, November 5, 2010

Book Blog Hop Friday #6

Book Blogger Hop


This is a weekly meme hosted by Jennifer at Crazy for Books.  This is a chance for people to visit other book-related blogs that they normally wouldn't find and/or visit on their own.  To participate, a question must be answered. 

Before we get to the question, I would like to welcome any new viewers/followers to my blog.  If you're an 'oldie but goodie' ... welcome back! =)

Now, this week's question is:

"What are your feelings on losing followers?  Have you ever stopped following a blog?"

I don't like to lose followers, because I'm trying very hard to be one of those blogs everybody loves, comments on and follows.  However, I know there's going to be people who have stopped blogging, lose interest in blogging, etc and they stop following.  Then, there's going to be those people who just don't like what you have to offer any more.

I will say, here and now, that if there's ever a time any of you thinks or sees a way for me to improve my site, all you have to do is email me.  I am fairly new to blogging on a regular basis and appreciate any and all suggestions for improvements.  So, please, if you are in the group of people who don't really care for what I have to offer, give me a chance to improve before you stop following.  =)

Yes, I have stopped following a blog.  When I'm sent an email and I'm told that I've won something, please follow through with actually sending me what I've won.  When it's been three weeks and I still haven't seen my prize and I email you to ask you if, maybe, I misunderstood the rules or the concept of the contest, please don't ignore me.  I like to give people chances to explain themselves.  I tend to be very understanding, but when you ignore me, how else am I to interpret that but that you don't care about one of your followers?  So, for that reason, I've stopped following a blog.

I'm curious to see what you all have to say about this.  Hope to hear from you! =)
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