Saturday, April 30, 2011

Review - Cain: The Quest by Elizabeth Loraine

Cain The Quest: A Royal Blood Chronicle (Volume 4)
ISBN #: 9780615430010
Page Count: 300
Copyright: 2011


Book Summary:
(Taken from back cover)

Book four of the Royal Blood Chronicles spins its story around its namesake.  The Protectors are still involved as the adventure might expect, but this is a clever new ride.  Cain takes you from the exciting underworld through to the world of light on a heart-pounding journey to save Katrina from - herself?  Hmmm, not quite a spoiler but definitely a teaser for those following the Chronicles.


Mandy's Review:

Cover

The picture of the sword doesn't make sense on its own, but you realize the importance of it as your read the story.

Plot

I thought it was refreshing to start the book with the story being told by someone else's viewpoint ... other than The Five.  Don't worry Chronicle followers, the story does get told from Katrina's viewpoint in this book, but not as much as the previous books, which, to me, is a welcome change.

About half way through the book, the evil witch is dead (okay, now I'm hearing the munchkins from the Wizard of Oz singing in my head) ... back to this book ... so, the witch is dead and I thought that would be the end of the action.  Nope!  Elizabeth is very adept at continuing a story and keeping you interested.

Main Characters

Katrina - Meets a prophesied end ... but is that really the end of her???

Cain - Damien and Luena's half-brother.  So, is he evil like Luena or is he good like Damien?

Damien - Back in the story full force now that he's escaped from the underworld.

Overall

A wonderful and dramatic continuation of the Royal Blood Chronicles.  Elizabeth Loraine has shown her skill time and time again at knowing how to end a book and still make you want more.  What I love about this series is that the author begins the next book in the series right where the last book left off.  I would recommend this book to those who enjoy a continuing vampire series that includes all other mythical creatures.

Atria Salon Series: Sister Souljah - Livestream!!!

Welcome to the next installment of the Atria Salon Series!  This session's guest author is Sister Souljah being interviewed by none other than Jada Pinkett-Smith!!!

Sister Souljah will be discussing her new book:

Powerful and sensual, Midnight is an intelligent, fierce fighter and Ninjutsu-trained ninja warrior. He attracts attention wherever he goes but remains unmoved by it and focuses on protecting his mother and sister and regaining his family's fortunes. When Midnight, a devout Muslim, takes sixteen-year-old Akemi from Japan as his wife, they look forward to building a life together, but their tumultuous teenage marriage is interrupted when Akemi is kidnapped and taken back to Japan by her own father, even though the marriage was consummated and well underway.  Midnight must travel across three countries and numerous cultures in his attempt to defeat his opponent. Along this magnificent journey he meets people who change him forever, even as he changes them. He encounters temptations he never would have imagined and takes risks that many a lesser man would say no to, all for the women he loves and is sworn to protect.  Midnight and the Meaning of Love by Sister Souljah was released by Atria Books on April 12th.  For more information and to read an excerpt from the novel please visit: http://bit.ly/ebtfIX


See below for author info and the livestream video:


Author Info


Sister Souljah is best known for her work as a political activist and educator of underclass urban youth. A graduate of Rutgers University, she is a beloved personality in her own community. She lives in New Jersey City with her husband and son.





Livestream Below - It starts at 7:50 p.m. EST!!!


Friday, April 29, 2011

Review: The Dark Prince by Elizabeth Loraine

The Dark Prince: a Royal Blood Chronicle (Volume 3)
ISBN #: 9781453803783
Page Count: 234
Copyright: 2010


Book Summary:
(Taken from back of book)

Katrina having lost the love of her life, embarks on a new journey: to America.  New evil stalks the Five and once again threatens not only Vampires but all the peaceful races.  New friends, old rivals, wizards, witches and elves join the fray in this classic battle between good and evil.


Mandy's Review:

Cover/Title

The two go together.  When you think Dark Prince you think of hell, fallen angel, etc.  There are flames in hell (in most interpretations), so ... like I said, the two go together ... and they coincide pretty well with the story inside the covers as well.

Plot/Main Characters

This was another fast-paced, action-packed adventure going from America back to Europe and to the underground.  The Five were the main focus in this book with a few sections given to Damien and Marcella.

I will say that every guy falling for Katrina is starting to become redundant.  There are five powerful girls within the group of Protectors, so why is Katrina the main one the guys are falling for?  It would be nice to see some of the other girls get some extra attention.

Overall

This is the third book in the Royal Blood Chronicles and I am enjoying this series.  I look forward to seeing what is going to happen next.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Blog Tour/Review: Stilettos & Scoundrels by Laina Turner-Molaski

Welcome to the ...



Book Info:

ISBN #: 978-0-578-03407-2
Page Count: 324
Copyright: 2010


Book Summary:
(Given to me by Pump Up Your Book)

Presley Thurman, a sassy, thirty-something red-head, was looking to reinvent herself. She didn’t allow the fact she was recently fired to bother her – she was ready to pursue her lifelong dream of becoming a writer. Presley is a lover of shopping and Starbucks, and even though she sometimes had bad taste in men, she always had great taste in clothes. Not looking back on corporate America, Presley decided to follow her dream.

With her feisty nature and a spirit to not “sweat the small stuff,” she was ready to tackle any challenge (even if she had no idea how she would pay the bills). When her friend Trevor offered her a job with his online magazine to interview public figures, she jumped at the chance. However, the new job turned into something unexpected when the U.S. Senator she was slated to write about was murdered – in her home town!

Presley was excited – she hadn’t seen so much buzz since the spring sample sale at Saks. She was ready for this adventure, even if it didn’t seem to fit neatly into her life. She couldn’t pass up the opportunity to be in the middle of the buzz. Presley was determined (not to mention curious) to find the killer and write her story.After all, she couldn’t afford her shoe habit without a job and she was certainly not one to shy away from danger.

The only thing standing in her way was an old high school fling, Cooper Sands, head of the Senator’s security. He was not actually standing in her way, but because of his good looks, he was the biggest distraction and one she was having the hardest time overcoming. Cooper felt it was too dangerous for Presley to look for a killer and tried to distract her with reliving the past; which Presley found more dangerous than any killer. While she attempted to resist Cooper’s good looks and charm, Presley was able to discover the Senator’s wife, Helen, had been having an affair… with her best friend’s boyfriend!

Did Helen kill the Senator? Or was it the Senator’s love of gambling that got him killed? And what was Cooper’s secret tie to the mob boss Garrison Palazzo? Presley was betting her favorite pair of Manolo’s she will find the killer… but will time run out!


Mandy's Review:

Cover

The stiletto is a great representation of what's inside.  It personifies the women who wear them and is an important piece of the murder.

Plot

It was wonderful to read a mystery/suspense novel that really kept you in suspense until the last moment.  Just when I thought I had figured out "who-done-it," the story revealed something that made me second-guess myself ... and I'm usually pretty good at figuring out the criminal by the middle of a novel.

Main Characters

Presley - Lord, chile, this woman is a whole mess of impatience, nosiness, big-heartedness, independence, frustration, impertinence ... I could just keep going ... She really was fun to get to know, but there were times that I wanted to slap my own hand over her mouth!

Cooper - The sexy man who was Presley's rebound after a break up during high school.  He is head over the security company that is on detail for the Senator.

Katy - I would just love to knock some sense into this girl!  She allows the guy she likes to just treat her and talk to her any way he wants to.  And, it's not like this is a new relationship and she wasn't aware of how he was ... Oh no!  They have been on-again/off-again since high school.  Wake up girl and get a clue!

Overall

I really enjoyed this novel.  The characters seemed realistic and familiar to me.  I would recommend this to anyone who likes a great suspense novel with a sassy chick! =)

Blog Tour/Guest Post: Imagination by Laina Turner-Molaski


Welcome to the Stilettos & Scoundrels Online Book Tour!


Today, Stilettos & Scoundrels author, Laina Turner-Molaski, has graciously provided a guest post entitled "Imagination".  There will also be some information about the author posted at the end.  I hope you enjoy both and come back tomorrow for Day 2 of my hosting this blog tour where I will be posting my review of Stilettos & Scoundrels.

View Author's Website Here

Guest Post: Imagination

"Like most writers I have a vivid imagination. I blame it on the fact I was an only child and as such has a lot of imaginary friends and fantasylands to keep myself amused. But unlike most kids I have never outgrown it. I constantly find myself imagining things in my head. Trips, scenarios (usually that include Brad Pitt or Wentworth Miller), my look, I’m always skinny and beautiful and the envy of everyone. I watch the Real Housewives on Bravo and imagine myself one of them just nicer and less catty. I often think if it wasn’t for my imagination life would be very boring."

"So why is having an imagination something we have to grow out of? I mean I do know the difference between fantasy and reality so what harm is there in pretending?  My more practical friends say I’m silly. That as an adult we need to focus on the present and what’s happening now and what will affect our future. Well I do all those things too so who cares if I day dream about a life like Aristotle Onassis or wish I were soon to be Princess Kate?"

"I say life is too short to take my childhood away and even though I will be forty this year I am still a kid. What about you?"


About the Author:

Laina Turner-Molaski is a businesswoman, mom, author, Professor, and a major supporter of shopping. She has an undying love for shoes and coffee, which is why she created her main character and alter-ego Presley Thurman.

With a lot of letters after her name and a ton of student loan debt, she is always working to pay the bills. While she enjoys her day job, her passion is writing, and she uses a lot of company time writing her fiction or working on her social website for women, Chiczofrenic.com. She is hoping to sell her book before she gets fired from her day job for goofing off.

Laina is currently living in Indiana, with her family, and is always writing something, whether it’s blogs, articles, business journals and books or ideas for her next novel. She is continuously doing what she loves which is writing or drinking coffee.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Review: The Protectors by Elizabeth Loraine

The Protectors: A Royal Blood Chronicle (Volume 2)
ISBN #: 9781453788110
Page Count: 299
Copyright: 2010


Book Summary:
(Taken from back cover)

Exciting author Elizabeth Loraine brings the second in her series Royal Blood Chronicles which follow Katrina, The Chosen leader of the Five Protectors.  It's a swashbuckling, page turning adventure, that crosses continents with a writing style which lets you see the action and breathtaking surroundings with your mind.  The Five use their paranormal gifts, lightening speed and razor sharp blades to fight the evil that threatens all the peaceful races of the world including their race - Vampires.


Mandy's Review:

Cover

I like that the cover only shows half of a person's body.  It emphasizes the arm with the hand holding the sword, ready to do battle ... ready to fight ... ready to protect.

Plot

This book started off right where the first one left off, which I like.  I don't like to read a series where the next book in line doesn't start out where it makes sense ... know what I mean?

The story was fast-paced with a few twist and turns I wasn't expecting.  This book also enhanced your knowledge of several characters while introducing you to new ones who, I'm sure, will play an integral part in subsequent books.

Characters

Katrina - Stronger, more intelligent, more willing to trust her instincts ... all make her a better leader of The Five.

Rosa - One of The Five - She is self-assured and confident in her looks and abilities to get men to do and say what she needs them to.

El - One of The Five - She is strong, powerful and has good instincts.  What irritates me about her is that, despite all of her good qualities, she is willing to make excuses for a man's wrongful behavior towards her!!!  Ugh!  To depict her as somewhat emotionally weak when she is in this powerful group of women is annoying to me.  She doesn't have to be as straightforward as Rosa or as independent as Katrina, but she should not be making any excuses for a man when he is acting like she is his property and not a cherished or desired lady.  Can you tell this type of thing annoys me ... ???  =)

Overall

I am still intrigued by this series, which is a good thing.  I enjoy the fact that Ms. Loraine is talented enough to end her books at the perfect stopping points.  This allows the next book to begin "in transit" while still maintaining its individuality.  So far, I would recommend this series to young adults who enjoy vampiric storylines.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Blog Tour: Blood of My Brother by James LePore

Welcome to

Blood of My Brother

Blog Tour!!!!


Book Info:

ISBN #: 978-098195688-6
Page Count: 316
Copyright: 2010


Book Buy Links:



Book Summary:
(Taken from back cover)

When Jay Cassio's best friend is murdered in a job clearly done by professionals, the walls that he has built to protect himself from the world of others begin to shatter.  Dan Del Colliano had been his confidante and protector since the men were children on the savage streets of Newark, New Jersey.  When Dan supports and revives Jay after Jay's parents die in a plane crash, their bond deepens to something beyond brotherhood, beyond blood.  Now Jay, a successful lawyer, must find out why Dan died and find a way to seek justice for his murder.

Isabel Perez has lived a life both tainted and charmed since she was a teenager in Mexico.  She holds powerful sway over men and has even more powerful alliances with people no one should ever try to cross.  She desperately wants her freedom from the chains these people have placed on her.  When Jay catapults into her world, their connection is electric, their alliance is lethal, and their future is anything but certain.


Mandy's Review

Cover

I've been trying to figure out if the picture on the cover is a depiction of a lady in the throes of passion, which would represent Isabel, or if it is a depiction of a person murdered, which would represent any number of people.

Plot

This book is definitely engaging and was one I did not want to put down once I started it.  The relationship between Jay and Dan was realistic and, in the end, sad.  There was some back-and-forth, at the beginning of book, between present day and the past, but that ended once you got the necessary background information to help you understand the story.

Main Characters

Jay - A deeply rooted Italian-American lawyer who cannot follow in his grandfather's and father's footsteps ... So, he decides to become a lawyer and, when we meet the adult version, has his own practice.  He has become emotionally closed off ever since the death of his parents.

Dan - Jay's best friend since pre-K.  He is a private investigator and enjoys the attentions of ladies.  He has a self-destructive side which, ultimately, causes him to meet an untimely death.

Isabel - Raised an orphan not knowing who her parents were.  She gets adopted by "Uncle" Herman who turns her into a prostitute for his own gain.  She is resourceful, strong-willed and determined to escape from Herman any way possible.

Overall

This was a well-written story with enough twist and turns to keep a reader guessing and wanting to know more.  This is the third James LePore book that I have read and he has become one of my "must-read" authors.  His work has been consistent and is an author that I recommend to all suspense lovers.


About the Author:

James LePore on Twitter!
In 1999 I sold my law practice to write full time. In 2008, I signed a four-book contract with The Story Plant, a small, agile publisher in Stamford, Connecticut. My first novel, 'A World I Never Made,' was released in April, 2009. The second, 'Blood of My Brother,' came out on December 25, 2010, and the third, 'Sons and Princes,' on April 5, 2011. I have also written six short stories that stand alone as pieces of short fiction, but that are meant to accompany my first two novels. The first three of these was released in February, 2011, under the title, 'Anyone Can Die.'

(Taken from the author's biography page on Amazon)

Saturday, April 23, 2011

May's BintoM Monthly Giveaway (#4)



Time for the BintoM Monthly Giveaway meme began, and hosted, by me! =)  I began this because I know I have a habit of comparing books to movies, and vice versa, when a movie is based on a book.  This meme is not to bring attention to those books that were written AFTER the movie, but before.

Here's how it's going to work:

  • Towards the end of the month, I will post the next month's giveaway. 
  • I will leave it open for 2 to 3 weeks.  At that time, a winner (or winners, if I'm feeling generous) will be chosen and notified. 
  • I will expect the winner to acknowledge the winning email within 48 hours or another winner will be chosen in their place. 
  • This is now open internationally
  • You do not need to be a GFC follower to win.  Yes, I would like it if you followed me, but I am not making that a stipulation to participate or to win.

So, for May, thanks to your votes in last month's BintoM Giveaway, we have Charlotte's Web book/movie combo as the prize.  This giveaway will end on May 8th. 

Here's a little bit about both:


Charlotte's Web

I have a brand new copy of Charlotte's Web written by E. B. White

Summary:  The book begins when John Arable's sow gives birth to a litter of piglets, and Mr. Arable discovers one of them is a runt and decides to kill it. However, his eight year old daughter Fern begs him to let it live. Therefore her father gives it to Fern as a pet, and she names the piglet Wilbur. Wilbur is hyperactive and always exploring new things. He lives with Fern for a few weeks and then is sold to her uncle, Homer Zuckerman. Although Fern visits him at the Zuckermans' farm as often as she can, (her visits decrease as she grows older) Wilbur gets lonelier day after day. Eventually, a warm and soothing voice tells him that she is going to be his friend. The next day, he wakes up and meets his new friend: Charlotte, the grey spider.

Wilbur soon becomes a member of the community of animals who live in the cellar of Zuckerman's barn. When the old sheep in the barn cellar tells Wilbur that he is going to be killed and eaten at Christmas, he turns to Charlotte for help. Charlotte has the idea of writing words in her web extolling Wilbur's excellence, reasoning that if she can make Wilbur sufficiently famous, he will not be killed. Thanks to Charlotte's efforts, and with the assistance of the gluttonous rat Templeton, Wilbur not only lives, but goes to the county fair with Charlotte and wins a prize. Having reached the end of her natural lifespan, Charlotte dies at the fair. Wilbur repays Charlotte by bringing home with him the sac of eggs she had laid at the fair before dying. When Charlotte's eggs hatch at Zuckerman's farm, most of them leave to make their own lives elsewhere, except for three: Joy, Aranea, and Nellie, who remain there as friends to Wilbur; but none of them can replace Charlotte.


To go along with the book, I have a brand new copy of the 1973 animated Charlotte's Web the movie:

Charlotte's Web (Widescreen Edition)

Blurb:  Can a small grey spider become a giant when it comes to saving a friend?  She can if her name is Charlotte ... and she resides in Charlotte's Web!

E.B. White's timeless children's story comes magically to life in this colorful, tune-filled animated musical.  Join Charlotte, a young girl named Fern Arable, Wilbur the Pig, Templeton the Rat and the other delightful barnyard animals in this enduring story of friendship, trust and love.  Charlotte may be small when compared to her friends, but her loyalty and determination when Wilbur's life is threatened is as big as the barn in which she lives.  Here's an extraordinary animated adventure that will keep you laughing and singing along with the unforgettable Charlotte and her friends!

DVD Special Features:

"Meet the Animals" - Set-top guessing game

Theatrical trailer

DVD Info:

94 Minutes

Rated G

Widescreen Version

Featuring the Voices of:

Debbie Reynolds (Charlotte)
Paul Lynde (Templeton)
Henry Gibson (Wilbur)
Agnes Moorehead (The Goose)


Wait!!! That's not all!!! =)  I also have a brand new copy of the 2006 film adaptation of Charlotte's Web!!!

Charlotte's Web (Widescreen Edition)

Blurb: Now you can share the magic as a tiny spider spins a great tale of friendship and adventure in this dazzling film version of E.B. White's beloved children's book.

DVD Terrific Special Features:

Music Video "Ordinary Miracle" by Sarah McLachlan

Deleted Scenes

Hilarious Gag Reel

Charlotte's Web Storybook Creator

7 Exciting Featurettes Including "How Do They Do That?"

And So Much More!

DVD Info:

96 Minutes

Rated G

Widescreen Version

Main Actors & Featuring the Voices of:

Julia Roberts
Dakota Fanning
Steve Buscemi
John Cleese
Oprah Winfrey
Cedric the Entertainer
Kathy Bates
Reba McEntire
Robert Redford
Thomas Haden Church
Andre Benjamin
Kevin Anderson
Beau Bridges

Enter below for your chance to win and good luck!

Blog Tour - Joe DiMaggio: The Long Vigil by Jerome Charyn

Welcome to the




Book Info:

ISBN #: 978-0-300-12328-9 (dj)
Page Count: 170
Released: March 8, 2011


Book & Buy Links:



Book Trailer:




Mandy's Review:

Cover

I love the picture on the cover.  The photographer captured a moment in time where DiMaggio seems almost content and happy with his second wife, Marilyn Monroe.

Plot/Main Character

Watching baseball is one of my favorite pasttimes.  To get to know more about one of the greatest players, Joe DiMaggio, was a bonus for me.

Jerome Charyn has given readers a glimpse into the emotionally reclusive life of the Dago.  I almost feel sorry for him.  But then I think, "How much of the reclusiveness could he control?"  There's no doubt that DiMaggio was one of the greatest and most revered players of our time, but I believe he was emotionally reclusive because he chose to be so.  How can one feel sorry for a person who chooses that life?

I did not know, however, about his obsessiveness with Marilyn Monroe.  That was a surprising and interesting fact to read about.

Overall

I don't know that this was an enlightning book, but it was informative and interesting to read.  This would be a book for baseball fans everywhere ... those that loved the game's players before they became so commercialized.


About the Author

Author's Website
Author's Facebook
Author's Twitter
Jerome Charyn (born May 13, 1937) is an award-winning American author. With nearly 50 published works, Charyn has earned a long-standing reputation as an inventive and prolific chronicler of real and imagined American life. Michael Chabon calls him “one of the most important writers in American literature.”

New York Newsday hailed Charyn as “a contemporary American Balzac,” and the Los Angeles Times described him as “absolutely unique among American writers.”

Since the 1964 release of Charyn’s first novel, Once Upon a Droshky, he has published 30 novels, three memoirs, eight graphic novels, two books about film, short stories, plays and works of non-fiction. Two of his memoirs were named New York Times Book of the Year. Charyn has been a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction. He received the Rosenthal Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and has been named Commander of Arts and Letters by the French Minister of Culture.

Charyn was Distinguished Professor of Film Studies at the American University of Paris until he left teaching in 2009.

In addition to his writing and teaching, Charyn is a tournament table tennis player, once ranked in the top 10 percent of players in France. Noted novelist Don DeLillo called Charyn’s book on table tennis, Sizzling Chops & Devilish Spins, "The Sun Also Rises of ping-pong."

Charyn lives in Paris and New York City.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Review - Rook: Allie's War (Book One) by JC Andrijeski

Rook: Allie's War: Book One (Volume 1)
ISBN-10: 1456548689
ISBN-13: 978-1456548681
Page Count: 408
Copyright: 2011


Book Summary:
(Taken from back of book)

Twenty-eight-year-old San Francisco native, Allie Taylor, knew she had issues…but she at least thought she was human. In her version of modern day Earth, a second race of human-like beings called seers were discovered in Asia in the early 1900s. Since then, they have fought in two world wars and live alongside humans as second-class citizens.

So when Allie meets her first, real, flesh-and-blood seer, she's not exactly thrilled when he tells her that she's a seer like him. Not only that, but according to him, all the other seers believe she's going to end the world.

Worse, no matter what she does, everything that happens after that only seems to prove him right.


Charlie's Review:

Allie Taylor was raised believing she was a human, although she always felt something was different about her. She was aware that someone was following her, but had no idea that what that man wanted would change her life, and everything she thought she knew about her world. He refers to her as “The Bridge” and whisks her into a whole new world, where she is seen as a terrorist by humans, and believed by Sarks to be the one that will bring an end to the world.

Rook starts out strong, pulls you into a vortex, and leaves your head spinning! While this paperback is 396 pages, I finished it in 24 hours, hardly wanting to put it down. There are so many levels to this story: Eastern religion and mythology, mind numbing technology, good versus evil, alternate existence, and even a powerful love story. Overwhelmed at times by the description of the Barrier world, and flip-flopping between characters and worlds, I still clung to the action and found myself racing to the next page to see what would happen next.

Ms. Andrijeski paints pictures with words, allowing the reader to enter the world of the Seers. She gave depth to the characters and such strong chemistry between Allie and her guide, Revik, that it takes your breath away. With Rook being the first of a series, I will definitely be looking forward to the rest of the saga.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Review: The Four Ms. Bradwells by Meg Waite Clayton

The Four Ms. Bradwells: A Novel
ISBN #: 978-0-345-51708-1
Page Count: 321
Copyright: 2011


Book Summary:
(Taken from inside dust jacket)

Mia, Laney, Betts, and Ginger, best friends since law school, have reunited for a long weekend as Betts awaits Senate confirmation of her appointment to the Supreme Court.  Nicknamed "the Ms. Bradwells" during their first class at the University of Michigan Law School in 1979 - when only three women had ever served full Senate terms and none had been appointed to the Court - the four have supported one another through life's challenges: marriages and divorces, births and deaths, career setbacks and triumphs large and small.  Betts was, and still is, the Funny One.  Ginger, the Rebel.  Laney, the Good Girl.  And Mia, the Savant.

But when the Senate hearings uncover a deeply buried skeleton in the friends' collective closet, the Ms. Bradwells retreat to a summer house on the Chesapeake Bay, where they find themselves reliving a much darker period in their past - one that stirs up secrets they've kept for, and from, one another, and could change their lives forever.


Mandy's Review

Cover

Simple and elegant like the aura the Ms. Bradwells expel, but it's contradictory to how their lives have been.

Plot

Realistic, humorous, sad, whimsical, thoughtful and sometimes shocking ... this story has it all.

Main Characters

Ginger - Sometimes callous, but with a huge heart for others.  Ginger was traumatized at 13 years of age, although she doesn't see it that way until much later.  This event has shaped the way she looks at life and relationships and even herself.

Laney - Ginger's closest friend.  Laney, too, was also a victim of a traumatic event ... by the same person that traumatized Ginger.  Laney is a thinker and likes to consider all of her options repeatedly.  She's also fluent in Latin ... which can be quite annoying.

Betts - Betts might be known as the Funny One, but I got the sense that she was the peace keeper as well.  Even though I know she came from a single-parent home, I still don't have the feeling that I know her as well as the other three Ms. Bradwells.  As a matter of fact, I had to sit here and recall who she was in order to type up this description about her.  She just wasn't that memorable to me.

Mia - A world-traveled journalist who hops from man to man.  She's known as the Savant, but she's down-to-earth and likeable as well.  Mia is the friend that many women would not only like to have, but to be as well.

Overall

This is a wonderful suspense novel based on four women who are stronger than they know.  It definitely kept me guessing until the very end.  I would recommend this novel to all the women out there who enjoy a suspense novel involving strong determined women.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Review: The Door at the Top of the Stairs by Alison Naomi Holt

The Door at the Top of the Stairs
ISBN #: 978-1-60910-271-5
Page Count: 269
Copyright: 2010


Book Summary:
(Taken from Amazon)

Undercover officer Jesse Shaunessy is kidnapped and tortured, then thrown away by her department as damaged goods. The mind is a powerful ally, and 26-year-old Jesse has no memory of the abduction or the subsequent torture. Inevitably, the protective walls carefully constructed by her subconscious are beginning to crumble. Insanity, friendship, and redemption are all possibilities dependent upon one choice, one gamble, and two determined women who must risk everything to save one lost soul.


Mandy's Review:

Cover

You have a doorway of light at the top of a flight of stairs.  I'd say it's a pretty literal interpretation of the book's title.

Plot

This was definitely an engaging and well thought-out story.  The characters (Morgan, Ryland and Jesse) were believable and felt real. 

There was a part of the story that I wasn't expecting and that was the lesbianism.  I hesitate to mention this because a lot of people will not read a book if same-sex couples are depicted.  While I may not agree with the same-sex couple lifestyle, I am in no place to judge anyone.  I say that so I can mention that while this story has a same-sex couple as two of the main characters, that does not take away from the effectiveness of this story.

As a matter of fact, I applaud Alison for writing a non-erotic book that includes a same-sex couple.  While there are those of us that may not agree with this lifestyle, I believe that more and more genres of books will include same-sex couples.  This is just the beginning.  I encourage you to not let that cause you to pre-judge a book before you read it.

Main Characters

Morgan - Owner of a farm with horses and hounds.  She is well-respected in the community and is adamant about her employees using respect and manners in every aspect of their life, since they are a representation of her.

Ryland - A former psychologist who lives at the farm with Morgan.  She is also well-respected in the community and is Morgan's softer side and, sometimes, her sense of reason.

Jesse - A former cop with anger issues that are a result of a traumatic event that she has amnesia about.  She has gotten fired from every farm but Morgan's.

Overall

This book has a few romantic scenes, but is mostly a suspenseful story about a traumatic event in a former cop's life who receives emotional help from the last two people she ever expected would help her.  It is a touching story about friendship and being able to let go and trust those who really want the best for you.

Review: The Meteoric Rise of Simon Burchwood by Scott Semegran

The Meteoric Rise of Simon Burchwood
ISBN #: 978-0-557-02832-0
Page Count: 252
Copyright: 2011


Book Summary:
(Taken from back cover)

On his way to New York to celebrate his impending literary success, Simon Burchwood is the prototypical American careerist. But a quick detour to Montgomery, Alabama to visit a childhood friend sends Simon on a bizarre journey, challenging his hopes and dreams of becoming a famous writer. This is a character study that delves into the psyche of a man who desperately tries to redefine himself.


Charlie's Review:

Simon Burchwood is a narcissistic, wannabe writer. He arrogantly flashes his business cards, and tactlessly navigates through life thinking only of his own comfort, and self promotion. Simon meets many interesting characters along his way, and finds himself in various uncomfortable encounters. None of these situations lends to him breaking from his self-centered ways.

The actual story was humorous, and the character of Simon, while not especially likable, drew you like a car accident might. You just could not help but wonder what he would do next. Mr. Semegran treats you to a surreal journey that doesn’t quite end up where you might think.

Unfortunately, what seemed to stand out most to me from this book was the excessive use of vulgarities. Not a paragraph seemed to pass that did not contain profanity. I did not find it enjoyable to stumble repeatedly over this language, and it cheapened the entire reading experience for me. I would only recommend this book to those who are not easily offended by profanity.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Review: Hans Becker's Family by Ralph Souders

Han's Becker's Family

ISBN #: 978-1-935805-63-2
Copyright: 2010


Book Summary:
(Taken from back cover)

As the maid walked to the center of the room, she noticed that everything in the room was organized and in its proper place. At first glance, the bed appeared to be very neat, and the maid expected to find that it had already been made.

However, she quickly realized that this was not the situation, as a young man was lying in it beneath the sheet and the bedspread with his head resting comfortably on a pillow. His hair was smooth and in place.

As the maid approached him more closely, a very uneasy feeling came over her, and she got a very tight knot in the pit of her stomach. Her immediate impulse was to rush from the room and to call the housekeeping manager, but the man was young, probably not yet twenty. She felt almost a mother’s concern for him.

Against her better judgment, the maid reached out to him and touched the small area of his bare shoulder that was not covered by the sheet. The maid’s suspicion was confirmed. The shoulder was cold. The man was dead.

And so, the stage is set for this gripping and suspense-filled tale by new and upcoming author Ralph S. Souders.


Charlie's Review:

Murder, lies, and secrets are at the heart of this novel. Hans Becker’s family may not be at all what it seems. What is really behind the random deaths at local hotels? From the very first page to the very last, the suspense never ends. I couldn’t wait to get all the answers, and didn’t want it to end.

Mr. Souders has a gift for storytelling. You get the feeling you are in the room with the characters, witnessing the story, first-hand. I was drawn in immediately, and as the story line took shape, have to say that I have never read anything like this. The main character gives us a disturbing look into a self-centered mind that lacks rational thought processes, and perhaps the basics of human compassion.

Just what do these seemingly random deaths have to do with the family Becker?

I hazard to share much of the storyline, as to spoil it. I will say, if you enjoy suspense/thrillers, You MUST read this book! I am looking forward to more works from Mr. Souders. This is a definite 5 out of 5 stars!

Guest Post: God Is Bigger Than Dr. Phil

To Be Released July 16, 2011


Today, author Becky Bailey has written a guest post about her latest book, God Is Bigger Than Dr. Phil.



Please welcome Ms. Becky Bailey!!!


(clapping)



"I'm so excited about my book that is coming out in July titled, God Is Bigger Than Dr. Phil.  I was inspired to write this book because of events that caused a huge devastation in my life last summer.  I was in a cloud of darkness and was unable to find any answers or direction to get myself and my kids out of the mess that was created.  Through the power of prayer, God came to my rescue and guided me out of the darkness!  This book has many different aspects to it, because I have a lot of different quirks to me.  I wanted to tell my story, the good, the bad and the ugly; with that you get my sense of humor, my anger and my happiness."

"My hope is that someone will read this book and find the courage and strength to become a better them, whatever that means for that person.  Each one of us has amazing attributes and qualities to share.  I keep working on bringing out the best in me and through my trials and tribulations; I want others to see there is a way to bring about better!"

"Writing this book was therapeutic, I laughed and I cried.  For me laughing and crying is the best medicine for the soul.  As I came out on the other side, I looked at things with a clear vision.  I don't ask "Why me?" anymore, I know it's because all of those things I have been through has built me into the woman I am today.  I don't ask God why anymore, I thank God.  I thank him for everything he has given me, everything he hasn't given and everything he has in store for me.  I'm blessed and I hope that each person who reads this book will come away with a new perspective."

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Winner: April's BintoM Giveaway

For April's BintoM Giveaway, a slightly used copy of Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood novel by Rebecca Wells and a new copy of the same movie were the prize.

April's prize pack was chosen by you, dear readers.  So, if it wasn't something you were interested in, I encourage you to vote for what you want.  Also, please help spread the word ... a person does not have to be a GFC follower to win ... AND ... it's an international giveaway!  How easy is this?!!! =)

Now, it's time to announce April's winner.  Congratulations go to ...

Megan

from


Come back on the 24th to see which book/movie prize pack won the spot for May's BintoM Giveaway!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Review: The Digital Sea by Thomas K. Carpenter

The Digital Sea

ASIN #: B004GUSB5G
Page Count: 210
Copyright: 2010


Book Summary:
(Taken from Amazon)

It’s 2052. A new reality is just a download away.

Decay is ubiquitous as the world's population shrinks under Sagan's Law. But no one cares as their lives are consumed by the Digital Sea: an immersive augmented reality that’s always on, seen through eye-screens and controlled by the mind.

Zel Aurora, a skilled reality-hacker, can change the Digital Sea with a thought, but all that power can't save her daughter from a deadly disease. So Zel makes a deal with the Djed, a powerful crime lord that she's betrayed once before, to stop the new realities threatening his global empire. When the Djed sends along his murderous bodyguard that’s immune to her powers to make sure she completes the job, she’s forced to make a choice that may cost her daughter’s life.


Mandy's Review:

Cover/Title

The cover has a simplistic design.  It's not really eye-catching or contemplative.  The title, though, automatically makes you think of electronic technology and the vastness of it.

Plot

When you first begin to read the book, each chapter takes the time to introduce you to each of the main characters that you need to know about.  Eventually, you start to see them intermingle until, by the end, they are full immersed in each other's stories and everything ends up making sense.  The action in this story was supported by the futuristic technological advancement of our society.  It was easy to believe that, one day, our country (no matter where you are) would be like those depicted in the book.

The ending didn't answer all of the questions I had so I'm expecting a sequel to pop up sometime soon to continue this engaging story.

Characters

Zel Aurora - A woman willing to do anything to find and give her daughter peace.

Sasha - Zel's companion throughout much of the book, until he meets an untimely demise.

Jartelle - A man who travels all over the world and is not who he appears to be.

Overall

From the beginning to the end, The Digital Sea dragged you into its depths and drowned you with a futuristic reality that threatened to overload your senses.  With its action-packed storyline, it will keep the reader turning page after page until the end.  I would recommend this story to anyone who appreciates future-based story lines mixed with surrealism.
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