Thursday, May 31, 2012

Blog Tour/Book Spotlight, Part One: Knee Deep by Jolene Perry

Welcome to our stop on Jolene Perry's Knee Deep virtual book blog tour! We are excited to be a part of this tour and will be posting three separate posts throughout the day spotlighting Knee Deep.

This is the first post and will contain book, author and publisher information. The second post (which will go up at 9 a.m. EST) will contain a guest post written by Knee Deep author, Jolene Perry. The third, and final, post (which will go up at 6 p.m. EST) will contain an excerpt from the book. We hope you will check back with us throughout the day to read all three of our book spotlight posts.

Book Info:

File Size: 329 KB
Page Count: 178
Copyright: April 25, 2012
Publisher: Tribute Books

Book Links:

Knee Deep Website
Knee Deep Goodreads Page
Twitter Hashtag: #KneeDeep

Book Summary:
(Provided by Tribute Books)

Shawn is the guy Ronnie Bird promised her life to at the age of fourteen. He's her soul mate. He's more uptight every day, but it's not his fault. His family life is stressful, and she's adding to it. She just needs to be more understanding, and he'll start to be the boy she fell in love with. She won't give up on someone she's loved for so long.

Luke is her best friend, and the guy she hangs with to watch girlie movies in her large blanketopias. He's the guy she can confide in before she even goes to her girlfriends, and the guy who she's playing opposite in Romeo and Juliet. Now her chest flutters every time he gets too close. This is new. Is Ronnie falling for him? Or is Juliet? The lines are getting blurry, but leaving one guy for another is not something that a girl like Ronnie does.

Shawn's outbursts are starting to give her bruises, and Luke's heart breaks as Ronnie remains torn. While her thoughts and feelings swirl around the lines between friendship and forever, she's about to lose them both.

Jolene Perry's Bio:

Jolene grew up in Wasilla, Alaska. She graduated from Southern Utah University with a degree in political science and French, which she used to teach math to middle schoolers.

After living in Washington, Utah and Las Vegas, she now resides in Alaska with her husband, and two children. Aside from writing, Jolene sews, plays the guitar, sings when forced, and spends as much time outside as possible.

She is also the author of Night Sky and The Next Door Boys.

Check her out at the following pages:

Publisher Info:

Tribute Books celebrates its 8th year in 2012 as an independent publisher for independent writers. To learn more about Nicole Langan and her company, you can click any of the links below ...

Thanks for stopping by and we look forward to seeing you at 9 a.m. EST!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Mandy Reviews: The Deflated Generation by Christopher S. Bell

ISBN #: 5800058423135
Page Count: 217
Copyright: May 2011
Publisher: Myideaoffun

Book Summary:
(Taken from back cover)

I could start a support group for people with these thoughts, people with these fears of their neighbors, and these imprints we all left behind on our lawns and sidewalks. I've been trying to notice things blooming the last few days, but have only found the sight of white pedals floating by in the air distracting.

The sun's been getting hotter, while we've all inherited a splotch on our chromosomes. No one has the strength to look for each other anymore. It's a consensus that eventually all moles will creep out of their holes, because they like smiling before getting whacked in the head with a hammer. I'm going to be dead soon, and it's such a shame that so many of my friends are waiting for me to catch up to them.

Mandy's Review:

Let's get the obvious out of the way ... this book is in SERIOUS need of a professional editor! There were spelling errors, letters missing from words, words missing from the sentence and the wrong spelling of words used. I don't have any red pens, but I am sorely tempted to buy some and break one out the next time I get a book this poorly edited.

Okay, now that I have that out of the way, let's get to the storytelling portion of this book ...

The setting is Vermont in the year 2027. Multiple major cities have been bombed and there are very few survivors left in any area. Those that have survived are sun-deprived as they've been holing up underground away from the bombing and any noxious chemicals related to such a disastrous event. There are very few vegetable farms, but marijuana seems to grow in abundance. Everyone, adults and kids alike, seems to always be smoking a joint, lighting up a bong or rolling a new 'cigarette.' If they're not smoking, their drinking. Not much is said about beer, it's mostly wine or rum that people seem to be drinking.

The story focuses mainly around Maggie and Mitch. Maggie lives in the current setting of 2027. While rummaging around an abandoned house, she finds the journal Mitch kept after the bombs destroyed everything. Mitch is from the year 2011. His journal guides Maggie as she searches for clues and assistance to get out of the town she feels stuck in.

Maggie eventually leaves Vermont and heads west with four others. Their journey is somewhat eventful and freeing. There's a surprising end to their story that leaves the reader with hope for them.

What I enjoyed most about this book was the back-and-forth between Maggie's story and Mitch's journal entries. Reading about their lives in a parallel fashion was what kept my interest. I would recommend this book to fiction lovers ... just beware of the major editing issues.

*A paperback copy was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Mandy Reviews: The Eyes of the Dead (A Vetala Cycle Novel) by G. R. Yeates

File Size: 241 KB
Page Count: 166
Format: Kindle

Book Summary:
(Taken from Amazon)

Vampires are loose in the trenches of the First World War.

Passchendaele, 1917. Private Reg Wilson is a man with a name but no memories. A soldier who remembers nothing of life before the fighting began. Until he comes to Black Wood, a tainted place that knows him intimately. There, he will discover a darkness buried long ago by time and dust. An appetite that has been awoken by war. A hunger that will feed upon his blood, his regrets and his worst fears. It will show him what he has forgotten. It will show him nightmare made flesh. And, before he dies, it will make him look deep into the eyes of the dead.

Mandy's Review:

This novel made me sick. Literally. There were a few times I had to stop reading it because of the graphic verbiage during certain scenes in this book. That has not happened to me before that I recall.

Despite the queasiness I felt, I could not completely stop reading The Eyes of the Dead. It was like a horrible train wreck that you felt compelled to keep looking at. Reginald Wilson believes he has the 'horrors.' The term 'horrors' is another way of saying a soldier has PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) where the soldier still 'hears' and 'sees' all of the gruesome events during the war. I always knew that PTSD was a serious condition, but reading Yeates' book has brought this tragic symptom to life for me. I cannot imagine going through life distortedly remembering all of the terrible badness that happened to fallen comrades, villages, in the trenches, etc. And having to deal with all of those remembrances once our military returns home gives me a whole new respect for what they do.

I noticed the book summary states that 'Vampires are loose in the trenches of the First World War.' I can tell you that, after reading this book, I really didn't get a sense of vampirism. The way it reads feels as if Wilson is in the throes of PTSD, rather than the events being conspired by a vampire. Yes, there were references to throats being torn out, but it felt as if they were part of Wilson's crazy visions and that they didn't really happen at all.

Please don't think that my queasiness and comments about vampires mean I didn't enjoy the book, because I did. I appreciated the fact that Yeates could make me queasy. I don't think even Stephen King has done that and I absolutely adore King! To find an author that can cause me to experience something I have not experienced before is rare. So, props to G. R. Yeates for being extremely descriptive and well-written.

The ending had a surprising twist, which I appreciated. I don't want to say too much about it because it would ruin your experience of reading the book. Just know that if you like a gruesome period read with mind-boggling twists and turns, then you need to read The Eyes of the Dead.

*An ecopy of the book was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Kathy Reviews: SICK by Jen Smith

ASIN #: B007A3RE4A
File Size: 356 KB
Page Count: 186
Copyright: February 10, 2012
Publisher: Recovered Publishing

Book Summary:
(Taken from Goodreads)

A riveting memoir about drug dealing, addiction, and surviving abuse. Small time drug deals and a passion for growing pot filled my world before I met Greg. But the first time I got off a flight, strolled over to the baggage claim in my carefully chosen new outfit and picked up two brand new flowered suitcases filled with eighty pounds of Mexican swag pot, I felt like I had found my true calling in life. The adrenaline rush of getting away with something big along ... with the money I would make was a new kind of high I'd never before experienced. I was instantly addicted. Making money organizing drug runs around the country was intense. Greg and I were a money making duo like none other. Life with Greg was exciting for a while but it wasn't long before it became a cat and mouse game - then a complete nightmare.

Words like belittling and narcissistic were not in my vocabulary. Later, learning these words helped me disconnect from the mental torture. The tension would build as I protected him while he isolated me from friends and family. Then there would be an incident of abuse which confused me. At first it was lying, hurtful words and actions but quickly escalated to guns at my head, knives, and using my son to manipulate and control me. The honeymoon phase would be another fabulous trip to Hawaii or resort hopping around the world. I didn't see the cycle or even understand abuse. The drugs and alcohol allowed me to tolerate and numb the pain until my spirit dwindled down to a shadow of nothingness. How could I escape the far reaching sabotage of any attempt at my freedom? Could there be a way out? Could I find a way to spare my son from this drug infested violent existence that would surely crush his soul?

Kathy's Review:

This is as much a cautionary tale as it is a memoir. Jen has a carefree lifestyle, doing drugs, selling drugs, following the Grateful Dead and traveling the country staying in the nicest hotels. She has a relationship with her boyfriend, Greg, that can be described as volatile, as best. The drugs make him a ticking time bomb and although she sees the signs, she stays with him. At times, she has no choice as he isolates her from friends and family, and also takes her money, car keys, and also uses their child as a pawn in his game of manipulation. So many times throughout the story I thought - this has to be rock bottom, this has to be the turning point. And she'd go back to him. I'm sure that for the author, hindsight is 20/20 and she sees the mistakes she's making as she is reliving them while she wrote this book. But while she's in it, the drugs make her almost a slave to him. This is by no means an enjoyable book but it was one I couldn't put down. It has an easy flow to it and you really do root for Jen even though she is a drug abuser and making bad choice after bad choice. If you know someone whom you fear might be headed down this path, give this person a copy of the book so they can see what could happen if they let the drugs take control.

*A Smashwords coupon code to download a free copy of this book was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Charlene Reviews: Not All Out of Love by Jamie Schoffman

ISBN #: 978-0615601953
Page Count: 140
Copyright: April 20, 2012
Publisher: One Day

(Taken from Amazon)

The incredible true story of a young man's struggle through college, failed relationships, suicide, financial hardship, infidelity, and reformation.

Charlene's Review:

Jamie Schoffman writes about what he knows best; his life. From his days struggling to finish college after dad's money runs out, to a girl that breaks his heart and leaves him suicidal, spending some time in a mental hospital, and then, to finding the love of his life, and almost destroying it, Jamie spills it all.

Jamie writes with a dry humor that, at times, is over the top. I cringed at the many ways he referred to Tallahassee, because after the first dozen, it got predictable. His honesty, however, of the pits of his despair, is commendable, and will likely touch some reader with a hope of overcoming depression. I felt the rawness of his pain, and he portrayed depression in a way that cannot dispute its effect on the sufferer.

There is great information in these pages, and if you find your way through the (occasional) "the world is out to get me" mindset, Jamie finds his way back to the world of the living. This is a story of finding love, of others and self.

*A physical copy of the book was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Charlene Reviews: When Two Become One by Alicia Hill Jones

ISBN #: 978-0979464621
Page Count: 320
Copyright: July 10, 2012
Publisher: Destiny 11 Publications

(Taken from Amazon)

A marriage is destined for divorce long before the couple's first date. In this inspirational faith-based novel, the battered foundation of Jonas and Shayna Ambrose's four year marriage is about to crumble when an unexpected pregnancy occurs. Fortunately, the mother-to-be is not one of Jonas' mistresses, but his wife. The problem: Jonas is adamant about Shayna not having the baby. At odds about the pregnancy they separate, until tragic events reunite them. But something is still missing in the relationship. When truths are exposed, will the Ambrose union be able to overcome issues deeper than what's on the surface?

Charlene's Review:

Let me start by saying that Inspirational Fiction is my favorite genre, and Ms. Jones did not disappoint. Fluid writing, along with a deep message made this a truly enjoyable book from beginning to end. Our lead character, Shayna, is living in a marriage that is rocked by infidelity and alcoholism. As if that weren't enough, her mother continually pulls her into the drama of her sisters' drug addiction. Fighting to be the Christian woman that God has called her to be, Shayna attempts to make things better. Her turning point is an unplanned pregnancy, and her husband's demands that she end it. As she struggles to do God's will, her sister makes a potentially fatal choice and Shayna's life is changed yet again.

When Two Become One is the story of a marriage on the brink. Shayna is determined to live a Godly life, but her husband, Jonas, grew up as a pastor's son and seen his father mistreat the family. He wants no part of what he sees as hypocrisy. After a robbery attempt that leaves Jonas seriously wounded, and a suicide attempt, Jonas begins to see the need to change, and allow God to work in his life.

While When Two Become One deals with some very heavy topics, it is done so with grace. There is real humanity in the characters of this book; living, breathing, imperfect human beings doing the best they can to survive. I felt the internal struggles that they faced, good and bad, and could relate to their pain in a real way. This is a beautiful novel with a strong message. Jonas' mother summed it up best:

"...regardless of what others are doing around you or in church, you need to get to know God for yourself. Build a relationship with Him, so when everything around you seems to be in chaos, connecting to the strength and peace of the Lord is what will get you through."

*Book was received from the author (who is also the publisher) in exchange for an honest review.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Kathy Reviews: The Last Confession by Justin Stanisic

ISBN #: 978-1466468108
Page Count: 210
Copyright: December 21, 2011
Publisher: CreateSpace

Book Summary:
(Taken from Amazon)

Mary Lowry is a small-town waitress doing the best she can to get by. Father Robert McCullen is a customer with sad eyes, a choirboy smile, and a tattered photograph of his sister, who disappeared almost twenty years ago. Mary has a lead, but she soon discovers Robert is hiding more than sadness behind that smile. And Robert's wealthy mother, the family's dying matriarch, wants the girl in the photograph to stay missing - And she'll pay any price.

Everyone has their secrets. Sometimes the truth is ugly. Sometimes the truth is Evil. The search for the missing girl becomes a search for the truth - And the truth won't be found ... until THE LAST CONFESSION.

Kathy's Review:

This is a well-written, suspenseful story that I very much enjoyed. The character of Mary gets in over her head when Robert, a man on a mission to find his sister, is a patron in the diner in which she works. Told from Mary's perspective, The Last Confession has some twists you will never see coming. Her character is developed fully and deeply, and we know Mary's inner struggles, turmoils and happiness. Why does she go out of her way to help Robert? What draws her to him?

I read this book in e-book format, and I didn't see the cover or this above summary until after I had finished. I have to say, the cover gives too much away. And I don't think the summary does the book justice. The bit about Robert's mother - while this is a critical piece of information, I don't think it should have been revealed in the summary. The reader doesn't learn this until well into the book. The last sentence is cheesy - I expect some dark ominous music chords to follow.

However, overlooking those two minor things, I'm going to say this is one I'd recommend to all adult readers. There is some minor cursing and some violence, but otherwise I'd say this is some outstanding writing and engaging story.

*The e-book was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Mandy Reviews - Believe: The Weeping Tree Chronicles (Book One) by Philip David Hogan

File Size: 796 KB
Page Count: 429
Copyright: March 24, 2011
Publisher: Darkwater Publishing

Book Summary:
(Taken from Amazon)

It's almost summer in the tiny American town of Crimson Cove, but 12 year-old twins Joshua and Ella Beckett have a major problem: Their best friend Kory has been kidnapped by the evil Lord Kharon and taken to the Unbetween, a parallel realm of the dead.

When a mysterious recluse known only as the Great Witch magically shows them how the futures of two worlds depend upon Kharon's defeat and Kory's safe return, the Beckett's and fellow friends - Daniel, Jack and Raevyn - risk their mortal souls to bring her home.

Guided only by a shape-shifting guardian and blessed with extraordinary powers from the Unbetween itself, the five companions face their darkest fears, reconnect with lost loves and battle terrifying creatures on their perilous journey to destroy Kharon once and for all. But the Unbetween holds far more secrets than they ever expected, and the fate of every soul - living and dead - hangs in the balance ...

Mandy's Review:

A dark, mysterious, slightly comedic, action-packed adventurous package all tied up with the pretty little bow of friendship. It brings to mind those great novels/movies like Stand By Me, It and The Goonies.

Five friends come together and make a pact to find their lost friend, Kory. What they don't realize is that Kory is no longer on Earth. She is in a parallel realm for the undead called the Unbetween. Everything about the Unbetween is designed to steal away a person's strength and will to live. Can they survive long enough to find Kory?

This book is full of twists and turns that are sure to keep the reader's interest from beginning to end. I know I sound like a paid sponsor, but this book really is interesting and one that does not want to let the reader's imagination go. I would say it is geared more for young adults, but adults who are young at heart and love adventure would appreciate Philip David Hogan's Believe.

*I won this ebook in LibraryThing's Members Giveaway

Monday, May 21, 2012

Mandy Reviews: The Third Q by Arnold Francis & Robert Luxenberg

ISBN #: 978-1608321872
Page Count: 333
Copyright: October 2011
Publisher: Greenleaf Book Group Press

Book Summary:
(Taken from back cover)

The esoteric wisdom of the Third Q transforms the lives of all who are suffering. However, understanding the Third Q requires a psycho-spiritual journey and the acquisition of a new perspective on reality.

Zoro Montana is a part-time chauffeur who travels from the depths of despair to the heights of awakening under the tutelage of a sophisticated philosopher who has intimate knowledge of Zoro's past, present, and future. Reluctant at first to divert from his path of self-destruction, Zoro sets out on a search for a missing art treasure and the truth behind his father's suicide. Navigating through church history, neuroscience, and near-fatal violence, Zoro emerges into the light of newfound understanding based on the life-altering Third Q. Zoro's struggle and eventual triumph will thrill readers while giving them the opportunity to discover the unrealized potential in their own lives.

Mandy's Review:

I'm a little torn with this book. I enjoyed watching Zoro search for answers to his past while trying to find the final painting. The journey he took to find clues was intriguing and kept my interest.

The Third Q is a part of a person's mind that is rarely used by every day people. This book tells you, in a fictionally fact-based way, how to expand your mind to utilize the Third Q part of your brain. I must say, I found that part of the novel to have dragged out a little too long for me. I realize that it is a hard concept to grasp, especially for those not used to expanding their mind, but for the purposes of the novel I think the authors could have progressed that part of the novel at a quicker pace. It took a little over half the novel for Zoro to finally agree that Max's way was the best way ... Too tedious for me. I would've rather had more action in a fiction novel than so much intellectualism.

I appreciated the ending. The authors showed how our lives tend to continue on into others' lives should we be willing to share the knowledge we've gained during our life's journeys.

If you enjoy a fictionally fact-based novel that has more intellectual aspects than a completely action-packed novel, then you would definitely enjoy The Third Q.

*An ARC of this novel was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Kathy Reviews - Flight Emergency: Take the Left Seat in Eight Role-Playing Emergency Scenarios by Reya Kempley

ISBN #: 978-0983363132
Page Count: 136
Copyright: September 1, 2011 (First Edition)
Publisher: Starflight Press

Book Summary:
(Taken from Goodreads)

What if you could fly realistic flight emergency scenarios yourself, make critical decisions and face the consequences, all while safely on the ground? With this book, you can!

- Jump into various scenarios as the pilot and face real life pressures
- Encounter dangerous situations requiring your immediate action
- Fly the outcome, as determined by what you decide to do
- Have fun while learning by introspective trial and error

Written with student pilots in mind, these entertaining and thought-provoking interactive scenarios explore emergency procedures and decision-making in a unique, personalized way. Readers will find each story experience enriched by hand-drawn illustrations. Aspiring pilots, experienced pilots, and aviation buffs alike will all enjoy taking the left seat in Flight Emergency!

Kathy's Review:

I'm not a pilot. I don't even play one on TV. But we were asked to review this book, and it sounded interesting, so I agreed to the task!

Remember those "Choose Your Own Adventure" novels? Flight Emergency is like that, except for pilots and those training to be a pilot. For me, average Jane, with no knowledge of how to fly a plane, this book probably has no purpose other than if I am ever on a flight and EVERYONE ELSE is incapacitated, I might remember something I learned here. But, probably that won't happen.

There are several scenarios the book goes through, adding some interesting details designed to throw the reader off course - pun intended! In the first scenario, you are the pilot traveling with an over-the-top Southern friend, who was one "fiddle-dee-dee" short of Scarlett O'Hara. In others, you're traveling with friends or family, or flying irritating customers who create distractions for you - and most or all of these are small planes.

With absolutely no knowledge of how to fly an aircraft, I was able to figure out most of the "correct" exercises just by using common sense. I also went back and read through the "wrong" decisions, which sometimes snowballed and led to other wrong decisions. It was interesting to me to see how so much of the scenarios were results of errors or bad judgement on the part of the pilot.

An interesting approach to teaching, for sure. I'd like to see more of these in other industries!

*A copy of the book was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Charlene Reviews: Because of the Moon by C.J. Cutayne

ISBN #: 978-0987689313
Page Count: 332
Copyright: November 12, 2011
Publisher: Blue Moose Publishing

(Taken from Amazon)

A very funny teen novel. "Obedience is for dogs," spouts Jay; an out of control thirteen year old. Arrested for being at a chop shop, Jay can either go to juvenile detention or move to the poor Indian reservation his mother shunned fourteen years ago where his estranged grandfather will oversee Jay's penance.

Jay's latest prank, 'rat day' and his unique way of dealing with a bully make Because of the Moon a book you won't soon forget. A humorous, clever and fast-paced story. The reader will be taken on a journey with a boy who rules his own world.

Freedom to roam the city, staying out late, tagging, and pulling pranks at school. Jay loves his life until he gets caught. Not understanding that he even had First Nations blood in him has come as a shock. Learning he has a Grampa in a remote village is even more shocking. Having to go live with him for six months is devastating. Moving to a new school and a new town is not how Jay envisioned spending his summer. His grampa is a task master and has Jay working evenings and weekends. The time they spend together is not all drudgery as Jay learns about his First Nations heritage and even how to carve a totem pole.

Being the new kid in town draws attention from the whole village. Jay gets to know and appreciate the quirky villagers such as the crazy cat lady who won't stop making Bannock, the "witch" doctor, the roving band of dogs and the artist turned alcoholic, Johnny Walker. If Jay can survive the bully, the villagers may also learn to appreciate him, too.

Charlene's Review:

When Jay, born and raised in the city, finds himself on the wrong side of the law, his mother contacts his estranged grandfather, and the Court "sentences" him to live in his ancestors Indian village for six months. Jay is reluctant to give up the City he loves, and grudgingly attends a new school where he is taunted by the school bully. His days off are spent cleaning out his grandfather's garage, as community service. As the days go by, and he is enlisted in his grandfather's secret project, Jay finds himself at home in the village, and may possibly be the key that revives the reservation's way of life.

Because of the Moon is a beautifully written story. Culture and family pay a huge role in this story. As Jay learns pride in his work and his family history, he is transformed, and in turn, returns a village to its previous glory. A very simple and heartwarming story about finding out what really matters. It is labeled as a teen novel, but I found it equally as enchanting for adults. Ms. Cutayne has a gift for understanding adolescence and it shines through the character of Jay. Very enjoyable book with a lot of First Nations Indian history.

*Hard copy of book was given by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Kathy Reviews: Insecure by Michael Shevlin

ASIN #: B006X3164C
File Size: 453 KB
Page Count: 185

Book Summary:
(Taken from Amazon)

Two brothers who don't want to and don't know how to rob a bank ... have to try and rob a bank.

Book Summary:
(Taken from author's email)

Dan Collins wants to spice up his life a bit and the chance discovery of a secret that could give him access to millions - if not billions - could be the answer to his prayers. But this discovery starts a chain of events that he nor his properly dodgy brother can stop and slowly they get sucked into a world of hacking, money, guns and goons. They even realize that there is a possibility that they might get away with it - but will the reward be worth it?

Kathy's Review:

Dan's a curious guy. While house-sitting, discovers a friend's secret while snooping on his computer - after guessing the password and peering into his private files and Internet history - and the story takes off from there. Despite his nosy nature, Dan's a likable character in that he has a wry sense of humor (as does the author) and although he has his faults, he seems like he is a good person, although his temper and lack of thinking before speaking don't help him out. He sets a chain of events in motion and is then merely a passenger, no longer having control of what he started.

I love the observations Dan has about everyday annoyances or people's quirks - they're spot-on. "I wouldn't ban smoking in public, I don't mind gay men kissing in public and I couldn't give a toss if people swear in public. But if I had the constitutional power I would make it punishable by public flaying for people to talk to each other in baby talk." Ha! Or this gem: "Some things in restaurants are like neon - a slapped face, someone proposing or someone crying." Yep.

The author is British, so some of the references he uses were foreign to me, but I assume they would make sense to someone in England. For example: "He brought the only suit he deemed 'business like' which turned out to be a brown, single breasted classic cut which when paired with a cream shirt and a striped tie gave him a faint whiff of Abigail's Party." I had to Google "Abigails' Party" to find out that it was a 70's play popular in England.

If you've read my reviews for any length of time you know I always have to zing the authors when there are glaring errors in the book. There are quite a few that I noticed, too many to call out individually, so I'd definitely suggest the author hire a proofreader on the next go-round. Here's a quick lesson for the author, everyone else can skip to the next paragraph. It's = it is. Its = possessive form of it. You're welcome. I also noticed a few times where it's hard to tell who is speaking. Example: "I'm not exactly flush," Rich raised his eyebrows, "but it's not really the money ..." Dan is actually the speaker, but because of the interjection of Rich raising the eyebrows, it makes it seem like Rick is speaking.

In most cases, I was willing to overlook the grammatical errors because I just wanted to find out what was going to happen! How on earth would Dan and his brother get themselves out of the predicament they're in? Unfortunately it doesn't wrap up the way I'd hoped. I could easily see this being a movie - all the over-the-top action and comedy would make this a great film. I'd pay 8 bucks to see it!

*Book was received from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Charlene Reviews: Overlay by Marlayna Glynn Brown

ISBN #: 978-1475200355
Page Count: 328
Copyright: April 18, 2012
Publisher: CreateSpace

(Taken from back cover)

What is it that makes one person's life interesting to another? Could it be the reader's perceived shared experiences with the writer? A profound thankfulness for not having shared such experiences? A desire to know about a life not personally lived? A well-crafted, mesmerizing and professionally written read? A story that evokes reader emotion - whether it be relief, anger, fear, sadness or joy? A desire to see a situation through to the end? Our shared universal desire for entropy, balance peace and happy endings?

Author Marlayna Glynn Brown has crafted an extraordinary tale of survival and resilience in spare and convincing prose. Written from a child's point of view from ages 4 to 17, this tale describes the precarious childhood of Marlayna in 1970s Las Vegas.

The desert perimeter serves as a hot, dry and dangerous barrier that shuts out the rest of the vibrant world and bleaches away any sense of the joy that colors childhoods. Born into an ongoing cycle of alcoholism, addiction and abandonment amidst fallen adults, Marlayna develops a powerful sense of self-preservation in contrast to the people entrusted with her care. Her story explores the personalities of the bizarre characters who populate her life as she moves from home to home, parent to parent, family to family and ultimately to homelessness at the age of fourteen. Out of the resources of her remarkable childhood emerges an inner strength that will charm and captivate readers and remain in their consciousness long after the last page of her story has been turned.

Charlene's Review:

Overlay is a hauntingly sad look at what transpires in the wake of alcoholic parents. Written in the voice of Marlayna, as she grows up in the shadow of alcoholism, poverty, and abject loneliness, this memoir is simply admirable. To have lived it is shocking enough, but to find a voice and speak out, is phenomenal. Marlayna has a survivor's spirit, and writes effortlessly, while portraying a life many of us could never imagine.

*A paperback copy of this book was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Mandy Reviews: The Swimming Pool by Holly LeCraw

ISBN #: 978-0307474445
Page Count: 307
Copyright: 2010
Publisher: Anchor Books (First Anchor Books edition: April 2011)

Book Summary:
(Taken from back cover)

Marcella Atkinson was a married woman when she fell in love with Cecil McClatchey, himself a married father of two. On the same night their romance abruptly ended, Cecil's wife was found murdered.

Seven summers later, Marcella is divorced and estranged from her daughter, mired in grief and guilt. But when Cecil's grown son, Jed, returns to the Cape and finds Marcella's bathing suit buried in his father's closet, this relic of the past sets in motion a passionate affair. In this twisting, sensuous novel of devotion and infidelity, mistakes of the past must rise to the surface.

Mandy's Review:

I like to think the cover is a reflection of the story that is about to be read. For instance, the swimming pool on this cover. Literally, there is a swimming pool that is a background character in this story. Symbolically, the swimming pool makes me think that the story will be deep, with bits of shallowness, yet flows easily. Instead, I felt as if I was anchored at the bottom of a deep pool by grief and slowly drowning on all the emotion and drama. The story weighed on my mind like 8 feet of water over my anchored body. I could find no relief.

Marcella is a beautiful, mysterious lady who wallows in grief, guilt and excessive indecisiveness. It wore me out. I know she's Italian, but did she have to be soooo melodramatic?

Jed was young and sexy, but he was so consumed with his want for Marcella he seemed borderline psychotic. I don't know any man, young or old, who is THAT consumed with want of a female. It seemed excessive.

Callie was pleasantly psychotic. She seemed real enough. She possessed a little overly dramatic tendency, but not near as bad as Marcella and Jed's characters.

The premise of the book was well thought out, but the execution was too overbearing. It took me longer than it should have to read the book because I had to give my brain a chance to cheer back up. The book didn't end the way I wanted, with Jed and Marcella together. Instead, it ended sadly, which I guess is a suitable ending to this novel.

I don't know that I would recommend this book to many people. I don't like to pass around anything that would depress people.

*The book was won from a Goodreads First Reads Giveaway. A copy of the book was provided by the author's publisher in hopes of receiving an honest review.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Kathy Reviews: Angela's Coven by Bruce Jenvey

ASIN #: B005W62FDM
File Size: 546 KB
Page Count: 312
Copyright: October 14, 2011
Publisher: MuseItUp Publishing

Book Summary:
(As provided by author)

Reggie Sinclair is an aging British rock star living in New York City who has just found out he is terminally ill. He also has a very dark secret. When he was still an undiscovered teenager, he sold his soul to the Devil in exchange for his great fame and success. As his life draws to an end, he prepares to face the inevitable until he stumbles upon a very enchanting, modern-day witch named Angela, and her untraditional coven.

Angela gradually introduces Reggie to her world of old school Witchcraft with its roots in alchemy and 'natural chemistry' dating to the Dark Ages. As their relationship grows, they devise a plan to break Reggie's contract and save his soul.

This is a story of the struggle between good and evil with a cast of characters that ranges from guardian angels to young witches-in-training. Together, they have to come to terms with the uncertainties of love, loss, and life decisions to save Reggie from an unbearable eternity: Here is a plot filled with unexpected twists and surprises to the very last page that will also cast an entirely different light on anything you may have ever considered as faith!


Reggie Sinclair - An aging, terminally ill rock star who sold his soul to the devil in his youth in exchange for a successful career.

Angela Bradbury - A witch and shop owner in NYC

Ajax - Attorney for Lucifer, holds the contract on Reggie

Lucifer - The devil himself

Maddy - Angela's aunt, head of the coven

Katelyn, Shannon and Melanie - Younger witches who round out the coven, each with a special ability

Kathy's Review:

When I got this book to review, I thought, oh great, a witch book. However, once I started reading it, I thought, this witch book is great!

I really enjoyed Angela's Coven from start to finish. The characters are interesting, the dialogue realistic, charming and funny, and the plot is fast-paced. From the beginning, I like Reggie and Angela; I liked their chemistry together. Their banter and joking back and forth seemed very real and not forced. As both have loved and lost, I was hoping they'd hook up. It's no secret throughout the book that Reggie is dying, and his soul must be saved, so there's a real sense of urgency for Angela and her coven to help him. As they are going up against the attorney for the devil himself, don't expect everyone to come away unhurt. Overall, this is a very likable story, even if you're like me and don't think you'd like a witch book - give this one a try.

*Ebook was received from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Charlene Reviews: In Dreams by Robert Logan

ISBN #: 978-1614930297
Page Count: 218
Copyright: February 10, 2012
Publisher: The Peppertree Press


In the mountainous outskirts of Boulder, Colorado a serial killer begins killing people in the same exact manner as four unsolved murders in the area from forty-one years ago. The police suspect a copycat. But when Jack Corbitt experiences a bizarre phenomenon, he begins to believe the police are dead wrong.

During a series of a new life saving cancer treatment, Jack's brain is somehow able to open a mysterious portal to the past. He is stunned to discover that he is able to communicate with Maggie Roper, a newspaper reporter from forty-one years ago who is investigating the unsolved murders. The telepathic connections come in the form of dreams after each treatment. Jack helps Maggie investigate the brutal murders of the four people in 1971. By doing so, he discovers that a serial killer is not only murdering people in the present, but is also slicing through time as well. Using the same para-psychological event as Jack, the killer is able to commit these gruesome crimes again in the past.

Knowing that his telepathic abilities will likely end when his treatments are finished, Jack must race against time - and through time to stop a deranged present day serial killer who has the ability to murder through the mind of a serial killer in the past. Jack knows that the only way to stop this psychotic murderer is - In Dreams.

Charlene's Review:

When Jack Corbitt is diagnosed with brain cancer, and given only a month to live, he consents to an experimental treatment that uses nuclear medicine. With this treatment comes the possibility of a full cure, but it also comes with the bizarre side effect of time travel, and the emotional weight of stopping a serial killer. Telepathic connections during his treatment allow him to come and go through the mind of a reporter from 41 years prior, who is investigating serial killings that are also taking place in Jack's time. With a limited number of treatments, Jack races to catch the killer before he can kill again.

I started reading this thinking it was too way out there to be believable, and yet, I was quickly hooked. Jack is a great character, fighting for his life, and trying not to change the course of history while still trying to catch a killer that he believes is having the same life-saving treatments as he is. On top of the paranormal aspect, there is Native American influence, suspenseful plotting, and flawless writing. Mr. Logan does a great job keeping the suspense rolling, with a page-turner that ends as spectacularly as it begins.

*A free hardcopy of the book was provided via Maryglenn McCombs, Publicist, in exchange for an honest review.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Blog Tour/Mandy Reviews: "Seeds" by David Ankrah

Welcome to our stop on David Ankrah's "Seeds" virtual book blog tour! The tour is being promoted by Tracee at Pump Up Your Book.

I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

About David Ankrah:

David Ankrah is a quiet individual with a background in media, finance and all things creative, full of ideas and compassion for those around him.

He lives in London with family and likes nothing better than to help people and put smiles on faces.

The inspiration for this book came out of wanting to see an end to some of the hardships we face in modern times with a simple story that everyone can enjoy and in particular for adults to read to children all over the world so that they can share the ideas that come to them as they read about the inhabitants of that wonderful place called Zoniye.

You can visit David at his website,

Book Info:

ISBN #: 978-0957145702
Page Count: 23
Copyright: 2011
Publisher: Evolu-Sol Publishing

About "Seeds":
(Info provided by tour host)

If you would like to help children understand some of the benefits of using money wisely from an early age then this is a story that will inspire them ...

Without actually mentioning the word money until after the story ends, this story is designed to show them some of the choices they have in life when it comes to looking after not only their money, but their friends and family.

In fact, you should find that this story has parallels in your life whether you are 6 or 60.

So find out what happens to Palooko and Greecho as they go through life and one mysterious day an event takes place that would change their lives forever ...

Zoniye ...

A wonderful place to live ...

And that is where our story begins ...

Mandy's Review:


The cover is adorable and child-friendly, which is good since this story is meant for parents to read and discuss with their children.

The title is an excellent synonym for what is actually the main character of the story.


There is a happy Utopian society called Zoniye. Everyone is happy, everyone loves each other, everyone helps each other and everyone looks out for one another. Then, one day, strangers enter the Utopian land bringing new ideas and gadgets for the people of Zoniye entrapping them into the lifestyle of a slave. The people of Zoniye are now slaves to the seeds and to the new shiny gadgets the strangers bout. It's a vicious never-ending cycle ... or is it?

Palooko doesn't give into the pressure of keeping up with everyone else. He stays focused on the future and how the seeds can benefit his and his family's future. Can he succeed enough to help out the natural inhabitants of Zoniye?


David Ankrah takes the simple idea of saving for one's future and creates a delightful story called "Seeds." I agree the story can be read to and discussed with children, but I would wait until they were about 8 or 9, depending on their maturity level. I'm just not sure a 6-year-old would completely understand all of the meaning of this book.

I do recommend this book to all parents who have younger children. I think it will be a great resource tool for you in your discussions with them concerning money and their future.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Charlene Reviews: The Day After Yesterday by Kelly Cozy

ISBN #: 978-0985123406
Page Count: 466
Copyright: March 16, 2012
Publisher: Smite Publications

(Taken from back cover)

The events of a single night can change a life forever, as musician Daniel Whitman discovers when he loses his family and home. Overwhelmed by grief, unable to find solace in his music or accept comfort from his friends, he flees up the California coast. Daniel thinks he's leaving everything behind, but his journey will take him to the places and people that will help him find his way back. The Day After Yesterday is a story of hope, friendship, and the redemptive power of music.

Charlene's Review:

When Daniel Whitman goes away on a business trip, his life is changed forever. On an impulse, he sets off on foot, along the coast, and eventually ends up in a mental hospital. From there, he returns to his hometown to start a new life, with the help of good friends and healing music.

The first thought that comes to mind as I review this book is, I love, love, loved it! Ms. Cozy has a definite gift for writing that allows the reader to intimately know her characters. Even after 465 pages, I wanted more. There is so much going on, throughout, that it could have been a bit overwhelming, but instead, it drew you even more into the lives of the characters. I fell in love with them. While there is much heartache within the book, hope is the thread that pulls them all together. A beautiful story by a talented writer. Hope to see more from Ms. Cozy soon!

*A free paperback copy of the book was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Charlene Reviews: The Big, Fun, Sexy Sex Book by Lisa Rinna & Ian Kerner, PH.D.

ISBN #: 978-1451661231
Page Count: 336
Copyright: May 1, 2012
Publisher: Gallery Books

(Taken from book jacket)

Sure, being comfortable in your relationship is great. You can finish each other's sentences, love your partner's extra ten pounds, and know just the right buttons to push in bed (or at least think you do). But too much comfort can strip your sex life of its XXX rating and render your love life ... lifeless.

New York Times bestselling author and nationally recognized sex counselor Ian Kerner and vivacious television personality Lisa Rinna, who spoke candidly about rediscovering her own lost libido in her New York Times bestseller Rinnavation, are on a mission to help you get from "no-go" to the Big O.

Mind-blowing sex is just pages away! Turn down the lights and cozy up under the sheets with this intimate bedside guide to igniting your mojo. Overflowing with candid advice, tips, techniques, personal revelations, sexercises, and even a ten-step plan guaranteed to rejuvenate your relationship and keep you and your partner coming back for more, The Big, Fun, Sexy Sex Book proves that knowledge isn't just power - it's also pleasure!

Charlene's Review:

The Big, Fun, Sexy Sex Book is exactly what the name implies. Using down-to-earth advice, and throwing in some saucy comments from TV star, Lisa Rinna, this book has something for you, no matter if your relationship is new, or you've been married decades. There is, obviously, some X-rated material here, but it is written in a responsible, tasteful way, and mostly as an afterthought as to the real workings of a successful relationship.

From the informational, "All relationships require effort" to the fun "The original vibrator was only the fifth domestic appliance to be electrified, after the sewing machine, fan, tea kettle, and toaster," there is a wealth of knowledge in these pages. The Big, Fun, Sexy Sex Book is a light-hearted, yet helpful guide for those struggling with maintaining intimacy in their relationships.

*A free papberback copy was provided by Simon & Schuster in exchange for an honest review.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Mandy Reviews: Left Neglected by Lisa Genova

ISBN #: 978-1439164655
Page Count: 322
Copyright: July 26, 2011
Publisher: Gallery Books

Book Summary:
(Taken from back cover)

Sarah Nickerson, like any other working mom, is busy trying to have it all. One morning while racing to work and distracted by her cell phone, she looks away from the road for one second too long. In that blink of an eye, all the rapidly moving parts of her over-scheduled life come to a screeching halt. After a brain injury steals her awareness of everything on her left side, Sarah must retrain her mind to perceive the world as a whole. In so doing, she also learns how to pay attention to the people and parts of her life that matter most.

In this powerful and poignant New York Times bestseller, Lisa Genova explores what can happen when we are forced to change our perception of everything around us. Left Neglected is an unforgettable story about finding abundance in the most difficult of circumstances, learning to pay attention to the details, and nourishing what truly matters.

Mandy's Review:

I'm not sure where to begin ... So ... perhaps the beginning?

The prologue to this novel is one of the best that I've read in quite some time. It's only one page, but it sets the tone for the entire novel. It's personal, witty and real ... alarmingly so. With the prologue, the reader is already entranced with Sarah; her personality, her life, her circumstances. I loved it.

Enough gushing about the prologue. Let's get to the meat of the novel.

Sarah is wife of Bob and mother to three children: Charlie, Lucy and Linus. Sarah and Bob are those parents who have a nanny coming to take care of their children most of the afternoon while they're working. They're the type of parents who have to check their respective schedules to figure out who can go to a child's game and when they have a free day to meet with a child's teacher. Every time there's a spare minute to be had, Sarah's on her cell phone calling someone or checking/responding to emails. She even does this while driving.

One day, thankfully, Bob takes the children to school and Sarah leaves for work on her own. Her mind is on her work, which has her looking at her cell phone. She doesn't realize traffic has stopped, until she glances up at the last minute. She stomps on the brakes, but the roads are wet from recent rains. She flips the vehicle sustaining injuries to her head.

Eight days later, Sarah wakes up in a hospital ICU. She feels normal, just a little soreness from the accident. Then she's told she has a rare mental condition called Left Neglect. It's a condition that can occur when the right hemisphere of the brain has sustained injuries. The mind doesn't recognize the left side of anything, yet the person with this defect feels totally normal. They feel as if they're seeing the whole of something when they're really only seeing the right side of the thing. The best way to describe this condition is with a passage from the book between Bob and Sarah (Chapter 11):

   "Can you see me now?" asks Bob.
   I see the prison, the window, the visitor's chair, the TV.
   "No," I say.
   "Turn your head."
   I turn my head. I see the prison.
   "No, the other way."
   "There is no other way."
   "Yes, there is. Turn your head to the left. I'm standing over here."
   I close my eyes and imagine Bob standing. In my mind's eye, he's wearing a black, long-sleeve, crewneck tee and jeans, even though he never wears jeans to work. He's got his arms folded, and he hasn't shaved. I open my eyes and turn my head. I see the prison.
   "I can't."
   "Yes, you can. It's simple."
   "It's not."
   "I don't understand why you can't just turn your head."
   "I did."
   "To the left."
   "There is no left."
   I hear him sigh in frustration.
   "Honey, tell me everything you see in here," I say.
   "You, the bed, the window, the chair, the table, the flowers, the cards, the pictures of me and the kids, the bathroom, the door, the television."
   "Is that everything?"
   "Pretty much."
   "Okay, now what if I told you that everything you see is only half of everything that's really here? What if I told you to turn your head and look at the other half? Where would you look?"
He doesn't say anything. I wait. I imagine Bob standing in his tee-shirt and jeans, searching.
   "I don't know," he says.

Eventually, over time, Sarah and Bob adjust to her condition. Their lives change drastically, but for the better.

This book has become one of my favorites and Lisa Genova one of my favorite authors. Reading Sarah's story shows one that there is a reason for everything that happens. What may seem like a bad situation is really a catalyst for positive changes. Because of Sarah's accident and subsequent brain injury, she learned how to relate to her eldest son; she learned how to appreciate life for what it was; she found joy in the small things again. Her life became simpler. Her goals more family-oriented and realistic. And please don't think this is a situation that was created for the purposes of this novel:

Left Neglect, also known as unilateral neglect and hemispatial neglect, is a real neurological syndrome that occurs due to damage to the right hemisphere of the brain, such as might follow a right-hemisphere stroke, hemorrhage, or traumatic brain injury. - From the Author's Note in back of book

I really could go on and on about this book. Suffice it to say, I highly recommend this novel to any and all fiction lovers out there.

*A free paperback copy of this book was sent to me in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Mandy Reviews: The Returners by John Bullock

ISBN #: 978-1471074738
Page Count: 172
Copyright: January 30, 2012

Book Summary:
(Taken from Amazon)

The last thing Tom Keighley remembered was nearly being hit by a car one grey, wet, Monday morning. That was nearly a hundred years ago. When he is plucked from a strange contraption in a mysterious building, Tom is thrown into the tiny village of Charles Brook, the last beacon of humanity known to exist in the world. Tom must find his place in the Brook, a village where the streets are so narrow that his shoulders touch the walls. A place where only the well armed or foolish go outside at night. A place where the high, thick wooden walls keep out the dead.

Mandy's Review:

First, some background info for you ...

The Returning was a major event where the Returners came and almost destroyed humanity 98 years before the time of this book. The characters use this event as a reference point in history, similar to the birth, life and death of Christ. The years are referred to as BR (Before the Returning) and AR (After the Returning).

A person automatically becomes a Returner less than a minute after they die. They're called a Returner because they return to life after their death, similar to that of a zombie.

This book was a little lackluster for me. The most exciting thing about it is when Tom awakened almost 100 years later than he remembered. From there the book seemed to be building to something that never happened.

The ending was disappointing as well. I thought I would become privy to a front row seat to a battle between settlements, but it never happened. Perhaps the author did this on purpose to make it a segue into a sequel. I say he should have made the book longer and included the battle in this book.

As it stands, The Returners is a tease: promising to be a great entertaining read but failing to deliver.

*Ebook was received from author in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Mandy Reviews: Shooting Your Boyfriend by Cammy May Hunnicutt

ISBN #: 978-1475034087
Page Count: 82
Copyright: March 1, 2012
Publisher: CreateSpace

Book Summary:
(Taken from Amazon)

If you never thought about shooting your no-good boyfriend, you probably ARE a boyfriend and should not read this book except for cautionary purposes.

Cammy May Hunnicutt takes that impulse to its logical conclusion - and the results are hilarious. Unleashed from rewrites and editing, the rather terrifying Ms. Hunnicutt reveals a dark, cutting wit that will leave fellow-sufferers in stitches. Probably the definitive book on the rationale, reasoning, procedure, ramifications, and euphoria or shooting one's paramour in areas most responsible for getting him shot, "Considerations Prior To Shooting Your Boyfriend Right In The Nuts" is a bid for respectability for this under-utilized, but satisfactory of maintaining a woman's mental hygiene.

No aspect of nutshots goes unexamined in this seminal work, including choice of proper weapons, a Hall of Fame of successful ballblasters, case studies of justifiable nuticide, and all things considered about this rather exciting, if often misunderstood, practice. Ms. Hunnicutt joins historical satirists with ideas whose time had come, such as Swift, Orwell, Carlin, the Unabomber. If you have a boyfriend, or recently got dumped by one, this book is certainly worth the money ... and your "consideration."

Mandy's Review:

Let me start by saying that I agreed to review this because the title was pretty funny to me. I held hopes that the pages of the book would hold the same type of humor.

I was appalled.

While reading, all I could think about was how bad the author must have been done by her ex in order to write this. I can tell the author was trying to be witty and humorous, but it came across as angry and resentful. The whole book was more of an encouragement for women to shoot their boyfriends/lovers/f-buddies in the testicles rather than just leave him ... all for the "sisterhood" of women.

There's even reference pages in the back with pictures of various guns and their uses ... Really?!!

The author promises more books to come. I'm sure she'll have an exclusive audience somewhere (you'll probably see them on the news or read about them in the papers), but I know I will not be part of it after this.

*Ebook was received from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Mandy Reviews - The Book of Awful: A Parody by Romi Moondi

ISBN #: 978-1466395374
Page Count: 140
Copyright: October 8, 2011
Publisher: CreateSpace

Book Summary:
(Taken from Amazon)

Wouldn't it be nice if we all held hands and pooped rainbows?

Sure, but until our world becomes a technicolor paradise, what's the REAL way for people to get happy?

Avoiding catastrophe.

This parody of The Book of Awesome outlines one awful(ly ridiculous) scenario after the next, to demonstrate how much worse life could really be. Whether it's a world where you finally meet your evil twin, the cancellation of Facebook, or the discovery of unicorns that forever alters society, you'll feel relieved you're only READING about it.

For ease of comprehension, the author lends her humble experiences to several topics, and leaves no stone of embarrassment unturned (not even the one where she had head lice as a grown adult).

Mandy's Review:

Let me start by saying that I love this girl! Not in a lesbo-fantasy type way, but in an "Oh my word, we could be BFFs" type way. Her humor is sarcastic, self-depreciating, quirky and I love it ... probably because I feel she and I are so similar.

The Book of Awful is full of short essays and ponderings about how life would be if this didn't exist or that did exist. It's basically showing you that our lives could be a lot worse ... So stop complaining about yours, already!

Romi's personality shines throughout this book. It is an entertaining read that will have you saying "That is so true" often. I highly recommend this book to all my friends and fellow readers who enjoy a quick wit and sarcastic humor.

Note: There are a few f-bombs in this book so if that offends you, you may want to bypass this book.

*Ebook was received from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Blog Tour/Mandy Reviews: Blue Eyes by Jerome Charyn

Welcome to our stop on one of Mandy's favorite author's virtual book blog tour: Blue Eyes by Jerome Charyn. Tribute Books is promoting this tour in celebration of his upcoming ebook re-releases for Open Road Media of all ten of Charyn's cult crime novels starring Isaac Sidel. These novels have also just been picked up by HBO for an adult animated series pilot.

To visit the blog tour's official site, click here.

Jerome Charyn's Bio:

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 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 name 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.

Click the following links to visit:

Book Info:

ISBN #: 0-380-00882-3
Page Count: 236
Copyright: 1974
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
First Avon Book Printing was in January 1977

Book Trailer:

Book Summary:
(Provided by Tribute Books)

A cop and his disgraced mentor attempt to bust a white slavery ring.

Before Isaac Sidel adopts him, Manfred Coen is a mutt. A kid from the Bronx, he joins the police academy after his father's suicide leaves him directionless, and is trudging along like any other cadet when first deputy Sidel, the commissioner's right hand man, comes looking for a young cop with blue eyes to infiltrate a ring of Polish smugglers. He chooses Coen, and asks the cadet to join his department after he finishes the academy. Working under Sidel means fast promotions, plush assignments, and, when a corruption scandal topples his mentor, the resentment of every rank-and-file detective on the force.

Now just an ordinary cop, Coen hears word that his old mentor has a line on a human trafficking operation. When Sidel's attempt at infiltration fails, he sends in Coen. For Coen, it's a shot to prove himself and redeem his mentor, but it could cost the blue-eyed cop his life.

Mandy's Review:


I had to take a picture of the cover of the copy I received from Tribute Books because I could not find a picture of this cover anywhere online. Of all the covers for Blue Eyes, I like this one the best. I think it is the best representation of this novel that there is.

Blue Eyes refers to one of the main characters of this novel, Manfred Coen.

Plot/Main Characters

Manfred Coen is a cop whose mentor has fallen from grace. He gets transferred from borough to borough depending on where he's needed. He's a cop's cop in that he's hard and tough when he needs to be, but he's also got a soft heart when it comes to his ex-wife and her daughters.

In this novel, he's being used by the cops to infiltrate a human trafficking operation that involves a porn movie maker and his niece, a Chinaman who promises revenge on Coen, a simpleton with a club foot, ping pong and several other elements. As Coen becomes more involved in solving the case, he unintentionally turns former friends into enemies ... enemies who want to see him dead.

Isaac Sidel is Coen's mentor. Even though you don't "see" him often in this novel, you still get the feeling that Isaac is the one pulling everybody's strings. He's the puppeteer of this production put on for the reader's enjoyment.


This novel is a gritty showcase of the cops and detectives of the 70s. The writing style will have the reader's mind bouncing back and forth like a ping pong ball on a table tennis top. It is a wonderful trip back in time that will entertain you and leave you wanting more.

Side Note

The puppeteer, Isaac Sidel, has his own Twitter handle. If you want to follow him and see what he has to say, click here. =)
If you are using, you can simply drop the html below in a widget in the footer or at the bottom of the sidebar.