Friday, May 31, 2013

{BintoM Giveaway} World War Z


This BintoM (Books-into-Movies) giveaway is focusing on zombies!!!! How freakin' awesome is that?!!

World War Z comes out in theaters June 21st. If you want to read the book before you watch the movie, here's your chance to win a copy. This giveaway will end on June 7th at 23:59 p.m. The chosen winner will have 48 hours to respond to our email. If they do not respond within 48 hours, another winner will be chosen in their place. This giveaway is international, so spread the good word!

ISBN #: 978-0307346612
Page Count: 342
Copyright: October 16, 2007
Publisher: Broadway; Reprint Edition


The Zombie War came unthinkably close to eradicating humanity. Max Brooks, driven by the urgency of preserving the acid-etched first-hand experiences of the survivors from those apocalyptic years, traveled across the United States of America and throughout the world, from decimated cities that once teemed with upwards of thirty million souls to the most remote and inhospitable areas of the planet. He recorded testimony of men, women, and sometimes children who came face-to-face with the living, or at least the undead, hell of that dreadful time. World War Z is the result. Never before have we had access to a document that so powerfully conveys the depth of fear and horror, and also the ineradicable spirit of resistance, that gripped human society through the plague years.






Review: Free Man Walking by Andy Nieman

ISBN #: 978-1621371663
Page Count: 270
Copyright: November 16, 2012
Publisher: Virtualbookworm.com Publishing


Description:
(Taken from back cover)

Over 10 years in prison. Hooked on heroine, cocaine and drugs for 23 years. A chronic alcoholic for 27. Homeless. Eating out of garbage bins. Born into an alcoholic home. Molested by a pedophile in a residential school for three years. Surviving on skid row for 10 years. Living with the threat of suicide on a daily basis.

Now this same person has a university degree, is a pastor, an officer of the Legislative Assembly, a poet, a husband and a father. This true story will give you a unique look into a world few know about or experience.

Once you read this book, you will know God is real. You will be left with no other alternative because this story will touch you like you never thought possible. If you are a chronic alcoholic or drug addict whose life appears to be totally hopeless, or if you are living with one, this is a book for you.


Charlene's Review:

Mr. Nieman tells the story of his life without regrets or excuses. Raised by an alcoholic mother and an oft-absent father, he took to the streets early in life and soon found himself hooked on drugs. The story that follows is a story of God working behind the scenes, Mr. Nieman's struggle to survive, and the eventual redemption from drugs and poverty.

I especially enjoyed the poems that Mr. Nieman opened each chapter with. Mr. Nieman writes with brutal honesty and sincerity. The writing itself is not always "literary" but the story is told with raw emotion and lends you to overlook the small details. Being a conservative Christian, I also struggled with his theology a bit, (he being Pentecostal) but the basis of his renewal is a beautiful testament to God's love and his ability to meet us where we are and transform lives.


*A physical copy of this books was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

{Review} Being Anti-Social by Leigh K. Cunningham

ASIN #: B0084B9VZW
File Size: 359 KB
Page Count: 316
Copyright: May 17, 2012


Book Summary:
(Taken from Amazon)

Mace Evans is single at thirty-eight. When her much unloved older sister, Shannon, declares that Mace is anti-social, she embarks on a journey to understand her condition; whether she was born that way or if it is the accumulation of thirty-eight years of unfortunate encounters with other humans and dogs.

For reasons unbeknown to Mace, she has an affair with a work colleague, which brings an unexpected end to her perfect marriage. And as if the self-imposed torture and regret is not enough, Mace endures ongoing judgment from her older sister and mother, which further exacerbates already tenuous relationships.

With support from her four best friends, merlot and pizza, and with guidance from her life coach and mentor, Oscar Wilde, Mace recovers to a degree, but in her quest to understand her anti-social ways, she finds herself wondering about the quality of the fabric that keeps her network of friends intact.

When Mace's mother is diagnosed with cancer, Mace searches for common ground on which to connect before it is too late.


Mandy's Review:

I'm not sure why people like Mace are considered anti-social by others. Just because we don't like to be involved in every little thing or can fake it up with people we don't (and do) know doesn't mean we're anti-social. As you may can tell, I related well with Mace. I like her independent attitude and her "anti-social" ways. I do believe, though, that the major part of her anti-socialism began when her husband died. He was her soul mate and to lose that is devastating.

Mace's independence and anti-socialism made her look at her family members in a way that was deceptive. For example, she thought her mom favored the oldest and youngest sisters and disregarded her. What she found out (too late) was that her mom actually craved Mace's attention and presence in her life. That was one of the major drawbacks to how Mace behaved. It made me analyze my own life. Am I perceiving people in a deceptive light? Am I projecting my anti-socialism and independence onto others and thinking they want nothing to do with me?

Granted, this book was probably not intended for deep reflection, but it's what was triggered in me while I read this book. It's a semi-light read with a serious side that, I think, fans of chic-fiction would probably appreciate.


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

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Release Day - Spotlight/U.S. Giveaway: Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness

ISBN #: 978-0143123620
Page Count: 592
Copyright: May 28, 2013
Publisher: Penguin Books; Reprint Edition


Book Summary:
(Taken from Amazon)

Harkness' much-anticipated sequel, Shadow of Night, picks up from A Discovery of Witches' cliffhanger ending. Diana and Matthew time-travel to Elizabethan London and are plunged into a world of spies, magic, and a coterie of Matthew's old friends, the School of Night. As the search for Ashmole 782 deepens and Diana searches for a witch to tutor her in magic, the net of Matthew's past tightens around them, and they embark on a very different - and vastly more dangerous - journey.


A (Brief) Conversation with Deborah Harkness:
(The Q&A was provided by Penguin and edited by us for the purposes of this post)

Q: Last summer, Warner Brothers acquired screen rights to the trilogy, and David Auburn, the Pulitzer-Prize-winning writer of Proof, has been tapped to pen the screenplay. Are you looking forward to your novels being portrayed on the big screen? What are your favorite casting ideas that you've heard from friends and readers?

A: I was thrilled when Warner Brothers wanted to translate the All Souls trilogy from book to screen. At first I was reluctant about the whole idea of a movie, and it actually took me nearly two years to agree to let someone try. The team at Warner Brothers impressed me with their seriousness about the project and their commitment to the characters and story I was trying to tell. Their decision to go with David Auburn confirmed that my faith in them was not misplaced. As for the casting, I deliberately don't say anything about that! I would hate for any actor or actress to be cast in one of these roles and feel that they didn't have my total support. I will say, however, that many of my readers' ideas involve actors who have already played a vampire and I would be very surprised if one of them were asked to be Matthew!

Q: In Shadow of Night, we learn more about the alchemical bonds between Diana and Matthew. In your day job, you are a professor of history and science at the University of Southern California and have focused on alchemy in your research. What aspects of this intersection between science and magic do you hope readers will pick up on while reading Shadow of Night?

A: Whereas A Discovery of Witches focused on the literature and symbolism of alchemy, in Shadow of Night I'm able to explore some of the hands-on aspects of this ancient tradition. There is still plenty of symbolism for Diana to think about, but in this volume we go from abstractions and ideals to real transformation and change - which was always my intention with the series. Just as we get to know more about how Elizabethan men and women undertook alchemical experiments, we also get to see Matthew and Diana's relationship undergo the metamorphosis from new love to something more.

Q: Shadow of Night spans the globe, with London, France, and Prague as some of the locales. Did you travel to these destinations for your research?

A: I did. My historical research has been based in London for some time now, so I've spent long stretches of time living in the City of London - the oldest part of the metropolis - but I had never been to the Auvergne or Prague. I visited both places while writing the book, and in both cases it was a bit like traveling in time to walk village lanes, old pilgrim roads, and twisting city streets while imagining Diana and Matthew at my side.


About the Author:


My career in fiction began in September 2008 when I began to wonder "if there really are vampires, what do they do for a living?" A Discovery of Witches is the unexpected answer to that question. The book debuted at #2 on the New York Times bestseller list, and was also a bestseller in the UK, France, and Germany. Thirty-eight foreign editions and translations will be published. The story of Diana and Matthew continues in the #1 New York Times Bestseller Shadow of Night. I am currently working on the third book in the All Souls Trilogy.

** To view more about Deborah and her website, click here **


Giveaway:

This giveaway is for U.S. residents only. If you are selected as a winner and do not have a U.S. mailing address you will be disqualified and another winner will be chosen in your place. This giveaway will run for one week. The selected winners will have 48 hours to respond or another winner will be chosen in their place. And, yes, we said "winners." There will be up to three winners chosen for this giveaway, so spread the word and good luck!!!

Monday, May 27, 2013

{Review} Stories in Uniform: A Look at the Heroics, Sacrifices, and Triumphs of our Soldiers by Editors of Reader's Digest

ISBN #: 978-1621450634
Page Count: 224
Copyright: May 2, 2013
Publisher: Reader's Digest


Book Summary:
(Taken from back cover)

In this one-of-a-kind collection of Reader's Digest's best military pieces, you'll meet ordinary people faced with extraordinary circumstances in the name of America and freedom. People such as Staff Sergeant Jeff Sarver, whose mission day after day was to get it right the first time or die as he and his team disarmed hundreds of improvised explosive devices in Iraq; and Colonel Greg Gadson, a double amputee whose inspirational message of courage, perseverance, and teamwork helped lead the then-struggling Giants to a Super Bowl victory in 2007. These articles remind us of all those in uniform who go above and beyond the call of duty, including the 1000-man crew of the USS Point Cruz who cared for an abandoned infant in Korea until his adoption in the United States, and the Green Beret who risked his life to save a dying Afghan girl.

Charged with emotion and packed with unbelievable strength and courage, Stories in Uniform will both engage and inspire you - and provide deeper insight into our country's military.


Mandy's Review:

What, I ask you, is more appropriate on Memorial Day than to post a review about stories of our military? Nothing I can think of.

Stories in Uniform is a touching, emotional look at the bravery of various individuals in our military from World War I all the way through the War on Terror. Many of the heroics performed were not scripted and the people performing them were not commanded to do so. Each of these individuals (and countless others who weren't mentioned in this book) perform these heroic acts without regard to their own life. They often act without thinking, proving that there is a baser kindness in all of us towards our fellow man.

As we go throughout our day (and year) we tend to only remember our military on three days: Memorial Day, Independence Day, and Veteran's Day. How sad is that? We should always keep in the forefront of our mind the freedoms we have due to the selfless acts of our military. We, as a human race, often take our freedoms for granted. We think we are so oppressed by our government. I disagree. While I may not agree with everything our government does, I recognize that we have many more freedoms than any other nation out there. Those freedoms were not cheap. Those freedoms were paid for with the blood, limbs, sanity, and safety of our military men and women.

Even though this book made me cry (and I hate to cry), I highly recommend this book for every American out there. If you do not have an appreciation of our military and what they go through, then you definitely need to read these stories. It will definitely touch something inside of each and every one of us.


*A hardcopy of this book was provided by FSB Media in exchange for an honest review.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

{Review} Unshakeable Faith by Monroe & Jeri May

ISBN #: 978-1449778781
Page Count: 422
Copyright: December 28, 2012
Publisher: WestBowPress


Description:
(Taken from the back cover)

This is a story of one family's faith, strengthened in the face of tragedy. When their youngest daughter was diagnosed with a rare form of childhood cancer, they were faced with the choice to abandon or embrace their faith. Share their journey in these pages and be inspired to awaken or deepen your faith.

Monroe and Jeri May have walked through the loss of their daughter, McKenzie, and have been able to maintain their marriage, their nuclear family, and their faith. They pray that this book helps the reader to survive, with the help of faith in Jesus Christ, whatever tragedy they experience. Monroe and Jeri are still grieving for their daughter today, something they expect will never go away. However, they work and play, they move forward in life, and they find joy despite the pain. The source of their joy is Jesus. They believe that, because He hold McKenzie in heaven, they will see her again someday.


Charlene's Review:

Just shy of three-years-old, Jeri and Monroe May's daughter, McKenzie, was diagnosed with Neuroblastoma. Unshakeable Faith follows the family from diagnosis through McKenzie's final days. Written in a diary-like format, both during treatment, and reflecting back, by both parent, we learn of the day to day struggles, the pain and misery of watching your child spiral into illness, and of their ultimate gift of faith in helping them manage.

Unshakeable Faith is obviously a story of religious belief, but it also the story of a "normal" family trying to come to grips with a devastating illness. Relying, unashamedly, on Jesus, they faced their struggles with heavy hearts and the knowledge that God may not save their little girl, but chose to praise Him anyway. I was deeply touched by their raw emotions, questions, and unwavering faith.

While dealing with a heavy subject, I was uplifted by the family's strength, and how they were able to hold it all together in the face of such pain. Monroe's openness, Jeri's hopefulness, and daughter, Caroline's eloquent Foreward all combine to make a captivating read, that, while lengthy, ends all too soon with an unimaginable decision, and the loss of their beloved earth angel.

Written with such a Christ-centered perspective, Unshakeable Faith brings hope and triumph to their unspeakable anguish. I was truly humbled to have been witness to their story.


*A physical copy was provided by the authors' publicist in exchange for an honest review.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

{Review} Let It Be by Chad Gayle

ISBN #: 978-0988661004
Page Count: 220
Copyright: May 8, 2013
Publisher: Bracket Books; First Edition


Description:
(Taken from back cover)

Newly-separated Michelle Jansen longs to create a new life for herself and her children, Joseph and Pam. Crossing the state of Texas, Michelle puts down roots in Amarillo, where she winds up in a low-paying job that comes with a fringe benefit - a burgeoning relationship with a co-worker who wants to love her the way she needs to be loved. Making a fresh start isn't easy, however.

Michelle's ex-husband is willing to destroy her new life if he can't have her for himself, and although she finds solace in her new romance and her favorite music, the music of the Beatles, Michelle is hurt in an unexpected, almost unimaginable way when she is betrayed by her very own son.

When passion and rage collide, one man will nearly lose his life, another will lose his freedom, and a family will be split in two. Can they find healing and forgiveness in the midst of so much sorrow and guilt? Or will love give them the strength to let it be?

Set to the soundtrack of the last album the Beatles released, Let It Be is a tale of loss and of longing - a story of forgiveness and redemption that transcends the struggles of a family that's falling apart.


Charlene's Review:

Let It Be is a painful look into the angst of a young boy searching for meaning in his family's demise. It is also a story of hope and devotion. A mother's love and sacrifice of personal happiness for the one important thing - her son. Set to the backdrop of Beatles music, an aptly named title, Let It Be, poses the question of how far love goes to conquer the devastation of family violence and betrayal.

The true casualty, even in his choice to betray his mother, is Joseph. The truth of his father's intentions leaves him seeking answers, and redemption, for a lifetime, and finally understanding comes through the words of his mother's favorite album.

Let It Be is a poignant novel that speaks to the heart of anyone suffering from a broken family. It's unique voice, through universally known music, brings a fresh quality, as well as a nod to a simpler time. Music has a way of speaking to our very souls, and Mr. Gayle has done this through his writing. Instead of a happily-ever-after, Mr. Gayle gives us a true account of what choices parents make for the good of the family, and its lasting implications.

5 out of 5 stars!


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

Friday, May 24, 2013

{Review} The Viagra Diaries by Barbara Rose Brooker

ISBN #: 978-1451688610
Page Count: 288
Copyright: April 30, 2013
Publisher: Gallery Books


Book Summary:
(Taken from back cover)

Just because Anny Applebaum qualifies for a senior discount doesn't mean she's ready for retirement. But if she wants to keep her job at the San Francisco Times, she'll have to find a way to spice up her lifestyle column. Even if it means posting her profile as an eligible single on JDate.com. Sure, Anny's a little out of practice. She hasn't been with a man since she found Viagra in her ex-husband's suit pocket, and he wasn't taking it for her. But she's got her friends to help her fumble her way through the strange and intriguing world of online dating.

After hearing cautionary tales from the trenches - about "boomer oldies" who drag around pictures of their dead wives and fixed-income misers who wine and dine their dates at chain restaurants - Anny is relieved to meet Marv Rothstein, a charming ... 75-year-old diamond dealer. Unfortunately, he's also a Digital Age Don Juan who prowls single sites for younger women. Not be outdated by this "Serial JDater," Anny realizes Marv is the perfect subject for her flagging column and chronicles his sexcapades for the reading public. But when the new column becomes an overnight hit, Anny can't help but feel conflicted - because now she's having sex with Mr. X ... and it's nothing less than extraordinary.


Mandy's Review:

Who out there likes to imagine their parents having sex?

Yeah ... me either!

You know what, though? Just because they're our parents, or in their older years, doesn't mean they don't want a life. There are many seniors who enjoy sex and dating and being with someone who makes them feel giddy. Unless you're a senior, you're probably not happy with my bringing this to your attention. Keep in mind that the younger generation will feel the same about us when we become seniors, so be careful how you treat the seniors you see now.

Anny is like Carrie Bradshaw's mother. She's a columnist, but she's also artsy. Anny's been so busy with her career that she's not thought a lot about dating. Finally, between her daughter and her friends, she decides to try JDate.com. Right away she meets Marv, a diamond dealer who seems perfect for her. He wines and dines her ... is it love at first sight or is he just trying to "get in her pants?"

Their relationship is a little reminiscent of Carrie and Big's relationship in the beginning. He's often aloof, a playboy, and doesn't want a commitment. She's infatuated and can't stop thinking about him when they're not together.

While reminding me of an older version of Sex & the City, it doesn't have the same finesse. Anny is a little too needy and naive when it comes to Marv. She catches him time and time again in lies, yet she still says she's in love with him and wants to be with him. There's a guy in the novel that she should be with, but she doesn't look at him like a potential partner.

And then there's Anny's daughter, Emily, who is very disrespectful of her mother. She yells at Anny about something in one instance and then Anny's thinking about how much she loves Emily. How weak is this woman?! She doesn't even get pissed off about her daughter yelling at her! Anny is like a walking doormat for anybody who wants to use her. She needs more of a backbone in order for me to appreciate her.

Okay, I'll admit that maybe I'm reading too much into this story. Perhaps I should just take it for a light, entertaining read. If that's the case, the novel is wonderful and will keep you turning the pages well into the night, but if you look deeper into the stories like I do then you, too, may have a slight issue with Anny as a character. I'll still stand behind my sentiments of the novel being entertaining and it will definitely keep you turning the pages. I just wish Anny was a little more like Carrie Bradshaw: an independent woman who didn't take (much) crap from a man.


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

Thursday, May 23, 2013

{Review} Not My Mother's Son by R. K. Avery

ISBN #: 978-1621830092
Page Count: 216
Copyright: November 20, 2012
Publisher: Brighton Publishing LLC


Description:

Devious. Conniving. Deceitful. Insidious. David Miller thought he knew his mother. He thought kidnapping three children was the most appalling and horrendous thing any human being could do and she couldn't possibly do anything more monstrous. He thought there was nothing else she could do or say that would surprise him. How wrong he was.

After Beatrice Miller, David's serial-kidnapping mother, is sentenced to thirty years, David moves to Phoenix, Arizona; and with the help of a trust fund and an old friend, he starts the "Never Give Up" foundation, an organization dedicated to finding and returning exploited and missing children safely to their families. With all the wicked things his mother had done, David feels it is his unspoken duty to do something worthwhile.

Hesitant at first, but after reading his mother's journal, David is determined to mend their dysfunctional relationship. Every time David visits Bea in prison, she seems deranged, insisting that people are trying to kill her. She ends each brief encounter with the chilling statement, "Remember David, things aren't always what they seem."

As word about the foundation spreads, the services of "Never Give Up" are requested time-and-time again to help where other agencies have failed. That is, until the police come knocking on David's door and arrest him, taking him back to Bunting Valley, North Dakota, for the murder of a newborn baby boy.

Forced to shut down "Never Give Up," David is amazed at how quickly the entire world turns their backs on him. The trial begins and his mother's testimony is the only thing that can save him. Telling the truth is as foreign to Beatrice Miller as giving up drugs is to an addict. As everyone in the courtroom hold their breath, you will, too. Remember, things aren't always what they seem.


Charlene's Review:

Not My Mother's Son picks up where Ms. Avery's first novel Be Careful What You Wish For left off. With Bea in prison for kidnapping, David Miller, all alone now, moves to Phoenix, Arizona to start a new life. Using the inheritance he received from his late aunt, David starts an organization to help in finding missing children. His success is immediate, and he begins the process of forgiving his mother.

Without warning David is arrested and is taken back to North Dakota to stand trial for the murder of a baby boy. His organization shuts down, people turn away, and David is left to depend on only his mother to prove his innocence. I actually received this book at the same time as the first, so I immediately jumped in to see what happened next. I was not disappointed. Again, some of the details were far-fetched, such as the immediate success of his organization, but the premise of this book, redemption and forgiveness was evident. Adding to that the twists of betrayal and murder, this book left me breathless.

Not wanting to spoil it for others, I will just say that I had no idea what was coming, and was completely blown away. Ms. Avery took a good first novel and made it into an amazing second novel. This one is a 5-star book, solely on the surprise it holds. I'll be looking forward to seeing more from this author.


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

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

{Review} Be Careful What You Wish For by R. K. Avery

ISBN #: 978-1936587414
Page Count: 236
Copyright: September 3, 2011
Publisher: Brighton Publishing LLC


Description:

Bunting Valley, North Dakota - a scenic and picturesque town where nothing dreadful ever happens - is a place where people feel safe leaving their front doors unlocked and their cars running in the driveways. So when beautiful, blue-eyed, three-year-old Maggie Taylor mysteriously vanishes, the Bunting Valley Police Department begins a kidnapping investigation that uncovers unthinkable crimes spanning many years - not only in Bunting Valley, but also in surrounding states and jurisdictions.

Bea Miller is a penniless widow, living a meager existence among the town's residents with her four young, rambunctious boys. Her entire life she wished and dreamed of having a little girl of her own. When everything she did to have one of her own failed, Bea takes matters into her own hands and lives by the chilling words of her estranged father, "If you want something, take it."

She and the boys visit a local beach and find the little girl of her dreams. She snatches the girl and they disappear in seconds, only to leave the parents bewildered and devastated.

Through the handwritten journals of Bea Miller, she takes you on a journey into the deranged mind of an individual who believes you can make your own wishes come true - at any expense; and sadly, also at the expense of others.


Charlene's Review:

Be Careful What You Wish For takes us into the life and mind of Bea Miller. Drawing on the journals she wrote throughout her life, the reader is introduced to Bea as a child in an abusive, dysfunctional home, and follows her through life to the point where she decides to kidnap a little girl, the only thing she believes is missing in her life. When she is eventually caught and arrested, the reality of what Bea is capable of finally comes to light.

Based loosely on her own abduction as a child, Ms. Avery takes her story to the extreme in the pages of her book. Her characters are simple, yet in Bea, we see a disturbed mind at work, and while occasionally a bit "far out," as the novel went on, I was hooked on the small details that led to a larger picture. Just when you think you figured it all out, a new clue emerges that leads down a new trail.

Relatively short, with just 228 pages, there is a lot covered. No fancy writing, or complicated metaphors, just plain, good entertainment with a crime thriller feel.


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

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

{Review} A Cast of Stones (The Staff & the Sword) by Patrick W. Carr

ISBN #: 978-0764210433
Page Count: 432
Copyright: February 1, 2013
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers


Book Summary:
(Taken from back cover)

In the backwater village of Callowford, roustabout Errol Stone is enlisted by a church messenger arriving with urgent missives for the hermit priest in the hills. Eager for coin, Errol agrees to what he thinks will be an easy task, but soon finds himself hunted by deadly assassins. Forced to flee with the priest and a small band of travelers, Errol soon learns he's joined a quest that could change the fate of his kingdom.

Protected for millennia by the heirs of the first king, the kingdom's dynasty nears its end and the selection of the new king begins - but in secret and shadow. As danger mounts, Errol must leave behind the stains and griefs of the past, learn to fight, and discover who is hunting him and his companions and how far they will go to stop the reading of the stones.


Mandy's Review:

I chose to read and review this book from the Bethany House Publishers review program because I do enjoy a fantasy novel every so often ... which has become an acquired taste for me. Unfortunately, I got about 17% into this book and just couldn't go any further. It's not due to the writing or story development as those were on par. I just couldn't lose myself in this story. Part of it may have been due to the length of the novel and my not wanting to take the time to read it. Another part may have been because I had other books/novels I was eager to begin and just kept putting this one aside.

From what I did read, though, I think that the fantasy-genre lovers out there would enjoy this novel. It just apparently was not for me or I would've made it a point to finish reading it.


*A physical copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, May 20, 2013

{Meme} It's Monday! What Are You Reading?


HHHHHAAAAPPPPPYYYYY MMMMOOONNNDDAAAYYY!!!!

Are you excited about starting another work week?!!

Yeah. Neither are we.

So let's get away from the negative and get to the positive - We're starting new books this week! Below are summaries of the books we're giving a go.


Mandy:

For Review
In the days after the Civil War, a solitary rider travelled the open frontier - but he wasn't alone, for Death seemed to travel with him. Or maybe it was the Devil himself who gave him the lethal pistol shot that earned him the name "Death's Acolyte." And when the stranger with the scarred face, who calls himself Ken Casey, rode into the peaceful Texas town of Wardell, maybe peace - for his own ravaged soul - was all he wanted. But in Wardell, all hell is about to break loose.

Awaiting a train shipment of gold, Angus Pugh and his army of outlaws, including notorious gunslinger Luke Draco, take the town hostage and kill a few innocent citizens as a lesson to any comers. Donning priestly vestments, Ken Casey, ordained man of the cloth, steps from the shadows to conduct the victims' funeral rites - and that's just his first revelation. For Casey can destroy souls as easily as he saves them, and earthly justice is delivered in gun smoke and blood.

For Review
Just because Anny Applebaum qualifies for a senior discount doesn't mean she's ready for retirement. But if she wants to keep her job at the San Francisco Times, she'll have to find a way to spice up her lifestyle column. Even if it means posting her profile as an eligible single on JDate.com. Sure, Anny's a little out of practice. She hasn't been with a man since she found Viagra in her ex-husband's suit pocket, and he wasn't taking it for her. But she's got her friends to help her fumble her way through the strange and intriguing world of online dating.

After hearing cautionary tales from the trenches - about "boomer oldies" who drag around pictures of their dead wives and fixed-income misers who wine and dine their dates at chain restaurants - Anny is relieved to meet Marv Rothstein, a charming ... 75-year-old diamond dealer. Unfortunately, he's also a Digital Age Don Juan who prowls singles sites for younger women. Not to be outdated by this "Serial JDater," Anny realizes Marv is the perfect subject for her flagging column and chronicles his sexcapades for the reading public. But when the new column becomes an overnight hit, Anny can't help but feel conflicted - because now she's having sex with Mr. X ... and it's nothing less than extraordinary.

For Review
In this one-of-a-kind collection of Reader's Digest's best military pieces, you'll meet ordinary people faced with extraordinary circumstances in the name of America and freedom. People such as Staff Sergeant Jeff Sarver, whose mission day after day was to get it right the first time or die as he and his team disarmed hundreds of improvised explosive devices in Iraq; and Colonel Greg Gadson, a double amputee whose inspirational message of courage, perseverance, and teamwork helped lead the then-struggling Giants to a Super Bowl victory in 2007. These articles remind us of all those in uniform who go above and beyond the call of duty, including the 1000-man crew of the USS Point Cruz who cared for an abandoned infant in Korea until his adoption in the United States, and the Green Beret who risked his life to save a dying Afghan girl.

For the 2013 TBR Pile Challenge
As the Inquisition spread its fiery fingers across the land of Spain, holding kingdom and king in its terrible grip, a new horror would rise to challenge even the invincible power of the Grand Inquisitor. A curse on the house of King Alonzo that came from the very Devil.

A curse that would leave his daughter unfit to marry or rule. A curse that would transform his only legitimate son, Rolon, into the very Hound of Hell, whose unspeakable secret bloomed under the full moon of a country where terror came in mother's milk and vengeance roamed abroad. Rolon, the chosen, the damned. Rolon, the kind, blessed with a compassionate soul and a great and tragic love; cursed by a secret plague sent by Lucifer Himself. Rolon, Heir to the Throne of Spain, who dared to defy the Inquisition in the ungodly raiment of The Godforsaken.


Kathy:

For Review
Michel Freij is poised to become the next president of Lebanon. The billionaire businessman's calls for a new, strong regional role for the country take on a sinister note when European intelligence reveals Freij has bought two ageing Soviet nuclear warheads from a German arms dealer.

Maverick British intelligence officer Gerald Lynch has to find the warheads, believed to be on board super-yacht the Arabian Princess, before they can reach Lebanon. Joined by Nathalie Durand, the leader of a French online intelligence team, Lynch is pitched into a deadly clash with Freij and his violent militia as he pursues the Arabian Princess across the Mediterranean.


The partners at Finley & Figg - all two of them - often refer to themselves as "a boutique law firm." Boutique, as in chic, selective, and prosperous. They are, of course, none of these things. What they are is a two-bit operation always in search of their big break, ambulance chasers who've been in the trenches much too long making way too little. Their specialties, so to speak, are quickie divorces and DUIs, with the occasional jackpot of an actual car wreck thrown in. After twenty plus years together, Oscar Finley and Wally Figg bicker like an old married couple but somehow continue to scratch out a half-decent living from their seedy bungalow offices in southwest Chicago.

An then change comes their way. More accurately, it stumbles in. David Zinc, a young but already burned-out attorney, walks away from his fast-track career at a fancy downtown firm, goes on a serious bender, and finds himself literally at the doorstep of our boutique firm. Once David sobers up and comes to grips with the fact that he's suddenly unemployed, any job - even one with Finley & Figg - looks okay to him.

With their new associate on board, F&F is ready to tackle a really big case, a case that could make the partners rich without requiring them to actually practice much law. An extremely popular drug, Krayoxx, the number one cholesterol reducer for the dangerously overweight, produced by Varrick Labs, a giant pharmaceutical company with annual sales of $25 billion, has recently come under fire after several patients taking it have suffered heart attacks. Wally smells money.

A little online research confirms Wally's suspicions - a huge plaintiffs' firm in Florida is putting together a class action suit against Varrick. All Finley & Figg has to do is find a handful of people who have had heart attacks while taking Krayoxx, convince them to become clients, join the class action, and ride along to fame and fortune. With any luck, they won't even have to enter a courtroom!

It almost seems too good to be true.

And it is.


In the aftermath of a colossal battle, new threats are emerging from every direction.

Tyrion Lannister, having killed his father, and wrongfully accused of killing his nephew, King Joffrey, has escaped from King's Landing with a price on his head.

To the north lies the great Wall of ice and stone - a structure only as strong as those guarding it. Eddard Stark's bastard son Jon Snow has been elected the 998th Lord Commander of the Night's Watch, but he has enemies both in the Watch and beyond the Wall. And in the east Daenerys Targaryen struggles to hold a city built on dreams and dust.


Sunday, May 19, 2013

{Review} What I've Learned ... So Far, Part III: Banjos, Boats, and Butt Dialing by Mike Ball

ISBN #: 978-0914303084
Page Count: 324
Copyright: March 21, 2013
Publisher: Glendower Media


Description:
(Taken from Amazon)

Banjos, Boats and Butt Dialing is the third installment in Mike Ball's What I've Learned ... So Far series of books. In it the Erma Bombeck Award-winning humorist grapples with topics ranging from becoming a grandfather, to rabbit hunting, to the Zen of a middle-aged guy trying to cope with cleavage. The book is a compilation of 74 entries from Mike's nationally-syndicated column, What I've Learned ... So Far. His homespun wit, sharp sense of humor, and ability to connect with readers on an emotional level have been compared to Mark Twain, Erma Bombeck, Robert Benchley, and Ernie Pyle.


Charlene's Review:

Banjos, Boats, and Butt Dialing is a collection of insightful nuggets directly from the heart and mind of Mr. Ball. Some I agree with, and some I don't, but I digress. Included in his third installment of What I've Learned ... So Far are entertaining stories of everyday life, friends and family, and the occasional poignant look into what matters most.

Perhaps my favorite, "why did I never think of that" moment was his description of his smart phone, which he fondly calls "Kierkegaard." He describes "app" as "App-arently you are kind of bored and need to kill some time loading some really crazy crap into your phone." Mr. Ball tends to put a fun spin on everything we so diligently take for granted every day, like phone books and tofu.

What I did not enjoy so much is his pointedly disgraceful view of republican politics. Again, I digress, as it is a decidedly small part of the whole and obviously his personal opinion, but I did find it unnecessary and offensive. Not all Republicans are dumb hicks as portrayed.

So, I have to say, overall, a fun, light read, but I'm deducting a star, because, apparently, as a past supporter of Bush, I may have trouble counting that high.


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

Saturday, May 18, 2013

{Review} Stolen: Cinderella's Secret Diaries (Book 2) by Ron Vitale

ASIN #: B00A3B4RUA
File Size: 423 KB
Page Count: 226
Copyright: November 6, 2012


Book Summary:
(Taken from Amazon)

For ten years, Cinderella has raised her daughter on her own in America. But a mysterious witch hunter finds her and gives her a message that the Faerie Queen, Mab, searches to destroy her and he asks her to return to England. Fearing that she will be pulled back into the maelstrom of war sprouting throughout Europe, Cinderella flees and wishes to remain free. Yet with Napoleon now Emperor of France and the pawn of Queen Mab, only England still resists him. Pestilence and War have sprouted throughout Europe and Cinderella's magic powers are needed to defeat Napoleon. The further Cinderella runs from her fate, the more she is drawn back. Her long lost love, Henri, is still ever in her mind and in running she learns of a dark secret that forever changes her and sets her off on a course she might never survive ...


Mandy's Review:

I rather enjoyed the first book in this series, Lost (which you can check out my review of it here), so I was eagerly anticipating reading Stolen. I must say that I didn't like Stolen as much as I did Lost. At first, it appeared that Stolen was about Cinderella's defeat of Queen Mab. Upon my reflection of the book after finishing, it seemed that this book was more of a set up for the third novel in this series.

Cinderella, Renee, and Phoebe are still in America when Stolen opens up. Cinderella's been traveling the dream line to go back to Henri over and over again, hoping that it will ignite his love for her. She's also been having dreams concerning Queen Mab, a witch hunter, and Phoebe's death. When the witch hunter finally catches up to her, it's to bring her back to her ex-mother-in-law, the Queen of England. Cinderella refuses to go back ... until the promise of seeing Henri and the potential harm to her daughter overcomes her selfish desire to stay away.

Speaking of Henri ... the man is a cad. Yet, for some unknown reason, Cinderella remains in love with him. Her obsession of him is a little much for me. It's been ten years, for Pete's sake ... let the man go. It's obsessions like hers that causes men to consider women as psycho. He doesn't love her and has told her as much several times, yet she refuses to believe it.

Queen Mab isn't who she appears to be. Yes, she's the Queen of the faeries, but she's "related" to someone very close to Cinderella. So, does that make Cinderella evil? Or is Queen Mab not as bad as the rest of the world seems to think?

I did enjoy the twists and turns that the author put into this story. Just when I thought I knew something about the story, it turned out I'd be wrong. I actually like it when that happens because a predictable book is a somewhat boring book. What I missed in this book was the purpose behind it. All that seemed to be accomplished was that Cinderella eventually came to terms with Henri's lack of love for her and the death of several people ... but not the ones that should have died. As I mentioned earlier, this book just seemed to be setting up for the third novel.

Stolen was well-written and engaging ... I just wished there was a greater purpose to the story. I'm still interested in reading the third installment to see what happens next.


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

Friday, May 17, 2013

{Review} The Knightmare by Deborah Valentine

ASIN #: B00BI1CWOC
File Size: 546 KB
Page Count: 335
Copyright: February 18, 2013


Book Summary:
(Taken from Amazon)

France, 1209: A Knight Templar, riding through an eerie forest, is suddenly attacked by an assassin as a man and woman watch from a distant hillside. When his death seems certain, the woman takes up a sword ...

Present, Formula 1 race, Magny Cours: Observed by the very same couple, Conor Westfield, a career-obsessed Scottish driver, is in a horrible racing accident. Miraculously, he survives what seemed to be certain death.

As he is recovering from his injuries in London Conor's childhood nightmare recurs, a strange jumble of terrifying images that feel more like memories than dreams. Can it be mere coincidence that the very next morning he is informed a mysterious woman with whom he had a very brief affair has died and left him as her heir? But this was no ordinary woman and no ordinary affair. Dogged by a niggling feeling of deja vu, Conor travels to Amsterdam to identify the body. At her home he finds an illuminated book that transports him back in time, to a woman he left behind and a life lived in the shadow of tragedy that cries out across 800 years for resolution.

Weaving history with the present, fact with fantasy with brilliant assurance, The Knightmare is an unforgettable story of angels and alchemy, betrayal and sacrifice, and a truly extraordinary love.


Mandy's Review:

Reincarnation: The ability to live your life over and over again in different times and bodies until you get "it" right. What the "it" is depends on each person and their life. Many people believe in reincarnation as part of their spiritual beliefs or religion. If that's something you believe in, well, I don't really agree with you but I respect your beliefs. It is an interesting idea to think we have multiple opportunities to live our lives until we finally succeed at whatever it is our mission (for lack of a better term) is. The Knightmare is based upon this premise.

Conor's nightmares are actually memories that he's forgotten. Often times he remembers nothing upon waking, other than he has a fear of bodies of water. When he meets Mercedes, he feels an instant connection with her. Is it because she's so personable? So friendly? So willing to help him overcome his nightmares and fears? Or is she someone from his past lives that he has known? They only spend one night together in the present day, but it is enough for them both to be sure they are destined to be together ... too bad her death mucks things up. Despite the connection, Conor is shocked when he realizes Mercedes has left everything to him in her will.

As Conor tries to help the police solves Mercedes strange death, he takes a trip back into time ... literally ... through his dreams. He experiences the first time he and Mercedes ever met and came to know one another. How many times will they have to live their lives until they're finally able to be together fully?

The Knightmare is definitely an intriguing take on reincarnation and time travel. It had a slightly slow start, but not enough of one to make me stop reading this book. Once it got going, I kept turning the pages to see what would happen next. While it's not one of my absolutely favorite books, it does rank high enough that I will probably read it again in the future.


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

Thursday, May 16, 2013

{Review} Appointment in Samarra by John O'Hara

ISBN #: 978-0143107071
Page Count: 240
Copyright: April 30, 2013
Publisher: Penguin Classics; Reprint Edition


Book Summary:

In December 1930, just before Christmas, the Gibbsville social circuit is electrified with parties and dances, where the music plays late into the night and the liquor flows freely. At the center of the social elite stand Julian and Caroline English - the envy of friends and strangers alike. But in one rash moment born inside a highball glass, Julian breaks with polite society and begins a rapid descent toward self-destruction. Appointment in Samarra brilliantly captures the personal politics and easy bitterness of small-town life.

Brimming with wealth and privilege, jealousy and infidelity, John O'Hara's iconic first novel is an unflinching look at the dark side of the American dream. The most widely-known and beloved of his books, Appointment in Samarra is a lasting testament to the keen social intelligence of a major American writer.


Mandy's Review:

I feel like there's something wrong with me. Why? Because I've just read a classic and did not find much to like about it. And can someone please explain where the title came from? Not once in the book (unless I missed it) does it mention Samarra ... which is a city in Iraq, by the way. Nobody in this book travels to Iraq nor do they have an appointment there.

There are rave review blurbs by John Updike and Ernest Hemingway and I'm wondering if they read the same book I did. It's not that I didn't like the book or found it written poorly ... it's just that I didn't find it that amazing (sorry, Penguin).

Julian and Caroline's story, to me, just seems like any other marriage. Perhaps in the 1930s it would have been appalling or shocking, but it's hard for me to imagine. I think the aftereffects of the incident at the beginning of the book (involving Julian, a highball glass, and a prominent club member) was over-exaggerated. Anybody who knew Julian knew he was a drunk and liable to act out. His actions towards the end of the book were somewhat expected. Caroline was overly emotional and I did not feel sympathetic towards her one bit.

It's been said that fans of The Great Gatsby would enjoy Appointment in Samarra. From my experience, that's not true. The Great Gatsby has mystery, intrigue, suspense, deceit, murder, and so much more. The Great Gatsby has a depth to it that Appointment in Samarra cannot compete with. The only similarities between the two books was that they were written around the same time period. Please feel free to read this book for yourself and let me know if you agree with me or not. I'd be interested to see your opinions.


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

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

{Meme} 2013 TBR Pile Challenge - Checking In



Howdy there TBR Pile Challenge peeps!

If you've been following along, you know that we (Kathy and Mandy) have yet to finish reading and reviewing another book on our 2013 TBR Pile Challenge list. We promise we will do better, but life has been C-R-A-Z-Y!!! Plus we're focusing on all you authors out there that we've promised reviews to. So, really, we could blame it all on you ... but we won't.





Hopefully, next month's check-in will be more successful.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

{Review} The Supreme Warrior by John Viril

ASIN #: B009BM8D9I
File Size: 805 KB
Page Count: 344
Copyright: September 15, 2012


Book Summary:
(Taken from Goodreads)

Calidon Dannik has been in love with Alynde, the daughter of Horgeond's most powerful Baron, since he was 10 years old. Now, Cal's father schemes to win her hand for Henrick, Cal's older brother.

Unable to accept his father's decision, Calidon attempts a bold gambit to win Alynde for himself. The aspiring Knight soon finds himself enmeshed in elaborate plots that extend far beyond the confines of his homeland.

Cal's adventure takes him from his father's Barony to the vast dwarf warrens of Nidafall and finally to the fabulous City of Selinger - whose Prince has struggled for decades to bring the warring Barons under his sway. Cal must accept the destructive nature of knighthood before he can help Prince Keldrin thwart the corrupt powers that yearn to dominate Horgeond.

If you like epic fantasy that embroils you in vicious intrigue, takes you to far lands inhabited by strange creatures, and explores big themes like the relationship between war, religion, economics and ecology, then The Supreme Warrior is for you.


Kathy's Review:

Maybe I should stop agreeing to read fantasy/adventure novels. It's not my thing, I'm clearly not the target audience, and therefore I usually don't "get it" while I'm reading. If it's written well and has an engaging plot, I will usually enjoy it. But these "epic fantasy" type novels are far too long and far too complicated for me to really get on board.

The Supreme Warrior has its moments of enjoyment. I like the main plot line with Calidon, aka Cal, but pretty much everything else bored the pants off of me. (OK, my pants stayed on. But still.) There's a lot of political intrigue stuff happening here that really didn't hold my interest.

I think people who are inclined to read fantasy novels might really enjoy this one, as it is written well and has a very likable protagonist. However, it's not my cup of tea, and I honestly struggled to get through it.


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

Friday, May 10, 2013

{Review} Protocol 7, Arctica Trilogy: Part One by Armen Gharabegian

ISBN #: 978-0988848603
Page Count: 458
Copyright: 2013
Publisher: Arctica Studios LLC


Book Summary:
(Taken from back cover)

2039:
Simon Fitzpatrick, a brilliant Oxford professor, grieves over the recent and mysterious death of his father Oliver, who has disappeared in Antarctica. An unexpected friend from Simon's past appears on his doorstep with an encrypted message from Oliver, leading him to believe his father may still be alive. Simon soon embarks on a mission which takes him half way around the world in search of his father.

A recent quarantine of Antarctica by the United Nations makes his journey almost impossible and dangerous. Through this perilous journey to find his father, Simon uncovers a conspiracy beyond his imagination; a revelation of global consequence and one of the greatest secrets ever kept.


Mandy's Review:

Reviewers: Please tell me I'm not the only person who has agreed to review a book only to regret doing so once you realize how thick the book is and how unfamiliar it sounds. This happened to me with this book. Once I saw it in my hands, I thought to myself, "Holy crap. I agreed to read this?!" But, you know what? I am so glad I did. I am not a huge science-fiction fan and I was a little leery that this novel would bore me to tears. I couldn't have been more wrong.

From the very first page, I was hooked like nobody's business. There was always something going on that kept me wanting to read more. With some books, that can be a little "much" (all the action and such), but it works well with Protocol 7.

All 458 pages focus on Simon finding his father with the help of his friends. That may sound boring to you, but I promise you this book is far from boring. This book has it all: secret societies, government agencies that "don't exist," deception, intrigue, race against time, action, adventure, unrequited love ... it is just simply amazing.

The writing is exceptional. I appreciated the short "chapters" as that had me feeling that I was covering a lot of pages, which is important for a book this size. The last thing an author should do is write long chapters making the reader feel like the book will never end.

What else do you want to know ... Simon's a bit of a hot-head, Samantha is a tad too weak for my taste (especially to be in the medical field), Max is a kick-ass best friend, Leon was a little creepy/weird ... I'm not sure what else to tell you. I could continue to gush on and on about this book, but I think you realize that I loved this novel. I sincerely promise you: If you do not like science-fiction, but you enjoy mysteries and thrillers, then you will definitely enjoy this novel. Please give it a try.


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

Thursday, May 9, 2013

{Review} Last Train to Omaha by Ann Whitely-Gillen

ISBN #: 978-0991832507
Page Count: 296
Copyright: February 28, 2013
Publisher: Ann Gillen Books


Description:
(Taken from back cover)

What happens when a bright young man's promising future is tragically derailed at the age of eighteen?

Thirty-five-year-old James Milligan, the solitary and impenetrable chief architect at one of Chicago's leading design firms, has never recovered from the gruesome death of his best friend nearly two decades before. He's learned that a distant heart is the only way to shut out the nagging guilt and pain that threatens to capsize him at any moment. Only the dying veterans at the Aaron Milligan Palliative Care Center know the depth of the overwhelming compassion that James harbors within himself, and he is determined never to let anyone else into his heart - or his future - again.

However, when caring and patient palliative care nurse Rebecca Doyle enters his world, his hardened exterior begins to crack against his will. Will Martin Diggs, the charismatic and perplexing Vietnam War veteran convince James that it's not too late to reclaim his future?


Charlene's Review:

The only witness to his best friend's death at an early age, James hides away from life behind a tough exterior. Only while visiting veterans at his family's palliative care hospital. Know as "the Shepherd" for his ability to sit beside the hospitals dying patients and ease their transition, James only allows his facade to crack in these tender moments. When he meets Martin Diggs, one of the hospitals veterans, James has no idea that he will soon be facing his past.

Beautifully crafted, Last Train to Omaha is a captivating story of loss and love. The storyline is multi-faceted, and while there are many supporting characters, every single one had an integral part in James' life. I particularly enjoyed the emphasis of the veterans and their stories, and felt Ms. Whitely-Gillen gave a tremendous tribute to our aging veterans.

Last Train to Omaha is a five-star book that elicits emotions that will stay with you long past the ending. I highly recommend this and look forward to Ms. Whitely-Gillen's next endeavor.


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

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

{Release Day Review} Inheritance (Southern Son: The Saga of Doc Holliday, Book One) by Victoria Wilcox

ISBN #: 978-1908483555
Page Count: 372
Copyright: May 8, 2013
Publisher: Knox Robinson Publishing


Book Summary:
(Taken from the book jacket)

The name Doc Holliday conjures images of the Wild West and the shootout at the OK Corral, but before he was a Western legend he was a Southern son, born in the last days of the Old South with family links to the author of Gone With the Wind. Now this amazing story is told for the first time in a trilogy of novels entitled Southern Son: The Saga of Doc Holliday.

The story begins with Inheritance, set during the turbulent times of the American Civil War, as young John Henry Holliday welcomes home his heroic father and learns a terrible secret about his beloved mother. His only confidant is his cousin Mattie, his childhood sweetheart who shares his memories of plantation life and better days before the War. But Mattie isn't around to comfort him when tragedy strikes and John Henry's young hero-worship turns to bitter anger. As the Confederacy falls, John Henry becomes a troubled teenager and joins in with a gang of vigilantes trying to chase the Reconstruction Yankees out of their small Georgia town. But when a murderous plot brings threats of military prison, he vows to change his reckless ways and leaves Georgia to attend dental school in Philadelphia, hoping to come home as a respected professional man worthy of asking for his cousin Mattie's hand. However, when he returns from two years in the North to begin dental practice in Atlanta he finds his courtship beset with challenges. There are family intrigues, lies and revelations, rivals for Mattie's affections and a violent encounter that changes everything.

Inheritance is the first novel in an epic tale of heroes and villains, dreams lost and found, families broken and reconciled, of sin and recompense and the redeeming power of love.


Mandy's Review:

Like many Americans, I was only aware of Doc Holliday's reputation as it was taught in classes. When presented with the opportunity to review the first of a trilogy concerning Doc Holliday's life I agreed wholeheartedly.

We're introduced to John Henry (Doc) Holliday while he's attending the funeral of his grandfather. We notice that he has a sensitive side, but one he has to hide from his father who believed that men do not show emotion. Personally, I believe that type of attitude ruins some men, but I know that's how a lot of men grow up. For the longest time, though, John Henry holds on to his sensitive side. I think he began to harden his heart when his mother died of consumption. The hardness began to solidify when his father remarried three months later to a young neighbor lady. Their marriage was so quick by society's standards that it was rumored they were having an affair while John Henry's mother was still alive. Add on top of that John Henry's (seemingly) unrequited love for his first cousin, Mattie.

John Henry was somewhat impetuous growing up. As a child, he was able to get himself out of trouble by using his good looks and charm. I think that may have somewhat hindered his sense of responsibility while growing up and led to some bad decisions.

The book ends shortly after Mattie and John Henry confess their mutual undying love and devotion to each other, but before he met up with Wyatt Earp. I would love to read the rest of this trilogy and get a more in-depth look at Doc Holliday's life.

Ms. Wilcox, who is a member of the Western Writers of America and founding director of Georgia's Holliday-Dorsey-Fife House Museum, is a nationally known writer and lecturer on the life of Doc Holliday. It is apparent from this introduction to her trilogy that she knows Doc Holliday very well.

Inheritance is a stellar piece of fiction based on fact that brings Doc Holliday back to life. Fans of the historical fiction genre will add this to their list of favorite books.


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

Monday, May 6, 2013

{Meme} It's Monday! What Are You Reading?


Happy Monday, everyone!!! =)

We hope that your week is starting off wonderfully and that you have a book or two you're enjoying. Below is a list of books that Kathy, Charlene and Mandy are currently reading.

Enjoy!

Charlene:

For Review

What happens when a bright young man's promising future is tragically derailed at the age of eighteen?

Thirty-five-year-old James Milligan, the solitary and impenetrable chief architect at one of Chicago's leading design firms, has never recovered from the gruesome death of his best friend nearly two decades before. He's learned that a distant heart is the only way to shut out the nagging guilt and pain that threatens to capsize him at any moment. Only the dying veterans at the Aaron Milligan Palliative Care Center know the depth of the overwhelming compassion that James harbors within himself, and he is determined never to let anyone else into his heart - or his future - again. However, when caring and patient palliative care nurse Rebecca Doyle enters his world, his hardened exterior begins to crack against his will.

Will Martin Diggs, the charismatic and perplexing Vietnam War veteran convince James that it's not too late to reclaim his future?


Kathy:

For Back to the Classics Reading Challenge

Here is the world's most famous master plan for seizing and holding power. Astonishing in its candor The Prince even today remains a disturbingly realistic and prophetic work on what it takes to be a prince ... a king ... a president. When, in 1512, Machiavelli was removed from his post in his beloved Florence, he resolved to set down a treatise on leadership that was practical, not idealistic. In The Prince he envisioned would be unencumbered by ordinary ethical and moral values; his prince would be man and beast, fox and lion. Today, this small sixteenth-century masterpiece has become essential reading for every student of government, and is the ultimate book on power politics.

Just For Fun

Princeton. Good Friday, 1999. On the eve of graduation, two friends are a hairsbreadth from solving the mysteries of the Hypnerotomachia Poliphili, a Renaissance text that has baffled scholars for centuries. Famous for its hypnotic power over those who study it, the five-hundred-year-old Hypnerotomachia may finally reveal its secrets - to Tom Sullivan, whose father was obsessed with the book, and Paul Harris, whose future depends on it.

As the deadline looms, research has stalled - until a vital clue is unearthed: a long-lost diary that may prove to be the key to deciphering the ancient text. But when a longtime student of the book is murdered just hours later, a chilling cycle of deaths and revelations begins - one that will force Tom and Paul into a fiery drama, spun from a book whose power and meaning have long been misunderstood.

Just For Fun

In Pam Houston's critically acclaimed collection of strong, shrewd, and very funny stories, we meet smart women who are looking for the love of a good man, and men who are wild and hard to pin down. Our heroines are part daredevil, part philosopher, all acute observers of the nuances of modern romance. They go where their cowboys go, they meet cowboys who don't look the part - and they have staunch friends who give them advice when the going gets rough.

For Review

Calidon Dannik has been in love with Alynde, the daughter of Horgeond's most powerful Baron, since he was 10 years old. Now, Cal's father schemes to win her hand for Henrick, Cal's older brother. Unable to accept his father's decision, Calidon resorts to intrigue to win Alynde for himself. The aspiring Knight soon finds himself enmeshed in elaborate plots that extend far beyond the confines of his homeland.

His adventure takes him from his father's Barony to the vast dwarf warrens of Nidafall and finally to the fabulous City of Selinger - whose Prince has struggled for decades to bring the warring Barons under his sway. Cal must accept the destructive nature of knighthood before he can help Prince Keldrin thwart the corrupt powers that yearn to dominate Horgeond.


Mandy:

Review For Book Blog Tour

The name Doc Holliday conjures images of the Wild West and the shootout at the OK Corral, but before he was a Western legend he was a Southern son, born in the last days of the Old South with family links to the author of Gone with the Wind. Now this amazing story is told for the first time in a trilogy of novels entitled Southern Son: The Saga of Doc Holliday. The story begins with Inheritance, set during the turbulent times of the American Civil War, as young John Henry Holliday welcomes home his heroic father and learns a terrible secret about his beloved mother. Inheritance is the first novel in an epic tale of heroes and villains, dreams lost and found, families broken and reconciled, of sin and recompense and the redeeming power of love.

For Review

One of the greatest novels of small-town American life, Appointment in Samarra is John O'Hara's crowning achievement. In December 1930, just before Christmas, the Gibbsville, Pennsylvania, social circuit is electrified with parties and dances. At the center of the social elite stand Julian and Caroline English. But in one rash moment born inside a highball glass, Julian breaks with polite society and begins a rapid descent toward self-destruction.

Brimming with wealth and privilege, jealousy and infidelity, O'Hara's iconic first novel is an unflinching look at the dark side of the American dream - and a lasting testament to the keen social intelligence of a major American writer.
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