Sunday, December 16, 2012

Gorgeous cover of World of Shell and Bone

pick it up today!
Do you have books that you can point to and say, "This is what made me____"? Today we have a guest post by Adriana Ryan, author of The World of Shell and Bone, answering the question, "What three books made me want to be a writer?" But let's take a quick peek at Ryan's work first because I am so excited to share this new discovery with you!  Just the cover alone is gorgeous! Doesn't it make you want to take this book home and find out all about the girl? Really! The reviews are great, too!

So here's a peek into the book:

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

World War D - The Definitive Reference

World War D:  The Case against prohibitionism, roadmap to controlled re-legalization
Jeffrey Dhywood

Publisher: Columbia Communications, Inc. First ed (Oct 24, 2011)
Available from and
Available in paperback, kindle, epub and pdf formats

In our hyper-partisan times, it's easy to find books that appeal to the emotional side of issues, that are full of well-constructed sound bites designed to present the memes that will be picked up on by the right side of the brain, activate our fears and hopes, and “push” agendas that are mostly political and ideological in nature. It's harder to find something that gives us real data and facts (although some of us would rather not have to deal with the complexity of facts, they are critical to making intelligent decisions).

Friday, December 7, 2012

A Christmas in Time

Remember to visit other blogs during our 12 Days of Christmas Hop and don't forget to enter here as well!

How about a little paranormal Christmas romance to start the holidays off? A small, light (well maybe a bit dark) story with an interesting twist; a little ghost here and a little time travel there;  all to get us in the mood for the magic of this time of year.  While this is a short book, I believe you might find it just your cup of Christmas tea.

A Christmas in Time 
by Eugenia Riley
Length 103 pages

From Amazon:
     In modern-day London, cynical reporter Jason Burke greets his current assignment of covering the Christmas Candlelight Tours with all the “Bah Humbug!” of a true Ebenezer Scrooge. Then a cryptic invitation takes him to the historic Simmons Hotel, where the “ghost” of lovely Annie Simmons leads him on a haunted, poignant tour of the deserted mansion. At once Jason is captivated by his ethereal tour guide, especially when the forlorn beauty tells him that she died on the hotel staircase in 1852, when she learned that her true love deserted her.
     Soon Jason is transported back in time to meet the real Annie Simmons as a flesh-and-blood woman, and to experience firsthand the wonders of celebrating Christmas with her in Dickens’s England. But Jason finds he has arrived at a juncture in time only weeks before Annie will die! He has been warned that his time here will be limited, and he fears Annie is under the spell of a rival, a cad who will surely betray her and cause her death! In order to rescue Annie, Jason must resurrect his own nobler nature and recapture the true spirit of Christmas. Can Jason save Annie in time for Christmas? Or will his newfound love for her doom her instead?

Monday, December 3, 2012

Gabriel's Redemption

Remember the 12 Days of Christmas Blog hop!  See below this review.

I always enjoy a good SciFi, even if it is simply a shoot 'em up and a more shot 'em up.  Of course, it is always better if there is a story behind all that action and especially if there is background story to help the shooting make sense.  Not in the bad guy bad / good guy good sense but in the how did they get here type of sense.  Just like a good action movie is made so much better when there is more than action for the sake of action, so is a book. Steve Umstead, author of Garbriel's Redemption, does a good job of giving enough background information to create something more than just a knock down drag out action thriller.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

The Hangman's Daughter

Ever see a movie trailer with some fascinating scenes only to discover some scenes still lie on the cutting room floor?  I just saw Cloud Atlas, which I enjoyed, but during the credits I noticed people mentioned for scenes not in the actual movie. Ever buy something because of its label only to find the product is not as advertised?  Sometimes we are pleasantly surprised but often disappointed.  Then there are times when we are both pleasantly surprised and disappointed.  Today's book is a bit like that.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Water Harvest

Last spring I was asked to review a book written by Eric Diehl.  As luck would have it, I had two books by Diehl  and ended up doing a review of 24:01 One Minute After instead of Water Harvest! The mistake was very kindly pointed out to me by the author and I promised to do the review as soon as the scheduling permitted. I am so glad I read this book and so wish I had read the other book second; well more on that later.

Water Harvest
By Eric Diehl
Published by Double Dragon eBooks
Length 420 pages

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Blissful Bayou Beginnings, well maybe.

    Life eternal, life of strife and stress, life of love and damnation - does anyone ever really want that? Yet some people will pay any price to bring someone back from the dead.  Do you remember the story 'The Monkey's Paw', where the warning was the last wish was often death?  Or how many times have we been told, "Be careful what you wish for," just to keep on wishing anyway? Today's novella (28,000 words), a romantic story, delves into how one can find themselves making choices they might not otherwise make and suffering the consequences. And how sometimes our choices cause suffering for others.

Check it out!

The Duck and the Doe: Vol. 1
Our Blissful Bayou Beginnings
Paperback: 100 pages
Publisher: (May 27, 2012)
ISBN-10: 1105791564
ISBN-13: 978-1105791567

From Amazon:
The Duck And The Doe is the tale of two immortal beings whose eternal love has soured a bit in the last two centuries. Written as a memoir by the "hero", this novella is a musing on both what love is and how much America has changed since the early 19th century. The first volume deals with both the supernatural and the racism of the old American south. Told with humor and passion (and the occasional rant) the story of these strong characters, including a wealthy young lawyer and a clever courtesan, will change your idea of what "love forever'' really means.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

The Mountain Place of Knowledge

      The mountains can be quite beautiful this time of year. The lower elevations have trees turning gold or, if you live in the southern hemisphere, just budding while the tops might have snow on some of the taller peaks. Right now we are traveling through the Rocky Mountains ( I have pictures that show why the name is so appropriate!) and the beauty is stunning.  While I don't have a book about the Rockies to bring to you today, I do have Marshall Chamberlain's fine book, The Mountain Place of Knowledge.

At Smashwords
  • Mountain Place of Knowledge
  • By Marshall Chamberlain
  • Hardcover: 404 pages
  • Publisher: The Grace Publishing Group (June 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0974098213
  • ISBN-13: 978-0974098210

From Amazon:
     A flash of mysterious blue light brings death to a U.N. official searching for a secret entrance to the inside of a Belizean mountain. Two U.N. scientists investigate, coming into possession of a scepter wielding miraculous powers, uncovering a blue-light source of destruction, and finding the hidden entrance. Inside strange sculpted caverns, bizarre mental prodding guides them to shocking experiences. To protect hi-tech secrets, cooperation is required from Belize, the United Nations, NATO, and the United States. But one nation determines the mountain poses a threat to world order and will take great risks to neutralize the danger.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Yes, with Less We Can

      In only three and a skosh more weeks we can all exhale as the media tells us who won the elections (though the president will actually be elected in December) and our lives will return to normal for two years.  Well mostly normal. Meanwhile, things are heating up, getting ready to boil over with polls, ads, leaflets, and media pundits jumping at us from all angles. While I don't want to add to all this, I was asked to review a book that fits right into  what is happening so I thought now is the time to introduce Mark Grannis and his new book. 
       There are four people running for president who have a mathematical chance of winning - Jill Stein (Green), Governor Gary Johnson (Libertarian), President Barrack Obama (Democrat), and Governor Mitt Romney (Republican). For the most part we understand what the Democrats and the Republicans believe and how they would likely govern but how about the Greens or the Libertarians? Who are these people and what would they do with the power of pen and purse? Mark Grannis brings light to this in his new book, showing we can do so much more with so much less.

Less We Can: The Case for Less Government, More Prosperity, and More Security

  • Paperback: 184 pages
  • Publisher: Thoroughfare Books (May 31, 2012)
  • ISBN-10: 061562300X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0615623009

From Amazon:
     Libertarian Mark Grannis explains why so many of the best things in life expand when government shrinks; why less government means more liberty, more prosperity, and more security. Instead of approaching every social problem with the unstated assumption that there must be a government solution, Grannis argues in this collection of essays that we can take care of ourselves and each other with much less government “help” than politicians have tried to give us.

About the book:
       This easy to read book is divided in two main parts - 1) Overview of the Main Issues and 2) Selected Lessays. At the end of the book there is a summary of a Libertarian Balanced Budget for 2012. Grannis skillfully and interestingly covers issues ranging from environmental concerns to immigration to abortions through fiscal responsibility. Each section is short and quick to read with many clear examples a reader can easily understand. For instance Grannis describes how the Audubon Society allowed oil and gas drilling in a protected environment they owned but protested the drilling in ANWR. A contradiction you say? Not so fast, says Grannis. This makes perfect sense to a Libertarian and I believe if you read this, you will also understand why it makes sense.

My Take
    I enjoyed reading the book.  I especially loved the first part of the book. It is written in common sense plain English even when talking about some very complex issues. But this is not a simple, large print, short on text book.  It is a full bodied text covering many issues, that is sure to help the reader develop a good working knowledge of some basic Libertarian beliefs. The examples Grannis uses to illustrate his points are well thought out and relate to the his subject without us, as readers, having to dig deeper to find out what he is driving at. The really nice thing about this book is you can read any one issue or 'lessay' quickly and they don't have to be read in  book order.  Want to know more about the economy, jump to that section. Pick up on the issues dear to you and leave the rest be for now. I also found the balanced budget for 2012 quite revealing. 

    I recommend this for anyone who likes learning about the issues of our day, politics, or simply want to know more about the other choices on the ballot.  

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Heart for the Game: Life, Soccer and Simon Keith

Heart for the Game: The Incredible Saga of Simon Keith
Simon Keith, with Jason Cole and Don Yaeger
with forward by Steve Nash
Nexus Publishing, 2012
ISBN: 978-1475195132

Sometimes life is not only unfair, it's downright cruel and mean-spirited. How else can one explain the life of a 20 year old who has a bright future as a soccer star who is struck down with a heart virus that so destroys heart tissue that he must have a heart transplant or die? This was Simon Keith's life. He was well on his way to a professional career in soccer, and all of a sudden, it was all taken from him.

But Simon's story is not the standard tale of the heart transplant patient who gets a new heart and then lives a few more years than the average, living cautiously and in the shadows.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

The Boulder Boys: The Beginning

The Boulder Boys, The Beginning
by Kirk Relford
Publisher:Mullen & McCotter (March 22, 2012)

In an election year full of vitriol, at a time in American history when very basic concerns about our future are surfacing in communities across the country, when support for the “powers that be” is at an all-time low, this book is a thought-provoking look at what would happen if the frustrations we've seen expressed by the Tea Party, the Occupy Movement, and other activists were to finally boil over.

Jefferson said
And what country can preserve its liberties, if its rulers are not warned from time to time, that this people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms. The remedy is to set them right as to the facts, pardon and pacify them. What signify a few lives lost in a century or two? The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time, with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure."

While some activists today blithely pull out this quotation at every opportunity, few really take the time to run the scenarios that would occur should that resistance really come to pass. Kirk Relford, on the other hand, has clearly been thinking about this for some time.

In this near-future (only 7 years away in 2019) science fiction, or future history, depending on how you want to look at it, America is in serious trouble. 

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Dreams and Vampires: an Interesting Interview

 First, don't forget to check out our newest blog tour - Fall of Eden by Michele Poague.  There are lots of prizes for blog readers and bloggers and it is so easy to enter!

Have you ever wondered what a character from your favorite book would have to say? Have you ever wanted to interview one of those characters? What kind of questions would you ask?  How do you think they would answer? Would you learn more about their backstory; about them? Today I have something unique for you -  an interview  with a character from Dee Krull's book, Dreams and Vampires.

Author: Dee Krull

Character being interviewed: Laurel

Book: Dreams and Vampires

What if everything people thought was an illusion turned out to be true? What if the stories they thought were fantasy, are true? Many great authors have written science fiction novels about events that are now scientific fact and today physicists are saying that parallel worlds are a real possibility. Explore the possibility of a parallel world with me, where vampires and werewolves are sentient beings and how my dreams change my life.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Triorion: Awakening Book I

Triorion:  Awakening  Book I
by L. J. Hachmeister
Self published by the author, Charlestown SC
May 2012

Life on Fiora sucks; there's no doubt about it. Jetta, Jaeia and Jax have had to deal with, in their very young lives, everything from domestic violence to long working hours in toxic mines to scrambling to avoid starvation. On a planet that buys and sells children into slavery, and adults to much worse, it's a miracle they survived at all. Abandoned as infants, left adrift in space bearing strange and unfamiliar tatoos, they are unaware of the destiny that awaits them. They know they are different – very different – from the other people in Fiora (where “people” doesn't generally mean human, but a mix of species from all over the galaxy). Smaller and weaker than most, they have hidden telepathic abilities, and other talents that enable them to acquire knowledge directly from other minds, and at 5 they are able to hold down jobs normally reserved for engineers and specialists, a fact that does not escape attention for long.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

From the Fall of Eden until Now

Remember to check our Fall of Eden page for great giveaways! It is open to all bloggers and readers!

Have you ever done something because it has always been done that way? There was an old story about a young woman who cut off the ends of her roasts before cooking them. When her husband ask her why, she told him her mother always did it. When the husband asked his mother-in-law, she told him HER mother always did it that way. So he asked his wife's grandmother and at first she was confused. Then she remembered. Back in the day she didn't have a long enough pan, so she cut the roast's ends off. People do lots of things because their parents did it that way or they believe their religion demands it or it has never been done differently. Today's feature by Michele Poague takes on this idea of continually doing something long after the reason for it has been forgotten.

Fall of Eden: The Healing Crystal Trilogy book 2
By Michele Poague
Published by iUniverse
File Size: 1330 KB
Print Length: 459 pages
Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1462013066

From the author:

Myths are but shadows of a greater truth.
     What is the Healing Crystal and who is the rightful heir? Is it a religious object or a powerful weapon? Does it belong to a fallen line of kings or to the colonists of Survin? Should its fate be left in the hands of the young and inexperienced Kairma or to Narvin, the last descendent of a line of kings?
    Kairma holds the Crystal and believes she will become the next leader of Survin, while her younger sister Kinter, believes she, not Kairma, is the rightful heir. Narvin believes the Healing Crystal is the Star of Genesis, a powerful relic his ancestors have been seeking for centuries.
     Determined to possess the object that will return him to his glory, Narvin is unwavering in his quest to possess it, and Kairma is caught in a fierce race across barren deserts and rugged mountains to a shattering finish where the winner must decide the fate of the world.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Time Travel though The Mine

      I just got back from almost a week in Chicago attending the Science Fiction and Fantasy WorldCon better known this year as ChiCon7. There were lots of wonderful authors, fans, editors, and publicists having a ball, more food than should be allowed, and over 870 seminars and events including the Hugo Awards ceremony. If you are a science fiction fact and fantasy lover, this is something you should attend at least once in your lifetime. You never know what you might find or who you might meet.  For instance, I ran into David Brin and Myke Cole, both authors, saw a movie called "Pig" (not to be confused with the book I recently read) and got a signed movie poster for it, and I learned more about writing, publishing, and reviewing. If you want to know more about it or about future WorldCons, post a comment and I will get back to you.
    One of the big themes in Science Fiction and in Fantasy is time travel and I must admit it is one of my favorite themes as well. Today's choice is a boy meets girl sort of time travel and the setting is interesting.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

The Washington Constellation: In the Game

The George Washington Constellation
Edward Correia
self-published, 2012
ISBN-13: 978-1469974774
ISBN-10: 1469974770

Available at Amazon

Everyone goes to Washington full of high hopes, determined to change the system, and many of them get "chewed up and spit out" as the old saying goes.  A long-term watcher of the Washington political scene, Edward Correia's resume includes working as a senior lawyer for the Senate Judiciary Committee, serving in the Clinton Administration as Special Council to the President for Civil Rights, and working as both an attorney and Adjunct Professor at American University's Washington College of Law.  He's seen it all go by.  This book is a departure from his more cerebral non-fiction, "The Uncertain Believer: Reconciling God and Science," (2000) and "Teaching Your Child About God in a Scientific World," (2012), but uses fiction to show us the insiders view of Washington, warts and all.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Mark of the Seer

Today's book is all about demons; no, not personal ones, real demons and the angels who, along with their human helpers, fight them!

Mark of the Seer
By Jenna Kay
Length 282
Publisher Crushing Hearts and                         
              Black Butterfly Publishing

From Amazon:
    All Clarity Miller wanted was a normal teenage life and everything seems to be going in the right direction until she meets Sam. Sam informs Clarity that he is her Guardian Angel and she has been given the gifts of a "Seer" but Clarity wants nothing to do with Magic or the Spirit Realm. However, when tragedy strikes her home town, she realizes she has a very important decision to make...

About the Book:

    Clarity Miller is an ordinary high school senior who wishes school wasn't about to start, who is in love with THE boy, who is having work and coworker issues, and whose best friend, Kora, has just dumped her loser boyfriend. Just as everyone is settling in to the school rhythm, a new boy shows up, smelling like lavender, the bluest eyes ever. Trouble is, this new boy, Sam, has a world changing offer for Clarity she doesn't want. And while Sam protects her from Kora's boyfriend and other trouble coming her way, ultimately Clarity must decide if she will take the step to join with the angels or continue her path of love and marriage without the overt protection Sam has given.  As evil moves into her world, Clarity's decision becomes ever more pressing. The battle between good and evil doesn't begin or end with her but her corner of the world needs her desperately.

My Take:
      The book is interesting and has a slightly new twist on old ideas. I love the Kora character and Clarity is someone with whom many of us will identify. Jenna Kay let's us see the dilemma Clarity faces and how she tries her best to think of all the options. I did find the excessive drinking of alcohol (to the point of getting drunk) a bit off- putting, especially in a book that seems to be destined to teach good versus evil, where sex before marriage is a very bad thing. 
      One thing books tend to do when dealing with school aged heros, particularly heros with new found power, is the books tend to pretend the everyday school world does not exist.  This book shows both the school life and its troubles as well as the supernatural side of our heroine's life. 

This would be best suited for young adults who have an interest in angels and demons. The high school stuff seems quite realistic to me.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Blood upon the Rose; Birdie Down; and Pig

Today I have an outstanding book by Tim Vicary called The Blood Upon the Rose. The title made me think of a song I have called Grace by the Dubliners (sung here by a young Irish girl -  Irish Song Grace - YouTube  ); an old Irish song about a man who is to be executed but marries his sweetheart just before his dawn execution. (Also  see Grace Irish ballad (Dubliners) cover - YouTube  or  The Dubliners - Grace-HQ - YouTube  for lyrics and music.)  I found it interesting at the end of the book that the title apparently did come from the words in the song.

The Blood Upon the Rose
By Tim Vicary
Publisher White Owl
Length about 350 pages

From Amazon:
Ireland in 1919 is seething with violence, tension and divided loyalties - and so is the heart of the beautiful, wilful heiress Catherine O'Connell-Gort. For Catherine, by heritage, is a glittering symbol of British rule and oppression - yet by inclination she is a traitor to her class. A fervent supporter of Sinn Fein, she is also the secret lover of Sean Brennan, an IRA volunteer who is being hunted by the police for terrorism and murder.
      When the British government decides to meet terror with terror, Catherine finds herself in a position of even greater conflict. Her father, a colonel in British Military Intelligence, recruits Major Andrew Butler, battle-scarred war hero and Irish landlord, to assassinate IRA leader Michael Collins. He also decides that the dashing major would make the perfect husband for his headstrong daughter ...
In a violent climax of passion, guilt and betrayal, while her country hurtles towards civil war, Catherine faces and a agonising choice as she makes her final, fateful decision.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Someone Else's Fairytale might be your fairytale.

          Once in a while we all dream big.  We visualize winning the lottery ticket, kissing that famous singer, marrying that famous actor, writing the next best seller.  Okay, that last one was mine.  The point is, we all dream big once in a while but we don't think it will happen to us. And sometimes we don't dream big but the dream finds us anyway, like the guy who wins big bucks because someone bought him a lotto ticket for his birthday or the sales clerk who just happens to catch the eye of a wealthy customer. What happens, though, when opportunity doesn't just knock but opens the door and tries to walk in?  Do we run and hide; do we refuse to believe it; do we try to shove it off onto someone else? 
       When I was a young teenager, some kids told me one of the cutest boys in school, Mike Patrick, liked me.  I thought they were kidding me, making fun of me, just trying to get a rise. After all, how could he like me? It was much later that I realized they weren't making fun of me, he had liked me but was way too shy to say anything. To this day I wonder if I hurt him. So what would have been different if I hadn't rejected the notion or if he had been less shy? 
       In the rather chaste chick lit book, Someone Else's Fairytale, E. M. Tippetts explores this a bit. What would happen if dreams hunted us down until we finally listened, if the boy isn't too shy to pursue, if we at last stepped out of our denial and realized it could really happen to us? And what if we had a dark secret to complicate things?

From Amazon:
Jason Vanderholt, Hollywood's hottest actor, falls head over heels for everygirl, Chloe Winters, who hasn't gotten around to watching most of his movies. She becomes the woman every other woman in America is dying to be, but it just isn't her fairytale.

Someone Else's Fairytale
By E. M. Tippetts
File Size: 689 KB
Print Length: 311 pages
ISBN: 1467940151
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Let's Start with a Work in Progress

     Today's book, A Work in Progress, was billed as literary fiction, though the blurb I received sounded more like Romance, so I just wasn't sure about it. For one thing, I often wondered what the term literary fiction meant.  I had my suspicions, mind you. After all, most of the works of fiction that win the big prizes are literary fiction so it must be miles above genre fiction. The truth is, now I see it as just another genre, especially when I realized the novel I wrote for NaNoWriMo (National November Write Month) was literary fiction! If you are, like I was, searching for a definition to put in your pocket, Annie posted a good description on Write Anything. For another thing, the plot sounded a bit weak, which trust me it isn't, but it is quite subtle. I read Heir to Power by Michele Poague, and when the review time came, it was hard to put a finger on the plot, because it was as much about the growth and coming of age of the main character and others as it was about the story. The plot was, as it is in Brad Cotton's book, subtle and brought to life as we watch the characters change.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Taking DC by storm: "Smeared"

by Mark Rogers
Publisher: CreateSpace, 2012
ISBN: 1470129604

It is said that Washington DC can cause people who spend a lot of time there to twist a bit, to become less than the idealists they were when they first arrived; there's even a term for it “beltway brain damage,” and Annie is pretty sure the man she lives with is being lost to the many temptations presented by power and influence. Hartford Keepe, on the other hand, is beginning to think that Annie is having trouble understanding the actual realities that have to be dealt with – he's getting really good at the machinations and head games, and has become the wonder boy Chief of

Friday, July 20, 2012

The dustbowl was the Dirty Thirties

     I have said that to 'update' works of fiction is often wrong headed, especially when the update is used to rid the work of unfavorable or politically incorrect speech. Updates of Mark Twain come to mind. Other stories such as the Bobbsey Twins had to be updated for a new audience since many of the words, such as magic lamp (for an electrical lamp) would make no sense to a young reader. But the Bobbsey Twins series was updated to a modern time somewhat. Books like Tom Sawyer were left in the past but the past was not really left with it, at least not the part of the book that our modern day reader might find offensive. It is not that I like such language but that the original writing is a window into the past. Twain's beliefs and thoughts come through and we can see into the general society for good and for bad.

      I have a book for you today which in a way is like that - a window into the mind set of the past.

The Dirty Thirties: Tales of the Nineteen Thirties During Which Occurred a Great Drought, a Lengthy Depression and the Era Commonly Called the Dust (Paperback)

by William H. Hull
length 305 pages.

This book is a selection of stories, told in the voice of the person who was interviewed, about what the dustbowl years were like. I loved seeing the different takes on life at that time.  One thing the author did was stay true to the voice of the person so you will find the work strange as it is not 'edited'. Still, I thought the stories were worth it. Here you have the plain truth (?) of the matter, spoken in their own words. And as the people who lived through those years die, we will lose our window to that time. To 'clean up' or edit the book would be to lose the flavor and insight preserved within it.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

A Comedy of Terrors [and giggles]

A Comedy of Terrors
by Graeme Smith
MuseItUp Publishing, 2012 

also available in pdf (non-DRM) and other formats at MuseItUp Publishing

In times of stress, either in wartime, or in economic hard times that create insecurity, we lose that sense of safety we often had as children, and when that happens, one of the first things to go is our sense of humor. We become deadly serious, and frivolity of any sort seems to be out of place. Ironically, it is in exactly those times of stress when we need to get a good laugh, get a bit silly, tip everything upside down and look at ourselves and the world around us from a new, and definitely more capricious angle.

“A Comedy of Terrors” is that rare breed, a fantasy designed to make you laugh. Many fantasies revolve around a hero, but Segorian Anderson is hardly the run-of-the-mill fairy tale hero. In fact, he's the town idiot, with a wide streak of cluelessness that is bound to draw out a few chuckles from even the most jaded reader. This tale has some of the old standards: there's a dragon, a Queen, elves, pixies, trolls, and even dwarfs, but they're all just a bit twisted from the ones in the old stories – oddly enough, that actually makes them more memorable (you'll have to guess which ones have poisoned arrows and love garlic).

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Do As I Say or else..

Knowing too much can often ruin a story. A plot might hinge on one little detail that in your heart you know isn't right, that it can't happen this way, that the science is wrong, or that something else doesn't fit.  We all know about continuity errors and how they can, if they are large enough, jar you out of the story and niggle you for the rest of the book or movie. I'm speaking more about pre-knowledge.  For instance, say the plot hinges on someone driving from Omaha to Denver at top speed.  The author has a car going 145 mph all the way in a car that has a top speed on 120 and our driver arrives in 3 hours. Oops! If you know the road or the car, it is jarring. If it is important that the driver, say beats an airplane due to arrive in less than 3 hours, the whole thing is spoiled - you know too much. Our book choice today had me in fear of this same type of error. In fact, I kept thinking, "Don't let it be that. Don't let it be only that!" I wasted a lot of time since David A. Sterling pulled through with flying colors. He covered all his bases in "Do as I Say", a stunning mystery.  Next time I know to trust him.

Do as I Say
By David A. Sterling
Publisher BookBaby
 Length 274

Friday, July 13, 2012

Something Special for YOU!

Today we are part of Stacy Eaton's book launch of "Whether I Live or Die", her latest in a long line of good books. It is always a delight to bring my readers new books or new authors but, it is really exciting to be part of a book launch party! I've been to several launches but I've missed some, too, because you have to be at a certain place, often hundreds of miles away, at a certain time and date. However this one is a virtual book launch so everyone can join in! Yea!
Pick up a copy
You may remember the book review I did of "My Blood Runs Blue" back in February.  We also have an interview with Ms. Eaton -fourth one down on our Author Bits page. Maybe you'd like to go straight to the source and be a part of all the fun today! Just pop on over to her own web page Stacy Eaton, Author: Whether I'll Live or Die has been Released! to see what everyone is talking about today. There are prizes galore and more information just a click away! Or see some of the early reviews here: Whether I’ll Live or Die | Stacy Eaton, Author.

For those of us who like good drama and police action stories, this is one author we need to keep near the top of our list. This new book revolves around domestic abuse and if the early reviews say anything, they say how real the story is, how much it brings the reader right into the action. As a police officer herself, Eaton knows her subject matter well.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Every Last Kiss and breath

Some books are just enjoyable, fun, and easy to read. Even some of the more involved books are simply enjoyable having no thought of being anything but entertaining with maybe a splash of history or science thrown in for flavor. These are the kind of books you sail right through. They are pager turners, one more chapter, another ten minutes I promise type of books. They allow you to live in the story, be part of the action, know the characters without asking a lot of you in return.  Books like the Harry Potter series and Startide Rising whisper their story to us and all we need to do is turn the page.  Every Last Kiss by Courtney Cole was that kind of book for me. Reading almost straight through without a break - well, I did sleep...once - I found myself wanting more at the end. Don't get me wrong, the story was complete.  It's just there is more to come and I want it.

Every Last Kiss
by Courtney Cole
Published by Lakehouse Press
ISBN 0615487076
Pages 250

Please note that the first line in the book description on Amazon is a spoiler and I have left it off of this book description.  Might I suggest you not read the one at Amazon if you decide to read the whole series.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

A New Look at the Old Days: Tell Me a Story

Tell Me a Story:  Stories from a Childhood in Old New York
by Bea Gold
Publisher: Outskirts Press, Parker, CO 80134
Jan 2012

Available at Amazon

When I was young, there was always a certain feeling when I was around the old folks, particularly my father's parents, who had come to the US as quite young adults from Eastern Europe.  I never could put my finger on it, until now that is.

Bea Gold's book “Tell Me a Story:  Stories from a Childhood in Old New York” is what most would call a “coffee table book” -  lots of pictures and not much text – but the stories, while they could be told to children with only one or two exceptions, are very compelling.  They speak to a culture and way of living that was hinted at in what I saw in my  grandparents,  yet one most people have no memory of in our far more comfortable times.  The time frame is the 30s and 40s, when the US was going through both the first Great Depression and World War II,  but this set of tales has a horizon much closer to home: -- the ethnic neighborhoods of Old New York.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Twin Treasures: Real Gardeners' True Confessions and The Able Gardener

Real Gardeners' True Confessions
by Pat Stone
Storey Communications, Inc.
Schoolhouse Rd, Pownal, VT05261

I usually try to find new books, but every once in awhile, since I love to hunt around for very specific topics, whether on the 'net or browsing second-hand bookstores, I find something I think might have gone unnoticed that deserves special attention, even if it's older. In this case, I found two gardening books that you might want to hunt for on your next trip to a used book store.

The first book is “Real Gardeners' True Confessions” by Pat Stone which is an absolute delight for anyone just starting out. With lots of comic relief and real tales of “oops” events in the lives of even well-known gardeners and garden columnists, it provides hope for even the klutziest beginner while dispensing some really valuable gardening information that can be used for reference. The style is easy-to-read, with clear explanations and real-life examples. And who can resist chapters like “I was a Cowardly Pruner” or “The 7 WORST Gardening Slip-Ups”?

If you like the approach that Pat Stone takes, he is also the publisher of the quarterly “GreenPrints” (PO Box 1355, Fairview, NC, 28730) which offers personal stories told by gardeners of every stripe, relating the day to day adventures and funny incidents that happen in their garden journeys.   Stone is also a garden club speaker.
Since used bookstore prices are always well below what you'd pay at the store (and many folks these days are operating on a thin budget), so it's a doubly-valuable find. I got mine for $1.25. I'm pretty sure both books are out of print.
Speaking of folks operating on thin budgets, here's something for seniors...

The Able Gardener: Overcoming Barriers of Age and Physical Limitations”
by Kathleen Yeomans, R.N.
Storey Communications, Inc.

The Able Gardener” is the most interesting book I found when I started searching for “baby boomer” tips for those of us no longer able to do quite as much heavy garden work. While other books on gardening for seniors have been published in the last year or two , this one stands out because it is written by an R.N., who had, at the time the book was published, worked for 15 years for the Arthritis Institute in Santa Barbara, CA.