Sunday, December 13, 2009

Tudor Romances


I have read the Tudor Rose Trilogy by Susan Wiggs. These are reprints of books that she wrote in the nineties. They center around one family for three generations.

Book one was originally called Circle In The Water; the reprint is called At The King's Command. It is set in the time of Henry VIII. The heroine is a Russian Princess named Juliana Romanov. She has to escape Russia after seeing her family murdered. A group of gypsies take her in and learns the traditions of the Gypsies. After stealing Stephen de Lacey's horse, King Henry VIII forces the two to marry.


Book two was originally called Vows Made In Wine; the reprint is called The Maiden's Hand. It is set in the time of Queen Mary. It is about the son of Stephen de Lacey, Oliver de Lacey and the Mistress Lark. Mistress Lark saves Oliver from the Hangman's noose. Little did she realize that after saving Oliver how much a part of her life he would become.


Book three was originally called Dancing On Air. The reprint is called At the Queen's Summons. It is set in the time of Queen Elizabeth I. This book focuses on Pippa de Lacey the Daughter of Lark and Oliver and a Irish chieftain Aidan O'Donoghue. Pippa does not know that she is a de Lacey or that she even has a family. She had lived as sharp tongue street performer. Which gets her in trouble and she seeks mercy from Aidan.

Book One was very enjoyable. Book Two was not so much. It seemed to drag. Book Three picked up a little bit. I found it entertaining. Book One was my favorite out of three.



Another book I read recently is The Winter Queen By Amanda McCabe. It is set during the time of Queen Elizabeth I during the time of when the Thames froze over and the Court had a Frost Fair during the Holiday Season.

The story is about Queen Elizabeth's Lady-in-waiting Lady Rosamund. She sent to court to avoid a suitor that was not suitable for her. She meets Swedish Lord Anton Gustavson, who came to England to claim an inheritance from his grandfather.

This was a nice lite read. I enjoyed the fictionalized peak into Queen Elizabeth's court during the Holiday Season.

These romances may be your thing if you like historical romances set during the Tudor time.

Happy Reading

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Blogging Ramblings

Wellll, I have not written a lot lately, I have been taken a break. I am trying to decide if I should keep blogging or not.

I have been blogging about books off and on for the past two years. The first year was fun and wonderful. I found myself enjoying the world of book blogging. I met some great people and read some awesome blogs. I was able to push my doubts about reviewing and writing aside.

Through other bloggers I found Pump up Your Book Promotions. Cheryl and Dorothy are wonderful. Through them I have discovered some great books and awesome authors. If you are interesting in reviewing books, you should check them out. Pump up Your Book Promotions Tour Host. They are always looking for good reviewers.

But as time went on, my self doubts about reviewing continued to resurface and it was becoming harder to push them back. I could tell others to go for it, but it was becoming harder for me to go for it. It was just becoming harder for me to write my thoughts because I kept questioning myself if my reviews were good enough. I am not sure what I am going to do.

The good bloggers also spend a lot of time on their blogs. Not just writing their thoughts but interacting with the people who comment. I don't have the time esp since I discovered social networking. Let me tell you playing those apps on Facebook are very addictive and time consuming. If you are on Facebook stay away form those apps.

I am not sure what I am going to do. I guess in my heart I do like it, because I don't want to give it up completely. I am still soul searching as to what I want to do, but I am guessing I will keep writing. I just won't write as often, maybe focus on book spotlights or maybe do one word reviews. I am not sure how this blog will evolve.

Thanks for letting me ramble. If you have any advice please feel free to give it.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Silk Flowers Never Die


ABOUT THE BOOK:

Silk Flowers Never Die is an important and intensely personal memoir, powerfully showing with humanity and humor, the difficulties that exist for any family trying to cope with schizophrenia and mental distress. In a compelling story that reveals how much stranger than fiction fact is, Stella Mazzucchelli describes her determination to preserve her son form the worst effects of mental illness, while his young wife is dying of cancer.

In the process of trying to rise to these challenges, Stella is transformed from a beautiful, over-protected Society woman with alcohol issues, to an impressive, courageous earth-mother who now campaigns to reduce the stigma attached to mental illness by using her privileged position to positive effect. This moving book is informative on a host of subjects, ranging from the lifestyle of the International Super-Rich to the profundities of facing terminal illness and mental disease. Due to its intelligence, insight,and compassion the appeal of this amazing story and struggle should be universal.


MY THOUGHTS:

It would have been wonderful if I had Silk Flowers Never Die when my husband went through his mental breakdown. Stella writes with such truth about her feelings and her thoughts when her son was diagnosed with schizophrenia that I would have found it helpful with what I was dealing with.

With all that Stella had to deal with she has come through with flying colors. Given one hope that if she can live through all that has happened to her and her family so can I. No matter what ones economic background very rich or very poor, I think one can find this book very relatable.

Silk Flowers Never Die is a book with a wonderful message of hope and courage. I think that this book should be given out to family members of people who have had a mental issues so that they can know that they are not alone and others have gone through this too and felt the same way.

Silk Flowers Never Die is an awesome read. I highly recommend it to everyone, esp to those who have to cope with mental illness in the family.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Stella Metaxa Mazzucchelli was born in Athen, Greece and married, aged eighteen, Riccardo Mazzucchelli, the famous Italian businessman. During their twenty-two year marriage, they lived in Zambia and London, where she became a well-known figure on the social scene,and had a brief and successful modelling career at the unusual age of 28. Fedele is their only child. After their divorce, Riccardo married Ivana Trump in 1995, though the marriage was short lived. Stella now lives in Athen where she brings up her grand-daughter Katerina. As well as being involved in the property and renovation business, which ensures she maintains connections with London, she is also a tireless campaigner for the better understanding of schizophrenia and mental illness. Silk Flowers Never Die is her first book.

You can visit her publisher online at http://www.dynastypress.co.uk/ .

Happy Reading

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Daughter of Narcissus




ABOUT THE BOOK:

Daughter of Narcissus is a stunning analysis by Lady Colin of her own dysfunctional family positioned at the heart of upper class Jamaican society from the middle of the 20th century to the present day. Covering the end of the British Colonial Age and the rise of a liberated generation, whilst addressing the narcissistic personality of her mother, the author brilliantly interconnects the sociological, political and personal. As she dissects the family dynamics lying beneath the appearance of wealth and power, Lady Colin’s understanding of personality disorder is revelatory: compelling the reader to comprehend the destructive and tragic reality concealed by rational language and behavior.

Set against a backdrop of glamour, wealth and fame, this compulsive book is both a fascinating history of one socially prominent family, and a uniquely detailed analysis of narcissism, its manifestations and how to survive them in order to lead a purposeful and affirming life.

MY THOUGHTS:

Gloria Ziadie was a extremely abusive woman both physically and verbally to her husband, her children and her servants. It is amazing that her children were able to persevere and have successful adult lives growing up in that type of atmosphere. But also growing up in that type of household gave them strength esp Lady Colin Campbell or Georgia to deal with the difficulties that she encountered in her adult life.

But this book is not for diagnosis but to give a glimpse of what this disorder is about and how it effected Gloria and her family and friends. As I was reading it, I saw similarities between Gloria and my mother-in-law; especially encouraging her husband to do her dirty work in beating the children. Also the manipulation of people and situations to get what they want. Because of these similarities, I wonder if my mother-in-law has this disorder. Sorry if this is to personal, but as I continued to read Daughter of Narcissus that is what I was thinking.

After a slow and difficult start, I found Daughter of Narcissus to be an intriguing read.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Lady Colin Campbell is a highly successful and prolific author of several books, including London and New York Times bestsellers, and has been a prominent and often controversial figure in royal and social circles for many years. She perhaps is best known for her international bestselling book Diana in Private, 1992, and her subsequent extended and revelatory biography of the Princess of Wales, The Real Diana published in 2004. She has written books on the Royal Family, been a long term columnist and appeared numerous times on TV and radio as an experienced Royal Insider and expert on the British aristocracy. In 1997 she published her autobiography, A Life Worth Living, which was serialized in The Daily Mail. Born in St. Andrew, Jamaica, she was educated there and in New York, where she lived for seven years. She is connected to British royalty through common ancestors and marriage. She has two sons and lives in London.

You can visit her publisher online at http://www.dynastypress.co.uk/.

Happy Reading


Thursday, October 22, 2009

Rain Dance



ABOUT THE BOOK:

Jonica is infertile. Stacie chooses an abortion. One is prolife the other prochoice. Both are suddenly alone in misunderstanding, facing hypocrisies in their belief systems, and grieving – one the death of a dream and the other the death of her child. As their hearts break where in the world will they find healing and grace? Can shattered dreams be part of the plan?

MY THOUGHTS: When I was reading Rain Dance, I kept thinking how was I going to review this Christian Fiction. Not because it was not well written, it is. But it is a controversial issue. Abortion. This book's viewpoint, of course, is prolife.

I started to focus on the relationship between the Jonica and Stacie. And I liked how the friendship developed. Two different people finding that they have more in common then they realized. DeKok writes this book from both of their viewpoints. It is nice to see how both ladies see the same event and their interpretations of the events.

DeKok adds a touch of realism to Jonica because she herself is infertile. She puts herself into the character of Jonica. Jonica has to deal with insensitivity's of others. Which makes one sad that people can be so cruel and they don't realize that they are.

In a twist the Christians are portrayed as hip and exciting and the liberals as rigid thinking. She is trying to break stereotypes about Christians but by doing this she does not put liberals in a good light. I think it is great that she is trying to break stereotypes but why put others in a negative light. I understand that is part of the storytelling and it is important to the plot but it did not sit well with me.

Jonica and Stacie's stories and their friendship did touch me. Overall, I found Rain Dance to be a nice read.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Joy DeKok and her husband, Jon, live in Minnesota on thirty-five acres of woods and fields. Joy has been writing most of her life and as a popular speaker shares her heart and passion for God with women. In addition to writing novels, she has also published a devotional and several children’s books.

Happy Reading




Monday, October 19, 2009

My Son, John




ABOUT THE BOOK:
Murder. Could there be a more chilling word? Could it be any more horrible than to have a loved one killed, brutally and heartlessly, without obvious reason or motive? When Liz Peterson’s elderly mother is found viciously beaten to death in her home, Liz and her husband, Charles, along with their grown son, John, and teenage daughter, Sarah, are horrified beyond words. Their previously predictable, respectable lives seem to have vanished without a trace, as they struggle to make sense of a senseless act.

And then a second blow—more devastating, if possible, than the first—rocks them to their core. John is arrested for his grandmother’s murder. As what’s left of the Peterson family begins to crumble under the weight of loss and accusation, the Petersons’ longstanding Christian faith is put to the test in a way they could never have imagined, and unconditional love is stretched to its limits. Will family ties and relationships withstand such a crushing blow, or will evil succeed in dividing and conquering this once close and inseparable family?
My Review:
This christian fiction was a very emotional story about a family's unconditional love and their difficult journey to forgiveness. I was drawn into My Son, John from the very beginning.
I really felt the families sadness and despair especially the mother's. Having the viewpoints of the different family members really added to the emotional quality of the story.
This is a definite read whether you read christian fiction or not.
EXCERPT:
Prologue:
“I was in prison and you came to Me…” (Matthew 25:36).
Tick, damn it, tick! I cried silently, oblivious to the fact that I had just thought a word I would never say out loud. I glared through bloodshot eyes at the large, round, schoolroom-type clock that was the sole decoration on the cold gray wall behind the metal chair where John sat, dressed in an orange jumpsuit and holding a phone to his ear, while gazing at me through a glass partition, no doubt knowing that I was avoiding eye contact because the pain was just too great.
Still staring at the offensive timepiece on the wall, I demanded silently, Do you think just because you don’t make any noise that I don’t know what you’re doing, that I don’t realize that with every sweeping circle you’re stealing more and more of my son’s life?
Oh, God, if only there were a window in here! If I could just reach through this glass and touch him…!
The tears came then, and there was nothing I could do to stop them. I pulled my vision from the clock and caught a glimpse of John’s anguished, sweat-beaded face before squeezing my eyes shut in a vain attempt to block out the swell of emotions that threatened to drown me. I had to stop this denial and refocus my efforts and energy on my son. He would never survive this nightmare if I didn’t; none of us would.
I forced my eyelids open, wiping the tears from my cheeks and wishing I had been allowed to bring my purse in with me. But, of course, everything personal had been left behind before I had been admitted to the visiting area. You’d think those in charge would realize a mother’s need for a tissue in such a situation.
Slowly, I cracked my lips into what I was sure was a wooden smile. “You look good,” I lied, knowing he knew better but hoping to convince myself. “Are they treating you all right…feeding you, and—”
Trembling but quite obviously trying hard not to show it, he pressed the palm of his free hand against the glass in what was doubtless an attempt to cut off my pointless questions. “I’m fine, Mom. Honest. I told you that last time. And…please, you don’t have to come here. I don’t want you to come here. Can’t you understand that?”
How could I understand that my son didn’t want me to visit him and support him when he’d been accused of something so horrific it was beyond comprehension? How could I understand anything anymore? Not only had John been falsely imprisoned, but he was losing weight and I could see he wasn’t well. He needed me….
“I want to come,” I answered. “I have to. I’ve never abandoned you before. Why would you think I would now—especially now?”
The pain and fear in his dark blue eyes flickered before fading to dull. He pressed his lips together and shook his head. “I have to go, Mom. Time’s about up anyway. I…hate talking to you like this…seeing you this way.”
I watched his Adam’s apple bob slightly as he swallowed and then said, “I love you, Mom. You know that. Dad and Sarah, too.” Then, after only a brief hesitation, he removed his palm from the glass, hung up the phone, and stood to his feet. Immediately a corrections officer was at his side, escorting him from the room.
Still pressing the receiver to my ear, I whispered, “You didn’t even say goodbye, John. You didn’t say goodbye….”
At the thick metal door, just below and to the right of the silent wall clock, John stopped, turning slightly as his armed escort unlocked the heavy barrier. Glancing backward, his lips spread ever-so-slightly in that frightened, little-boy smile he’d had since he was a little boy, the one he’d worn when he walked on skinny, shaky legs into his kindergarten room on the first day of school, assuring me that he was all right. As I had that day when I stood in the hallway outside his classroom, I now did my best to return his smile. Then he turned his back to me and shuffled on shackled ankles through the passageway.
So little had changed in the eighteen years since that first day of school—and yet the world my husband and I had known since our oldest child was born twenty-three years earlier had exploded and vanished, washed away in tears…and in blood. Nothing would ever be the same again.
John’s kindergarten smile had been his signal to me that he could handle things and I should leave. With legs of lead and a heart even heavier, I forced myself to honor his wishes.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Kathi Macias is a multi-award winning writer who has authored nearly 30 books and ghostwritten several others. A former newspaper columnist and string reporter, Kathi has taught creative and business writing in various venues and has been a guest on many radio and television programs. Kathi is a popular speaker at churches, women’s clubs and retreats, and writers’ conferences, and recently won the prestigious 2008 member of the year award from AWSA (Advanced Writers and Speakers Association) at the annual Golden Scrolls award banquet. Kathi “Easy Writer” Macias lives in Homeland, CA, with her husband, Al, where the two of them spend their free time riding their Harley.
Visit Kathi’s website at http://kathimacias.com/.
Happy Reading

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Dispel The Mist

Welcome to Marilyn Meredith's
Pump Up Your Book Promotion's Virtual Book Tour


About The Book:

A Tulare County Supervisor, with both Native American and Mexican roots, dies under suspicious circumstances. Because of Deputy Tempe Crabtree’s own ties to the Bear Creek Indian Reservation, she’s asked to help with the investigation. To complicate matters, besides the supervisor’s husband, several others had reason to want the woman dead.

Tempe has unsettling dreams, dreams that may predict the future and bring back memories of her grandmother’s stories about the legend of the Hairy Man. Once again, Tempe’s life is threatened and this time, she fears no one will come to her rescue in time.

My Review:

Dispel the Mist is the eighth book in the Tempe Crabtree Mystery Series. I have not had the pleasure of reading the other books in the series, but I am looking forward to reading the series from the beginning. I was not lost when I read Dispel the Mist, Meredith is able to incorporate what happened in the past books nicely in the story line.

I found Dispel the Mist to be an entertaining read. I thought the characters were beliveable. I enjoyed the interactions between Tempe and her husband, Hutch. I liked how Tempe is exploring her heritage and how it is weaved into the story line. The ending was very dramatic and intense. I think any mystery lover would enjoy Dispel the Mist.


About the Author:

Marilyn Meredith is the author of over twenty-five published novels, including the
award winning Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery series, the latest, Dispel the Mist from Munda
nia Press. Under the name of F. M. Meredith she writes the Rocky Bluff P.D. crime series. No Sanctuary is the newest from Oak Tree Press.

She is a member of EPIC, four chapters of Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, WOK, and on the board of the Public Safety Writers of America. She was an instructor for Writer’s Digest School for ten years, served as an instructor at the Maui Writer’s Retreat and many other writer’s conferences. She makes her home in Springville CA, much like Bear Creek where Deputy Tempe Crabtree lives. Visit her at http://fictionforyou.com/.
Happy Reading

Monday, October 5, 2009

Emily Waits for Her Family

Welcome to Carol Zelaya's
Pump Up Your Book Promotion's
Virtual Book Tour



About The Book:Follow the true story of the special bond between a tiny bird and a little girl, from first meeting to leaving, from new life to old friends. This story is told in a timeless, three-part series, with an easy-reading rhyme, and is certain to delight and touch your heart.
Excerpt:
As I look closer, what do I see?
In the nest there seems to be,
The little bird named Emily,
And a big surprise of one, two, three!
Yes, three little eggs for me to see.
You’ll soon be a mommy Chickadee!

My Review: Emily Waits For Her Family is a sweet tale about a girl and a little Chickadee. Not only do we see the girl and Emily, the Chickadee develop a very special friendship; we also get to learn about the importance of watching and observing nature. I especially loved the Chickadee log at the end of the book. It made me wish that I had a backyard and a bird feeder so that my daughter could complete the log. Hmmm maybe I will change it to a squirrel log. That is what is great about the log, you can use it for almost any creature.

The rhyming and word repetition is great for a beginner reader. When I read this book to my 7 year old daughter that was the first thing she said to me. "Mommy, it rhymes." I read this book to my two year old classroom and they kept repeating Chickadee. They really loved that new word to them.

I also want to add that Kristen Metcalf, the illustrator, did a beautiful job with the drawings. She really brought the story to life. The children really loved looking at the pictures.

I will be reading Emily Waits For Her Family to my class over and over and some how incorporating the log into my lesson plans, maybe for squirrel observations.

There are two more books in the Emily The Chickadee series: Caring For Emily's Family and Emily's New Home. I look forward to reading the other two books in this series. I want to see what happens with Emily The Chickadee.

If you know a preschooler or a beginner reader Emily Waits For Her Family would be a great book to give them.

About the Author: Carol Zelaya is a former nurse, recently widowed, and mother of two grown children. She grew up in the Chicago area, where she eventually met and married her husband and where they raised a family. Having relocated to Oregon in 1996, Zelaya began her love affair with nature and its beautiful creatures. Inspired by her surroundings, she started taking pictures and writing. Writing poetry led to writing three children’s books, of course, in rhyme. Zelaya’s Emily the Chickadee books are the true story of the special bond between a tiny bird and a little girl and the true meaning of family.

Happy Reading

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Book Spotlight-Dying Scream by Mary Burton

It's the last sound you'll ever make....Dying Scream. Doesn't that tag line give you chills at least it does to me.

Dying Scream is the new book by southern novelist Mary Burton.

From the Back Cover: An aspiring artist. A high-school senior. A stripper. Three missing women with only one thing in common-wealthy-Craig Thornton knew them all. For that, they paid the ultimate price. When Craig's widow, Adrianna, begins to receive cards and flowers from her late husband, she assumes it's someones cruel joke. Then grisly remains are found on the Thornton estate.

Detective Gage Hudson believes the bodies are linked to Craig. But the biggest shocks are yet to come. A psychopath has resumed his work, each death a prelude to his most cherished target. The only way to stop him is to uncover a family's dark past-and a twisted love someone will kill for, again and again....

For more info you can visit Mary Burton's website.

Dying Scream
Mary Burton
Zebra Books
Fiction/$6.99 ($8.99 Canada
On sale November 24, 2009

Happy Reading

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Homer's Odyssey

Welcome to Gwen Cooper's Pump Up Your Promotions
Virtual Book Tour

About the Book: Once in nine lives,something extraordinary happens...

The last thing Gwen Cooper wanted was another cat. She already had two, not to mention a phenomenally underpaying job and a recently broken heart. Then Gwen’s veterinarian called with a story about a three-week-old eyeless kitten who’d been abandoned. It was love at first sight.

Everyone warned that Homer would always be an “underachiever,” never as playful or independent as other cats. But the kitten nobody believed in quickly grew into a three-pound dynamo, a tiny daredevil with a giant heart who eagerly made friends with every human who crossed his path. Homer scaled seven-foot bookcases with ease and leapt five feet into the air to catch flies in mid-buzz. He survived being trapped alone for days after 9/11 in an apartment near the World Trade Center, and even saved Gwen’s life when he chased off an intruder who broke into their home in the middle of the night.

But it was Homer’s unswerving loyalty, his infinite capacity for love, and his joy in the face of all obstacles that inspired Gwen daily and transformed her life. And by the time she met the man she would marry, she realized Homer had taught her the most important lesson of all: Love isn’t something you see with your eyes.

Homer’s Odyssey is the once-in-a-lifetime story of an extraordinary cat and his human companion. It celebrates the refusal to accept limits—on love, ability, or hope against overwhelming odds. By turns jubilant and moving, it’s a memoir for anybody who’s ever fallen completely and helplessly in love with a pet.

If you are a cat lover, animal lover or a person with a heart you will enjoy this inspirational story about a blind cat and his owner. Homer does not let his blindness limit him. He plays with the other cats in the household even when they just want to be left alone. He climbs and leaps into the unknown without any fear.

This book is not only a tale about the relationship between Homer and his owner, Gwen; it is also about not letting fear hold you back. If Homer can take a leap into the unknown without fear then so to can you. Which is what Gwen did when she moved to New York. She took a leap of faith like Homer.

This book made me laugh, like the airplane ride to New York, and cry, for a cat that no one wanted. I worried with Gwen as she relates what happened to her and her cats on 9/11 and I celebrated with her when Homer did something new and exciting.

Homer's Odyssey is a very heart-warming tale. 4.0 stars.

Now for an added bonus, I have my 12 year-old(soon to be 13 as she tells me) daughter's review of Homer Odyssey. We were at Target and saw the book there. I pointed it out to her and said Hey, I am reading this book now and it is very good. I said it a little loud, because there were some other people there and I wanted them to know that I was reviewing it. I know what a nerd. But I find it thrilling to see a book in the stores that I am reviewing or reviewed. Anyway she goes can I read it and I say sure. I also added that if she finishes before my review has to be up she can write one as well(again kinda loud). So without further ado her is my daughter's review.

From the first chapter, Homer captured my heart. Homer is a cat that people can learn from. Even through all his hardship, Homer still becomes a strong, optimistic, caring cat. When I read the book I pictured Homer right there in my room, curling up on my left side. Even without eyes Homer sees the world for what it is. A place where anything can happen and miracles can find you. People should follow Homers ideas and learn from them. Homer’s Odyssey is the perfect book about love, friendship, hardship, and so much more. I loved every page of this book. Everyone should read Homer’s Odyssey by Gwen Copper.

About The Author:

Gwen Cooper is the author of the novel Diary of a South Beach Party Girl. A Miami native, she spent five years working in nonprofit administration, marketing, and fundraising. She coordinated volunteer activities on behalf of organizations such as Pet Rescue, the Miami Lighthouse for the Blind, the Miami Rescue Mission, and His House Children’s Home. In conjunction with Hands on Miami and Barnes & Noble, Gwen initiated Reading Pen Pals, an elementary school-based-literacy program in Miami’s Little Haiti. Gwen currently lives in Manhattan with her husband, Laurence, and her three perfect cats—Scarlett, Vashti, and Homer, who aren’t impressed with any of it.

You can visit Gwen online at http://gwencooper.com/.

Happy Reading

Sunday, September 13, 2009

The White Queen


I orignially wrote this review for W&M Sneak peak program. I am not sure if they used it, but since this is my blog I am going to use it. So here it is.
I have found that when I have read a book by Philippa Gregory; the book is either a hit or a miss. The White Queen is a hit.

The White Queen is set in England during the last years of the War of The Roses. This is a tale about Elizabeth Woodville from the House of Lancaster and King Edward IV from the House of York. How they met, feel in love, the events that occurred during their marriage and the events that happen after King Edward IV dies.

This historical fiction about Elizabeth Woodville is a fantastic read. I was drawn into her story from the very beginning. Elizabeth is a complicated character. There were times when I felt sorry for Elizabeth and times when she made me angry.

Gregory incorporates witchcraft and magic into Elizabeth’s story. Elizabeth and her mother have some magical powers which they use to help their cause. Gregory ties in the Melusina, a water fairy myth very well. This myth helps explain how Elizabeth and her mother have their magical powers.

Elizabeth Woodville is the mother of the Princes in the Tower, Prince Edward and Prince Richard. Gregory puts forth a plausible theory about what happened to The Princes in the Tower. Since no one knows for sure what happened to the Princes, her theory could be true.

For your Tudor fans out there, Elizabeth Woodville is the Grandmother of Henry VIII. So I believe that you will find this a nice addition to your Tudor reading.

I am looking forward to the other two books in this series. If you like your historical fiction to be about royalty, intrigue, and conspiracy then this book is for you. 4 and half stars.
Happy Reading

Monday, August 31, 2009

Mailbox Monday Aug 31


I have not participated in Mailbox Monday in awhile. One reason is that I have not been getting books in the mail and another was finding time to blog. I am trying to do better, but we will see.

I have gotten three books from giveaways.
*Reckless by Selena Montgomery
*Silver and Gold by David Sakmyster
*The White Queen by Philippa Gregory

I also have three books for review.
*Emily the Chickadee by Carol Zelaya (a children's book)
*Silk Flowers Never Die by Stella Mazzucchelli
*Daughters of Narcissus by Lady Colin Campbell

Marcia over at The Printed Page is sponsoring this weekly event.

Happy Reading

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Throwback Thursday

Throwback Thursday – this is a weekly event hosted by Jenny over at TakeMeAway. It is the time each week to recognize those older books… an older book you’ve always wanted to read, or one that you have read and love; maybe one from your childhood; or review an older book -- how about even a classic!

My throwback is my first adult novel. The sad thing is I cannot remember the title. The reason that I even remember it is because of the reaction of the school secretary.

I was in seventh grade and I decided to sneak one of my mom books to read. She had so many that I did not think that she would notice that I took one of her books. The cover was yellow and of course had a man and a woman in a clinch. The book was a historical romance and it took place I believe in the west. I took the book to school to read. I guess that I did not think any one would notice. I was in the Principal's office. It was so long ago that I don't remember why. The school secretary noticed the book. I was busted. She asked me if my mom knew that I was reading such a book. So I thought very quickly and lied. I said Of course my mom knew. I am not sure if she believed me or not. But I don't think my mom every found out. I guess I will have to ask her.

Happy Reading

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Book Spotlight:Shadow of Betrayal

Welcome to the book spotlight for Shadow of Betrayal by Brett Battles. Please take a little time to read the synopsis and excerpt of this thriller; I think you will enjoy the little taste of this book.

*Synopsis*
The meeting place was carefully chosen: an abandoned church in rural Ireland just after dark. For Jonathan Quinn—a freelance operative and professional “cleaner”—the job was only to observe. If his cleanup skills were needed, it would mean things had gone horribly wrong. But an assassin hidden in a tree assured just that. And suddenly Quinn had four dead bodies to dispose of and one astounding clue—to a mystery that is about to spin wildly out of control.

Three jobs, no questions. That was the deal Quinn had struck with his client at the Office. Unfortunately for him, Ireland was just the first. Now Quinn, along with his colleague and girlfriend—the lethal Orlando—has a new assignment touched off by the killings in Ireland. Their quarry is a U.N. aide worker named Marion Dupuis who has suddenly disappeared from her assignment in war-torn Africa. When Quinn finally catches a glimpse of her, she quickly flees, frantic and scared. And not alone.

For Quinn the assignment has now changed. Find Marion Dupuis, and the child she is protecting, and keep them from harm. If it were only that easy.

Soon Quinn and Orlando find themselves in a bunker in the California hills, where Quinn will unearth a horrifying plot that is about to reach stage critical for a gathering of world leaders—and an act of terror more cunning, and more insidious, than anyone can guess.

Fast, smart, sleek, and stunning, Shadow of Betrayal is vintage Brett Battles: a gritty, gripping masterpiece of suspense, a thriller that makes the pulse pound—and stirs the heart as well.

*Excerpt*
Quinn could see them now. There were two of them, crouched low and half-hidden by the thick brush. As Quinn and Nate watched, one of the men sprinted forward, stopping only when he reached the outside of the church wall. He then moved down the wall until he came to what had once been a doorway, and peered inside.

"Are we going to play games, or are we going to meet?" It was Otero. He was still standing in the middle of the church, not concealing his presence. When there was no response, he said, "Two minutes and we're leaving."

The man who had been looking into the church from the doorway glanced back at his partner and waved for him to come over.

"Quinn," Nate said.

"What?"

"I thought they were only allowed one companion."

Quinn shot Nate a glance, then looked at a monitor Nate was pointing at. It was the one covering the north approach to the church, the way Otero and Ownby had come.

"I don't see anything," Quinn said.

"In the tree," Nate said. He leaned forward and touched the screen.

For half a second, Quinn still didn't see anything, then a slight movement revealed the form of a man lying prone on one of the branches, facing toward the church.

A quick glance at a monitor that gave a broader view of that side of the church confirmed Quinn's suspicion that the man was high enough to see through the missing roof into the abandoned structure.

Quinn pushed the mic button again. "Peter, we have a problem."

"What?"

"Check the feed to camera six. In the tree, near the top of the image."

There was a pause.

"Do you see him?" Quinn asked.

"Yes."

"Is he one of yours?"

"I played by the rules. Only two," Peter said. "He must be one of theirs."

Quinn wasn't convinced of that, but there was no time to argue the point. On another monitor the two newcomers stepped through the doorway, entered the church, and walked a couple paces before stopping. They looked nervous, like this was the first time they had ever done anything like this.

"You need to abort right now," Quinn said.

"We need that information," Peter said

"Peter," Quinn said, "if you don't abort, you might not get anything."

At the church Otero said, "You guys are going to have to come a little closer."

The taller of the two men shook his head. "We are fine here. I think you have something to show us."

Otero smiled, then tossed a coin in the air so that it landed a foot in front of his counterparts.

"Your turn," Otero said.

The tall man tossed his own coin toward Otero. This was the prearranged recognition signal. Otero had been carrying a fifty-yen Japanese coin, and the informant a 1998 Canadian half-dollar.

"Peter!" Quinn said.

"The meet's already started," Peter said. "They won't answer their phones until they're back in their car."

"They might not even make it back to their car," Quinn said, then let go of the button.

"We can start the van," Nate suggested. "That should throw everyone into a panic. We could even fire off a shot."

It was an excellent idea, Quinn thought. He relayed it to Peter.

There was a pause, then Peter said, "Do it."

Quinn pulled his SIG Sauer P226 out of the holster under his left arm as Nate moved toward the back door to open it.

Several rapid flashes from one of the monitors caught Quinn's eye. It was the one showing the close-up of the man in the tree. He glanced at the view of the church. Otero, Ownby, and the man who had been talking for the other party were all on the ground and not moving.

The final man had just exited the church and was making a run for it. Then there was another flash. The man jerked to the left, his momentum dropping him into a bush at the side of the trail. Like the others, he didn't get up.

"Stop," Quinn said to Nate.

The door was already half opened.

"Close it. Quietly."

Nate shut the door as Quinn sat back down.

Quinn pushed the button. "Your op is blown."

"I can fucking see that," Peter said. "Goddammit! You need to keep whoever that is from getting to the bodies. One of those guys is carrying something we need."

"Don't know if you noticed," Quinn said, "but your men are probably dead. That guy in the tree's got a silenced rifle, and I'm not really interested in walking into his range."

"Do what you were going to do before! Scare him off. He's not going to want to get caught."

Quinn took a deep breath, then nodded at Nate to open the door again. He checked monitor six. The assassin was holding his position, waiting to see if anyone else was going to show up.

Quinn pulled one of the remote communication sets from a bag near the recorders. He slipped the receiver over his ear, then climbed out of the van.

"Talk me in," he said to Nate.

"You're going to try to take him out?" Nate asked, surprised.

Quinn shook his head. "I'm just going to convince him to go someplace else."

"You want your suppressor?" Nate asked.

Quinn paused for a second. If things went as planned, he'd need the noise of the shot to scare the guy off. But if things got off track?

"Toss it to me," he said.

Nate disappeared for a second, then stepped back into the doorway and threw a dark cylinder to Quinn.

Quinn stuffed it in the front pocket of his jacket as best he could. Once it was secure, he nodded back at the van. "Talk me in. You're my eyes, so try not to get me killed."


Man this is such a tease. Gotta get this book to find out what happens. Shadow of Betrayal is available at Amazon.com. Go check it out.

About the Author:
Brett Battles lives in Los Angeles and is the author of two acclaimed novels in the Jonathan Quinn series: The Cleaner, which was nominated for a Barry Award for Best Thriller and a Shamus Award for Best First Novel, and The Deceived, which was nominated for a Barry Award for Best Thriller. He is at work on the fourth book in the series.

You can visit Brett Battles website at www.brettbattles.com.
VBT sponosered by Pump Up Your Book Promotion
Happy Reading

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Throwback Thursday



Throwback Thursday – this is a weekly event hosted by Jenny over at TakeMeAway. It is the time each week to recognize those older books… an older book you’ve always wanted to read, or one that you have read and love; maybe one from your childhood; or review an older book -- how about even a classic!

My favorite book from my childhood was actually a series. They are the Little House Books. Love them. I would lay on my mom's stomach and she would read them to me. She would take them camping and read them. It was such a big deal when I could read them on my own. I was so excited. I am not sure how many times I have read. I had read them so much that the first set of Little House books that I owned became broken in the spine. OK not all of them but enough. I have two sets now a paperback set and a hardcover set. These sets were one of the first things I bought with the money form my first job.

Laura Ingalls Wilder was a great storyteller, just like her pa. When I read the Little House books, I felt that I was there. I learned a lot about how pioneer girls lived, through the eyes of Laura. She and Mary had so many adventures. I wanted to be like them. I guess you could say that Laura was one of my childhood heroes.

On one of my family vacations, my parents took me to Mansfield, Mo. I thought I had died and gone to haven. I got to visit the house that Laura lived in and wrote her stories. I treasured my pictures of Laura that I got as souvenirs.
This was suppose to be a quick note, but as you can tell I am still passionate about my Little House books. They are the best ever. Dare I say it, but I think they are better than *gasp* Harry Potter. I said it.
What is one of your old favorites?

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Target: Love, Death, and Airline Deregulation

Welcome to J. R. Hauptman's Pump Up Your Book
Promotion's Virtual Book Tour
About the Book:


More than a half-century ago, Ernie Gann authored "Fate is the Hunter" and "The High and The Mighty". There has not been a bona fide blockbuster novel about the airline industry written by a genuine airline professional since then.

“THE TARGET; Love, Death and Airline Deregulation" by J.R. Hauptman, is set in Colorado and the Rocky Mountain West, and tells the tale of the tumultuous first years of airline deregulation and the effects it had on that industry and the people who worked there. There are many people today who believe it was, in large part, the rush to overall deregulation back then, that led directly to the economic chaos that threatens to overwhelm our entire economy today.

In the nineteen-eighties, Carlo Clemenza was known as "the most hated man" in the airline business, as described by some pundits. A dedicated corporate raider and union buster, Clemenza uses ruthless tactics to crush competing airlines and to bring airline workers to heel. His methods have earned him countless death threats, yet he struts with arrogance, surrounded by his cadre of security toughs.

Virtually thousands of pilots and other airline professionals find themselves forced to start their careers over or to find them at a sudden and complete end. The airline grapevine echoes daily with the cry, "Why doesn't someone kill that SOB?"

Only one pilot, angered by the deaths of his friends, takes up the chase and he makes Carlo Clemenza THE TARGET! His chase will take him to the far corners of the country as he also finds himself the object of pursuit and murder. The characters merge in spectacular action and settings and the climax of the story ultimately ends in redemption

My Review:

When I was first asked if I wanted to review this book, I was not sure. The description that I was given did not appeal to me. I was thinking that it was just going to be the history of airline deregulation in the 80s. Boy, was I wrong. I am glad that I decided to read this book.

Hauptman is able to incorporate the history of airline deregulation and the consequences of deregulation into this suspense filled novel. He makes it interesting and easy to understand as we see how it affects the pilots of one airline and why it make the pilots angry.

Hauptman knowledge of planes and flying are noticeable throught out the book. It give The Target that touch of realism.

The Target has many twists and turns as the pilot goes on his quest of finding Carlo Clemenza. Hauptman is able to build tension as the pilot tries to move on with his life after deregulation. Then when he decides to kill Carlo, I kept thinking will he or won't he. I was on the edge of my seat until the end. A very good tension filled book. A definite read. 4 stars

About the Author:


J.R. Hauptman (pseudonym) has been a professional pilot for nearly a half century. Barley twenty years old, he began as a military pilot and for almost two years he flew combat support missions in the Viet Nam War. Upon leaving military service he was hired by a major airline and was initially based on the West Coast. His flying career was interrupted by the turmoil that racked the airline industry during the early days of deregulation. In the interim, he worked as a travel agent, a stockbroker and even trained dogs and horses. In the late nineteen-eighties, he returned to aviation, flying jet charters and air freight. He concluded his career flying corporate jets and now lives in Florida. He is completing his second work, a non-fictional social commentary and surfs every day, waves or not. You can visit his website at http://www.caddispublishing.com/.

Check out J. R. Hauptman's Guest Post about a dream connection between him and his son-in-law My Absolutely Best Flying Story

Happy Reading

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

*Grab your current read
*Open to a random page
*Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
*BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
*Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers.

Here are my two sentences. They are from the book When You Went Away by Michael Baron. This book is an ARC, but the book should be at the bookstores on Oct. 6, 2009.

"What if this was an essential business trip? Would you beg off because you were too busy playing mommy then." pg 77


What is your teaser?

Happy Reading

Monday, August 17, 2009

Book Spotlight-Viritual Vice by Jason Kays

I am happy to spotlight the suspense thriller Virtual Vice by Jason Kays. I think after you read the excerpt you will definitely what to read more.


*Synopsis* In Virtual Vice by Jason Kays, readers follow disillusioned entertainment attorney Ian McKenzie as his professional life takes a decided turn for the questionable when he is hired by the charismatic and dangerous Scott White to represent Scott’s interests in his cutting edge Internet startup, Metropoleis Multimedia. Unfortunately for Ian, Scott has more in common with Scarface’s Tony Montana than Apple’s Steve Jobs, and things go from questionable to deadly in no time flat. As Scott’s confidant and consigliore, Ian soon finds himself caught between the Feds, La Cosa Nostra, and the Cali Cartel in a fatal game of corporate winner-take-all.

*Excerpt* The return of the Talking Head

The day of the Talking Head’s return to the compound for broadcast of the Metropoleis Messianic Minute was a tense affair for the Board members and Netcast crew alike. In fact, “Iron” Mark Rimer was insistent that all MIII executives be off-premise the day Clarice Westwater was on location for the weekly live Netcast. Westwater pulled up to the compound at break-neck speed in a 1955 sapphire blue Series 62 Cadillac convertible. A huge spiraling conical plume of dust marked her wake. Accompanying Westwater were two particularly striking fellow female flight attendants: one driving the car, the other serving as personal assistant, and tightly clasping the Talking Head’s Herm├Ęs agenda and portfolio. A third woman, a 5’11” tall striking Eurasian make-up artist sporting a Versace dress that left little to the imagination, shared the back seat with Clarice’s personal assistant. The Talking Head deigned to carry nothing more than the “pooch purse” containing her beloved dog, Bitsie.

Clarice’s entourage followed her lock step at a brisk pace into the Ministry’s broadcast studio. Westwater led the ensemble, with her handlers fanning out behind her as she walked, forming a quadrangle. This formation permitted the Talking Head’s minions to deflect any riffraff that might attempt to approach their leader from the rear or flank, such as the gawking and dazed johns stumbling from the dimly lit whorehouse into the blinding Arizona sun. The johns and the few sex workers milling about came to a standstill and stared at the procession, as it made its way towards Mark Rimer’s welcoming outstretched hand.

The CTO warmly greeted the Talking Head and walked her into the studio. The crew, accustomed to Westwater’s enormous ego, flamboyance, and eccentric excesses, found themselves staring at this latest display of pomp and circumstance. Those that didn’t check themselves and avert their gaze in time out of deference to MIII’s royalty were treated to Clarice’s icy, reproachful stare. Rimer found himself shifting position, using his body to shield the Talking Head from the invasive gaping of the “little people”, as she commonly referred to MIII staffers. Clarice asked Rimer to take her directly to her dressing room. Once she was seated, her make-up artist hurriedly began assembling her face, while the self-appointed diva barked orders to anyone within earshot for coffee and bottled water in her distinctive South-East U.K. accent.

Usurpation with a smile

Primped, preened, and primed for her adoring unwashed masses, the Talking Head summoned Pastor Petey for a pre-show huddle. No shrinking violet himself, Petey had been humbled by the Netcast’s drop in ratings and revenue since Westwater’s departure, not to mention the torrent of bad press. The Talking Head directed the good pastor to sit in a chair across from her. Her demeanor was as cool and detached as her eyes were inflamed and focused. Much like a fighter pilot’s targeting system locking in on its military objective, Westwater’s piercing eyes fixed themselves on the pastor’s pallid, weary face. She said nothing for a good thirty seconds, simply staring at her new subordinate. Although it was an affront to every fiber in his person, the pastor knew he was outranked by her. Clarice’s brilliant blue eyes seemed to take on an ethereal quality in contrast to her blood red Vera Wang dress. Pastor Petey likened the penetrating force of Westwater’s countenance to a horrific memory from childhood of watching a neighbor boy slip near a commercial chipping machine, and his skin being stripped from hand to elbow in mere seconds. The de-gloving of skin from bone, surgically and instantaneously carried out by that machine was not unlike the ability of Clarice Westwater’s brutalizing stare to cleave psyche, soul, and flesh. These past few years with Scott White had caused the pastor to question the existence of his God – any god. Sitting across from Westwater, Pastor Petey may have doubted the existence of God, but he was convinced of the existence of the Devil.

After what seemed like an eternity of silence, the pastor tired of the manipulation, and decided to launch in with forced cordiality: “Clarice, great to have you back on board. I admit there have been a few awkward moments between us, but I always have appreciated your contribution to the Ministry’s work, in general, and to the Metropoleis Messianic Minute, in particular. I just felt awful about . . .”

Westwater abruptly stopped Petey in mid-sentence by raising an alabaster hand with index finger extended heavenward. She spoke briefly and pointedly, instructing God’s servant thus: “Ahhh Petey, so good once again to be in your company! We both know that if Scott felt he had a choice, I wouldn’t be here. But he doesn’t have a choice, does he? The Ministry, and MIII along with it, is up against the ropes. Not only that, but news of MIII’s tailspin has been splashed all over the business section of the world’s most prominent newspapers. This can’t be good for investor goodwill; forget new investors, you’ll be lucky to hold onto the present shareholders. So, let’s cut the crap, Pastor.”

As if on cue, Clarice Westwater’s assistant handed her a portfolio containing the grim financials for Metropoleis Messianic Minute’s last two business quarters. The Talking Head was flanked by her personal assistant and driver, while her stylist continued to fine-tune her boss’ formidable head of hair. Clarice rattled off figures, as her bookends watched the pastor squirm uneasily in his chair. Then she continued, “We can sit here and argue the numbers, but it’s a moot issue: the Netcast is flat-lining. Hooker Nun’s lips weren’t able to bring it back from the dead, so I’ve been brought in for a mouth-to-mouth. Never send a whore to do a courtesan’s work.”

Pastor Petey bristled at the slur targeting his love interest, but let it go. Westwater concluded, “I don’t count necrophilia among my fancies; so the faster I’m able to get a pulse and make my exit, the better. No doubt we are like-minded here. If there’s a way to resuscitate the show, I’ll find it; in the interim, you and your trollop need to step aside. You still have a place in the Netcast, but it’s limited to doing what you do best – preaching from that dog-eared book of yours. I’ll be both hosting and scripting the shows. ‘Sister Lorelei’ had best return to what she excels at – blow jobs – and leave grifting to the professionals.

As for the live audience – using your prostitutes and johns? If you creative geniuses ever bothered to leave the confines of this loony bin, you would see how this, more than anything else, has made a mockery of the show and turned it into a sitcom among the majority of your viewers. Since when have comedians received tithing, particularly when the comedy is unintended? No one is going to pony up donations for something they can see for free on network television. The studio audience goes. The Netcast’s audience – and its bad press – have grown exponentially, not because it’s good, but because it’s so bad. A big audience is never a bad thing, but it becomes irrelevant when a broadcast has no sponsors and its ability to attract donors has atrophied. My publicist has already sent out email circulars announcing my return to the parishioners. From here on out, I’m Christ’s Commandant; you follow my lead. For heaven’s sake, have make-up do something with that ever-present shine on your forehead before we greet our pious masses. That’s all for now, Pastor.”

Pastor Pete Huckalby was furious at this upbraiding, but knew better than to take on the Talking Head. Petey saw Clarice Westwater as a true paradox: both victim and victimizer. In his line of work, he often counseled battered women to leave their spouses. While each case was unique, there was a common pattern and shared traits. Westwater was different. Scott White had deposited her at death’s door numerous times and, more often than not, she had endured the ordeal without going to the police, family or friends. She would appear defeated and vulnerable in the aftermath of this violence. Yet, she always quickly reverted to her cold, calculating, unfeeling self, then proceeded to dish out the abuse verbally, psychologically, and emotionally to all, but her closest confidants – and that was a very small group, indeed. The Talking Head was so inherently manipulative, parasitical, and self-serving that it was difficult to have compassion for the woman.

“Lights, cameras, Jesus!”

After a visit to wardrobe and make-up to address that cranial glare, Pastor Petey joined his imperious co-host on the sound stage – littered, once again, with the Talking Head’s opulent rococo and Greco-Roman props. The set was saturated with rich embroideries, gilt, and tassels. Gold, purple, forest-green, and blood red predominated. Even Westwater’s pug, Bitsie, managed a disapproving countenance, lording over the scurrying grips and stagehands from atop her leopard skin recamier. Petey loathed the brainless purebred, but Bitsie’s return had been a precondition set by Clarice.

The Talking Head seated herself in a regal high-back chair, with her pug to her right. Both on and off-stage, Pastor Petey dressed with the conservative minimalism of a Quaker. His somber attire clashed dramatically with the Talking Head’s choice of wardrobe. Her outfit screamed “secular humanist”. Clarice was seldom satisfied with the imported haute-couture offerings of New York’s textile district. When her income allowed, she purchased directly from the various fashion houses in Europe. To mark her return, she was sporting a lavish Jean Paul Gaultier formal, dark green gown with plunging front and back. The empire waist accentuated her saline bosom. Clarice’s left shoulder was left bare by a drop strap, while ostrich feathers embellished the gown’s right shoulder, extending upwards, over the shoulder, and cascading down the back of the dress.

A technician cued the Netcast’s theme music, as Petey moved stage center to announce the return of Clarice Westwater from her (wholly fictitious) humanitarian crusade in Africa. The Talking Head’s reworking of the Netcast began with its theme music. The saccharine refrains of puddin’ pop alto saxophonist Kenny G. had been replaced with the sternum-vibrating Gangsta Rap beat of artiste Fifty Cent. The Talking Head intentionally hadn’t forewarned her co-host about the switch to throw him off his game. She succeeded in her endeavor. Historically, the Metropoleis Messianic Minute opened with a darkened stage and Pastor Petey in a soft blue spotlight, head bowed in piety, arms crossed prosaically, holding the Good Book snug against his crisp white starched shirt. Unbeknownst to the pastor, Clarice had replaced the aging audio equipment with six eight-foot-tall studio monitors and a bank of subwoofers, fueled by a rack of Crown power amplifiers, putting out 50,000 watts of libidinous lyricism. Fifty Cent’s “Candy Shop” hit the studio like a neutron bomb, following Scott White’s voice-over introduction of the show’s topics. Six back-up dancers – three male, three female – emerged from either side of the stage. The dancers, their lithe, near naked bodies well-greased, began to gyrate to the music. The wall of sound sucker-punched Pastor Petey, knocking him back on his heels. He lost his grip on his dog-eared Bible, dropping to his knees to catch the book before it hit the floor. While rising to his feet, Petey noticed the scantily clad dancers and dropped the Bible again.

The synchronized pelvic thrusts of the dancers slowed in rhythm as the music faded. The dancers struck rigid, statuesque poses behind the pastor: three female dancers to his right, three males to his left. The soft blue spotlight morphed to red, then purple, as Petey cleared his throat and head to speak. He was furious over the audio ambush and the change in show format. His face turned a deep crimson with rage at the mere thought of having to lavish praise upon the Talking Head, much less enact his new role as her footman. There were no doubts about her malicious intent: he could clearly see the mischievous grimace cross Westwater’s face as she watched Petey struggle to steady himself.

After regaining his composure, the pastor spoke into Camera #2 through clenched jaws, trying to conceal his anger, while feigning enthusiasm about the Talking Head’s return. He briefly summarized her manufactured mission to Africa, heaped praise on her for her bravery and selflessness, then welcomed her back to the MIII Ministry fold. From center stage, Pastor Petey pivoted towards the seated Clarice, hands clasped in prayer, as he exclaimed, “Back from doing her fearless and fearsome work in Hell’s abyss, the MIII Ministry’s Dove of Divine Providence – Clarice Westwater!” With that, there was an encore of Fifty Cent’s hit song, and the spotlight swung stage right to reveal the Talking Head seated regally upon her throne. At the Netcast’s opening, the loud music had terrified Bitsie, causing the dog to seek refuge under the stage manager’s chair. Bitsie, like Pastor Petey, had, by now, adjusted somewhat to the aural assault, and returned to her mistress’ side.

About the Author:Jason M. Kays is an intellectual property attorney with fifteen years experience in both information technology and entertainment law. Kays is an accomplished jazz trumpet player and his passion has always been music, technology, and convergence of the two in today's digital age. This is his first novel.

For further information visit: http://www.virtualvice.net/

Virtual Vice is available at Amazon.com

For a review of Virtual Vice by Jason Kays, please visit Cafe of Dreams.

Happy Reading

Sunday, August 16, 2009

New Books



My book supplier (my mom) came up yesterday to get the girls and she left some books. They are mostly romances that she gets from the local used bookstore. Here are the books.
  1. 1. A Cottage by the Sea by Ciji Ware
  2. 2. Snowflake Wishes by Lydia Browne
  3. A Slice of Heaven by Sherryl Woods
  4. Wooing Wanda by Gwen Pemberton (Harlequin, Love & Laughter)
  5. Critical Affair by M.J. Rodgers (Harlequin, Code Red, Signature Select)
  6. Sully's Kids by Dawn Stewardson (Harlequin Superromance, Children Included)
  7. The Measure Of a Man by Marie Ferrarella (Silhouette Special Edition)

Books I bought:

  1. At The King's Command by Susan Wiggs (Book 1 of The Tudor Rose Trilogy)
  2. Chosen to Die by Lisa Jackson (sequel to Left to Die)

Have you read any of them? If so tell me what you think?

Happy Reading

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Book Spotlight-Fear the Worst by Linwood Barclay

I am very excited to feature Fear the Worst by Linwood Barclay as a book spotlight on my blog.

*SYNOPSIS* Your daughter doesn’t come home one night from her summer job.

You go there looking for her. No one’s seen her. But it’s worse than that.

No one’s ever seen her. So where has she been going every day? And where is she now?

In Linwood Barclay’s riveting new thriller, an ordinary man’s desperate search for his daughter leads him into a dark world of corruption, exploitation, and murder. Tim Blake is about to learn that the people you think you know best are the ones harboring the biggest secrets.

Tim is an average guy. He sells cars. He has an ex-wife. She’s moved in with a man whose moody son spends more time online than he should. His girlfriend is turning out to be a bit of a flake. It’s not a life without hassles, but nothing will prepare Tim for the nightmare that’s about to begin.

Sydney vanishes into thin air. At the hotel where she supposedly worked, no one has ever heard of her. Even her closest friends seem to be at a loss. Now, as the days pass without word, Tim must face the fact that not only is Sydney missing, but that the daughter he’s loved and thought he knew is a virtual stranger.

As he retraces Sydney’s steps, Tim discovers that the suburban Connecticut town he always thought of as idyllic is anything but. What he doesn’t know is that his every move is being watched. There are others who want to find Syd as much as Tim does.

But they’re not planning a Welcome Home party.

The closer Tim comes to the truth, the closer he comes to every parent’s worst nightmare—and the kind of evil only a parent’s love has a chance in hell of stopping.

*EXCERPT* Chapter One

"We've also been looking at the Mazda," the woman said. "And we took a—Dell, what was it called? The other one we took out for a test drive?"

Her husband said, "A Subaru."

"That's right," the woman said. "A Subaru."

The woman, whose name was Lorna, and her husband, whose name was Dell, were sitting across the desk from me in the showroom of Riverside Honda. This was the third time they'd been in to see me since I'd come back to work. There comes a point, even when you're dealing with the worst crisis of your life, when you find yourself not knowing what else to do but fall back into your routine.

Lorna had on the desk, in addition to the folder on the Accord, which was what Lorna and Dell had been talking to me about, folders on the Toyota Camry, the Mazda 6, the Subaru Legacy, the Chevrolet Malibu, the Ford Taurus, the Dodge Avenger, and half a dozen others at the bottom of the stack that I couldn't see.

"I notice that the Taurus has 263 horsepower with its standard engine, but the Accord only has 177 horsepower," Lorna said.

"I think you'll see," I said, working hard to stay focused, "that the Taurus engine with that horsepower rating is a V6, while the Accord is a four-cylinder. You'll find it still gives you plenty of pickup, but uses way less gas."

Oh," Lorna said, nodding. "What are the cylinders, exactly? I know you told me before, but I don't think I remember."

Dell shook his head slowly from side to side. That was pretty much all Dell did during these visits. He sat there and let Lorna ask all the questions, do all the talking, unless he was asked something specific, and even then he usually just grunted. He appeared to be losing the will to live. I guessed he'd been sitting across the desk of at least a dozen sales associates between Bridgeport and New Haven over the last few weeks. I could see it in his face, that he didn't give a shit what kind of car they got, just so long as they got something.

But Lorna believed they must be responsible shoppers, and that meant checking out every car in the class they were looking at, comparing specs, studying warranties. All of which was a good thing, to a point, but now Lorna had so much information that she didn't know what to do with it. Lorna thought all this research would help them make an informed decision, but instead it had made it impossible for her to make one at all.

They were in their mid-forties. He was a shoe salesman in the Connecticut Post Mall, and she was a fourth-grade teacher. This was standard teacher behavior. Research your topic, consider all the options, go home and make a chart, car names across the top, features down the side, make check marks in the little boxes.

Lorna asked about the Accord's rear legroom compared to the Malibu, which might have been an issue if they had kids, or if she'd given any indication they had any friends. By the time she was on to the Accord's trunk space versus the Mazda 6, I really wasn't listening. Finally, I held up a hand.

"What car do you like?" I asked Lorna.

"Like?" she said.

My computer monitor was positioned between us, and the whole time Lorna was talking I was moving the mouse around, tapping the keyboard. Lorna assumed I was on the Honda website, calling up data so I could answer her questions.

I wasn't. I was on findsydneyblake.com. I was looking to see whether there'd been any recent hits on the site, whether anyone had emailed me. One of Sydney's friends, a computer whiz—actually, any of Syd's friends was a computer whiz compared to me—by the name of Jeff Bluestein had helped me put together the website, which had all the basic information.

There was a full description of Syd. Age: 17. Date of birth: April 15, 1992. Weight: approximately 115 pounds. Eye color: Blue. Hair: Blonde. Height: 5 feet 3 inches.

Date of disappearance: June 29, 2009.

Last seen: Leaving for work from our address on Hill Street. Might have been spotted in the vicinity of the Just Inn Time hotel, in Milford, Connecticut.

There was also a description of Syd's silver Civic, complete with license plate number.

Visitors to the website, which Jeff had linked to other sites about runaways and missing teens, were encouraged to call police, or get in touch with me, Tim Blake, directly. I'd gone through as many photos as I could find of Syd, hit up her friends for pictures they had as well, including ones they'd posted on their various Internet sites like Facebook, and plastered them all over findsydneyblake.com. I had hundreds of pictures of Syd, going back through all her seventeen years, but I'd only posted ones from the last six months or so.

Wherever Syd might be, it wasn't with extended family. Susanne's and my parents were dead, neither of us had siblings, and what few relatives we had—an aunt here, an uncle there—we'd put on alert.

"Of course," said Lorna, "we're well aware of the excellent repair records that the Hondas have, and good resale value."

I'd had two emails the day before, but not about Sydney. They were from other parents. One was from a father in Providence, telling me that his son Kenneth had been missing for a year now, and there wasn't a moment when he didn't think about him, wonder where he was, whether he was dead or alive, whether it was something he'd done, as a father, that had driven Kenneth away, or whether his son had met up with the wrong kind of people, that maybe they had—

It wasn't helpful.

The second was from a woman outside Albany who'd stumbled onto the site and told me she was praying for my daughter and for me, that I should put my faith in God if I wanted Sydney to come home safely, that it would be through God that I'd find the strength to get through this.

I deleted both emails without replying.

"But the Toyotas have good resale value as well," Lorna said. "I was looking in Consumer Reports, where they have these little charts with all the red dots on them? Have you noticed those? Well, there are lots of red dots if the cars have good repair records, but if the cars don't have good repair records there are lots of black dots, so you can tell at a glance whether it's a good car or not by how many red or black dots are on the chart? Have you seen those?"

I checked to see whether there were any messages now. The thing was, I had already checked for messages three times since Lorna and Dell had sat down across from me. When I was at my desk, I checked about every three minutes. At least twice a day I phoned Milford police detective Kip Jennings—I'd never met a Kip before, and hadn't expected that when I finally did it would be a woman—to see what progress she was making. She'd been assigned Sydney's case, although I was starting to think "assigned" was defined as "the detective who has the case in the back of his or her desk drawer."

In the time that Lorna had been going on about Consumer Reports recommendations, a message had dropped into my inbox. I clicked on it and learned that there was a problem with my Citibank account and if I didn't immediately confirm all my personal financial details it would be suspended, which was kind of curious considering that I did not have a Citibank account and never had."Jesus Christ," I said aloud. The site had only been up for nearly three weeks—Jeff got it up and running within days of Syd's disappearance—and already the spammers had found it.

"Excuse me?" Lorna said.I glanced at her.

"I'm sorry," I said. "Just something on my screen there. You were saying, about the red dots."

"Were you even listening to me?" she asked.

"Absolutely," I said.

"Have you been looking at some dirty website all this time?" she said, and her husband's eyebrows went up. If there was porn on my screen, he wanted a peek.

"They don't allow that when we're with customers," I said earnestly.

"I just don't want us to make a mistake," Lorna said. "We usually keep our cars for seven to ten years, and that's a long time to have a car if it turns out to be a lemon."

"Honda doesn't make lemons," I assured her.

I needed to sell a car. I hadn't made a sale since Syd went missing. The first week, I didn't come into work. It wasn't like I was home, sick with worry. I was out eighteen hours a day, driving the streets, hitting every mall and plaza and drop-in shelter in Milford and Stratford. Before long, I'd broadened the search to include Bridgeport and New Haven. I showed Syd's picture to anyone who'd look at it. I called every friend I could ever recall her mentioning.

I went back to the Just Inn Time, trying to figure out where the hell Syd was actually going every day when I'd believed she was heading into the hotel.

I'd had very little sleep in the twenty-four days since I'd last seen her.

"You know what I think we're going to do?" Lorna said, scooping the pamphlets off the desk and shoving them into her oversized purse. "I think we should take one more look at the Nissan."

"Why don't you do that?" I said. "They make a very good car."

I got to my feet as Lorna and Dell stood. Just then, my phone rang. I glanced at it, recognized the number on the call display, let it go to message, although this particular caller might not choose to leave yet another one.

"Oh," said Lorna, putting something she'd been holding in her hand onto my desk. It was a set of car keys. "When we were sitting in that Civic over there"—she pointed across the showroom—"I noticed someone had left these in the cup holder."

She did this every time she came. She'd get in a car, discover the keys, scoop them up and deliver them to me. I'd given up explaining to her it was a fire safety thing, that we left the keys in the showroom cars so that if there was a fire, we could get them out in a hurry, time permitting.

"How thoughtful," I said. "I'll put these away someplace safe."

"You wouldn't want anyone driving a car right out of the showroom, now would you?" She laughed. Dell looked as though he'd be happy if the huge Odyssey minivan in the center of the floor ran him over.

"Well, we might be back," Lorna said.

"I've no doubt," I said. I wasn't in a hurry to deal with her again, so I said, "Just to be sure, you might want to check out the Mitsubishi dealer. And have you seen the new Saturns?"

"No," Lorna said, suddenly alarmed that she might have overlooked something. "That first one—what was it?"

"Mitsubishi."

Dell was giving me dagger eyes. I didn't care. Let Lorna torment some other salespeople for a while. Under normal conditions, I'd have tolerated her indecision. But I hadn't been myself since Syd went missing.

A few seconds after they'd left the showroom, my desk phone trilled. No reason to get excited. It was an inside line.

I picked up. "Tim here."

"Got a second?"

"Sure," I said, and replaced the receiver.

I walked over to the other side of the showroom, winding my way through a display that included a Civic, the Odyssey, a Pilot, and a boxy green Element with the suicide rear doors.

I'd been summoned to the office of Laura Cantrell, sales manager. Mid-forties with the body of a twenty-five-year-old, twice married, single for four years, brown hair, white teeth, very red lips. She drove a silver S2000, the limited-production two-seater Honda sports car that we sold, maybe, a dozen of a year.

"Hey, Tim, sit down," she said, not getting up from behind her desk. Since she had an actual office, and not a cubicle like the lowly sales staff, I was able to close her door as she'd asked.

I sat down without saying anything. I wasn't much into small talk these days.

"So how's it going?" Laura asked.

I nodded. "Okay."

She nodded her head in the direction of the parking lot, where Lorna and Dell were at this moment getting into their eight-year-old Buick. "Still can't make up their minds?"

"No," I said. "You know the story about the donkey standing between two bales of hay that starves because he can't decide which one to eat first?"

Laura wasn't interested in fables. "We have a good product. Why can't you close this one?"

"They'll be back," I said resignedly

Laura leaned back in her swivel chair, folded her arms below her breasts. "So, Tim, any news?"

I knew she was asking about Syd. "No," I said.

She shook her head sympathetically. "God, it must be rough."

"It's hard," I said.

"Did I ever tell you I was a runaway myself once?" she asked.

"Yes," I said.

"I was sixteen, and my parents were ragging on me about everything. School, my boyfriends, staying out late, you name it, they had a list. So I thought, screw it, I'm outta here, and I took off with this boy named Martin, hitched around the country, saw America, you know?"

"Your parents must have been worried sick."

Laura Cantrell offered up a "who cares" shrug.

"The point is," she said, "I was fine. I just needed to find out who I was. Get out from under their thumb. Be my own self. Fly solo, you know? At the end of the day, that's what matters. Independence."

I didn't say anything.

"Look," she said, leaning forward now, resting her elbows on the desk. I got a whiff of perfume. Expensive, I bet. "Everyone around here is pulling for you. We really are. We can't imagine what it's like, going through what you're going through. Unimaginable. We all want Cindy to come home today."

"Sydney," I said.

"But the thing is, you have to go on, right? You can't worry about what you don't know. Chances are, your daughter's fine. Safe and sound. If you're lucky, she's taken along a boyfriend like I did. I know that might not be what you want to hear, but the fact is, if she's got a young man with her, already she's a hell of a lot safer. And don't even worry about the sex thing. Girls today, they're much savvier about that stuff. They know the score, they know everything about birth control. A hell of a lot more than we did in our day. Well, I was pretty knowledgeable, but most of them, they didn't have a clue."

*ABOUT THE AUTHOR* Linwood Barclay is a former columnist for the Toronto Star. He is the author of several critically acclaimed novels, including Too Close to Home and No Time for Goodbye, a #1 bestseller in Britain. He lives near Toronto with his wife and has two grown children. His website is http://www.linwoodbarclay.com/.

Fear the Worst by Linwood Barclay is available at Amazon.com

VBT sponosered by Pump Up Your Book Promotion

Happy Reading