Sunday, March 29, 2009

How Do You Write Reviews?

I am just wondering how other book review bloggers write their reviews. This idea accord to me while I was suffering form my writers block. Do you take notes as you read along or wait until you finish the book?

I wait until I finish the book. Then I will write my review. But there is were the problem lays. If I tend to wait to long it is harder to write reviews. So I try to write my ideas on paper before I write them on the blog. Buuuut you guest it, I don't do it all the time. I usually will do this process when I am doing a review book. I try to finish the book before the day the review is up soooo if I wait to long I will forget what I want to say.

Also do you write your review first on paper or on the computer? I tend to do both. If I write it on paper I always make changes when I start to rewrite it on my blog.

So which one do you do, take notes or wait?

Thursday, March 26, 2009

No Sanctuary

About The Book:

First on the scene of a traffic accident that turns out to be murder, Officer Stacey Wilbur calls Detective Doug Milligan. Despite her former vow to never date anyone on the Rocky Bluff P.D., she and Milligan are romantically involved. Finding time to be alone together isn’t easy.

The murder victim is the wife of a popular Rocky Bluff minister, and several suspects immediately come to the forefront, the minister himself, his nosy secretary, the choir director, and a nerdy stalker. Stacey helps Doug with the murder investigation, but the Chief asks her to go undercover as a prostitute to expose a pedophile which leads to a surprising job offer.

Stacey must make two major decisions that will change her life forever, and a third that nearly causes her to lose her life.
Chapter 1
“Oh, boy,” Officer Stacey Wilbur keyed her radio and requested assistance, quickly describing the single vehicle accident in front of her.
Working the four-to-midnight shift, Stacey had been returning from a burglary call at a secluded ranch located far into the foothills that backed the community of Rocky Bluff. When she maneuvered her police unit around a sharp corner, she came upon the light green Toyota smashed into the trunk of a massive oak tree.
It was obvious the accident had happened recently. Though not a busy road, there were enough homes and ranches nestled in the valleys for someone to have come upon the scene if it occurred much before her arrival.
Hoping for survivors, Stacey shined her flashlight beam in the open driver’s window. Squashed against the bent steering wheel was the woman driver. Blood splattered the sea foam green seat and the floor of the car. The puddling blood hadn’t congealed. The speedometer needle pointed to 75. Steam erupted from the radiator.
An abundance of dark hair, wet with blood, covered the victim’s face. Though Stacey knew there wouldn’t be any, she reached through the window to feel for a pulse on the women’s neck. Nothing.
Stacey put her hand on the hood of the car. As she’d expected it was warm. Quickly, she went over a check-list in her mind. There were no witnesses to question. The driver was dead. There was not enough traffic on the country road at that hour to worry about. Despite the unrelenting Santa Ana winds that had been blowing down the canyons for the last two days, there didn’t seem to be any danger of fire. Usually ocean breezes kept the southern California beach town cool, but they didn’t have a chance against the power of the seasonal blast coming from the deserts.
Going back to her unit, Stacey called in the license number on the plates. While she waited for the information, she suspected this was more than an accident.
My Review:
No Sanctuary by F.M. Meredith is book number 5 in the Rocky Bluff PD series. Even though this is part of a series, you don't need to read the previous books in the series to understand what is going on. No Sanctuary can stand alone. Meredith gives enough background information so that I was not wondering who is who and what is what. I did not feel that the background information was out of place but it was incorporated nicely in the story.
This murder mystery does not only focus on the murder and who did it, but also focuses on the personal lives of the police officers in Rocky bluff esp single mom Stacy Wilbur. Being a police officer is hard, but Stacy makes it work thanks to her parents. Stacy also has to find time to spend with her boyfriend, Detective Doug Milligan if she wants to become something more serious. We also see into the lives of the other officers on the force and how being a police officer makes home life complicated.
Meredith gives enough suspects that I was guessing until the end who killed the preacher's wife and the ending was intense.
I enjoyed reading this fast-paced book. No Sanctuary would be a great vacation book. Now I have to go on the hunt and find the other books in the Rocky Bluff PD series.
No Sanctuary receives 4 Stars.
About the Author:

Under the name of F.M. Meredith, Marilyn Meredith writes the Rocky Bluff P.D. series, the latest is No Sanctuary from Oak Tree Press. She is also the author of the award-winning Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery series as well as over twenty published novels. The latest is, Kindred Spirits, from Mundania Press.
She is a member of Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, EPIC 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, much like Bear Creek where Deputy Tempe Crabtree lives.
Visit Marilyn online at
Happy Reading

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Everyone Is Beautiful

About The Book:

Lanie Coates’ life is spinning out of control. She’s piled everything she owns into a U-Haul and driven with her husband, Peter, and their three little boys from their cozy Texas home to a multiflight walkup in the Northeast. She’s left behind family, friends, and a comfortable life–all so her husband can realize his dream of becoming a professional musician. But somewhere in the eye of her personal hurricane, it hits Lanie that she once had dreams too. If only she could remember what they were.

These days, Lanie always seems to rank herself dead last–and when another mom accidentally criticizes her appearance, it’s the final straw. Fifteen years, three babies, and more pounds than she’s willing to count since the day she said “I do,” Lanie longs desperately to feel like her old self again. It’s time to rise up, fish her moxie out of the diaper pail, and find the woman she was before motherhood capsized her entire existence.

Lanie sets change in motion–joining a gym, signing up for photography classes, and finding a new best friend. But she also creates waves that come to threaten her whole life. In the end, Lanie must figure out once and for all how to find herself without losing everything else in the process.

Katherine Center’s Everyone Is Beautiful is a hugely entertaining, poignant, and charming new novel about what happens after happily ever after: how a woman learns to fall in love with her husband–and her entire life–all over again.

My Review:

Everyone is Beautiful is a tale about Lanie, who can find beauty in everyone but herself. Lanie is every woman. Whether you are a working mom or a stay at home mom; you will find a part of you in her. Well at least I did. It is easy to relate to Lanie and her life. You want her to succeed in the new life that she is making for herself.

As one ages and becomes involved in life one forgets what makes us beautiful and special. Katherine Center uses this book to remind one about what beauty is and that we are all beautiful. My favorite line is "I believe that when you love someone, she becomes beautiful to you". This reminds me that no matter how I see myself, not pretty or beautiful, my husband and children see me in a positive light.

This is a wonderful story about finding oneself, the consequences of finding oneself, and making the changes work for you and the important people in your life, your family.

So be like Lanie and make a positive change in your life. Don't think about how or if it is affordable, or who well watch the children, just do it and see what happens.

I give this book 4.5 stars, because it is a great book about finding oneself.

About The Author:

Katherine Center’s second novel, Everyone Is Beautiful, is featured in the March issue of Redbook. Kirkus Reviews likens it to the 1950s motherhood classic Please Don't Eat the Daisies, and says, "Center’s breezy style invites the reader to commiserate, laughing all the way." Booklist calls it "a superbly written novel filled with unique and resonant characters." Katherine's first novel, The Bright Side of Disaster, was featured in People Magazine, USA Today, Vanity Fair, the Houston Chronicle, and the Dallas Morning News, among others. BookPage named Katherine one of seven new writers to watch, and the paperback of Bright Side was a Breakout Title at Target. Katherine recently published an essay in Real Simple Family and has another forthcoming in Because I Love Her: 34 Women Writers on the Mother-Daughter Bond this April. She has just turned in her third novel, Get Lucky, and is starting on a fourth. She lives in Houston, Texas, with her husband and two young children. You can visit her website at

Happy Reading

Monday, March 23, 2009

Writer's Block Mini Reviews

I have two reviews that I want to write but every time I get started I just stare at the computer and the books. Trying to figure out what to say about these books. I enjoyed these two books but I can't think of what to say. Maybe because I waited to long between reading and writing the review.

Once Upon a Valentine's by Holly Jacobs is one of the books. I loved it. This was the final book in the American Dads trilogy. It is about Carly Lewis and Charles "Chuck" Jefferson. Every time I begin I just draw a blank. I want to do justice to this book, but I don't know what to say. I do wish that Jacobs writes about Judge Anderson Bradley. He needs to find his heroine. I hope that it will be Heidi, President of the Erie Elementary PTA. If not I hope that Heidi gets her own story.

Nothing Personal by Eileen Dreyer is the other. This was a hospital serial killer mystery. Again it was a good book. I do recommend it if you like these kind of books. It kept me guessing until the end. Again I want to say more but I don't know what to say.

I gave them both 4 stars.

I guess I gave them mini reviews. If you like Harlequin Romances, I think you would like Once Upon a Valentine's. If suspense is your choice you will be enthralled with Nothing Personal.
Well I hope my writer's block mini reviews do justice to these two different but wonderful books.
Happy Reading

Sunday, March 22, 2009

White Hibiscus

White Hibiscus by Rosemary Pollock is a Harlequin Romance written in 1980. I found it very dated or maybe I changed.

Emma is a young 18 year girl who is in Malta to do a photo shot. When her photographer tries to attack her, she runs from the car. She is almost hit by another car driven my Paul Santana Demajo. Paul takes her to his sister estates. She is the Princess Lisa di Valdi, who happens to be a famous designer. Princess Lisa decides that she wants Emma to model her clothes line. So off they fly to Paul's estate on an island near Malta. Paul is in his thirties and does not like models. He thinks models are boring and have dubious morals.

I can see myself reading this book as a teenager and loving it. The exciting life of a model going to foreign places and falling in love with a man that you hope will take care of you. But as a woman who is of a certain age, I did not like it. The age difference, having a man take care of you does not appeal to me.

I guess I like my heroines to have more history and to be closer in age to the heroes.

I gave this book 2 stars.
Happy Reading

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Axe Of Iron: The Settlers

If you stopped by yesterday, you read a great guest post by J.A. Hunsinger. J.A. Hunsinger is the author of a new historical fiction book about Northmen or Vikings called Axe of Iron:The Settlers. If you have not read the guest post yet check it out I think that you will find it very interesting. Axe of Iron:The Settlers is the first book in a series based on this group of Northmen. Also I put up a little information about the book on yesterday's post. Today is my review on this very intriguing, interesting book.

Halfdan Ingolfsson and his second-in-command Gudbjartur Einarsson with a group of people from Iceland and Greenland journey to Vinland (North America) to make a better life for themselves. On their journey they experience hardship and fun times together. The purpose of this expedition is to establish a permanent settlement. They must develop a peaceful relationship with the Skraelings (native people of North America). This is paramount to their survival.

You can tell that Hunsinger put a lot of time and effort into his research. Hunsinger explains the daily lives of the Northmen in great detail. As you read this book you get the feel that you are actually there. You can see, hear, feel what the Northmen had to endure to survive. I am just glad that I don't have to do all they did just to have food.

When you think of Northmen or Vikings, you think of the stereotypical ones who rape and pillage. (Well at least I do.) This books gives you a different perspective on what Vikings are, just typical people who care about their family and friends. These Northmen just want to explore Vinland and live peacefully in their new land.

The characters are well written and believable. I enjoyed the characters interactions with each other.

Axe of Iron: The Settlers is an accurate glimpse into the lives of the Northmen. You get to see how brutal and savage and how ordinary and gentle the Northmen were. It is about a time period that one does not normally read about. Overall, I found this book to be a fantastic read. I give it 4.5 Stars. I look forward to the other books in this continuing saga. I can't wait to see what happens to this group of first settlers in North America.

J. A. Hunsinger lives in Colorado, USA, with his wife Phyllis. The first novel of his character-driven, historical fiction series, Axe of Iron: The Settlers, represents his first serious effort to craft the story of a lifelong interest in the Viking Age—especially as it pertains to Norse exploration west of Iceland—and extensive research and archaeological site visitations as an amateur historian. He has tied the discovery of many of the Norse artifacts found on this continent to places and events portrayed in his novels.

Much of his adult life has been associated with commercial aviation, both in and out of the cockpit. As an Engineering Technical Writer for Honeywell Commercial Flight Systems Group, Phoenix, AZ, he authored two comprehensive pilots’ manuals on aircraft computer guidance systems and several supplemental aircraft radar manuals. His manuals were published and distributed worldwide to airline operators by Honeywell Engineering, Phoenix, AZ. He also published an article, Flight Into Danger, in Flying Magazine, (August 2002).

Historical Novel Society, American Institute of Archaeology, Canadian Archaeology Association, and IBPA-Independent Book Publishers Association, are among the fraternal and trade organizations in which he holds membership.

Happy Reading

J.A. Hunsinger: Guest Post

J.A. Hunsinger is the first author to do a guest post on my blog. So I am very excited to welcome J.A. Hunsinger to Reading Mama. J.A. Hunsinger is the author of Axe of Iron:The Settlers. So everyone give him a warm welcome and enjoy his guest post. I know that I did.
The first novel of a continuing character-driven tale of a medieval people whose wanderlust and yearning for adventure cause them to leave the two established settlements on Greenland and sail west, to the unexplored land later referred to as Vinland.

Eirik the Red established Eiriksfjord in 986 and later Lysufjord, 400-miles to the north. Just 22-years later, new settlers from the homelands found all the best land already occupied, the fragile Arctic environment strained by too many people and animals on too little arable land.

Under the capable leadership of Halfdan Ingolfsson and his lieutenant, Gudbjartur Einarsson, 315 men, women, and children set sail from Greenland in the spring of 1008, bound for the unexplored continent across the western ocean.

Standing in their way are uncounted numbers of indigenous people, the pre-historical ancestors of the Cree (Naskapi), Ojibwa (Anishinabeg), and Iroquois (Haudenosaunee) Indians. From the outset, these native people strenuously resist the incursion of these tall, pale-skinned invaders.

Two calamitous events occur that pave the way for the hostile beginnings of an assimilation process to occur between these disparate peoples. The way is rocky and fraught with danger at every turn, but the acceptance and friendship that develops between the Northmen and the Naskapi over an affair of honor, the eventual acceptance of a young boy of the Northmen by his Haudenosaunee captors, and a scenario that seems ordained by the will of the gods, makes it all begin to fall into place, as it must for the Northmen to survive.

See the saga unfold, in this first book of the Axe of Iron series, through the eyes of the characters as each day brings a continuation of the toil, love, hardship, and danger that they come to expect in this unforgiving new land.
Please come back tomorrow to see my review for Axe of Iron: The Settlers.

The Story Behind the Book
by J. A. Hunsinger

In 986 about five hundred medieval Norse people settled the island of Greenland. Over the five hundred year history of the two known settlements on the islands southwestern coast the population increased to as many as four thousand people. We know little about the people or the settlements because the people wrote nothing down for posterity. All we know about them comes to us from the Greenland Saga and the Saga of Eirik the Red, both written about two centuries after the facts they pretend to convey. In about the mid-fifteenth century the people abandoned their last remaining settlement, Eiriksfjord. Wherever they went, they took their ships, tools, and every useful item they possessed. Nobody knows their destination for they left not a clue. Their disappearance is the premise for my Axe of Iron series.

Much of what we know about these people, pertaining to their culture and disappearance, I have covered in detail in the Historical Perspective of my character-driven, historical fiction novel Axe of Iron: The Settlers. This is the first book of the continuing Axe of Iron series about the Greenland Norse people. The series tells a fictional tale about what I believe happened to them based on my extensive research over the years.

My interest in the subject stems from the Norse and Germanic mythology I studied in school, my Swedish/German heritage, and the vexing question of the disappearance of four thousand people. I recognized early on that there are many people who are fascinated by the medieval Viking culture. Although the people I write about share that Viking heritage, when they sailed to Greenland and North America in the tenth and eleventh centuries they were no longer Vikings in the strict sense of the word and I do not refer to them as such.
The unknown aspects of their disappearance gives me the opportunity to use fiction to tell a tale about them that answers many of the questions about certain North American Indian tribes who exhibited characteristics, customs, and mannerisms that early explorers—eighteenth century—attributed to pre-historical European contact. The dates when these facts came to light reinforce my contention that the European contact alluded to could only have been the Greenland Norse people. My series will deal, in a fictional sense, with why tribal members of some pre-historical Indian tribes looked like white people, had customs like white people—including religious beliefs—were completely different from other tribes encountered, and welcomed the earliest white explorers with open arms.

The Greenland Norse did not disappear; they assimilated with the pre-historical North American Indians that they encountered. I believe this assimilation process was well underway by the early years of the eleventh century in the Canadian Arctic and moved south as the Medieval Warm Period gave way to the onslaught of the Mini-Ice Age. This natural climate cycle caused native peoples— including the last holdouts of Greenland Norse people remaining in Eiriksfjord—to migrate with the animals on which they subsisted.

Conventional brick and mortar archaeologists have largely ignored this controversial aspect of our pre-historical past. The path to discovery remains blurred by the passage of one thousand years of time. There are no ruins or pyramids to create entire cultures around, and few artifacts to discover. The presence of the Greenland Norse people on this continent is but an echo from the dim past, but it is here nonetheless.

Scientists have found Norse DNA in Greenland and Baffin Island Inuit people. If somebody will look, perhaps Norse DNA will be found in members of contemporary Indian tribes in northeastern and north central North America. Only then will we know their fate.

As I wrote in the Historical Perspective of Axe of Iron: The Settlers, more than 40–generations have elapsed since they came to this continent. Now their very existence, everything they accomplished, has faded from the collective memory of all the peoples they contacted.

I prefer to believe the four thousand live on however, their genetic makeup diluted by the intervening centuries of time. They are still here smiling back at us from the faces of the Inuit Greenlanders, Cree, Ojibwa, and Iroquois with whom they joined so long ago.

That is why I have a story to tell, a story as seen through the eyes of my characters.
You can visit J.A.Hunsinger's website at and his blog at

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Proximidade Award

I to give a BIG thank you to Desert Rose over at Desert Rose Booklogue for giving my my FIRST blog award. Needless to say I am very HAPPY to receive it. The meaning of the award is below and it is a very touching.

This blog invests and believes in the PROXIMITY-nearness in space, time and relationships. These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in prizes or self-aggrandizement! Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers! Deliver this award to eight bloggers who must choose eight more and include this clever-written text into the body of their award

Here are my eight below.

These eight have touched me, helped me, encouraged me in some way. Whether they are aware of that or not. Just like a friend. This is just a public thank you to my blog friends.

Yvonne at Socrates's Book Review you would be on this list, but because you are so friendly and caring you already have this award. Congratulations.
Now to let everyone know that they have an award.
Have a great day.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

I Am So Far Behind myspace graphic comments
Between work, selling Girl Scout cookies, and sharing the computer with both daughters, I have become behind in posting reviews. I have three books that I still need to write a review for. I don't know how good the reveiws will be because so much time has passed or they might be very short review. A description and the star rating I am not sure yet.

I am behind in my reading. For the past month I am reading very slowly. I am liking the book I am reading but I am not finding it hard to find the time to read. I don't know if I will reach my goal of 100 books this year. But I am not giving up, I will keep

I am even behind on my email. I have so many emails waiting for me. Well, I ever catch up. Maybe when the girls go to my parents for spring break, I will get cought up.

I just wanted to let everyone know that I have not forgotten my blog. I do think about it, but I have to find the time to write the reviews and other things.

Happy Reading.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

First -Time Valentine

From the Back Cover:

Newly minted doctor Ella Wilder just wanted to follow in her father's footsteps and practice medicine-even as a conglomerate vied to take over her family's beloved hospital. Then said company's executive accidentally lost his footing and shattered his leg on the grounds of Walnut River General. As the new orthopedist on staff, Ella rose to the occasion.

J.D. Summer intended the trip to his hometown to be strictly business. But the sparks that flew between him and his beautiful, talented doctor were worthy of medical attention. And he wasn't exactly sure of his condition, bu Ella might just be the antidote t J.D.'s hardened heart.

My review: 2.5 stars

First-Time Valentine by Mary J. Forbes is part of the Wilder Family series by Silhouette. Even though this was a nice sweet story; it was a little disappointing.

Ella is an innocent heroine. She knows what it is like to be a doctor but not what it is like to be with a man, even though she is 29 years old. I had a hard time with the Heroine being so old and never been with a man. I like a more realistic Heroine. Maybe the heroine would have been more believable as a virgin if she was younger.
Get it "first-time" Valentine. Ella and J.D. go away for Valentine's weekens and will you get it. After reading the book, decided that the title is pretty bad.
This was not one of the better romances that I have read.
Happy Reading