Monday, July 27, 2009

Guest Post: By Angus Munro

I would like to welcome Angus Munro to ReadingMama as he tours the blogosphere promoting his book wonderful book A Full House-But Empty.

A view of A Full House – But Empty by Angus Munro.
I was born in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada during the Great Depression. Our father, a single parent raised my two sisters and me. Those were very tough and hectic years both economically and emotionally. The Depression ended and World War II started. At age fourteen, I dropped out of school due to an unfortunate incident the prior year and having had repeated the seventh grade.

At age seventeen, this grade-school dropout was working in a sawmill tossing lumber ends off of a conveyor belt. A theological student from the University of British Columbia attended one of our home parties. We became friends and one evening he delivered a Dutch uncle speech to me. He told me in plain English to get off of my ass and get moving in the right direction. He suggested that I take evening classes at a local high school in typing and accounting to acquire some basic skills. He also stated that I should seek an entrance position in a white-collar setting that would afford future advancements. I attempted to refute his suggestions by stating I was a failure, a dropout with no skills. He stated that I unequivocally had above average intelligence and assuredly possessing great untapped potentialities. He pointedly stated that is your focus not unfortunate past events. Mission accomplished – I immediately did exactly what he suggested.

I progressively worked up the vocational ladder, starting from the bottom rung. During my career, I spent nine very successful years in the petroleum industry and was scheduled for a junior executive position in home office. I decided to change careers. I spent thirty-nine very productive years in hospital administration in California and Alaska. I was a director of several departments with staffing complements of fifty-five to seventy employees prior to my retirement.

My message is of moving ahead and lessons learned from my father and others. Thus helping me to successfully climb up the vocational ladder along with enhancing myself in addressing my needs and importantly the needs of others.

Angus Munro has roots that run deep. His farming ancestors came from Scotland in 1830 and his relatives still reside on the same farmlands in Southern Ontario, Canada. His grandfather left Ontario and took his family to Saskatchewan in 1905 and became a prosperous wheat farmer. When Angus' father married, the grandfather leased other farmlands to get his son established. Angus' father lost the total proceeds of his first wheat crop in a wild poker game at the local grain elevator. The grandfather was none too happy and decided to relocate to Vancouver, B.C.

The Depression deepened and sadly Angus' grandfather passed away - leaving his entire estate to his second son. Angus' father traveled to see his brother to seek financial assistance and received nothing. He returned to Vancouver unexpectedly one evening and found his wife in bed with someone else. Thus, his father became a single parent to three children - Laura 6, Angus 3, and Marjorie and infant. The following day, Angus became very ill with appendicitis and spent seven weeks in the Vancouver General Hospital. The author vividly covers his early childhood years and living with another family - similar circumstances, a father with five children, coping with the Depression and, thereafter, addressing their dual basic family needs.

Angus' new memoir, A Full House - But Empty, is the gripping story of young Angus' life growing up in the Depression years based on the positive lessons he had learned from his father during their somewhat traumatic and hectic years together.

If you would like to find out more about Angus, visit his website at
Thank you Angus for sharing your story.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Kristian's Question Ancient Evil

Kristen over at Kristen's Writing Endeavors asked this question what is your definition of an Ancient Evil.

Here is my response: An ancient evil is something that has been hidden, or stopped during ancient times such as Roman, Greek, Egyptian or when druids ruled in England,and is released into the present. I know my definition is very simple but that is how I see it.

Why don't you visit Kristen's Writing Endeavors to tell Kristen what you think an Ancient Evil is?

Happ Reading

Saturday, July 25, 2009

ARC-When You Went Away-Book Spotlight

I received When You Went Away by Michael Baron this week in the mail. It is the first mass market original form the publishing house The Story Plant, which was created by Lou Aronica and Peter Miller last year.

About The Book:
*blurb* Only a few months ago, Gerry Rubato had everything he thought he needed from life. He was passionately in love with his college sweetheart after nearly twenty years of marriage, he had a bright, independent-minded daughter, and he had the surprising addition of a new child ton the way. Then everything changed with stunning rapidity. With little explanation his daughter ran away with her older boyfriend. Then, only a month after giving birth to their son, his wife died suddenly.

Now, Gerry needs to be everything to his infant child while he contends with two losses he can barely comprehend. When a woman walks into his life as a friend and their relationship verges on something more, Gerry must redefine all that he knows about himself, about love, about loyalty and about his dreams.

When You Went Away sounds like it will be a good read. Maybe even a tearjerker, I may have to keep tissue handy as I read this.

About the Author:
Michael Baron grew up in the New York area and lived there most of his life. He worked in retail and taught high school English before getting the first of several book contracts.

When You Went Away is Michael Baron's first novel. His scene, Crossing The Bridge, will be published by The Story Plant in January 201o.He is also the author o a number of successful nonfiction books.

Michael considers his wife and children the center of his life, claiming his spouse as the inspiration of his love stories. The children, he says, "enthrall me, challenge me and keep me moving." Much of the impetus behind When You Went Away grew from his desire to write about being a father.

Michael lives in New England with his family and is currently at work on a new story of relationships,love and celebrity.
(from Press Release)

If you want to visit Michael's website here is the address

For more information visit
When You went Away
Michael Baron
The Story Plant/Mass Market Original/Fiction
Distributed by Perseus
On Sale October 6, 2009/$7.99 ($9.99 Canada)

Happy Reading

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Book Spotlight-American Lion

I am happy to spotlight New York Times Bestseller and 2009 Pulitzer Prizewinner for Biography American Lion by Jon Meacham. American Lion focuses on Andrew Jackson's presidential years.

About The Book:
New York Times Bestseller and 2009 Pulitzer Prizewinner for Biography, AMERICAN LION by Jon Meacham is a deeply insightful and eminently readable narrative biography of Andrew Jackson (often called "America's second founding father") and his pivotal years in the White House that shaped the modern presidency.

Andrew Jackson, his intimate circle of friends, and his tumultuous times are at the heart of this remarkable book about the man who rose from nothing to create the modern presidency. Beloved and hated, venerated and reviled, Andrew Jackson was an orphan who fought his way to the pinnacle of power, bending the nation to his will in the cause of democracy. Jackson’s election in 1828 ushered in a new and lasting era in which the people, not distant elites, were the guiding force in American politics. Democracy made its stand in the Jackson years, and he gave voice to the hopes and the fears of a restless, changing nation facing challenging times at home and threats abroad. To tell the saga of Jackson’s presidency, acclaimed author Jon Meacham goes inside the Jackson White House. Drawing on newly discovered family letters and papers, he details the human drama–the family, the women, and the inner circle of advisers–that shaped Jackson’s private world through years of storm and victory.

One of our most significant yet dimly recalled presidents, Jackson was a battle-hardened warrior, the founder of the Democratic Party, and the architect of the presidency as we know it. His story is one of violence, sex, courage, and tragedy. With his powerful persona, his evident bravery, and his mystical connection to the people, Jackson moved the White House from the periphery of government to the center of national action, articulating a vision of change that challenged entrenched interests to heed the popular will–or face his formidable wrath. The greatest of the presidents who have followed Jackson in the White House–from Lincoln to Theodore Roosevelt to FDR to Truman–have found inspiration in his example, and virtue in his vision.

Jackson was the most contradictory of men. The architect of the removal of Indians from their native lands, he was warmly sentimental and risked everything to give more power to ordinary citizens. He was, in short, a lot like his country: alternately kind and vicious, brilliant and blind; and a man who fought a lifelong war to keep the republic safe–no matter what it took.

Jon Meacham in American Lion has delivered the definitive human portrait of a pivotal president who forever changed the American presidency–and America itself.

Andy Will Fight His Way in the World

Christmas 1828 should have been the happiest of seasons at the Hermitage, Jackson’s plantation twelve miles outside Nashville. It was a week before the holiday, and Jackson had won the presidency of the United States the month before. “How triumphant!” Andrew Donelson said of the victory. “How flattering to the cause of the people!” Now the president- elect’s family and friends were to be on hand for a holiday of good food, liquor, and wine–Jackson was known to serve guests whiskey, champagne, claret, Madeira, port, and gin–and, in this special year, a pageant of horses, guns, and martial glory.

On Wednesday, December 17, 1828, Jackson was sitting inside the house, answering congratulatory messages. As he worked, friends in town were planning a ball to honor their favorite son before he left for Washington. Led by a marshal, there would be a guard of soldiers on horseback to take Jackson into Nashville, fire a twenty- four- gun artillery salute, and escort him to a dinner followed by dancing. Rachel would be by his side.
In the last moments before the celebrations, and his duties, began, Jackson drafted a letter. Writing in his hurried hand across the foolscap, he accepted an old friend’s good wishes: “To the people, for the confidence reposed in me, my gratitude and best services are due; and are pledged to their service.” Before he finished the note, Jackson went outside to his Tennessee fields.

He knew his election was inspiring both reverence and loathing. The 1828 presidential campaign between Jackson and Adams had been vicious. Jackson’s forces had charged that Adams, as minister to Russia, had procured a woman for Czar Alexander I. As president, Adams was alleged to have spent too much public money decorating the White House, buying fancy china and a billiard table. The anti- Jackson assaults were more colorful. Jackson’s foes called his wife a bigamist and his mother a whore, attacking him for a history of dueling, for alleged atrocities in battles against the British, the Spanish, and the Indians–and for being a wife stealer who had married Rachel before she was divorced from her first husband. “Even Mrs. J. is not spared, and my pious Mother, nearly fifty years in the tomb, and who, from her cradle to her death had not a speck upon her character, has been dragged forth . . . and held to public scorn as a prostitute who intermarried with a Negro, and my eldest brother sold as a slave in Carolina,” Jackson said to a friend.

Jackson’s advisers marveled at the ferocity of the Adams attacks. “The floodgates of falsehood, slander, and abuse have been hoisted and the most nauseating filth is poured, in torrents, on the head, of not only Genl Jackson but all his prominent supporters,” William B. Lewis told John Coffee, an old friend of Jackson’s from Tennessee.
Some Americans thought of the president-elect as a second Father of His Country. Others wanted him dead. One Revolutionary War veteran, David Coons of Harpers Ferry, Virginia, was hearing rumors of ambush and assassination plots against Jackson. To Coons, Jackson was coming to rule as a tribune of the people, but to others Jackson seemed dangerous–so dangerous, in fact, that he was worth killing. “There are a portion of malicious and unprincipled men who have made hard threats with regard to you, men whose baseness would (in my opinion) prompt them to do anything,” Coons wrote Jackson.

That was the turbulent world awaiting beyond the Hermitage. In the draft of a speech he was to deliver to the celebration in town, Jackson was torn between anxiety and nostalgia. “The consciousness of a steady adherence to my duty has not been disturbed by the unsparing attacks of which I have been the subject during the election,” the speech read. Still, Jackson admitted he felt “apprehension” about the years ahead. His chief fear? That, in Jackson’s words, “I shall fail” to secure “the future prosperity of our beloved country.” Perhaps the procession to Nashville and the ball at the hotel would lift his spirits; perhaps Christmas with his family would.

While Jackson was outside, word came that his wife had collapsed in her sitting room, screaming in pain. It had been a wretched time for Rachel. She was, Jackson’s political foes cried, “a black wench,” a “profligate woman,” unfit to be the wife of the president of the United States. Shaken by the at- tacks, Rachel–also sixty-one and, in contrast to her husband, short and somewhat heavy–had been melancholy and anxious. “The enemies of the General have dipped their arrows in wormwood and gall and sped them at me,” Rachel lamented during the campaign. “Almighty God, was there ever any thing equal to it?” On the way home from a trip to Nashville after the balloting, Rachel was devastated to overhear a conversation about the lurid charges against her. Her niece, the twenty-one- year- old Emily Donelson, tried to reassure her aunt but failed. “No, Emily,” Mrs. Jackson replied, “I’ll never forget it!”

When news of her husband’s election arrived, she said: “Well, for Mr. Jackson’s sake I am glad; for my own part I never wished it.” Now the cumulative toll of the campaign and the coming administration exacted its price as Rachel was put to bed, the sound of her cries still echoing in her slave Hannah’s ears

About The Author:
Jon Meacham is the editor of Newsweek and author of American Lion and the New York Times bestsellers Franklin and Winston: An Intimate Portrait of an Epic Friendship and American Gospel: God, the Founding Fathers, and the Making of a Nation. He lives in New York City with his wife and children. You can visit his website at

I hope that this wets your appetite for American Lion. I am reading this book now and I am finding it very interesting. One of my thoughts so far is that nothing has changed in politics. You had your liberals, yes even back then and your conservatives. There is even a "gasp" a sex scandal involving one of his cabinet members. Who would have thought back in the early 1800s. I found it intriguing in regards to how it affected the running of Jackson's cabinet. I guess I should stop and save the rest of my thoughts when I finish reading American Lion. I am hoping to finish the book within the next week. So keep coming back to see when my review is up.

Happy Reading

Monday, July 20, 2009

My Absolutely Best Flying Story- J.R. Hauptman Guest Post

J.R. Hauptman is the author of the murder, mystery, action novel, The Target: Love, Death and Airline Deregulation. I am very excited to have J.R. Hauptman do a guest post on my blog. I think that you will find his post to be an interesting tale. At least I did. Enjoy

My Absolutely Best Flying Story
by J.R. Hauptman

When folks discover that I have been a professional pilot for nearly a half- century, they often ask me what was the most exciting and dangerous incident for me to experience and survive. Although there have been very few to approach the level of excitement of Captain Sully’s landing in the Hudson, I tell them that the story I like to share, is the one I consider my most “interesting.”

I had spent barely a year as a pilot for one of the major airfreight carriers and my son-in-law, let’s call him “Bradley,” was winding down his professional football career by recently signing with the Los Angeles Rams for the last few games of the season. His early career had been star-crossed, rewarding him with a berth on a championship team and two Super Bowl rings. The hapless Rams were not very good that year and this was definitely a demotion for him. I managed to attend two of these games by using my airline jumpseat privileges and the final one was in Seattle against the Seahawks.

I rode the jumpseat from Denver to Seattle on one of the non-stop flights and arranged to spend the night before the game with an old friend from my last tour in Viet Nam. Brad provided us with complimentary game tickets and we managed to spend some time with him and a few of his teammates that evening. It had to be a short evening due to an early bed check and Bradley seemed to be suffering from the onset of the flu.

As anticipated, the game went badly for the Rams; they came out flat and Brad, who should have stayed in bed, more that once found himself flattened on the Astroturf of the old Kingdome. We got to see him briefly after the game, as he boarded the team bus and took a seat next to the head coach, who would be fired the very next day.

I spent the night with my war buddy and early the next morning, he dropped me off at Sea Tac Airport to catch my flight back home to Denver. My chances to get on board appeared a bit chancy as there were several pass riders and jumpseaters standing by, but the rules were very generous back in those days and my luck held. I even managed to sit in first class with several others who were pass riders from that airline.

We took off without delay and the first thirty minutes of the flight. Shortly after the aircraft leveled out at cruise altitude, the chime rang and the head flight attendant picked up the interphone to the cockpit. She listened intently for a few seconds, then lowered the phone, a serious but unperturbed look on her face. Switching the phone to public address, announced, “Any doctors or paramedics on board, would you please press your call buttons.” She strode purposely to the rear cabin, as there were two dings in reply.

Within a minute, two young gentlemen, as requested a doctor and a paramed, marched not altogether anxiously back up the aisle, herded along by the first flight attendant. The cockpit door of the Boeing 737 opened to a knock and my view was temporarily blocked by the small crowd of people now at the entrance. The crowd then shifted rearward as the doctor and paramed lifted the copilot out of his seat and laid his body across the threshold, his feet and legs still inside the cockpit and his face the color of battleship grey.

The medics began working on him as he lay there and as the flight attendant again scurried to the rear, I turned to the passenger across from me and asked, “Are you a pilot for this airline and qualified in this airplane?”

“Uhh, well,” he answered, “I’m a simulator instructor in this bird down at their training center but I’m not one of their regular line pilots. He returned to his magazine, obviously not anxious to volunteer.

By now the head F/A was on her way back to the front door where they had dragged the copilot to the floor of the alcove. I stopped her and told her that I worked for the airfreight company and that although I was not qualified on this aircraft, I had flown the Boeing 727 and that I would do anything to assist the Captain. She stepped over the victim and after a brief parley in the cockpit, she returned to where I sat.

“Captain wants you up front right now,” she stated tersely. “Here, take these with you; you’ll need ‘em,” she added, handing me a fistful of paper towels. I became the seventh person in the small space between the entry alcove and the copilot seat as the F/A attempted to clear debris and remnants of his crew meal from the cockpit floor. The right seat was somewhat wet with mostly coffee as I daubed at it with the towels. By this point there were nearly five people in the tiny cockpit as the doctor and flight attendant attempted to converse with the Captain and the air traffic control center blared over the loudspeakers.

As I tried to make my way into the seat, an awful thought crossed my mind. Food poisoning?? Had the copilot gotten food poisoning from the crew meal or what he might have eaten earlier? Worse, was the Captain about to fall victim to food poisoning if he had eaten the same kind of meal? And the worst thought of all, “Would I have to fly this airplane by myself if he is incapacitated too??!”

Since Viet Nam, I have a developed a little device I use on myself when I get into a tough spot. I take about three deep breaths and work myself into a controlled adrenal state. My emotions soar, almost to the point of tears but my mind is completely clear and in cold focus. I thought of my son-in-law and almost audibly said to him, “Brad, you play in big games and Super Bowls, but this is just a jet and this is what I do!”

My mind focused, I squeezed into the seat, plugged the copilot’s earphone and introduced myself to the Captain as he welcomed me aboard. Air Traffic Control was still yammering at our flight, wanting to know if we wanted to declare an emergency and when I asked him for guidance, he looked at me directly and said, “You handle it!”

That settled, I took over the copilot duties and without further incidents we proceeded to Denver and some two hours later, we made a normal approach, landing and arrival there. Now I think that by itself, that makes a pretty good flying story but the story is not yet over and it is far from the best part.

After being greeted by the FAA and the local chief pilot, I called my own chief pilot and my wife to keep them informed and not to worry if the news media got hold of it. I also decided to call our daughter Laura, who was in LA with Brad and I told her the whole story. Excited, she thanked me and added that Brad was still in bed with a bad case of the flu. For the time being, the story ended there for me but here is the best part.

When daughter Laura hung up the phone, she ran to the bedroom where Bradley dozed fitfully.
“Brad, Brad,” she shook him. “You’ll never guess what happened to my dad when he jumpseated back to Denver.”

“Yeah,” he answered drowsily. “I had a dream a couple of hours ago and it woke me up, it was so real. The copilot got sick and your dad had to help fly the airplane.”

This is a true story. My son-in-law is a realist who doesn’t go in for this spooky spiritual or ESP stuff and to this day, he will not discuss it.

YOU figure it out!

J.R. Hauptman (pseudonym) has been a professional pilot for nearly a half century. Barely 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

I would like to thank J.R. Hauptman for sharing this story with us. My review of Hauptman's book The Target:Love, Death, and Airline Deregulation will be posted on August 20. It should be a good read.

Happy Reading

Sunday, July 19, 2009

A Circle of Souls

From The Back Cover:

The sleepy town of Newbury, Connecticut, is shocked when a little girl is found brutally murdered. The town's top detective, perplexed by a complete lack of leads, calls in /FBI agent Leia Bines, an expert in cases involving children.

Meanwhile, Dr. Peter Gram, a psychiatrist at Newbury's hospital , searches desperately for the cause of seven-year-ole Naya Hastings's devastating nightmares. Afraid that she might hurt herself in the midst of a torturous episode. Naya's parents have turned to the bright young doctor as their only hope.

The situations confronting Leia and Peter converge when Naya begins drawing chilling images of murder after being bombarded by the disturbing images in her dreams. Amazingly, her sketches are the only clues to the crime that has panicked Newbury residents. Against her better judgement, Leia explores the clues in Naya's crude drawings, only to set off an alarming chain of events.

My Review:
I am so glad that Preetham Grandhi asked me to review A Circle of Souls. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It was a great read. Everything about this book was just right. This psychological thriller pulled me in from the very beginning. Grandhi weaves a very intense tale.
I was unable to figure out who did it until Grandhi reveled all. The ending was an OMG ending. I kept saying OMG until everything was resolved.
This book is a definite read. Just don't read this book across from a boat house like I did. 4.5 stars. Awesome read.
About The Author:
Preetham Grandhi, M.D. immigrated to the United States from Bangalore,
India to pursue a career in child and adolescent psychiatry. After his graduation from Yale he has been the chief of service for House 5 at Bronx Children’s Psychiatric Center. He is devoted to helping young children gain insight into their emotional and behavioral needs and empowers them to maximize their inner potential. He also has a private practice and resides in Westchester County, New York, with his family
Happy Reading

Sunday, July 12, 2009

A Will To Love

Welcome to Kim Smith's Pump Up Your Book Promotion
Virtual Book Tour

About The Book:
Benton Jessup wants his bed and breakfast to be successful. He will go to no lengths to insure that it does. But when Kitty Beebe, a famous romance author, arrives at The Inn, his desire for success becomes a struggle of wills with love.

If the Beebe woman liked it, her expression of approval might bring more business to The Inn, and cement his chance at having a four star rating. He scowled. Keeping her off his mind was becoming nearly impossible.

The opportunity to gain more recognition for his business consumed him, regardless if it meant impressing someone to do it. Showing off his talents was his ace. It excited him, kept him focused.

He’d been raised a poor man’s son with never two pennies to rub together. It was through his own resourcefulness that he’d found jobs working in kitchens each one building to a higher position until he landed a job as head cook. He knew how to succeed. He’d done it a step at a time all of his life. He set a goal and worked toward it until it became his.

At the moment, his goal was to make Kitty Beebe tell all her New York friends that The Inn was the best bed and breakfast in South.

It was a reasonable expectation. It would take long hours, and careful planning, but it could be done. Nothing he hadn’t faced before and successfully accomplished. That drive to overcome his meager beginnings was why he hadn’t just closed The Inn and gone back home.

Ambition was his all-consuming need and his ticket to ride on the wheel of life.

But could he get his guest to succumb to his charm, his talent. . . his obsession?

Change. That was what he needed. Change to his approach, his execution. He would make the Beebe woman fall in love with this place, with his very country until she didn’t want to return to Ireland.

If he were to succeed at that, it meant giving up his resolve to stay out of a woman’s way. It meant putting himself directly in her path and he knew what direction her path would be.It was written on every page of her damn book.

My Review:
This novelette was a nice sweet romance about two people who find love again with each other. They help each other realize that they can't dwell in the past but that they have to move forward to find love and happiness.

I liked how Smith portrays the falling in love process. One is afraid to make the first move, but when you do it is not quite what you expect. For example, the scene when Ben makes breakfast for Kitty. He takes it up to here room and when he opens it. She is her writing zone and turns towards him and says Get Out! He leaves, but he is very confused. I loved this scene.

I enjoyed this novelette. The one problem is that we learned why Ben was resistant to love but why was Kitty. If we had Kitty's backstory maybe the ending wouldn't have felt so rushed. Maybe Smith can write another story that tells the reason why Kitty did not want to fall in love.

I hope that Smith will create an ongoing series by which The Inn and the surrounding country side would be the back drop for other romantic stories. But first tell Kitty's story.

I give this novelette 3.5 stars because we are left with the question as why was Kitty so resistant to love.

About the Author:
Kim Smith is the hostess for the popular radio show, Introducing WRITERS! Radio show on Blog Talk Radio. She is also the author of the zany, Shannon Wallace mystery series available now from Red Rose Publishing and also the new romance novel, A Will to Love. You can visit Kim’s website at

Happy Reading

Monday, July 6, 2009

A Full House-But Empty

Welcome to Pump Up Your Book Promotion's
Virtual Book Tour for Angus Munro

About the Book:
Filled with anecdotes, lessons learned, and an inspirational message for everyone who believes that hard work breeds success, this moving autobiography shares the remarkable story of Angus Munro.

Munro is just three when he suffers from appendicitis and spends several weeks in a Vancouver hospital as his family struggles to survive the Great Depression. After finally arriving home, Munro asks his sister, "Where is Mummy?" and is promptly told his mother doesn't live there anymore. It is this traumatic event that changes the course of Munro's life forever. His father is suddenly a single parent while simultaneously turning into Munro's mentor and hero. He teaches Munro the motto, "Always do the right thing," while raising his children in an environment that is at the very least hectic, and more often completely chaotic.

Through a potpourri of chronological and heartfelt tales, Munro reveals how he learned to view incidents in life in terms of responsibility, recognition, personal conduct, and consideration of others. Despite dropping out of school at a young age, Munro perseveres, eventually attaining professional success

Munro's memoir is a wonderful tribute to his father's legacy and the greatest lesson of all - whatever you do, follow through.

At the age of three, I suffered from appendicitis and spent seven weeks in the Vancouver General Hospital. Little did I know or understand at the time that my mother and father were seriously struggling with their relationship, and that the future of our family life was hanging in the balance.

Upon my arrival home from the hospital, I was immediately put into my bed, which was a large crib that had been placed in the living room. As soon as I settled in, I asked my six-year-old sister Laura, “Where is mummy?”

“She doesn’t live here anymore,” she stated flatly.

Her words shocked me. I started thrashing around and screaming hysterically, “Mummy, Mummy!” My father rushed into the room to rescue me and to pacify me.

“It’s okay. Everything is going to be okay. We’re here with you now.” I continued to cry hysterically. I felt dejected. Why did I seem to be the only one upset with this tragic news? I did not comprehend that my mother had been gone from home seven weeks. This was old news to Laura, but fresh news to me.

Fortunately, to cover my mother’s departure from our home, we were blessed with two wonderful housekeepers who tried to pick up the pieces. They had been provided at no cost to us by the Provincial Social Services. One or the other came daily during the week to take care of our needs. They were so kind and motherly that being with them helped our days to flow freely. My father said on many occasions that they spent more time playing and taking care of us individually than they did fulfilling household chores. He frankly preferred it that way. He said he would return home daily to three happy smiling faces and a somewhat disheveled apartment. Dishevelment was of no importance to him.

One day, my sister Laura and I looked in the window of a bakeshop that was located half a block from our apartment. In the center of the display window was a beautiful white cake with a maraschino cherry right in the middle on top. I was five and knew nothing about the Depression and how poor we were. When we returned home, I told my father about the beautiful cake and wondered if he would buy it for us

My Review: 4 stars
When I began reading A Full House-But Empty, I heard my grandpa's voice. The anecdotes, that are in this book reminded me of when my grandpa would tell stories of when he was growing up.

Angus Munro memoir was very interesting, thought-provoking and entertaining. My favorite part of the book was when Mr. Munro wrote about when he was growing up in the depression. Even though his family was short money, they found ways to get their needs meet. Mr. Munro and his friend Cecil had many adventures together that were very nostalgic. What they did growing up, children do not do today.

When I was reading the second part of the book, which focuses mainly on his business life, I was thinking that people who are in business especially customer service should read this book. Because Mr. Munro talks about how to treat people both co-workers and patients in a positive way and the rewards one will get because they treat people nicely. Mr. Munro does not ignore employees who do not do their job, he talks to them openly and honestly about what they had to do to become a more consciousness employee. Some people were thankful in that moment, others over time and then they would come back to tell Mr. Munro thanks. Again the rewards of being honest.

There were times when I was reading an anecdote, that I wanted more. For example, when Mr. Munro was writing about Bob and how Bob was asking all of the questions about how Mr. Munro does things at work. Mr. Munro ends the passage with his avocation was piloting private smaller planes. I want to know more and I wanted to know how did Mr. Munro know this.

This memoir is about hope and how one does not have to deal with the cards they are dealt. That with hard work and perseverance one can overcome many things. There are many lessons in this book and Mr. Munro dose a recap as to what one learns from certain passages.

This autobiography is not your traditional autobiography in that it is about a famous person. This book is about an ordinary man who has done ordinary things and what we can learn from his life experiences and maybe if we look at our life we might have stories and lessons to learn as well.

About the Author:

Angus Munro has roots that run deep. His farming ancestors came from Scotland in 1830 and his relatives still reside on the same farmlands in Southern Ontario, Canada. His grandfather left Ontario and took his family to Saskatchewan in 1905 and became a prosperous wheat farmer. When Angus' father married, the grandfather leased other farmlands to get his son established. Angus' father lost the total proceeds of his first wheat crop in a wild poker game at the local grain elevator. The grandfather was none too happy and decided to relocate to Vancouver, B.C.

The Depression deepened and sadly Angus' grandfather passed away - leaving his entire estate to his second son. Angus' father traveled to see his brother to seek financial assistance and received nothing. He returned to Vancouver unexpectedly one evening and found his wife in bed with someone else. Thus, his father became a single parent to three children - Laura 6, Angus 3, and Marjorie and infant. The following day, Angus became very ill with appendicitis and spent seven weeks in the Vancouver General Hospital. The author vividly covers his early childhood years and living with another family - similar circumstances, a father with five children, coping with the Depression and, thereafter, addressing their dual basic family needs.

Angus' new memoir, A Full House - But Empty, is the gripping story of young Angus' life growing up in the Depression years based on the positive lessons he had learned from his father during their somewhat traumatic and hectic years together.

On a side note please don't ask me who is the better storyteller my grandpa or Mr. Munro because it would be a disservice to both as they both are great storytellers.

Happy Reading

Saturday, July 4, 2009

The Gnostic Mystery

From the Back Cover:
Jack Stanton, an American businessman, makes a pilgrimage to war-torn Israel in hopes of rekindling his Christian faith. While traveling with his friend Punjeeh, an ER Doctor from Jerusalem, Jack acquires an ancient scroll written by the Gnostics, a mystical group of early Christians-and his spiritual quest takes an unexpected turn. The scroll makes the startling claims that the Gnostics were the original followers of Jesus, and that they retained secret knowledge of Jesus that was not included in the Bible.

With the help of the ingenious Chloe Eisenberg, a professor of philosophy and religion, Jack and Punjeeh navigate the dangerous terrain of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict in an attempt to decipher the puzzle of the scroll and bring the Gnostics' revelations about Jesus to light.

Threaded with the searing realities of today's Middle East, The Gnostic Mystery is packed with historical facts about the Christian Religion.

The Thrilling mystery makes a compelling case that the origins of Christianity are far different from what we believed...until now.

My Review:
I found this book very interesting. A lot of the facts that he presented I was aware of and I also learned some new facts. He presents his theory about the origins of Christianity in a very easy readable way. I was thinking he should have written this as a non-fiction instead of fiction because his writing style is very simple, making a complex theory easy to understand.

This is not a Da Vinci Code type mystery as it is presented on the cover. It is a fiction book that explains what Gnosticism is and presents Davila's theory of the origins of Christianity. The plot and characters are secondary to Davila's theory and explanations of Gnosticism. Again he should have written a nonfiction book containing these ideas.

Some people will find his ideas upsetting and anti-Christianity. Other people will find them thought provoking and interesting.

If you have read A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle, you may find some similar concepts that relate to the ego; I think that would have been a better comparison than to the Da Vinci Code.

If you are a devote Christian and Catholic this book is not for you, but if you are open to controversial ideas that challenge your belief system than this book is for you.

I give this book 3 stars because it did not live up to being what they were promoting it as, The Da Vinci Code-esque mystery.

Happy Reading.