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

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Saturday, August 8, 2009

American Lion: Review


American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House by Jon Meacham is about Jackson and all the players of his White House years.

Meacham focuses on Jackson's interaction with family, friends and enemies. He also talked about the three controversial policies that Jackson was involved in, Indian Policies, breaking the Bank of the United States, and nullification of South Carolina (how he prevented a civil war).

I have read other reviews that did not like how much time Meacham spent on the Eaton scandal. I found it thought-provoking. I feel it shows the mind set of the time. As well as how the wives/women of the men in power can control things. The Eaton Scandal shows what can happen when people are frozen out of the Social Circle and how it effected other things-policy making, decision making.

My first thought when I read American Lion was that the more things change the more they stay the same esp in politics. In some ways it was like I was reading about a modern Presidential campaign as well as a modern Presidency.

Even though Jackson is known for his bad temper, American Lion shows another side of Jackson, his gentle side. He was really cared for his family especially the children and his close friends.

I found Meacham's writing style to be choppy. I felt that the story of Jackson could have flowed better. There were times that I felt Meacham was ahead of the story and then he would jump back. This style was difficult for me to read.

Meacham said in his author's note "I have attempted to paint a biographical portrait of Jackson and of many people who lived and worked with him in his tumultuous years in power." I think he accomplished this.

Even though it took me a long time to read and I found the writing style choppy, I kept wanting to find out more about Jackson and the personalities that surrounded him during the his presidential years.

3.5 stars Over all I found this book interesting. I just had difficulty with the writing style. If you had read this book what did you think especially about the writing style.

For more info about this book and the author visit my book spotlight on American Lion

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Thursday, August 6, 2009

Ghost of A Chance

Review is by my daughter Anna.

Ghost of a Chance by Laura Peyton Roberts was good. I thought it was just another paranormal book, but it wasn't. Melissa Soul did not believe that her friend, Chloe met a ghost. A ghost named James. When James finally shows himself to Melissa a love triangle develops.

This book was different, no vampires, just two best friends and a ghost.

People should read Ghost of a Chance because it gives you twists all throughout the book. I never expected the ending, I'm sure you won't either. It was also fresh and funny. Best friends try to understand love, ghosts, and life. You will enjoy seeing best friends try to undo a love triangle that has destroyed their friendship and then repair their friendship.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Mini-Reviews Romances

Husband in Training by Christine Rimmer

From Back Cover: Beautiful widow Jenny Brown had gotten used to having ruggedly handsome Nick DeSalvo, her late husband's best buddy, around-as a friend. Until one day he resented Jenny with a strange request. I seemed that the original single guy was bound and determined to become...a family man! And he needed her help in learning what every woman desired....

Well, single mother Jenny wanted no part in giving husband lessons-but her young daughter Polly had other ideas. Soon old friend Nick was constantly underfoot-where is mouthwatering muscles and sexy grin began driving Jenny crazy.... and making her see the budding bridegroom in more than just a friendly light...

A nice sweet romance. It did have its funny moments, but not enough. This book had potential to be a very humorous read. I felt that the daughter was reading material that a 13 year old girl would not read, maybe it would be better if the daughter was older 15-16. I don't see a 13 year old girl reading Cosmo. It just bothered me. 3 Stars


Singl-Dad Sheriff by Amy Frazier
From the Back Cover: There are only two things Brett McQuire cares about:
raising his son and keeping the law in Applegate, North Carolina. Then Samantha Weston moves to town, stirring up the locals and putting him to the test.... as a cop, a father, and a man.

He's pretty darn sure the alluring llama trekker isn't who she seems. But once he uncovers the secret that's got her on the run, can he keep
Samantha-the woman he wants more than anything to stay-from fleeing yet again?

This was the better book of the two. The characters were more believable. I
thought that the 12 year old boy acted like a 12 year old child. This book brought you in right from the very beginning. It was hard to put down. A good read. I definitely would read another book by Amy Frazier. 4 Stars


I read these books for the Harlequin/Silhouette Challenge. New to me author Amy Frazier and a book husband, wife,etc in the title, Husband in Training.


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