Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Book Review - How to Price Crafts and Things You Make to Sell - James Dillehay

Happy Halloween!!!!!!!! BOO!
How to Price Crafts and Things You Make to Sell
Title:       How to Price Crafts and Things You Make to Sell


Review:   Novice crafters will get an insider’s look into how to market and sell their product. When trying to sell a handmade craft a buyer’s perception is everything.  James Dillehay gives details on how to improve a buyer’s perception of you, your product, and storefront or booth. A local economy and demographics can also influence your success. So, one has to make a choice when and where to sell crafts.

Bringing attention to detail and materials is important when pricing a craft one is selling retail or wholesale. He gives suggestions as to where to sell online, what to look for in your area, and travel. Tax and bookkeeping are kept to a minimum. This is an area of interest that I wish was covered in more detail. Most people do not know how to keep proper records for taxes and it would have been a great help for any novice crafter just starting a business. However, tax advantages are covered.

Dillehay also provides valuable pricing formulas based on material cost price per unit, shipping, and hourly wage you pay yourself for a crafters profit after the sale. He also goes into overpricing and how to remedy the situation. One of a kind art pieces, as in sculptures and paintings, are also considered in this book and their markup should be taken into account.

Thanks Todd for this fabulous review.  Check out Todd's book for more information on this reviewer and what he makes and sells.  T-cords check out his paracord bracelets.

Publisher: Warm Snow Publishers (August 23, 2012)
ISBN: 978-0971068476
Copyright: 2012
Pages:  132
Quick Review: 4 stars (out of 5)
Why I Read It:  I make crafts and wondered about pricing.
Where I Obtained the Book:  Sent by the author for review.

Synopsis:  Learn how to price crafts and things you make to sell with this easy-to-follow manual. Discover formulas, examples and strategies to make your craft prices more profitable, when selling retail or wholesale, online or to stores and at craft shows. If you have been considering starting a home business with things to make to sell or you are already selling crafts but losing money, you need "How to Price Crafts." This is a revised updated edition of "The Basic Guide to Pricing Your Craftwork" from artisan, gallery owner, and craft business author, James Dillehay. You get: * Formulas and examples of pricing crafts when selling retail or wholesale, online or off * Stand out from the crowd with 10 competitive ways to price crafts * Get 15 strategies for how to price crafts higher by increasing perceived value * Learn how to price crafts that are one-of-a-kind items * Guarantee that your craft prices are really earning you a profit * Find examples of how to keep records so you can quickly learn how to price crafts as you make them * Boost your cash flow income so you will never run out of money to run your craft business * Get 12 sources for buying craft supplies at the lowest possible costs * Increase your production of things to make to sell with a more efficient workspace * Save money at tax time with more than 40 overlooked tax deductions from your craft business * And much more about how to price crafts that you probably never imagined would help your craft business' bottom line.
 Image of James Dillehay
Author Biography:   James Dillehay has been an entrepreneur for over thirty years and is author of nine books and numerous articles. He has been interviewed in The Wall Street Journal Online, Yahoo Finance, The Chicago Tribune, Bottom Line Personal, Family Circle, The Crafts Report, Better Homes & Gardens, Working Mothers, Country Almanac, and many more including Entrepreneur Radio and HGTV's The Carol Duvall Show.

James produced a series of webinars for the state of Alaska to help their artists and craft makers market their creative products more profitably. He is passionate about helping others develop fulfilling careers profiting from their creativity. He has presented workshops around the US including events for the National Association of Independent Artists in Atlanta, GA and the Bootcamp Marketing for Artists and Craftspeople in Santa Fe, NM.

James is founder of the social network, for those who love to buy and sell crafts and writes about craft business topics at He demonstrates and sells his handwoven wearable art at his Treasure Box Gallery in Madrid, New Mexico, just south of Santa Fe.

Other Reviews:
Handmade Texas Longhorns Middle Weight Paracord BraceletHandmade Iowa Hawkeyes Light Weight Paracord BraceletHandmade Iowa State Cyclone Paracord BraceletHandmade - Get 2 Custom Light Weight Paracord BraceletsPiranha Paracord Bracelet with Stainless Steel Adjustable Shackle with Custom Colors

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Book Review - Ad Nomad - Eric Jay Sonnenschein

Ad Nomad
Title:  Ad Nomad

Review:  This is a long, long, long book about advertizing(with tiny print.)  I have to say that it had its moments of hilarity, but a book this size needs more then moments.  The writing is good and the flow is great, but its size can keep you wondering when it’s finally going to be done.

Lots of great advice on job hunting and interviewing along with funny moments that will make you laugh.  I think most people would like to read this book if it were a bit shorter or maybe split into several books in a series.  I love series and will read all the books and not realize how long they would have been if all were printed in one tome. It also allows you to read other things between the books and not feel the need to finish the full series before moving on to another book.

If you enjoy reading huge books then this is for you…funny and yet so real at times that it is a bit scary.  If you are in advertizing then this is a must read for you.  The size may frighten the weak of heart, but like I said the book has its moments and you don’t want to miss those.

Give Ad Nomad a chance if you like advertizing and humor.  You may even see a bit of yourself in these pages…and of course your boss and co-workers.  Creativity is the name of the advertising game and this author had a great hold on what is creative and how to tap that in your life.

Publisher: Published 2012 by Hudson Heights Press
ISBN: 9780983194743
Copyright: 2012
Pages: 600
Quick Review: 31/2 out of 5.  Just too long for me.
Why I Read It:  Sent by the author for review.

Synopsis: In Ad Nomad, the Case Histories of Dane Bacchus, we enter the world of pharmaceutical advertising, where corrupt and ingenious creative minds market powerful medicines and sophisticated devices with more flair and guile than is used in promoting corn flakes, cars, and mouthwash. In these pages, you will find driven account people, maniacal creative directors, art directors and copywriters pushed to the brink of mental mayhem. Ad Nomad is a coming of age novel about a second-career seeker that describes the quest for self-actualization and the struggle for survival with muckraking naturalism and surreal humor.
 Eric Jay Sonnenschein
Author Biography:   I was born in New York City, grew up outside of Washington, D.C., and received a BA at Amherst College. After serving in the Peace Corps in Tunisia, I came to New York, where I received a MA degree and have lived ever since.

I have had many jobs to survive, but through it all I have been a writer. My work has been published in a range of publications that feature fiction, poetry, journalism and commentary.

On February 23, 2011, my book of personal essays titled MAKING UP FOR LOST TIME was published by Hudson Heights Press. It can be found at

On October 29, 2011 THE LOST POEM & OTHERS LIKE IT, my collection of verse, was published by Hudson Heights Press. It can be found on

Other Reviews:
Gabina49's Blog- Calls this book a must read

Monday, October 29, 2012

Monday in my Mailbox

What was in your mailbox?
One Little Christmas TreeAlfred is a young tree at Carl's Christmas Tree Farm in beautiful Spruce Creek, North Carolina. As all trees do, Alfred starts out with big hopes about being picked each Christmas to be a wonderfully decorated tree for the family he 'inherits.' Time passes and Alfred becomes disappointed that he has not been picked yet. To comfort him, his friend, Mr. Phipps, urges him to be patient and that one day he will be welcomed into a warm, inviting home for the perfect family. Does Alfred get his wish? Will he become a welcome addition to a loving family? Find out - read One Little Christmas Tree today!
How to Price Crafts and Things You Make to Sell -- Formulas and Strategies for Arriving at Profitable Craft Prices for Selling Online or Off, Wholesale or RetailPricing strategies and formulas -- as well as many other tips -- for crafts people wanting to make a go of turning their crafts into a small business.
Red Rain: A NovelR.L. Stine, New York Times bestselling author of the Goosebumps and Fear Street series—the biggest selling children’s books of all time—delivers a terrifying new adult horror novel centered on a town in the grip of a sinister revolt.

Before there was J.K. Rowling, before there was Stephenie Meyer or Suzanne Collins, there was R.L. Stine. Witty, creepy, and compulsively readable, he defined horror for a generation of young readers—readers who have now come of age. 

Travel writer Lea Sutter finds herself on a small island off the coast of South Carolina, the wrong place at the wrong time. A merciless, unanticipated hurricane cuts a path of destruction and Lea barely escapes with her life. In the storm’s aftermath, she discovers orphaned twin boys and impulsively decides to adopt them. The boys, Samuel and Daniel, seem amiable and immensely grateful; Lea’s family back on Long Island—husband Mark and their two children, Ira and Elena—aren’t quite so pleased. But even they can’t anticipate the twins’ true nature—or predict that, within a few weeks’ time, Mark will wind up implicated in two brutal murders, with the police narrowing in.

For the millions of readers who grew up on Goosebumps, and for every fan of deviously inventive horror, this is a must-read from a beloved master of the genre.
Your Superpowers Dream It, Achieve ItJunior high and high school can be a tough few years for anyone. I was no exception. I remember very clearly trying to fit in, trying to make sense of all the changes in life. I didn t discover until years later that those growing up years do not have to be all pain and no gain. If you are a teenager, you know that life can be very unpredictable. You most probably what it feels like to be trapped in lost self-esteem. Almost certainly there are times when you ve felt like a big loser. If you have ever questioned what once gave you security or wondered what life is all about, you are normal. But normal is not truly who you are or what you are capable of. What if I told you that you don t have to feel that way? What if I told you the secret to making sense of it all? If I told you about hidden superpowers within you, would you be interested in unlocking them? It s all right here: everything you need to become who you really want to be. Read it, apply it, and expect miracles!
Keeping Score ~ A Guide to Love and RelationshipsIt's a relationship book even a man can understand.

Keeping Score provides a relationship evaluation quiz followed by a common sense guide for relationship improvement, all with a humorous twist. You can determine if your relationship has the qualities it takes for a successful marriage and lasting love affair. If you're single- read this book to see how well your potential life partner measures up. If you're married- read this book to reduce conflict and increase your happiness.

Take control and shape your marriage into a relationship that will stand the trials of life and go the distance.
Indiscretion: A NovelWe’ve all been around a couple who can engulf the attention of an entire room merely by occupying it. Harry and Madeleine Winslow are that set; the natural ease between them is palpable and their chemistry is almost tangible. He is a recent National Book Award winner with a promising career ahead of him, and she is blessed with family money, but radiates beauty, elegance, and humility. Whether they are abroad in Italy after he receives the Rome Prize, in their ambrosial East Hampton home, or in gritty Manhattan, they are always surrounded by close friends and those who wish to penetrate their inner circle. During a summer spent at the beach, they meet 26 year-old Claire and, as the summer blazes on, she is slowly inducted into their world. Claire can’t help but fall in love with Harry and Maddy and at the end of the summer, it is no longer enough to just be one of their hangers-on. Told through the omniscient eyes of Maddy’s childhood friend Walter, Indiscretion is a juicy, page turning novel with writing that is sophisticated and lyrical. Deeply textured, full of light and darkness, and overwhelmingly sensual, this book will be the sexiest, most intimate story you read all year.
Driving the Saudis: A Chauffeur's Tale of the World's Richest Princesses (plus their servants, nannies, and one royal hairdresser)Actress, producer, and occasional chauffeur Jayne Amelia Larson offers a funny and insightful memoir about the time she spent as a driver for members of the Saudi royal family visiting Beverly Hills, detailing her invitation inside one of the world’s most closely guarded monarchies.

When the Saudi royal family vacationed in Los Angeles, they hired Jayne Amelia Larson, an actress struggling to make ends meet, to be their personal chauffeur. She’d heard stories of the Saudis’ outrageously generous gratuities and figured that several weeks at their beck and call might be worth her time. But when the family arrived via their private jet with an entourage of forty and millions of dollars in cash, Jayne Amelia realized she might be getting into more than she bargained for.

For weeks, Larson observed the family’s opulent lifestyle: they occupied four luxury hotels, enjoyed day in and day out shopping binges, and servants catered 24/7 to Princess Zaahira and her entourage. From the thirteen-year-old princess who slapped down $100 dollar bills at a supermarket and didn’t bother to wait for her change to the nanny who ran away in the airport the moment she was handed her passport, the stories Larson shares are bizarre, poignant, and illustrative of the profound contradictions and complications that only such massive wealth can create.

Driving the Saudis, based on the author’s successful one-woman stage show, is a vivid portrait of the Saudi royals as few ever get to see them. As funny as it is insightful, this is a true-to-life fable for our times. But at its heart, it’s a story about the corruption that infinite wealth creates, and about what we all do for money.Spy in a Little Black DressInspired by an actual letter in the John F. Kennedy Library written by Jackie and revealing her job offer from the newly formed CIA 

When young Jackie Bouvier receives her second assignment from the CIA, she knows it will go better than her first. She managed to survive the Paris job-while looking her best in Givenchy, no less-but now she's completed her official CIA training. So she's excited to show her boss exactly what she can do for her country.

Her new mission: Go undercover in sultry Havana and investigate a young revolutionary named Fidel Castro. But before Jackie can infiltrate the communist cabal, she's in past her hemline in danger. In another exciting adventure, she colludes with Grace Kelly, dances with Frank Sinatra, and flirts with an up-and-coming congressman from Massachusetts.

As the international intrigue escalates, Jackie must use all her finely honed skills to stay ahead of her enemies . . . and make sure spying never goes out of fashion.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Book Feature - My Enemy's Tears: The Witch of Northampton - Karen Vorbeck Williams

My Enemy's Tears: The Witch of Northampton
Title: My Enemy’s Tears

Author: Karen Vorbeck Williams

After 20 years of research and writing, Karen put her family history into novel form. My Enemy’s Tears: The Witch of Northampton is based on the historical record of her 11th great-grandmother Mary Bliss Parsons and Mary’s arch enemy Sarah Lyman Bridgeman. Their lives trace the journey of not only the English Separatists to the New World and the growth of the first settlements along the Connecticut River from Hartford and Springfield to Northampton, but the lives of women in 17th century New England as well.

The Puritans in Hartford find the wilderness a terrifying place full of warring natives, pestilences and floods, blazing comets, earthquakes and hurricanes—all portents of God’s anger - or a witch’s meddling curse.

The two women spend their married lives in the villages of Springfield and Northampton, where a youthful disagreement festers into a reason to hate and then fear each other. In a time when a woman’s worth and a man’s wealth were counted in sons, Sarah’s sons died in infancy as Mary gave birth to six sons, one after another. Sarah believed that since Mary was a witch, she made a trade-off with the Devil – her living children for Sarah’s dead children. As the years pass, Sarah accuses Mary of murder by witchcraft, prompting a trial before the Court of Assistants in Boston in 1675—17 years before the Salem witch trials.

My Enemy’s Tears looks at two lives—one blessed and one cursed—and the transcendent power of forgiveness.

Praise:   "Beautifully written, well researched, riveting."
—Patricia  Cumming, poet, founding member of Alice James Books

Other reviews:

Publisher:  Published October 15th 2011 by Wheatmark (first published January 1st 2011)
ISBN:  9781604946284
Pages: 450

Synopsis: In the 1630s two young girls fresh from England settle with their families in the Connecticut River Valley. There, on the frontier of a terrifying wilderness surrounded by warring natives, they must face the rigors of life among the Puritans -- a people steeped in superstition and piety. Based on the lives of Mary Bliss Parsons and Sarah Lyman Bridgeman and the men they loved, this fictional account of a true story transports us to a land founded on a dream, where life was uncertain, and where fear and jealousy would lead to ruin.

Author Biography:  KAREN VORBECK WILLIAMS has lived more than thirty-five years in New England where she found the inspiration, settings, and spirit for "My Enemy's Tears: The Witch of Northampton," historical fiction based on the life of her ancestor Mary Bliss Parsons. This is her first novel. She's been an editor for fourteen years and is a prize-winning photographer.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Book Review - When Elephants Weep - Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson

When Elephants Weep: The Emotional Lives of Animals 

Title: When Elephants Weep

Review:   This book is a point by point comprehensive examination of the argument made by the majority of scientists that animals, both domesticated and wild (including dogs & cats), are simply not capable of emotion.  Do animals experience fear, love, friendship, grief, sadness, joy, and so on?  Are they capable of suffering?  Before When Elephants Weep was writen, no one had yet offered an in-depth rebuttal that animals' lives are indeed filled with complex sensibility. The author, Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson, has done meticulous research to present answers to this question and has used example after example that back up his position, all of which is based on scientific studies and anecdote-filled field notes of biologists, ethologists, animal trainers and animal behaviorists, both in the field as well as in captivity.  It is a non-biased collection of scientific observations that state the undeniable breadth and depth of various animals' emotional capacity, observations which include elephants and chimpanzees who enjoy creating art, Koko the hand-signing gorilla who insists on playing with dolls, Alex the parrot who vocalized to his guardian, "Come here! I love you.  I'm sorry.  I want to go back." when left at the veterinarian's office for an exam, as well as countless others. 

Having a deep affection for animals of all stripes, I was both amused and touched by the multitude of illustrations which displayed their heart-warming antics as well as horrified by atrocity after atrocity committed against them by the exploitative measures of scientists.  One frustration I did have with this book was that it skimmed the surface of many points instead of selecting a handful and speaking directly to them in depth.  All in all, When Elephants Weep is a must-read for anyone interested in understanding more about the deeply layered and complex lives of animals.

Thanks for this review go to T.H. Waters

Publisher:  Published October 21st 1996 by Delta (first published 1994)
ISBN:  978038531428
Copyright: 1994
Pages: 320
Quick Review: 4 stars (out of 5)
Why I Read It: I have a deep connection to animals of all stripes and wanted to better understand their emotional element
Where I Obtained the Book:   From a friend

Synopsis: This national bestseller exploring the complex emotional lives of animals was hailed as "a masterpiece" by Elizabeth Marshall Thomas and as "marvelous" by Jane Goodall.

The popularity of When Elephants Weep has swept the nation, as author Jeffrey Masson appeared on Dateline NBC, Good Morning America, and was profiled in People for his ground-breaking and fascinating study. Not since Darwin's The Expression of Emotions in Man and Animals has a book so thoroughly and effectively explored the full range of emotions that exist throughout the animal kingdom.

From dancing squirrels to bashful gorillas to spiteful killer whales, Masson and coauthor Susan McCarthy bring forth fascinating anecdotes and illuminating insights that offer powerful proof of the existence of animal emotion. Chapters on love, joy, anger, fear, shame, compassion, and loneliness are framed by a provocative re-evaluation of how we treat animals, from hunting and eating them to scientific experimentation. Forming a complete and compelling picture of the inner lives of animals, When Elephants Weep assures that we will never look at animals in the same way again.
Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson 
Author Biography: He has written several books books critical of psychoanalysis, psychotherapy and psychiatry as well as books on animals, their emotions and their rights.

He currently lives in New Zealand with his wife, two sons, three cats and three rats.

Other Reviews:

Thursday, October 25, 2012

TLC Book Tour - Book Review - Jennifer Johnson is Sick of Being Married - Heather McElhatton

Jennifer Johnson Is Sick of Being Married: A Novel
Title: Jennifer Johnson is Sick of Being Married

Author: Heather McElhatton

Review: After reading this book two things were clear; Heather McElhatton is a very good writer, and she has mastered the ability to write humor that is actually funny (a lot harder than you would think).  Unfortunately her humor was extremely lazy, so much so that she only had the one joke and repeated it several times. Now more often than not the joke was told expertly, but with the talent she obviously has I would have really enjoyed it if she had expanded her repertoire.

So if I say all conservative Christians are silly, not as smart as us, racist, lying, deceitful, manipulative, bigoted, homophobes and you think “right on”, then this is going to be the funniest book you have read in a long time.  She hits the well page after page and churns out unending jokes on that premise until the cows come home.  Some of them were downright hilarious, but in the end they just got stale.

We start out with the disaster of a honeymoon wherein our heroine has been given a week at a Caribbean resort.  Unfortunately it is a Christian resort without alcohol, the yoga is called joy-go (yoga with the influences of Satan removed), and ultimately a bad case of food poisoning.  Once back in the great state of Minnesota she then has to deal with all the bad people in her life, the above mentioned Christian conservatives.  It is a constant struggle against her in-laws and their backward thinking, with them beating her down until ultimately she finds her inner strength to overcome.

The conclusion is a one-two punch of absurdity that suddenly jumps into the story without build-up, or any explanation.  It was like watching the last 10 minutes of a movie at 64 times the speed.  By rights the second punch should have been a novel unto itself but the author simply decided to skip ahead a year, cheating the reader out of the details.  Plus it was far removed from any semblance of reality, even compared to the rest of the book, that it didn’t fit in.

In the end it was an okay book, well written, definitely funny at times, but a little stale.  I look forward to the author’s new efforts because she has the ability for some really great humor writing, especially of she takes some risks and leaves the one joke behind.  And lest I forget, the funniest character in the whole book was the refrigerator, which just goes to show how creative the author can be.

Publisher: WilliamMorrow
ISBN: 978-0-06-206439-4
Copyright: 2012
Pages: 335
Quick Review: 3 stars out of 5
Why I Read It: I enjoy humorous fiction.
Where I Obtained the Book: Sent to me by the publisher for review.  TLC Tour

Synopsis:  No so terribly long ago, Heather McElhatton's flawed, neurotic, yet lovable average American heroine Jennifer Johnson was sick of being single. Now Jennifer Johnson is Sick of Being Married. The author who brought us the wildly popular Pretty Little Mistakes now favors readers with the next delectably eventful chapter in Jennifer's life, as her new fairy tale marriage (to the wealthy son of a department store tycoon) hits a serious snag, thanks in no small part to a honeymoon-from-hell in a fundamentalist Christian compound and the prospect of a life of bizarre servitude to her devout mother-in-law's church committee. This is outrageously funny, wonderfully edgy contemporary women's fiction in the Helen Fielding and Sophie Kinsella mode that anyone who has ever laughed at the raunchy humor of Sarah Silverman or Chelsea Handler is going to love.
Heather McElhatton 
Author Biography: Heather McElhatton is an independent producer for Minnesota Public Radio and Public Radio International. Her commentaries and stories are heard regularly nationwide on This American Life, Marketplace, Weekend America, Sound Money, and The Savvy Traveler, and she hosts the live radio show called Stage Sessions. She will soon be appearing with Ira Glass on the television version of This American Life.
Other Reviews:

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

TLC Book Tour - Book Review - A Train in Winter Heidi

Author:  Caroline Moorehead
Review: I love history and I love reading about strong women who stood up against the evils of war.  The author Caroline Moorehead introduces the reader to over 50 different women from 50 different backgrounds that all came together to form a untied bond against the Germans and Hitler in occupied France during World War 2 and survived the death camps.

The author starts off with a brief history about World War 1 and what happened to the French Resistance after the end of the war.  Caroline Moorehead give a brief history of France in the 1930's leading up the occupation during World War 2.  I found it interesting to learning about the different career's many of the women had before they join the Resistance.  Many of the women were in their early twenties or young mothers who felt a strong desire to make a world a better place for their families.  Some were brought into the resistance because their father and brothers were already apart of the many different groups.  The French government wanted their women to be well rounded and most of the resistance women had bachelors degrees in medical, science, teaching and some worked for their families Printing shops.
During the beginning of the occupation of Paris people we not allowed to gather in public place so the would gather in each others home and listen to the British broadcast for information from the outside world.  Many times this would create a bond among people and they would try and raise up against the Germans but most would be caught and sent to prison.  The original Freedom fighters or resistance where Communist based groups from World War 1 and knew how to be safe and how to fight against Germans.  Many times women were chosen to carry pelmets and information thoughout France because the Germans never suspected women.  It was the French Government that later caught on and turned in the Resistance women in to the Germans

The list of women that are mention though out the book makes it difficult to remember one of the woman's story because the author jumps around.  I would have preferred she picked 10 women and each chapters was about that woman and how she join the Resistance, what she did for the Resistance and how she was taken captive.  I feel it would have connected me stronger to these women but instead I found find myself lost trying to figure out who the author was talking about at different times in the book.

Moorehead spares no detail in her descriptions of the death camps the women were sent to and the incredible filth, overcrowding, the denial of life's basics. She describable in detail the inhuman violence and savage murder that led to a litter of disregarded corpses that grew in the mass graves.
What saves us from endless tears and heartache is what saved some of the women. The individual selfless acts and the support they provided for each other.  They looked out for each other, often taking the same risks as they did in France, protecting and hiding the weaker members from the guards and saving them from execution or the gas chamber, sharing food, and nursing each other.

With this combination of friendship, comfort and help, rather than through luck or miracle, some of the women survived. 

I loved this book because it showed the strength that any woman can have and that never allow fear to rule your life.

Thanks to Heidi for this review.

Publisher:  Harper
Copyright: (November 8) 2011
Pages:  384
ISBN:    978-0-06-165070-3
Quick Review: 4 stars out of 5
Where I Obtained the Book: Sent by the publisher for review. TLC Tours.

Synopsis:   They were teachers, students, chemists, writers, and housewives; a singer at the Paris Opera, a midwife, a dental surgeon. They distributed anti-Nazi leaflets, printed subversive newspapers, hid resisters, secreted Jews to safety, transported weapons, and conveyed clandestine messages. The youngest was a schoolgirl of fifteen who scrawled "V" for victory on the walls of her lycée; the eldest, a farmer's wife in her sixties who harbored escaped Allied airmen. Strangers to each other, hailing from villages and cities from across France, these brave women were united in hatred and defiance of their Nazi occupiers.
Eventually, the Gestapo hunted down 230 of these women and imprisoned them in a fort outside Paris. Separated from home and loved ones, these disparate individuals turned to one another, their common experience conquering divisions of age, education, profession, and class, as they found solace and strength in their deep affection and camaraderie.
In January 1943, they were sent to their final destination: Auschwitz. Only forty-nine would return to France.
A Train in Winter draws on interviews with these women and their families; German, French, and Polish archives; and documents held by World War II resistance organizations to uncover a dark chapter of history that offers an inspiring portrait of ordinary people, of bravery and survival—and of the remarkable, enduring power of female friendship.
Author Biography: Caroline Moorehead is the biographer of Bertrand Russell, Freya Stark, Iris Origo, and Martha Gellhorn. Well known for her work in human rights, she has published a history of the Red Cross and an acclaimed book about refugees, Human Cargo. Her previous book was Dancing to the Precipice, a biography of Lucie de la Tour du Pin. She lives in London and Italy.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Book Review - Gone Girl - Gillian Flynn

Gone Girl
Title: Gone Girl

Author: GillianFlynn

Review:   You cannot say a lot about this book without giving away the plot, but I will say I enjoyed it.  I have the opportunity to teach teenagers on accession and when the subject of relationships comes up I usually share that any two people can be happy with each other; just some couples will require a lot more work than others to maintain that happiness.  Gone Girl breaks down a relationship that the two involved did not really get to know each other before jumping into marriage.  Plus the workload to maintain it ends up being incredible.

As for the basic plot, I liked the story but found the details a little to farfetched to be believable.  No one with that psychopathy would be able to maintain that long-term of a front without their true character bleeding through the edges.  Specifically they would eventually breakdown and be found out by the masses.  Now I agree they could get away with it once, but not several successive times over many years, especially when the number of people who really know who they are increase.

That aside it was a good story and the writing was solid.  Well worth the read and easy to see why it is the it book of the season.

Publisher: Crown
ISBN: 978-0-307-58836-4
Copyright: 2012
Pages: 415
Quick Review: 4 stars out of 5
Why I Read It: This is the “It” book of the year.  I jumped on the bandwagon.
Where I Obtained the Book: At my local library.

Synopsis: On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy Dunne’s fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick’s clever and beautiful wife disappears from their rented McMansion on the Mississippi River. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn’t doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife’s head, but passages from Amy's diary reveal the alpha-girl perfectionist could have put anyone dangerously on edge. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media—as well as Amy’s fiercely doting parents—the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he’s definitely bitter—but is he really a killer?

As the cops close in, every couple in town is soon wondering how well they know the one that they love. With his twin sister, Margo, at his side, Nick stands by his innocence. Trouble is, if Nick didn’t do it, where is that beautiful wife? And what was in that silvery gift box hidden in the back of her bedroom closet?

With her razor-sharp writing and trademark psychological insight, Gillian Flynn delivers a fast-paced, devilishly dark, and ingeniously plotted thriller that confirms her status as one of the hottest writers around.
Gillian Flynn
Author Biography:     Gillian Flynn is an American author and television critic for Entertainment Weekly. She has so far written three novels, Sharp Objects, for which she won the 2007 Ian Fleming Steel Dagger for the best thriller; Dark Places; and her best-selling third novel Gone Girl.

Her book has received wide praise, including from authors such as Stephen King. The dark plot revolves around a serial killer in a Missouri town, and the reporter who has returned from Chicago to cover the event. Themes include dysfunctional families,violence and self-harm.

In 2007 the novel was shortlisted for the Mystery Writers of America Edgar for Best First Novel by an American Writer, Crime Writers' Association Duncan Lawrie, CWA New Blood and Ian Fleming Steel Daggers, winning in the last two categories.

Flynn, who lives in Chicago, grew up in Kansas City, Missouri. She graduated at the University of Kansas, and qualified for a Master's degree from Northwestern University.

Other Reviews:

Monday, October 22, 2012

Monday Musing - Going back to school...not as easy as I hoped it to be.

Going back to school is tough and being in my 40's I thought it would be easier then when I had little ones at wrong!   We are going and going all the time from this activity to the next and one sports game to the next.  I'm missing quite a few things that I wouldn't have had I gone back a few years ago.  Oh well who knew.

I'm working on a Masters in Education, a Special Education major.  I hope to graduate from this program about the same time my second son graduates from High School and a few years ahead of my first son graduating from college.

I have a love hate relationship with my classes.  I love that my brain is working and the wheel is turning a again...even if a bit rusty and slow.  But I hate the homework, research papers, and tests.  But who doesn't feel that way about school...any school?

Luckily for me I only work part-time and I have cut that down...of course Christmas will be lean without the hours I usually put in...oh well we will all survive.  Maybe everyone will get books this lots of those.  Thanks for reading and checking out our reviews.  Lisa

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Book Feature - Our of the Blue - Lisa Maliga

Out of the Blue
Title:    Out of the Blue

Author:  Lisa Maliga

Synopsis:   Out of the Blue – A Contemporary Romance
A love story between two star-crossed lovers who couldn't follow the stars.
Sylvia Gardner is a naïve cashier who lives with her mother in Richport, Illinois. Upset with being dumped by her first boyfriend; she later falls in love with an English actor after watching him on a TV show. For two years she researches Alexander Thorpe's life and career, saving her money to travel to his Cotswolds village, intent on meeting him. Staying in the village's only hotel, she gets room and board in exchange for working at the Windrush Arms Hotel. Complications ensue when the drunken hotelier, Harry Livingstone, takes a fancy to Sylvia. As in her fantasies, Sylvia and Alexander get together—but with unexpected results.
Lisa Maliga
Author Biography: Lisa Maliga has held a variety of jobs in her years of struggling to keep just about any rent-paying occupation to support her writing. From cashier, library overdue clerk, telemarketer, store detective, and Hollywood office temp. She's also toiled in the fields of construction, architecture, law, publicity, financial planning, gymnastics, banking, insurance, and as a bath & body products designer. She still makes and uses her own soapy creations.

Praise for Out of the Blue:  Beautifully Written - Lisa Maliga pens "Out of the Blue" with well developed and believable characters. A well written plot with romance and some heartbreak that will keep you guessing what will happen next. A must read for all romance fans.
I give "Out of the Blue" a 5 star rating.
Susan Peck of My Cozie Corner blog.

Pick up a copy today.

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