Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Killing Kate - Julie Kramer - Our Visit to Iowa City to See the Black Angel

Killing Kate by Julie Kramer, mentions this memorial in a cemetery in Iowa City.  We were driving home from Thanksgiving and this was just a bit off the beaten path.  We decided that we needed to stop and take a photo.  Loved that book check out the links to our reviews here.  Lisa's Review.  David's Review.  Monday Musing about the book.

Children's Book Review - Bailey - Harry Bliss

Title:  Bailey

Author: Harry Bliss

Review:    I love children’s books and always find time to read them to my kids.  This is a colorful jaunt though the day in the life of Bailey, a dog, who gets up and follows the same routine as a child going off to grade school.  It starts out in the morning with getting up and picking out clothes to wear all the way to the end of the day and the bus ride home again.

Bailey finds things he enjoys about school and things he doesn’t, but everything is brought about in a positive fun way.  The drawings are cute and convey the story along.

If you have kids who love to read and be read too, this is a great picture book for them and for you. 

Publisher: Published August 1st 2011 by Scholastic, Inc.

ISBN: 9780545233446

Copyright: 2011

Pages: 32

Quick Review: 4 stars (out of 5)

Why I Read It:  Sent by the publisher.

Synopsis: When Bailey tells the teacher that the dog ate his homework, he's tattling on himself. Bailey, you see, is not your average canine; he is a studious pooch enrolled in the local school—and we're not talking about kennel. Harry Bliss' delightful new picture puts a whole new slant on learning. The perfect back-to-school prompt.
Harry Bliss 
Author Biography:  Harry Bliss grew up in upstate New York in a family of successful painters and illustrators, so it wasn’t any surprise that he, too, went on to study painting at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and illustration at the University of the Arts and Syracuse University. He has illustrated numerous book covers and is a cartoonist and cover artist for THE NEW YORKER magazine. In the tradition of so many NEW YORKER cartoonists, Harry Bliss has illustrated several children’s books, among them A FINE, FINE SCHOOL by Sharon Creech, WHICH WOULD YOU RATHER BE? by William Steig, and COUNTDOWN TO KINDERGARTEN by Alison McGhee.

Other Reviews:
NY Times     
Ready Set Read                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Book Review - Code Blood - Kurt Kamm

Image of Kurt Kamm
Title:  Code Blood

Author: Kurt Kamm

Review:    This book is dark and has it all, death, blood fetish, tattooed lady, severed body parts, a cadaver ring, an albino, a firefighter with personal issues, a lost girl, drugs, homeless individuals, a nano lab,  and violence.  What more could you want and then ask yourself, what makes someone tick and what makes them suddenly kill another?  Why would someone want to pretend to be a vampire or for that matter think they are one?  This book is filled with the bizarre. 

The mystery that the main character, Colt a paramedic/firefight, decides to solve leads you through the under belly of L.A., with the eccentric and weird people who live there.  I found the story well paced and interesting that I kept turning the page.  I wondered why anyone would cover their body in tattoos, but also why would anyone drink another person’s blood?  Did you know that there are more than the letter blood types out there?   

If you like a dark, noir type mystery you will like this wild ride though the out of the ordinary and peculiar.  This isn’t really my thing, but I found myself sucked into this book and I think the author did a great job weaving his tale of the strange.

Publisher: Published November 15th 2011 by MCMPublishing

ISBN: 9780979855139

Copyright: 2011

Pages: 233

Quick Review: 3 1/2 stars (out of 5)

Why I Read It:  Sent by the Cadence Group for review.

Synopsis: Colt Lewis, a rookie fire paramedic, is obsessed with finding the severed foot of his first victim after she dies in his arms. His search takes him into the connected lives of a graduate research student, with the rarest blood in the world and the vampire fetishist who is stalking her. Within the corridors of high-stakes medical research laboratories, the shadow world of body parts dealers, and the underground Goth clubs of Los Angeles, Lewis uncovers a tangled maze of needles, drugs and maniacal ritual, all of which lead to death. But whose death? An unusual and fast-paced LA Noir thriller.
 Image of Kurt Kamm
Author Biography:  I have combined my personal experience in devastating California wildfires and access to CalFire and Los Angeles County firefighters to write firefighter mystery novels. Each novel has a firefighter with a special skill: Wildland / Arson Investigation / Fire Paramedic / HazMat Specialist. Each mystery is told from the viewpoint of the firefighter and the story revolves around his specialty.

My first novel, ONE FOOT IN THE BLACK - A Wildland Firefighter's Story tells the story of a young firefighter who joins a helitack crew, is called out to a massive wildland fire, and loses his captain in a burnover. After the tragedy, he succumbs to post traumatic stress and has a difficult time overcoming it. ONE FOOT IN THE BLACK has become a favorite with firefighters and other first responders.

Other Reviews:

Monday, November 28, 2011

Monday in my Mailbox

Books we received this week, what are you reading this week?  We love comments~~~
Bending the Boyne: A novel of ancient Ireland200 BCE: Marauders invade ancient Eire seeking copper and gold. The astronomer Boann and the enigmatic Cian must use all their wits and courage to save their people, the peaceful starwatchers, from the invaders' long bronze knives and scavenging ways. Tensions between new and old cultures and between Boann, Elcmar, and her son Aengus, ultimately explode. What emerges from the rubble of battle is a fresh take on Ireland's oldest legends.

BENDING THE BOYNE draws on 21st century archaeology to show the lasting impact when early metal mining and trade take hold along north Atlantic coasts. Carved megaliths and stunning gold artifacts, from the Pyrenees up to the Boyne, come to life in this researched historical fiction.  Blog hop win.
Tempest (Tempest #1)The year is 2009.  Nineteen-year-old Jackson Meyer is a normal guy… he’s in college, has a girlfriend… and he can travel back through time. But it’s not like the movies – nothing changes in the present after his jumps, there’s no space-time continuum issues or broken flux capacitors – it’s just harmless fun.

That is… until the day strangers burst in on Jackson and his girlfriend, Holly, and during a struggle with Jackson, Holly is fatally shot. In his panic, Jackson jumps back two years to 2007, but this is not like his previous time jumps. Now he’s stuck in 2007 and can’t get back to the future.

Desperate to somehow return to 2009 to save Holly but unable to return to his rightful year, Jackson settles into 2007 and learns what he can about his abilities.

But it’s not long before the people who shot Holly in 2009 come looking for Jackson in the past, and these “Enemies of Time” will stop at nothing to recruit this powerful young time-traveler.  Recruit… or kill him.

Piecing together the clues about his father, the Enemies of Time, and himself, Jackson must decide how far he’s willing to go to save Holly… and possibly the entire world.  Goodreads 1st Reads Win.
BaileyWhen Bailey tells the teacher that the dog ate his homework, he's tattling on himself. Bailey, you see, is not your average canine; he is a studious pooch enrolled in the local school—and we're not talking about kennel. Harry Bliss' delightful new picture puts a whole new slant on learning. The perfect back-to-school prompt.  A blog hop win with a cute lunch box to boot Yeah!
it_chanced_to_rainA bouncy rhyming text and brisk cartoon-like illustrations tell the story of three rats, three ducks, three cats, three dogs and two pigs, whose walk is interrupted by a rainstorm... Like Ludwig Bemelmans’ Madeline, … this offers an exciting story in smooth and unforced rhyme.It Chanced To Rain contains the same abiding appeal; children will delight in the cozy humor of both story and pictures.  Sent with another book for review.
Richelle Mead's Storm Born #4 (Regular Cover)Eugenie Markham never asked for any of this. Until now, she''s been content with her job as a freelance shaman, battling and banishing Otherworldly creatures. When a prophecy suddenly makes her the Otherworld''s most popular bachelorette, Eugenie finds herself fighting off unwanted supernatural suitors, as well as the evils that begin emerging from her past...  Sent for review.
Carnal: Pride of the LionsThe first graphic novel in the Carnal series, Pride of the Lions takes place on the continent of New Africa and focuses on three main species of humanistic animals. After the Great War decades earlier between the hyenas and the lions, the victorious and once united lion prides now lay scattered across the land, torn by civil unrest over territory disputes and food shortages. The hyena clans that survived the war were forced deep into the Earth and now live in a massive underground city under the control of a terrible witch. The buffalo race is indifferent to most other species and have walled themselves off from the rest of the kingdoms. Humans have lost their hold on the African territories long ago and live as a simple, nomadic species. The first book opens with Long Eyes, an old sapphire-eyed lion who is determined to save the lion kingdom and rescue his warrior son, Oron, who has gone missing. Long Eyes believes Oron is the key to uniting the prides. A young lioness tracker named Omi is sent out with the protection of two lion brothers to locate the missing warrior, but what they find is something that may unravel the very foundation of life for all species.  Sent for review.
ImprintThis spine chilling book takes the reader into the realms of horror all the more believable because it seems reality not fantasy. The Imprints enter the soul of the narrator with determined power and describe each of their emotions in vivid detail. It is impossible not to be deeply involved, revolted and yet entranced at the same time as the linking of the personalities becomes apparent. Desperation, self destruction and fear are superimposed on the beauty of the rose with its blood red petals. Each bloom shows the astral image of the various characters as their lives have been lived, giving some hope for the future and the lessons offered to the soul as it evolves to enlightenment and bewitching knowledge.  Blog hop win.
The Quiet RoadFrankford Lucas is the chief superintendent in the police force. He is well respected and well thought of... however, he has a secret. Ever since childhood he has visited The Quiet Road in his dreams. He thought it was a good place, this Quiet Road, but events unfold to prove otherwise. Gruesome murders are being carried out on his patch and trophies turning up in his flat with no rational explanation. Who is slaughtering the innocent victims and why? Profiler Lenny Docker introduces a clairvoyant into the investigation and The Sarsaparilla Duchess, seems to know more about Frankford Lucas than she should - even more than he does himself! In time Frankford Lucas learns the true secret of The Quiet Road and realises he is dealing with a force beyond his control. Can he save his soul from darkness, and can he save the souls of others who cannot help themselves? The Road is long as is the investigation leading the reader on an intense journey they will not forget in a hurry!  Blog hop win.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Book Review - Breaking the Rules - Suzanne Brockmann

Title:  Breaking the Rules

Review:  I’ve read every book in this series now and I think I can say that this one is not one of my favorites.  Not much SEAL stuff in this one, lots and lots and lots and lots of dialogue and touchy feely mush.  She left in the sharp language that Dan and Izzy are known for, but she took too much of their other good qualities out to make them insecure and nauseating to listen to.  I miss the rough guys who fall in love, but don’t discuss their feelings with each other.  Maybe I’m exaggerating a bit, but I was extremely disappointed in this book, I requested it at the library before it was released and waited impatiently to read it and for what?

Maybe it is a good idea she closes out this series, because it is going downhill fast.  If you enjoyed the rest of the Troubleshooters series, and I recommend it to anyone reading military romance, thriller, suspense filled books, then you may want to read this to keep up with the happenings in the characters lives.

I not sure what I hoped to get from this book, but I didn’t get anything more than a few wasted days reading, but maybe my tastes have changed.  I just didn't like some of the way the characters reacted, it seemed out of character for them.   Some of the story was heartbreaking and yet you could see how characters from other books were coming to help.  Brockmann does a great job of bringing characters back from other books.  I will miss this series, but even if she writes more I may be finished after reading this one.   I would have reviewed it earlier, but I just kept pushing its scheduled date back for other books.

Publisher: Published March 22nd 2011 by Ballantine Books

ISBN: 0345521226

Copyright: 2010

Pages: 507

Quick Review: 2 1/2 stars (out of 5)

Why I Read It: I’ve read the other 15 books in the Troubleshooters series.

Where I Obtained the Book: From my local library.

Synopsis:  Sometime in the not too distant past, the once torrid romance between Eden Gillman and her Navy SEAL husband Izzy Zanella took a drastic cooling turn. Both seem permanently wedded to mutual disdain, but then something happens that changes the chemistry: Eden discovers that her younger brother Ben is the victim of abuse by his stepfather. To rescue him from the tyrant's custody, she knows that she must reconstruct her tattered relationship with the man that she had most cherished. What she doesn't yet realize is the full saving strength of that lovers' reunion.

Author Biography:  Suzanne Brockmann is the author of nearly 50 romance and romantic suspense novels, including her wildly popular 15-books-and-counting Troubleshooters series. She also wrote the popular Tall, Dark & Dangerous series for Silhouette Intimate Moments.

In her free time she likes to sing and do volunteer work. She is a proud member of PFLAG (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) as well as many other equality groups.

She is married to published author Ed Gaffney.

Other Reviews:

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Book Review - We Were Not Alone: How an LDS Family Survived World War II Berlin - Patricia Reece Roper (Author), Karola Hilbert Reece (Translator)

We Were Not Alone: How an LDS Family Survived World War II Berlin
Title: We Were Not Alone: How an LDS Family Survived World War II Berlin

Author:  Patricia Reece Roper, Karola Hilbert Reece

Review: This story is unbelievable. It is a true story of miracle after miracle. It seems as if it is more a story than a real life tale. It is an account of an entire family of eight who survives the pre, war, and post WWII. It follows the struggles of the mother and her four daughters while her husband and sons are away working or in the German army. It shows us that even in the hardest of times, God is with us always. He constantly blesses the Hilbert family, who, in turn, blesses the lives of those around them.

I hadn’t really thought about how things could get worse after the war ended, but for this family, being in occupied Berlin after the war, it became almost unbearable.  With God on their side, they are able to see his hand stretched out to them as they struggle to live day to day. It is a story of overcoming evil through unbeatable faith in the Lord.   It is a must read.

Thank you to our guest reviewer Heather….thanks Heather.

Publisher: Published June 7th 2003 by Deseret Book Company (first published June 2003)

ISBN: 9781570089763

Copyright: 2003

Pages: 214

Quick Review: 5 out of 5 stars

Why I Read It: The title alone made me want to read it

Where I Obtained the Book: It was a gift.

Synopsis: This true account of how one LDS family survived World War II Berlin is more astonishing than many fictional accounts of the era. To those who recognize the Lord's hand in our daily lives, however, this inspirational story will become another powerful witness of the truth that faith in the Lord and His purposes can grow even when the world around us is full of darkness and terror.

Author Biography: Patricia has had multiple articles published in all three LDS magazines. As a stay-at-home mother of eight, she can help you find the time to get your stories told.

Kay H. Reece  was raised in Berlin, Germany from April 1938 to April 1956 when she immigrated to Utah. She experienced the impact of WWII in Berlin, the conquering of the city by the Russian Army and the starvation time that followed the end of WWII. The problems of a divided city dominated her teenage years.      On November 8, 1960, she married William Lewis Reece, Jr.  Together with her daughter, Patricia, she authored the book, "We Were Not Alone: How an LDS Family Survived WWII" which was published by Deseret Book.

Other Reviews:
Deseret Book

Friday, November 25, 2011

Book Review - The Lost Symbol - Dan Brown

The Lost Symbol (Robert Langdon, #3)
Title:  The Lost Symbol

Author: Dan Brown

Review:  I really liked Da Vinci Code and Angles and Demons but the Lost Symbols I didn't like nearly as much.  Personally I felt like I was rereading Da Vinci Code all over again. Someone contacts him(Langdon), assumes he knows something he thinks he doesn't, he trusts the wrong guy, he didn't trust the cops and is on the run again. He finds truth where he thought there was none. But, I give him credit, the bad guy really freaked me out and the ending had a great twist.

I enjoyed the play on names for the fact that one of the main characters name was Solomon and that the Freemasons was supposed to have started with the building of King Solomon's temple.

What I liked about this book is that it is a very easy read and that made the book more enjoyable.  I have to admit I do like the fact that when Dan Brown jumps from story to story he does it in short chapters so the reader doesn't get lost.  The book was a page turner and sometimes I got lost in the excitement of the book and lost track of time.  Dan Brown isn't an amazing author, but he is an enjoyable story teller.
I loved how the author had Langdon try to understand why the forefather and others believed in God without seeing God.  I was impressed how the religious under tones in the book never once took the book to the point you felt you were being told whether to believe in God or not.

What bothered me and I am sure I am not the only one, was how fast Langdon solved all the puzzles in less than a 24 hour time frame.  This was supposed to be one of the best kept secret in American history and he was able to solve them very quickly.  I get he is smart but seriously he has to be super human to solve one of the greatest mysteries while having the weight of the government and a missing friend on his mind.

I also found this book really predictable and I knew about 60 pages in what building they were talking about and I guessed what the secret word was.

It is worth reading if you like the other books Dan Brown wrote, but I just wish it wasn't so predictable.  Like I said, there was only one really good twist in the story but other than that I figured out the end before I was half way through the book.

Thank you to our Guest Blogger Heidi for this review…thanks Heidi.

Publisher:  Published September 15th 2009 by Doubleday Books

ISBN: 9780385504225

Copyright: 2009

Pages: 509

Quick Review: 31/2 stars (out of 5)

Why I Read It:  Looking for a book with an author’s name that started with a B, a silly game I play when looking for a new book to read.

Where I Obtained the Book: At the local library.

Synopsis:  In this stunning follow-up to the global phenomenon The Da Vinci Code, Dan Brown demonstrates once again why he is the world's most popular thriller writer. The Lost Symbol is a masterstroke of storytelling--a deadly race through a real-world labyrinth of codes, secrets, and unseen truths... all under the watchful eye of Brown's most terrifying villain to date. Set within the hidden chambers, tunnels, and temples of Washington, D.C., The Lost Symbol accelerates through a startling landscape toward an unthinkable finale.

As the story opens, Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon is summoned unexpectedly to deliver an evening lecture in the U.S. Capitol Building. Within minutes of his arrival, however, the night takes a bizarre turn. A disturbing object--artfully encoded with five symbols--is discovered in the Capitol Building. Langdon recognizes the object as an ancient invitation... one meant to usher its recipient into a long-lost world of esoteric wisdom.

When Langdon's beloved mentor, Peter Solomon--a prominent Mason and philanthropist--is brutally kidnapped, Langdon realizes his only hope of saving Peter is to accept this mystical invitation and follow wherever it leads him. Langdon is instantly plunged into a clandestine world of Masonic secrets, hidden history, and never-before-seen locations--all of which seem to be dragging him toward a single, inconceivable truth.

As the world discovered in The Da Vinci Code and Angels & Demons, Dan Brown's novels are brilliant tapestries of veiled histories, arcane symbols, and enigmatic codes. In this new novel, he again challenges readers with an intelligent, lightning-paced story that offers surprises at every turn. The Lost Symbol is exactly what Brown's fans have been waiting for... his most thrilling novel yet.

Author Biography:  Dan Brown is an American author of thriller fiction, best known for the 2003 bestselling novel, The Da Vinci Code.

Brown is interested in cryptography, codes, and keys. Currently his novels have been translated into many languages.

Although many see Dan Brown's books as anti-Christian, Brown is a Christian who says that his book The Da Vinci Code is simply "an entertaining story that promotes spiritual discussion and debate" and suggests that the book may be used "as a positive catalyst for introspection and exploration of our faith".

Other Reviews:

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

Now the food, followed by the stomach ache and the wondering why you ate so much after all.  The best part really comes the next day with left-over turkey sandwiches.  YUMMY!
Happy Thanksgiving!!!
I'm thankful to all the authors that keep me reading.
Thanks to all of our readers also
We are thankful for all of you!!!
Now go get another piece of pie...
you can diet next week!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Book Review - Shock Wave- John Sandford

Shock Wave (Virgil Flowers, #5)
Title:      Shock Wave

Author:  John Sandford

Review:  First let me say that I really enjoy Virgil Flowers and find him a quirky, sweet, funny, somewhat irreverent character that anyone could really fall for.  I also love the fact that the books are based in the wonderful state of Minnesota and that Virgil not only fights crime as a BCA investigator, but also gets lots of fishing in while working out who dunnit.  He says himself that he thinks better while not thinking at all.

This book didn’t do it for me like the others.  Maybe it was the fact that the love interest was really not that interesting anymore.  Or that Virgil seemed a bit of his game.  The story was much like the last few, but it seemed off to me and I really don’t know how to explain it except it just wasn’t as good as the others have been.  Maybe because our town just let a Walmart come in a few years back and it has destroyed many local businesses around here, just a thought I had while reading it.

Now if you are reading this series you will not want to miss this one, even with it being a bit disappointing.  Keeping up with Virgil makes this a must read for fans.  If you are new to this series start at number one, Dark of the Moon.

Publisher:  Published October 4th 2011 Putnam Adult

Copyright: 2011

Pages:  400

ISBN:    978-0399157691

Quick Review:  3 Stars out of 5. 

Why I Read it:  I’ve read the rest of this series and wanted to keep current.

Where I Obtained the Book:  David requested this at our local library.

Synopsis:  Talk about risky business.
The superstore chain PyeMart has its sights set on a Minnesota river town, but two very angry groups want to stop it: the local merchants fearing for their businesses, and the environmentalists predicting ecological disaster. The protests don't seem to be slowing the project down, though, until someone decides to take matters into his own hands.
The first bomb goes off on the top floor of PyeMart's headquarters. The second one explodes at the construction site itself. The blasts are meant to inflict maximum damage—and they do. Who's behind the bombs and how far will they go? It's Virgil Flowers's job to find out . . . before more people get killed.
Image of John Sandford
Author Biography:  John Sandford was born John Camp on February 23, 1944, in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. He attended the public schools in Cedar Rapids, graduating from Washington High School in 1962. He then spent four years at the University of Iowa, graduating with a bachelor's degree in American Studies in 1966. In 1966, he married Susan Lee Jones of Cedar Rapids, a fellow student at the University of Iowa. He was in the U.S. Army from 1966-68, worked as a reporter for the Cape Girardeau Southeast Missourian from 1968-1970, and went back to the University of Iowa from 1970-1971, where he received a master's degree in journalism. He was a reporter for The Miami Herald from 1971-78, and then a reporter for the St. Paul Pioneer-Press from 1978-1990; in 1980, he was a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize, and he won the Pulitzer in 1986 for a series of stories about a midwestern farm crisis. From 1990 to the present he has written thriller novels. He's also the author of two non-fiction books, one on plastic surgery and one on art. He is the principal financial backer of a major archeological project in the Jordan Valley of Israel, with a website at In addition to archaeology, he is deeply interested in art (painting) and photography. He both hunts and fishes. He has two children, Roswell and Emily, and one grandson, Benjamin. His wife, Susan, died of metastasized breast cancer in May, 2007, and is greatly missed.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Book Review - The Egyptian - Layton Green

One lucky reader will receive an ecopy of this book,
thanks to the author Layton Green, at the next Blog Hop.
 December 2nd-6th.  See you then.
The Egyptian (Dominic Grey, #2)
Title:  The Egyptian

Review:    At first I wasn't a fan of the Dominic Grey, the lead character, because I felt like the author pushed him to be this broken man without giving a reason but I soon realized this was a sequel to another book and Dominic Grey made a lot more sense.  I loved that the author never once changed Dominic Gray to be this super hero, he was a trained former military man who did his best to right wrongs.  Dominic Grey’s employer Viktor Radek I felt could have been the humor needed in the book or at least someone to help release the tension that kept building but he was more for background information and he was very boring.

I love that the author has done his research with the different elements, locations and environment when it came to the theory of Elixir of Life and the different alchemist.  I feel like he did more than just a Wikipedia search on the subject.

Nomti was extremely frightening and even gave me chills and I would love to ask the author if he is based on someone he knew. It seems like with all books that the main bad man intentions were never evil, but start off as a desire to do good, only end up consuming him until he can't see right from wrong.  There were two scientist that were looking for the elixir of life, one wanted to save the life he loved and the other wanted to make profit.  I love that I had no idea who it was until the end of the book.

The female lead Veronica is a journalist for the WHO.  She wanted the story but instead fell in love with Grey who was unable to love.  She was a strong female character without being annoying and the author created a woman, women could relate to and men wanted to be with.

I found this book to be a mix of Clive Clusser and Jack Du Brul expect without the fun those authors added to their books.  Layton is a good adventure writer and he paints the scene so vivid you feel like you are walking the streets of Cairo or NYC.

What I didn't like about the book was the lack of  humor that I feel was needed to release some of the tension that kept building and abruptly ended.  In the last chapter of the book I felt like the author needed an ending and quickly wrote it like a one hour TV show.  Half way through the book the swearing picked up and I felt like it was so out of place almost as if someone else was writing the scenes.  There was sex in the book, it wasn't out of place and as I like to put it " the author closed the door."

The question I found myself asking after I finished the book was " If I could live forever would I want to?"  No.  Everyone and everything has a time a season.  Yes I would love to be young and beautiful forever, but I do not want to live forever.

A big thanks goes out to our guest reviewer Heidi....thanks Heidi...if you have a book you think Heidi would enjoy let us know.

Publisher: Published August 21st 2011 by FirstWard


Copyright: 2011

Pages: Kindle Version - 327

Quick Review: 4 stars (out of 5)

Why I Read It:  Sent by the author for review.

Synopsis: At a mausoleum in Cairo’s most notorious cemetery, a mercenary receives a package containing a silver test tube suspended in hydraulic stasis.
An investigative reporter tracking rogue biomedical companies is terrified by the appearance of a mummified man outside her Manhattan apartment.  

A Bulgarian scientist who dabbles in the occult makes a startling discovery in his underground laboratory.

These seemingly separate events collide when Dominic Grey and Viktor Radek, private investigators of cults, are hired by the CEO of an Egyptian biomedical firm to locate stolen research integral to the company’s new life extension product. However, after witnessing the slaughter of a team of scientists by the remnants of a dangerous cult thought long abandoned, Grey and Viktor turn from pursuers to pursued.

From the gleaming corridors of visionary laboratories to the cobblestone alleys of Eastern Europe to a lost oasis in the Sahara, Grey and Viktor must sift through science and myth to uncover the truth behind the Egyptian and his sinister biotech – before that truth kills them.
Author Biography:  In addition to writing, Layton attended law school in New Orleans and was a practicing attorney for the better part of a decade (even though he still resents having cut his hair for that first interview). He has also been an intern for the United Nations, an ESL teacher in Central America, a bartender in London, a seller of cheap knives on the streets of Brixton, a door-to-door phone book deliverer, and the list goes downhill from there.

He has traveled to more than fifty countries, lived in a number of them, and has a burning desire to see every country, city, beach, moor, castle, cemetery, twisted street and far flung dot on the map. Religion and cults, as well as all things spiritual and supernatural, have also been a lifelong interest. Combine the travel and the religion with fifteen years of Japanese Jujitsu training, and the Dominic Grey series was born.

Layton lives with his wife and son in Miami.

Other Reviews:

Monday, November 21, 2011

FYI - Thanks for understanding.

Starting immediately we will only accept Kindle books from Amazon that downloads directly to the Kindle.  We are receiving several book review inquiries everyday and need to streamline the process.  You can gift us the book through Amazon or send a gift-certificate for the amount of the book at Amazon.  Also at any given time we are at least two months out with our To Be Read/Reviewed pile.  We have added this information to our Policy for Submitting a Book for Review.  Thanks ;)

Monday in my Mailbox

This is what we got ...what did you read and enjoy this week?  We love comments....thanks!

Here is the link to a new graphic novel announcement from Sea Lion Books. 
Love MeDo you like tales of Cold War espionage? Taut psychological thrillers? Science fiction as a metaphor for U.S. foreign policy? How about cute angst-filled teenage vampire toyboys?

Well, too bad. None of those things are in this book.

Instead you'll join a guy in a Viking suit on an absurdly epic quest to figure out the meaning of life. There will be obstacles, of course: rabid gangs of disgruntled grannies, rival cults of pie-enthusiasts, toasters, anti-matter conversion do-hickeys, Shadow Men, bandits, hippies, annoying celestial bodies, the Department of Internationally Sexy Affairs, and probably way too many dick jokes for this book to ever be considered for any serious academic curriculum. You know, the usual. Sent for review.

Cover for 'Fourth Degree Freedom'Fourth Degree Freedom explores the best of humanity and the worst. The stories range from hopeful realism to the dystopian side of speculative fiction. Each story twists and turns through darkness and light, settling somewhere in the shadowy area of day to day life.  Sent for review.
Shadow in SerenityCarny Sullivan grew up in the zany world of a traveling carnival. Quaint and peaceful Serenity, Texas, has given her a home, a life, and a child. Logan Brisco is the smoothest, slickest, handsomest man Serenity, Texas has ever seen. But Carny Sullivan knows a con artist when she sees one---and she's seen plenty, starting with her father. As far as Carny Sullivan can tell, she's the only one in town who has his number. Because from his Italian shoes to his movie-actor smile, Logan has the rest of the town snowed. Carny is determined to reveal Brisco's selfish intentions before his promise to the townspeople for a cut in a giant amusement park sucks Serenity dry. Yet, as much as she hates his winning ways, there is a man behind that suave smile, a man who may win her heart against her will.Shadow in Serenity is a modern-day Music Man, penned by a Christy Award-winning, New York Times bestselling author.  Sent for review.
Talk about risky business. Shock Wave (Virgil Flowers, #5)
The superstore chain PyeMart has its sights set on a Minnesota river town, but two very angry groups want to stop it: the local merchants fearing for their businesses, and the environmentalists predicting ecological disaster. The protests don't seem to be slowing the project down, though, until someone decides to take matters into his own hands.
The first bomb goes off on the top floor of PyeMart's headquarters. The second one explodes at the construction site itself. The blasts are meant to inflict maximum damage—and they do. Who's behind the bombs and how far will they go? It's Virgil Flowers's job to find out . . . before more people get killed.  From the library.

Restless in Carolina: A Novel (Southern Discomfort)She’s all about going green. Could he be her white knight—or will he make her see red?

Tree-huggin’, animal-lovin’ Bridget Pickwick-Buchanan is on a mission. Well, two. First she has to come to terms with being a widow at thirty-three. After all, it’s been four years and even her five-year-old niece and nephew think it’s time she shed her widow’s weeds. Second, she needs to find a buyer for her family’s estate—a Biltmore-inspired mansion surrounded by hundreds of acres of unspoiled forestland. With family obligations forcing the sale, Bridget is determined to find an eco-friendly developer to buy the land, someone who won’t turn it into single-family homes or a cheesy theme park.

Enter J. C. Dirk, a high-energy developer from Atlanta whose green property developments have earned him national acclaim. When he doesn’t return her calls, Bridget decides a personal visit is in order. Unfortunately, J. C. Dirk is neither amused nor interested when she interrupts his meeting—until she mentions her family name. In short order, he finds himself in North Carolina, and Bridget has her white knight—in more ways than one. But there are things Bridget doesn’t know about J. C., and it could mean the end of everything she’s worked for…and break her heart.  Sent for review.
Headhunters (Vintage Crime/Black Lizard)Headhunters introduces us to the charming villain Roger Brown, a man who seems to have it all: he is Norway’s most successful headhunter, married to the beautiful gallery owner Diana, owns a magnificent house – and is living larger than he should. Meanwhile, he is playing at the dangerous game of art theft. At a gallery opening, his wife introduces him to the Dutchman Clas Greve. Not only is Greve the perfect candidate for the CEO position of the GPS company Pathfinder that Roger Brown is recruiting for; he is also in possession of ”The Calydonian Boar Hunt” by Peter Paul Rubens, one of the most sought-after paintings in modern art history. Roger sees his chance to become financially independent, and starts planning his biggest hit ever. But soon, he runs into trouble – and it’s not financial problems that are threatening to knock him over this time…The winding, explosive plot takes us from society’s financial and industrial elite to an underworld of contract killers and swindlers, offering Nesbo’s variations on the most spectacular murders, car chases and escapes that the genre has to offer on the way.   Blog hop win.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Book Review - Red; My Uncensored Life in Rock - Sammy Hagar

Title: RED; My Uncensored Life in Rock

Review: I was in High School when 1984 came out and when the Roth/Hagar switch took place. While I loved early Van Halen, and had all their albums (well, cassettes in my day), I really liked the Hagar version more. The album 5150 was phenomenal, way beyond anything that had come before. So I really wanted to read this book as soon as I heard about it; to get the inside scoop on what took place within the band over the years, and to see if Sammy really was that nice of a guy.

Typically in a memoir I judge whether someone is a nice person based on how much they portray themselves as being totally awesome. If they do not admit some faults, come across as very self depreciating, avoid attacking others out of hand, and just give a balanced retelling of their experiences. If they do any of the above I generally write them off as an asshat.

Reading about Sammy’s story you come away realizing he is far from perfect, but sincerely a good guy who really cares about the people in his life, and about his passions like his music and tequila. You rejoice in his successes, such as his Cabo Wabo Cantina, and the incredible achievement of his Cabo Wabo tequila (which, spoiler, he sold 80 million dollars).

With financial security came some freedoms, such as playing music he wanted to play with people he wants to play with, and several insights. The one I thought about the most was his observation that as a busty person he always had a hard time just relaxing. He always found himself crawling the walls looking for anything to do. Without any pressures he learned how to find new levels of relaxation; deeper levels.

That makes me think of any endeavor in life. Whatever you achieve or learn initially is nowhere near what we can accomplish if we just stick with it. Push for new levels. That can be scholarly work, self reflection, or regular job, or just plain relaxation. You must work at anything if you really want to master it. Much like Malcolm Gladwell points out, 10,000 hours is the currency of the greatest. Typically I think we spend a few hundred for some knock-off and convince ourselves it is just as good.

Of course the elephant in the room is Van Halen. Whether you chose to believe Sammy’s quite reasonable account of what took place, I think we can all agree about two things. First Eddie is a great guitarist. Second Eddie has an ongoing terrible substance abuse problem that has hampered not only his career, but his whole life. To paraphrase Kathi Griffin (speaking about Whitney Houston), I look at Eddie and still hope the genius within can come back to us.

In the end you learn that Sammy is a great guy who is doing all he can to live a happy life, be a good friend, and just make some great music.

Publisher: IT Books
ISBN: 978-0-06-200928-9
Copyright: 2011
Pages: 238
Quick Review: 4 stars

Why I Read It: Big Hagar era Van Halen fan.

Where I Obtained the Book: At my local library.

Synopsis: Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Sammy Hagar has had a long run and it isn't over yet. After a brief attempt at professional boxing, the singer and guitarist known as "The Red Rocker" began his music career in Southern California during the late sixties, then rocketed into fame as a solo star and a key member of several top bands, most notably Van Halen. Stories of his stormy years with that group and its notorious leader Eddie Van Halen form a central part of this anecdote-filled memoir. Unforgettable stories about fame, feuds, and offstage frenzy. (Hand-selling tip: Van Halen is one of the most successful bands in rock history. To date, they have sold more than 80 million records.)
Author Biography: There is a new board game that's just out with lots of music trivia. There is a question about tequila and cantinas and the answer is obviously Sammy Hagar. Duh. The better question is, "Name a singer who has gold records, is a member of three different bands and is a solo artist?" Same answer, Sammy Hagar. Now name another voice who can equal that. Sorry, there is only one. Sam's in a league of his own. Surprised? OK, but now let's throw in all the multi Platinum soundtracks and a whole list of other records that haven't gone Gold, but are still loaded with great songs. Sure we all know about the Rock 'n Roll Hall of Fame induction, but now they need to find a special place in there for this guy. Hello Cleveland?

From the Montrose albums that are an essential part of the foundation of what became heavy metal, through a solo career that produced I Can't Drive 55, an icon of car culture in American music, Sammy Hagar is a force to be reckoned with. Undeniably his Van Halen years are the summit of hard rock's transition into the mainstream. Now with a new group, Chickenfoot, Sam has reestablished his roots in a blues based rock band one more time.

Perhaps tequila and cantina are not the best answer to a trivia question, but they are really great answers to how to turn your passion for great food and drink into businesses that you totally love. Sammy has done that. The continued success of the Cabo Wabo Cantinas in Cabo San Lucas and Lake Tahoe led to yet another Cabo Wabo Cantina in Las Vegas, Nevada. But that will be Sam's second Vegas watering hole, the first is Sammy's Beach Bar and Grill in the McCarren International Airport. This is the start of a chain of restaurants, in partnership with Host International, that will bring a welcome dining experience to airports across America. Sam's profits fund local children's charities in these cities and continues a relationship with his fans of giving to those in need.

So with a new band, new restaurants opening, and a premium tequila that continues to grow in popularity, Sammy has a lot on his plate. No problem. He has the energy to power a small town and continues to expand the envelope of possibility. What's next? A new brand? A new song? Whatever it is will probably be a part of our lives as he has been a part of us for decades now.
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