Monday, January 30, 2012

A Personal Note From Michael Palmer...On His Latest Novel...

Warm Regards from the North Coast of Boston.

Thank you for your offer  to review my 18th thriller, Oath of Office. Media and blogger reviews are an important and fun way for me to engage with the reading and writing community and get the word out about the book. I appreciate your feedback and the opportunity for OoO to be features on your website.

As you may already know, the book expands upon the political and medical ethical themes in A Hearbeat Away, The Lost Surgeon and The First Patient. It was inspired by Robert Kenner's 2008 brilliant documentary Food, Inc. and explores the hidden realities behind food mass production and genetic modification. My hope is that my book will make readers more aware about the importance of being educated in the areas of labeling and the genetic modification of what we eat. I am hosting discussions about these issues on my Facebook and Twitter pages.

Thanks again for taking the time to read and write about my book. Let me know if you have any questions or concerns.


Michael Palmer


What if a well respected doctor inexplicably goes on a murderous rampage?

When Dr. John Meacham goes on a shooting spree the office, his business partner, staff, and two patients are killed in the bloodbath.  Then Meacham turns the gun on himself.

The blame falls on Dr. Lou Welcome.  Welcome worked with Meacham years before as a counselor after John's medical license had been revoked for drug addiction. 

Lou knew that John was an excellent doctor and deserved to be practicing medicine and fought hard for his license to be restored.  After hearing the news of the violent outburst, Lou is in shock like everyone else, but mostly he's incredulous.  And when he begins to look into it further, the terrifying evidence he finds takes him down a path to an unspeakable conspiracy that seems to lead directly to the White House and those in the highest positions of power. 

I'm Enjoying Oath of Office right for my review soon!
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Saturday, January 28, 2012

Football, Espionage Merged For Great Thriller!

The new NFL logo went into use at the 2008 draft.Image via Wikipedia
"Times were still tense between the
United States and the Soviet Union, so they
needed to be sure the teams understood
that this was an exhibition and not
"It was the first time a Russian team had
scored a touchdown on American soil.
If the two governments could have seen
the camaraderie between the players
and the coaches, the Cold War might
have been something in the past.
"Sports had a way of bringing people
together that no other activity could. It
was the pure competition, man on man,
team on team, that made it so


  Bob Robustelli

When I was working one of the positions held was head of Facilities Management at a local university, which included the responsibility to coordinate and negotiate the use of institutional facilities, including all those used for both academic and athletic activities. I was pleasantly surprised then, when I started to read Teamwork and learned that much of the activities regarding football was that conducted in the background. In this case, the final goal was to host the third game of the NFL in Russia!

Let's just say that Mickey Rossetti had never planned on being sent to Russia, living there and then having a major role at the chosen stadium where the game was to be held!

Nor did he ever imagine what was actually happening while he was coordinating with Russian representatives to get their athletes prepared to play football--training, selection of teams, scheduling games within the EFL, etc.

At the same time that football was being introduced to athletes, government officials, and citizens, there was much more happening in Russia! It had been discovered that nukes had been stolen and were soon going to be used!

Suddenly Mickey and many others from both the United States and Russia were forced into becoming operatives, seeking and passing intelligence between players from both countries, merged as a team to save mass destruction across the world...

This picture selected by me, no names were
actually used in this book.
"In the middle of January, two of the most
powerful people in the world sat down for
the first time to discuss the nuclear arms race,
the state of the Soviet economy, and fourteen
nuke cases that had gone missing...
"...But the most important development
during that time period never made the
headlines of any paper or newscast:
somewhere on the Eurasian Steppes, in
the southwestern part of the USSR, two
scientists and a colonel detonated a nuke
suitcase by remote control..."
As readers enter the ravaged country so affected by the cold war, they share the devastating lack of food and proper facilities along with the high cost of getting anything from other countries, if they could get anything at all. But all activities regarding bringing football to Russia, and hopefully improving the economy would be supported by the government.

An investment for the future?

Football fans will certainly enjoy watching new teams being formed and moving toward expansion of their favorite game into other countries...But be prepared to begin watching one of the most intriguing games of international espionage, headed personally by the presidents of the two countries, that is based upon potential and actual events which happened during the 80s.

I enjoyed delving into the history of that time period and other lovers of history fiction and espionage novels may also be as intrigued... Talk about writing what you know--check out his bio below! The merge of football within international history is, in my opinion, seamless and lends a more personal, a warmer touch to these dramatic events, drawing readers in, matching their memories of what took place against the author's story. Me, I just enjoyed a great thriller that was uniquely presented, while I have NO idea whether any football games ever took place there in Russia--anybody know?

Note: Somewhere this author saw I enjoyed reading Richard Doetsch so he sent me the above Yep, I wanted to read it too! Cool Marketing on his part, don't you think?

About the Author:   After his college days at the University of Connecticut, Bob Robustelli worked in the family corporate travel and sports marketing business. His responsibilities included promoting American football in Mexico, Europe and Russia. Robustelli's father played for the New York Giants and is a member of the NFL Hall of Fame, credentials that helped with his associations with football. Throughout his travels, which took him to all parts of the world, he read thrillers and always thought his job was a good cover for a CIA agent. The idea for Teamwork had been formulating with Robustelli for some time, when three years ago he committed to writing it, taking courses at the Westport Writers Workshops and attending numerous seminars. He's enjoyed the process of learning the trade, but realizes there is much more to learn. He's looking forward to the journey.

Book Received
from Author

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Thursday, January 26, 2012

Francis Hamit' s Alternative History Featuring The Queen of Washington Creatively "Possible"

Rose O'Neal GreenhowImage via Wikipedia
"My career died right there," Robert's bitter voice
brought her back to her present difficulty. And so
did your ambitions. Greed, Rose. Greed was your
undoing...and mine...
"She flinched. Never had he spoken to her so
harshly, but never had she given him such cause.
She had betrayed their marriage by allowing a
flirtation to go too far. It was her fault, but not
entirely. She could not let the accusation pass
unchallenged. That wasn't fair..."

The Queen of Washington

 By Francis Hamit

I had thoroughly enjoyed The Shenandoah Spy telling the story of  the first woman in American history to be formally commissioned an Army officer. While Hamit's series focuses on the Civil War era, his decision to move backward and create an alternative history for some of the key players during the war is a delightful fun read (while being historically informative).

Mainly because today's political environment includes spotlighting the sexual activities of those working in government that often becomes world-wide news...

While Hamit hypothesizes that sex was routinely used by women, in particular, during that time to gain vital information, especially for the South, or for gaining personal power or positions for their husbands, And the most famous Rose Greenhow became the one they crowned as Queen. She started by becoming an active participant of the social set that centered in Washington D.C. and was wife of the Translator and Librarian for the U.S. State Department where he ranked third to the Secretary. But while his position lowered as he got into activities of the Land Commission, traveling west into Mexico and California, Rose spent most of her time in Washington garnering more and more political influence.

But she went too far and had a child to one of her lovers and brought her into their home...she had broken trust with her husband, Robert!

She was definitely a spy for the South. But Hamit posed the question was she a spy earlier for the French, the English and many others--perhaps anybody who would willingly share "pillow-talk" which included gifts and financial support to keep her in the home she needed and hosting the many events that were necessary to keeping her image in front of the Washington set...

Robert became friends with Judah
Benjamin, later to become a
"He and Robert drank in silence for
several minutes, and then Judah said
sympathetically, "Your wife, eh?
That's grounds for a suit at law."
"That would mean scandal, and the
Greenhows are very political.
It's the family business, you see.
We don't do scandal..."
"Revenge is a dish best tasted cold"
There were also several truly treasonous or criminal actions that she had convinced her husband should be done. However, when her affair resulted in a child, it affected their relationship in both personal and political ways.

Going back to 1850 to begin this story, Francis Hamit has pulled in significant issues that could indeed have been part of or even important background reasons for the Civil War. The author has obviously researched the time period and has effectively merged true historical events together with a viable and entertaining alternative story surrounding both of the Greenhows but especially Rose. You might want to check out the picture on my earlier announcement which shows her and her daughter being held in prison prior to finally being sent back into the territory controlled by the South. 

I thoroughly enjoyed Hamit's second novel--a much more personal and intimate look into the life of the "female" spies active during the time of the Civil War. Somehow it seemed "permissible" at that time, while today's scandals just seem...sordid...What do you think?  History buffs, I think, will enjoy as much as I did...Maybe a must-read? You decide!

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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

A "heartwarming, real, passionate and often hilariousl" Read! Plus Excellent Writing!

"TUESDAY" production signImage by Vaguely Artistic via Flickr
"They made her a Driving to Florida Long
Journey Room Survival Kit..."
tuesday night miracles

Kris Radish

This book touched me personally, but having worked for over 40 years and meeting a lot of women in both professional and social settings, I earlier stated that I wished I could get this book into the hands of every woman. After finishing it, I still feel the same way, and maybe even more so. I would also recommend it for men, even though all of the primary characters are women since readers will also see how husbands involved with those women reacted. Read the blurb of the book for more specific info; I do not want to share much of the book itself so readers will have the benefit of learning along with the group member characters...

Even more so, both men and women are susceptible to the stresses of today's world. Yes, those stresses often become too much to handle. We know about some of the results by learning about domestic violence and other actions that "make the news" but I know there are many times that nobody knows what has or is happening to a woman or man who is trying to face her life situations and deal with them--trying to make it through...

I had never read Radish before, but find the titles of her other books quite intriguing. Nor do I know her professional background as I began to read, but I found her lead character, Dr. Olivia Bayer totally realistic and knowledgeable in her role as a clinical psychologist. Tuesday Night is the night that most of the group sessions for Dr. Bayer's latest mandated court were held for four women who had, as they say today, snapped...

"The beds are against the back wall in all three cells, which are identical. There's a toilet at what any sane
person would use as the foot of the bed, and it's screened from the cell across from it by a huge metal sink.
The thick brown walls are cracked at the top and appear to be solid concrete.
Leah places her ear against the wall to her right, thinking that perhaps voices were trapped inside the
last time the place was painted.
"Who do you two think stayed in these cells?" she asks, keeping her ear to the wall.
Both Kit and Grace reach out to touch one of the walls. They are cold, and whatever traces of life were
left her have long since been painted over, scrubbed off, erased...
Before she {Dr. Bayer} turns to leave, Kit blurts out, "Are there any ghosts in here?"
Each of the women are facing criminal charges for what they did and will be put in jail if they fail to complete an anger management class and associated requirements. But there is something different with this class. Dr. Bayer has been considering retirement and, perhaps, is being pushed to do so. She wants to discard traditional group session methods and try what she believes is a better model. She agrees with her boss that if the class doesn't work, she will definitely retire...

The only thing I wondered at the end of the book is whether her process is actually being used--or whether it is only the writer's imagination that created it. I found myself slowly being pulled into the activities, not actually stopping to do them, but to stop and ponder my own reactions. What I do know is that this book will not be one that I read and pass on. Right now I've already made some life decisions based upon the book and believe that I'll be referring to the book over and over.

It has been my experience that many women, and men snap during their daily lives. It may be a minor incident or, worse, a series of small incidents will make an individual sad or angry...and the feelings resulting from those incidents will build up to what can be a major event, such as taking physically aggressive actions as the women in the book did... It is my personal opinion that, in today's world, we have all experienced some form of stress-related response to someone else's action. If you know this to be true for yourself, or even have considered that you could reach the point of saying or acting out on your feelings, then I highly recommend you read Tuesday Night Miracles and see if you find yourself there, like I did, or feel that you just might one day see yourself in a similar situation...

This is fiction; however, I felt it was or could be a self-help type of book if you need it to be. Are you sad, angry, agitated, afraid, screaming, times? this book if you use similar adjectives to describe your personal feelings. And God Bless...

Book Received Via

Kelley and Hall Book Publicity



Kris Radish grew up dreaming about living a Nancy Drew-like life and always held her own passion for writing very close to her heart. A former journalist, nationally syndicated columnist, magazine writer and university instructor, Radish also loves to tell stories about the times she picked nighcrawlers, served beer to cowboys, worked on a tomato farm and hung out of the side of a fast moving helicoper. Radish is now the bestselling author of six novels and has captured the hearts of legions of fans with her heartwarming, real, passionate and often hilarious novels. Her stories focus on the important bonds of female friendship and celebrate the common feelings, heartaches, loves, and struggles that all women share. She loves to call her work "true fiction" because she addresses the real emotions that women live and share every day. She is also the author of two non-fiction books, writes poetry, is the mother of two young and very fiesty adults, is known for her wild laugh and wilder hair, and is working on her seventh novel.

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Thursday, January 19, 2012

Continuing on My Personal Review Process...Join the Discussion!

English: A whole lotta books in my personal li...Image via Wikipedia
Click on the first link below to go to first blog entry...

I appreciate all the comments! It isn't often when I initiate my sometimes controversial opinion that I get people involved! There are many valid comments about my process. To verify, yes, I am a book blogger--there are many of us out there! Still others only review for Amazon or some other online bookstore. I do, however, know that there are many individuals that I personally have tracked down when I see a low rating on what are award-winning books and find there is no pic and they often have only one or two reviews. I know that Meghann has many more, but, I'm sorry if I doubt "the who" when I find short negative sentences.

I have always made a simple assumption about low ratings and, then, affirmed my final decision. This was mainly based upon what I found for myself. I've found that there are MANY award-winning books that I don't personally like! What that made me realize was that giving my personal opinion was indeed unfair and biased...simply put, what good was my personal opinion alone? It only meant that this one person, me, didn't like the book. Yet...there were many others raving about the book, so unless I could explain in a fair and unbiased manner, why the book was not a book I could recommend, I was not really helping potential readers. 

One time I read a book that was fantasy. One image within the book was personally extremely offensive to involved child sexual mutilation... I gave it a low score and posted it. I was immediately bombarded so much so that school students were texting all their school friends and getting them to go post against my review. I took it down fairly soon, mainly because I had to accept that my personal opinion about one issue did not negate the fact that the book was good overall. I also had to admit that I personally didn't enjoy some fantasy. That taught me much about what value my personal opinion provided...You know what I was told the most? That it was fantasy and that the mutilation had never happened to the real boy...which it had indeed said in other parts of the book. I knew there was a reason I didn't like some fantasy writings!

I've also received a number of books that have blasted Christianity. They were extremely hard for me to read! But I realized that to be fair I could not use my personal faith issues in providing my review.

My point in sharing these two examples was that I learned the hard way that, if I could learn to set aside my personal opinion, and try to be fair--most books are good books basically, if you don't apply personal opinion. What that meant to me is that I should grade/rank based upon the quality of the book, but that I would use my words to share my personal opinion. So, when you read my reviews, you will see something like, Those of you who enjoy fantasy...or Readers, you will have to decide whether this book is for you...or recently in my blog but not yet posted her because a book is not out yet, ...This book falls short for me...

I know, I know...with all of the reality shows that forces Americans to choose The Voice, or America's Idol, or the best dancer, model, chef, etc., most of us are being forced into a situation where we routinely choose who is best based upon our personal opinion... But when I watch those shows, I realize, there as well, that there are many talented people on those shows. Did the winner of the $5M contract on the XFactor really deserve that much money in relation to the top 12 or so...personally I can't accept that as logical...and that also has influenced me in deciding to review and give the ranking based upon quality of writing and the book itself as opposed to whether it is my personal opinion. 

Meghann, you note that you thought I woud consider it illogical to accept the sexuality issues in this book...I couldn't even consider it as logical or not given that people do do these things...I flip through some of the daytime shows such as Jerry Springer and some of the milder talk shows and I'm personally amazed at what people do!!! People do strange things, sometimes they may later regret them. But, frankly, in today's world as I see it in the is quite logical to have exactly what happened in the book, actually happen (no matter what my opinion of their choices might be) which is another whole issue...Let me go back to identity of the individual. Sure, I believe it is important for people to establish a solid identity online. I've been scammed out of money from a supposed long-term friend whose email identity had been stolen, I've been approached by people for activities in which I have no interest...and when there is no picture or I don't know them, I try to find out more about them before I'm willing to connect. There are many dangers online. From a reviewer or any other professional who is working online, all of the experts recommend you establish your identity in order to establish credibility. You may think it is to drive individuals back to their sites...sure it is! But, like I said, if you looked beyond my "rating/ranking" process, and actually read my reviews, I think you would find that getting a supporting RANK response is not continually accolades... 

I worked with an author as an editor who said he didn't want to seek other reviews because all he had now were 5-starred reviews...and I see on television that many top movies or books claim 4 out of 5 stars...and I always wonder, if they are making millions why aren't they 5 out of 5...

Neither or these make sense to me...but, then, I personally believe that celebrities should not be making millions while the teachers that taught them barely make a living can see that I just don't understand how you can make decisions except on the basis of quality, quantity, or value of the work--not on personal opinion... Yet America does it continuously classified "entertainment" or "sports" "administrators/bosses/CEO's/politicians" ...Just my personal opinion...

Note: This discussion started on Amazon Re Book, Megan's Way...Comment there, on my blog, or at any of the sites where you might be reading this!
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I'm Reading Now and Already Want to Share With All Women!

"Radish exhibits a deep understanding of and compassion for women who opt for fight rather than flight in tough situations. She does not trivialize them, their crimes, or the painful process of recovery, she has a keen eye for the good and bad in female relationships...the strong personalities will resonate for many readers." 
--Publishers Weekly

This month, bestselling author Kris Radish returns with her poignant and transformative new novel, Tuesday Night Miracles. From road rage to physical violence, from Amanda Knox to Casey Anthony, arrests for serious crimes committed by women are in the spotlight more than ever; yet you don't have to be on the nightly news to experience the negative effects of anger. Every day women face pressures, from work to family to female friendships, that can cause disproportionate levels of anger. In this uplifting story, five unique women are united by an anger management class, navigating personal minefields and exploring the healing power of self-reflection and the bonds that it can create.

Free-spirited psychologist Dr. Olivia Bayer suspects she'll need a miracle to help the four wildly different women in her anger management class. Grace, Jane, Kit, and Leah aren't typical participants in a court-ordered anger-management program. They're ordinary women who are motivated by family and careers and people they love. But when the pressures of their daily lives cause each of them to snap, Dr. Bayer must use an unconventional plan to steer them back on the right track. The class goes everywhere from a bowling alley to a shooting range, and the women's Tuesday meetings transform from tense, reluctant gatherings into richly rewarding experiments in female bonding. As Grace, Jane, Kit, and Leah open up--revealing secrets, swapping stories, and recovering long-lost dreams--old wounds begin to heal, new friendships are forged, and miracles manifest in the most surprising ways.

Full of humor, heartache, and ultimately happiness, Tuesday Night Miracles will resonate with women everywhere.


My Review Coming Soon...
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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Personal Attack Reminds Me to Republish My Review Process Philosophy...

English: James Patterson Polski: James PattersonImage via Wikipedia
James Patterson Versus Nora Roberts 

Versus Dean Koontz Versus Stephen al. 

How Does Your Work Rank Against the 

Top Fiction Authors?

An Informal Review of My Ranking Philosophy

Defending My Credibility...

Let's Talk about reviews 

and reviewers...

Do you have a right to question? Sure...!!!!!

So there I was routinely submitting a review, this time for Megan's Way... when I later got the notification of a comment on Amazon...if you're interested you can check earlier comments out online... 

I take this type of opportunity to remind myself that I need to share my review philosophy from time to time, so I've just posted most of my own "last" comment since I took the time to respond in defense of what the individual said about my reviews... I did change a few things, but not much...

Meghann, I don't know what a number of your comments relate to so I'll just ignore them and comment about your comments/critique of me personally as the reviewer. 

Meghann, I have published a paper on my feelings regarding grading/ranking books... Briefly, in my opinion, it has no value whatsoever. In is illogical for me to attempt to take a top number, i.e., 5, and use it to select a number to equate the work of, say, James Patterson, Nora Roberts, Dean Koontz, Robert B. Parker, and so many other top authors that I routinely read... I review each book individually and rarely consider ranking, unless I am forced to put one in on sites that mandate it.

Here is my method for grading in a realistic manner, or at least it works for me... One or two stars. I get many requests for books that I refuse to read based upon my posted parameters...too many errors, poor writing, routine publishing issues that should have prevented the book being published. I refuse to read these books beyond 50 pages. Some are so bad that I don't even read beyond the 1st or 2nd chapters. The fact that I refuse to then take my time to proceed to Amazon and report it is apparently what you would expect me to do. Frankly, I consider it a waste of my time, since the whole grading system is faulty and I refuse to play the game when I would be lying if I submitted a review for something I will not read. 

Your review giving for instance a one or two...could be based entirely on your own process, as is that of every other individual. The fact that you don't know about those books I've refused to read and either returned or otherwise as agreed by the requester is, frankly, your problem, not mine, since you chose to look at how I grade overall.

Anyway, by process of elimination the ranking of three is my lowest rating for books I have completely read. I point out that I use, based upon my working at a small publishing company where I had a chance to work on every detail of the publishing process, an evaluation of publishing issues, cover, format, writing and grammar issues as well as story line, so something that gets a 3 will have an explanation for that within my review. If a book has been well done and has a logical story for the most part, but there is something that detracts from an overall satisfying book, it normally will get a four with some reason stated. What that results in is that the top grade is what is left!!!! That does not mean that I personally liked one book versus the other! That's why the grading activity is an unrealistic method for scoring. my words to see what I personally felt about the book!!!!! 

If I would be forced to really get serious, then I would have to demand that I be permitted to use a ranking so that I could give, award-winning authors, say 100, millions (What do those stars means!!!) and then go downward to those I would still refuse to read at, say, 1-5... I think you might begin to understand that I pay little attention to how my review rankings compare to yours or anybody else. I've published my philosophy, my process, and I'm willing to share that at any time. 

By the way, my personal opinion is rarely used to give a "ranking." I feel I have a responsibility to be able to read and fairly review a book totally opposing my personal views and still give a fair review. When this occurs, I normally go back to the requester and, you know what, none of them have ever disagreed with my review... except, maybe, those I refused to read...but, then, I have my written policy to support my reasons and can explain those reasons to the requester.

Now, regarding your issue with the sexuality content of the characters in this book. Frankly it is obvious to me that this is a personal issue with you. I'm sorry that the book offended, perhaps, your personal opinions. But frankly, the sexuality of these individuals really, in my opinion, had little to do with the overall intent of the book. I could easily defend myself and say that perhaps my writing made it easy for you to misunderstand...but the truth is that those issues were never even a part of my conceptual review material...that the author chose to create these characters that way were really only relevant to the story if the reader decided they were, as you apparently have. I am personally appalled by some of the real sexuality issues that are daily displayed on television and other media...and as much as I hate the thought of sex slavery, sexual abuse, etc., that is indeed rampant in today's world, This is where I would place my personal thoughts, but thousands of authors/screenwriters, etc., continuously write about those issues, and are legally permitted to do so. I would include these issues for information, but would not consider these issues as part of the ranking process unless they bordered on pornography, which I have publicly stated I will not review.

As for sexuality? You really have no right with today's laws to question that a gay and straight had sex. In fact, they have a word for it-- bisexuality...Legally, in my opinion, I am not permitted to question the law as a reason for my review activities. Indeed, I state publicly that my reviews do not discriminate on all those issues covered by law, including sexuality. Regardless, I still repeat that, for me, the sex was not relevant to the overall conceptual story line--and you are blind to today's world if you don't think that the "real" sexual issues happening to our children and teens are not worldwide, but like I said before, the sexual activities were not the thrust of my understanding of the story. My review title clearly shows that I felt Death and Dying within the family was being spotlighted. I believe this "could" be considered to happen across the world? At least in my knowledge of "this" world. Although I do admit to including statements often connecting the overall story line to real world issues. For me, that's part of how I read a book and believe it may be helpful to potential readers. 

Meghann, as an aside to all this, it is clear to me that you are not regularly reviewing, so I thought I'd mention that there are millions of books given free for reviews every single day!!!!! Amazon does it through their own program, but every book site has them routinely. But if you can give me a valid, legal reason to stop this and get every publisher, author, publicist, etc., to stop providing them, sure, I'd be happy to review the books I've purchased that sit stacked to be read and enjoyed, I'd be happy to change my activities. By the way, you should also know that the government got involved in all this several years ago and I've handled my tax issues in accordance with IRS regulations and filed them appropriately and on time for many years. And...the reason you know that all my books are provided free is because I follow government regulations to display that... but if you look hard enough, some of my books have been purchased...but I rarely have time to read those books because of the number of requests I routinely get...

If you have any other thoughts on my credibility, hey, just ask. I've had to put a notice up that I'm not accepting any new requests for six months due to the backlog I routinely have. And my ratings for whether they are "helpful" here on Amazon by readers is apparently satisfactory according to statistics...enough to have Amazon keep me in their program and as an associate.

Now, could I ask you one thing...why don't you include a picture? Are you for real? Can I find you anywhere else on the internet? How do we know who you are, who throws out poor ratings so freely?

I note that you often rank low with innuendo and sarcasm and with your supposed intelligence which is compared to those that felt differently than you about a given book... Hmmm, I wonder why your choice of books is not much better? I would think you'd take more time with your purchased selections. But then, I note that many have been "bought" when they are being given free? Kind of ironic, don't you think? 

And, yes, the last two paragraphs are meant to be sarcastic. But then, I'm not reviewing a book where I try to be fair and unbiased. Apparently you don't bother with that... I do...
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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Lies, Prejudice, Truth...and Love... and Much More!

Melanie Amaro - Winner of $5M X-Factor Contract!
White Lies, Black Blood:

  An Epic Tale of Love 
  and Race

By Trevor Ennis

As I started to read the debut novel by Trevor Ennis, I soon flashed to the night that Melanie Amaro revealed the true Melanie as she broke down, sometimes speaking with her Jamaican accent, and cried, telling about her past, her home, her struggle to eliminate her accent so that she would be better accepted. Before that night we loved her voice, but after that night where we met her more personally, we loved her even more...

Many times, we are all like that, we withhold a connection to somebody new, until we know them better, while others show some of their underlying prejudice(?) through jokes and innuendo (see related article below)...

But there are many who still have deep-seated prejudice--in fact, in Ennis' novel, set in 2009, we are taken to Kentucky where Angelica has grown up with a prejudiced father and now attends an all-white college. Based upon what she learned growing up, readers meet a woman who has totally adopted her learned prejudice and freely acts on it whenever she meets someone who is black...

An early warning, this review covers Book 1...I hope this will reduce a little of your disappointment when you find that you are so involved with the story that stops just under 500 pages! But this is indeed epic and readers need to have been placed within the setting to fully appreciate the impact of what is to happen... I'm soooo looking forward to reading what comes!

There are many clues spread liberally within the pages, but you have to "think" about them--much like the article I mentioned about Melanie.  Where one individual jokes about the accent, I thought about how sad it was that she knew she would need to learn how to speak American English...

So when two exchange students from Jamaica  are sent to Angelica's school and winds up in classes with Angelica, she not only participates, but instigates much of the actions against the students! Which continued until they finally fought back. The segue to what happens later is very effective, although I'm hoping that it includes more about the two Jamaican students... The sad thing for me is that while the novel is fiction, I'm not quite sure that some or all of these actions do not still occur somewhere in America...

One bright spot in Angelica's family is James, still innocent and free from the bias his father routinely displays. One activity he enjoys is to "play" at picking winners so that he forces his family members to choose who is going to "win" and often his champion did become the winner. And so, it was while they all watched Olympic sports and the 4-year-old boy had finally talked everybody into choosing who they believed was going to win the race,  that James announced his choice: "the one in black, yellow, and green with number one on his vest..."

"...the tall, black one?" and Angelica proceeded to gives her thoughts on his choice... only to later actually meet the athlete when they passed at the airport...where Angelica's friends started a familiar game of racial bullying... But something happened...Angelica couldn't forget him! So much so that when her family started to discuss their vacation, she chose and convinced them to go to Jamaica...

Where Angelica and...Kazeem... became...acquainted...and more...

Lies, prejudice, fear...and, finally, love... come together as Angelica is forced into facing what she learned from her parents versus what she sees in actions by other people, versus what she herself begins to feel and believe... Ennis  has effectively portrayed what the results are when prejudice lives in the hearts and minds of some individuals--some is not easily read if you've seen such actions, or have heard the results from people who have experienced them. At the same time, the awakening of his main female character is so realistic that you will experience the doubt and confusion as a young girl finds that her essence, her "self" might have been based upon false information!

There has been enough provided already to know that the book is going to include more violence and that the sins of the father will undoubtedly come out in, to some, unexpected ways... Frankly I can't wait to read it! There is much to learn from White Lies, Black Blood...but, no way around it, there is a hot steamy love story that plays a central role! Highly recommended!

Book Received Via
Bostick Communications


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Sunday, January 15, 2012

The Land of Darkness by C. S. Lakin - Review Coming Soon!

A new fairy tale in the Gates of Heaven series 
explores the heart of darkness
Book three in Lakin's series for adults delves deep into mystery as her characters hunt for clues to a mystical bridge, a rare tree with leaves for healing, and an enigmatic promise...

Already highly acclaimed and taking the forefront in allegorical fantasy, The Gates of Heaven series, written by prolific author and copyeditor C. S. Lakin, weaves a rich, compelling fantasy world in which characters embark on dark troubled journeys both outward and inward.

Lakin continues her collection of Fairy tales with The Land of Darkness which follows the story of two characters--Jadiel, a twelve-year-old girl sent out under threat by her wicked stepmother to find leaves of an elusive tree, and Callen, a woodworking apprentice obsessed with finding a strange, evocative bridge with odd lettering scrolled upon it. They join in their quests, as their objectives overlap, unknowingly beginning a perilous and mystifying undertaking that leads them to the forbidden Land of Darkness, where they must face the greatest dangers of all--what lies in their hearts.

"Fairy tales have long taught us concepts like right and wrong, good and evil," Lakin, the author of eleven books says. "But I want to explore a bit deeper, search out the darker corners of our hearts to face our fears and conquer--which has always been the task of fairy tales."

Each book in the series tells a unique fairy tale in a different locale and featuring different characters, although people and places overlap. Each of the seven proposed novels feature a different "sacred site"--a gate of heaven that was established ages ago to prevent evil from gaining a stronghold in the world of men. The sites, though, have been desecrated, abandoned, and have fallen into disrepair, allowing evil to flourish. The overarching story weaves through all the books to culminate in the final novel, which will draw in characters from all six prior 

About the Author

I grew up in the Big Orange, when there were still orange groves in the Los Angeles basin. My first novel, A Rip in the Redwood Curtain, was picked up by the first agent who read it, Ben Kamsler -- Elmor Leonard's agent at the time.
While running a bed and breakfast inn, raising two daughters, and breeding dozens of pygmy goats, I wrote another two novels. One--Innocent Little Crimes--made the top 100 in the 2009 Amazon Breakthrough Novel contest, with Publisher's Weekly calling it "a page-turning thrill-ride that will have readers holding their breaths the whole way through." Ten years later, I decided to start writing novels again, and in 2006 wrote my first fantasy book, now published with AMG/Living Ink Publishers. I has since written seven more novels, five of which have been contracted for publication.
I currently work as a freelance copyeditor and writing coach, and also teach workshops on writing at confereces. I belong to numerous writing and editing groups, and occasionally guest blog and contribute articles on websites that focus on the craft of writing.

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Saturday, January 14, 2012

Murder on Aconcagua by Irion and Watkins - A Blurb...

Aconcagua mountain, from entrance Parque Provi...
Image via Wikipedia


Murder on Aconcagua

By Charles G. Irion and Ronald J. Watkins

"A gripping heart-pounding climbing adventure, combined with intrigue, danger, betrayal, legents, and mystery! Get ready to feel like you're on the climb of your life. Take an exciting journey up Mt. Aconcagua, one of the seven summits!"

This is the exciting, action-packed fifth novel in the Summit Murder Mystery Series! Hero Scott Devlon is once again sent by the U. S. Defense Intelligence Agency on another climbing expedition. This time the mountain is Aconcagua, the highest in South America. His mission is to confirm a report that three Inca golden idols have been discovered and are headed to Venezuelan strongman, Hugo Chavez. Legend says he who possesses them is invincible. Scott's assignment is to prevent that from taking place but he quickly learns that there are those who will stop at nothing, including murder, to get their hands on the idols. Join Scott Devlon as he battles not only the brutal elements of the Aconcagua summit, but the determined greed of a murder in Murder on Aconcagua!

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