Thursday, May 31, 2012

Caleb’s Crossing Goes Paperback Plus A Giveaway

PB.Cover.Caleb's CrossingLast year I had the pleasure of interviewing author Geraldine Brooks prior to the release of her novel, CALEB’S CROSSING. Today I have the pleasure to share that Geraldine’s book is now available in paperback.

Thanks to Geraldine and Rebecca at Penguin, I have a copy of CALEB’S CROSSING to offer as a giveaway to one lucky visitor who comments on today’s post by 8 p.m. (EST) on Friday, June 8. The giveaway is open to residents of the U.S. and Canada. Be sure to include your e-mail address with your comments if it’s not included in your profile.

Here’s a little bit about the story:
CALEB’S CROSSING is inspired by the life of Caleb Cheeshahteaumauk, the first Native American to graduate from Harvard College in 1665. Brooks first learned about him during her time as a Radcliffe fellow at Harvard in 2006. Caleb was from the Wampanoag tribe of Native Americans who lived on Martha’s Vineyard and this year Tiffany Smalley will become the second Vineyard Wampanoag to graduate from Harvard. There is little official information on Caleb’s life and Brooks’ novel is an informed imagining of what he might have gone through. 
What makes this novel truly special is its narrator, Bethia Mayfield. Bethia is the strong-willed daughter of a preacher who lives in the settlement of Great Harbor on Martha’s Vineyard. She struggles with the restrictions placed on her—namely, that she is denied the education freely given to her brother. Bethia finds respite in the wild landscape of her home and it is while clamming one day that she meets Caleb, the son of a local chieftain. They form a secret friendship that, in time, leads to Caleb coming to live with the Mayfields. Bethia’s father eagerly takes Caleb under his wing, determined not only to convert him to Christianity, but also to groom him for matriculation to Cambridge and eventually, Harvard. 
The harsh realities of life for both women and Native Americans are fully confronted in CALEB’S CROSSING. It is a story of difficult friendships, cultural transitions, and facing injustices. 

For more about the interview with Geraldine and background on the book, check out the prior post

For more about Geraldine and her writing, visit her website.

Do you remember hearing about Caleb?

Thanks so much for stopping by today. Remember to comment for a chance to win a paperback edition of CALEB’S CROSSING.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Lucky In Love Blog Tour And Giveaway

I’m delighted to be a part of New York Times bestselling author Jill Shalvis Blog Tour today featuring her current release, LUCKY IN LOVE, the latest installment in her Lucky Harbor series.


Thanks to Jill, I have a copy of LUCKY IN LOVE to giveaway to one lucky visitor who comments on this post by 8 p.m. (EST) on Thursday, June 7. The giveaway is open to U.S. residents only. Be sure to leave your email address with your comment if it’s not included in your profile.

Here’s a brief synopsis of LUCKY IN LOVE:
165517763Mallory Quinn has had enough of playing it safe. As a nurse and devoted daughter, she takes care of everyone but herself. And as the local good girl, she's expected to date Mr. Right. But for once, she'd like to take a risk on Mr. Wrong. 

And who could be more wrong than Ty Garrison? The mysterious new guy in town has made it clear that he's only passing through, which suits Mallory just fine. Besides, his lean, hard body and sexy smile will give her plenty to remember once he's gone . . .

For the first time in his life, Ty can't bear to leave. Helping this sexy seductress-in-training walk on the wild side is making him desire things he shouldn’t including leaving the military for good. 

As their just-for-fun fling becomes something more, Mallory and Ty wonder if they could really be this lucky in love. After all . . . anything can happen in a town called Lucky Harbor.

Jill lives in a small town in the Sierras full of quirkyShalvis, Jill characters. Any resemblance to the quirky characters in her books is, um, mostly coincidental. Look for Jill's bestselling, award-winning books wherever romances are sold and visit her website for a complete book list and daily blog detailing her city-girl-living-in-the-mountains adventures. 

For more on Jill and her writing, visit her on Facebook, on Twitter or at her website.

Are you a believer that love can change a person and what they seek out of life? Thanks so much for stopping by today.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The Sholes Key and 11th Hour

Don’t you just love a crime fiction adventure now and then? Today I’d like to share my opinion about 2 interesting thrillers with you. One is the debut release by a friend and fellow blogger and the other is by a writing duo that have a number of bestsellers under their belt. Both are very captivating stories.

THE SHOLES KEY by Clarissa Draper

The Sholes Key CoverWhen a story keeps you thinking about it after you put the book down, then you know you’re hooked.

THE SHOLES KEY was such a book for me. Author Clarissa Draper has created 2 intriguing protagonist with a storyline that will not only keep you guessing, but will also have you trying to decode the cryptic messages.

When Lorna McCauley leaves her young son home sick, Detective Inspector Theophilus “Theo” Blackwell is called in to investigate. At first it appears to be a woman who has run away. However, Theo’s investigation finds a number of young women haven been vanishing in London.

Meanwhile, MI5 analyst Sophia Evans is working undercover to apprehend the leader of an animal rights group before they bomb again. Sophia is good at cracking codes but new to the world of undercover work. She may have gotten too close to the leader for her own good.

Sophia receives an envelope containing a photo of Lorna McCauley’s body and a cryptic code. As more pieces of the code are found, it’s up to Sophia and Theo to work together to find the killer before another woman is abducted.

The characters are well defined with the supporting characters adding bits of humor and flavor to the mix. The dialogue flows smoothly making the transition from killer to victim to cops and back again with ease. There is a hint of attraction between the lead characters with each harboring their own issues and secrets.

Modern-day London makes for an interesting backdrop to this story of suspense and mystery. This story will give you pause to consider the mindless actions we do each day and how dangerous they could be.

THE SHOLES KEY is a great start to what promises to be a fascinating series featuring Sophia and Theo. I’m looking forward to when these 2 meet again.

Author Clarissa Draper’s website is

The Sholes Key by Clarissa Draper, An Evans and Blackwell Mystery, WiDo Publishing, @2012, Paperback, ISBN: 978-1937178147, 314 Pages, Kindle Edition, ASIN: B007XU212K, 410 KB   

FTC Full Disclosure - An electronic version of this book was sent to me by the author in hopes I would review it. However, receiving the complimentary copy did not influence my review.
11TH HOUR by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro

11th Hour CoverBeing pregnant doesn’t slow Detective Lindsay Boxer down as she and her partner take on not one, but two bizarre murder cases at once.

The first case has a rogue cop gunning down untouchable drug dealers. When millionaire Chaz Smith, a known drug kingpin, is gunned down at his daughter’s school, new evidence come to light. Smith is really an undercover federal agent and the guns used in the shootings have been taken from the police department’s evidence locker.

The second case take Boxer to the estate of a world-famous actor. Years earlier the actor had been tried and found innocent of his own wife’s murder despite her body never being found.

This time two severed heads are found in the actor’s garden with two index cards and a possible code. Could more heads and bodies be buried in the garden?

As Boxer works to solve both cases and stop any further killings, she also faces difficult decisions on the home front. It seems her husband Joe may have been doing more than just working with his former partner.

Narrator January LaVoy does a wonderful job bringing the story to life. She delivers a full range of emotions as the story unfolds. LaVoy’s interpretation of the rogue cop will have listeners temporary on his side as he attempts to right a wrong.

Patterson and Paetro once again bring the cast of the Women’s Murder Club together for an action adventure filled with suspense at a heart-pounding pace. As the group races to stop two killers, bits of their personal lives are also woven in for more realism. Once you start 11TH HOUR you won’t be able to stop until you know where all the bodies are buried and why. 

11th Hour by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro, The Women’s Murder Club, Read by January LaVoy, Hachette Audio, @2012, ISBN: 978-1607884651, Unabridged, 6 CDs, Listening Time Approximately 7 Hours   

FTC Full Disclosure - This audio book was sent to me by the publisher in hopes I would review it. However, receiving the complimentary copy did not influence my review.
Do you enjoy gripping crime fiction? Thanks so much for stopping by today. Hope everyone had a great holiday or just a fun weekend.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Happy Memorial Day


For those celebrating today, I’m sending wishes for a safe, happy and memorable Memorial Day. For those not celebrating, may your day be safe, happy and memorable just the same.

For those who have, who are and who will serve in any branch of the Armed Forces – THANK YOU!!

As always, thanks for stopping by. Please drop back by tomorrow when I hope to share some interesting book reviews with you. Have a fun day.

Friday, May 25, 2012

4th Annual U.S. Military Wives Contest - Open For Entries!

As millions phandsrepare to celebrate the Memorial Day holiday, we should remember the soldiers and their families who have given and continue to give so we can enjoy this freedom.

I’m delighted to share an awesome contest with you that Sourcebooks author Sara Humphreys is beginning this weekend to celebrate military wives/families and the things they go through. Sara is the author of the Amoveo Legacy Series - UNLEASHED, UNTOUCHED and the upcoming UNTAMED.

Here’s what she has to say about the 4th Annual U.S. Military Wives Contest.  
For the past couple of years, as a special thank you to our service members and their families, I have held a contest just for Military Wives. It turned out to be an incredibly rewarding experience. I had the privilege of meeting several incredible women and their beautiful families. 

It's so easy to forget that there are real people who are deeply affected by the conflicts overseas. Hearing the personal stories of these families helped me remember that our troops are husbands, fathers, brothers and sons who are immensely loved and sorely missed.

This contest will run from Memorial Day Weekend through Labor Day Weekend but start sending those entries in now! 

Who is eligible? Wives of any U.S. military service member may enter. Retired or active-duty. 

How do you enter? Send an email to with a picture of you and your family member in uniform. Tell us a bit about what branch he serves in, where you've been stationed, challenges and so forth. We want to hear your story! Please put "4th Annual Military Families Contest" in the subject line. 
Once a week, beginning Memorial Day weekend, Iunleashedbook will pick one entrant to be highlighted on my blog. These weekly entrants are semi-finalists. Labor Day weekend I will select three winners. 
Second Prize: A $25 Amazon Gift Card, Signed copies of UNLEASED and UNTOUCHED
First Prize: A $50 Amazon Gift Card, and signed copies of UNLEASHED and UNTOUCHED
  untouchedbookGrand Prize: A $100 Amazon Gift card and signed copies of UNLEASHED and UNTOUCHED
 For more information about the contest and Sara, please visit and follow Sara on Twitter, @AuthorSara. 
For additional information about this contest, check out the Huffington Post article
Sara has been attracted to the fantasies of scienceuntamedbook fiction, paranormal, and romance since her adolescence when she had a mad crush on Captain Kirk. An actress and public speaker, Sara lives in Bronxville, New York with her husband, who is very considerate of her double life, and four amazing boys. 
For more information about the contest and Sara Humphreys, visit

If you’re not eligible to enter this contest, you probably know at least one person who is so pass the information on to them. You’re also welcome to share any or all of the information here with others through your blog, Twitter or Facebook. It’s a great way to let them know they are appreciated.

Thanks so much for stopping by today. If you’re off to enjoy the holiday, may it be a safe and happy one for you and your family. If you're a member of the military, thanks for all you do.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

SKINNYDIPPING by Bethenny Frankel

161442202Not a big fan of reality TV, I wasn’t familiar with Bethenny Frankel but found the synopsis of her fiction debut book, SKINNYDIPPING, interesting.

A hilarious read, SKINNYDIPPING follows the antics of aspiring actress Faith Brightstone as she encounters one problem after another changing careers a number of times along the way. Some may say Faith is really Bethenny’s alter ego.

Moving to LA after college graduation, Faith is determined to have it all. But when her career and personal life both hit bottom, Faith takes her dog Muffin and heads back to New York.

The move back pays off years later as Faith seems to be settling in. Then she’s given the chance to work with her idol, the legendary Domestic Goddess Sybil Hunter, in a reality TV show. Faith soon learns the man of her dreams is also within her reach. But, will the need for fame be stronger than love?

The story flows quickly and smoothly. It’s filled with hilarious laugh-out-loud moments. Be warned, however, it also contains strong language. 

Frankel has created a sexy, wise-cracking, strong protagonist in Faith Brightstone. While seemingly outrageous at times, there are moments all readers can relate to making Faith more realistic.

For a fun read this summer, SKINNYDIPPING is a great book to add to your bag before heading out to the beach.

Author Bethenny Frankel’s website is

*Bethenny, a new talk show on FOX premiers June 11 in six markets - WNYW New York; KTTV Los Angeles; WTXF Philadelphia; KDFW Dallas; KSAZ Phoenix; and KMSP Minneapolis.

Skinnydipping by Bethenny Frankel with Eve Adamson, Touchstone Books, @2012, ISBN: 978-1451667370, Hardcover, 368 Pages   

FTC Full Disclosure - This book was sent to me by the publisher in hopes I would review it. However, receiving the complimentary copy did not influence my review.
Are you a fan of reality TV? Thanks so much for stopping by today.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012


A Deeper Darkness coverAuthor J.T. Ellison is fast becoming one of my favorite writers. I found her protagonist Taylor Jackson intriguing and when I saw her latest release featured a new protagonist, I had to find out more.

Nashville (TN) Medical Examiner Samantha “Sam” Owens is battling her share of demons so when the mother of her ex-lover calls and requests her help, Sam is torn. But she soon agrees to exam the autopsy of Eddie Donovan, an ex-Ranger and a lover she still holds dear.

Arriving in Washington D.C., Sam is confronted by her feelings for Eddie, as well as the resentment from Eddie’s widow. However, Sam quickly learns Eddie’s death wasn’t from a random carjacking but was murder. As other members of Eddie’s unit from Afghanistan begin to die, Sam becomes determined to find answers even if it means putting herself in danger. 

Getting closer to answers and the killer leads Sam to Xander Whitfield, an off-grid ex-Ranger buddy of Eddie’s. Xander forces Sam to face her own demons as the story draws to an explosive end.

Narrator Joyce Bean gives a flawless delivery of the story. Her cadence matches the highs and lows in the story, as well as the rising tension as it unfolds. She gives distinct voices to the various characters bring them to life.

Author J.T. Ellison has created a wonderful new protagonist in Samantha Owens. Sam has flaws and issues that are believable, while being a dedicated medical examiner and a caring friend. Sam, as well as the supporting characters, are well-developed and likable.

Had I not read the synopsis before listening to A DEEPER DARKNESS, I wouldn’t have known exactly what Sam’s demons were until almost the end. At first that made the story awkward. But when I forgot the synopsis and just focused on listening, not knowing adds another layer of mystery and intrigue to find out what caused Sam to be as she was.

A DEEPER DARKNESS is a fast-pace mystery filled with suspense, intrigue and bits of humor. It will keep you guessing until the end. Can’t wait to see what Sam encounters in her next adventure, EDGE OF BLACK, coming in December.

Author J.T. Ellison’s website is

A Deeper Darkness by J.T. Ellison, Samantha Owens Book One, Performed by Joyce Bean, Brilliance Audio, @2012, ISBN: 978-1611063103, Unabridged, 9 CDs, Approximately 10 Hours 2 Minutes  

FTC Full Disclosure - This audio book was sent to me by the publisher in hopes I would review it. However, receiving the complimentary copy did not influence my review.
Do you like knowing all the details of the plot before reading or listening to a book? As always, ya’ll are the best. Thanks for stopping by. Have a fun Wednesday.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Author Dennis Bradford: What Do All Creative Acts Have In Common?

Please join me in welcoming ‘new-to-me’ author Dennis Bradford here today as he makes a stop promoting his latest mystery/thriller book, A DARK TIME, which by the way is scheduled for release today.

13634373Here’s a brief synopsis of A DARK TIME: A college student vanishes. Her worried grandfather asks one of her favorite professors, Max Stephansson, to solve the mystery. What Max discovers is tragic. The suspense surrounding her disappearance unfolds to yield insight, but at the cost of danger and death.

Dennis is here to discuss “What do all creative acts have in common?”

Eckhart Tolle has said more than once that the difference between, say, pulp fiction and literature is that only the latter is a manifestation of what he often calls “presence” [“Being,” “space consciousness,” “the unmanifested”]. Presence is the alert, thoughtless awareness characteristic of mastery.

We witness presence when we become enthralled by great musical or athletic performances. It’s the wellspring behind all the different kinds of creative endeavors from the physics of an Einstein to the writing of great musical compositions (including even popular songs such as “The Lion Sleeps Tonight”).

Although it’s expressed verbally, a novelist writing from presence is not producing a story that based on thoughts made from words or their meanings; rather, the fresh arrangement of words is flowing from the domain beyond words. A story written from thoughts or mind cannot be great; literature does not come from there.

When writers talk about the prompting of their muse or character possession, they are really talking about presence.
No creation comes from nothing. All creations are novel rearrangements of existing material. For example, a block of marble has a shape before it is ever touched by the tools of a sculptor; the creation comes from changing what is already there.

Except for the output of a James Joyce, all the words of a novel are already listed in the dictionary. A story teller merely uses old words in new sentences.

A story that comes from a story teller who is experiencing presence does not come from that person, who is merely a production vehicle; rather, that story comes from presence. Surprisingly, creation is not personal.

I happen to believe that each of us has the ability to access presence. If so, we all have the ability to be creative.
However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that we all have what it takes to produce masterpieces. That requires talent and masterful development of talent in addition to being able to act creatively.

Although it’s my 11th book, A DARK TIME is my first work of fiction. In addition to challenging myself just to see if I could complete it, my motivation for writing it was to experience character possession. I’m pleased to report that I did!

When character possession occurs, the characters the author creates take over the story. It seems to make no sense that, for example, characters can act in ways that surprise their creator.
No matter: it happens! The characters I’d created finished the story for me.

I am not claiming that A DARK TIME is a work of literature. Remember, in addition to presence, that requires not only talent but the sustained commitment to develop that talent.
I understood that when I began writing it. I was a tenured professor of philosophy, literature, and history at a good upstate New York college. I didn’t need another publication on my resume. I simply wanted to write a story well enough that I experienced character possession.

It’s simple, but it’s not easy. Like most people, my most productive hours are in the morning. Every day for several months when classes were not in session, I’d go into my campus office and work without any interruption until I seemed to have done my best for that day. Sometimes I’d only work for a couple of hours, but other times I’d work for five or more hours without a break. I’d leave exhausted, get something to eat, and take a nap. I repeated that pattern every day.

Initially, it was very discouraging. I could spent two hours writing a single page! Eventually, bit by bit, the writing began to flow. Eventually there were times when I could hardly type fast enough as the story unfolded.

Mastering anything requires relentless practice of the right kind. Whether or not my practice was of the right kind you can judge for yourself. What I can tell you is that there’s no mastery without persistence.

Probably another necessary condition of writing well is being a voracious reader. Although I’d read many great novels, it made no sense for me even to try to emulate great writers such as Herman Melville, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Leo Tolstoy, James Joyce, William Faulkner, the Bronte sisters, Charles Dickens, Alexandre Dumas, D. H. Lawrence, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Thomas Hardy, Gustave Flaubert, and many others. My ego wasn’t large enough.

Instead, I aimed for genre fiction. Since I’d read most of the classic works by authors such as Edgar Allen Poe, Arthur Conan Doyle, Agatha Christie, Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler, Mickey Spillane, Rex Stout, John D. MacDonald, Ross McDonald, and many others as well as more recent fare by writers such as Umberto Eco, Sara Paretsky, Scott Turow, Elmore Leonard, Tony Hillerman, Johathan Kellerman, Jeffry Deaver, Stephen White, Michael Connelly, Nelson DeMille, Patricia Cornwall, Sue Grafton, John Grisham, and many others, I thought I might have at least a small chance at emulating them.

Perhaps I managed to create a central character, Max Stephansson, who is interesting and appealing. The stimulating circumstances he found himself in may have resulted in a good story. A girl who’d been a student of his vanishes. Her worried grandfather asks Max to solve the mystery. What Max discovers is tragic. The suspense surrounding her disappearance unfolds to yield insight, but at the cost of danger and death.

Being uncertain whether or not I was able to provide readers with a stimulating story, I decided to add a bonus to the book: at least the first 100 purchasers will have the option of getting a personal consultation with me at no extra cost. This is a bonus worth 9 times the cost of the paperback version of the book, which is $10.95. The bonus even comes with the $2.99 Kindle version!

To ensure that you receive the bonus, purchase the book on 22 May 12. Whether or not you happen to like the story, I’m confident that you’ll enjoy the bonus and find it valuable.

At the moment, I’m working on a trilogy of short, health-related nonfiction books designed to supplement a popular website (namely, ) of which I’m the co-author.

Dennis, thanks for guest blogging today and sharing your insight into what creative acts have in common. You make some interesting points.

Now for a bit of background on Dennis. He taught philosophy from 1977 until 2009 at SUNY Geneseo where counseling was part of his job for 32 years. He’s been a philosopher, a lover of wisdom, since 1964. 

Dennis said, “I’m still trying to live well, wisely, and compassionately, which entails that I’m not there yet. Living an examined life has a lot to do with constantly letting go and opening fully into whatever unfolds.”

For more on Dennis and his writing, visit, or (where he is co-creator) and his personal blog at

What do you think creative acts have in common? Thanks so much for stopping by today. Have a great Tuesday and remember to take a few moments to read today.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

The Car Thief by Theodore Weesner Is Re-released

As more and more people are finding the diversity and convenience of eBooks, a number of authors are re-releasing their work in digital form.

Today I’d like to share a novel that’s described as anCarThief_FIN “undiscovered modern classic” and being re-released by Astor + Blue Editions in digital eBook/customized print format. THE CAR THIEF by Theodore Weesner has also been called “one of the best coming of age novels of the 20th Century.”  
The story centers on the relationship between 16-year-old Alex Housman, (who’s apparently addicted to stealing cars) and his alcoholic father as they struggle to get by in blue collar Flint, Michigan. 

It’s 1959. Sixteen year-old Alex Housman has just stolen his 14th car and frankly doesn’t know why. His divorced, working class father grinds out the night shift at the local Chevy Plant in Detroit, kept afloat by the flask in his glove compartment and the open bottles in his Flint, Michigan home. 

Abandoned and alone, father and son struggle to express a deep love for each other, even as Alex fills his day juggling cheap thrills and a crushing depression. He cruises and steals, running from, and to, the police, compelled by reasons he frustratingly can’t put into words. And then there’s Irene Shaeffer, the pretty girl in school whose admiration Alex needs like a drug in order to get by. Broke and fighting to survive, Alex and his father face the realities of estrangement, incarceration, and even violence as their lives hurtle toward the climactic episode that a New York Times reviewer called “one of the most profoundly powerful in American fiction.”

In this rich, beautifully crafted story, Weesner accomplishes a rare feat: He’s written a transcendent piece of literature in deceptively plain language, painting a gripping portrait of a father and a son, otherwise invisible among the mundane, everyday details of life in blue collar America.  

Weesner, born in Flint, Michigan, is aptly described as a “Writers’ Writer” by the larger literary community. His short works have been published in the New Yorker, Esquire, Saturday Evening Post, Atlantic Monthly and Best American Short Stories.  His novels, including THE TRUE DETECTIVE, WINNING THE CITY, and HARBOR LIGHT, have been published to great critical acclaim in the New York Times, The Washington Post, Harper’s, The Boston Globe, USA Today, The Chicago Tribune, Boston Magazine and The Los Angeles Times to name a few. 

Weesner is currently writing his memoir, two new novels, and an adaptation of his widely praised novel -- re-titled WINNING THE CITY REDUX -- also to be published by Astor + Blue Editions. He lives and works in Portsmouth, NH.

Here’s what others have to say about THE CAR THIEF:
"One of the great coming of age novels of the twentieth century... Ted Weesner’s seminal novel demands a second look for its marvelously rendered young protagonist, the unforgettable Alex Housman; for its courage and wisdom and great good heart." -- Jennifer Haigh  - New York Times Bestselling Author of Broken Towers, Faith, Mrs. Kimple and The Condition 
“Theodore Weesner has written a story so modestly precise and so movingly inevitable that before I knew what was happening to me I felt in the grip of some kind of thriller.” -- Joseph McElroy, New York Times
“The Car Thief is a poignant and beautifully-written novel, so true and so excruciatingly painful that one can’t read it without feeling the knife’s cruel blade in the heart.” -- Margaret Manning, The Boston Globe
“Weesner’s perfectly restrained and subtle exploration of the characters’ painful and often difficult emotions caused me to have an intimate and emotional connection to a character and story of such a seemingly distant world. It taught me that even the most personal of stories can be universal and it is with this belief that I have adapted The Car Thief into what I hope will be a film that does some justice to the most beautiful novel that ever broke my heart.” -- Dara Van Dusen, Filmmaker
“A simply marvelous novel. Alex (the protagonist) emerges from it as a kind of blue-collar Holden Caulfield.” -- Kansas City Star
“Weesner lays out a subtle and complex case study of juvenile delinquency that wrenches the heart. The novel reminds me strongly of the poignant aimlessness of Truffaut’s The 400 Blows. Beneath its quiet surface, The Car Thief—like its protagonist—possesses churning emotions that push up through the prose for resolution. Weesner is definitely a man to watch—and read.” -- S. K. Oberbeck, Newsweek
“What The Car Thief is really concerned with emerges between its realistic lines—slowly, delicately, with consummate art. Perhaps Mr. Weesner himself put it best: ‘In my work, I guess I wish for nothing so much as to get close enough to things to feel their heart and warmth and pain, and in that way appreciate them a little more.’ Judging from this book, his wish has been fulfilled…and then some.” -- Christopher Lehmann-Haupt, The New York Times

Do you enjoy finding books you like have been re-released in digital format? Does having books in both digital and print format give you more convenience? Thanks so much for stopping by.  

Friday, May 18, 2012

The Inexperienced Need Not Apply

Did you work hard to get the job you have or were you just lucky being at the right place at the right time?

filling-out-applicationLooking at online job descriptions this week I was struck by the Catch-22 when applying for a job. You can’t get a job without experience and you can’t get experience without a job. Some companies will make allowances for the lack of experience, while others are very strict.

That got me to thinking about authors - those established and those just beginning.

As readers we can sometimes be a bit strict about what we expect from new authors. We can expect too much of them and fail to give them a second chance if they don’t meet our high expectations the first time around. While there are certain things we should expect, all new authors won’t be flawless their first time out. It takes time for some to find their rhythm and that little niche that transforms them into award-winning bestsellers.

I’ve even read new series by well-established bestselling authors that were a bit slow or the story didn’t flow as smoothly as possible. But 9 out of 10 times, with the second installment they had the kinks worked out and things fell into place.

With the ever-increasing new ways writers have available to publish their work, more and more inexperienced authors are in the marketplace. From a reader’s viewpoint this is a plus as it means more books to read. We just have to remember that all the works may not be perfect. Keep in mind you have to write to become experienced.

There was a time when most people wouldn’t even pick up a book that wasn’t printed by a major publishing company. Those writing for the ‘other’ companies weren’t even considered authors. Times have changed and that is no longer the case. Many well-established authors are now deciding to publish themselves.

This week I read a post - Let freedom ring: Indie publishing is becoming a more and more attractive alternative - by Terri Giuliano Long that gives great insight into this. The self publishing taboo is fading fast.

When searching for a new book to read, the author’s experience or lack of shouldn’t be a major factor. The plot and how the characters are developed, that should be an issue. If the story grabs you and draws you, that should be a factor. But remember to also look for potential if there’s a few flaws along the way.

As readers we are well blessed by the vast array of material that is offered from established authors, as well as just beginning authors. Are you willing to try a book by an inexperienced author? What has been you experience with both types of writers? Do you ever consider you might be reading works by the next great Hemingway when you try a new author that little is known about?

Thanks for reading my thoughts today. Have a great Friday and a wonderful weekend. Please stop in tomorrow for a book feature by a ‘new-to-me’ author.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

A Day For Fun

Thought I'd be a bit different (or more so than usual) today and share a fun puzzle with you for your entertainment. 

We all need to slow down a bit and have a laugh now and then. Who knows this may stir your imagination into a wonderful story.

Click to Mix and Solve

Enjoy and stop back tomorrow when I hope to share a book with you or maybe just ramble about something on my mind. Thanks for stopping by today. Have a great day!!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Imagination … What Is It?

What comes to mind when you see or hear the word imagination?

ImaginationWhile I’m sure everyone would think something different, the foundation would be the same - it’s what your mind/brain creates.

But how does our mind create these images? Why can 2 people look at the same thing and image completely different things? What causes a person to have more imagination than another? Why do some people seem to have no imagination at all?

I’m sure there have been and will continue to be thousands of studies and tests to determine the answers to these and other questions about imagination.

Imagination propels our existence. Without imagination there would be no inventions. Without imagination, what would our future look like?

Imagination is a must for a writer in my opinion. It’s what spurs the writer to create the stories they create. A lot of writing is based solely on the author’s imagination with little or no reality involved.

I began to think about imagination and what fuels it while listening to my mother-in-law. She will soon be 91 years old and has Alzheimer’s. What little I know about this terrible disease is that it causes the person to digress to their younger self. They live in the past when they were children or young adults. They sometimes don’t recognize their own grown children because to them the children haven’t been born or they are only infants. The also relive events from their past.

My mother-in-law has these symptoms. But she also talks to people no one in the family has ever heard of. At times she also thinks events are taking place that she never experienced before such as the house burning or a child drowning. She sometimes carries on conversations with people as one does when they’re young and create imaginary friends to play with.

I guess my ramblings today are to say those who have imaginations seem to have them with them from birth to death. At various stages of our life we use our imaginations in different ways. However, it’s always there whether we use it or allow it to lay dormant. And at some point with this terrible disease, the imagination can take over becoming the reality without us ever realizing it.

Do you make an effort each day to use your imagination? Do you remember the fun you had as a child when you put your imagination to work? Thanks so much for stopping by. I hope you take time to enjoy a good book today.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Mystery, Romance, And Paranormal

If you read yesterday’s post then you know genre labels can sometimes stop readers from trying a new book simple because it doesn’t fall into the genre they read.

The 2 audio books I have to share with you today are great examples of how books go beyond a single genre label. Both of these books contain mystery, romance, suspense, and humor while one is listed as paranormal and the other as mystery.


9780062136077A quiet weekend in the country sounded like the perfect getaway for journalist Bailey Weggins. Little did she know it would result in a story to die for.

Bailey accepts her friend Jessie’s invitation to join her for a weekend of fun at a friend’s country estate. Working for Buzz, a celebrity magazine, the 2 were intrigued to learn the super model, Devon Barr, would also be a house guest.

As the weekend gets underway, Bailey notices the tension among the guests. When Devon is found dead in her bed, her eating disorder is thought to be the cause. Bailey, however, suspects there’s more to it. A sudden snow storm strands the guests at the estate giving Bailey a chance to begin investigating. The closer Bailey gets to the killer, the closer she comes to being the next victim.

SO PRETTY IT HURTS moves at a fast pace weaving Bailey’s personal commitment issues and work problems in nicely with the mystery of who killed Devon and why. There are several red herrings to lead you in a number of directions before the real killer is exposed.

Renee Raudman’s narration brings Bailey and her friends to life. Renee’s cadence is smooth and draws the listener in. Her mannerisms will have you laughing at some of Bailey’s antics and holding your breath as Bailey fights for her life.

Bailey is a fine protagonist who is realistic with her own flaws and quirks. The characters are well defined and the dialog moves at a steady pace. Author Kate White blends in the right amount of location description to make the scene come alive.

This is the 6th installment in the Bailey Weggins Mystery series, but is a stand alone book.

Author Kate White’s website is

So Pretty it Hurts: A Bailey Weggins Mystery by Kate White, Read by Renee Raudman, Harper Audio, @2012, ASIN: B007MIXL0E, Unabridged, Digital Download, Approximately 10 Hours 36 Minutes  

FTC Full Disclosure - This audio book was sent to me by the publisher in hopes I would review it. However, receiving the complimentary copy did not influence my review.
WANTED: UNDEAD OR ALIVE by Kerrelyn Sparks

9780062135032Who would ever guess a story about vampires and werewolves could be intriguing, suspenseful, romantic and sprinkled with a good dose of humor.

WANTED: UNDEAD OR ALIVE focuses on the adventures of vampire Phineas McKinney as he juggles his work at McKay Security and his acting gig as the spokesman for Blardonnay, a new wine/blood drink for vamps.

Phineas works to help take down the Malcontents, the bad vampires that turned him. When a tip concerning the Malcontent Queen, Corky, sends city boy Phineas to Wyoming, he has to enlist the help of the ‘Big Bad She-Wolf’ Brynley Jones. Brynley is a werewolf from Wyoming who is hiding from her father, a supreme pack leader.

Brynley dislikes vampires but agrees to help Phineas. As the 2 work to find Corky, they realize they have more in common than they thought. Soon the sparks between the 2 opposites begin to fly.

This is a fun and entertaining story. Author Kerrelyn Sparks has created a world of vamps and wolves, so real it seems normal. Her characters are well developed. The story moves at a quick pace with a mixture of surprises and suspense blended well with steamy romance and laugh out-loud humor.

P.J. Ochlan does a great job narrating the story. His differentiation of characters will have you thinking there’s more than one narrator. He brings the characters to life with great emotion.

This is the 12th installment in the Love At Stake series, but is a stand alone book.

Author Kerrelyn Sparks’ website is  
Wanted: Undead Or Alive by Kerrelyn Sparks, Love At Stake Series, Harper Audio, @2012, ASIN: B007P077TU, Unabridged, Digital Download, Approximately 9 Hours 30 Minutes  

FTC Full Disclosure - This audio book was sent to me by the publisher in hopes I would review it. However, receiving the complimentary copy did not influence my review.
I hope I have sparked your interest in one or both of these interesting audios. Thanks for stopping by. Have a wonderful day.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Genres: Which One Catches Your Eye?

Is there more than one layer to your favorite genre?

Looking at a snowball bush last week, I was amazedbush_1272 to see it’s tri-colors - blue, pink and purple. While that may seem normal to some, this is the first time this bush has shown any color other than blue. Maybe it had something to do with the coffee grinds I poured around it this past winter.

What has a multi-colored snowball bush got to do with writing and books you ask. It got me to thinking how this one plant produced 3 different colors at one time. Somehow that caused my mind to jump to genres and how a book is labeled under one genre, but really has the elements of several others. Yet if you don’t look past the first, you never know about the others.

I appreciate that books are labeled under certain genres making it easier when searching for books in a bookstore. However, I think labeling books into genres also limits them. 

When books are placed in the mystery genre some people will never look further because they only read romance. Think of all the mysteries you’ve read that are filled with wonderful romance sub-plots. The same is true for die-hard mystery fans. Most will never pick up a romance book, yet many romance stories are filled with mystery and intrigue.

I know there are numerous sub-categories for genres and that helps. But I think as readers we owe it to ourselves to look past genre labels and give more books a try. Just think of all the interesting books you’re missing just because they are labeled for a genre you don’t read.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m a mystery/suspense/thriller reader first and foremost. However, I’ve found some wonderful mystery plots woven into paranormal stories. Some of the most intriguing suspense stories I’ve read have been found in a romance book.

Talented author (and blogger) Margot Kinberg at Confessions of a Mystery Novelist… does a wonderful job with her posts showing that books can be so much more than what they are labeled under. Margot does a terrific job looking at crime fiction from various angles such as how money plays a part of the story or how opposites sometimes come together to solve a crime. If you look beyond the norm, you’ll find books branch out into many colors (directions).

Do you only stick with a certain genre no matter what? Have you tried books without knowing what genre they belonged to? If so, did you enjoy them and were you surprised to find what they were labeled under?

Books are like a bouquet of beautiful colorful flowers. Don’t settle for one color, try them all. While the new genres may not be to your liking, you may find you at least like parts of it.

Thanks for reading my rambling today. I hope I’ve inspired you to give a different genre a try. You never know, you might just enjoy it. Thanks so much for stopping by. Enjoy a book today.