After much thought about time, it seems Kinsey and I have decided to team up at her blog. http://abookabeeradream.blogspot.com
All my items will be transferred there. When that happens, they will eventually be removed from here and this post will be left so that you can find the reviews.
I'm finding that I'd really like to get back to designing, so that's another thing I will be working on in the coming months. http://illusionsofchaos.blogspot.com/read more
Title: ASH: Return of the Beast Author: Gary Val Tenuta Genre: Detective, Occult, Thriller, Black Magic, Demons, Mystery Book Details: 340 pages Format Reviewed:ebook Blurb: Ash: Return of the Beast is an occult crime thriller,
a work of fiction based on a little known factoid about the death of Aleister
Crowley (1875-1947), the notorious occultist the British press once called
"The Wickedest Man In The World". Crowley’s body was cremated but the
whereabouts of his funerary ashes has remained a mystery… until now.
This diabolical tale carries the reader through a series of the most curious
(and sometimes unsettling) events spanning the years from 1947(and the death of
Aleister Crowley) to the 1990s and the coming-of-age (and eventual stardom) of
a "death-metal" rocker named Rodney Duckworth.
The time-line shifts to the present day where Brian Kane, a gruff and gritty,
street-worn Seattle Police Detective, reluctantly teams up with the mysterious
Rowena Ravenwood, an attractive female FBI agent. Their task is to figure out
why good, healthy, God-fearing preachers in their fair city are suddenly
What is the meaning of the strange symbols branded onto the bodies of these
hapless victims? Are they all part of some bizarre cult? No eyewitnesses. No
fingerprints. Is it really murder? Where’s the evidence? And what is the
disturbing secret that Detective Kane is holding so close to his chest?
The investigation catapults Kane and Ravenwood headlong into life-threatening
situations as they wind their way through the strange, dark labyrinth of the
world of the occult and find themselves battling the powerful forces of ritual
Problem is, the clues to help solve the case are in terribly short supply.
Worse yet, so is the amount of time left to stop the mysterious killer's reign
of terror before all Hell breaks loose. And – according to Special Agent
Ravenwood – that’s not just a figure of speech.
Warning: This book is intended for adult readers due to strong language and
some implied sexual content of a violent nature. Note: the sexual content is
implied as opposed to graphic. It is not included as a gratuitous element.
Rather, it is specific to the background of one of the primary characters and
his personal development as well as to an aspect of certain elements of what is
known as "ritual magick", one of the key elements woven into the
My Review: What a wonderful scary read. You can tell extensive
research was done for this book. All I can really stress are two points. 1. I
am going to be searching and reading any other books he may have. 2. I hope he
writes fast because this is one author I won't tire of.
One of the things I really loved about this book is that I really couldn't
predict the exact ending. So often with thrillers and mysteries I have
everything long figured out and the book is still going and going. Not this
time. There's a thrill and a chill with each turn of the page. And, you go
through bouts of "no, I don't want to know. I won't turn the page."
.... to "Oh my gosh, I have to turn the page."
I spent the day reading this book and only took the breaks I had to in between.
A must have for every reader's collection.
Title: A Masterless Man Author: Sarah Pernell Genre: Historical, Mediaeval Book Details: Format Reviewed: ebook Blurb: When Walter, a young peasant boy, attacks his abusive
stepfather in order to protect his sister, Elisabeth, the consequences leave
him no choice but to flee, alone and penniless, into the unknown and dangerous
world beyond Cottesham, his home village. He is a runaway, a masterless man,
and can never return.
For the next 10 years Walter's travels take him throughout England and
eventually to the Holy Land. Kind and courageous Walter makes friends easily,
but fate is cruel and his life seems to be beset by sorrow and misfortune
Title: 50 Underwear Questions Author: Tanya Lloyd Kyi Genre: Non-Fiction, Children, Biography, Autobiography, History Book Details: 120 Pages Format Reviewed: ebook Blurb: You are what you wear (underneath)!
Most of us take our underwear for granted, but throughout history our undies
have revealed a lot about who we are (king or peasant), how we work (in fields
or factories) or the shapes we value (manly calves or tiny waists).
The third book in Annick's 50 Questions series tackles questions such as
"What's that smell?" (Medieval Europeans thought bathing made you
sick) and "Did boxers arrive in the Nick of time?" (When blue jean
model Nick Kamen stepped out of his denims to reveal his boxers, sales of the
Underwear has played a role in ancient crusades, city sieges and even modern
economic predictions. Obviously, it's time to uncover the facts about
everything from loincloths and T-shirts to bloomers and lingerie. Young readers
will laugh their pants off at the accompanying cartoons and get the bare, but
fascinating, facts about the history of our unmentionables.
My Review: I have to say this was an interesting read. Being that I
enjoy history, I knew about a lot of the various underwear worn at different
stages of history, but reading it as a book and with explanation as to why some
were worn (they were often more than simply a status symbol or a nether regions
covering, they often served other purposes as well).
Let me also say that we've come a long way from some instances of rather unkept
hygiene and long wearing of our underclothes.
A great read for children around 8-12 years of age.
Title: The Detour Author: Andromeda Romano-Lax Genre: Biographical, Historical Book Details: 320 Pages Format Reviewed:ebook Blurb: Ernst Vogler is twenty-four years old in 1938
when he is sent to Rome by his employer--the Third Reich's Sonderprojekt,
which is collecting the great art of Europe and brining it to Germany for the
Fhrer. Vogler is to collect a famous Classical Roman marble statue, The Discus
Thrower, and get it to the German border, where it will be turned over to
Gestapo custody. It is a simple, three-day job.
Things start to go wrong almost immediately. The Italian twin brothers who have
been hired to escort Vogler to the border seem to have priorities besides the
task at hand--wild romances, perhaps even criminal jobs on the side--and Vogler
quickly loses control of the assignment. The twins set off on a dangerous
detour and Vogler realizes he will be lucky to escape this venture with his
life, let alone his job. With nothing left to lose, the young German gives
himself up to the Italian adventure, to the surprising love and inevitable
losses along the way.
The Detour is a bittersweet novel about artistic obsession,
misplaced idealism, detours, and second chances, set along the beautiful
back-roads of northern Italy on the eve of war.
My Review: I absolutely was entranced by the vivid descriptions in
this book. I like to "see" a book as I read it and this one was
wonderful for that. This novel was extremely well written. To me, this book was
a learning process. To learn to not always live to please everyone else. To
learn that while you must work, work cannot be everything. To learn to live and
let go and be somewhat free. To live your life.
Most of this book is told as a memory, but it's still captures your attention
(think The Notebook with glimpses of memories and then moments of the present.
However, their present isn't 2012, it's late 1940's).
Title: The Whipping Club Author: Deborah Henry Genre: Biographical, Historical Book Details: 312 Pages Format Reviewed: ebook Blurb: Deborah Henry's new historical novel, THE WHIPPING CLUB
(T.S Poetry Press, March 2012, available in print and e-book formats) is a
literary page-turner and a tale of redemption, set against the backdrop of
violence and deeply entrenched prejudice in 1960s Ireland as told through the
heartrending experience of one inter-faith family. In it, an Irish Catholic
woman, Marian, in love with a Jewish journalist hides the birth of her out-of-wedlock
child to save her future marriage. The child she has relinquished does not end
up with an American family as promised. Instead, he is committed to a notorious
Catholic orphanage where there is little hope for his survival.
Tormented by feelings of remorse and guilt that have plagued her throughout her
marriage to the boy's father, the woman must confront the truth and reveal her
long-buried secret. While putting her marriage and family at risk, she
determines to save her son and in so doing correct the terrible wrongs of her
own past and challenge a system that chronically serves up children to abusive
Using a hidden Ireland as a backdrop, an island in which thousands of adults
and children were forcibly separated in the 1950's and 1960's, the novel
explores the sacrificial secrets we keep to protect our loved ones and their
impact on a marriage, a family and a society. THE WHIPPING CLUB raises powerful
questions about the nature of sin, guilt and redemption by chronicling a young boy's
perilous travels through a corrupt system and one couple's heartbreaking
struggle to bring him home.
Deborah Henry attended American College in Paris and graduated cum laude from
Boston University with a minor in French language and literature. She received
her MFA in creative writing at Fairfield University and has the passionate
support of many first-class novelists including Jacquelyn Mitchard, Robert Olen
Butler, Da Chen, Michael White, Martine Bellen and Irishman Thomas Cooke,
Emmy-award winning writer and director, who have already provided endorsements.
Deborah is an active member of The Academy of American Poets as well as a
patron of the Irish Arts Centre in New York.
My Review: A distraught tale of child abuse and choices made. Henry
tackles some very hushed topics and choices in this book. I definitely have to
commend her for it. I do feel that it could have been done in a shorter way
Unwed mothers were judged harshly at the time of this book. The characters were
well rounded and thought out for the time period, location and direction of the
book. I felt myself feeling their pain and shaking my head in disbelief. How
could people be so stupid? I know there is still judgment and prejudice, but i
do hope it all comes to an end.
Still a well written book of things that tend to stay buried.
Title: Sophie and the Rising Sun Author: Augusta Trobaugh Genre: Biographical, Historical, Romance Book Details: 200 Pages Format Reviewed: ebook Blurb: An unforgettable story of an extraordinary love and a
town’s prejudice during World War II. Sophie and the Rising Sun “suggests the
small but heartwarming triumphs made possible by human dignity and courage.”
–Publisher’s Weekly.In sleepy Salty Creek, Georgia, strangers are rare. When a
quiet, unassuming stranger arrives—a Japanese man with a secret history of his
own—he becomes the talk of the town and a new beginning for lonely Sophie, who
lost her first love during World War I.Middle-aged Sophie had resigned herself
to a passionless existence. That all begins to change as she finds herself
drawn to the mysterious Mr. Oto. When the Japanese bomb Pearl Harbor, Mr. Oto's
newfound life comes under siege; his safety, even in Salty Creek, is no longer
certain. Sophie must decide how much she is willing to risk for a future with
the man who has brought such joy into her life. Visit the author at:
My Review: What a wonderful "old-fashion" type love
story. But it's not all bliss. There is turmoils as well. There is war and
prejudice. This was one of those books that had surprises lurking around
corners and I loved that.
This book came to life with wonderfully written characters and a real life
atmosphere. I must warn, there is some story telling changes. I know some
people don't care for that. For this book, it seemed a perfect and even
The ending was my only dissatisfaction. I was left with many unanswered
questions. I'd love to see a sequel.
When I began writing my twelfth book, The Crazy
Ladies of Oakwood, I didn't know if it would be literary fiction or
chick-lit. I knew only that it would be about four troubled women on a
"healing journey" to Florence, Italy. I had no idea what the Lord had
in store for me.
My husband accompanied me on two research trips, and I enjoyed visiting a
cooking school, a spa--all the places my "Crazy Ladies" would go. I
didn't realize the potential of my story. These first two trips gave me plenty
of atmosphere, but I was completely blinded by the art and countryside. I
failed to see Italy's true treasure.
Then in the middle of the winter, I got a strong impression to go back to
Florence, this time on my own, and for the period of 3 weeks. The first week I
raced around in a frenzy, exhausting myself and not really learning anything
new. Finally, I spent some timeplanning.
It was at that time that the extraordinary things began to happen. I became
acquainted with agape. This is how I described the first episode in my blog:
“From Florence: God Had Other Plans
Scarcely was I out the door this morning than I tripped and fell FLAT on my
face. I sustained a real whack to my right hand, shoulder and knee. The wind
was knocked out of me, and despite the wonderful Florentines that instantly
surrounded me with solicitude, I couldn’t get up right away, though I kept
reassuring them that I was fine.
That is when God opened the windows of Heaven. A young man, not more than
thirty,(I am sixty-three)stayed by me, gathered my scattered belongings, and
coaxed me off the sidewalk a little at a time, finally hoisting me all the way.
Then he put my hand through his arm and insisted on getting me to the corner
where there was a cafe where I could sit down. Overcome by his kindness, I was
further amazed when he asked me what I would like to drink. I asked for a coke
and went for my purse to get the money (they are expensive over here). He waved
me off and went for my coke and coffee for himself.
He sat with me, calming me. We were soon talking about the genius of
Brunelleschi (who invented the first dome, seemingly brick by brick) and how it
gives him such joy every time he passes the Duomo. He went on to say how much
he loves seeing views of it from high places. I have not yet been to Fiesole
(the town perched in the Tuscan hills over Florence), but he drew me a map with
roads, showing me the best place to walk for a good view. We talked for
approximately 45 minutes. Then he went to pay the bill. To my surprise, he
returned to the table with a ticket for four bus rides! I thanked him over and
over in English and Italian. And the thing that is beautiful about it, is that
he is not alone. The Italians are just like that. I am reminded that that kind
of selfless love is what my characters are moving towards in the book I came
here to write. This young man was a reminder of why I had to come to Italy to
Vague remembrances of my Western Civilizations class stirred, and I recalled
Plato's word for this amazing kind of caring that I hadn't ever met with
before. Agape. I looked it up on line and found many
definitions, which really boiled down to "selfless love." I had to
fall on my face before I understood the theme of my book--that agape or charity
is the ultimate healer.
There were too many instances of agape to count. Perhaps the most amazing
experience with these Italian angels came the night I thought I was going to
the Opera. Again, an exerpt from my blog:
"Why All Florentines Will Go To Heaven
This blog has been full of posts about the kindness of strangers that I have
met with in Florence, but I think that last night must take the cake.
It started with the opera that didn’t happen. I was feeling unwell, and when
the program still hadn't begun by 9:30, I went out to the lobby to ask for a
taxi to be called. Well, you never saw such a furor. Italians: “Why do you want
to leave the concert?” Me: “I’m not feeling well.” Italians: “Ah! You need a
doctor! We will call a doctor.” Me: “No, no, please no. I will get better. I
just need to sleep.” Reluctant promise to call a taxi. A few moments later,
beaming Italian approaches me. “You go outside to wait! I get for you
Milano25!” “Milano 25?” I repeat. “Si Si! Go. Go.”
Milano 25 turns out to be the most famous taxi in the world. My latest
Florentine angel proved to be called Catarina. She bowled me over in her
enormous pink hat with flowers that looked like something from Alice in
Wonderland when combined with her purple cape and her gracious bow. I really
thought I'd gone "through the looking glass" when I entered her cab:
plush pink upholstery, video screens on the seat backs and dashboard showing
Bugs Bunny cartoons in Italian, an overpowering smell of roses, and at least a
dozen footlong pink plastic pigs! Caterina, spoke to me in soothing if sparse
English, "We will get you to your home. You will lie down on your bed. In
the morning you will feel all better." The fare was half what my
government-controlled taxi fare had been on the way."
I told my Italian "son" Cosimo about the extraordinary experience.
"Oh, you have been very lucky. Catarina is on TV, on the Internet (http://bit.ly/g217UN),
even they make a movie about her. She get the taxi from her fiance when he die
of the cancer. She use it all the time, every day to help people. Children who
are sick with the cancer and must go to the hospital for treatment. Anyone with
a problem, Catarina make them feel better."
I went to bed with my mind in a whirl. The theme of my book slapped me upside
the head: Agape is the balm that would be applied gently into the weary souls
of my Crazy Ladies. Slowly, they would transform while embracing this virtue.
It would bind them together and put them on the road to recovery.
In the night, I woke up and received the title to my Crazy Ladies Book: The
Only Way to Paradise.There is only one way to Paradise and
that is love. I
Title: The Bastard Author: Brenda Novak Genre: Historical Romance Book Details: 204 Pages Format Reviewed: ebook Blurb: To some men honor is just a word....
Jeannette Boucher, a young French beauty from a family left penniless by the
revolution, must marry against her will to save them all from ruin. But almost
immediately after the vows are spoken, she learns that her old English husband
is impotent-and in his desire for an heir, he plans to compromise her in the
Determined to escape such a fate, she stows away on one of His Majesty's
frigates. But a woman alone is in constant danger.
To Lieutenant Treynor, honor means everything....
Born a bastard to a wayward marquise, Lieutenant Crawford Treynor was given to
a poor farmer to raise and was maltreated until he ran away to join the Royal
Navy. Treynor is determined to prove he's as good as any other man and rise to
captain his own frigate. But once he finds Jeannette aboard The Tempest he must
decide whether to return her to the man he knows would abuse her-or risk
everything, even his life, to keep her safe.
My Review: For those writers and publishers that don't think a
cover matters, let me tell you this: I was drawn into an awful clichd book by
a wonderful cover. I mean, that cover is just wow. The book however, was not.
On the other side of it, I also have to admit the blurb is very well written.
It sounds like something that's going to be a great read and even a re-read.
The title was very fitting.
With honor meaning everything to Lieutenant Treynor, you'd think he wouldn't be
quite the asshole all the time. Don't misunderstand. I do love a male character
that can be an ass, that stands his ground, that is the man and not bending
over to have a woman control him. However, there is a line and Crawford crosses
it. He's not the hot dreamy hero.
The book wasn't written badly. I mean, the pacing and such were right on. I
just feel the direction of the storyline failed for me. The ending was decent
Title: The Return of Black Douglas Author: Elaine Coffman Genre: Highlander Romance, Time Travel, M/F Book Details: novel Format Reviewed:ebook Blurb: While visiting the Scottish tombs of her forebears,
American archeologist Isobella Douglas encounters the ghost of her famous
ancestor, Sir James, the Black Douglas. The matchmaking ghost seizes on her
romantic fantasies, and before she knows it, Isobella and her twin sister,
Elisabeth, a doctor, find themselves whisked to 16th-century Scotland,
inappropriately dressed. When the dastardly Macleans capture Elisabeth,
Alysandir Mackinnon, entirely fascinated by half-naked, strong-willed Isobella,
offers to help her get her sister back. Bestseller Coffman (The Bride of Black
Douglas) spins a rewarding love story between her two intelligent, stubborn
protagonists, keeping their relationship fresh and their conflicts credible.
Toss in a boy in need of a father, intriguing details of 16th-century customs,
and a substantial but not overwhelming dose of sex, and the result is a
satisfying time travel romance. (Apr.)
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
My Review: I have to admit to reading another Highlander time
travel novel. This one kept me back and forth. One moment loving it, another
almost hating it. At certain points the same issues kept going and going,
making them seem to be on overkill.
Isobella's sister, Elisabeth was brought in as sort of a secondary storyline,
but it wasn't done as well or as completely as it could have been. So, when
you're reading the epilogue, it just feels as though you could have been told
so much more on the story part rather than having all the additional repeat
conflict between Alysandir and Isobella.
I normally try not to do these, but for me, it seems important to include due
to my feelings on the book.
We never really find out why Black Douglas does what he does. I really don't
like unclosed matters in a book. If there is a sequel, fine. However, things
still need to be neatly wrapped at the end of one before going on to the next.
In the end, I really wanted to hear first hand about Alysandir's wedding and
their children and their happily ever after. It was left with him stating he
wanted her to be his wife. The prologue is about the girls' parents traveling
to Scotland, visiting where they did a year later to try to determine how their
daughters disappeared. They find their answers, but to me, the ending simply
wasn't well done. I don't think the parent's closure needed the ending of a
book that barely focused on them.