Saturday, February 28, 2015

Leonard Nimoy 1931-2015 Live Long and Prosper Mr. Spock Wherever You Are

Today we lost a legend.. 

A man that was from New England that grew up to play one of the most iconic characters
on television and in the movies.  Leonard Nimoy, better known to most of us as Mr. Spock
of the Starship Enterprise.

Leonard was an amazing man, and we all have sorrow at this loss.  The world will be a little

dimmer place without him.. Live Long and Prosper Mr Spock, wherever you are now…

I was saddened as many were to hear of his death, he was such  an icon in the world of Star Trek in my eyes no one could play him better.  Sorry Zach Quinto there will only be one Spock to me and that was Nimoy.  He was such a great actor and I was surprised to learn he came from Boston, Mass.  Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family at this sensitive time and wish them peace and least he's not suffering anymore!

Feel free to share your thoughts or memories of the late Leonard Nimoy!

Friday, February 27, 2015

Review: Before We Say I Do by: Emerald Barnes

Title: Before We Say I Do
Author: Emerald Barnes
Publisher: Emerald Barnes
Series: Entertaining Angels
Pages: 70
Format: e-book ARC
Source: Author Street Team


Following the best-selling first book of the series, Entertaining Angels, comes Before We Say I Do, An Entertaining Angels Short Story.

It’s been one year, and Chase Sanders and Madison Andrews are about to declare their love for one another in the most sacred of ways. Everything has been going perfectly, especially when an old friend returns to town to stand by Chase’s side on their big day. But is Zach there to see their union, or is he concealing the truth of why he’s actually back in town?

Chase has lived perfectly fine without his father around, but now that his father is divorcing again, he is seeking forgiveness. Chase can’t look at his father, let alone forgive him.

Before Chase and Mads can say “I Do,” Chase must first learn to let go of the past before the dark forces that haunt his nightmares come to life.

My Thoughts: 

I love this series the ability Emerald Barnes has to tell a story and have you wanting more, if you've read Entertaining Angels which kind of is the way to go with this series you can't read this one without that one.  The thought of having a novella continuing Chase and Madison I went bananas waiting for it to come out. Such a great story you knew Chase had something to deal with towards the end of Entertaining Angels and was glad to see it was addressed in this story we also got a sneak peak into what could possibly be another Entertaining Angels book.  I can't wait to see what is next in this series!

This book pulled you in and left you feeling warm and fuzzy being part of the wedding of Chase and Madison it was great to be with each couple in their various situations while they got ready for their wedding I loved it.  It was incredible after everything Chase and Madison have been through.  Then to bring Zach into their lives again was AWESOME!  I loved it!

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Review: Russian Winter by: Daphne Kalotay

Title: Russian Winter
Author: Daphne Kalotay
Publisher: Arrow Books
Pages: 459
Source: Always With A Book Giveaway
Format: UK Paperback
Purchase: Barnes&Noble / Amazon
Description of Book:
A mysterious jewel holds the key to a life-changing secret, in this breathtaking tale of love and art, betrayal and redemption.
When she decides to auction her remarkable jewelry collection, Nina Revskaya, once a great star of the Bolshoi Ballet, believes she has finally drawn a curtain on her past. Instead, the former ballerina finds herself overwhelmed by memories of her homeland and of the events, both glorious and heartbreaking, that changed the course of her life half a century ago.
It was in Russia that she discovered the magic of the theater; that she fell in love with the poet Viktor Elsin; that she and her dearest companions— Gersh, a brilliant composer, and the exquisite Vera, Nina’s closest friend— became victims of Stalinist aggression. And it was in Russia that a terrible discovery incited a deadly act of betrayal—and an ingenious escape that led Nina to the West and eventually to Boston.
Nina has kept her secrets for half a lifetime. But two people will not let the past rest: Drew Brooks, an inquisitive young associate at a Boston auction house, and Grigori Solodin, a professor of Russian who believes that a unique set of jewels may hold the key to his own ambiguous past. Together these unlikely partners begin to unravel a mystery surrounding a love letter, a poem, and a necklace of unknown provenance, setting in motion a series of revelations that will have life-altering consequences for them all.
Interweaving past and present, Moscow and New England, the backstage tumult of the dance world and the transformative power of art, Daphne Kalotay’s luminous first novel—a literary page-turner of the highest order—captures the uncertainty and terror of individuals powerless to withstand the forces of history, while affirming that even in times of great strife, the human spirit reaches for beauty and grace, forgiveness and transcendence.
My Review: 
Oh my gosh can we say a deep book.  This book travels from historic Russia to Boston, USA.  When Ballerina Nina Revskaya decides to part with her jewels to Drew who works at a auction house little does she know the can of history about to unfold.  We watch as Nina becomes a prima Ballerina and her relationships with dancers, her mother, and her beloved friend Vera.  We also meet her love interest Viktor who comes from nobel standings, his eccentric mother who never got over loosing everything, to Viktors friend Gersh, a brilliant composer who challenges Stalin and what he represents.  Choices are made in this book without the whole truth being known, it isn’t until Nina faces the truth does she set things right.  I loved the description of the jewelry and the stories told in this book great for anyone who loves a great romance mixed in with Russian History!!
Formerly reviewed on Book Lover Stop my previous blog!
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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Review: Soulbound by: Kristen Callihan

Title: Soulbound
Author: Kristen Callihan
Publisher: Grand Publishing
Series: Darkest London #6
Pages: 432
Format: NetGalley e-book
Source: NetGalley


 Once two souls are joined...

When Adam's soul mate rejected him, there was more at stake than his heart. After seven hundred years of searching, his true match would have ended the curse that keeps his spirit in chains. But beautiful, stubborn Eliza May fled—and now Adam is doomed to an eternity of anguish, his only hope for salvation gone...

Their hearts will beat together forever...
No matter how devilishly irresistible Adam was, Eliza couldn't stand the thought of relinquishing her freedom forever. So she escaped. But she soon discovers she is being hunted—by someone far more dangerous. The only man who can help is the one man she vowed never to see again. Now Adam's kindness is an unexpected refuge, and Eliza finds that some vows are made to be broken...

My Thoughts:

This book was sent to me for a honest and fair review from NetGalley.  This is book 6 in the Darkest London, which I will admit I haven't read any of the previous books but I'm planning on check them out.  In this book Eliza May finds herself dead and in need of finding a way to stay alive which brings the Demon Adam into her life as he resurrects her.  

In the next chapter we find out that Eliza was rescued from Adam and brought to live with her 'aunt' Mab.  There she stumbles upon Adam again this time chained up in a basement.  Eliza finds things aren't what they appear and finds out she needs Adam as much as he needs her.

This book was full of action and adventure and was a great read.  Definitely a great book for those who love paranormal books.  If you haven't read this series you are definitely missing out.  Can't wait to see what is next in the Darkest London series!

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Saturday, February 21, 2015

Editorial: Book Reviews Preferences and Requests...Oh My!

Happy Saturday everyone I hope everyone is enjoying your weekend and staying warm in the areas flooded with snow.  I know I am.  As I have been reading my inbox this past few weeks I've noticed a pattern and I have heard other bloggers tackle this issue so I thought I'd throw my thoughts out there as well.  Mind you this isn't an issue with all authors/publishers just some.

Books we will Review:

There are so many bloggers out there that I'm sure they will cover genre's that I don't.  I don't do political books because well I don't want to get political on my blog, I do some books that are non-fiction written by authors like Betty White's book but that was a personal purchase generally for review purposes I don't do non-fiction.

I don't do erotica because (mind you this is my sole opinion) I find the books cheap and lacking storyline.  There are lots of people who dead read them, so I would suggest people looking for erotica blogs check around either through networked blogs or search blogs through google heck I even some dark blogs that deal with that material.

Social Media and Requests:

Why is it when working on Social Media sites and someone contacts you about a book review they act like they've read your requirements but will still send a message about a book not listed under your genre of choice?  I swear some people just don't read what you will or WON'T read.  Seems to be the big this pimping out your book which I know many authors who do, but make sure where you are pimping it is going to read the type of book you've written.  I also can't stand when I say I won't do terrorist themed books they seem to love telling me about their book which is about a terrorist plot on USA soil.  I see enough of that on the news don't really want to spend my time reading about because that gets depressing.  Again there are tons of bloggers who will read that theme just not me.

I'm pretty specific on my books mystery, romance, YA, some fantasy/paranormal/steampunk. I just get tired of the voice in my head going "Uh hello did you not read my requirements??"  As a blogger we go to the work of writing that up what is the point of that if people don't read it or say they can't find it. Hit the button for Contact Us or Staff and you'll find out what I read, and if you need it for a release date please tell me that I can't read your mind and I do alot of book tours but if I know you have a date in mind I can adhere to that for the most point.  I also do well with cover images and synopsis so I know what I'm getting into.  I also have tons and tons of forms on my blog for various things.  Check them out!

Fellow Bloggers and Authors what drive you nuts??  Feel free to share your thoughts below :)

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Review - Stoner by: John Williams

Title: Stoner
Author: John Williams
Publisher: Vintage
Pages: 288
Format: Paperback
Source: Personal purchase


William Stoner enters the University of Missouri at nineteen to study agriculture. A seminar on English literature changes his life, and he never returns to work on his father's farm. Stoner becomes a teacher. He marries the wrong woman. His life is quiet, and after his death his colleagues remember him rarely.
Yet with truthfulness, compassion and intense power, this novel uncovers a story of universal value. Stoner tells of the conflicts, defeats and victories of the human race that pass unrecorded by history, and reclaims the significance of an individual life. A reading experience like no other, itself a paean to the power of literature, it is a novel to be savoured.

My thoughts:

You know how some books make you want to underline everything, wanting to remember every word and sentence? Stoner was one of those books for me. Is it because I liked the characters? No. Because the course of events were interesting? No. But what the book made me feel turned me upside down. Last time I was at the amusement park, friends and I rode the Pirate Ship. As someone with a fear of heights, it has never been my favorite, but all I remember from that last time is crying my eyes out of fear. Apparently, it made me grab the hair of the girl sitting in front of me, pulling it and screaming and crying. Of course, I don’t remember doing this; friends filled me in after the ride. I was shaking uncontrollably when we got off; even though friends found it super funny and still bring it up every chance they get, I was badly shaken. I got the same feeling from that day when I was done reading Stoner.

If I had to summarize the book in once sentence, it would be something like this: we meet William Stoner when he’s 19-years-old and we follow his story until his death. Stoner comes from a farming family, and his father sends him off to university when a related department opens. However, once at the university, Stoner falls in love with literature and decides to be a teacher. He does become one, too. His story continues on with his teaching, but, of course, there are some rollercoaster rides in between that might be considered minor but aren’t.

For example, he decides not to join the army during the war. He falls in love with a girl named Edith and marries her. I have no idea what he liked about her and how; I feel like he only thought she was very attractive and confused that with love. Either way, they spend almost all their marriage staying emotionally away from one another; Edith doesn’t even want to touch Stoner. Out of the blue, she decides she wants to have a baby, and they have a daughter. Edith doesn’t pay attention to the child until she reaches a certain age, and Edith decides she should be popular, should dress and act a certain way. Even though it’s obvious to the reader that they don’t belong together, they stick it out and don’t separate either.

I very much felt like Stoner was a person in desperate need of love and attention. He seems to not be able to find it; or he loses it pretty quickly when he feels he has found it. I found it very strange that he was a man who didn’t set any goals or anything for himself except to be a good teacher. It was also strange to me that he didn’t seem to actually react to anything going on around him; he seemed to neutrally go with the flow. I was rather relieved when he finally raised his voice when there was an obstacle on his way to his goal of being a good teacher. But, most of the time, I wanted to grab him from his shoulders and shake him to his core, yelling, “react, dammit! Scream! Lose it! Go crazy!”

Stoner is actually a simple novel. However, it’s so full of feeling that it goes under your skin and mixes into your blood. You feel the excitement, the hunger, the anger, everything with him. At times, you even find yourself wishing you could slip inside the book and help him. This is something everyone should read to see the simple yet complicated being that is human.
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Monday, February 16, 2015

Review - We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves: Karen Joy Fowler

Title: We Are All Competely Beside Ourselves
Author: Karen Joy Fowler
Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons
Pages: 310
Format: Hardcover
Source: Received Turkish copy from TR publisher


Meet the Cooke family. Our narrator is Rosemary Cooke. As a child, she never stopped talking; as a young woman, she has wrapped herself in silence: the silence of intentional forgetting, of protective cover. Something happened, something so awful she has buried it in the recesses of her mind.

Now her adored older brother is a fugitive, wanted by the FBI for domestic terrorism. And her once lively mother is a shell of her former self, her clever and imperious father now a distant, brooding man.

And Fern, Rosemary’s beloved sister, her accomplice in all their childhood mischief? Fern’s is a fate the family, in all their innocence, could never have imagined.
My thoughts:

I'm not quite sure how I can review this one without giving away the biggest secret of the book. However, I can say that the stars of We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves, the Cooke family are a regular, classic family in some sense. On the other hand, they are competely different and extraordinary. The book itself is funny, serious and rather sad.

The protagonist Rosemary used to be a girl who talked too much. Her family, in order to have her talk less, used to tell her to start her stories from the middle. She does listen to this advice in We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves and does start her story from the middle. Her sister has somehow disappeared. The family has no idea where her brother is. The FBI is after him. Her mother is physically there, but completely gone mentally and emotionally. Her father, on the other hand, is emotionally drained and has given himself to alcohol. When we meet Rosemary, this is the case, and she herself is a girl who has run away to get away from it all.

Like I've previously mentioned, the story starts from the middle, going back and forth between the beginning and the end. It is rather impossible to give you an idea of the plot without giving away too much, so here's what We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves makes you feel and think:
  • Being different, being able to love what's different from you, being able to get jealous of them while doing so, missing them when they're not near
  • How far us humans can go in the name of science and whether or not we regret it at times
  • Whether or not talking too much is a good or a bad thing
  • How people who keep everything bottles inside eventually explode
  • Whether or not a family continues to be a family if one member is missing
  • Whether or not there are parents who love one of their kids more than the other(s)
  • How people can feel whole when someone they've known all their lives is not there anymore.
We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves has the potential to make you cry your eyes out while reading. Consider yourselves warned.
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Thursday, February 12, 2015

Guest Post: Duffy Brown on Pets and Giveaway

Pets are the best! They are our constant companions, love us when we’re bitchy and in our sloppy PJs with no hair combed and when we have the flu. And they train us really well.
And here I thought we were supposed to train them! Ha!

Pet joke:  What side of the door does the cat like to be on? The other side. That’s why I jump up and down the whole blasted night while trying to watch TV to let my cat in and out of the porch. Am I a well trained owner or what!

And then there’s the food issue. Every three days I bake my cat chicken thighs. Not breasts or legs or wings...but thighs. Then cut into small pieces and served room temp. Not cold and not hot.

And then we have the water glass issue. Know that snotty white cat on TV who eats his kibble out of a crystal glass...that’s my cat’s water bowl. Good grief.

I have two cats, Spooky and Dr. Watson. Dr. Watson was supposed to be for my son, a gift from my daughter. Yeah, right. We all know how the pet for the kid thing works...parents get the pet! And I got Spooky out of the grocery store parking lot. He was living in the cart area. I herd this pitiful meow and suddenly had a new cat in my life.

If I didn’t have cats I’d have a dog. I know they are more work but they are always happy. Something about a wagging tail will cure any depression, a gift from the pet gods.

In the Consignment Shop Mysteries I have Bruce Willis...the canine Bruce Willis. In Demise in Denim out in April BW and Reagan have an anniversary. Here’s an excerpt to give you a feel of how they feel about each other.

        “I have a prezzie for you,” I sing-songed to BW now wagging his tail as we crossed KiKi’s front yard that butted up to mine. I opened the backdoor of Cherry House, went to the fridge and pulled out a little white box and headed for the front porch, BW’s nail tapping across the hardwood floor as he followed me. We sat together on the top step and I opened the box.
      “Do you remember what today is?” I took a chicken McNugget from the box and split it in two. I popped half in my mouth and fed the other to BW.
      “One year ago you and I became BFFs. I was in a bad way and you weren’t any better. We’d both been abandoned. You were hiding under this very porch though then there wasn’t a hole the roof. I shared my McNuggets with you.”
       I broke another one in half. “I’d just opened the Prissy Fox. I needed money to keep the house going and I had a closet full of designer clothes I didn’t need since my ex kicked me to the curb.”
       BW only seemed marginally interested in my sentimental walk down memory lane. I kissed him on the snout and he gobbled a McNugget right from the box. “So here we are, just the two of us, one year later. Any chance you’ll start doing the laundry any time soon?”
       I got an eye roll I swear I really did.
    “Vacuum maybe?”
       BW chomped two nuggets.
      “Are you happy?”
       This time I got a burp and doggy head in my lap. I took that as a yes.

In Geared for the Grave there are two cats, Bambino and Cleveland who help me figure out who-done-it on a regular basis. Cats have amazing instincts...or maybe they’re just good listeners.

Tell me about your pet and I’ll give away two Demise in Denim lunch totes from the answers.
Have a barking-good day.

. He was hiding under lucky enough to be part of a new anthology, Love Tails (Berkley 6/09). It’s with Lori Foster and Stella Cameron and a host of other authors and all our advances and royalties benefit the AAF, the Animal Adoption Foundation here in Cincy. A no-kill shelter.  It’s all animal stores from goats to monkeys and cats and dogs and even my story about a werewolf...or is he??

So, tell me what pet tricks your darling pet has taught you. We as humans learn very easily to do exactly as they wish.

I’ll give away a signed copy of Star Quality from the answers.
Thanks for chatting.

Hugs, Dianne Castell
Hot and Irresistible
Kensington BRAVA 11/09

Review - The Blue Fox by: Sjon

Title: The Blue Fox
Author: Sjon
Publisher: Telegram Books
Pages: 112
Format: Paperback
Source: Read Turkish copy


“The Blue Fox is a magical novel.”—Björk

The year is 1883, and the stark Icelandic landscape is the backdrop for this spellbinding fable that is part mystery, part fairy tale. The fates of a priest, a naturalist, and a young woman with Down syndrome are intrinsically bound and gradually, surprisingly unraveled.

"Sjon's fable...describes its world with brilliant, precise, concrete colour and detail while at the same time making things and people mysterious and ungraspable...The world of 19th-century Iceland is brilliantly and economically present: the bareness of the dwellings, the roughness of the churches and congregations, the meager food...The novel is a parable, comic, and lyrical about the nature of things."—A.S. Byatt for The Times

Sjon was born in Reykjavik, Iceland, in 1962. A novelist, playwright, lyricist, and poet, he wrote the lyrics to Bjork’s hit songs “Isobel,” “Joga,” and “Bachelorette” and was nominated for an Academy Award for his lyrics to the music for the film Dancer in the Dark, directed by Lars von Trier.

My thoughts: 

I slip right into dreamland even by just thinking about taking a walk under the Aurora Borealis lights… For The Blue Fox’s protagonist Peter Baldur Skuggason, on the other hand, this isn’t enough probably because he is a hunter, and he is after a blue fox which is considered a “mysterious and valuable being.” 

I should warn you right away that you SHALL NOT throw this book to the side by saying, “this is going wayyyyy toooo slooooowwwwwwlllyyyy.” You will soon find out that Sjon chooses for the story to go this slowly, does it knowingly in order to reflect Iceland’s tough geography, make you smell it to the littlest detail and bring you inside the mind games among the hunter and the hunt. While I was reading this book, it was snowing here in Istanbul, which helped (but was definitely not necessary to) feel the cold in my bones. 

While Peter is stuck under the snow, you’re stuck with him. When someone brews tea, you can smell it. In the game between the hunter and the hunt, you get inside both their minds and also get a bit confused about which side you should be on. In addition, you get quite a bit information about Iceland: some of it you might’ve known or guessed, but some of it you might not have even imagined. For example, when a disabled baby was born, he/she was choked by the midwives, who told the parents that the baby was “born dead.” I was completely blown away when I read this, and I tried to calm myself down thinking, “this may be in 1883, but hopefully they don’t do this anymore.” 

Without making this any longer, I’m just going to tell you that you should read this book. The Turkish translation I’ve read wasn’t at all a good translation, but I checked out the English version and that one seems to capture the original book’s poetic language. Also, I was amazed to find out that this Sjon is the Sjon who wrote most of the lyrics on the songs in Lars von Trier’s “Dancer in the Dark” movie.

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Review - The Obituary Writer by: Ann Hood

Title: The Obituary Writer
Author: Ann Hood
Publisher: WW Norton & Company
Pages: 304
Format: Paperback
Source: Read Turkish copy


A sophisticated and suspenseful novel about the poignant lives of two women living in different eras.

On the day John F. Kennedy is inaugurated, Claire, an uncompromising young wife and mother obsessed with the glamour of Jackie O, struggles over the decision of whether to stay in a loveless marriage or follow the man she loves and whose baby she may be carrying. Decades earlier, in 1919, Vivien Lowe, an obituary writer, is searching for her lover who disappeared in the Great San Francisco Earthquake of 1906. By telling the stories of the dead, Vivien not only helps others cope with their grief but also begins to understand the devastation of her own terrible loss. The surprising connection between Claire and Vivien will change the life of one of them in unexpected and extraordinary ways. Part literary mystery and part love story, The Obituary Writer examines expectations of marriage and love, the roles of wives and mothers, and the emotions of grief, regret, and hope.

My thoughts:

Ann Hood is an author whose name I’ve come across here and there. And because I can’t pass anything without reading it first, I knew that she bases her stories on actual, historical facts. My meeting her took longer than I anticipated, and it was through The Obituary Writer. I picked it up without even reading a synopsis, just because the name sounded interesting to me. I do like historical novels except for historical romance, and The Obituary Writer makes you keep reading by making you curious, sad and excited all at the same time. 

The Obituary Writer has two main characters: Claire and Vivien. We see both of their lives separately, in detail, get to know what they’re looking for, and their sorrows that come with the past as well as the present. However, the question that keeps hanging in the air is this: Claire lives in the 1960s, while Vivien’s story is set in 1919 and onward—these women will meet somewhere but where?! This book is worth reading even for only finding out the magical answer to this question, and Ann Hood makes it worth your while. 

I’ve always enjoyed books that touch upon and question family ties and relationships. The Obituary Writer was one of the books that did that. On the other hand, I liked that little historical facts were sprinkled all over the story, like how they go to Western Union to send a telegraph. 

In the book, Vivien is The Obituary Writer, and I read with interest how she deals with those close to the deceased. Then, I got rather sad when I realized that the obituaries written today are rather static and heartless. I also saw that even though hundreds of years might pass, people’s problems, happiness and sorrows don’t really change. And I can’t decide if this is a good or a bad thing. If you want to set sail to an adventure that will keep you on your toes, then The Obituary Writer might be the book for you.
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Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Guest Post: The Unfortunate Event by: Andy Siegel

The Unfortunate Event
By Andy Siegel,
Author of Cookie's Case


"Scalpel," repeats the nurse. She delivers it with just the right authority.

The neurosurgeon slits his patient's throat in one fluid motion. The incision is quick, decisive and skillful. A seeping red river fills the canal.

"Give me some suction here."

"Suction," repeats the nurse. She vacuums the blood. Unexpectedly, Dr. McElroy breaks into song, "Stairway to Heaven."

The nurse looks at him, taken aback. His a cappella is as good as his surgical technique, but she disapproves of the buds in his ears.

"Doctor," she asks, "do you really think you should be listening to Led Zeppelin while performing surgery between the jugular and the base of this young woman's brain?"

Ignoring her, the surgeon proceeds to carry out the necessary dissection through the various layers of soft tissue which will take him where he needs to be. He uses his arrival at a deep ligament as a natural breaking point where he can respond.

"Nurse, tell me your name again."


"Nurse Molina," he says, as blood collects, "a study almost published in the New England Journal of Medicine presented correlations indicating that certain harmonies in this song were shown to elevate serotonin levels. Serotonin plays an important role as a neurotransmitter for the regulation of mood -- and it relaxes me. Of course, skeptical peer reviewers claimed the study was based on unreplicable methodology. There's always a divide among the members of the medical community, isn't there?" Then he adds, "You were off on your landmarks, by the way. I'm nowhere near the base of this girl's brain, anatomically speaking, that is. Now give me more suction."

"Suction," she repeats, clearly annoyed.

McElroy resumes the song but is finished with the scalpel. With a long reach in front of Molina, he returns the blood-tinged instrument to the surgical tray. It would be possible to perceive this bypassing of Molina, the surgical nurse, as a snub. He breaks off his singing.

"Retractors here . . . here . . . here . . . and here." He points to four spots along the edges of the incision.

"Retractors," repeats Nurse Molina, applying them, two on each side. She's unhappy about their exchange -- and about the snub -- but understands a good working relationship in the OR takes time to develop. Nonetheless, she regards this young doctor as a cowboy, given his decision to perform spine surgery through the front of the neck.

"Give me a little more exposure with those retractors, Nurse." Pause. "That's better. Now more suction."


"Give me a fifteen blade."

"Fifteen blade," she repeats. She hands it to him.

McElroy inserts the blade, crooning, "Oooooh . . . ," transitioning from the song's mellow front end into its up-tempo crescendo in perfect pitch.

"Pay attention!" bursts out Nurse Molina. She can't help herself. "To what you're doing," she finishes, in a more collected tone. "I think you nicked her."

"Thank you, Nurse."

"No, I mean I think you accidentally cut through the lining of her spinal cord, the dura into the arachnoid."

"Thank you for defining the medical terms, Nurse."

Frustrated, she tries again. "Doctor, I mean lower on her neck. Near the fourth cervical vertebrae, away from where you're operating up at C2." Molina points to the lower aspect of the exposed surgical field. "Over here."

"Thank you, Nurse," McElroy responds in a firm tone. He is dismissing her.

Molina takes two determined steps, nudging Reggie, the physician's assistant, who is keeping mum, out of the way. She moves closer to McElroy, invading his space. This is a clear violation of the unwritten rules and regulations of operating room decorum. He stops and withdraws. She looks deep into the neck cavern where glistening white vertebral bones are visible. Molina points and counts, "C2, C3," as she moves down the stack. "Right here, Doctor, at C4, there's a fluid leak. That shouldn't be."

She points to a clear liquid slowly leaking out of a thin layer of tissue, one microdrop at a time. Drip . . . drip . . . drip.

The above is an excerpt from the book Cookie's Case by Andy Siegel. The above excerpt is a digitally scanned reproduction of text from print. Although this excerpt has been proofread, occasional errors may appear due to the scanning process. Please refer to the finished book for accuracy.

Copyright © 2015 Andy Siegel, author of Cookie's Case

Author Bio:

Andy Siegel is a personal injury and medical malpractice attorney in New York City. A graduate of Tulane University and Brooklyn Law, he grew up on Long Island and now lives in Westchester County. In 2008 he was elected to the board of the New York State Trial Lawyers Association. Cookie's Case (2015) is the second novel in the Tug Wyler series. The first, Suzy's Case, was published in 2012 and selected as a Poisoned Pen Bookstore 2012 Best Debut Novel and a Suspense Magazine Best Book of 2012. In 2013 it was named a Best Beach Reads.

For more information please visit, and follow the author on Facebook and Twitter.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Review: Bye, Bye Love by: K.J. Larsen

Title: Bye, Bye Love
Author: K.J. Larsen
Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press
Series:  Cat DeLuca Mystery #4
Pages: 210
Format: NetGalley ARC
Source: NetGalley


Chicago’s Pants On Fire Detective Agency targets liars and cheats. But PI Cat DeLuca is once again up to her smokin’ skinny jeans in murder. 

Cat is out running in a neighborhood park when she crashes over the faceless body of Bernie Love. Bernie was the finance guy to the scary Provenza family, with whom he grew up. And friend to Cat’s shady, Ferrari- wheeling- cop Uncle Joey. As she hauls out he r phone, Cat is assaulted by someone with a Rolex, stun gun, and wheelbarrow. When the cops show up, the killer is gone. And so is the body. 

Captain Bob, a stickler for habeas corpus, blows off Cat’s story. Stung by a chorus of snickers from the Ninth Prec inct, home base for DeLuca men, Cat vows to make her case and goes after Rolex man. The murderer, desperate to silence the only person who can place him at the park, comes after Cat. She’s quickly on a collision course with the deadliest adversary she’s ever encountered —but she has the help of her beagle partner, her gun- happy assistant, an ex - spy (or two), and her outrageous, interfering Italian family. Meanwhile her hot, FBI- boyfriend seems sidelined in Vegas.

In Bye, Bye, Love, K.J. Larsen delivers another nail - biting tale rife with unexpected plot twists, zany characters, fabulous food, and laugh - out -loud humor.

My Thoughts:

I am so glad this book came out I had been waiting quite a while for the next installment in Cat DeLuca and her crazy Italian family.  This one didn't disappoint.  In this book Cat is back to snapping picks of cheaters again.  One night while Cat is running at the park she stumbles across a body literally but the killer is adamant about silencing her, causing those around her to think she is more crazy than normal as the body has gone missing.

Someone seems to be on a killing spree and tormenting Cat in process.  They are out to silence Cat anyway possible and all her poking around is fustrating someone who's out to kill her one way or the other.

In this book we get to see the relationship between Cat and her Uncle Joey and how they work together.  Which I enjoyed the only thing I missed was her boyfriend who seems to be stuck in Vegas.  He wasn't in it as much as he normally is.  Always a great adventure and tons of humor when you delve into the DeLuca family.
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Review: Valentine's Day is Murder by: Carolyn Arnold

Title: Valentine's Day is Murder
Author: Carolyn Arnold
Publisher: Createspace
Series: McKinley Mysteries Series Book # 8
Pages: 134
Format: e-book
Source: Great Escapes Book Tours


From bestselling author Carolyn Arnold…

Strap in for an adventure that will take you to the beautiful island of Jamaica and have you wanting a piña colada.

Jimmy finally takes a vacation–and a chance on love–only to be abducted. His female companion originally thinks he had cold feet about their relationship, but Sean and Sara know there’s more to it. Jimmy isn’t the type to just up and disappear, let alone leave a lady stranded.

Setting out on their private jet, Sean and Sara reach the tropical paradise of Ocho Rios, Jamaica with sightseeing as the last thing on their minds.

With a gold coin being their initial tie to Jimmy’s kidnapper, Sean and Sara even speculate about the involvement of pirates. Yet as the hours pass, and there’s no word from Jimmy’s captors, Sean and Sara will need to figure out the real motive before it’s too late.

With help from their friend, Adam, back in Albany, the pieces come together and not a moment too soon.

My Thoughts:

This book begins with Jimmy out on date with Meredith a divorcee who isn't sure where her relationship with Jimmy is headed when Jimmy is kidnapped and Sean and Sara are called in to save Jimmy.

This book had Sara and Sean in all sorts of directions trying to figure out who the bad guys were and what they wanted with Jimmy and who the real target was.

I really enjoyed this book it was full of adventure and mystery along with some romance.  It pulls you in and won't give up until everyone is safe and sound!  Definitely a great cozy series!
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Saturday, February 7, 2015

Review: Gooseberry Island by: Steven Manchester

Title: Gooseberry Island
Author: Steven Manchester
Publisher: The Story Plant
Pages: 300
Format: e-book
Source: NetGalley


They met at the worst possible moment...or maybe it was just in time. David McClain was about to go to war and Lindsey Wood was there at his going-away party, capturing his heart when falling for a woman was the last thing on his mind. While David was serving his country, he stayed in close contact with Lindsey. But war changes a person, and when he came home very little had the same meaning that it had before – including the romance that had sustained him. Was love truly unconquerable, or would it prove to be just another battlefield casualty?

Gooseberry Island is the most nuanced, dramatic, and romantic novel yet from a writer whose ability to plumb the depths of human emotion knows few peers.

My Thoughts: 

 This book was sent to me via The Story Plant and Steven Manchester for a honest and fair review.

This book has so much going on between it's main characters Lindsey Wood and David McClain.  David is about to be deployed to Afghanistan with the Rangers, when he meets Lindsey at this point he's not looking for love after just recently breaking up with a girl he was dating.

Lindsey meets David through a mutual friend,  and spends a wonderful night getting to know him.  Lindsey has spent most of her life dealing with her father Denis and his PTSD, her father spends so much time in and out of VA Hospitals.  Not having been ale to fight the demons of war.  

David is exposed to so much violence he comes back and broken man, shoving Lindsey away due to what he has experienced in the war.  

I loved this book like all his other's Mr. Manchester hits on something and really drives it home in this situation it's PTSD and VA Hospitals and how it is when soldiers come home and can't always get past what happened to them over there.   This book real makes it realistic to things that people not being with a war veteran may not know.  While they do a noble deed in wartime they come home and what they know how to do isn't always applicable to normal jobs.  How do you get a job when your trained as a sniper most jobs don't call for sniper abilities in the day to day world. 

I loved how Mr. Manchester shares the military stories mixed in this story between Lindsey and David and how Lindsey's father has dealt with so much along with trying to raise his daughter, wanting the best for her and knowing that military life isn't the best but the heart wants what the heart wants.  Such incredible storytelling if you haven't read his books yet you are severely missing out!! 
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Review: Death of A Liar by: M.C. Beaton

Title: Death of A Liar
Author: M.C. Beaton
Publisher: Grand Centeral Publishing
Series: Hamish Macbeth #31
Pages: 272
Format: e-book ARC
Source: NetGalley


Sergeant Hamish Macbeth is alarmed to receive a report from a woman in the small village of Cronish in the Scottish Highlands. She has been brutally attacked and the criminal is on the loose. But upon further investigation, Hamish discovers that she was lying about the crime. So when the same woman calls him back about an intruder, he simply marvels at her compulsion to lie. This time, though, she is telling the truth. Her body is found in her home and Hamish must sort through all of her lies to solve the crime.

My Thoughts:

Hamish MacBeth and his partner  Dick are called out to investigate when a woman claims to have been attacked by someone.  Upon arriving they find out that she is known as a liar.  Not long after that they get called by the same woman again whose claiming now there being an intruder, but not believing her they ignore her call.  Hamish spends the next day checking on the woman fear not sitting right with him.  What they find is the woman dead.

This book dealt with alot of mystery, adventure and quite interesting characters.  In this book everyone seems to have a roll to play in solving the murder. I found myself enjoying the characters and how they each played a part.  

This book definitely had everything as for a while I thought the case was never going to get solved regardless of how many pages were left to go.  I was hooked until the end.  Definitely a great series for those who enjoy British or Scottish mysteries.
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Thursday, February 5, 2015

Review: Gilt By Association by: Karen Rose Smith

Title: Gilt by Association
Author: Karen Rose Smith
Publisher: Kensington
Series: Caprice De Luca Mystery #3
Pages: 319
Format: e-book ARC
Source: Great Escapes Book Tour & NetGalley


Between training her new puppy, helping her sister with her baby, and searching for the perfect vintage dress for Kismet's Valentine's Day dance, home-stager Caprice De Luca has a lot on her to-do list. But she's never too busy to do a little staging, and she's looking forward to thawing February's frozen real estate market with her Hearts and Flowers Open House. Her client Louise Downing's romantically decorated home practically staged itself. But when Louise is found murdered, Caprice is forced to turn her attention from sweethearts to suspects. And as the truth comes out in stages, she discovers that Louise had more secrets than a box of chocolate truffles. .

My Thoughts:

This is the third book in Caprice De Luca series in this one a friend of the family winds up dead, but Louise seems to have some secrets the big question is whether those secrets cost her, her life?  Was it a disgruntal woman from Louise's past? Or was it someone she currently knew?  Who had it out for her?

Caprice's love life seems to be all over the place just when you think she has her relationships figured out it gets all messed up again.  Who will Caprice choose to spend her time with her doctor boyfriend whose intering somewhere else and seems not to have time to email?  Or has he given up on her completely or Grant the lawyer in town she has had a thing for since she was a teenager?  Just when you think she has it figured out it becomes a huge mess again.

I enjoyed this series it pulls you and won't let you go until you reach the end of the book.  This book had everything you could hope mystery, secrets hidden, all sorts of possible suspects.  I personally loved the ending which left you wondering what is going to happen now.
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Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Review - Sula by: Toni Morrison

Title: Sula
Author: Toni Morrison
Publisher: Plume
Pages: 192
Format: Paperback
Source: Read Turkish copy


"Extravagantly beautiful...enormously, achingly alive...a howl of love and rage, playful and funny as well as hard and bitter."--New York Times

This rich and moving novel traces the lives of two black heroines from their close-knit childhood in a small Ohio town, through their sharply divergent paths of womanhood, to their ultimate confrontation and reconciliation.

Nel Wright has chosen to stay in the place where she was born, to marry, raise a family, and become a pillar of the black community. Sula Peace has rejected the life Nel has embraced, escaping to college, and submerging herself in city life. When she returns to her roots, it is as a rebel and a wanton seductress. Eventually, both women must face the consequences of their choices. Together, they create an unforgettable portrait of what it means and costs to be a black woman in America.

"Enchanting...powerful."--Chicago Daily News

"The essential mysteries of death and sex, friendship and poverty are expressed with rare economy...exemplary."--Newsweek
My thoughts:

As I was halfway through Nobel-winning Toni Morrison's Sula, I'd uploaded a photo of the book on Instagram with the comment, "slap after slap in the face." Of course, I realize now that I was unaware of the many more slaps across the face to come until the end of the book. What Morrison tries to do with Sula is summarized like this: "she handles that mysterious friendship between women that's not dependent on sex, trying to show the wonderful wide of it. This friendship is so important that not even the smallest treason, even 'the stealing of a husband' should ruin it." This is such an accurate summary is I may so myself.

So, what will you find in this book?
  • The history of the Ohio neighborhood "The Bottom"
  • National Suicide Day, how it was founded, how it was celebrated-- or not
  • The story of Sula and Nel, who become friends when they're children and the stories of their weird families
  • The realization that even though the focus is on African-American woman, what's true for those women in the 1920's is unfortunately true for women of today
  • The way men see women, women's place in society and their relationships with men
  • A girl who watches her mother burn into flames without even blinking
  • A mother who believes the only way to save her son from the bad situation he's in is to kill him
  • A woman who sells one of her legs to get food for her children
  • Friendship, family, pain and hard-to-find happiness.
Toni Morrison is an author who doesn't mince her words; the way she writes about events and feelings are as naked and real as possible. Just like she does in The Bluest Eye, in Sula as well she lays before you how cruel life and people can be. She doesn't take the "let me sugarcoat this a bit" approach. She doesn't care if things get harrowing, doesn't care how much she might make you cry. And she will! Like I've said before, reading Sula is like being slapped back to back, multiple times. And while you're in pain, you find yourself questioning life and death and everything in between.
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Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Guest Post: The Best Thing I Ever Ate by: Michele Lynn Seigfried

The Best Thing I Ever Ate
By Michele Lynn Seigfried

Have you ever watched the TV show, The Best Thing I Ever Ate? Most of the foods I eat are not quite so absurd – like the shrimp and alligator cheesecake that appeared on the show; but, I am quite the foodie. It’s no wonder my book characters are visiting different restaurants and tasting unique foods and wines in my books!

My husband and I try new restaurants throughout New Jersey and Pennsylvania on a regular basis. We also travel for vacation yearly and love trying new foods in new locations. So, I thought I’d share with you some of my personal favorite foods from various locations.

Hawg Wings from Harry’s Blue Bell Taproom, Blue Bell, PA. These pork shanks, covered in a choice of sauces, were delectable! We ordered the traditional buffalo wing sauce. They were moist and flavorful. Better than buffalo wings!

Rotisserie Chicken Sandwich from Table 24, Rutland, VT. I realize that rotisserie chicken doesn’t sound spectacular. There was something about the flavors of the Monterey Jack cheese, arugula, and their smoked tomato mayo on an egg bun that meshed together to make the best chicken sandwich I ever tasted!

Boardwalk Pizza from Maruca’s Pizza, Seaside Heights, NJ. I work in a town of pizza kings – DeLorenzo’s, Papa’s and Massimo’s all from Robbinsville, NJ. But, this past summer, we ordered Maruca’s largest pie (big enough for five of us to share with leftovers) and it was out of this world. The trick is to order a fresh pizza and not get a reheated slice. The reheating doesn’t do justice for the flavors. I think they use different types of cheeses on their pizzas and there is a lot of sauce, hence the term “tomato pie” that Jersey is famous for. It is also a thin-crust pizza.

Chocolate from The Belgian Chocolate Box by Beatrix in Philipsburg, St. Maarten. Only a block away from the cruise terminal, you haven’t had chocolate until you’ve tasted the truffles from this hidden gem. The guavaberry flavor is to die for, but I’m always partial to their peanut butter! Try the Grand Marnier, cognac and champagne flavors too!

Baked Brie from McLoone’s Rum Runner in Sea Bright, NJ. Sadly, Hurricane Sandy destroyed the Rum Runner—the place I got married. The good news is that there are a host of other McLoone’s locations and the Rum Runner is should reopen in their brand new building this year. Baked in a puff pastry and topped with a raspberry glaze, it is served warm with fruit slices. Heavenly!

Sliders from KC Prime, Lawrenceville, NJ. One of the best steakhouses in the area, KC Prime’s sliders are the best I’ve ever had! There are two kinds – Kobe beef or filet. The beef sliders are served on brioche and topped with fontina cheese, spicy ketchup, caramelized onions, and a large, crisp pickle slice. Their sliders with filet medallions are also served on brioche and they are topped with shitake mushrooms, bleu cheese, and baby arugula. Both are equally delicious.

Donuts from Eet Gud Bakery in Hamilton, NJ. It’s hard to pick a favorite donut from this bakery, they are all so fresh and tasty. Way better than any of the chain places. You have to get there early in the morning, because they sell out quickly. They’ve been in business in the same location for 82 years and I believe that is because their quality is amazing!

Mexican Food – Trudy’s, Austin, TX. This Tex-Mex restaurant has a large menu—both with food and drinks! I’m not saying I love this restaurant for the multitude of margarita choices (although that’s a plus in my book). It had fresh food, some unique menu options (like quail) and was the tastiest Mexican food I’ve tried.

Pancakes from Sugar and Spice, Mendon, VT. I always order “their own recipe” pancakes. Sometimes with fresh blueberries. Once they had a special with cranberries which were in-season and those were delightful! My husband likes their cinnamon and maple sugar variety. The pancakes are light and large! Expect to take home some leftovers. Everything is served with their own freshly made pure maple syrup. They charge extra if you want the fake stuff! If you ever visit there, don’t leave without trying their maple ice cream too. Vanilla with pure Vermont maple syrup. Well worth the extra calories!

Bread Pudding – Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen. Not every restaurant makes a good bread pudding. Actually, good bread pudding is hard to find sometimes! It may be because once I tasted their New Orleans style bread pudding, I felt there were none other that compared! They serve it warm and top it with their own homemade crème anglaise. As my two-year-old daughter would say, “It’s yummy in my tummy!”

I hope if you are ever visiting any of these areas, you’ll give these foods a try! Thanks for having me here today! I’ve enjoyed remembering some of my favorite foods…I think I’m hungry now!

Sunday, February 1, 2015

BOTM: Keeper of the Castle by: Juliet Blackwell

 Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks

BOTM: February


In the latest Haunted Home Renovation mystery from New York Times bestselling author Juliet Blackwell, San Francisco contractorand reluctant ghostbusterMel Turner gets hired for a job that's to die for.

Lately, Mel has been worried about finding enough historic renovation work to pay the bills. But while Turner Construction is in need of a project, Mel’s boyfriend, Graham, has his hands full managing the reconstruction of an ancient building shipped over from Scotland.

With the job plagued by rumors that the stones are cursed, Graham brings in Mel to look for paranormal activity. And while the ghost of a charming Scottish clansman does seem to be hanging around the site, the real shock comes when they stumble upon a body.

When the original construction crew starts running scared, Mel brings in her team to finish the job. Now all she has to do is nail down the killer, and put the spirits to rest, before anyone else winds up heading for the highlands…