Required Reading

Life is complicated enough without getting into hotwater with federal agencies so: TAKE NOTE Many things I review I got at no charge in exchange for an honest review. Consider this as informing you that ALL things I review may have been gotten at no charge. Realistically about 60% but in order to keep things above board just assume that I got the stuff free. I do not collect information on my readers. If cookies or other tracking stuff is used on my blogs it is due to BLOGGER not ME. Apparently the European Union's new rules state I need to inform you if cookies are being use. If they are it isn't byu me, consider yourself INFORMED.
Words like, “sponsored,” “promotion,” “paid ad” or even just “ad” are clear ways to disclose that you’re being paid to share information and links so BE AWARE that some of what I write can be described as an AD by the government. BTW I will NEVER say a product is great, super or even acceptable if it isn't, whether I got it free or NOT!

Books I have authored.

Many times I receive books for FREE to give them an honest review. I do not get paid to give a good or bad review. Spotlights are promotional and should be regarded as advertising for the book spotlighted. Regardless of where or how I got a book, my review will be as honest as I can make it.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Amazon Baby Stuff

Being retired I do a lot of baby sitting.  What my kids spend on day care, diapers, formula etc. is outrageous.  Amazon sent out this link and it does look like it saves money.   In addition, the convenience factor is huge.  Working parents have NO time so having essentials delivered can be a major time saver. 

Amazon offers new parents the easiest way to buy baby essentials and save with:

Free 2-Day Shipping on all diapers, wipes, and formula sold by Amazon
An additional 15% savings through Subscribe & Save, our auto-delivery program
Favorite brands like Pampers, Seventh Generation, Huggies, and Similac.

Here is the link to the site. 

Monday, March 29, 2010

Deliver Us From Evil by David Baldacci

Monsters are all the rage. Baldacci shows us that supernatural monsters aren’t really the scariest ones. This book tracks monster hunters. Two different groups of monster hunters run into each other while chasing the same mass murderer.

Baldacci is a master of character development. He does a superb job in depth colorizing of his protagonists. Shaw and Reggie play for different teams but have very similar goals. The discovery process in their relationship is tenuous but grows as the book progresses. Typically Baldacii has plenty of violence and action and this book is not stranger to either. My only complaint was what I saw as a breakdown of characterization on a specific protagonist late in the book. That character went into action without the forethought that was exhibited by the same character earlier in the book. Sometimes writing these things without spoiling the plot is difficult. You may not even notice what bothered me.

I recommend the book .
Body of work of David Baldacci

Web Site:

Friday, March 26, 2010

Reading Olympics Rocks

I went to my first ever Reading Olympics last night. It had 67 elementary schools, some with multiple teams, competing with each other. The kids read books and at the Olympics they are asked questions about what they read. The enthusiasm was simply stunning. It was so cool seeing that many kids so excited about reading. Being somewhat fixated on my grandson’s team, I was impressed with how well they cooperated with each other on answering the questions. They were also extraordinarily supportive, high fives and fist bumps when correct and concerned condolences when wrong. The camaraderie was a delight to behold. They have been running this wonderful program for over 17 years! Who knew? For those of you who spend your life lamenting for the good old days and what is this world coming to?, relax. If these kids are representative of their age group, the future is in very good hands!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Sexaholics by Pynk

Hmm, commenting on this book is difficult. I perceive myself as open minded as the next person but I didn’t find a whole lot about this book to recommend. It details and I mean details the sex life of four sexaholics. It purports to deal with a serious topic (look at the world famous golfer or southern governor). The brief forward, author’s notes and dictionary seem designed to seduce you into thinking the book is of a research or study type of book. Near as I could see the book was simply erotic writing for eroticism’s sake.

In spite of the fact that this is supposed to be a study of four addictive personalities, I didn’t think the character development was adequate. The focus was on sexual exploits. Frankly I didn’t find them steamy as described on the cover. Tedious may best describe how I found the stories. Norah Roberts or Sandra Brown write far sexier or titillating prose. I am sure that someone will find this book exciting and a good read, sadly I didn’t.

I don’t recommend the book.

Body of work of Pynk

Web Site:

An Interview with Forty Eight X - The Lemuria Project Author Barry Pollack

To suggest your career has been diverse would herald unprecedented understatement. Thank you for your willingness to be interviewed.

1.) Why did you choose a genetic warrior for your first novel?

I began with the thought of combining a story about genetic engineering with the conundrum of our endless war against terrorism and the atavistic nature of war in general. We continue to live a primitive world - for millennia societies have taken their greatest potential, their youth, and tossed them upon the rubbish heaps of war; as we do today. Despite all our technology, we have moved barely an iota in our moral growth above our ancient forebears. It seemed an interesting concept to take animals - which we use for food, as pets, for entertainment, as beasts of burden - and consider manipulating their genome to create an chimera - an animal with human attributes - to fight our battles.

2.) Does your story line develop organically or is it a gestalt before you begin?

There is a component of both. I began with a lot of "what if" questions. What if we no longer fought our wars by expending the blood and potential of our best young men and women? What if we overcame our moral compunctions about playing god and proceeded with the capabilities that science now has in manipulating genes to improved the potential of humans and animals. These questions are weaved into an adventure story that discusses genetic engineering and eugenics and melds intrigue, romance, history, science, battles against Islamic terrorists, US and Middle East politics, with a bit of humor thrown in.

3.) Is your process to outline and then fill in the blanks or just sit down and start to tell a story or ?

I outline a story idea, find the characters to tell it, and then let the characters bloom.

4.) Do you have a favorite character in the book and if so why?

I particularly like NATE STUMPF, the sleazy San Francisco detective hired by Maggie Wagner to discover why her father was apparently murdered. He's a dreamer who not only imagines his success but imagines or rationalizes his shortcomings as virtues as well. I admire his drive and optimism. You can't fail when you can't envision failure.

5.) What do you like the most about writing?

Taking a void and filling it.

6.) Where do your new story ideas come from?

I keep notes about intriguing ideas and clip stories I read in magazines or newspapers that I think might be useful in framing future characters or stories.

7.) What advice has helped the most in your writing?

Keep writing, and keep writing, and keep writing.

8.) Do you have follow up projects to this book or is something new in the works?

My second novel, OIL AND GOD, will be published by Medallion Press in 2011. You can read more about it on my website:

9.) Who is your favorite author and why?

It's difficulty to pick one. But I like Herman Wouk - whose writing encompasses a diversity of wonderful characters weaved into history in Marjorie Morningstar, The Caine Mutiny, The Winds of War .

10.) What advice would you give for the want to be writer?

A fiction writer is first and foremost an entertainer. While it's an achievement to be able to entertain, it's a glorious gift to be able to do so and provoke thought and discussion at the same time. Basically, sing and dance and have something worthwhile to say.

Thank you Barry for your time and your insightful interview.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Writers Conference At the Pearl S. Buck House April 10, 2010

Put it on your calendar!


At the PEARL S. BUCK HOUSE, A National Historic Landmark®

I'll be there with my books!

The Bride Collector by Ted Dekker

Grisly, gruesome and frightening are descriptive terms that don’t do justice to this dive into the demented soul of Quinton Gauld. A serial killer runs amuck in this chilling tale of mental illness and those afflicted with it’s myriad symptoms.

Dekker does a masterful job forcing the reader to ponder what truly defines mental illness. Brad Raines is an FBI agent who displays borderline problems of his own. He is captivated by a surprising woman. His character grows in the story. The rambling rationalizations of the tormented psychopath are believably chilling. In addition it is a darn good mystery.

I highly recommend the book.

Body of work of Ted Dekker

Web site:

YouTube Video

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Rune Warriors by James Jennewein and Tom S. Parker

This is a young adult saga involving a Viking quest. It has all the heroic quest features with creatures, sidekicks and villains.

This is a book that should play well with the young teen. It is an easy and quick read. The dialogue is not stilted with fake language. The characters are highly flawed and demonstrate normal immaturity. Dane the defiant has to deal with his own personal foibles while becoming a chief protagonist. Demonstrating how rivals can become friends is a positive aspect of the book. Astrid is a great role model for young women, demonstrating that women do not have to be victims. She shows that women can be skilled and frightening as warriors. (Anyone who is married should already realize that but keep in mind the book is written for kids.)

The authors did a nice job showing courage, cooperation, conflict resolution while interjecting age appropriate humor.

I recommend the book .

Body of work of James Jennewein
Body of work of Tom S. Parker

Web Site:
BTW, very cool web site.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

The Lion Returns by John Dalmas

Curtis Macurdy returns to Yuulith after personal tragedy makes Farside unbearable. His alien nemesis turns up as an invader on Yuulith and once again Curtis is left to organize the resistance to oppression.

Dalmas wraps up the loose ends and finalizes the trilogy in this third and last novel of Curtis Macurdy. Some old friends from the first two novels play major roles in this book. Dalmas has imbued Curtis with an amazing resiliency to personal tragedy. I liked the inclusion of past characters and their contribution to the story line. Dalmas ties things to reality without a lot of hocus pocus. Dalmas doesn’t hesitate to kill off characters so you never no who is going to be the last man standing. Equally the ability for people to change and become better characterizes the players.

I liked the book, I like the series and I recommend it.

Body of work of John Dalmas

Review: Didn’t find one

Web site:

Monday, March 15, 2010

Review of Pick of the Literate

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The Bride Collector by Ted Dekker Review March 23rd

Devil’s Food Cake by Josi S. Kilpack

Considering my love of both food and reading, this book seemed like a natural. The protagonist appears to be fixated on food while solving mysteries. The book included the recipes of the dishes she describes while sleuthing. The mystery is to discover who set up the shotgun trap to kill Mark.

Sadie Hoffmiller is not a highly likeable character. She recognizes that many people in her community consider her a busy body, most likely because she appears to be a busy body. She does have a good heart and believes most problems can be solved with the suitable application of culinary delights. I don’t know that I have ever read a book with a less likely heroine. It was a good mystery combining a love of food with an equal desire to solve mysteries.

I recommend the book.

Body of work of josi s. kilpack

Web Site

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Beach City Indigo by Ruth Francisco

This is literature that has gone to the dogs. Oddly enough that is a good thing. This is a cute story about land development running amuck, political chicanery and man’s best friend. Find out what happens when a crooked politician runs into a stout hearted dog.

Ms. Francisco portrays dog and man living in harmony until disrupted by cruelty and greed. Although it had shades of Cruella De Vil meets Lady and the Tramp, Ms. Francisco creates her own solid but quirky characters. Kids will enjoy this as well as the die hard dog lovers. The story shows how cooperation and good will can overcome greed and avarice. Colorful and entertaining, I can only hope this gets published on paper as well as the Kindle. Kids will enjoy curling up with it.
I recommend the book.

Body of work of Ruth Francisco

Friday, March 12, 2010

Beautiful Dead, Jonas Book 1 by Eden Maguire

Jonas Book 1 of the Beautiful Dead by Eden Maguire

Four inexplicable deaths in one high school sets the scene for this novel. Darina has lost Phoenix, the love of her young life. She stumbles upon Phoenix and other newly dead and discovers their secret need for redemption and closure.

This is not a stumbling, drooling zombie story. Ms. Maguire put the least offensive face on zombies I have ever encountered. The angst of a teen losing her love was portrayed with empathy and passion. She made a surprisingly believable pack of zombies. I thought her solution to past evil was realistic even if it would have been illegal and probably immoral. The book is the first in a series. I think it will be a huge hit with teen girls and teen guys who aren’t afraid of reading a book about love.

I recommend the book.

Body of work of Eden Maguire

Web Site: none found

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Writers Conference At the Pearl S. Buck House IN 1 DAY!!!!

Be there or  be square!


At the PEARL S. BUCK HOUSE, A National Historic Landmark®

I'll be there with my books!

Shadow Prowler by Alexey Pehov

Pehov may be well known in his native Russia but I had never heard of him until I read this book. I think the quality of this book will insure that Pehov will be known far and wide as well as in Russia. Shadow Harold, a master thief, finds himself enmeshed with the establishment to save the world as they know it.

Shadow Harold is an enjoyable rogue. Harold is a master thief of exceptional skill and a healthy interest in avoiding heroics. Pulled into quest to avoid the doom precipitated by The Nameless One, Harold finds himself surrounded by highly unlikely allies. The interplay between the allies, their likes, dislikes and individual peccadilloes provides both amusement and tension. Pehov provides suitable mystery and excellent action.

I highly recommend the book and am looking forward to the sequel.

Body of work of Alexey Pehov

Web site:

Monday, March 8, 2010

Writers Conference At the Pearl S. Buck House in One Month

Put it on your calendar!


At the PEARL S. BUCK HOUSE, A National Historic Landmark®

I'll be there with my books!

Celebrating Strong Women, International Woman’s Day, March 8, 2010

On this International Woman’s Day, I would like to celebrate the strength of women. Sadly there still are too many of my gender, who feels deep down in their heart of hearts, grossly threatened by accomplished women. That is a mystery to me.

If a person is accomplished, how can their gender diminish that accomplishment? I’m 6’2’’ and 220 pounds. The love of my life is a foot shorter and well over 100 pounds lighter than I am. Yet this diminutive dynamo kicks my butt on the golf course. She is more skilled, has greater consistency and is just better. I’m not keen on being beaten in anything by anyone. I am sadly aware that size and strength pale in comparison to skill in golf. So what if it is a tiny terror of feminine pulchritude, she beats me, gender has nothing to do with it.

Strength is not just measured by breadth of bicep or endurance; it is measured in character, dedication and perseverance. My personal life has been enormously enhanced by the strength of many of the women around me. Daughters, by law not birth, have honored me with their love and overwhelmed me with their skills. These women are mothers, wives, professionals and yet they have time and strength to show their father by law how incredibly wonderful it is to have daughters.

I feel a deep sadness for those of you too narrow minded or insecure to recognize the benefits of having women as equal partners in your life. For those of you in relationships or nations that are blind to the enormous wealth women can bring to life, open your eyes and see, second class citizens add little value. Equal partners double your worth. Look at the women around you and celebrate their existence on this International Woman’s Day!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Teen Tech Week by YALSA (Young Adult Library Services Assoc.)

This sounds pretty cool. “Teen Tech Week 2010 is March 7-13!
Teen Tech Week is a national initiative aimed at teens, librarians, educators, parents, and other concerned adults meant to encourage teens to take advantage of libraries' nonprint resources. The 2010 theme — Learn Create Share @ your library — fosters teen creativity and positions the library as a physical and virtual place for safe exploration of the many types of technology available at libraries, including DVDs, music, gaming, video production, online homework help, social networking, tech workshops, audiobooks and more.” (Direct from the YALSA Site)

Sourcebooks, one of the companies that provide me with books to review has jumped on Teen Tech Week to also promote teens reading. Their site has a bunch of very cool things going on to coincide with Teen Tech Week.

TeenFire is a social networking site that promotes the titles that Sourcebooks represents but it also promotes reading in general. Check out TeenFire and Teen Tech Week. The more kids we can get to read, the less we have to worry about their future!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Merlin’s Harp by Anne Eliot Crompton

Nivienne is Fey. She is different than a human. Unbeknown to her, she spends the story trying to recover her heart. A touching story of King Arthur’s court and the intrigue that surrounded it

Ms. Crompton did a nice job fleshing out the legend of King Arthur. Nivienne is a strong female protagonist. The characterizations are a touch shallow, more detail would have been nice. I felt it started slow but once involved it became more enjoyable. I’ve read a ton of King Arthur books and this turned out to be a good one.

I recommend the book.

To Read an Excerpt click HERE

To read more reviews on this book click HERE.
Body of work of Anne Eliot Crompton

Web Site: young adult,teen,fiction,Kaleb Nation,Joy Preble,

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Elijah Lovejoy’s Fight for Freedom by Jennifer Phillips

Having once taught history, I was somewhat embarrassed to have never heard of Elijah Lovejoy. This children’s book gives a clear and concise history of Elijah Lovejoy and his fight for freedom of speech. Ms. Phillips does a good job in providing background and information in a manner acceptable to the younger reader.

I liked the way Ms. Phillips interspersed quotes and illustrations. It is important to provide extra stimulus to keep the interest of the younger reader, particularly in subjects like history. Ms. Phillips also provides interesting personal aspects on Elijah that helps the reader to stay involved with the drier historic facts. I found the message very clear that Elijah Lovejoy fought for the right to publicly express opinions and ideas. His courage allowed other editors to grow and further the entire freedom of the press tradition.

I recommend the book.

Body of work of Jennifer Phillips

Web site:

Monday, March 1, 2010

Writers Conference At the Pearl S. Buck House April 10, 2010

Put it on your calendar!


At the PEARL S. BUCK HOUSE, A National Historic Landmark®

I'll be there with my books!