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.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

37 Ways to Prepare for College by Lou Diamond

 A Guest Post:
I often look back on my time in college and wish that I had been better prepared for, what I consider, the four greatest, most important years of my life. I didn’t really think about my college plans until the summer before my senior year in high school when I took the SAT exam. After receiving my score, I only applied to one school and, thankfully, was accepted. I was na├»ve and ill-prepared and had no plans or goals in terms of my education.

I can’t say that college was a complete failure for me. I did graduate with fairly good grades and now hold a job that pays the bills, but sometimes I wonder if there was more I could have done to enhance my college experience and better my career opportunities.

I recently discovered the book 37 Ways to Prepare for College while looking for self-help guides for potential college students, and I must say this is a guide I wish I would have had in high school.
Written by Lou Diamond, 37 Ways to Prepare for College contains five chapters that cover what to do starting your freshman year of high school all the way until the summer before your first year of college. The book is written in a chronological format, and is very easy to follow. It is literally a step-by-step guide that discusses everything from selecting potential schools to taking the SAT and getting a part-time job.
The advice is really invaluable. Even if your teenager doesn’t seem interested in reading it, I still recommend parents read it and convey the information through constant conversation, because the book contains bits of advice that even parents should be aware of, such how to find and apply for scholarships, how to fill out a FAFSA, how to keep us with application deadlines and more.

In addition to college preparation advice, the guide also contains a bonus section that covers topics such as packing for dorms, things to buy, school supplies, laundry and health care.

37 Ways to Prepare for College is a 30-page eBook that was published in 2011. It can be found in eBook form on various sites, including Barnes & Noble and Android Zoom for various prices.

About the Author:
A freelance blogger and writer for over ten years, Aniya Wells now regularly contributes. She is passionate about giving potential students advice as they embark on an online or traditional degree program. Aniya is very excited about the latest advances in technology that have made a comprehensive education more accessible to all! Please direct questions or comments to

 Thank you Aniya for a good post. 

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Mind of a Killer by Lee Emerick

The book details the acts of a demented serial killer named “The Hacker.”

Ian Rivers is a cop with psychic abilities.   He can see through the eyes of killers.  This ability enables him to have an enviable record of success in the apprehension of the worst criminals.

Karl, Ian’s partner, is pulled into the maelstrom that surrounds Ian’s interaction with the notorious “Hacker”.   Karl demonstrates admirable loyalty to his good friend and partner, Ian.

Ian’s psychic episodes leave him emotionally vulnerable and drained.   The toll of chasing killers mounts up.   Ian’s mental state is a large part of the book’s impact. 

Mr. Emerick portrays his characters vividly.   The settings could be fleshed out a bit more.   For me, the erratic nature of the protagonist made it difficult for me to buy into the story line.  

In some ways delving into the mind of the “Hacker” is akin to scuba diving in a septic tank, murky, merciless and vile.   This is most definitely a psycho thriller.  

This book may have been received free of charge from a publisher or a publicist. That will NEVER have a bearing on my recommendations.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Soft Target by Stephen Hunter

In the era of jihad the concept of soft targets is sobering.  People who wouldn’t recognize democracy if it bit them in the tush would love to enjoy our freedoms while they try and destroy them.  This book pits a retired marine sniper against a home grown nut case and some deluded Islamic terrorists.  

Ray Cruz is the protagonist in this book.   He represents the best of our service people, loathe to leave a job half done and patriotic to a fault.   He finds himself thrust into home grown terrorism and reacts as if he is still in the service.  I am aware that Stephen Hunter has many successful novels but I was a little surprised that he placed his protagonist in a situation that would have no doubt earned him stockade time if there was any reality check.   With that said, I really enjoyed the novel and the reaction of the SWAT and Cruz characters.   Home grown or not, terrorists deserve their fate as it is justly dished out in this fast paced, edge of the chair, roller coaster read.  

I highly recommend it.

Body of  work of <a type="amzn" > Stephen Hunter</a>

This book may have been received free of charge from a publisher or a publicist. That will NEVER have a bearing on my recommendations.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Jamrach's Menagerie by Carol Birch

"I was born twice. First in a wooden room that jutted out over the black water of the Thames, and then again eight years later in the Highway, when the tiger took me in his mouth and everything truly began."
So (truly) begins Jamrach's Menagerie – and the rest of the story more than lives up to the mysterious promise of that opening. On the short list last year for Britain's prestigious Man Booker Prize, this is Carol Birch's eleventh novel, and though she has won many prizes across the pond, this could be considered her breakthrough work.

The protagonist and narrator, Jaffy Brown, is a tough, lovable Cockney kid straight out of Dickens. As the opening paragraph alludes to, one day Jaffy runs into an escaped tiger, which seizes his head in its mouth. Jaffy becomes a minor celebrity for surviving this unscathed, and is recruited by Charles Jamrach (a real historical figure!) to help run his exotic animal trade. Jaffy is soon dispatched to the East Indies with a whaler crew whose mission is to find and capture a legendary dragon. Without giving any more away, let me say that the book takes an unexpected turn for the darker in the second half, bringing Jaffy face-to-face with the danger and horror of life in a way merely hinted at by the tiger episode of the first chapter.

This book is many things: a coming-of-age story, a nostalgic romance, a rollicking sea adventure, and an intense, fearless look into the heart of darkness. Fans of Joseph Conrad, indeed, will find much to admire here. It's hard not to be reminded of many of the great touchstones of seafaring literature: Treasure Island, Moby-Dick, Kidnapped and Robinson Crusoe, to name a few. 

If you're a fan of those old-style swashbuckling voyages that combine a child's sense of wonder with genuine literary merit and serious stakes, Jamrach's Menagerie is a welcome throwback and a worthy new arrival in that tradition.

Nadia Jones is an education blogger for an online education website and a freelance writer on all things academia. Nadia uses the written word to share her knowledge on accredited online college education and the latest news in the educational world. Though Nadia's mind is always preoccupied with topics of education, she spends her downtime volunteering with middle school students and pitching for her adult softball team. She can be reached at

Thank you Nadia for your guest post. 
This book may have been received free of charge from a publisher or a publicist. That will NEVER have a bearing on my recommendations.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Attention Writers!

Attention Writers!  Seventh Star Press Proudly Announces Its Next Anthology Project, Perfect Flaw: Dystopian Stories, with Editor Robin Blankenship

Seventh Star Press is proud to announce its second anthology project, Perfect Flaw: Dystopian Stories, with editor Robin Blankenship

As with the first SSP anthology project, The End Was Not the End: Post-Apocalyptic Fantasy Tales (editor Joshua Leet) this anthology project will allow for short stories of up to 10,000 words.

The stories must be set within a society in a repressive and controlled state, which can be under the guise of a utopian society.  The genre of the stories can be anything from Horror to Science Fiction, Fantasy, Steampunk and other forms of speculative ficiton

This anthology is intended to be a book that is a exploration of society gone wrong. "Utopian" societies that mask the true, underlying controlled state. Stories of people fighting back against the repression in hopes of a better place for the average person. Groups forming to fight the fatal flaw that the people in charge strive to cover up to keep the masses in line.

Submissions must be in by Midnight of January 8, 2013. Please provide a cover letter and use standard manuscript format.  They can be emailed to: Robin at

The anthology is being targeted for release in the late spring of 2013, in both print and eBook formats.

A freelance editor and book reviewer, Robin Blankenship has a background in teaching and is currently embarking on her Masters in Folk Studies.

For further information on Seventh Star Press and its titles and authors, please visit 

This book may have been received free of charge from a publisher or a publicist. That will NEVER have a bearing on my recommendations.

Friday, June 15, 2012

The Cat Dancers by P.T. Deutermann

Sometimes book titles can convey a sense of what to expect in the book.  In this case, the author’s name provides much more than the book title.   I have come to expect complex, detailed thrillers form Mr. Deutermann and this book does not disappoint me.   A straight arrow cop is confronted with circumstances that cast aspirations on the ethical behavior of some of his comrades in Blue.   The ensuing conflict provides excellent entertainment as Cam, Frick and Frack face myriad dangers.

I have all four books in this series and will be enlightening my readers with my reactions, sweaty palms and all.   Deutermann has the uncanny ability to place you solidly in the soggy frozen shoes of his main protagonist.   In fact, I think I still get a whiff of wet dog as I write this recommendation.

Circumstances force Cam to evaluate his own definition of “justice” when faced with behavior he simply can’t condone.   The love and trust imbued by Deutermann in the relationship between Cam, Frick and Frank is completely palatable.   Cam is not some cardboard hero with no thoughts for personal safety and collateral damage.  His character is as believable as it is enjoyable.

The book is populated by believable and colorful characters.  I think one of Deutermann’s strengths is his ability to convince you of the reality of his thoughts.

I highly recommend it.

Body of  work of <a type="amzn" > P.T. Deutermann </a>
Web Site:

This book may have been received free of charge from a publisher or a publicist. That will NEVER have a bearing on my recommendations.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Seal Team Six Outcasts by Howard E. Wasdin and Stephen Templin

This book follows a black ops Seal team charged with assassinating terrorists.

I was a bit skeptical reading the book regarding the operational aspects of the book.   After reading that both authors are Seals I had to wonder if my skepticism was misplaced.   The goals of the Outcasts are laudable and you find yourself hoping that our government is sponsoring a similar program. 

The characters and action were good.  The only in-depth characterization was on Alex and you had a clear understanding of his motivation. 

I enjoyed the book.

Body of work of <a type="amzn"> Stephen Templin </a>
Body of work of <a type="amzn"> Howard E. Wasdin </a>

This book may have been received free of charge from a publisher or a publicist. That will NEVER have a bearing on my recommendations.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Winner of Paul Levine's Solomon Vs. Lord

Winner of the Free eBook is: Jennifer from California

Thank you to all who participated, come back often as I have frequent GiveAways.

This book may have been received free of charge from a publisher or a publicist. That will NEVER have a bearing on my recommendations.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Deadly Straits by R. E. McDermott

When Bob emailed me and flattered me into reading his book I thought I was doing both he and Jeff Edwards author of Dome City Blues; Sea of Shadows and The Seventh Angel, a favor.  Little did I realize I was doing myself a favor by reading this compelling book.  Many authors grow in statue as they polish their skills and hone their talent, Bob McDermott has hit a home run with this book and it is his first!  A marine consultant finds himself immersed in international intrigue involving terrorists, oil trade and international complications.  

Tom Dugan is the main protagonist and one wonders if he might be R. E. McDermott’s alter ego.  Dugan is not a young stud hero, he is an older more thoughtful protagonist.   Dugan demonstrates very believable behavior with his emotions and behavior.  He is not a professional spy or action figure, he is a normal human being thrust into intolerable circumstances.  McDermott does a super job with his characterizations. 

Now the plot, as you may well know I work diligently to avoid spoilers, so I will be circumspect.  Needless to say intricate hardly suffices, Byzantine seems far more appropriate.  Just when you feel like you have a good handle on what will happen next you find yourself pin wheeling on a curve ball.   The most Machiavellian of you will find suitable plot complexity in this book.  

Action doesn’t really describe the depth of excitement infused to the bones of this book.  It oozes excitement while forcing the reader to contemplate the plausibility and consequences of the story line.  

In short, I really enjoyed this book.   Thank you Jeff Edwards for pointing Bob in my direction and thank you Bob for this excellent read!

I highly recommend it!

Body of  work of <a type="amzn" > R. E. McDermott </a>
Web Site:

This book may have been received free of charge from a publisher or a publicist. That will NEVER have a bearing on my recommendations.