Required Reading

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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.

Friday, July 31, 2015

The Evolution of Robert Carr by Paul K. Lovett

Che Guevara doesn't have a cameo in this book, except for reference to a poster, but he could have had one.   Lovett is a revolutionary masquerading as a satirist or a satirist masquerading as a revolutionary, I frankly am not sure which.   Regardless of his motivation, this book made me ponder many things.   The least of which was neural enhancement, although that was captivating, the addressing of social inequities was virulent, passionate and sadly realistic as it claimed the right of primogeniture.   The book claims to be social commentary but I would be more specific and say I felt it was satirically critical.

The main protagonist, Robert Carr, reluctantly accepts neural enhancement in able to be competitive in a increasingly dystrophic society.  His enhancement comes with a surprising bonus.  His bonus leads him to be targeted and to evolve as a person.  

Nothing is sacred, including or perhaps pointedly the sacred.  Pontification on greed, religion, the industrial revolution, mechanization, the impact of technology and far more provides a surprisingly captivating book.   Proselytization running amuck or merely driving home a point with the finesse of a sixteen pound sledge characterizes the book.  

I loved the book, Lovett succeeded admirably in initiating critical thought while remaining entertaining, Kudos on a great job!


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.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Jeremiah's Ghost by Isaac Constantine

My first thoughts on the book were that it reminded me of Catcher in  the Rye,  introspection carried to extremes.  It is the reminisces of a self centered kid.

Jeremiah is a rather unlikable

character that appears to have an inflated opinion of his own self worth.   He seemed to wallow in his own misery. His experiences growing up and his relationship with his father seem to be the primary focus.  

It had some areas that were interesting but it really never grabbed my attention.   Admittedly I expected something different from the Apocalyptic Fantasy cover subtitle. 


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, July 21, 2015

Weepers by Nick Chiarkas

Gritty, captivating and throat grabbing might describe this book.  Chiarkas shows the time period, in which I grew up, as a place as far removed from a small steel town upbringing as imaginable.  The two bridges area of NYC might as well have been on another planet.   The story is a tale of family ties, organized crime and self defense gangs. 

Angelo is the main protagonist in this story.   His story is a coming of age in an environment that was distinctly hostile.   A volatile yet loved father and truly mean streets develop Angelo's character.

The strength of family ties and their willingness to do anything to protect the family members is possibly the most memorable aspect of the book.   The development of a group of boys who band together for positive reasons belies the typical descriptions of street gangs. 

The sociological aspects of the intense population pressure creating aberrant behavior smacks of my course work for my Masters.  The strength of the crime boss in that time slot was even seen in the little town in which I grew up.  Connections, favors and muscle created a social structure that provided a modicum of stability in places where population density practically prohibited official stability.

There is much to think about in this book but in addition is a captivating and entertaining story.

I highly recommend.


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

Thursday, July 16, 2015

The Kill Artist by Daniel Silva

September 8, 2010 First Reading:
Gabriel Allon is a complex soul. He revels in restoration of broken art. His public occupation is a restoration artist. He painstakingly restores old masters. His private occupation is assassin. He kills to protect the state of Israel. The book details his great loss, his healing and his redemption. He confronts his oldest and most implacable foe. The book is both poignant and reflective.

An opinionated but lovable 3 star Air Force General acquaintance recommended Daniel Silva and suggested that his work often accurately portrays some confidential events in a fictional manner.

Silva portrays a tortured soul in Gabriel’s character. Gabriel’s frustration with his hidden work is clearly expressed. Silva paints his characters methodically and in detail. The story has a lot of action and a fair amount of pontificating. I read the English Assassin first. That was his second book. I saw a lot of improvement in the English Assassin. I though it moved much better than this book. I do recommend reading this book first though.

I recommend the book.

July 3, 2015 Second Reading:
This is the first book in the series on Gabriel Allon. In a typical Daniel Silva fashion he slowly gets into the story. We meet many of the characters that we will see in later Silva stories that feature Gabriel.

This is a story primarily on revenge but not necessarily based on the Revenge of the main character.  When  developing his characters he gives you a lot of insight into what motivates them.

Gabriel is the consummate spy/assassin and he works for the Israeli government so the stories and particularly this one deal with the Palestinian peace process. you meet people like Yasser Arafat and the Prime Minister of Israel and a fake president of the United States.

I enjoyed the book again as this is the second time I have read it but I am starting the whole series again and trying to read them in order. there is a great deal of violence and mayhem and rather intricate plot one of the most interesting things about the Daniel Silva books are the complexity of his plots.

Friday, July 10, 2015




Brian Emmett
May 26, 2015
ISBN: 9781476772561
Price: $18.00
Gallery Books

“Emmett, winner of CBS's The American Baking Competition, shares 75 recipes that have been passed down through the generations of his family. Dessert classics, such as lemon meringue pie and a yellow cake with vanilla buttercream frosting, are offset with savories including chicken pot pie, Chicago and New York–style pizzas, and a "Mile-High" quiche. Fans of The American Baking Competition will recognize the "Petit Four Flag Cake"…Emmett offers clear instructions on his popular "Peanut-Vanilla Chiffon Roll with Peanut Praline and Gold-Dusted Peanuts" and carefully walks home bakers through the multiple steps, including making a chocolate-peanut mousse, chocolate ganache glaze, peanut praline, and gold-dusted peanuts. His down-to-earth tone makes this a good buy for those new to baking.”
—Publishers Weekly

Brian Emmett
“Distinguished by its ease of use and down-home midwestern ’tude…[with] family-type-introductions to each type of dish…Good tips on techniques precede every chapter…The proof of his talent is in the collection: For the most part, the inclusions are standard Americana, often with a twist.  Try oatmeal muffins for a breakfast differentiator, maple mascarpone frosting on a carrot, and poppy-seed sugar-plum rolls (translation: filled donuts).  Demyth-ifying the craft of baking.”

Whip up some delicious down-home goodness with GET YOUR BAKE ON: SWEET AND SAVORY RECIPES FROM MY HOME TO YOURS, a cookbook of sweet and savory recipes from Brian Emmett, who burst onto the culinary scene with his charm, confidence, and superior baking and cooking skills on CBS’s The American Baking Competition™.  He won the hearts of Americans nationwide, who watched this enthusiastic husband and father immerse himself in his passion—and, ultimately, take home the illustrious title of America’s Best Amateur Baker.

Now in GET YOUR BAKE ON, Brian shares over seventy-five recipes that leave no doubt as to why he was crowned champion of the show.  This cookbook encompasses a hearty mixture of The American Baking Competitionfavorites, brand-new concoctions, and Emmett family recipes passed down for generations.  Staying true to the show’s theme, there are plenty of sweets.  From Poppy Seed Sugar Plum Rolls to his famous Cakey Chocolate Chip Cookies, Brian’s baked goods are sure to satisfy even the most demanding of sweet tooths.

GET YOUR BAKE ON also features a strong savory element with classic, feel-good recipes such as Sunday Brunch Strata and Sky-High Cheese and Chive Souffl├ęs.  Some of these delicious treats include:

·         Pies and Tarts…Lemon Meringue Pie
·         Scones, Muffins, and Biscuits…Blueberry and Almond Scones
·         Breads and Pizzas…Focaccia with Fresh Thyme
·         Cookies, Bars, Biscotti, and Brownies…Salted Peanut Cookies
·         Cakes…Cheesecake with Caramel-Apple Topping
·         Pastry and Pie Dough…Apple Cider-Spiked Pie Dough
·         Souffl├ęs and Custards…Sunday Brunch Strata
“This is by far one of the favorites with my family and friends, but not just for brunch!  It’s a hit for tailgating, Bunco night, bowling leagues, housewarming parties, baby showers…you are sure to be the MVP at any event if you show up with this amazing casserole.  It’s great because you can assemble all the ingredients the day before, refrigerate, and then bake fresh in the morning.  It’s also easy to change up the ingredients, use different cheeses, substitute the meats with seasonal vegetables such as broccoli, asparagus, or spinach, or add fresh herbs such as chopped parsley or basil as garnish for a beautiful presentation.”

With Brian Emmett’s GET YOUR BAKE ON, readers are expertly equipped to gather with friends and family for any occasion and enjoy the most savory food.  So grab a spoon, America—Brian’s back, and he’s ready to dish!

Brian Emmett, the ultimate foodie and home entertainer, has been baking, cooking, serving, and designing unique culinary experiences for family and friends for over twenty years.  He lives near Chicago with his wife and daughters. 

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, July 6, 2015

Space Dumplins by Craig Thompson

This book sent me mixed messages.   I like the graphic art and the style.  The subject matter was kind of adult.  I don't mean adult as profane or sex but there is a theme of competition between Mom and Dad in employment.  There are issues as to which parent needs to take the kid to their job because of schedule conflicts.   The kid is precocious and there are nuances of humor that I think will escape the younger reader.

With all of that being said, I think that many of the scenarios are ones that kids are exposed to and consequently are probably good to explore.  I liked the book and recommend it.


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, July 1, 2015

WOWideas! from A to Z by Kevin Jameson

This is a aberration for me.  I seldom review anything but fiction and this is anything but fiction.   This book is a collection of famous United State Patents with pithy commentary.   In some ways you could say it is a picture book because the patents take up the bulk of the page.   What is fascinating is that the book is actually interesting.   Considering the description of the book, you might think that it would be boring but it is remarkably readable.   I enjoyed the book.


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