Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Alexis Tappendorf and the Search for Beale's Treasure by Becca C Smith

Alexis Tappendorf and the Search for Beale's TreasureAlexis Tappendorf and the Search for Beale's Treasure by Becca C. Smith
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

When Alexis Tappendorf 's dad loses his job, times are hard. Then her parents get a mysterious offer of money for participating in a research project, but they can't tell anyone the details, not even their daughter. They take Alexia to stay with her Aunt May in Virginia. While there, she learns of a lost pirate treasure. She and her new friend, Olivia, go on a quest to find it so that their parents never have to worry about money again. Can they fallow the clues before it is too late or will they be captured by the evil Woodmores?
This is a fantastic young adult book and I would recommend it to everyone. It is filled with puzzles, treasure, bad guys, old books, and adventure. This book is must read for anyone who likes adventure books.

View all my reviews

BLURB: Alexis Tappendorf is about to be abandoned in Virginia for the summer by her parents, George and Jenny. They’re leaving for a mysterious job they can’t tell anyone about, which annoys Alexis to no end! And what’s worse is the fact that they’re dropping her off with Great Aunt Mae, a woman in her seventies that Alexis has never met! Upon arriving in Virginia, Alexis discovers that for the last hundred years the townspeople of Summervale and Bedford County have been searching for a lost treasure buried somewhere in the area by a man named Thomas J. Beale. More importantly, the only clues to finding the fortune are in the form of cryptograms, codes that, when properly translated, tell the exact location of the bounty.  In a heart-pounding race to Beale’s Treasure, Alexis and her new friend, Olivia Boyd, join forces to solve the Beale ciphers before the dangerous family, the Woodmores, beat them to it – a seemingly impossible task since they always appear to be one step ahead of the girls at every turn.  Unless Alexis and Olivia can decipher Beale’s cryptograms in time, the treasure will be lost forever or worse—it will end up in the hands of the evil Woodmores…

BIO: Becca C. Smith received her Film degree from Full Sail University and has worked in the Film and Television industry for most of her adult life. In 2010 Becca published her first novel, Riser followed by the sequel, Reaper, in 2011, and the finale, Ripper in 2013. In 2012 Becca wrote the children’s novel Alexis Tappendorf and the Search for Beale’s Treasure. She is also the co-author of the teen graphic novel Ghost Whisperer: The Haunted. Becca currently lives in Los Angeles, CA with her husband, Stephan and their two cats Jack and Duke.

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Thursday, December 5, 2013

Bakers Dozen by M. Will Smith Meet and greet with first chaper of Bakers Dozen.

Welcome William Smith.


 1) What genre do you like to write?
 I write in several genres.  Mystery, action adventure, sci-fi, and combinations of several.

 2) How long have you been writing? What prompted you to start writing?
    I wrote technical reports and plans for many years but did not start fiction until about fifteen or sixteen years ago.  The mother of creativity is boredom!  I sailed off into the sunset and it was much more boring than you can ever imagine.  That’s where I did most of my writing.  Sitting in a sailboat at anchor or in a marina.

 3) What inspires you to write?
Most of my writing involves contemporary issues either directly or indirectly.  Politics, war, prejudices, conspiracy theories or unresolved questions about a wide range of issues.  Most of my personal reading is non-fiction.

 4) When a story idea pops into your head, how long does it typically take to write it (from start to finish)?
 I usually have a general concept with a beginning and an ending.   Most of what happens in the middle I make up as I write.  I have completed first drafts in a month or two.  Sometimes they drag on for years.

 5) What did you find to be the most difficult part of the writing process?  Easiest? 
    The most difficult part is editing.  The easiest is writing.  Once I start, I want to keep going until it is finished. 

 6) Of all your characters whom do you most relate to?
 In Bakers Dozen?  Maybe Chuck even though I’ve never smoked.

 7) Is there one of your characters that you did not like when you started writing about them, but found yourself liking by the end of the story?
 In Baker’s Dozen I did not care for Cathy, but liked her in the end.

 8) What is your least favorite part about writing? The Most?
 Again, editing is a great big pain.  After you’ve read and re-read the book a dozen times, then your editor marks it up once more….only to find more errors AFTER it is published!  Seeing it in print is a pleasure if you block from your mind the errors that you know are still there.

 9) When you are not writing or editing what do you do for relaxation?
  That has changed over the years.  When I first started I could write for six to eight hours a day.  Now, I write for one or two and have to take a break.  I’m an artist so I paint.  Then there’s an occasional football or baseball game.

 10) What genre of books do you like to read?
   As I mentioned before, I read non-fiction.  Mostly science.  Evolutionary Biology.  Evolutionary Psychology.  Cosmology.  Astrophysics.  Quantum physics, which I still don’t really understand very well but would like to.

 11) What author(s) do you enjoy reading?  Why?
I like Richard Dawkins because he is able to explain the science behind evolutionary biology without trying to be politically correct or to offend anyone…which he does.  Steven Pinker does likewise.  Carl Sagan, Brian Greene, Jared Diamond.  All attempting to bring science to the masses in an understandable form.

 12) Tell us about your books where can people find them?
\ I have three books on Kindle, Amazon, Nook, and Barnes and Noble.  Another is at the publisher and was supposed to be released last week.  Hopefully it will be out this week.                                          

Chapter One from Baker’s Dozen:

Chapter One
                "It's a very old affiliation," said Judd as he sipped his martini from deep within the brown leather over-stuffed chair.  Outside through the tall multi-pane window that was guarded on either side by sheer curtains, large snowflakes fell in such numbers that they darkened the sky in the late afternoon.  Judd stared up at the flakes as the gray gobs came down, a few wandering aimlessly out of the darkened background into the pale light from the lamp beside him.
                "That's what I understand," said Rose, standing across from him near a wall of books that filled two walls of the darkly finished study.
                "It's not a conspiracy as you suggest," Judd muttered calmly, not in a defensive tone, but one with the confidence and security of someone who is quite sure of himself.
                "Not in the classic sense to be sure," said Rose, following Judd's gaze out the window to the quiet transformation of the landscape into a soft wonderland of white.
                "Not in any sense," Judd nodded as he took another sip and glanced at her over his glasses.
                "The results are the same," Rose smiled sarcastically, anger beginning to seethe to the surface.
                "We only repeat our message of truth and patriotism," said Judd smiling back through the corner of his mouth as he continued to watch her over his glasses.
                "But it's a network…a group of ideologues passing on your message in terms and methods that lead to action...... said to people who are prone to take action.... action that has been deadly...."
                "What others do is not our concern," said Judd, breaking off his eye contact with her and resuming his peaceful monitoring of the snowflakes.
                "Not your concern?" asked Rose, almost laughing, then shaking her head, her voice wavering somewhat now as she was no longer able to hide the anger inside.
                "Any of those events could have happened without us saying anything," he said without looking at her but feeling her rising displeasure.
                "A president.  A candidate for president.  A civil rights leader.  A senator.  Plus how many other liberal leaning people?  And you admit to having championed their demise as the only solution...."
                "It was.... it IS the only solution," Judd nodded curtly, almost sarcastically, suddenly having the urge to confront her challenge. “And besides, you weren’t supposed to be snooping in my study!”
                “I wasn’t snooping….the emails were on your desk in plain sight.  Your friends must be getting sloppy.”
                “Maybe they are, we’re getting older….but sloppy or not you had no right to pry.”
                “You’re my brother!”
                “I have a private life.”
                “Some private life!”
                “We have a right to our beliefs….”
                "Beliefs, yes, but you and your little club carry it much farther.  You know how to goad potentially unstable people into believing in your twisted ends and convincing them that they are doing something that must be done..... you're using half-insane dupes to achieve your ridiculous ideological ends."
                "They’re not ridiculous….. we’re the true patriots not you liberal bleeding hearts…. and besides we paid them nothing.  We provided them with nothing.  We had no connection with them.  We simply repeated our message.  They did what they did on their own volition.  We didn't hire them.  They weren't our friends.  They were alone.  Ultimately they did what was right."
                "The perfect alibi.  Leaving you and your cronies not only blameless, but untraceable, unconnected and respectable members of the community to boot."
                "We can't be responsible for the acts of crazy people," he laughed as he looked at her standing angrily against the bookcase, her face now flushed.
                "But your plans were carried out," she said, now in a firm but clearly unnerved voice.  "You deliberately set about to talk people into doing your dirty work for you without them really even realizing that they were merely pawns.... whipped into a frenzy by your encouragement...."
                "Amazing, isn't it?" he laughed again, rolling his head back in the chair and shutting his eyes.
                "For over fifty years," she said, her voice now becoming somewhat shrill as she began to lose her composure.
                "Even before us," he corrected, his head still back in the chair.
                "Before?.....Oh my gg….It has to stop!" she almost shouted, her hands stiff at her sides as she moved  slowly toward him.
                "It can't stop," he said in a lilting voice, sitting forward and meeting her gaze with one now suddenly firm. “It’s too deep, too important.”
                "It must stop!" she now shouted as she continued toward him.  "It's heinous!"
                "Heinous?  Can you even begin to imagine what this country would be like if that wild-eyed liberal Kennedy or his bleeding heart brother would have lived?  That would have been heinous."
                "And King?"
                "That black letch had no right to live!"
                "They were human beings," she said in disbelief, stopping a few feet away, trembling in rage.
                "They were the ideologues, not us," he shot back.  "Dangerous ideologues."
                "But why Hal Stohr?  He's so harmless."
                "He champions too many dangerous ideas," he countered.
                "The environment is a dangerous idea?"
                "It undermines the very lifeblood of our economy….one of those elitist liberal myths that are foisted onto the public."
                "How could doing something to address global warming undermine the economy?"
                "Oh paalleeeezz!" he shouted.  "The answer to that is so obvious that I choose not to even begin to answer it..."
                "You're delusional!" she screamed, waving her hands in front of him.  "You people are all a bunch of pompous Nazi's!"
                "Nazi's?  Hah!  Nazi's indeed…we’re patriots! We are the ones who will save this country!" he said, now matching her shouting, and then standing up and taking a step toward her.  "We’re the true patriots!  And you….you're way out of line here!" he wagged his finger at her with a scowl.
                "I'm your sister, and I'm a fool for not having found out about this years and years ago!" she screamed, taking the step that remained between them and smacking him across the face.  He grimaced in pain, then quickly recovered to grasp her by the wrists as she attempted to hit him again.  Judd in his eighties and Rose her seventies were clearly not as nimble as they were when they were younger and they stumbled into a lamp table and sprawled out onto the carpet, with the lamp, a blue decanter of gin and a glass crashing to the floor in a jumble of broken parts and liquid.  They wrestled awkwardly on the floor.  Rose used her superior quickness to smack him repeatedly on the head and face as they struggled.  Judd finally got to his knees and crawled free, grabbing the arm of a chair to help him to his feet.
                "You're mad!" he shouted as he staggered toward the door.  Rose was upon him by now flogging him with an umbrella that she had retrieved from the canister next to his desk.  Hands over his head to shield the blows, Judd swerved past the fireplace, catching his toe on the brick landing and tripping, falling headlong onto the fireplace tools with a terrible racket and an anguished cry of pain.  Draped over the tools above the floor, he tried to move but could not.  He was impaled on the sharp decorative spear on top of the tool holder.  He feebly attempted to move as he looked down at the black metal holder that was propping him up, a sickening moan emitting from his tortured lips as blood gushed to the floor.  Rose stood over him, wide-eyed, in momentary disbelief.   Trembling in anger, her teeth still bared and the umbrella still gripped tightly in her hand, she held it out as if to continue to pummel him.   Now realizing that Judd was badly hurt with blood spewing from his chest onto the bricks and across the floor into the adjacent rug, she hesitated.  But she continued to stand motionless, the umbrella still poised to strike, as Judd let out a long muffled groan and slowly slumped onto his side in a heap, the fancy tool holder shedding its tools with a clatter.  Her hand dropped as she released her grip on the umbrella and it flopped noiselessly onto the soft Persian rug.  Judd lay still, his blood covering a four foot arc across the floor and onto the already reddish rug.  From beneath his body, the red pool shown up at her from the wood floor that edged the rug in front of the fireplace.  She just stood there resisting the impulse to kneel down to assist him or even to check to see if he was alive.  She just turned and walked the few steps to a little sitting area with a small table that fronted the fireplace and sat down in one of the comfortable chairs.  She stared at the flickering flames and could see the ghostly fluttering of the snowflakes in the window behind Judd's desk reflected in the glass doors of the fireplace.  A tiny smile formed on the corner of her lips and she nodded slightly.  A pang of guilt was quickly extinguished by the fury inside for what she had just found out about him.
                I feel no remorse she thought as she sat there in the complete silence of the moment.  The only justice that could have been wrought has been wrought she nodded.  And the others.  Her thoughts flashed on the smug faces of the dozen other 'members' of Judd's elite group.  Twelve of them.  Thirteen, including Judd.  Thirteen.  A baker's dozen.  Yes, Baker’s Dozen she nodded.  Judd Baker and his dozen murderous conspirators.  Her fists tightened on the arm of the chair.  Any guilt or sadness that she should feel with the death of her brother right in front of her was replaced by anger once again.  Anger at what had gone on for so long.  Anger that she was too naive to recognize the true nature of their political hatred. The whispers.  The dark whispers.  The snide comments that she simply dismissed as political prejudice and ignorance.  Her mind wandered.  These men would live out their comfortable lives in complete safety.  Free of all blame or implication.  Yet guilty.  Yes, guilty.  Horribly guilty.
                It was two in the morning.  Rose had been sitting in the study contemplating what she would do next for nearly four hours.  The maid would be in at eight the next morning, she thought.  Rose would have to call the police before then.  Perhaps now, to get it over with.  But what to tell them.  They had a struggle over….over family issues….and he fell onto the fireplace tools.  Actually, that was what happened.  It was an accident.  She went over to the desk and pushed the speaker button.  She dialed 911, reported what had happened to the operator, then walked out into the vestibule and sat on the steps to the grand staircase to wait for the authorities to arrive.  The others must also be brought to justice she thought as she waited.  Even though they were her age or older, they must all be punished.  Somehow….and, yes, the ultimate punishment.  And she would see to it…somehow… that they were punished.

Thank you for sharing I can't wait to read the rest of the book!

Monday, December 2, 2013

The Cow-Pie ChroniclesThe Cow-Pie Chronicles Meet and greet with author and Illustrator.

The Cow-Pie ChroniclesThe Cow-Pie Chronicles by James L. Butler
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This delightful children’s book is about the adventures of Tim Slinger, and his sister Dana, on their Midwest Farm in the 1960s. Life on a farm is hard, but children always seem to find a way to make the dull a little more exciting. When his mother tells him that they have to move to town, Tim is devastated. Can he ever learn to adjust to city life? Find out in this delightful book that I would recommend for all age ranges.

I received this book as an early review copy for my honest review and I have given it. The opinions expressed herein are my own.

View all my reviews

I would like to welcome James Butler and  Lonnie Millsap to my blog today.

James L. Butler Author

1)      What genre do you like to write?

Science Fiction has been my primary fiction genre for most of my writing career. It is what I enjoyed reading most when I was young and I have always been intensely interested in the progress of science in all fields. In 2008 I switched to the children’s genre in an effort to get my nine year old son more interested in writing. I found it very rewarding and have stuck with it since.

2)      How long have you been writing? What prompted you to start writing?

Writing always fascinated me, even in grade school. In 1963, in sixth grade I attempted to write a book about traveling to the moon for an English assignment. I got a “C” because the assignment was late and unfinished. But I kept writing, getting “A”s in English and winning a writing award in college. As I grew up, he would often tell funny stories to friends and relatives about things he did on the farm with his sister that got them in trouble or put them in danger. One day, about five years ago, he wrote a couple of the stories down and sent them to a story publisher. They loved them and asked if he had more! He had a lot more and those stories became the basis for The Cow Pie Chronicles, his best book yet.

3)      What inspires you to write?

At the heart, it is the escapism. I enjoy being able to create a world then enter it and get away from the challenges and difficulties of day to day living. Having other people enjoy their escape into the world I created is a bonus.

4)      When a story idea pops into your head, how long does it typically take to write it (from start to finish)?

That depends entirely on what type of story it is and what the objective of the story is. I can bang out a quality 1,000 to 2,000 word short story or non-fiction article in an afternoon.  But since I have a professional sales career and family commitments, anything longer is a matter of time management and priorities. Quality is more important than speed. I once wrote a 70,000 word sci-fi story in six weeks. It did not get published. It took three years to complete my first children’s book, Raptor Ravine. It is excellent. My most recent book, The Cow-Pie Chronicles, took about a year.

5)      What did you find to be the most difficult part of the writing process?  Easiest?

The most difficult part of writing is the third or fourth editing pass on a long manuscript. I want to get the project finished and move on to the next. The easiest part of writing is power writing the first draft, or the concept draft as I call it. I become immersed in the world of my characters and they take control of me then the words just flow like water. 

6)      Of all your characters whom do you most relate to?

Since The Cow-Pie Chronicles is based on my childhood, Tim Slinger is basically me as a child. Aside from that, Tricklen Morris in Raptor Ravine shares my values and priorities. In my sci-fi works, Dr. Charles Freeman in the novel Gravity shares many of my professional life frustrations, attitudes and dreams.

7)      Is there one of your characters that you did not like when you started writing about them, but found yourself liking by the end of the story?

In Raptor Ravine, the main antagonist is Dr. Habeeb, a paleontologist driven by the need for recognition in his field. As his involvement in the story grew, his determination as a scientist began to grow on me and he gradually became more of a sympathetic character. My editor said he thought Dr. Habeeb was more effective as an antagonist. I agreed and had Dr. Habeeb deported (he was British) in the second draft before he turned nice.

8)      What is your least favorite part about writing? The Most?

My least favorite part is technical editing, also called proof reading. It is boring. My favorite part is power writing the first draft without caring at all about the little grammar things.

9)      When you are not writing or editing what do you do for relaxation?

I do a lot of things; golf, ski, swim, go out to eat, go to movies, (saw RUSH last night. It is great!) travel, go watch football with the Portland Notre Dame Club. (My son is a freshman there and on the rowing team.)

10)   What types of books do you like to read?

I still enjoy a good science fiction novel; hard science fiction, not the fantasy stuff. I have has little time to read in recent years though. Only so much time in the day.

11)   What author(s) do you enjoy reading?  Why?

Arthur C. Clarke is my all-time favorite author. His approach to science fiction, stretching current facts and technology toward their potential unknown limits wrapped in compelling human drama was superb. Kurt Vonnegut would be a close second, because he knew how to break the rules for a genre and get away with it, even win a Pulitzer prize doing it. 

12)   Tell us about your books where can people find them?

The three books I have in print currently are Gravity, a science fiction novel, Raptor Ravine, a middle grade adventure novel, and The Cow-Pie Chronicles, a children’s chapter book adults love to read as well. All are available on and many other online retailers in paperback and Kindle formats. Gravity and Raptor Ravine are available to bookstores, etc. through the distributors Ingram and NACSCORP and to libraries, schools, etc. through Baker & Taylor. The Cow-Pie Chronicles is available to bookstores, etc. through Small Press United from INDEPENDENT PUBLISHERS GROUP and has a free Teacher’s Guide available directly from Publishing Syndicate.

Full contact list:
Amazon Author’s Central site for James L Butler:
Author’s Facebook:
Publisher: Publishing Syndicate, LLC
Illustrator, Lonnie Millsap, Facebook page:
Distributor: Small Press United from INDEPENDENT PUBLISHERS GROUP
Questions for the author, appearances, readings, book signings, ability to provide signed copies, interviews, email to:

Lonnie Millsap (Illustrator- Cow-Pie Chronicles)

1) What prompted you to start illustrating?

I was always one to draw a lot when I was younger. My cartoon-like style always led to positive feedback from people. That was all it took me to start illustrating...and to continue.

2) How long have you been illustrating?

I've been a professional cartoonist/illustrator for about 3 years. I consider myself a cartoonist whose work style at times fits stories that need illustrations that require drawings that show a sense of humor. On my own I've been drawing forever.

3) What inspires you to draw?

The fact that I am able to make people laugh with my drawings inspires me a lot.  The fact that I can make money from my drawings helps too...

4) When a illustration idea pops into your head, how long does it typically take to draw it (from start to finish)?

If an idea pops into my head and I'm near a pen and paper, I can have a line drawing of it finished in a few minutes. To bring in to completion in a computer might take between 1 and 3 uninterrupted hours.

5) What did you find to be the most difficult part of the illustrating process?  Easiest?

The most difficult part of the illustrating process for me is composing the space that I draw in. The easiest part is coloring it.  

6) Of all the characters you have drawn whom do you most relate to?

Of the characters in the 'Cow Pie Chronicles' I relate to Tim the most. Even though I wasn't raised on a farm I can relate to some of the experiences he encountered in the book. I think he is the universal 10-year old.  

7) What do you do for fun or relaxation when you're not drawing?

For fun I like to play basketball and tennis, but drawing is also fun and relaxing to me.

8) What types of illustrators do you like most to do?

I think I like to draw animals the most. Giving them human thoughts/traits and putting them into absurd situations make me laugh.

9) Are there any illustrators that you admire? Why?

I admire lots of illustrators. I like Sergio Aragones, Gary Panter, John Callahan and many others. I admire them because their work is expressive and can tell a story. They have great senses of humor that comes through their work and I would like my work to have the same vibe.

10) Tell us about your illustrations other then this book where can people find them?

I have three single panel cartoon books available online. They are titled 'My Washcloth Stinks!' 'I Hate My Job!' and 'I Stepped On A Duck!' They can all be found on my website, and The upcoming book 'My Pickle Tastes Funny!' is due to be released in January 2014 and will be available on  

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Spartan and the Green Egg Book 1 by Nabila Khashogg iIllustrated by Manuel Cadag

Spartan and The Green Egg: A Trip to the Rainforest (Spartan and The Green Egg #1)Spartan and The Green Egg: A Trip to the Rainforest by Nabila Khashoggi
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

When his friends come to the tree house, Spartan tells them about a book his father found in an old bookstore. According to the old book, with the power of the mind they can communicate with aliens. When they all think about it, an alien comes into the clubhouse. It takes Spartan and his friends on a trip of a life time to the rainforest. This is a fun and educational book about the rainforest. It is one of the most unique books I have ever read. It is laid out in a format similar to that of a comic book, with cells of conversation and colorful illustrations. This format was good because it allowed for more of the wonderful illustrations, but it was also sometimes distracting because I found it hard to tell where to read next. I let my children read it and all of them enjoyed it very much. I would also recommend this book. It is definitely worth the read.

I received this book as an early review copy for my honest review and I have given it. The opinions expressed herein are my own.

View all my reviews

How the Octopus Got Eight Arms. Two arms are never enough by Yvonne Arrovo Illustrated by Carl Wanzone.

How the Octopus Got Eight Arms: Two Arms Are Never EnoughHow the Octopus Got Eight Arms: Two Arms Are Never Enough by Yvonne Arroyo
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I have mixed feelings about this book. The concept of it is very endearing: a two legged octopus marries a shark and they have eight children. When the wife is called away on a family emergency, the octopus is left to take care of the children on his own. He is unable to do so and falls ill. The wife returns home and takes him to the hospital where they give him more arms. I liked this book up to the point where he goes to the hospital. He drinks some green fluid and then gets surgery to have the other arms attached. This act of having surgery to alter your appearance did not seem right, even if it was for a good reason. I let my children read it and the younger ones thought it was great, while the older ones thought it was weird and were bothered by the surgery also. I would therefore only recommend this book to younger readers who do not have sensitive stomachs.

I received this book as an early review copy for my honest review and I have given it. The opinions expressed herein are my own.

View all my reviews

My Pack Burney the Hollywood Puppy by Walter F. Todd

My Pack: Burney the Hollywood PuppyMy Pack: Burney the Hollywood Puppy by Walter F Todd
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

When Stacy buys a little ball of burnt colored fur from the pet store, she never knew her new pack mate would change her life for the better. There was never a dull moment with him around. I have mixed feelings about this book. The story was nice and the characters were likeable and believable. Unfortunately, the book itself was poorly written. I am no genius when it comes to grammar, but there were several mistakes that even my 15 year old noticed. This detracted from the overall enjoyment of the book. It was a good story, but it is in major need of a good editor and more detail. There were several spots where the same word or phrase was used more, then three times in a single paragraph. That said, if you like little books about cute animals or can’t get enough of the Shih Tzu breed then this is a decent story from the perspective of one.

I received this book as an early review copy for my honest review and I have given it. The opinions expressed herein are my own.

View all my reviews

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Mr. Max and the book of lost things by Cynthia Voigt

The Book of Lost Things (Mister Max #1)The Book of Lost Things by Cynthia Voigt
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

When Max’s parents mysteriously go missing, can Max rise to the challenge or will he crumble under the weight of it all? You will just have to read this fantastic book to find out. To tell you the truth I finished this book some time ago, but have been unable to review it. Not because it was bad in any way; on the contrary, it is so good I was afraid that I would not do justice to another wonderful book by one of my favorite authors of all time. It is funny, as an avid reader, I have read many wonderful books, several of them are in my top ten, but for some reason I have been apprehensive about writing this review. When I was little, I was abused by my stepmother and her son. At age ten I was taken out of my home and placed in the care of my aunt and uncle. I was lost and unsure of myself so I went to the only place I have ever felt fully at home: the library. The librarian saw me sitting alone at a table reading and approached me. She asked what kind of books I like to read. I promptly told her that I read whatever I could get my hands on. She smiled and led me to a section where all of Cynthia Voigt books were kept. I started with Homecoming and worked my way through all the books they had by her. When I finished, I re-read them all. I even got the privilege to give a vote to A Solitary Blue, and Dicey's Song for their reader rewards. I am now 35 years old and I have shared Cynthia Voigt’s work with my children. She is now their favorite author as well.
I recently I got the privilege of reading the pre-review copy of Mister Max And The Book of Lost things through NET Galley. This honor was so overwhelming I will be forever grateful for it. If the author ever reads this review I wanted to tell you that you have not lost the ability to touch my heart. I would recommend this book to everyone and as soon I can I will be adding it to my library.
I received this book as an early review copy for my honest review and I have given it. The opinions expressed herein are my own.

View all my reviews

When It Comes To Spooning I’m a Fork and other tales from the front-lines of marriage and parenthood by Marc L Prey

When It Comes To Spooning I’m a Fork and other tales from the front lines of marriage and parenthood by Marc L PreyWhen It Comes To Spooning I’m a Fork and other tales from the front-lines of marriage and parenthood by Marc Prey
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What can I say about this book that the title doesn’t do for me? Well for starters, this book is fantastic, funny and well written. I definitely would recommend this collection of short stories about one man’s different relationships. They range from finding is soul mate to the birth and raising of his two sons. I think that my favorite would have to be the one about the low gas gage. I don’t know how many times I have pushed our large mini-van those last few feet to the gas station. If you have a chance and need a good laugh get this book today!

I received this book as an early review copy for my honest review and I have given it. The opinions expressed herein are my own.

Bio: Marc L. Prey is the acclaimed screenwriter of such films as "Bury the Dog" (2012), "All I Want for Christmas" (2007) and "Damaged Goods" (2006). He was born in Detroit, Michigan, and has spent most of his life in the Great Lakes State. Marc has written comic strips, graphic novels, short fiction and blogs. He holds a bachelor's degree, master's degree and law degree and previously worked as a journalist and attorney. Marc's screenplays have won numerous screenwriting competitions, and he is frequently called upon to "doctor" scripts for producers, directors and other screenwriters. Due to his work promoting the Michigan film industry, Marc was appointed by Michigan's governor to the state's Film Advisory Council in 2008 and reappointed in 2011. Marc currently resides in the quaint Michigan village of Milford with his wife and two sons. When It Comes to Spooning, I'm a Fork is Marc's first published book.

1) What genre do you like to write?
My book is considered nonfiction humor. It might also be classified as a memoir. Many of the stories originated from a humor blog I used to write about my foibles as a husband and father. My profession, however, is screenwriting. As a film writer, I've produced work in nearly every genre, from comedy to drama, romance to horror. If I had to choose a favorite, it would be comedy. It should come as no surprise, then, that my first foray into traditional publishing is with a humor book.

2) How long have you been writing? What prompted you to start writing?
From the moment I first learned how to match a verb with a noun, I've been fascinated with the written word. Growing up, I spewed out reams of angst-filled poetry and pretentious short stories, and in college I dreamt of writing the Great American Novel. Even when I later went to work as a lawyer, it was always writing briefs and memoranda that gave me the most satisfaction. Once I discovered I could make a living at writing, the law didn't stand a chance.

3) What inspires you to write?
As a screenwriter, my inspiration rises when I view a quality film or read a great script. I also find inspiration in a good idea, something that screams “film” and drives me to transfer it from my mind to the page.

4) When a story idea pops into your head, how long does it typically take to write it (from start to finish)?
Since my experience is primarily as a screenwriter, I will answer this accordingly. I always start by outlining my film ideas. This process can take approximately one-to-two weeks. From there, I jump into writing a first draft of the screenplay. A feature film screenplay is generally in the neighborhood of 120 pages (general rule: one page of script = one minute of film). I can usually complete the first draft in four-to-six weeks. Once done, I try to put the script aside for a week or two before re-reading it and performing revisions. From start to finish, this process may take as many as three months to complete. There are times, however, when an external deadline may cause me to shorten this period by as much as half.

5) What did you find to be the most difficult part of the writing process? The easiest?
In writing the essays that were eventually compiled into my book, the most difficult part was finding the time to write. This was prior to my transition to a full-time writer, when I was working sixty hours per week as an attorney while simultaneously trying to be a successful husband and father. As a result, I was forced to write early in the morning and late at night. The easiest part of the process was coming up with the idea for each weekly story. I simply reflected on all the things I had messed up at home that week, picked the funniest one, and started typing.

6) Of all your characters, whom do you most relate to?
Since my “characters” consist of myself, my wife, my two sons and our pets, I would have to answer this by saying Rocky, the family cat.

7) Is there one of your characters that you did not like when you started writing about them, but found yourself liking by the end of the story?
I'm going to have to plead the Fifth Amendment here.

8) What is your least favorite part of about writing? Favorite?
With screenwriting, my least favorite part is dealing with the notes from producers and corporate development executives. It is not unusual to have a producer respond to your screenplay with effusive praise, pay you a nice sum for it, then immediately ask you to change everything about it. My favorite part of screenwriting is the satisfaction I get when a reader is moved upon reading my work.

9) When you are not writing or editing, what do you do for relaxation?
In no particular order, I enjoy reading, watching my favorite television shows and bothering my children. Actually, bothering my children probably comes first.

10) What genre of books do you like to read?
When reading for pleasure, I mostly choose mysteries, thrillers and science fiction. I also enjoy reading other humor books.

11) What authors do you enjoy reading?
My favorite humor writer is Dave Barry. Not only is he a funny guy, he also happens to be a first-class storyteller. In fiction, I'm a sucker for the works of Dan Brown, Scott Turow, Elmore Leonard and Neil Gaiman.

12) Tell us where people can find your book.
My book is available at all the major online retailers, including Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Books-A-Million, as well as through the publisher, Motivational Press. It is also available at many book stores, including Barnes & Noble, or through my personal website (

Author photo, bio and interview answers were provided by Marc L. Prey and used with permission. 

Thursday, November 14, 2013

There Once Was a Man from the U.S. A.: 50 State Limericks by Joshua Kraushar Illustrated by Victoria Rose Weiss

There Once Was a Man from the U.S. A.: 50 State Limericks by Joshua Kraushar and Illustrated by Victoria Rose Weiss
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

There once was a man who use to be a teacher
He tried to write a new creature
There was no rhythm to his rhyme
This book was a waste of time
I hope its not a double feature.

     All kidding aside, I requested the early review copy of this book because I thought it would be a fun way to teach my kids about the 50 different states. Much to my disappointment, this was not the case. Other than the names of the states in alphabetical order, this book has nothing to do with any of states themselves, with the exceptions of maybe Tennessee and Montana. It would have been one thing if the limericks were witty or funny, but since the author had a hard time rhyming the names of the different states with other words, the overall intended rhythm of all the poems was thrown off, making them really hard to read. On top of that, some of the limericks were vulgar and inappropriate for younger readers. The illustrations were decent, but there needed to be more of them; the blank pages were really distracting. I would not recommend this book to anyone. It is certainly is not educational or funny and, therefore, not worth the read.

Edit: On further examination I realized that this book has to be read with a New York accent to be funny try that and you mite like it better.
I received this book as an early review copy for my honest review and I have given it. The opinions expressed herein are my own.

View all my reviews

Monday, October 7, 2013

Roxana's Revolution review and a meet and greet with author Farin Powell

Roxana's RevolutionRoxana's Revolution by Farin Powell
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

     In 1979, Iranian students supporting the Iranian Revolution took fifty-two Americans hostage at the American embassy in Tehran. After the US embassy's seizure in Tehran, President Carter took drastic measures against Iran He boycotted the importation of Iranian oil, froze about $12 billion of Iranian assets in the United States, and demanded the deportation of all Iranian students whose visas had expired or who were not enrolled in school.
     This book is about a woman who, even though she was a successful lawyer in New York, was deported back to her home in Tehran. What she found there was a place she hardly recognized. Her beloved home no longer sparkled, the schools, shops, and people were drowning under harsh revolutionary conditions and war. Despite all of this, Roxana found a good job and worked hard. She lived her life one day at a time through tragedy, hardship, and the unjust law forcing woman to wear a Hijab.
     This is a great book and I would highly recommend it to any woman out there who is trapped or is struggling to find herself. You should add this book to your library today and let the cooing of Roxana's Morning Dove tell you the story about one woman's fight to be free.

**I received an ARC in return for an honest review**

     I would like to welcome Farin Powell to my blog today. Thank you so much for joining us today to share a bit about yourself.

1) What genre do you like to write?
A. Fiction, thriller.

2) How long have you been writing?
A. Since age 10.

3) What inspires you to write?
A. Life and what's going on around me.

4) When a story idea pops into your head, how long does it typically take to write it (from start to finish)?

A. At any given moment I have ten stories playing in my head like movies. Roxana's Revolution took the longest--six months. The others between 2 to 3 months. Of course, I'm talking about the first draft.

5) What did you find to be the most difficult part of the writing process?  Easiest?

A. Being interrupted by everyday chores, responsibilities, etc. The easiest part when my outline becomes perfect.

6) Of all your characters whom do you most relate to?
A. I believe it was Tolstoy who said that the artist transfers his emotion into his work. there's a little bit of me in every female character I create, but the closest one would be Roxana.

7) Is there one of your characters that you did not like when you started writing about them, but found yourself liking by the end of the story?
A. If I don't like a character, that means he/she is the villain. But some times you cannot help sympathizing with him. My third novel is a thriller, and I'm dealing with a criminal character which I feel the readers will end up sympathizing with.

8) What is your least favorite part about writing?
A. Rewriting based on your editor's suggestion.

9) When you are not writing or editing what do you do for relaxation?
A. I don't think I know the meaning of the word. I'm an attorney. Writing is my relaxation!!!

10) What types of books do you like to read?
A.  I don't like horror, paranormal, zombie books.

11) What author(s) do you enjoy reading?  Why?
A. Unfortunately, I'm still fascinated by the giants of literature... Hugo, Alexandre Duma, and Hemingway.

12) Tell us about your books where can people find them?
A. I have a collection of poetry, some 80 poems titled A Piece of Heaven, two novels; Two Weddings, and Roxana's Revolution. They can all be ordered at, B&, the book stores.

Thank you so much for answering my questions and giving me the chance to read and review your book.

Photo provided and used with permition from the author.