I use both a Nook and Kindle so if you see a book you wish to borrow just let me know and let's be

November 21, 2015

Book 35 of 2015

The Dog-Gone Good Cookbook: 100 Easy, Healthy Recipes for Dogs and HumansThe Dog-Gone Good Cookbook: 100 Easy, Healthy Recipes for Dogs and Humans by Gayle Pruitt
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I am taking in account that no matter where I find a recipe, there may be tweaking needed for it to look and taste appetizing to me and my family's tastes so I am not taking any stars away for this.

I have three small dogs that you can see in the video portion of this review. I am not happy with all the chemicals and other things in the commercial dog food, even one of the best dog foods (and very expensive) had a recall not to long ago. My dogs are starting to experience health problems, some of which I believe is because of their diet so I thought about feeding them real food so I can control what and how much they get. Although human food has recalls, I just feel better knowing what is in their food and I feel it would be healthier for them besides, I love to cook. I came across this book and thought I'd give it a try.

The book starts off covering some information on how to use the book, staples to have in your house for cooking with as well as to keep on hand for use in recipes. It goes over the dogs digestive system and oral care. There are lists toxic foods, and safe foods. Of course these lists don't cover every food there is but the basic things that most people have in their house or use and eat often. The only thing out of these sections is the spices listed were very basic and I wish the list of them was expanded upon a bit more.

There is a sections of basic techniques followed by recipes, some for humans and canines and the other is canines only which takes up the majority of the book. I am so thankful for this basic techniques section because the first recipe in there is for 'Brined Chicken' and start off by saying, "If you have never eaten chicken that has been brined, then you are in for a treat." I never had a chicken that was brined and never brined one. I followed the directions and brined a chicken then turned the page to the 'Best Roast Chicken' and followed that recipe. This is where the tweaking comes in because I normally cook chicken on 350°F or even 375°F but the book calls for 325°F. By the time the chicken should have been done (hour and half to two hours for this size chicken) the temperature in the thigh was not even 160° never mind the 165° that is considered safe. Even when taking the temperature on the breast it wasn't high enough, also, the skin looked so white and undone so it wasn't even pleasing to the eye. This chicken was not done at all and I failed to see how the skin would 'crisp' using this temperature. So, I turned it up higher than normal (475°) for about 15 minutes which turned the skin a bit black in spots but at least it looked cooked and the internal temperature reached 165°. (Next time I make it, I will just cook it on 375°F.) Anyways, the true test was tasting it. In the video you can see what the dogs thought of it but both me and my husband agree that the author named it correctly, it was the 'Best Roast Chicken' we ever had.

I also made the 'Boney Beef Broth' and used it to make the 'Beef Stew' which was another hit! Again, next time I will tweak it by separating human portion from canine portion and add the onion and garlic and a few other things to it (toxic to dogs) but other than it being bland (but good) to us, the dogs loved it.

I feel this book covers basic things that those like me who are just starting out cooking for their pets need to know (including supplements). I also appreciate the links that are provided and the suggested websites and blogs. The recipes are easy (if you can find the ingredients) but like every cook book I've come across may need tweaking to suit taste or substitutions. (An example of a substitution is I wanted to make the 'Red Rice and Lentil Soup' but I just can't find red rice here at any stores in this area and I am not fond of buying my food on-line so I will substitute another rice in its place.) However, after saying that I want to be sure to say that it isn't like there are a whole lot of 'weird' or 'special' ingredients in it, so far the red rice is the only thing I am unable to find.

I recommend this book to anyone who is thinking of or just starting out to cook for their dogs. You'll be surprised to find the food is so yummy!

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November 18, 2015

A Great Children's Story called "Three Noisy Chickens to the Rescue"

Three Noisy Chickens to the RescueThree Noisy Chickens to the Rescue by Diane pike
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What a cute children's story! If you think the cover is cute, wait until you see the illustrations on every page which is sure to keep even a young child interested. The story itself is only a few lines long on each page with the illustration relating to what is being said so it keeps the child's attention and turning the page.

It is a cute story that involves Grandma, Alice (granddaughter), Max (dog), and Heidi, Hetty, and Hilda (the three chickens). These characters are easy for a child to understand since it is only two people and the rest animals. The wording is simple and easy to follow with events that even a young child could relate to: dogs go for walk, chickens lay eggs, etc. Furthermore, the characters are simple with no history to confuse the child reading this. For example, it is never explained why Alice is at Grandma's house or even if there is a Grandpa in the house, it is just excepted that Alice is there.

The story is a feel good story where the three chickens come to the rescue after a snow storm so it will not leave a child sad or bothered that animals are missing or that someone in the story is sad. It is upbeat and actually can be used as a lesson for the importance of following directions, paying attention, and keeping yourself safe while outside.

I thought the book was very appropriate not only for young readers just starting out, but also as a bedtime story for those who don't read yet.

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November 15, 2015

Book 34 of 2015

Hysteria (The Namesaken Book 2)Hysteria by Michaela Wright
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Hysteria by Michaela Wright has it all: mystery, supernatural, love, sex, suspense, and more. From the beginning it draws my attention to the point I don't want to put it down. The author already wrote a nice description of the story so I won't recap it but I will say that although it has a bit more sex than I usually care for, it was done very well and crucial to the story.

The setting of Edinburgh is so fitting since the medical school is there and the streets and buildings are perfect for this story to have that believability to it. The characters had accents which were fantastic and really helped to draw me into the time and place in the story. Although, I don't know or at least don't remember the exact year this story takes place, there are several hints that it was long ago. One hint is the cover of the book and the way she is dressed, another is the subject matter the doctors are studying which would have been long ago, but I do know it is not prior to 1813 simply because the book 'Pride and Prejudice' which one of the characters had was first published then.

The main character is Deliverance (Liv) Baird and she was brought to life through the pages. She is a complex person with a 'hard' past and hopeful future. She is multidimensional in character, yet at times she is naive. At first I thought she seems to have some sort of mental disorder such as a split personality which was probably caused by her tragic past years of abuse. Then I thought it is just because she is sensitive to those things most people consider 'unnatural' and that is what made her seem that way. Even now I am not exactly sure and maybe it is both but it really doesn't matter, she is likable and it is so easy to have a connection with her plus feel what she is going through in the story.

Dr. Findlay Lennox is also developed but a bit more mysterious. He is into his work researching and perfecting his technique to cure women from their troubles in a most unusual way. Truth be told, he leads a lonely life. He has that 'all work and no play' quality about him at the beginning of the story and comes off as a man who is psychologically untouchable. With each new chapter, these walls begin to tumble and he becomes more real and believable as a person with wants, secrets, fears, and moral battles.

There are other characters in the story which are all developed to varying degrees. What is needed to be known about them to make sense of what they are doing or what their place is, is known. They help bring some humor and are critical for the direction in the story. Each one is different with their own personality and place.

The plot seemed to be simple at first but it is really multi-leveled leading to a final climax at the end. Although a bit of it was predictable, not all of it was by any means. With all the different elements put into this story it really was easy to follow, quite surprising, and well done.

I did notice a few typos and/or the wrong words being used despite the accents.

*I received an ARC free for my unbiased review.

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November 2, 2015

Book 33 of 2015

Love's Rubber ArmorLove's Rubber Armor by Thais Hardison
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Love's Rubber Armor is a collection of sonnets covering the subjects of love, loss, naughty, and one called 'of Cabbages and Kings' which I enjoyed the most. I never thought a sonnet that used wonder bread can have such meaning. Not just wonder bread but whole, white, bran, and whole wheat which naturally isn't about bread but used as metaphors that are so ingenious. Included are a few small sketches which are meaningful to that section of the book and I should clarify that the 'loss' speaks of a love lost, not of loss due to death.

The cover of the book is perfect with the drop of water bouncing up and the ripples forming, to me it is what the book is all about. A feeling or event (the drop) fell into the water (the person) and this caused the rippling effect of emotions. Even reading it, each section invokes the desired emotion. The author stated not to reproduce any portion of the book so I will not quote any but the use of words is outstanding. The symbolism and metaphors are very effective.

Although it is a short book, it is packed with well written sonnets that contained no errors that I found. I recommend it to every adult (due to the 'naughty') who enjoys poetry.

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October 21, 2015

Book 32 of 2015

A Ghost Hunter's Guide to the Most Haunted Hotels & Inns in AmericaA Ghost Hunter's Guide to the Most Haunted Hotels & Inns in America by Terrance Zepke
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The eerie cover of this book sets the ghostly mood for what this book is all about. It covers over a dozen of America's hotels and inns that are said to be and/or documented to be haunted. Although this book really can't be used as any sort of travel guide for a spooky adventure to go on since the hotels and inns are not near each other and scattered all around the country, it is a great book to see if one is near where you are going.

The book is brilliantly done with only information related to the hotel or inn and its history. The way the book is set up, the name of the hotel or inn is listed with a title page so there is no mistaking what hotel or inn is being talked about. On the following page again the name is listed and many times a picture also. Then under that are some 'Fun Facts' which are just bits and pieces of information that are in some way related to that hotel or inn. An example of a fun fact (for the Stanley Hotel) is that Jim Carrey was suppose to stay at the Stanley Hotel while the movie 'Dumb and Dumber' was being filmed however he spent less than an hour in his room before checking out. He never said what happened but when he checked out he didn't even take his belongings with him and sent hotel staff to get his luggage.

Next is the 'History' section which explains the history of the building, people who owned it, even how much money it was bought for or they charged for a night's stay back in it's earlier years. Depending on the building the 'History' has different information in it including information on renovations done. All of the information in this section is interesting and useful (some with photos) in understanding the next section.

'The Hauntings' section is tied many times to the history of the building since not all of these buildings were always hotels or inns and so understanding the history of the building makes perfect sense when knowing it was once used as a hospital so that is why ghost doctors and/or nurses are seen. Even in those that were always used as hotels and inns, many of these hauntings are believed to be by early owners or in some cases by the quests or both. This section also may have photos and explains what ghosts are there or thought to be there as well as what they do to guests to scare them. (For example, if they show themselves, move things, make noises, etc.) It also states if it was investigated by groups, such as, TAPS, Ghost Hunters, and Ghost Lab, just to name a few and what the results are of their investigation are.

The last section is the 'Visitor Information' which state the contact information of the Hotel or Inn including the address and website. At the end of this section the approximate location within the state is often given (NE corner of the state) and mileage from major cities are also given, such as 373 miles from Denver, CO or 20 hours from San Antonio. TX. This section also contains information regarding if ghost investigations are allowed and if you can book any room including the most haunted room. Some of these properties you are not allowed on without a reservation and I noticed one where no person is allowed on the property at all. Others actually have 'Ghost Tours' so you don't have to stay at the hotel or inn to see it.

All the information under each property is relevant to that property and even though I won't be visiting any, I still enjoy the stories. (I only found a few typos with no format issues.) The layout is clean with no confusion as to what property is being talked about and definitely sparks an interest or at least a debate if these people really seen or felt what they did or if their is some other 'worldly' explanation for the experiences they claim to have seen or felt.

I recommend this book to all those who are interested in paranormal/ghosts stories of real properties as well as to those brave enough to reserve a room in one of these ghostly hotels or inns.

*I received a copy of this book for my unbiased review.

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September 21, 2015

Book 31 of 2015

OscarOscar by D. L. Smith
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I love animals so the cover of this book with that gorgeous picture of the Collie (mix?) really grabbed my attention. 'Oscar' by D.L. Smith is a short (64 pages, 619 KB) Children's Book that was enjoyed by all of us here from ages 6 to 60 and it is told in the first dog. What I mean is the story is told as if the dog is telling it, the dog's perspective of what is happening all around him.

Oscar the dog had a very hard beginning in life from the day he was born. His intended fate and those of his brothers and sisters happen all too often and is totally believable. Lucky for Oscar, he was found by a little girl on her way home from school and the family nurtured and cared for Oscar. As Oscar grows and meets new challenges, including the interaction with other people and animals which is adorable, and what to do and not do, the proper 'training' is enforced so Oscar learns new skills and has new freedoms. Unfortunately, once again Oscar is faced with possible death due to an accident which shows that no matter how careful you try and be or how much love you give/have, accidents happen.

What I love about this story is that not only does it make the reader aware about how some people are cruel, it focuses on the love and caring of others. It doesn't sugar-coat the bad but instead it focused on a particular family (and friends) that talk about and share the responsibility of the proper care for, and of, Oscar as he grows. I especially liked that the family discussed how certain things can confuse a dog if you're not consistent with the training and how some methods are just not the right option and can be dangerous so other methods should be used. It also brings the dog to life as a thinking, feeling, creature and should be treated as such.

It also portrays a realistic family. The characters although they are not deeply developed since this is a children's book and the main character is the dog, the family is basically a typical family found anywhere: the children argue, they play, they have their likes and dislikes. Even they grow up along with Oscar (they follow the same timeline in human years) and although Oscar can't go with them everywhere they go, he is still every bit a part of the family.

I recommend this book to every family who has or is thinking of getting a dog. Also, to those who just like reading a cute, well told story with valuable lessons that promote thinking and discussion.

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September 15, 2015

Book 30 of 2015

Danny Boyle and the Ghosts of IrelandDanny Boyle and the Ghosts of Ireland by William Graham
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Danny Boyle and the Ghosts of Ireland by William Graham apparently is the second book about the adventures of Danny Boyle and it is a stand alone book. I didn't read the first book and didn't even know there was one until I went to write this review so don't pass by this book thinking you need to read the first one. I see it listed as a Children's fiction that would fall into the genre of adventure, action, and supernatural.

The book is in chapters which are short and well thought out to keep the story flowing in a natural time line. Each of these chapters are packed with adventure and really holds the reader interested. I am not sure exactly what age this book is geared towards but both my 6 and 8 year old grandchildren loved it.

The book is about a vacation to Ireland that Danny's family takes and the hotel they stayed at is haunted. Danny and his sister end up learning about 'good' ghosts and 'bad' ghosts which is when the true adventure starts as they try and help the good ghosts. Both Danny and Melinda sound like typical siblings with the way they act toward each other and are believable characters. The plot is simple and easy to follow, the book pace is fast, and the characters are developed lightly so it is an easy read and understanding for even the 6 year old. Since it is not a geography book it doesn't cover the area in any kind of depth but some things are mentioned so the children learn a little about Ireland too. There are no 'questionable' language in the book and is children friendly.

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August 24, 2015

Book 29 of 2015

A Ghost Hunter's Guide to the Most Haunted Houses in AmericaA Ghost Hunter's Guide to the Most Haunted Houses in America by Terrance Zepke
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A Ghost Hunter's Guide to the Most Haunted Houses in America by Terrance Zepke (book #2 in Most Haunted Series) is definitely a stand alone book. This is a no-nonsense book that gives places, history, story, and how to (if allowed to) see it and/or contact information so you can go to their individual sites for more information and tickets.

This is a go-to book for anyone planning a 'haunted vacation' since locations are given. It even tells if there are night tours, private tours, and sleep-overs. While it is great for travelers to see where to go or even if they are interested in stopping there to begin with. Some people may not want to possibly meet ghosts who are known for physically touching living people, they may feel better with a ghost who has not been known for physical contact and are just seen or heard instead.

Reading the history and what happened is not only entertaining in a creepy sort of way but it is educational. Not only was the history of the house given but a history of the people/family who built/lived in it so when the events are explained, it all makes sense. In other words, it doesn't just list a house and say a family was killed there, much more detail is given but in a short, factual way. The descriptions were great and easy to understand what was being said, even about the 'staircase to a nowhere.' What's even better is that some photos are included so reading about and understanding it goes to a whole new level with seeing photos of it.

The book is really to the point, informative, and it isn't just for travelers, this is for anyone who likes hearing and learning about haunted houses.

*I received a free copy of this book for my unbiased review.

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August 23, 2015

Book 28 of 2015

Essential Oils: Complete Essential Oils Guide and 50+ Essential Oils Recipes: (Essential Oils, Essential Oils Recipes, Essential Oils Guide, Essential Oils Books)Essential Oils: Complete Essential Oils Guide and 50+ Essential Oils Recipes: by Brenda Blackie
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

The first thing that came to my attention is this is not a "Complete Essential Oils Guide" other than by the name which to me was misleading. While it does cover many oils, it certainly don't cover them all so to me it's not a complete guide. In addition to that, I am still looking for the "50+ Essential Oils Recipes" unless the blurbs telling me to add a few drops to my shampoo (typo was on this part and cracked me up, they used another 'a' word) or to put it in a diffuser is what they are referring to as a recipe.

Another thing I notice is it seems to contradict itself at times such as when it states to look for Therapeutic Grade Essential Oils but then goes on to say that there is no official industry standard that grades oil. So what that tells me is that it is telling me to look for and buy a product that any company can claim to have. There is no mention of reputable companies for first time buyers to even consider buying from if even just to have an one-time purchase and use this reputable oil as comparison for future purchases. In addition, this is two 'books' in one and there is a lot of repetition between them.

But the book is not all bad, it does have some good information in it especially for people who are thinking about trying essential oils for the first time and have no idea where to start. It does go through some of the most common oils, their health benefits, and some cautions to take. It also does a good job explaining what they are and the techniques used to extract them. It does go through the grades of oils which we established really means nothing but are marketing terms (except food grade since they would be subject to certain restrictions by law) but it does make the point of stressing that the buyer should be aware. Also touched on were carrier oils, storage, and usage tips.

So, although the book does have some good information in it and the price was great (I got it free on Amazon), I felt it was misleading. I also expected true recipes, not just to add so many drops to my favorite lotion or bath water.

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Book 27 of 2015

Sophia (Stone Magic #1)Sophia by J. New
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Sophia (Stone Magic #1) by J. New is a fictional YA, Witches and Warlocks, Mystery, that captivated me from the beginning. It is book one in a series and I can't wait to read book #2. Sure, there is romance that is blooming and I am sure many more genres that it can fit into but no matter where or what I call it, it is a page turner for sure. There is already a great description written so I won't recap the book but there are a few things I'd like to expand upon.

The characters are developed with their own personalities and I really like the way they were developed in the book. I wasn't bombarded with all the information at once and there are mysteries in the character's life which isn't entirely told in the beginning but as the story progresses, these mysteries are faced and dealt with in the characters' own time which reveals more information about the characters and brings them even more to life. The characters are believable in the setting of the story and I couldn't help but 'feel' for several of them.

To me the pace of the book was fast and steady. Little time was spend on non-eventful things and it was always on line with the plot even if I didn't realize it at the time. At the beginning, I thought it was a 'little off' but soon realized it was just because this is a multi-leveled story and it was all going in the same direction. There were some twists in it which I did not see coming at all so the surprise factor was present for me as well.

Between wanting to know the answers to; the mysteries of who, how, and whys in the book, who had what powers, and of course the outcome of story, it was a truly entertaining easy read that I recommend.

*I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my unbiased review.

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August 18, 2015

Book 26 of 2015

Hail to the Chief: An Inauguration PoemHail to the Chief: An Inauguration Poem by Tanyo Ravicz
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Hail to the Chief: An Inauguration Poem by Tanyo Ravicz and it is based on a true story: research was done with the sources listed in the book. The whole book is a poem that tells the story of the Clintons, from prior to Bill Clinton being president to Hillary being the 45th President and more. Naturally, a great deal of it is about the scandal with Monica Lewinsky so lets just say this is for adults. Some really 'naughty' words are totally spelled out while another will have only the first and last letter used with "**" for the center which makes it very easy for adults to figure out.

Although it isn't written like a story book where I can talk about characters and how believable they are, I can say this is believable since most of it is history and I remember it well. (Except the Hillary Clinton being the 45th President part). Even the famous lines are in it about not having sex with her (Monica Lewinsky) and smoking pot but not inhaling. I just loved the humorous poetry lines and amazed by the rhyming. Although I can't share my favorite lines because of the language, this demonstrates the style and the sheer genius of the book:

He looks the camera in the eye
(The surest sign of probity),
Wags his finger, thumps the lectern-
"I do not have sex with interns!
I never ever told a soul a lie!"
This was Bill's recipe for Humble Pie.

This is a fun, poetic read and I do recommend it for adults.

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August 16, 2015

Book 25 of 2015

Willing (The Namesaken, #1)Willing by Michaela Wright
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Willing (book one of The Namesaken Series) sounded sort of interesting by the author's description since it was about Jack the Ripper but I had my reservations about how much I would like it since the main character was a prostitute and to use the author's word, it was also "steamy". Not that I am a prude but I just don't enjoy books centering on aimless sex (smut books) and by the description it sounded like this could be one of those with Jack the Ripper thrown in so when one prostitute was killed, it gave a reason to change from one explicit scene to another. On the other hand, I have read books about prostitutes that were good so I took a chance on this one and I am so glad I did.

Constance is a prostitute and a well developed main character. She's intelligent and not a prostitute by choice but more so out of necessity due to her personal circumstances and the economy. When she is summoned by the wealthy, handsome, Lord Alisdair, she is treated like a queen and prepared for the ritual that takes place during the full moon. Constance always knew there was something special about her and it is after she is summoned by Lord Alisdair that this becomes obvious.

Lord Alisdair is also a main character and developed. He has some strange beliefs, rituals, and he believes Constance is the only one that can help achieve his goal of receiving the gifts of the Golden Rite. He is a bit of a mysterious character early on which lends to all kinds of assumptions of his true intentions. He almost seemed like the opposite of Constance: she is realistic, cautious, and down-to-earth, whereas Alisdair is confident, mysterious, and proper.

This fast paced story reminds me a little of the movie "Pretty Women" but add supernatural powers, a coven, rituals, deceit, murder, betrayal, romance and more. Another fascinating aspect to the story is it explains who Jack the Ripper was and why the prostitutes were killed which I never saw coming! I know this is fictional but the time, place, characters, and events make this story seem so real and had me turning page after page. As far as the 'steamy' parts in the book, they were explicit at times but done in a very tasteful ways. I also love the cover of the book, it is nice to see visually the style of gown and putting a face to a name even if Lord Alisdair is seen only in shadow (of course he is, it is that mystery about him). It was very well written and I only noticed one typo. I definitely recommend this book to adults.

*I received an ARC for my unbiased review.

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August 11, 2015

Book 24 of 2015

IlluminariumIlluminarium by Truth Devour
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wow! What a cover and what a book! Illuminarium: Book 1 - Soliloquy's Labyrinth Series by Truth Devour is a book that goes beyond a page turner. This book had me glued to it and I didn't want to put it down: I had to know what was next and where it was going. This fictional, urban legion type book is not for the faint of heart as it does contain some gore and adult subject matter but even the swearing is done in a way that it is somewhat what you would expect in the situation and is realistic for the characters.

Something that makes this book unique is that it is a story within a story. When the main character, Harper, finds a book and starts to read it, it tells a story of what is happening to York, the main character who is eventually taken to mental institution instead of an orphanage when his mother had to split the family up. Although what happened to York had happened in the past, Harper reading it throughout the story makes both these stories happening simultaneously. The way it was done is not confusing, brilliant the way one story affects what is happening to Harper, and it is amazing the way these two stories have connections. That doesn't even take in account for the supernatural, crime, mystery, and everything else involved in the stories.

Everything in the book is not dark, at times it even makes me laugh since Harper is quite the comedian. She strikes me as the kind of person who can tell someone off without them even being aware of it. She is serious and all business at times while she can be quite the prankster and comical at others. She is extremely intelligent and knows things that most do not or even believe in: possessions and reincarnation being some of them. I don't want to write any spoilers so I am limiting it to just that but there is much more.

Speaking of characters, all the major ones (both in the story and the book Harper is reading) were developed into multi-denominational characters although not everything about them is known (after all this is a series) while the minor characters were certainly developed enough to make sense out of who they were and what was going on, time wasn't wasted developing them instead it was concentrated on keeping the stories forward moving and interesting.

The multi-plot on all its levels were easy to understand and the book always stayed on focus with it. At times I may have questioned if I was just taken off in another direction but after reading on I realized I was not and it was always on target. Because this is a series, some things may not be clear yet but enough is known to totally make sense and have satisfaction with reading this first book.

If there were any errors in the story, I was so engrossed in it that I didn't notice any. I do know the different characters were all with their own drawl or way of speaking so some 'off' sounding sentences were done on purpose because that is the way they spoke: 'fer' instead of 'for'. I did not notice any format issues either.

I recommend this book to all adults who like supernatural, urban legion type books that have mystery, gore, and thrills.

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August 3, 2015

Book 23 for 2015

Songs of the Deliverer: A Modern Day Story of ChristSongs of the Deliverer: A Modern Day Story of Christ by Elvo Fortunato Bucci
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What an amazing story! What if Christ was walking among us in the modern times? Songs of The Deliverer: A Modern Day Story of Christ by Elvo Fortunato Bucci is a story that does just that. It takes the events in the gospels and sets them into a modern day setting. It is easy to understand and has the same attributes as those in the Bible.

Emmanuel does a lot of miracles as in the Bible: the lame, walk; the sick, well; etc. Some of the most memorable to me is when he walks on water, brings the dead back to life, and is baptized. (I cant state them all since I do not want to spoil it.) However in this modern day setting he is still a mystery (in a way) as many answers is not answered directly (some but not all) and because of this, it is hard to grasp what the answer really is. Better way of explaining it is by the way he answers, it is in your interpretation of what he is saying. An example of this is when Jonny asks Emmanuel if he is the who Jona refers to as the Deliverer. Emmanuel replies by saying, "Jona brings joy and hope to the world. And his witness is true. But my witness is not about me, but about the one who has sent me. I do only what the Father commands. I testify to him alone." This answer left me perplexed if he was or wasn't. With that being said, this is also true in the Bible so I thought the author did a fantastic job of carrying over that mystery and way of his speech into this modern day setting.

Toward the end of the book are sections; About The Book, About The Songs, and About the Author which were really enjoyable. It is the last section, 40 Bible Reflections which I thought they were a great bonus. It explains the part and where it was referenced in the book.

I didn't notice any typos/errors anywhere throughout this book and I recommend it to everyone who is interested in the Bible. Even if you never read the Bible before, you will enjoy and understand what is going on but for those who did read it before, this is a fantastic read!

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August 2, 2015

Book 22 of 2015

Dyslexia Isn't an ObstacleDyslexia Isn't an Obstacle by Firdevs Dede
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Dyslexia Isn't an Obstacle by Firdevs Dede is not your average book, it's actually an academic book written to empower students with reading, writing, and critical thinking skills as well as a host of other learning and what I would call life skills. It is designed in a fun and interesting narration in a story form. Although the book was written for people with dyslexia, I found it educational. I always thought dyslexic people just wrote their letters backwards and had a hard time reading but this book opened my eyes to some of what dyslexia is and that it is not really an obstacle or a disability, as so many label it, but rather a unique understanding of connections in the world we live in.

The book tells the story of Felix, a young man who is dyslexic. He is a very well developed character (in fact, all the characters are) and the story starts with him at a rough time in his life when he is homeless and in trouble with the law. Felix never finished school, couldn't read or write well, and his future looked bleak. As the story went on this all changed with the proper therapy and learning techniques which the book does touch on.

I found the book was detailed. When it takes a page and half to make and put a cup of tea on the table, I tend to get anxious for the story to continue. However, the book wasn't written just for me and those like me who are not dyslexics but for those who need to read the details. I even became aware that in these details were 'lessons' for thinking, decisions, and time management, just to name a few. I found as I read further that my anxiety to move on with the story turned into wonderment. I was interested in finding out more about dyslexia and the way that using the right side of your brain effects the way you perceive the world and people around you.

Speaking of details, I couldn't help but noticing typos or missing words such as 'the' but it doesn't change the fact that the story itself was interesting, humorous in parts, and educational. It doesn't matter if you are a student who is dyslexic or not, I would recommend reading this book. It will open your eyes to a whole new way of learning and seeing things.

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July 31, 2015

Book 21 of 2015

First Aid for Infants and Children: 30 Common Emergency Procedures to Save Your Child's Health and LifeFirst Aid for Infants and Children: 30 Common Emergency Procedures to Save Your Child's Health and Life by Mikolaj Laski
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

First Aid for Infants and Children: 30 Common Emergency Procedures to Save Your Child's Heath and Life by Mikolaj Laski is not a replacement for a First Aid Training Course as the author points out in her Introduction. It also is not intended to diagnose medical emergencies however it is designed to help remind the parent/adult what to do should one arise.

The book appears to be set up as large index type cards with the emergency situation at the top and what to do listed underneath. Although it can't possibly cover every emergency situation that comes up with the circumstances around it, it does a good job at reminding the reader what to do for the 30 common ones. Now you might think that you wouldn't need a reminder since you took a course but I had taken the Red Cross First Aid Course many years ago and I have never used it since then. If I had to give CPR I may not remember how many chest compressions to give before the rescue breaths or even how hard for an infant vs. toddler. Also, in an emergency situation the parent can be so shocked that they can forget everything including their own name and I know this for a fact. Years ago someone had a heart attach in my house which I lived at for years and naturally I called 911 but I could not remember my address. I didn't realize I was in shock and my name and address just wasn't there. I could not remember it. Thank goodness my mail has my address on it so I read it to them but the point is, it can happen to anyone even if you passed your first aid course yesterday and it is fresh in your mind. So it is good to have this information on hand to refer to. Of course you can ask me if I couldn't remember my address, how would I remember that I have this book? How did I remember I had the mail to read the address off of? I can't explain it, it is the way the mind works under stress and even if there is the slightest chance that you will forget what to do but remember you have this book, wouldn't you want it?

As I said, it appears these are like cards so there is not a lot of reading. It states the emergency and tells you the symptoms, danger, and what to do in a type of bullet format which is great because in an emergency I don't want to be reading a story. They are straight to the point of what it is and what to do. The only thing I want to add is to use common sense. If your child isn't breathing because he drowned and it tells you to start chest compressions, remove the child from the water first. If your toddler broke his leg and it is twisted up and around, don't pull it straight and try and lay it down with the other one. You can possibly turn it wrong so the blood is cut off, if the foot/leg isn't turning black just support it where it is until the ambulance comes.

I have made two suggestions to the author since the book only comes in Kindle format. The first suggestion is asking if there is a way to click on the title (or number) in the content page and go directly to that page instead of having to physically flip each page until you get there or use the scroll bar at the bottom of the Kindle and hoping you stop somewhere near where you need to be. And the second suggestion is to offer this book in an index style or booklet format so that it can be added to the first aid box. I don't think I am much different than many people and have a first aid box in my car as well as one in the house. If the emergency happens at home then there is no problem since my Kindle is home but I do not always take my Kindle with me so if it happens at a park or beach and I don't have my Kindle, it doesn't help much if I 'forget' what to do.

I think the information in this book is a great way to refresh anyone's memory on what to do in an emergency and I recommend it for everyone who is around infants and children.

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July 27, 2015

Book 20 of 2015

E is for Election DayE is for Election Day by Gloria M. Gavris
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

E is for Election Day by Gloria M. Gavris and illustrated by Shawn McCann is a children's book about elections in America and has the target audience of young children. Although the author has not made it clear what age group it is targeted for, I have found that my 6 year old granddaughter got the most out of the information and the basic understanding of the process as described while my 3 year old grandson seemed most excited by the pictures and repeating the new words he just heard. I am unclear if he really understands any of it, probably not since he just turned three but the fact he stayed to hear the whole book and repeated some of the words is fantastic. (Him running around the room yelling "Go vote" at the top of his lungs, not so much!) The older grandchildren (8 and 10) thought it was a 'baby book' and were not interested in it.

I found the book does go through the election process in a simple way that young children can understand without getting into the complications of popular votes vs electoral votes. In fact, the Electoral College isn't even mentioned. It states the US is a democracy which I really don't agree with but it is consistent with the popular views of society. I also found that the questions it asks the reader encourages thinking and opens the door for discussion not only of the book itself but a get-to-know-you experience because naturally the questions went to asking me if I ever voted, go to a debate, hold a political sign...

As I said, I found it is a little confusing as to the targeted age because it is like an ABC Book where it states "Aa is for American Election", "Bb is for Ballots"... which of course a 3 year old would be the target age for and not a 6 year old who already knows the alphabet however, the information is something that a 3 year old would not grasp with a real understanding whereas a 6 year old would understand it much better. Even with that being said, chances are there are words a 3 year old probably never heard before. (I don't ever recall talking about votes, ballots, or debates in front of the 3 year old in normal conversation even with another adult.) Although it isn't something he'd understand, I still think there is a benefit for him to hear and repeat the words plus the added benefit of him hearing a story that kept him occupied while pointing to the fantastic illustrations and telling me things he recognizes such as balloons and cars. So I wouldn't count this book out for a 3 year old but I would plan on reading it again to him when he is older.

I think this is one book that I would strongly recommend reading to children or at least sit there and let the child read it to you so you can take part in the discussion with the child. The book makes it easy for conversation and it also requires thinking on the child's part. Another reason I love this book and recommend it is because it is a subject that isn't normally covered or talked about yet it is something we live by and/or should do here in America.

*I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

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July 26, 2015

Book 19 of 2015

Children's Book of Magic: 30 Magic Tricks for Young WizardsChildren's Book of Magic: 30 Magic Tricks for Young Wizards by Konrad Modzelewski
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

'Children's Book of Magic: 30 Magic Tricks for Young Wizards' is a well illustrated book of tricks that is targeted for ages 4-9. I had the grandchildren visiting so we had ages from 6-60 and we all had hours of fun and loved the book.

In the Table of Contents (the book calls it, 'Find Your Favorite Trick!') the tricks are listed, what props you need, and how difficult it is. The difficulty rating is done by using an image of one to three rabbits in a hat: one being the easiest. I found this part of the book extremely helpful when choosing which trick to give to which child according to their difficulty rating.

The tricks are presented in a comic book format showing the character doing the trick and what the audience will see. This part also includes what you might say to introduce the trick, for example, by asking someone for a coin or telling them that you can read their thoughts.

After each trick is the 'Secret' page. It tells you how to do the trick in easy, clearly stated steps. Also included on this page is 'Advice Without Price' which gives hints and/or alternatives to use to make the trick more shocking.

What I consider a big advantage about this book is that all the tricks needed props that almost any person would already have in their house already. Just to give you an idea, some of the props needed are: a deck of cards, three paperclips, and a straw, There was no need to go buy anything.

To top that off, the tricks really do work; I never found those missing coins yet!

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July 19, 2015

Book 18 of 2015

Disaster on the Sunshine SkywayDisaster on the Sunshine Skyway by Dale Andrew White
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Disaster on the Sunshine Skyway by Dale Andrew White is a short story about the Sunshine Skyway disaster that happened on May 9, 1980 when the Summit Venture, a freighter, hit the support piling of the Sunshine Skyway Bridge in a blinding rain storm with gale force winds. This resulted in a span of the bridge to fall into the water below taking the vehicles on it, as well as those that couldn't stop in time, with it.

I am at a loss on how to even review this since there really are no characters to develop, no one to connect to, and it was a disaster that claimed 35 lives so it is not a likable story with a great plot and ending.

What I can say is that I found that this story is more personal about the victims. They are not just a number but real people with families and I thought the author did a good job bringing that to life. I also liked that it followed up with the outcome of the bridge and the Captain who hit it.
I didn't notice any format issues and the only typo I found was with the sentence, "For decades, the harbor pilots’ association in Tampa Bay decided who qualified to be one of their number." I believe the author meant for it to read that they decide who is a member not number.

I thought that this was an comprehensive account of the disaster.

*I received a fee copy for my honest review.

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July 14, 2015

Book 17 of 2015

The Suicide SocietyThe Suicide Society by William Brennan Knight
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Suicide Society by William Brennan Knight has it all. I am not sure what genre to even put the book in since it can be several; mystery, thriller, paranormal, horror, but I think I will add it under dystopian novels. It is a fast pace novel that is packed full of action and kept me turning page after page from the moment I started the book. The author wrote a great description so I won't recap it but to say the cover of the book depicts and accurate scene and is so fitting for this book.

Since the book is about a society and includes corporations, there are many characters in this book but each is developed appropriately with their own personalities. Some are more developed than others but all are developed enough to understand who and where they stand regarding the plot of the book. I felt that several of the characters including the main character, Zach Randall, were developed fully and I couldn't help but 'feel' his frustration and pain throughout the book.

The book always went forward and stayed true to the plot and timeline. There were many levels to it but they all went in the same direction of 'saving' mankind. It was fast paced and full of action but not so complicated that I was ever lost. In fact, when I finished the book I said 'Wow' out loud since I was so impressed with the story, the characters, and the action. In fact, I was impressed with everything about this book and the ending was very surprising.

The book is written in English and has British overtones so you do come across a word here or there that we don't usually use in the US, such as the reference to the people as 'the commoners' but are commonly used in British English. There are also some spacing issues between some of the words in the book but not so many it really takes away from it.

This book was so enjoyable that I highly recommend this book to everyone who finds the author's description of it appealing.

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July 1, 2015

Book 16 of 2015

Gypsy Cradle (Gypsy Medium #2)Gypsy Cradle by Andrea Drew
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Gypsy Cradle by Andrea Drew is book two in the Gypsy Medium Series but it can be read as a stand alone book. I personally don't know why you would want to though since book one (Gypsy Hunted) was a good book and you will miss a lot of how they got to where they are in book two but what you need to know from the first book is mentioned in this book so it does make sense even if you didn't read book one.
The author wrote a great description of the book which you can read for yourself so I will not recap the story other than to say that this fictional, psychic paranormal thriller does have some foul language (but not much) so those easily offended may wish to pass on reading this.

I found the plot of the book was well thought out and I enjoyed the new characters. I felt they were developed enough so they were not flat although I wished there was more about Isabella and Connor's gifts but as I said above, this is a series so I expect there will be more in the next book. The main characters were all developed a bit more and I found them interesting and enjoyed reading about their gifts.

The timeline in the book was more consistent in this book although the need to pay attention to the dates and times is sort of distracting. The chapters do jump from one set of characters and setting to others and it may have went back in time from what was happening in the previous chapter. By this I mean the chapter I just read could be taking place on January 20th but the next chapter takes place on January 19th. Granted, that these jumps are new characters within their setting and not the same characters as the previous chapter and I know the author was just trying to keep everyone in the same time frame but it leads to some choppiness in the story and if I wasn't paying attention to it, maybe a little confusing. I found that as I got into the story, the dates and times were less important since it flowed more easily and when I looked at the book as a whole, it did follow what I perceived as a consistent timeline.

So to sum it up, I thought the book was good and enjoyed to the plot, characters, and the thrill.

*I received a free copy for an honest review.

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June 15, 2015

Book 15 of 2015

The Great Wall of Silence: The Silent Political Takeover of the United StatesThe Great Wall of Silence: The Silent Political Takeover of the United States by H.C. Deboard
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Great Wall of Silence by H.C. Deboard is a fictional political thriller that held me captive from the start. It is well written, great plot, and a fantastic story line. Although it covers a time line going all the way back to Genghis Khan and the Mongolian Dynasty, the story takes place in the present. The fall of the Mongolian Dynasty gave birth to The Secret Society of the Mongols (SSM) and their plan was to one day rule the largest land Empire. This wasn't something they were going to do then, it was planned for the future by having each generation passing the torch to take over the world in 2014 which is where we find the main character, Addison Landon.

Addison worked for The Sun Sentinel as a full-time investigative reporter and stumbled upon bits and pieces of the SSM but needed to put it all together to expose them. Addison was totally developed in the story; everything from what she felt to what she thought. It was done in a way that made her totally interesting and there is no way to read this and not connect with her. She was tough but fragile at the same time. She had her ups and downs throughout the story and was a believable character. I loved her determination to continue even when others think she is nuts or when things got dangerous.

There are many other characters in the story, everyone from her ex-boyfriend, Michael Stone to the senate majority leader. Each of these characters were developed beautifully. If it was someone that just casual reference is made to, then only what I needed to know was revealed. If it were someone that was a secondary character then much more information was revealed. At no time did I loose or was confused by the people although I do want to stress that some of the characters are mysterious and written that way which only enhanced the thrill.

There were many mysteries that needed solving and so many twists and turns that no way had I guessed who did what and where this is going. I certainly figured on her solving the mystery about the SSM but how she pieced it together and who did what was totally surprising in most cases. I was even so surprised by one I screamed out load and scared my poor cat who was asleep beside me. This was so totally interesting that I recommend it to everyone!

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June 14, 2015

Book 14 of 2015

Year of the Crystal ChildrenYear of the Crystal Children by E M Chandler
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Year of the Crystal Children by E. M. Chandler is a YA Fiction with a lot of real places and events that happened and/or is still happening (which the author had listed these truths in "Author's Notes" at the beginning of the book) that had me captivated from the first page. At first I was a little confused as to the title and cover of the book but as I read it I totally think it is appropriate in a few ways. First off, I can see where someone would think the children are fragile like glass and 'broken' like a crystal bowl dropped on the floor which is why they ended up in a rehabilitation school. To be honest with you, that is what I thought when I first read the author's description, however the more I read, I realized they are far from fragile and broken. Then there is another way but I can't elaborate on it without giving away spoilers so I will skip it, however a third way I can tell you that they were more like a crystal in the sunlight, shinning their ever so clear and colorful 'insight' and 'beauty' alone with their 'uniqueness' and 'energy' for the reader to see.

The main character is Bailey and she was totally developed including the knowledge of the special gift she inherited from her grandmother as well as her ability to detect micro-expressions. She is spunky and a very likable character who happened to climb through a window to get back into school after the door was locked to get her cell phone and in doing so she witnessed something she wasn't suppose to see. When she brought what she saw to the attention of her principle because a neighbor of the school saw her there and damage to the school was done, she was visited later by the police. The breaking into the school, was compounded by the disappearance of her grandmother from the house while she had a loaded rifle, she was sent to a rehabilitation school called Pine Farm. The principle didn't believe her or was 'in' on what was going on and he needed to get her out of the way (or someone else did). After all, who is going to believe a kid with some sort of conspiracy or wild tale that has a criminal record over a principle of a school who is an adult in good standings with the community?

The friends she meets at Pine Farm (Thema, Jaime, Parkesh, and Samyan) are all developed with their own quirks and/or abilities and help Bailey clear her name as well as expose that what she saw is true and the government (or someone) is using children at school as guinea pigs for their experiments without anyone else's knowledge. Also, the characters of Ben (her friend from home and the school she went to then) and Shadow (the mountain man she met while at Pine Farm) were all developed but to a lesser degree. There were other characters and it was known what position they held but some sort of left me wondering who's side are they really on. Was it a set-up or are they for real? Maybe it was part of the experiment? For the most part, that is revealed during or toward the end.

The pace of the book is steady and comfortable.When they (Bailey and her friends at Pine Farm) were doing research or building things it was still eventful and staying within the plot, it never was drawn out or boring in any way. What is so striking about it is how believable it is. Many of the things going on could be traced back to things in the past or happening now; everything from drones invading our privacy and spying on people, people taking pictures/videos of us on their cell phones or other devices without our knowledge, people in high positions saying and doing things that are not legal and/or moral just to name a few and there is so much more. This is one of those books I didn't want to stop reading and was sort of disappointed it had to end. Speaking of the end, I love the discussion questions the author put at the end of the book! It is important for our YA to question, investigate, and research the truth about things going on and if that wasn't made clear by the story, it is by the questions. It is also important for them to think and research how good things like computers can be used for less than good reasons like tracking people.

I just can't say enough how good this book is and how much I enjoyed it but with the good comes the bad: the typos and missing or added words were annoying. I certainly can overlook a typo here and there but there were quite a few. Things like, 'Counselors stay close the kids..', 'When when Bailey had finished...', 'Would if help if I asked...,' and 'an imaginary line that rmoves farther away', just to name a few. I don't mean to nitpick and know I do the same thing when I write (I even reviewed a book and misspelled the title once, talk about embarrassing!) but I am not an author. The book needed to be proofread.

Of course we must take a little good with the bad so depending on if this is book one in a series, it can be good or bad. If it is the first book in a series then I may have the answers to questions I am left with in the next book however if this is it and it isn't a series then I am left with some unanswered questions which of course is bad. Although, by the ending (it is clear what happened with Bailey) and by the way it comes full circle (sorry don't want to write a spoiler but it is when she looks up and what she searches for), I have a feeling this is just the first book in a series but can't get that confirmed yet.

I recommend this book to everyone!!!

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June 8, 2015

Book 13 of 2015

Where Angels PreyWhere Angels Prey by Ramesh S Arunachalam
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

'Where Angels Prey' is a fantastic name for this book by Ramesh S Arunachalam! A lot of books have fitting titles but I was just struck with awe by how perfect the title (and cover) was for this book when I realized that what was seen as a blessing, like an angel was sent from heaven to save the poor in India (and other countries) which turned out to be predators just looking for their next prey. Although I normally enjoy action packed, thriller/suspense novels, this book had me captivated from beginning to end. I also want to be clear about it, the cover has angle wings on it and uses the word 'angel' in the title but it is not a religious story. It is a fiction (based on some facts) about a microfinance companies, murder, suicide, corruption, greed, and Robert (Bob) Bradlee who is the main character and a senior economics correspondent with The New York Post.

The author did a wonderful description for the book that you can read yourself so I won't recap the story but to say there is so much more than even he tells you. As I read it, I could see where it was going on many occasions but there are definitely some surprises. For one thing, it is very detailed but not overpowering where I was lost in all the details. I also loved hearing the 'victims' side in the first person narration which really pulled at my heartstrings so much more than just knowing that their were many victims and what happened to them. What was most surprising is how hard it was to remember it is fiction and how it emotionally involved me by my feeling everything from pure sadness to being angry at how unfair it was and no one was (or should be) above the law no matter how rich or how much money they contributed.

There are many characters in the story as it involves companies and people from around the globe but all their information is told very clearly in the story of who they are and how they fit in. Many times, that is all that is told so their is no connection with them however the main and secondary characters are more developed. I liked the main character, Bob and was rooting for him but I was surprised I emotionally connected to the victims.

I thought the book was totally believable and so were the characters. I did notice a couple of errors in spacing between words which really didn't take away from the story. There was no explicit sex, deaths, or foul language. I thought it was an excellent book and recommend it to anyone who enjoys corruption/crime stories.

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May 20, 2015

Book 12 of 2015

Dark Shadow of BabylonDark Shadow of Babylon by Julian Speed
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

If the cover of the 'Dark Shadow of Babylon' by Julian Speed doesn't give you the creeps and scream horror, paranormal, and suspense, I know the book will. In fact, I wasn't expecting near as much as this book provides but since it is a rather long book (approx. 404 pages) I was pleased every page was just as unnerving to me as the last one. Between the suspense and fear I was able to keep turning page after page and read on, enjoying the action, death, and so much more.

Not all the characters in the book are human (at least not any longer) so it is hard to actually say how believable or realistic they are however I did enjoy all the characters. They were developed nicely and didn't leave me in the dark about which were human and which weren't. I liked that all the characters made sense and they were not just random characters in the book but followed the plot and a legend or myth known which is what explained their presence. Each had their own distinct personality or existence and the characters varied from terrifying to amusing.

The opening of the book is in 61AD during the Roman Invasion although the majority of the book takes place in modern day (2012) in West Virginia. The author wrote a great description of the book so you can read that for yourself. I feel there is no need for me to recap it but there is one thing I want to touch on about what the author wrote in his description. He wrote, "Dark Shadow of Babylon is a horror/paranormal novel with light elements of suspense." While I do agree compared to the paranormal/horror of the story , the suspense is less dominate but I personally think he is too modest and downplayed the suspense. By the very nature of his writing, suspense is projected in the sentences. A perfect example is, "They looked at each other with worrisome expressions and said not a word. The screams on the circus grounds had ceased and silence seemed to be the only thing that kept them company as they nervously looked around expecting something to jump out at them at any minute." The whole novel is encrusted with this building type of suspense as well.

I thought this novel was great and I would strongly recommend this book to anyone who loves paranormal, horror, and suspense.

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May 12, 2015

Book 11 of 2015

Break Free: To Reboot With Confidence, Playfulness and AdaptibilityBreak Free: To Reboot With Confidence, Playfulness and Adaptibility by Robert Lewis
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Just as the cover describes, Break Free by Robert E. Lewis is a self-help type book that explains how to escape the controlling conditions and dependencies we have grown dependent on during our lives. Since we were little children we were raised to be 'conditioned' to fit into a society where free thinking and expression seems to be frowned upon. In other words, you behave, go to school, graduate, get a job, get a house, have a family, grow old and die. That is our lives in a nut shell. The more money you make, the better. You can have a bigger house, fancy car, send your kids to the best schools (so the cycle repeats for them) and uphold a significant spot in socials and society. After all, value is placed on the wants and needs of those who hold the bigger bank accounts, more so than the average person. (We see this everyday in politics.) Happiness, explorations, discoveries, worry free environments, those were all things of childhood that we must leave behind, or do we?

As a child we would sit at the beach with our pail and shovel and dig a hole in the sand filling our pail. Then we discovered that if we got that sand wet, when we dumped it out it remained in the shape of the pail. We built sandcastles, seashells found on the beach became windows, doors, or fancy decorations, seaweed was a garden or sea monster on the attach. There were no worries, there were no right and wrong, there was only fun, imagination, and discovery. We didn't worry about anything, not even the approaching high tide. We were living in the here and now, not the past nor were we worried about the future. Sure, we learned from our mistakes but that was the beauty of it. We learned the next time we go to the beach to build our sandcastle a little further up the beach so when the tide does come in, our castle isn't washed away before we were ready for it to be but this 'discovery' was through fun and play. It was stress-free and it wasn't even the fact that the sandcastle would be washed away (or knocked down) but the real fun was right there playing in the 'now'. In other words, through life the destination isn't what is important, it is the journey to get there.

The book explains this and how material things don't matter, in fact, in some cases they just tie you down. They don't only anchor you physically but mentally as well. As the book states it, "Consumership has replaced citizenship, the measure of life has been reduced to a standard of living, a calculation of consumption and ownership." It is not saying you shouldn't own anything as we all need a place to live and usually a car to drive to work but what it is saying is that we as a society are no longer measured by our abilities, differences, contributions of our minds or work, we are being measured by how much money we earn or spend and characterized into 'classes' where the upper-class is the one on top and naturally the lower-class is on the bottom. If a lower-class citizen makes some discovery, invents some amazing machine, or writes a best-seller, simply by the class that they are in, they will have a much harder time than if they were in the upper-class for the simple reason that upper-class owns and consumes more so they are held on a higher tier, they are taken more serious. They are the place the lower and middle classes should strive to go.

We think we don't have a choice but have to live like this. We have to live in society so need to abide by the rules but we do not have to live by the conditioning or restraints that society put on us. We can 'refresh, reboot, and reprogram' our lives to once again 'live in the here and now' and the book explains how to do this. Again, it isn't saying we don't have responsibilities or need to forget all about saving for a retirement but what it is saying is that life should be like 'playing' as a child: imagination, discovery, stress-free. There was no wrong way to make the sandcastle. If I wanted a door on the top of it and put it there, so what! I wasn't bound by some rule that said I couldn't, I wasn't going to get a spanking, or grounded. My future wasn't going to be ruined nor was it hurting anyone. I could put the door where ever I wanted and I was happy with that. It is only when someone came to me and said that the door don't belong there because it looks stupid and serves no purpose since there are no stairs and you can't get to it that I was restricted in my play because someone was trying to put conditions on it. They were trying to 'limit' my imagination. However, I was playing in the 'here and now' and still using my imagination so I said it wasn't to go in, it was so once inside I can throw things out! This is what the book is getting at, throw out all these negatives in our lives, all the conditioning, limits, and classifications that were instilled in us since small children and just learn to 'play' again.

The book goes pretty in depth about how through time and by so many ways we lost our ability to 'play' and how to undo this 'conditioning and conformity' demands that were put on us so we can become the imaginative, empowering individuals we once were. How to deal with egos and the importance of keeping journals. There is a lot of truth in the book, careful observation by the author, and even quotes from famous people that stress the point the book is trying to make. While I found it all interesting, the chapter I really found most interesting was the "Exercising The Brain To Get In Mental Shape." It is full of great advise whether you want to do anything else in the book or not. This chapter alone will make your life a much happier, peaceful, and rewarding experience.

I did find a typo and format errors but nothing that is extremely distracting from this book and recommend it to everyone, old and young alike. Even parents and expecting parents can find useful information and perhaps insight on how to not restrict the power of 'play'. I know I will always remember the one statement, "Replace your ego-driven life dramas with selfless interactions" which are great words to live by.

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May 4, 2015

Book 10 of 2015

The Southern California Dental Patient Guidebook; Perfect Crowns and SmilesThe Southern California Dental Patient Guidebook; Perfect Crowns and Smiles by Dr. Steven J. Sutherland
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

To start with I am a little confused with what the real title to this book is since the picture of the cover gives the title as "The Southern California Patient Guidebook Perfect Crowns and Smiles in One Day" by Steven J. Sutherland DDS but the title page gives the title as "The Southern California Patient Guide to Same Day Cosmetic Crowns." Personally I think it was originally the latter but was changed to the first one (only the title page wasn't changed) since it was much more fitting for this book. This book is way more than just a book about cosmetic crowns. It is a plug for Dr. Steven Sutherland's office, Torrance Dental Arts and tells what he has to offer but it is also fantastic information on dentistry and the new technology no matter where you live.

The book explains the importance of a good smile cosmetically speaking: appearance. It explains how we are judged as a person on our smile and although I want to say people are not this superficial and we are judged on our performance in the work place or our personality in social gatherings, there is no denying the fact that our smiles (or lack of) play a part in how we are perceived by others. Examples are given to support this statement which I have seen and heard some of these 'prejudices' myself.

Also what is explained, traditional dentistry being done today for crowns is messy and uncomfortable with the goop in your mouth needing to harden so impressions can be made which leads to imperfect fits and reducing the strength, and it is time consuming requiring multiple appointments spread over weeks, months or even a year. However there is a new process (Perfect Teeth in a Daytm) and material Cerec® (ceramic) that makes it 3x stronger than traditional porcelains that can be used so you can literally go to this dentist (or the handful of others that use it) and have your crowns and veneers done in a couple of hours so you can walk out of that one office appointment with your new smile.

The book explains a lot on the hows and whys and even goes into the importance of good teeth for your health. Some of the information I didn't know and some I did. However I didn't think the book went into this deep enough. Yes, we all want a smile to be proud of or at least to be able to smile without being self conscious about it as far as cosmetic reasons and the book explained this well but the fact that your teeth play such an important role in your overall health was just too brief. I especially say this about the part it mentions Temporal-mandibular-joint-dysfunction (TMJD) where it is only referred to as your jaw clicks. It is far wider and much more severe than just a 'click' when you open and shut your mouth. I know this from personal experience where I had to have an operation on my jaw on one side (because the joint on that side 'locked' my mouth shut) when I was young and I continue to have 'flare ups' of the other side (side not operated on) as recently as last year. A flare up consists of the most severe pain you can imagine. It isn't just confined to the area of your joint either. Every tooth on that side, both top and bottom ached, the pain went across my face to the joint area which hurt and gave me a very painful earache but didn't limit to that area either. It went up to my temple giving me a severe headache and down my face on that side into my neck and shoulder area. I don't mean this was a little pain either, it was the worse pain I have ever felt. It was sharp and made labor and natural childbirth feel like a vacation. All I could do is lay in bed and cry. Don't open your mouth, don't lift your head. The pain so so intense it even made me sick to my stomach. Eating and functioning in everyday life was not an option and nothing took this pain away except time, anti-inflammatory (not pain medicine, they did nothing), and a heating pad. (I know one would think ice but heat was all that worked to help lessen it). I went to several Dr. (with barf bag and heating pad) and specialists that cost over $2,000 which insurance does not pay for TMJD for some reason and I was told no dental insurance pays for it. So the importance of a proper bite is a bit under explained both physically and financially in the book.

What is explained well is this is not just a cosmetic dentist since they do everything and take everything into consideration. They make sure your bite is good, your teeth go well with your jaw and facial structure, just to name a few. They do the cosmetic work but they also do root canals, tooth extractions, cleanings, etc. They are a dentist that you can go to and have your root canal and crown done in one visit and the same day.

I just want to add I had a root canal done the day after I started this book and I'm still waiting for my appointment to get a crown with a different dentist. I hate having to go to one dentist for a cleaning and checkup then when something hurts, I make an appointment and go back to him for him to say that I need a root canal so he gives me a referral to another dentist. I have to make an appointment with the other dentist and wait a few days or week (in pain) and go to that appointment only to get that part done and be referred to yet another dentist for the crown. I still didn't find the dentist to do the crown! So for one tooth I already had 3 appointments: my regular dentist, then two appointments for the root canal since the first time it hurt so bad even with the maximum amount of Novocaine they still couldn't even touch the tooth so I had to take antibiotics for 3 days and again still in pain this whole time and go back, and to top that all off I need another 2 or 3 for the crown to be made. The financial cost of this is outrageous since now I need to consider the time missed from work for all these appointments. Although this was mentioned in the book, I just wanted to confirm that I know through personal experience it is true.

Lastly, I felt the ending was incomplete. The information is great, don't get me wrong but it just stops abruptly. This would be the perfect spot to add a line to conclude the book by 'plugging' Steven J. Sutherland's office one last time. Maybe something in the line of "Make your appointment today by calling Torrance Dental Arts at (xxx) xxx-xxxx."

*I received a free copy of this book for my honest review.

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April 29, 2015

Book 9 of 2015

Church of MartyrsChurch of Martyrs by Pete Fusco
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The church pictured on the cover of "Church of Martyrs" by Pete Fusco looks innocent enough. It looks like many churches you would see around a small rural town but within the walls is anything but innocence. The setting is actually in Cleveland and the church is closed but in the back of the church in the old convent is the Church of Martyrs Woman's Shelter which just opened and the director is an ex-priest.

When the La Mano di Cristo, a secret organization that is small but world wide, kills per orders of the Pope who lived hundreds of years before pay a visit to the Church of Martyrs things get real interesting really fast.The plot thickens with each turn of the page and as the characters develop. Each character is unique with their own personalities that rage from everything from dry humor to animated and bubbly. They are well rounded and believable for the most part. The reason I say this is that I am not sure what a real person would do if faced with these circumstances. Although I think I would do something different from what was done, I really don't know until I am in that position however I do imagine real people may react the same way the characters in the book did. I was able to connect with many of them to varying degree including one of these 'hit men' which of course at the beginning of the book he is the 'bad guy' so basically I wanted to hate him. The one I connected with the most was naturally the main character, Eddie Russo who is the ex-priest and director of the shelter.

The pace of the book is fast, the mystery and action are nonstop. Once one of the questions are answered and that mystery is solved, there are always another question that needs an answer and mystery to solve but it always followed a logical direction and never strayed from this. I would say this is a fast and steady pace book because even in the slower part of it (usually when a new character is introduced) it really doesn't slow down all that much. At no point would I say it stalled or was boring in any way especially with the twist that I didn't see coming at the end.

What I found delightful is that there were not any 'fillers' in the story. I can not think of even one point in the book where it went off in another direction or concentrated even a page on something that had nothing to do with the story. Mr. Fusco writes direct, meaningful, and effectively. It is what I would call a 'no nonsense' story where each and every page all go toward the goal of telling this story.

I thought I should mention that although the book's setting is in an old Catholic church and the main character is an ex-priest, this is not a religious book. In fact, someone without a sense of humor and deep into religion may even find this book offensive to the point of almost being irreligious. There is talk of popes, bishops, and about saints, so knowing what these are is helpful (the 'chain of command' for lack of a better definition, not that you have to know who the pope is, who the bishop is, or who any saints are) although even if you don't know, the author basically explains it so the story still is as enjoyable no matter what, if any, religion you are.

I really love the writing style of the Mr. Fusco and totally enjoyed this book.

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April 24, 2015

Book 8 of 2015

Always DreamingAlways Dreaming by David L. Rivinus
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

Always Dreaming by David Rivinus takes dreams and their interpretation a little bit farther by arguing the point that during our waking hours, we have 'waking dreams' and they too are significant and are meant to instruct us once we learn how to interpret them. He shows examples and explains his five-step technique on how to do just that.

Although his interpretation of 'sleeping dreams' are pretty well the standard that have been discussed in countless books that I have read saying they shouldn't be taking literal and are symbols, I had a problem with this book when I realized he wasn't talking about 'day dreams' as being 'waking dreams'. I am sure everyone has had a day dream: they were wide awake and just fantasizing or thinking of something else/somewhere else. The author wasn't calling this the 'waking dream' he calls 'reality' the waking dream. The life we lead while we are awake.

One of his examples of a 'waking dream' is about a man who was leaving the store and started his car but before he even understood what was going on, the car went forward across the small parking lot, crashed through a retaining wall, and ended up broadside across the middle of the street. The author called this a 'waking dream' and went on about interpreting it page after page. This is what I call 'reality' and has nothing to do with anything the man is thinking or what is bothering him in his life. It is due to the fact, just as the mechanic said, the computer that regulated the cruise control wasn't working properly.

Another problem I had is that each person is suppose to 'own' the metaphors. In other words, if someone including one of your co-workers are mean to you, it is a metaphor for something else and you are the one responsible for it. Until you change and address this so called 'waking dream' then it won't go away and will be a re-accruing 'waking dream'. Since when is one person 'responsible' for another person's action? So if you were raped, beaten, or robbed, it is your fault because you didn't pay attention and own your so called 'waking dream' and make changes in your life is simply preposterous that I can't even begin to explain why I totally disagree with it.

Although the author doesn't go so far as to say everything in reality/life when we are awake is a 'waking dream', it does go so far where one gets the impression that not much of life is reality and we either are in a near constant dream state since so much can be interpreted as a 'waking dream'. It is like he is saying if you drop your morning cup for coffee on the floor and it shatters, then you are unhappy in life and feel it is overwhelming and you are being pulled in random pieces. If you wash your clothes, fold, them and realize that there is a wrinkle in them that is stubborn and won't come out then you have a rift in your life and are having marital problems with your spouse that needs to be addressed. If you see the car in front of you crash and are caught in the traffic on your way to work then your life is a disaster and although you choose the road to travel you feel there are obstacles that need to be addressed so you can reach your destination. To me, almost anything in life can be interpreted as his 'waking dream'.

I really did not care for this book or agree with author's concept of 'waking dreams'. Maybe he is 'Always Dreaming' but I am still living in reality.

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* Note: I just want to clarify that this author does write clear, explains himself with examples that are easy to understand, so don't think this low review is because he is an careless/bad writer, He is a good writer but I just don't agree with or care for the subject.