Saturday, March 30, 2013


I cannot tell you have liberating it feels not to have to worry about reviewing books on a schedule. Beyond the Valley by Rita Gerlach is my last scheduled book review until the end of April, when I review two poetry books by Patricia Neely-Dorsey. After that, I only have Harkness by Michael Bigham to review on May 23rd. The rest of the year my plan is to review books already in my possession. My goal is to be able to open The Book Connection up for new review requests in November or at least by the end of the year.

That doesn't mean things will get boring around here. I need to update my Upcoming Events page, but it is fairly full for the next couple of months. And I'll be working on the 2013 Catch Up Reading Challenge, which means I'll be reviewing books from my TBR pile--and there are tons of them. Check out this post if you want to see some of them.

The past six years, I haven't had a ton of time to read solely for pleasure. I've almost always had books to review for book tours. I'm glad I decided to slow down a bit.

My other blogs will be busy. At The Busy Mom's Daily, I'm participating in the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge. My Christian book blog, Cheryl's Christian Book Connection, is now part of the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance, so it is updated a minimum of twice a week. I'll be reviewing, Last Chance for Justice by Kathi Macias there in May. I'm still hosting authors at The Children's and Teens' Book Connection. I review books there from time to time, in addition hosting authors. Though I don't talk about this blog a lot, I have a spicy romance blog that I update from time to time. There is a publisher whose books I promote there and I host the occasional book tour.

Thank you for your loyal readership. I hope you continue to enjoy all I have to offer at my blogs.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Book Review: Beyond the Valley by Rita Gerlach

When Sarah Carr's husband, Jamie, drowns, she is left pregnant and alone. She travels to her only remaining family, a brother- and sister-in-law. Instead of help, her brother-in-law plots to have her kidnapped and sent to the Colonies as an indentured servant. Though she doesn't know why God has sent this trial to her, she trusts he will bring her through.

While a servant for Mr. and Mrs. Woodhouse, Sarah meets Dr. Alex Hutton. Though they are attracted to each other, Sarah realizes she is a lowborn woman with no claims to such an honorable, well-bred man. New threats separate Sarah and Alex, but her strong faith comforts her. If she is ever reunited with Alex, will she dare to take a chance on love?

This is the second book in the Daughters of the Potomac series I've read. Gerlach opens Beyond the Valley in the middle of the action and is able to maintain the readers interest with continued conflict along the way. She draws on Sarah's fears of uncertainty, tempered by her strong faith in God. What the reader finds in Sarah, however, is a reactive character instead of one who takes charge of her future. A damsel in distress type of story is fine, but it is definitely a different flavor of female lead than one found in Darcy, the female lead from Gerlach's second book in this series, Beside Two Rivers. If a reader was expecting Sarah to be as as fiery as her red hair based upon an earlier book, they would be disappointed.

I also couldn't get away from the feeling that all the conflict Sarah incurs is simply a way to move the plot forward. It served little purpose because Sarah's faith doesn't waver; she is the one who denies herself a relationship with Alex because of their different social classes; and for the most part, she isn't instrumental in changing her circumstances at all. There is little or no growth for the character, so the tragedies she is subjected to at the hands of others do little to make her sympathetic because you simply want to shake her and tell her to do something for herself.

That said, it's important to realize people's personalities are different. Some put their faith in God and allow him to figure out the details. A reader who has a similar personality might find this type of character refreshing instead of a take charge type of female lead who has faith in God but also believes she is in control of her own destiny. Any reader will also find much to like in the handsome Dr. Alex Hutton, whose kindness adds a wonderful element to this story.

Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: Abingdon Press (February 1, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1426714165
ISBN-13: 978-1426714160

I received a copy of this book from the publisher via Pump Up Your Book Virtual Book Tours. This review contains my honest opinions, for which I have not been compensated in any way.

Guest Blogger: Mary Hart Perry, Author of Seducing the Princess


Mary Hart Perry’s acclaimed series of romantic Victorian thrillers continues with Seducing the Princess, inspired by the life of Queen Victoria’s youngest daughter Beatrice. Painfully shy and lonely, convinced she is unattractive and unloved, the dutiful Princess Beatrice finally accepts that she will never marry and vows to devote herself to the queen in Victoria's waning years. In fact, her mother has secretly discouraged suitors for Beatrice’s hand. Just when Beatrice has all but given up on love and happiness, she meets Henry Battenberg, a dashing nobleman from the Continent who matches wits with the aging Victoria and risks his life and liberty to woo Bea.

But Henry isn't the only man interested in being welcomed into Beatrice's bed. The timid princess has become the target of a cruel plot hatched by her nephew, the madman destined to become the last Emperor of Germany. Wilhelm II sends a ruthless agent, a charming Scot, to seduce the naive princess and spy on the queen. How can the sheltered princess hope to fend off a man capable of murder, and perhaps worse, to get what he wants? But Beatrice is not without her own allies--her older sister Louise and Louise's American soldier-of-fortune and lover, Stephen Byrne. Will Beatrice discover which of the two men pursuing her she can trust, before it's too late? Drama, romance and peril chase the royal family from Buckingham Palace to a storm besieged castle on the Isle of Wight.

Connections by Mary Hart Perry

I was thrilled to learn I'd been invited to post a guest blog on The Book Connection. What a great service you perform for readers. And you know what? It is "the cutest blog on the block"! ;-)

I've been thinking about connections lately. Yes, we all connect through the books we read, recommend to others, and discuss. But people connect in other ways that writers have long recognized, and use to draw an audience for their stories. I'm talking about our shared emotions and needs.

Because you, I, and everyone who reads this has strong feelings about certain subjects, we sympathize with each other when one of our children is hurt, when someone loses a job, nature ravages our homes...or anything else bad happens to one of us. We also feel happy when we hear good news about someone else and we see them smiling, laughing, celebrating. We care about each other, partly because we imagine what it would be like if that same "thing" happened to us.

That's why writers who are particularly good at showing their characters in a state of emotional turmoil tend to attract a lot of readers. When the hero or heroine suffers, we hurt too. When a character we've bonded with seizes victory, we cheer for their success.

These are some of the elements that I work at hardest in my own fiction. When I write about a son or daughter of Queen Victoria, in the 19th century, struggling to protect the queen, win the heart of their beloved, or foil a villainous scheme--I want the reader to feel such a close affinity to that character that he/she understands what it was like to actually be that character.

And isn't that part of the joy of reading? We escape into another person's life for a short while. We experience many things we couldn't from our own home, or in our own time or country. So I invite you to read books that truly transport you. There are a lot of great stories out there, and lot of wonderful writers to fill your mind and heart with their paper people. I'll be honored if you drop by to say "hi", or let me know that one of my stories has transported you in a special way. Happy reading! Mary Hart Perry

Kathryn Johnson lives in the Washington, DC area with her husband and two feline writing partners, Tempest and Miranda. The author of over 40 novels, she's written under her own name and a variety of pen names, including Mary Hart Perry, Kathryn Jensen, KM Kimball and Nicole Davidson. She also teaches fiction-writing workshops for the renowned Writer's Center in Bethesda, Maryland. And, in 2008, she founded Write by You (, to coach other writers interested in reaching publication. She has been nominated for the prestigious Agatha Christie Award, and won the Heart of Excellence and Bookseller's Best Awards (sponsored by the Romance Writers of America) in 2011.

Her works in progress include a series of Victorian thrillers inspired by the lives of Queen Victoria's five daughters. The first novel, The Wild Princess, focuses on Princess Louise, who desperately wanted an education as a professional artist, at a time when women were not admitted into art schools. Her personal life becomes complicated when she uncovers a secret about her husband and must help protect her mother from an assassination attempt. The second book of the series,Seducing the Princess, launches April 2, 2013, and features Victoria’s youngest daughter Beatrice. Painfully shy and lonely, the dutiful Princess has promised never to marry and to devote herself to the queen in Victoria's waning years. Just when she has all but given up on love and happiness, she meets Henry Battenberg, a dashing nobleman from the Continent who risks his life and liberty to woo Bea and save both his beloved and the queen from a cruel plot. A third novel, to be published later in 2013, will star Crown Princess Vicky.



Please "like" Mary Hart Perry (Here's the short link):

Also find me on FB:

Twitter: @Mary_Hart_Perry and @KathrynKJohnson

Goodreads: Come find me as Mary Hart Perry



Contact me: or


Suggest to readers to go to Goodreads and mark it as “Want to Read”

This is a link through Ganxy, which updates as places to buy the book become available.

See Ganxy instructions for link to sell copies on various sites. This is the sale link:

This html contains the book cover, blurb and any available buy links."; data-width="600" data-style="bare">"Seducing the Princess" by Diversion Books on Ganxy

FACE BOOK EVENT Running March 31st to April 4th With an all day hoopla on April 2nd to celebrate the release of “Seducing the Princess”

Join Mary Hart Perry and Vickie Ann in celebrating the launch of Seducing the Princess. Mary Hart Perry will be doing random giveaways at this event, so keep an eye out for prizes and help spread the word!!!

Don't miss the fun! Invite your friends to join in! And ask Vickie how to get Seducing the Princess for free in exchange for an honest review on Amazon.

Need to catch up? The Wild Princess: A Novel of Queen Victoria's Defiant Daughter Amazon.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Guest Blogger: Pat McDermott, Author of The Band of Roses Trilogy

The Band of Roses Trilogy is a series of romantic action/adventure fantasies set in an Ireland that might have been. The "what if" premise supposes that High King Brian Boru survived the Battle of Clontarf in 1014 A.D. and established a royal dynasty that still rules the Emerald Isle. As head of state, the current King Brian upholds ancient traditions, as does his daughter, Crown Princess Talty, though Talty has a knack for landing in trouble.

Where did the idea for these books come from? Thank to my Irish-American family, my childhood vision of Ireland was one of magic, legends, banshees and leprechauns, rebels, heroes, and ancient kings, especially Brian Boru. My O’Brien aunts assured me our family was royal, as Brian had given his name to all the O’Briens. I didn’t really believe it, but curiosity led me to learn more about Irish history. I found more than one comment stating that if King Brian had survived the Battle of Clontarf, Ireland would be a very different place today.

In The Story of Ireland, published in 1894, historian Standish O’Grady wrote:

If Ireland had been left to herself, a King of Ireland and a Royal Family of Ireland would have come up…just as out of…the Saxon nations of England the King of the English at last appeared.

I began to wonder… What if Ireland had been left to herself? What if Brian Boru had survived? And then the fun began.

In A Band of Roses, Book One in the Band of Roses trilogy, Crown Princess Talty must hide her identity to outwit assassins, but she can't hide her ingrained training as a warrior sworn to protect her homeland. From Japan to California to an eleventh century Ireland, she finds romance and adventure, yet all she wants is to return to her family and Neil Boru, the adoptive cousin she secretly loves and cannot have—or so she thinks.

In Book Two, Fiery Roses, the discovery of offshore gas ensnares the Boru clan in a web of blackmail and murder. When the residents of rural County Mayo object to pipelines on their land, an arsonist tries to change their minds. One of his fires sends newlyweds Talty and Neil to an ancient world at the mercy of a waking volcano. As they fight to survive, King Brian locks horns with ruthless oilmen. The resulting conflict proves fatal for the Boru clan, whose members again close ranks to guard the kingdom they’re sworn to protect.

Book Three, Salty Roses, finds Talty a wife and a mother at last. The dynamic princess believes her days of adventure are over. Her royal duties seem endless, and a day off with Neil is looking good. The royal couple accept an invitation for a jaunt aboard a luxury submarine. As they view an eerie shipwreck, an unknown enemy lures them to an ancient tomb and sends them to a world infested with treacherous pirates. Talty takes charge of a pirate ship and its mangy crew, while Neil matches wits with a temptress who jeopardizes his wedding vows.

In this excerpt from Book One, A Band of Roses, Talty’s life is about to change forever:

The Irish Constitution mandated that the king’s heir must be ready to accede the throne on his or her eighteenth birthday. Talty was already twenty and doubted she’d ever be ready. She had so much to learn! Still, an Air Corps Dauphin flew her from the LÉ Alastrina to Tara Hall’s helipad each Saturday morning to meet with her father for a review of the week’s events. His request for a midweek meeting worried her.

Praying that the dark blue of her navy uniform hid the wrinkles in her skirt, Talty smoothed her pinned-up hair and stepped from the private elevator to Tara Hall’s fourth floor. The rapid click of her regulation military heels echoed down the corridor leading to the King’s Chambers.

Though she’d told no one, Talty hated being Crown Princess. The prospect of spending her life preparing for her beloved father’s death depressed her. She wouldn’t have to worry about that for years, however. Silver might speckle King Brian’s russet hair, but he was only fifty, and still strong and healthy.

She hurried past the reception area, where her father’s no-nonsense assistant rose from her desk and opened the carved oak door bearing the royal lion of the Boru clan. With a nod of thanks, Talty stepped into her father’s chambers.

Boston, Massachusetts native Pat McDermott writes romantic action/adventure stories set in an Ireland that might have been. Autumn Glimmer, a young adult paranormal adventure featuring Ireland’s fairies, is the sequel to Glancing Through the Glimmer. Both books are “prequels” to her Band of Roses Trilogy.

Pat is a member of the New Hampshire Writers’ Project, Romance Writers of America, and Celtic Hearts Romance Writers. She lives and writes in New Hampshire, USA.

For more information:

Pat’s Website:
Pat’s Amazon Author Page

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Interview with S. S. Hampton, Sr., Author of Better Than A Rabbit's Foot

SS Hampton, Sr. is a full-blood Choctaw of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, a divorced grandfather to 13 wonderful grandchildren, a published photographer and photojournalist, and a member of the Military Writers Society of America. He is a serving member of the Army National Guard with the rank of staff sergeant. He served in the active duty Army (1974-1985), the Army Individual Ready Reserve (1985-1995) (mobilized for the Persian Gulf War), and enlisted in the Army National Guard in October 2004; he was mobilized for Federal active duty for almost three years after his enlistment. He is a veteran of Operations Noble Eagle (2004-2006) and Iraqi Freedom (2006-2007). His writings have appeared as stand-alone stories and in anthologies from Dark Opus Press, Edge Science Fiction & Fantasy, Melange Books, Musa Publishing, MuseItUp Publishing, Ravenous Romance, and as stand-alone stories in Horror Bound Magazine, Ruthie’s Club, Lucrezia Magazine, The Harrow, and River Walk Journal, among others. He is an aspiring painter and is studying for a degree in photography and anthropology—hopefully to someday work in underwater archaeology. After 12 years of brown desert in the Southwest and overseas, he misses the Rocky Mountains, yellow aspens in the fall, running rivers, and a warm fireplace during snowy winters. As of December 2011, in Las Vegas, Nevada, Hampton officially became a homeless Iraq War veteran.

Hampton’s Amazon Author Page can be found at:

When did you begin writing?

I began writing when I was about 15 years old.

Do you write during the day, at night or whenever you can sneak a few moments?

I am unemployed and I attend college. Therefore I am generally free to write whenever I feel like it. I tend to favor late afternoon going into the early evening, or late at night going into the early morning.

What is this book about?

“Better Than a Rabbit’s Foot” is about a young soldier providing security for supply convoys headed into Iraq. He is preparing for a mission when word reaches his camp that a gun truck gunner in his company has been killed by an IED. This sets him to wondering about good luck charms; he doesn’t have one and he’s not even sure what a good luck charm for him would be. Fortunately, the answer is soon provided.

What inspired you to write it?

I serve in the Army National Guard and deployed to a convoy support center a mile south of the Iraqi border in 2006-2007. Every day our soldiers headed north for an overnight or up to 2-week long missions. Many of our soldiers experienced IEDs or fought gun battles with the insurgents. There were casualties. Just about every soldier I knew had a good luck charm of some type. Next to good luck charms, the knowledge that a wife or girlfriend was waiting for the soldier to come back home was critically important. And so the story began… I never thought of it as a good luck charm, but during my deployment I wore a Celtic Cross on my “dog tag” chain—you know, dog tags are identification tags that carry basic information such as your name, blood type, religion, etc. I only went north three times on short missions, and nothing happened.

If you knew then, what you know now, is there anything you would have done differently?

Yes! As soon as I started writing I should have developed a marketing/public relations plan. Getting published, whether by an e-magazine or e-publisher, is only part of the entire process. You have to get your name out there. Establish your own blog or do numerous guest postings on other people’s blogs—every blog has its own particular readership. Create Author Pages on and Goodreads and wherever else you can. If your writing is in print, get copies and find venues in which to hold book signings. Decide on affordable SWAG that you can hand out at book signings. Work hard to establish your presence. Be patient, and sooner or later you and your readership will find each other.

Where can readers purchase a copy of your book?

MuseItUp Publishing –; look for my name under Authors. “Better Than a Rabbit’s Foot” is also available on

What is up next for you?

Several novellas—I have always focused on short stories but I recently discovered that novellas seem better suited for me. I am currently working on a novella about a haunted German Tiger tank in North Africa during World War II. I am also working on a contemporary novella about a Kansas farm couple whose 18-year old daughters have left for college. What these sensible pillars of the community get into now that the kids have flown the nest, well…

Is there anything you would like to add?

To the readers, I hope you enjoy “Better Than a Rabbit’s Foot” and that you think it was worth your time. And to you, thank you for having me on your blog today.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Catching Up on Reading

Yesterday, I went to place my cordless phone on its base and not only toppled the base and handset over the side of the bookshelf in my office, but tripped over the large pile of books on the floor. Two years ago, life began to get crazy. I took on more review requests than I could handle. Even as I saw the TBR pile becoming an insurmountable task, I kept saying yes. I know how hard it is to get word out there about your book. Free e-books and self-publishing have made it even more challenging. And honestly, saying no never has been one of my strong suits.

When reviewing books became more of a duty than a pleasure, I decided it had to stop. That's why I've been closed to anything other than reviewing first chapters of books for over a year now. I simply have to catch up. After next month, my gift to me is to start working through my electronic and printed TBR pile. I'm even participating in the 2013 Catch Up Reading Challenge sponsored by Books, Bones and Buffy.

Here are some titles I look forward on catching up with. Those in bold are the ones I wish to tackle first, since they are reviews I owe to people. 

  • Brotherhood by Jerry Jenkins
  • The Queen’s Vow by C. W. Gortner
  • Help! For Writers by Roy Peter Clark
  • The Kensei by Jon F. Merz
  • Love Your Husband Love Yourself by Jennifer Flanders
  • Dead Reckoning by Caitlin Rother
  • Becoming Marie Antoinette by Juliet Grey
  • Natural Treatment Solutions for Hyperthyroidism and Graves’ Disease by Eric M. Osanksy
  • The Third by Abel Keogh
  • Zero Day by Mark Russinovich
  • Water to My Soul: The Story of Eliza Lucas Pinckney by Pamela Bauer Mueller
  • The Map Across Time by C.S. Lakin
  • Miracle Play by Lynn McMonigal
  • Forsaking the Call by Lynn McMonigal
  • The Ladies of Faith by Lynn McMonigal
  • Mama’s Comfort Food by Rhett DeVane
  • Blood: The New Red by David S. Grant
  • Anasazi Intrigue by Linda Weaver Clarke
  • Mayan Intrigue by Linda Weaver Clarke
  • Montezuma Intrigue by Linda Weaver Clarke
  • Desert Intrigue by Linda Weaver Clarke
  • For the Birds by Aaron Paul Lazar
  • FireSong by Aaron Paul Lazar
  • Resonances by Mary Andrews
  • Rose of the Adriatic by K. M. Daughters
  • The Second Republic: Trapdoor by Steven Bradley Clarke
  • The Covert Element by John L. Betcher
  • Fur Ball Fever by Maureen Fisher
  • Fire Men by Gary R. Ryman
  • The Pull of Gravity by Brett Battles
  • Angels Don’t Die by Soren Petrek
  • Patience by Soren Petrek
  • Snow Burn by Joel Arnold
  • Dominic by Hazel Statham
  • A Dream Unfolding by Karen Baney
  • A Heart Renewed by Karen Baney
  • A Wedding to Die For by Heather Haven
  • Alone by Lisa Gardner
  • American Lion by Jon Meachum
  • Asking for Murder by Roberta Isleib
  • Assumption of Right by Annabel Aidan
  • Cabal of the Westford Knight by David S. Brody
  • Calling the Dead by Marilyn Meredith
  • Chasing Lincoln's Killer by James Swanson
  • Dancy's Woman by Lori Copeland
  • Daughter of Liberty by J.M. Hochstetler
  • Dead Man's Gambit by Frank Scully
  • Deadly Omen by Marilyn Meredith
  • Deadly Trail by Marilyn Meredith
  • DeadMistress by Carole Shmurak
  • Exiles on Main Street by Lisa Kleinholz
  • George Washington Stepped Here by K. D. Hays
  • Godchild by Vincent Zandri
  • Here's the Story by Maureen McCormick
  • Hide by Lisa Gardner
  • Intervention by Marilyn Meredith
  • Lilly's Wedding Quilt by Kelly Long
  • Little Girl Gone by Brett Battles
  • Little Mountain by Bob Sanchez
  • Lost and Found by Jacqueline Sheehan
  • Mother's Day Murder by Leslie Meier
  • Native Son by J. M. Hochstetler
  • Never without Hope by Michelle Sutton
  • Obsession by Sally Royer Derr
  • One Simple Act by Debbie Macomber
  • Outside the Ordinary World by Dori Ostermiller
  • Possession by Rene Gutteridge
  • Preaching to the Corpse by Roberta Isleib
  • Property by Valerie Martin
  • Rabbit: Chasing Beth Rider by Ellen C. Maze
  • Red Dust by Fleur McDonald
  • Rhett Butler's People by Donald McCaig
  • Silenced Cry by Marta Stephens
  • Starting Over by Laura Rittenhouse
  • Texas Roads by Cathy Bryant
  • The Case of the Mystified M.D. by A.K. Arenz
  • The Choice by Suzanne Woods Fisher
  • The Confession by Beverly Lewis
  • The Fairy Tale Bride by Kelly McClymer
  • The Fire in Ember by DiAnn Mills
  • The Fisherman's Wife by Dianne Sagan
  • The Postmistress by Sarah Blake
  • The Reckoning by Beverly Lewis
  • The Remains by Vincent Zandri
  • The Shunning by Beverly Lewis
  • The Spies of Warsaw by Alan Faust
  • Uncertain Ground by Carolyn Osborn
  • Unequally Yoked by Marilyn Meredith
  • Valeria's Cross by Kathi Macias and Susan Wales
  • Walking through Walls by Karen Coiffi-Ventrice
  • When Pigs Fly by Bob Sanchez
  • Why I Left the Amish by Saloma Furlong
  • Wing Beat by Marilyn Meredith
  • Devil's Hand by M.E. Patterson
  • The Chosen by Andrea Buginsky
  • Children of the Fog by Cheryl Kaye Tardiff
  • The Next Best Bride by Kelly McClymer
  • The Moses Quilt by Kathi Macias
  • American Patriots by Rick Santorum
  • A Step in the Writer Direction by Donna Clark Goodrich
  • Lonestar Angel by Colleen Coble
  • What Did Jesus Say by Rev. Terry Allan Christian
What is a book sitting in your TBR pile that you would like to tackle this year?

Monday, March 25, 2013

Interview with Gordon Rothwell, Author of The Seventh Bull

Gordon Rothwell was born in Seattle and got a BA in Journalism from the University of Washington. As an advertising copywriter—one of the original Mad Men— he wrote material for over 100 major firms in California, including PR for the Apollo lunar space program. He received numerous awards including a CLIO (the Oscar of advertising).

He’s also a sportswriter and screenwriter, and many of his screenplays have won and been finalists in the Motion Picture Academy's Nicholl, Acclaim, Chesterfield, Hollywood Symposium, and FADE IN competitions. He’s published articles and stories in numerous men's magazines as well as youth-oriented publications like BOY’S LIFE.

He enjoys the fanciful and macabre on screen and in books. Gordon now lives in the shadow of Mt. Shasta, surrounded by a loving family and one sweet pit bull named “Dreamer.”

Twitter: Gordon_Rothwell
Amazon: Author’s Page
Facebook: Gordon Rothwell
LinkedIn: Gordon Rothwell

Where did you grow up?

I grew up in the 1930’s and ‘40’s in Seattle, Washington. It is a pleasant place to live---surrounded by ocean and majestic mountains, with plentiful lakes in town to enjoy. I loved sports, primarily basketball. And since those were the days before television, I was an avid radio listener. I especially loved the adventure and thriller shows like ESCAPE, SUSPENSE, DIMENSION X, I LOVE A MYSTERY and LIGHTS OUT. And I went to the movies quite frequently, as it was 25 cents and all the popcorn you could eat. My favorites were also the more adventurous and thrilling stories. I read some books as a boy, but my friends and I felt we got more out of comic books and Big Little Books. My serious reading came later.

When did you begin writing?

I had done some writing for the school paper in high school. But it was mostly about student activities and sports events. It wasn’t until I entered the University of Washington that I was introduced to the world of books and writing. My professor in the School of Journalism, Robert Mansfield, encouraged me in his magazine article writing class to take a crack at researched non-fiction and stories. His wife, Katherine Mansfield, was a well-known magazine author who established an enviable record by having 13 of her stories published in The Saturday Evening Post in a single year. Nobody had ever done that before. She encouraged me as well. That led to serving as Sports Editor of the University Daily and a featured writer in The Columns, the school humor magazine.

What is this story about?

Once at the top of his journalistic game, Robert Dunne is now a drunken hanger-on following a highly acclaimed matador. Paco Garcia is known and revered on the circuit as "The Bullfighter Who Can't Be Killed." Dunne hopes to jumpstart his languishing career with a bestselling book revealing the mystery of Paco's phenomenal ability to escape "death in the afternoon." But circumstances take a macabre turn when the famous matador fires his beautiful manager---despite her dark warnings. Will Dunne heed the woman's threat of dire consequences---or is he prepared to give the Devil his due?

What inspired you to write it?

I suppose it all began when I went to see Tyrone Power in Blood and Sand in the early 1940’s. I was enthralled by the pageantry, colors, tradition and spectacle of one man standing up to a charging thousand pound bull with a tiny stick and a little square of red cloth. I was also influenced, too, by the writings of Ernest Hemingway in Death in the Afternoon. Over the years, I collected many boxes of magazine tear sheets and books on bullfighting. Sort of as a hobby. I saw my first bullfight in person in Barcelona, Spain, and another memorable one featuring the Number One Matador in the world at that time, Antonio Ordoñez, at the Plaza Monumental in Tijuana. I wrote two screenplays with bullfighting as a backdrop, Matadora and Even The Sea Must Die. Several producers and studios were interested for a while, but nobody could get financing, and everyone was afraid PETA would throw blood in their faces at the premiere. This story evolved from my lifelong observations of the world of bullfighting.

Who is your favorite character in the story?

None of my characters are very nice. I think I’d have to say the bullfighting world is the character that drives the story, and will fascinate the reader. It is a world of beauty mingled with danger and sudden death. It is a tragic ballet of man and beast with a predictable and horrific conclusion. It is a drama few can tear their eyes away from, or erase from their memory once they’ve seen its three acts performed.

Where can readers purchase a copy of your story?

At the MuseItUp bookstore. The link is:

What is one piece of advice you would like to share with aspiring authors everywhere?

I am an old man. I have been writing now for more years than I care to say. I have been lucky enough to have made my living writing in various forms. I have had a lot of disappointments and roadblocks. Teachers who said I had no talent. Relatives who thought me half-mad. A wife who thought I’d outgrow it. Bosses who scoffed and derided my dreams of being a writer. Agents and managers who turned away from me, or robbed me with expensive handling and critique fees. Editors by the ton who sent me little rejection postcards or form letters. To all this, I say: “Get out of my way. Nobody stomps on my dream”. My advice is don’t listen to anything but your heart. Tell that inner critic to take a hike, too. Stay the course. Keep sitting in that chair with your hands on the keyboard. Keep writing and keep believing. If you hang on, it will happen. And as George Burns once said “I’m almost one hundred years old. I been at this so long all my competition is dead. Nobody can stop me now.” Be like George, and keep on until all your competition is eating your dust.

What is up next for you?

I am finishing up a romantic time-travel novella I call The Time Trolley. A young San Francisco journalist whose wife has been brutally murdered by a killer called “The Slasher” is given a tip that leads him on a dizzying chase. When the reporter jumps aboard the trolley to apprehend The Slasher, he finds himself transported back to 1906 San Francisco. And he has only a few days to catch the killer and save a young socialite’s life before the city is engulfed in a horrendous, shattering earthquake.

Is there anything you would like to add?

I would like to thank you sincerely for having me on your blog. It has been a pleasure and a privilege.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Book Review: The Abraham Man by R. Gregory Lande

"The Abraham Man" is a term with origins from the Civil War era. It referred to suspected shirkers who feigned insanity in order to avoid military service. In this fascinating narrative, Dr. R. Gregory Lande investigates the Abraham Man and how he contributed to modern medical practices.

I honestly wasn't sure what to expect from this book when I agreed to review it. The topic sounded intriguing, especially since its origins began during the Civil War, which is a time in our history I've studied a great deal about. But I was uncertain which direction the author would be taking this topic.

What I discovered within the pages of The Abraham Man: Madness, Malingering and The Development of Medical Testimony was a detail-rich history of how doctors came to work with lawyers in order to prove or disprove cases of insanity. Thoroughly researched with an engaging narrative, The Abraham Man reads like an eloquent novel, while discussing American history, forensics, and law.  

Details of numerous legal cases showed how different doctors performed examinations of patients in order to support their arguments, often pitting those in private practice against those involved with the administration of insane asylums. Doctors were not only involved in testifying for cases of malingering. Physicians were often called to testify in cases where disgruntled heirs would claim the deceased was insane when drafting a recent will or provided their opinions in murder cases.

I was a bit disappointed that the author didn't have a summary chapter at the end or at least an afterword. The last chapter brings the reader to the "grand finale" (as stated by the author) of what was built during the greater part of the nineteenth century and shows how public confidence eroded as a result of a watered down definition of insanity. The last thirty-five plus pages cover the assassination of President James A. Garfield and the insanity defense of Charles J. Guiteau. Doctor John Gray and Surgeon-General William A. Hammond and their colleagues whose professional lives and battles the reader has followed through the majority of the narrative, square off in this momentous case. And while the reader is brought to a final analysis of that case, this reader was looking for a final word from the author.

If you enjoy engaging nonfiction, American history, or the law, you'll find a satisfying read in The Abraham Man by R. Gregory Lande.

Perfect Paperback: 272 pages
Publisher: Algora Publishing (September 30, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 087586936X
ISBN-13: 978-0875869360

I received a copy of this book from the author. The author paid me a fee to promote this book via a virtual book tour through Pump Up Your Book. This fee did not include a review. This review contains my honest opinions, for which I have not been compensated in any way.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

First Chapter Review: Next Year in Jerusalem (Part Two) by Barbara Becker Holstein

This is the second book in the Next Year in Jerusalem! trilogy. I reviewed the opening chapter of the first part here.

BLURB:  Continue the drama in Part 2 in this Trilogy of Romance Books as Natalie and Maggie, best friends since college, find themselves steeped in the romance, mysticism and mystery of Jerusalem.

The appearance of Jack, a diamond dealer and Natalie’s old boyfriend from college, creates incredible tension and arousal for Natalie. How can see keep her marriage intact? Maggie is mesmerized also by a new man in her life: Raji from Inida.

The mystery woman, Chaya Sarah, continues to share profound spiritual wisdom. Teaching Natalie the concept of ‘soul mate’ helps Natalie revive her marriage, at least for a night.

However Chaya Sara’s secrecy about herself baffles them, and concern grows that Chaya Sarah may be involved in more than meets the eye.

Too soon they must leave Jerusalem. A last minute surprising upset centered around Chaya Sarah frightens them and they realize they may be dealing with intrigue and terrorism.

How will Natalie and Maggie handle the mystery and romance that floods both women as they attempt to get back to life in the United States? Can a return to Jerusalem be far behind in this trilogy of romantic fiction?

COVER: I find it interesting that the author decided to use the same book cover for both parts of the story. I'm guessing she will do the same for the final portion. This will help readers find the book easily, even if it is an unusual choice.

FIRST CHAPTER: This story picks up right after Part One ends. Natalie is trying to decide if she will forsake her marriage vows and enjoy a romantic night with Jack. Once back in her room, she sees that her husband, David, has been trying to reach her by phone. Meanwhile, Maggie is enamored with Raji.

KEEP READING: The author sent me the tail end of the last book and the opening chapter of this one, so that I could see how Part One flows into Part Two. Since the first part ends with a cliffhanger, nothing was ruined for me.

Though I don't know everything that happened in between, I'm still intrigued. Even if infidelity--in thought or in deed--isn't high on my reading list, I'm curious how Natalie and Maggie will reconcile their lives in Jerusalem with the lives they must return to in the States. In addition, the mystery surrounding Chaya Sarah isn't an aspect I've been exposed to, yet, and I want to see how this fits into the story as a whole.

File Size: 245 KB
Print Length: 87 pages
Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
Publisher: Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein (February 22, 2013)
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
Language: English

I received the first chapter of this book from the author. This review contains my honest opinions, for which I have not been compensated in any way.

First Chapter Review: Next Year in Jerusalem! by Barbara Becker Holstein

This is a romance, mystery and spiritual awakening novel by positive psychologist Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein. I became familiar with Holstein's work when I read her book for girls, The Truth: I'm a Girl, I'm Smart and I Know Everything. I read the sequel to that book, in addition to other books Holstein had written for women. She submitted the first chapter of Next Year In Jerusalem! for me to review.

BLURB:  Natalie and Maggie, best friends since college, find themselves in the romantic, mystical and intriguing city of Jerusalem when Natalie's husband, David, takes a short sabbatical there.

The appearance of Jack, a diamond dealer and Natalie's old boyfriend from college, creates tension and arousal for Natalie. Will she do things she will come to regret? Maggie meets Jack's friend: tall, dark and handsome. What about her boyfriend back home?

Meanwhile, a mysterious woman named Chaya Sarah soon captivates both women with spiritual experiences. However, her actions and secrecy about herself baffle them, and they become concerned that Chaya Sarah may be involved in more than meets the eye. The mystical energy of Jerusalem along with the reality of terrorism compounds an already intense experience for both women.

COVER: I love everything about this cover. The two women, the setting, and the color scheme. The rich burgundy color is a beautiful contrast against the warm beige of the buildings and the pale sky. The gold dome attracts the eye.

FIRST CHAPTER: Natalie has the next four weeks off to spend in Israel. She feels her freedom already. A headline from the New York Times catches her eye. The article draws Natalie into the past and the mystery that surrounds it.

KEEP READING: Definitely. There's a fair amount of mystery and intrigue in this first chapter. The chapter opens with Natalie thrilled to be free, but we don't know what that means. Free from her daily life? Free from her job? Free from her husband? Free from all three? So, the reader is enticed to continue. Though the chapter is short, it's filled with important details. The article on terrorists Natalie reads in the paper reminds her of her past: college, her friends, and former boyfriends. Her eagerness over traveling to Israel is slightly tempered by the anxiety over her safety while there, but she is determined to go.

Other than an overabundance of exclamation points, I love the style of this first chapter and want to know what happens next.

Paperback: 132 pages
Publisher: Enchanted Self Press (September 13, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0979895235
ISBN-13: 978-0979895234

I received this first chapter from the author. This review contains my honest opinions, for which I have not been compensated in any way.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I HAD To Buy...But Are Still Sitting On My Shelf Unread

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme created by The Broke and the Bookish. Each week a new topic is given and this week's topic is:


I'm not sure if I'll be able to participate in this new meme every week, but I hope to try. I found this while leaving comments at a blog during Teaser Tuesdays for my other blog, The Busy Mom's Daily.

"Thousands of impoverished Northern European immigrants were promised that the prairie offered "land, freedom, and hope." The disastrous blizzard of 1888 revealed that their free homestead was not a paradise but a hard, unforgiving place governed by natural forces they neither understood nor controlled, and America’s heartland would never be the same."

As you may know, I am a huge fan of the classic television show, Little House on the Prairie. They had an episode where a surprise blizzard kicked up on Christmas Eve while the children were on their way home from school. Though I haven't been able to verify it with the executive producer or casting director, it is known that Michael Landon would use history as a basis for some of his story lines. The Children's Blizzard of 1888, occurred on an unseasonably warm January morning across Nebraska, the Dakotas, and Minnesota. The weather violently changed in the afternoon to a snow storm with hurricane-force winds that left five hundred people dead, many of them children who had gone off to school without coats and gloves. I knew I wanted to learn about the incident and see if I could glean any hints that Landon had used this 1888 blizzard as his inspiration.

I'm also a huge fan of Lucy Maud Montgomery's Anne of Green Gables series. This 2009 edition from Viking Canada, is a series of short stories. Here is the official description:

"Adultery, illegitimacy, misogyny, revenge, murder, despair, bitterness, hatred, and death—usually not the first terms associated with L.M. Montgomery. But in The Blythes Are Quoted, completed shortly before her death and never before published in its entirety, Montgomery brought these topics to the forefront in what she intended to be the ninth volume in her bestselling series featuring her beloved heroine Anne. Divided into two sections, one set before and one after the Great War of 1914—1918, The Blythes Are Quoted contains fifteen episodes that include an adult Anne and her family. Binding these short stories, Montgomery inserted sketches featuring Anne and Gilbert Blythe discussing poems by Anne and their middle son, Walter, who dies as a soldier in the war. By blending poetry, prose, and dialogue, Montgomery was experimenting with storytelling methods in ways she had never before attempted. The Blythes Are Quoted marks the final word of a writer whose work continues to fascinate readers all over the world."

I've read all the Anne books multiple times. I've also read The Story Girl series and other books that feature the townfolk of Avonlea. I know I'll read this book once I have the time.

Somewhere in my TBR pile, buried so deep I can't seem to locate them are the following two books.

This is a biography of Rose Wilder Lane by Roger Lea MacBride, Lane's heir. I've only read one other biography about Lane, The Ghost in the Little House by William Holtz.

The other book is about Lane and Wilder's relationship. I've read other books by John E. Miller and love his style.

"Miller combines analyses of Wilder and Lane to explore their collaborative process and shows how their books reflect the authors' distinctive views of place, time, and culture. He compares Wilder with Frederick Jackson Turner as a frontier mythmaker and examines Lane's unpublished history of Missouri in the context of Thomas Hart Benton's famous Jefferson City mural. Miller also looks at Wilder's Missouri Ruralist columns to assess her pre-Little House values and writing skills, and he readdresses her literary treatment of Native Americans. He shows how Wilder's and Lane's conservative political views found expression in their work."

I'm a fan of biographies. Here are a few others in my TBR pile.

"In this strikingly honest book, McDonough shares the story of her overnight transformation from a normal kid in a working class, Irish Catholic family, to a Hollywood child star. She reveals intimate memories of life in and around that idyllic Virginia farmhouse (really a Warner Brothers back lot in Burbank) - sneaking off to steal candy from Ike Godsey's store; developing crushes on guest stars; trying to crack up cast members during takes; and, most of all, forming a tight-knit second family who played, worked, hugged, and squabbled together. But in the years that followed the show's long run, as McDonough tried to reinvent herself, she found herself battling depression and personal insecurities amplified by her celebrity. Gradually she gained the courage to stand up not just for herself, but - in true Waltons tradition - for others, taking on a new role as an activist for women's body image issues."

"'Life is great. Sometimes, though, you just have to put up with a little more crap.'" --Michael J. Fox

In September 1998, Michael J. Fox stunned the world by announcing he had been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease -- a degenerative neurological condition. In fact, he had been secretly fighting it for seven years. The worldwide response was staggering. Fortunately, he had accepted the diagnosis and by the time the public started grieving for him, he had stopped grieving for himself. Now, with the same passion, humor, and energy that Fox has invested in his dozens of performances over the last 18 years, he tells the story of his life, his career, and his campaign to find a cure for Parkinson's.

Combining his trademark ironic sensibility and keen sense of the absurd, he recounts his life -- from his childhood in a small town in western Canada to his meteoric rise in film and television which made him a worldwide celebrity. Most importantly however, he writes of the last 10 years, during which -- with the unswerving support of his wife, family, and friends -- he has dealt with his illness. He talks about what Parkinson's has given him: the chance to appreciate a wonderful life and career, and the opportunity to help search for a cure and spread public awareness of the disease. He is a very lucky man, indeed."

"The Glass Castle meets The Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother in this dazzlingly honest and provocative family memoir by former child actress and current Fox Business Network anchor Melissa Francis.

When Melissa Francis was eight years old, she won the role of lifetime: playing Cassandra Cooper Ingalls, the little girl who was adopted with her brother (played by young Jason Bateman) by the Ingalls family on the world’s most famous primetime soap opera, Little House on the Prairie. Despite her age, she was already a veteran actress, living a charmed life, moving from one Hollywood set to the next. But behind the scenes, her success was fueled by the pride, pressure, and sometimes grinding cruelty of her stage mother, as fame and a mother’s ambition pushed her older sister deeper into the shadows.

Diary of a Stage Mother’s Daughter is a fascinating account of life as a child star in the 1980’s, and also a startling tale of a family under the care of a highly neurotic, dangerously competitive “tiger mother.” But perhaps most importantly, now that Melissa has two sons of her own, it’s a meditation on motherhood, and the value of pushing your children: how hard should you push a child to succeed, and at what point does your help turn into harm?"

I've owned this book for five years. I purchased it from the History Book Club when I was a member. I truly want to read it, but I would use it more for reference material anyway.

"America's Women tells the story of more than four centuries of history. It features a stunning array of personalities, from the women peering worriedly over the side of the Mayflower to feminists having a grand old time protesting beauty pageants and bridal fairs. Courageous, silly, funny, and heartbreaking, these women shaped the nation and our vision of what it means to be female in America.

By culling the most fascinating characters -- the average as well as the celebrated -- Gail Collins, the editorial page editor at the New York Times, charts a journey that shows how women lived, what they cared about, and how they felt about marriage, sex, and work. She begins with the lost colony of Roanoke and the early southern 'tobacco brides' who came looking for a husband and sometimes -- thanks to the stupendously high mortality rate -- wound up marrying their way through three or four. Spanning wars, the pioneering days, the fight for suffrage, the Depression, the era of Rosie the Riveter, the civil rights movement, and the feminist rebellion of the 1970s, America's Women describes the way women's lives were altered by dress fashions, medical advances, rules of hygiene, social theories about sex and courtship, and the ever-changing attitudes toward education, work, and politics. While keeping her eye on the big picture, Collins still notes that corsets and uncomfortable shoes mattered a lot, too.

'The history of American women is about the fight for freedom,' Collins writes in her introduction, "but it's less a war against oppressive men than a struggle to straighten out the perpetually mixed message about women's roles that was accepted by almost everybody of both genders."

Told chronologically through the compelling stories of individual lives that, linked together, provide a complete picture of the American woman's experience, America's Women is both a great read and a landmark work of history."

I came to the Deputy Tempe Crabtree series a bit late in the game. I purchased all the book prior to Judgment Fire, which was the first book I've read. I truly love this series and want to go back to see where Tempe starts.

"In Calling the Dead, Deputy Tempe Crabtree investigates a murder that looks like death from natural causes, and a suicide that looks like murder. Putting her job on the line, she investigates the murder on her own time and without permission from her superiors. Jeopardizing her marriage, she uses Native American ways to call back the dead to learn the truth about the suicide."

The next book is also from an author whose work I became familiar with many years after this was published.

Award-winning, multi-published author Kathi Macias is a powerful name in Christian fiction and non-fiction. I purchased Obsession through Crossings  Book Club probably around when it came out in 2001. It sat on my bookshelf for many years.

Now that I review books and own more books than space, I donate books every year to the library and to our church's tag sale. That's how I came across this book tucked into the corner of my downstairs bookshelf. I cracked up when I saw it, realizing I could have become a fan of Kathi's much earlier had I simply read the book when I bought it.

Do you have any books on your shelf that you bought because you had to have them and still haven't managed to read them?

First Chapter Review: The Lincoln Conspiracy by Timothy L. O'Brien

I received an advanced reader copy of The Lincoln Conspiracy by Timothy L. O'Brien from another blogger after expressing interest in the book. This is a historical fiction thriller involving Lincoln's assassination.

BLURB: From award-winning journalist Timothy L. O'Brien comes a gripping historical thriller that poses a provocative question: What if the plot to assassinate President Lincoln was wider and more sinister than we ever imagined?

In late spring of 1865, as America mourns the death of its leader, Washington, D.C., police detective Temple McFadden makes a startling discovery. Strapped to the body of a dead man at the B&O Railroad station are two diaries, two documents that together reveal the true depth of the Lincoln conspiracy. Securing the diaries will put Temple's life in jeopardy--and will endanger the fragile peace of a nation still torn by war.

Temple's quest to bring the conspirators to justice takes him on a perilous journey through the gaslit streets of the Civil War-era capital, into bawdy houses and back alleys where ruthless enemies await him in every shadowed corner. Aided by an underground network of friends--and by his wife, Fiona, a nurse who possesses a formidable arsenal of medicinal potions--Temple must stay one step ahead of Lafayette Baker, head of the Union Army's spy service. Along the way, he'll run from or rely on Edwin Stanton, Lincoln's fearsome secretary of war; the legendary Scottish spymaster Allan Pinkerton; abolitionist Sojourner Truth; the photographer Alexander Gardner; and many others.

Bristling with twists and building to a climax that will leave readers gasping, The Lincoln Conspiracy offers a riveting new account of what truly motivated the assassination of one of America's most beloved presidents--and who participated in the plot to derail the train of liberty that Lincoln set in motion.

COVER: Looks great. The copy I have here is a standard ARC cover, so I haven't seen the real cover up close. The picture of a smoking gun with a large portion of Lincoln's head in the background and the capital behind him makes for a spectacular sight. The brown and golden colors are a nice contrast.

FIRST CHAPTER: It is a month after Lincoln's assassination. Washington D.C. police detective Temple McFadden is on his way to fetch Augustus and Pint from the train when a scuffle catches his eye. He races over there as fast as his crippled leg and cane will allow, but can't save the man's life. Searching the dead man's body, he discovers two diaries strapped to his chest--one in a woman's writing, the other in a man's. This must have been what the attackers were searching for. Now that Temple is in possession of these documents, his life is in danger. Brandishing his cane as a weapon, he narrowly escapes by stealing a horse.

KEEP READING: I'm a huge Civil War and Abraham Lincoln buff, so any novel or nonfiction book about these two topics catches my eye. The first chapter opens with the main character, who is walking to pick up two people from the train at the B+O railroad station. Things quickly turn dicey and the pace jumps from moderate to NASCAR race speed.

O'Brien paints some great pictures for his readers with the descriptions and details included. That, combined with the cliffhanger ending of the first chapter, encourage the reader to continue. I was a bit perplexed why Temple was so captivated by the rain and kept mentioning it. What's good about this chapter is that it focuses mostly on Temple. He mentions his wife, Fiona, a few times, but other than the man he's watching rush to the train and then get attacked, there aren't a lot of names dropped. This helps to avoid confusion and really connect the reader with the main character.

I look forward to reading more.

Hardcover: 368 pages
Publisher: Ballantine Books; 1St Edition edition (September 18, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0345496779
ISBN-13: 978-0345496775

I received a copy of this book from another blogger. This review contains my honest opinions, for which I have not been compensated in any way.

Monday, March 18, 2013

First Chapter Review and Giveaway: The Book of Paul: A Novel by Richard Long

The first chapter of this paranormal thriller came to me from the author through Tribute Books Blog Tours.

BLURB: "Everything you've ever believed about yourself...about the description of reality you've clung to so stubbornly all your life...all of it...every bit of an illusion."

In the rubble-strewn wasteland of Alphabet City, a squalid tenement conceals a treasure "beyond all imagining"-- an immaculately preserved, fifth century codex. The sole repository of ancient Hermetic lore, it contains the alchemical rituals for transforming thought into substance, transmuting matter at will...and attaining eternal life.

When Rose, a sex and pain addicted East Village tattoo artist has a torrid encounter with Martin, a battle-hardened loner, they discover they are unwitting pawns on opposing sides of a battle that has shaped the course of human history. At the center of the conflict is Paul, the villainous overlord of an underground feudal society, who guards the book's occult secrets in preparation for the fulfillment of an apocalyptic prophecy.

The action is relentless as Rose and Martin fight to escape Paul's clutches and Martin's destiny as the chosen recipient of Paul's sinister legacy. Science and magic, mythology and technology converge in a monumental battle where the stakes couldn't be higher: control of the ultimate power in the universe--the Maelstrom.

The Book of Paul is the first of seven volumes in a sweeping mythological narrative tracing the mystical connections between Hermes Trismegistus in ancient Egypt, Sophia, the female counterpart of Christ, and the Celtic druids of Clan Kelly.

COVER: Love it. I'm partial to ancient-looking covers, considering I'm a history lover. There are some used book stores down south I love to meander through when we visit. This cover definitely captures an ancient Egypt type of feel.

FIRST & SECOND CHAPTER: The first chapter introduces the reader to Martin, who is practicing smiling in front of a mirror. He gives up for a bit and changes to push-ups, before returning to his attempt at smiling.

Chapter two brings Rose into the picture. A former competitive gymnast, she is currently a tattoo artist. Living in less than ideal surroundings, she wonders why she's up so early. After working late, she gets up and does a yoga routine before retreating to the bathroom for a long, hot shower.

KEEP READING: I'm on the fence about this one. I don't connect with or like either of the main characters, yet, which may be part of the problem. The synopsis tells me there is so much more to happen that I don't think it's wise to stop reading. I had to read two chapters because the first one was so short that it did not much more than introduce Martin and give us a tiny bit of insight into his personality. Who has to practice smiling? Obviously it's tough for Martin. What does that mean? So the reader is left with an intriguing question that makes her want to know more.

Long paints some great description with the details he chooses. Martin doesn't like the whiny voice of the main character in the television show, The Nanny. He's physically fit enough to do two hundred push ups. Rose lives in an area that includes a park filled with junkies and crackheads. She's inked and pierced. All of these details are important to drawing the reader in.

I would definitely give this book a few more chapters before making a final decision.

Prices/Formats: $19.95 paperback, $2.99-$3.99 ebook
Publisher: Open Eyes
ISBN: 9780615648644
Pages: 492
Release: June 2012

Amazon paperback buy link ($19.95):

Barnes and Noble paperback buy link ($19.95):

Kindle buy link ($2.99):

Nook buy link ($3.99):

iTunes buy link ($3.99):

Richard Long writes to exorcize the demons of his past and manifest the dreams of his future. His debut novel, The Book of Paul, is a dark, thrilling, and psychologically rich supernatural horror/thriller that blends mythology, science and mystery into a page-turning addiction. Richard is also writing a YA novel, The Dream Palace, primarily so that his children can read his books. He lives in Manhattan with his wife, two amazing children and their wicked black cat, Merlin.

Richard Long's Web Site:

Richard Long's Facebook:

Richard Long's Twitter:!/RichardLongNYC

Richard Long's Blog:

Richard Long's YouTube:

Richard Long's Google Plus:

Richard Long's Goodreads:

The Book of Paul's Goodreads:

Tribute Books Blog Tours Facebook:

The Book of Paul blog tour site:

Win one of several great prizes. Use the Rafflecopter form below to enter. If the form doesn't load, please visit the author's tour page at

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I received the first chapter of this book from the author's publicist. This review contains my honest opinions, for which I have not been compensated in any way.