Tuesday, July 22, 2014

THE FORTUNE HUNTER by Daisy Goodwin

Publication Date: July 29, 2014
Genre:  Historical Fiction
Length: Hardcover -  480 pages
Amazon Link

About The Book:
Empress Elizabeth of Austria, known as "Sisi," is the Princess Diana of 19th-century Europe. Famously beautiful, as captured in a portrait with diamond stars in her hair, she is unfulfilled in her marriage to the older Emperor Franz Joseph. Sisi has spent years evading the stifling formality of royal life on her private train or yacht or, whenever she can, on the back of a horse.

Captain Bay Middleton is dashing, young, and the finest horseman in England. He is also impoverished, with no hope of buying the horse needed to win the Grand National --- until he meets Charlotte Baird. A clever, plainspoken heiress whose money gives her a choice among suitors, Charlotte falls in love with Bay, the first man to really notice her, for his vulnerability as well as his glamour. When Sisi joins the legendary hunt organized by Earl Spencer in England, Bay is asked to guide her on the treacherous course. Their shared passion for riding leads to an infatuation that threatens the growing bond between Bay and Charlotte, and all of their futures.

About The Author:
Daisy Goodwin is an award-winning television producer, writer and founder of Silver River Productions.
A Cambridge graduate and Harkness Fellow, Daisy began her TV career as an Arts Producer at the BBC. Here Daisy devised many highly successful shows, including Bookworm, The Nation’s Favourite Poems, and Home Front.

In 1998 Daisy moved to Talkback Productions as Head of Factual and was quickly promoted to Editorial Director. There she devised among other shows: Grand Designs, How Clean is Your House and The Life Laundry.

Daisy founded Silver River Productions in 2005. Silver River has produced programmes as various asElizabeth Taylor – Auction of a Lifetime; The Town That Never Retired; If Walls Could Talk – The History of the Home with Lucy Worsley; and the BAFTA-winning Off By Heart. New programmes include The Big Allotment Challenge and The World Made by Women presented by Amanda Foreman

In addition to this, Daisy is an editor of numerous poetry anthologies and reviews regularly for the Sunday Times. Daisy’s family biography Silver River was published in 2007 and her first novel, My Last Duchess, was published in 2010 and has sold over 100,000 copies and made The New York Times bestseller list. Her second novel The Fortune Hunter is published in April in the UK and July in the US.

Daisy is married to Marcus Wilford who she met at university. They have two daughters, and three dogs and live in West London.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Book Review: NUCLEAR FARM by Charles C. Anderson

#Political #Thriller #Navy Seal #Terrorism

Genre: Thriller
Length: 282 Pages
Amazon Buy Link

About The Book:
AFTER SEEING THOUSANDS OF DEAD CHILDREN IN THE STREETS OF WAR-TORN MIDDLE EAST, EX-NAVY SEAL ANDY CARLSON USES HIS 4,000 ACRE ANTEBELLUM PLANTATION TO TRAIN HIS PRECOCIOUS TEN YEAR OLD TWINS, JACK AND AVA, TO BE WARRIORS, NOT CASUALTIES.

The U.S. President and the Prime Minister of Britain receive a startling warning. If they come to the aid of Israel in the coming Islamic Jihad against the Jewish state, martyrs hidden in their countries will destroy entire cities with nuclear warheads already in place. Any doubts the U.S. president has about nuclear weapons being in the hands of Islamic Fundamentalists are shattered with a mushroom cloud over the remains of Ras Tanura, a key Saudi oil export terminal near the Strait of Hormuz. One man and his wife have unique skills to address this nightmare. Their brainiac kids join them to track down one nail-biting threat after another.

NUCLEAR FARM is the second novel in THE FARM series by award-winning author Charles C. Anderson.


About The Author:
Dr. Anderson is a retired Naval Officer, an emergency physician, a critical care physician, and a weapons specialist. He is an expert on Colonial Virginia, the Civil War, limestone caves, and military installations in Hampton Roads, Virginia, all key subjects in this novel. The plantation depicted in this book has been his family's home since 1743.

Lynda's Review: 
  ~ "The last time I asked you about school, you said they were ready for Harvard."
   "I also said that Harvard wasn't ready for them."
   "Then they may was well get some on-the-job training before puberty blows us all out of the water," Andy said. ~ Page 162

Nuclear Farm is the second book in the Farm series. It reads well as a stand alone, but I think I enjoyed it much more because I'd already read the first book, The Farm. This book falls into the category of political thriller and stays true to that genre. With a little history and a lot of potential hazards and threats to the U.S. National Security, it will keep its readers turning pages. 


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Saturday, July 19, 2014

Book Review: THE CREW GOES COCONUTS by Carole P. Roman

Length: 25 Pages
Genre: Children's
Amazon

About The Book:
There is a storm brewing on the Flying Dragon, and it's not about the weather. When the crew finds themselves parched and not enough juice to go around, blame falls on Matie the goat, Hallie's friend. Divided, they square off, ready for a fight and Captain No Beard must teach his crew that not only is bullying wrong, they must learn to value and respect each and every member of the crew. Watch the crew of the Flying Dragon learn an important lesson about being a true friend.

Breeze's Review:

The pirate gang is back in Volume 6 of the Captain No Beard series. Another great story to add to this collection of books. My daughters love getting to follow Captain No Beard and his crew on their adventures. This story is especially important because it helps teach children that they should never tease or be hurtful towards someone. It teaches them that we should try and look for the good in others. Of course, my favorite part of these books are the illustrations, they are so well executed, fun and creative. Sometimes my daughter and I stay on certain pages for an extra long time just admiring all the little things in the illustrations. These stories certainly inspire my children's imaginations. It's is a great collection of books for any child's library.





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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Book Review: DARKNESS BOUND by J.T. Geissinger

Length: 433 Pages
Genre: Fantasy/Romance
Release Date: June 24
AMAZON LINK

About The Book:
Tough, smart, and seriously ambitious, reporter Jacqueline “Jack” Dolan despises the secretive clan of shape-shifters known as the Ikati—and has become determined to destroy them. After she writes an editorial arguing for their extermination and turns public opinion against them, the Ikati vow to fight back.

Women practically fall at the feet of hulking, handsome Hawk Luna, and Hawk relishes the idea of conquering and destroying the fiery redhead who’s caused so much trouble for his kind. The last thing he expects is to develop real feelings for her, but their liaison awakens a hunger in him that he cannot deny. He kidnaps Jack and brings her to his Amazon jungle colony. As the danger around them grows closer, Jack and Hawk’s forbidden passion may build a bridge between two ancient enemies—or cost them both their lives.

Lynda's Review:
Talk about opposites attracting, this is one of those multifaceted stories you don't want to miss. Strong characters with believable personalities, conflicts, and motivations make this story premise come alive. The author writes so convincingly that it's easy, as a reader, to suspend reality and stay in the fictional world that is so well described.


Book Review - THE STORY OF THE UNLUCKY TEACHER AND HER KOALAS by Nina Johnson

Paperback
Length: 23 pages
Genre:  Childrens / EDUCATION / Leadership


About The Book:
Many teachers and students find themselves overwhelmed and discouraged by our current educational model of high-stakes testing. The Story of the Unlucky Teacher and Her Koalas is a must-read for any educator who believes that all children have the ability to learn and to be successful. The Unlucky Teacher finds herself demeaned by some and pitied by others who do not understand her Koalas who represent students with challenges in America’s public schools: some are poor and hungry, others have learning disabilities or physical impairments, and some have been taught not to believe in themselves. Refusing to be deterred by the judgments and humiliating comments of fellow villagers, the Unlucky Teacher leads her Koalas to a triumphant victory that defies community expectations. Warm-hearted and inspiring, this story illuminates the importance of having teachers who truly believe that all students can achieve high standards of academic success.

Breeze's Review:





I appreciated this story for several important reasons. One is because this book would not only appeal to children but it would also make a great gift for any educator who has at times felt that their students were not given enough support. Another reason I enjoyed this book is because the story line was so powerful. It helped all readers to see that no matter the challenges some people may face, everyone is capable of success. This book also stands out because of the amazing artwork! This would make a great gift for teachers or for any family who wants to teach their children a valuable lesson through reading.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Book Review: THE ZODIAC DECEPTION by Gary Kriss

Length: 496 Pages
Genre: Political Thriller
Amazon Link:

About The Book:
Summer, 1942: The con man known as David Walker didn't exactly volunteer, but OSS chief Wild Bill Donovan convinced him that serving his country and the cause of freedom by posing as German astrologer Peter Kepler was a better use of his time than going to prison for impersonating a Princeton University professor. His mission: use his skills in illusion, sleight of hand and deception to gain Heinrich Himmler’s trust and persuade him to assassinate Adolph Hitler.

In a plot that involves German resistance members in high places, Walker walks a tightrope of deceit, playing on the high command's fascination with the occult to penetrate the highest levels of Nazi power in a daring plan to eliminate the Nazi Führer.

In action that takes him from Berlin to Paris to Cairo; from Hitler's Eagle Nest to Himmler’s occult Wewelsburg Castle, Gary Kriss's The Zodiac Deception is a memorable debut, an unforgettable thrill ride through the dark heart of World War II Germany.

Lynda's Review:
With grand deceptions, lots of sharp turns, and plunging descents, this story carries a reader on a journey both adventurous and scary. It's plot is not predictable and has some interesting/weird twists that sneak up on a reader.

“All the world's a stage and all the men and women merely players.” This Shakespearean quote is very central to the overall issue of this story. With the character's lives depending on their ability to convince their audience that what is, really isn't, or just the opposite. It's cunning and conning at the most crucial and dangerous political level.

Another thing I enjoyed about this book is the vast number of character's that people the story, some historical and some fictitious, but all interesting and woven into the plot smoothly. It's a challenging read, one that requires focus and retention to keep all the elements in their right place, but it's worth the effort.



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Sunday, July 6, 2014

JUST COULDN'T PUT IT DOWN Giveaway Hop


So, it’s already summer time here in Texas. In fact, Texas summers are so hot that reading is one of the only activities that won't cause you to have heatstroke. My selection for the Just Couldn't Put it Down Giveaway Hop is a favorite of mine since it contains a story I wrote that is still one of my favorite reads. Special thanks to our Giveaway Hop host, Stuck In Books. 

So what can you win? How about an anthology of three great contemporary western romances. Each story will transport you to Wayback, Texas and is guaranteed to keep you entertained.


Payback in Wayback: After spending twelve years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit, Corey Donovan is headed for Wayback, bent on getting a little payback. Tiffany Covington is both thrilled and afraid when she learns Corey has returned. She’s ready to repay old debts, the question is, will Corey accept her currency of exchange? Roped and Tied: Jericho Farrell left Wayback and Eden Sawyer for a shot at a better life, but now he’s back. Eden has forgiven him for leaving, but will he forgive her when he discovers he’s a father? Re-Ride at the Rodeo: Bronc rider Clay Tanner is looking for a good time. Dusty Morgan looks like she could use one, but she turns him down. Feeling like he’s been bucked off before the eight second buzzer, Clay’s betting he can score if she’ll give him a re-ride. But qualifying may call for more than he’s prepared to give.

Plus: I'm including a secret handmade gift and who knows what else? You'll have to win the giveaway to find out. Lots of ways to enter. But most important, just have some fun visiting all the giveaways in this Hopping experience! 

And what about a hard-to-put-down selection that a special child in your life will find delightful. If you Were Me and Lived In Portugal is an outstanding story in Carole Roman's series of books. It comes with a play passport, Portugal flag, and pencil.






When you've finished here: 


Here are the rules:
* You must be 13 years or older to enter.
* Once a winner has been announced, an e-mail will be sent. No reply within 48 hours will disqualify that entry and a new winner will be announced.
*Must live in the continental US




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Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Book Review - JUST CRITTERS WHO CARE by Mercer Mayer

Length: 32 Pages
Genre: Children's 

About The Book:
Little Critter gives back!
When Little Critter® finds out one of his neighbors is in need, he and his friends rally together and volunteer their help. They soon learn community service is rewarding . . . and fun! Who can the Critters help next?

Just Critters Who Care is a simple story—perfect for emergent readers who are also learning about giving back to their community.


Breeze's Review:
I really love this story in the series. I place a high value on books that are written with the goal of teaching important lessons to the children reading them. This is one of those books. In this story, a group of critters rally together to help a neighbor in need. The illustrations are phenomenal and you could easily understand the whole concept or lesson just by looking at the pictures. After reading this book with my daughter, she asked me if we could find someone to help just like the critters did in the story. If you love this kind of book, then you must add this one to your collection.


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