Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Review # 246: The Zombie Generation by Drake Vaughn

Description: (from GoodReads)
     Warner is the sole survivor of a deathscape dominated by hordes of the undead. Years of isolation and lack of any human contact has driven him to the brink of insanity. Plagued with vivid hallucinations and shocking nightmares, he scours the deadlands for any signs of life. While discovering a temporary cure for his creeping mental illness, Warner is attacked and infected with the deadly disease. Switching between man and beast, he must decide on risking a desperate cure or attempting a suicidal quest to rescue a group of stranded survivors. Worse, these survivors may only be a figment of his crumbling sanity.


     After typing-up my last zombie book review, I was in no mood to read further into the genre, but with Halloween around the bend, I knew that readers would be in search of the next undead thriller. I had three choices, all looked interesting cover-wise, but the only one whose blurb spoke to me was Drake Vaughn's The Zombie Generation - a genre-bending psychological, post-apocalyptic horror novel where you never know the difference between reality and hallucination. The plot-line is anything but stale, Warner's mental state paired with his worsening living situation, (no spoilers!), intrigue and shock readers from the beginning. His vivid hallucinations and chaotic inner dialogue are gritty and unnerving, often blurring the fine line between sanity and lunacy - for both Warner and the readers. I never knew what to believe about Warner's current Earth; was there a true "bugger" (zombie) situation? Or was the entire scenario within his mind? Was he truly the last man on Earth? I found it fascinating that Drake Vaughn managed to craft Warner's character so meticulously - he has a very well-developed and multi-layered personality that is unusual and unique. I enjoyed getting to know his character, even though it was difficult to relate to him at some points. He felt very "real", and I was genuinely invested in his well-being throughout the novel. I can attribute this to the author's ability to create a story for the character, a difficult task to be sure. Drake Vaughn's writing style is very descriptive, his characters, (buggers included), play their role well and are as integral to the story as brains are to zombies. The action scenes definitely had my heart racing, but some of them were slightly over-done; more superhero-esque than believable. When the action was full-throttle the pace was excellent, but there were a few instances, during the bugger attacks and some of the calmer moments, where the events were repetitive and the flow seemed to stumble. The buggers also took some getting used to - forget zombies of the past, these undead hordes are comprised of trash-eating, obese, alcoholic nymphomaniacs who sleep in huge rotting piles of the undead. They also speak... well, sort of; another reason why I could not really associate these buggers with zombies until much later in the book, but I thoroughly enjoyed the comedic inferences and haunting mental pictures that the text brought to mind. Overall, I loved Vaughn's unconventional take on the "zombie" apocalypse, and was left craving more! If current zombie novels were this "out-of-the-box" I wouldn't be so bored with them! Recommended to readers interested in a psychological thrill-ride complete with blood, gore, action, drama, kick ass character(s), and a biting wit.

Rating: On the Run (4.5/5)

*** I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.

About the Author:

     As a genre fiction writer, Drake focuses on offbeat thrillers and horror with a psychological bent. By bending traditional genres in unique ways, he transforms simple stories into his own crinkled vision. His tales appear deceptively simple, but turn into a wild ride into darkness. He lives in California with his wife and a black cat named Shadow.

Review # 245: Containment Room 7 by Bryan Hall

Description: (from Amazon)
     In a far corner of space, orbiting a massive black hole, the research ship DARC12 discovers a strange asteroid—one that seems to be … alive. After loading the rock onboard for study, the ship quickly descends into madness. 
     It begins with voices, whispers filling the shadows and the minds of the crew. A once sane man declares that their discovery is not just a rock, but a god. Then the killing begins, and a cult rises swearing allegiance to their newfound deity. 
     As the murders mount and the dead themselves begin to rise, a small group of survivors cling to the hope that they can somehow escape the hell they’ve been plunged into. But their problems escalate as they face an army of undead crewmembers, the reanimated corpses of hundreds of failed genetic experiments, the murderous cult, and—worst of all—the rapidly evolving creature in containment room 7.


     I usually love anything pertaining to zombies or the undead, but recently, the zombie genre has left me bored. All but a few zombie books I have read this year contain the same monotonous plot, "zombie apocalypse => RUN". Where the living characters seem to blur into the blood-soaked background of the brain-yearning masses. However, the premise of Containment Room 7, (a space zombie cult), somehow managed to re-spark my interest. I had never contemplated zombies in space - unless you count Jason X - so I wasn't sure what to expect, but I was definitely compelled to read on after page one. The story starts abruptly, the scientists and engineers on the DARC12 research ship have found an odd meteor near a black hole and decide to bring it into the ship - where the fun begins. Each character has their own point-of-view about the strange rock, most of which are easy-to-follow, but there are a few that are more crazy than understandable. The POV and narration types vary from chapter to chapter, which can sometimes become confusing, however, I like the uncertainty it creates. I just wish that I could enjoy the characters more; I don't feel any emotion towards the living or dead, their lack of development hinders the overall plot - which happens to be the novel's "saving grace". The story-line is a refreshing take on the zombie genre, full of action, gore, skin-crawling descriptions, and well-placed scares, but the quickness of the pace does not allow readers to fully immerse themselves in the scenario. Halfway through the book I find that I only really know who two of the characters are, and I don't really care if they survive or not. I also dislike the repetition of the zombie attacks, (the descriptions mostly), because they seem so similar - how many times can a zombie "piggyback" someone? The ending is as abrupt as the beginning, but not nearly as fulfilling, leaving me with more questions about the "alien" than I would like. Twenty or so more pages may have fixed the problem. Overall, I really enjoy the author's intention, but feel that the book as a whole is too scarce in background information and character development. Still a decent addition to the zombie genre, but needs work. Recommended for fans of zombies and science fiction. Great cover art!

Rating: Bounty's Out (3/5)

*** I received this book from the author (Book Shots) in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.

Review # 244: Dead Ringer by Allen Wyler

Description: (from GoodReads)
     While speaking at a Hong Kong medical conference, neurosurgeon Dr. Lucas McCrae slips the cloth off a cadaver’s head during a routine medical demonstration, and is overwhelmed with the shock by what’s staring back at him: His best friend, Andy Baer.  
     Stunned, McCrae races back to Seattle to discover that Andy is in fact missing and may have been murdered by a gang of body snatchers who operate a legit funeral business and make a fortune by selling recovered body parts to medical researchers.
     McCrae teams up with an unlikely pair—a beautiful but hardnosed female cop and a gang member whose family was victimized by the body parts ring—to try and expose a macabre web of corruption that involves law enforcement, politicians, funeral home curators and murdered prostitutes.


     After reading Allen Wyler's previous novel, Dead End Deal, I was excited to sample another thriller fit for the big-screen - Dead Ringer - and I was not disappointed! Wyler's ability to capture the reader's attention with the first sentence and hold it until the last is remarkable. I almost did not want to put the book down for trivial things - like sleeping or eating - because I might have lost out on the tension that had been building up. The characters and plot-line were well-developed and expertly crafted; even though I figured out most of the twists before they occurred, I was never bored or annoyed by where the plot was going. I enjoyed reading about Lucas and Wendy's search for proof against DSH, as well as their opposing personalities; I just wish that there had been a sort of comic/ romance aspect between them to cut through some of the intensity and expose some of their emotions. I found the points-of-view and flashbacks interesting, although odd, but I felt that they added some extra depth. I also liked the believable quality of the dialogue and the medical jargon - not too technical for most readers. Overall, I found Dead Ringer to be a unique and well-written medical thriller that held enough suspense to keep me eagerly entertained. Recommended for adult readers seeking a medical thriller/ mystery full of shocks, chills, and assorted body parts.

Rating: On the Run (4/5)

*** I received this book from the author (Astor + Blue Editions) in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.

About the Author:

     Allen Wyler is a renowned neurosurgeon who earned an international reputation for pioneering surgical techniques to record brain activity. He has served on the faculties of both the University of Washington and the University of Tennessee, and in 1992 was recruited by the prestigious Swedish Medical Center to develop a neuroscience institute. In 2002, he left active practice to become medical director for a startup med-tech company (that went public in 2006) and he now chairs the Institutional Review Board of a major medical center in the Pacific Northwest. Leveraging a love for thrillers since the early 1970s, Wyler devoted himself to fiction writing in earnest, eventually serving as vice president of the International Thriller Writers organization for several years. After publishing his first two medical thrillers Deadly Errors (2005) and Dead Head (2007), he officially retired from medicine to devote himself to writing full time.

Review # 243: The Cloudy Corners of Creation - A Pastoral Look at the Paranormal by Mark Tate


      The Cloudy Corners of Creation is an introduction to the paranormal for all faiths, especially Christians. Pastor Mark Tate has studied a significant number of "books, articles, websites, television, and radio programs" to determine humanity's fascination with the "strangeness of the world and the unknown or the known that is not readily explainable". He includes chapters describing ghosts and spirits, near death experiences, past-life regression, Wicca and Voodoo, vampires, werewolves, shape-shifters, mothman, Bigfoot, Chupacabra, the Jersey Devil, Loch Ness, Aliens, UFOs, crop circles, non-Christian prophecy, and many other subjects "from a sympathetic but questioning perspective".


     The Cloudy Corners of Creation is the perfect Halloween read for anyone contemplating the existence of the "beyond". At first glance, I was not sure how pastor Mark Tate would be able to pull off a book about the paranormal - most books on similar subjects debunk stories of the unknown by quoting scripture - but this book questions the existence of the supernatural without dictating whether readers should believe or not; leaving more questions than answers for readers to reflect on. Even as a devout Christian, I am still a fan of spiritual and supernatural phenomena; half of my bookshelves are full of the weird and creepy paranormals I crave - the combination allowing me to appreciate where the author is coming from. I was very interested in his research on the para-natural and the fluid boundary, the stories in these sections were well-written, unbiased, and spine-tingling in their own rights. I also found the sections on near-death experiences and aliens very intriguing - good for pondering. I enjoyed the author's down-to-earth writing style and his insights into the possible realities of the paranormal. I am definitely recommending this book to all readers interested in the preternatural/ metaphysical beings who may or may not walk among us!

Rating: Clean Getaway! (5/5)

*** I received this book from the author (Bostick Communications) in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

TPP Update: Rumor has it...

The "Book Horde" as of 10/30/2012
Hello Readers & Authors,

     The past couple of months have been rough - family drama, illnesses, work, school, etc... - so I haven't been able to devote as much time to The Paperback Pursuer; however, I have been reading and posting whenever possible, usually a few posts per week. Unfortunately, this slowing pace has started to have a negative effect on the blog's reputation.

     I received an email last week about a post on a book-related website where a group of authors were discussing possible book reviewers. I was surprised to find myself mentioned as "unreliable", "fictitious", a "fraud", and "horrendously bias" by an author who was unsatisfied with my review process. Apparently, he had sent me a book in August and expected a review within a week - even though he was told that TPP was already backlogged and wouldn't be able to post a review until  January at the least. He accused me of offering my review services in exchange for free books with no intention of actually reading them. He then went on to say that TPP should be shut-down "... before her shoddy content and phony reviews begin to hurt real authors..." He then cited that I still hadn't provided him with the review he "deserved", and that he and other authors had wasted "time and money sending review materials". He even warned other authors and publishers to "steer clear" of TPP and its "dishonest content". 

     I was shocked by these accusations; as a matter of fact, I had read and reviewed his book a week prior - ahead of the initial date I gave him - and had given it an honest and decent review. I am not sure what sparked this author's rant, but I was annoyed and disheartened to say the least. I read, review, and blog as a hobby - NOT as a career! I do not receive any compensation for my reviews! Nor can I be bribed to change my own personal opinion(s) of a book! I do not have set dates for certain book reviews because I have a job and other obligations that simply come first; therefore, I get to a book review as soon as I can, and try to only take on what is possible at the present time. Am I behind on reviews? Yes! I whole-heartedly admit that I may have received more books in the past six months that I ever anticipated - many that showed up at my doorstep unannounced with no paperwork - but I am still going through each and every one of them, reading, taking notes, reflecting, reviewing, etc; no complaints. I have turned away over 230 review requests since June, and hope to have the current "book horde" reviewed by February, but I cannot promise that I will get to every book by them; especially if I continue to get mystery books in my mailbox every week. I have asked several authors to please stop giving out my personal address for this reason. If you are an author or publisher whom I am reviewing for, please contact me if you would like to know the status of my review and I will try my best to get back to you asap. Do not assume that I have forgotten about your book or have decided not to review it. 

   I love to read and review; I have been doing it since I was twelve and enjoy spreading the word about what I've read. I understand that some of my reviews aren't favorable, but not everyone enjoys the same genres or story-lines. I try to be fair based on my own opinions, and I will not change my practices because of a disgruntled author. I hope that I have made this as clear as possible. Again, please contact me if you have any questions. Don't send me hate mail or try and defame TPP because you are impatient or unhappy about a review. Thank-you.


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Review # 242: 40 Days to a Joy-Filled Life - Living the 4:8 Principle by Tommy Newberry

Description: (from GoodReads)
     Drawing on the core message of the New York Times bestselling The 4:8 Principle, 40 Days to a Joy-Filled Life is a fun and highly practical action plan providing readers with time-tested strategies and exercises for experiencing joy by design—God’s design. Fans of The 4:8 Principle will love the fresh format and timeless reinforcements offered in 40 Days to a Joy-Filled Life, while new readers will be introduced to the life-changing power of The 4:8 Principle for the first time! All readers will benefit from the uniquely packaged inspiration and encouragement delivered in bite-size chunks for easy consumption and in a “sticky” style custom-made for easy retention and long-lasting joy.


     Usually, Christian self-help guides bore me to tears with endless lines of scripture, strange, sometimes unrelatable, anecdotes, and chastising tones that are more annoying than helpful. Believe me, as a reviewer I have read my fair share of overly-preachy and downright confusing Christian literature that has made me very skeptical. However, Tommy Newberry's 40 Days to a Joy-Filled Life has redeemed my faith in the genre. In this 40-day devotional, Newberry encourages readers to experience more joy in their daily lives by taking advantage of the principle dictated by apostle Paul in Philippians 4:8 -
Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy, meditate on these things. (NKJV)
     Every day of this 40-day devotional contains three to five page readings on specific topics, (Think This, Not That; Deal or No Deal; Harboring Gratitude; Your Mate!; Feeling vs. Fact; We Are Sponges; Words of Mass Destruction; Motion Rules Emotion; Occupy God Street; etc...), as well as "Activate 4:8" Drills, Exercises, "Thoughts of the Day", and daily prayer. I love that this is more of an interactive workbook than the typical devotional. Everyday, (minus the twelve days I still have to go), I was excited to read and reflect on the provided topic. The material is presented in an easy-to-read-and-understand format, and does not have the "stale" quality of other "recycled" self-help guides. I appreciate the length of each daily passage, simple enough to fit one into any schedule, no mater how chaotic. I am definitely impressed by this little book and the inspirational/motivational atmosphere that surrounds it. I look forward to completing my 40-days with the 4:8 Principle, as well as continuing my journey to a  "joy-filled life". This is an excellent holiday gift that I will be sharing with family and friends! Highly recommended for any Christians seeking the tools for their own journey to joy.

Rating: Clean Getaway (5/5) 

*** I received this book from the author (Tyndale Blog Network) in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.

About the Author:

     Tommy Newberry is a New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestselling author and head coach of The 1% Club, Inc. an organization dedicated to helping entrepreneurs and their families maximize their full potential. As a pioneer in the life-coaching field since 1991, Tommy has equipped business leaders in more than thirty industries to work less, earn more, and enjoy greater satisfaction with the right accomplishments.

     He is the author of several books, including the #3 New York Times bestseller, "The 4:8 Principle" and the motivational classic, "Success is Not an Accident" both translated into seven languages. His other titles include "366 Days of Wisdom & Inspiration," and numerous audio programs, such as Success Is Not an Accident: Secrets of the Top 1%, Make Your Life A Masterpiece, The Joy of Success, and Living the Strong Life.

     Known for highly practical, no-nonsense coaching style, Tommy has earned the title of America's Success Coach® with his clients. His passion for developing the whole person is clearly evident throughout his live workshops, key-note presentations, books and audio courses. Tommy's annual Couples Planning Retreat at Blackberry Farm takes world-class planning tools into the family realm, allowing husbands and wives to design a more balanced, simplified, and enriching life together.

     A dynamic speaker, Tommy is frequently invited to speak at schools, parent support groups, churches, and business conferences. He has appeared on numerous radio and television programs including Living the Life, Everyday with Lisa & Marcus, and Good News. He has also written articles for The Atlanta Business Chronicle, New Man Magazine and Success Magazine, and has been featured in publications such as The Atlanta Journal Constitution, Business to Business, Buckhead Living, and Stand Firm. An avid goal setter, Tommy has earned certification as an emergency medical technician and PADI rescue diver, as well as a black belt in the Korean martial art of Choi Kwang do. 
Tommy lives in Atlanta with his wife, Kristin, and their three boys.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Review # 241: The Miracle Inspector by Helen Smith

Description: (from GoodReads)

     England has been partitioned and London is an oppressive place where poetry has been forced underground, theaters and schools are shut, and women are not allowed to work outside the home. A young couple, Lucas and Angela, try to escape from London – with disastrous consequences.


     Helen Smith's The Miracle Inspector blew me away with its bleak and gnarled view of the future and its fear-driven inhabitants! The book blurb may seem somewhat unconventional, but this disturbing dystopian thriller's look into the fractured, chaotic, and desecrate future of Britain grabbed my attention at page one. I did not expect to be so intrigued by Helen Smith's well-placed prose, full of startling depictions as well as biting, yet somehow lyrical, humor. Her ability to create such a believable tale of paranoia and hopelessness is built on some of the most debilitating fears plaguing today's societies - terrorists, rapists, murderers, pedophiles, corrupt governments, abusers, etc... Everyone watches everyone else, but is helpless to stop what they see - and escape is futile. Aspects of the overall plot are eerily reminiscent of Lord of the Flies, 1984, and Brave New World, three of my favorite high-school reads; however, it is by no means stagnant or unoriginal. There is a lot less action than I had hoped for, but it makes up for it with vivid and well-developed characters and dialogue, especially where Angela and Lucas are concerned. This book is intense and leaves readers with more questions than answers, but it is well worth the read. Recommended for more mature audiences who enjoy a book that gets them thinking.

Rating: On the Run (4/5)

*** I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.

About the Author:

     Helen Smith is a member of the Writers Guild of Great Britain and English PEN. She traveled the world when her daughter was small, doing all sorts of strange jobs to support them both – from cleaning motels to working as a magician’s assistant – before returning to live in London where she wrote her first novel which was published by Gollancz (part of the Hachette Group).

     She is the author of bestselling cult novel Alison Wonderland. She writes novels, poetry, plays and screenplays and is the recipient of an Arts Council of England Award. She’s a long-term supporter of the Medical Foundation for the Victims of Torture and mentors members of an exiled writers group to help them tell their stories.

Her latest book is the dystopian thriller The Miracle Inspector.

Visit her website at

Friend her on Twitter: emperorsclothes

Become a fan at Facebook:

Friend her at Goodreads:

Pick up a copy of The Miracle Inspector at Amazon:

The Miracle Inspector Tour Schedule

Tuesday, September 4

Interview at Literarily Speaking

Wednesday, September 5

Read First Chapter at Pump Up Your Book

Thursday, September 6

Interview at Beyond the Books

Friday, September 7

Interview at Examiner

Monday, September 10

Book Giveaway at Moonlight Lace & Mayhem

Wednesday, September 12

Guest Blogging at Coffee and a Keyboard

Thursday, September 13

Guest Blogging at Lori’s Reading Corner

Friday, September 14

Book Featured at Book Marketing Buzz

Interview at Blogcritics

Monday, September 17

Interview at Between the Covers

Tuesday, September 18

Interview at The Dark Phantom

Wednesday, September 19

Thursday, September 20

Guest Blogging at The Story Behind the Book

Friday, September 21

Guest Blogging at The Bunny’s Review

Monday, September 24

Interview at The Book Connection

Tuesday, September 25

Guest Blogging at The Writer’s Life

Friday, September 27

Book Review at Minding Spot

Monday, October 1

Guest Blogging at Literarily Speaking

Tuesday, October 2

Guest Blogging at Working for the Mandroid

Wednesday, October 3

Character Interview at Beyond the Books

Thursday, October 4

Guest Blogging at Talisman Book Publishing

Friday, October 5

Interview at Review From Here

Monday, October 8

Book Review at Christa Allan’s blog

Tuesday, October 9

Wednesday, October 10

Guest Blogging at Rainy Day Reviews

Thursday, October 11

Book Review at Mary’s Cup of Tea

Friday, October 12

Book Review at Luxury Reading

Monday, October 15

Book Review & Book Giveaway at Bookspark

Wednesday, October 17

Book Review at Reviews by Martha’s Bookshelf

Thursday, October 18

Book Review & Guest Blogging at The Phantom Paragrapher

Monday, October 22

Guest Blogging at As the Pages Turn

Tuesday, October 23

Book Review at Sincerely Stacie

Wednesday, October 24

Guest Blogging at Waiting on Sunday to Drown

Friday, October 26

Book Review at Howard McEwen

Book Review at Celestial Reviews

Guestpost: Kellie Coates Gilbert on Women's Fiction


Kellie Coates Gilbert 

     Recently, I was asked how I personally define women’s fiction. To me, women’s fiction is very different from any other genre. Unlike general contemporary fiction, women’s fiction is a story about a woman (or women) that tells more about her inner journey than her outer experiences, where relationships are key and the journey evokes a lot of emotion.

     As an author of women’s fiction, I am on a bit of a soapbox about this topic. So often I hear a category romance author or someone who writes high adventure claim their stories fit into the women’s fiction category. I disagree.

     Authors like Kristin Hannah, Cassandra King, Elizabeth Berg and others know that readers who long for stories that focus on a strong character arc, where the woman protagonist journeys through a plot and becomes someone different in the way they think or feel by the end of the story,is paramount to satisfying true women’s fiction aficionados.

     Don’t misunderstand. In my novel, Mother of Pearl, there is a strong plot as a backdrop. The story is about a high school counselor who learns the football coach has been inappropriate with her daughter, and how she risks everything to bring him to justice. There are plenty of twists and turns, and surprises as the reader turns the pages. But, as protagonist Barrie Graeber journeys through the events in this story, she changes. An inciting incident pulls her from her regular world and thrusts her into a situation she never expected, was not prepared to deal with—a situation that made her face her worst fear.

     By the end of the novel, Barrie is forced to examine the inner landscape she’s always relied on and instead must look outside herself for answers. She releases her tight grip on her own abilities and steps into unknown territory. Not that she has pat answers, but she leaves the novel different from the woman she was on the first page.
And, if I’ve done my job as an author . . . so does the reader. 

About the Author:

     Kellie Coates Gilbert is a former legal investigator and trial paralegal who writes with a sympathetic, intimate knowledge of how people react under pressure. Kellie’s books tell emotionally poignant stories about women in life-changing circumstances. She writes about messy lives . . . and eternal hope. Kellie currently makes her home in Dallas, Texas.

Her latest book is the Christian fiction, Mother of Pearl.

Visit her online at

Connect with her on Twitter at:!/KCoatesGilbert

Like her at Facebook at:

Purchase your copy of Mother of Pearl at Amazon:

Pick up your copy of Mother of Pearl at the publisher’s website:

Purchase your copy of Mother of Pearl at Barnes & Noble:

About the Book:
     Barrie Graeber has two great kids, a loving husband, and a respected job as the high school counselor in her close-knit community. Then, without warning, everything unravels when her teenage daughter, Pearl, is betrayed by friends and lashes out.

     Barrie’s attempts to steer her daughter back on course fail. Nothing prepares this mother for the helplessness that follows when Pearl shuts her out . . . or when the unthinkable comes to light about her nemesis, the football coach.

     Mother of Pearl is a story that puts absolute truths and convictions to the test. It’s the emotionally riveting tale of a woman who finds she must recognize her own vulnerability and learn to trust in something much bigger.

Mother of Pearl Virtual Book Publicity Tour Schedule

Monday, October 1

Book Spotlight at Reviews by Molly

Tuesday, October 2

Book Review at A Peek at My Bookshelf

Wednesday, October 3

Book Spotlight & Book Giveaway at Captivated Reading

Thursday, October 4

Friday, October 5

Book Review & Book Giveaway at Mary’s Cup of Tea

Tuesday, October 9

Book Review at The Mary Reader

Wednesday, October 10

Book Review & Book Giveaway at Peeking Between the Pages

Thursday, October 11

Book Review at Blooming With Books

Friday, October 12

Guest Blogging at The Phantom Paragrapher

Tuesday, October 16

Book Review at By the Book

Wednesday, October 17

Book Review & Guest Blogging at Jersey Girl Book Reviews

Thursday, October 18

Book Review at Splashes of Joy

Friday, October 19

Book Review & Interview at Hardcover Feedback

Monday, October 22

Guest Blogging at The Paperback Pursuer

Tuesday, October 23

Book Spotlight & Book Giveaway at 4 the Love of Books

Wednesday, October 24

Book Spotlight & Book Giveaway at Celtic Lady’s Book Reviews

Thursday, October 25

Interview at Examiner

Friday, October 26

Book Review at The Bunny’s Reviews

Book Spotlight at Between the Covers

Tuesday, October 30

Guest Blogging at The Story Behind the Book

Friday, October 19, 2012

Review # 240: Twelve Months by Steven Manchester

Description: (from GoodReads)
     Don DiMarco has a very good life – a family he loves, a comfortable lifestyle, passions and interests that keep him amused. He also thought he had time, but that turned out not to be the case. Faced with news that might have immediately felled most, Don now wonders if he has time enough. Time enough to show his wife the romance he didn’t always lavish on her. Time enough to live out his most ambitious fantasies. Time enough to close the circle on some of his most aching unresolved relationships. Summoning an inner strength he barely realized he possessed, Don sets off to prove that twelve months is time enough to live a life in full.


     If you are looking for a timely novel that's full of emotion and meaning, Steven Manchester's Twelve Months should be on your short-list. Like most of us, Don DiMarco could have spent more time with his daughter and grandchildren, doted on his wife, traveled the world, or started checking things off his "bucket list" - but instead, he treated every new day as "just another day", not realizing how little time he really had left. Most of us are guilty of taking things for granted, especially when it comes to family, friends and time. No one knows how much time they have left, but many of us live under the assumption that we have "all the time in the world"; not so, as Don soon realizes. For many readers, this book will be a wake-up call. No one wants the "would of", "should of", "could of" regrets that come with taking life for granted, and they definitely do not want to try to fit their misplaced appreciation and unlived dreams into the last bit of time they have left. Don is a very interesting character, his original strengths and flaws are apparent, but very reader relatable. I enjoyed his progression from beginning to end, particularly his relationship with his wife and daughter. He emotionally matured more in twelve months than some people do in a lifetime. The scenario and dialogue were realistic and highly emotional, there were a few sections where I found myself tearing-up, and others where I could not stop smiling. I really liked Steven Manchester's poetic writing style and ability to construct such a vivid, exciting, and impassioned story-line full of heartbreak, inspiration, hope, love, and faith. I also liked the first person narration, as well as the overall flow of the novel. I had a difficult time putting this book down once I started it, and I was quite moved by Don's story. The tagline has it right. Highly recommended for all readers.

Rating: On the Run (4.5/5)

*** I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.

Thursday, October 18, 2012


Happy Thursday Readers!

     I was recently contacted about a great new website catered to books, authors, and the people who love them -! This brand new program allows buzzers (book lovers) to spread the word about the books they read and crave; the more a buzzer shares, the bigger the rewards - free eBooks, giveaways, and even a few eReaders stocked with awesome reads! I signed up to be a buzzer this week, and I hope that everyone will join me in celebrating the literature we love! The site is easy to use, packed full of exciting new reading material, and gaining new buzzers, authors, books, and publishers daily! Click on a link to check out the site, or read on to learn all about their pilot program! - Calling all book lovers!

Libboo is launching its pilot and wants YOU to be a buzzer.

     Press Release: The publishing industry is evolving, and in response, Libboo has created a community that will allow fans—or “buzzers”—to interact with and promote the authors they read and love. With the launch of its pilot program this fall, Libboo will provide buzzers with the opportunity to earn rewards like free e-books, access to exclusive content, and the ability to connect with the authors they buzz about, all by doing what they love: geeking out about books.

     The Libboo pilot will be a three-month program that will help authors get discovered, and significantly increase their influence and books sales through the use of Libboo’s proprietary technology. Upon the launch of the pilot, buzzers will be matched with books they will love and want to talk about. They will then be rewarded for spreading the word about those books. All buzzers will have the chance to earn free e-books to distribute amongst their friends and followers, and each month for the duration of the pilot, Libboo will give away e-readers packed with every book from the pilot to the top three buzzers that month.

     A buzzer is an influencer who is passionate about books. Buzzers enjoy both finding and being the source of awesome content. People go to buzzers for recommendations, and then take action based on the recommendations given. Libboo will harness the power of buzzers and use that power to help talented authors gain visibility and promote their work.

     Why should you be a buzzer? The more important question is, why not? You already read books and talk about them, so why not help out some great authors by spreading the word about their books, and earn some awesome rewards in the meantime? Visit to register for the pilot or email Katherine Pereira at for more information.

     With partners and supporters ranging from TechStars to the BBC and a number of the world’s largest publishers, Libboo seeks to help authors, whether they have a traditional publishing deal or have self-published, increase their chance of success by pairing their books with the correct buzzers. Readers and buzzers, on the other hand, are recognized and rewarded for bringing that talented author to the universe. As a proud partner of the National Literary Trust, Libboo believes in transforming lives using the power of reading.

How Does Libboo Work?

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Review # 239: A Hidden Madness by James T.R. Jones

Description: (from Amazon)
     A Hidden Madness tells the story of an accomplished individual who has reached the pinnacle of his profession despite suffering for over thirty years from the severe mental illness bipolar disorder. He has done so mostly in silence because of fear of stigma. Extreme childhood bullying helped cause his condition, which has seen him hospitalized five times in psychiatric facilities for periods as long as six months. It is an eye-opening voyage through the little-understood realm of severe mental illness featuring its powerful medications, periodic hospitalizations, often rocky relationships, and light as well as dark moments. The story offers both real hope for those afflicted by serious mental illness and deep insight into their many symptoms, numerous drugs, periodic crises, and potential triumphs. It shows that by being compliant with a medical regimen of therapy and medication, getting help and support from others with the same illness, benefiting from a loving family, discovering coping mechanisms to get through every day, having caring and understanding friends, and being too stubborn to let a disease ruin his life one can enjoy a successful and fulfilling professional and personal life.

     I have had experience with family members who suffer from non-medicated bipolar disorder, so I was very interested in reading James T. R. Jones' first-hand account of living with the day-to-day manic/depressive fluctuations of a bipolar individual. This informative and highly personal account of the author's struggle with the disorder throughout his home and career life left me inspired and full of hope. Even though he was constantly berated by bipolar periods of mania and depression, he never let go of his ambitions or let people treat him differently. Mental/Personality disorders have long carried a stigma for the affected individual, but society is slowly starting to realize that the chronic nature of the illness can be managed like other treatable diseases - diabetes, blood pressure, ADHD, etc... Those affected are not to blame/ judge because of their mental state; as a matter of fact, if the public was more knowledgeable about the disease, then those affected may not have such a difficult time seeking treatment and finding support. James' story  proves that support from family, friends and medial professionals is one of the keys to treating/recovering from mental illness. He kept his bipolar disorder and mood swings a secret from friends and coworkers, fearing their reaction(s), but if people did not negatively stereotype the disease, he may have been able to be honest with everyone from the beginning. The memoir is very emotional; his courage and drive are evident on every page. Readers will gain a lot by reading this book, most importantly, the facts about the disease, the misconceptions, and the acceptance of those affected. Even though James' situation is not the most typical case of bipolar disorder, his journey is well-written and highly effective. I will definitely be recommending this book to family and friends, and I think that everyone should experience the realities of this condition.

Rating: Bounty's Out (3.5/5)

*** I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.

Review # 238: Ibex Proper by Clemens Haltern

     Close to a major power plant lies one of Utah's renowned rock climbing areas known as Ibex, and sisters Katja and Sage Silva are about to discover that the climb is not the only danger. Not only is the climb intense, but there is a storm coming that threatens to flood the area, as well as an FBI agent who is chasing down a suspected terrorist with destruction on his mind. Can Katja ans Sage escape the flood while simultaneously evading a terrorist plot?


     Clemens Haltern definitely delivered the action in Ibex Proper!  The book was a mixture of action-adventure and natural disaster, where both characters and setting played an integral role in the plot. I found the characters well-developed and easy-to-like; their interactions and dialogue - especially between sisters Katja and Sage - were realistic and nicely placed. I enjoyed the landscape and its depictions, the glory and treachery of the rocks was a worthy backdrop for the thrill-ride that ensued. It did not take long to get into this book at all, and I finished it in a single sitting - the author definitely kept up the pace! The FBI/ Police procedural aspect of the novel was not overdone or clunky, although there were a few definitions I had to look up, however it was easy-to-read overall. There was a high level of violence - sometimes graphic - but I expected it from the back-cover blurb. I really enjoyed the ending, it was action-packed and tension-full to say the least, (no spoilers), and I hope to read more from Clemens Haltern in the future! Recommended for adventurists in the mood for a "man vs. man vs. mother nature" novel.

Rating: On the Run (4/5)

*** I received this book from the author (Bostick Communications) in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.

Guest-Review: Direct Hits - Core Vocabulary of the SAT 4th Edition by Direct Hits; Edited by Ted Griffith

Description: (from Amazon)
     Does developing a high-level vocabulary need to be a tedious, frustrating task? Direct Hits doesn’t think so. Research has shown that a powerful and vibrant vocabulary has a high correlation with success in school, business, the professions, AND standardized tests, including the PSAT, SAT, SSAT, and AP exams. Direct Hits Core Vocabulary of the SAT offers a different approach. This book includes the following features:
  • Selective vocabulary found on recent SATs and PSATs used in context. No more memorizing the definitions of long lists of seemingly random words in a vacuum
  • Relevant, vivid, and memorable examples from pop culture, historic events, literature, and contemporary issues
  • Six easy-to-tackle chapters
  • A Fast Review for each chapter, with quick definitions
  • A Final Review with sentence completion questions just like real SATs and PSATs, including complete solution explanations
      Building on the success of previous editions, the authors of Direct Hits Core Vocabulary of the SAT consulted secondary school teachers, tutors, parents, and students from around the world to ensure that these words and illustrations are on target to prepare you for success on the SAT. You will find that the process is effective, worthwhile, and even fun!

Funducian Flair's Review:

     Both Volume 1 and Volume 2 of this book were amazing! It made the agonizing task of learning vocabulary for the SAT less daunting by creating easy to follow pages and linking popular references to the words. The more the students can relate to the words, the greater chance of retention. Additionally, the layout of the book allows for words to build off of each other. There are references to other words used, which allows for a greater recognition of the previous words. Also, there is a quick review section in the back where all the words that are listed in the book are defined. Finally, there is a practice test at the end of each volume to test the knowledge of the words in the book. Overall, it was a fun book, one that I wish I'd had when I was preparing for the SATs.

Rating: Clean Getaway! (5/5)

***  Funducian Flair received this book from the author in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Review # 237: Run the Risk by Lori Foster

Description: (from GoodReads)
     When Detective Logan Riske goes undercover to find Pepper Yates, a potential link to his best friend's unsolved murder, he vows to gain her cooperation by any means necessary. But the elusive beauty is more suspicious—and in far more danger—than he expected. And the last thing Logan needs is to start caring for her…. 
     Pepper has spent years dodging the corrupt club owner who will stop at nothing to keep her silenced. She can trust no one, not even the handsome new "construction worker" who's moved in next door. The heat between them is undeniable. But will surrendering to passion bring her the safety she so desires—or will her feelings for Logan draw them both into a killer's crosshairs?

     I was impressed with the first Lori Foster book I read, Perfect Storm, with its fast-paced action, page-turning suspense, heated romance, and witty repartee, but I had a lot more fun reading Run the Risk! I was surprised how easy it was to get lost in the characters and the well-woven story-line, particularly Pepper's. I usually do not prefer romances, but the suspense aspect, as well as the atypical setting and plot-line proved quite entertaining. From what I have read, Lori Foster seems to be very good with characters - their development, emotions, insecurities, reactions, etc... Each character was unique, albeit strange, but the dialogue and interactions were realistic and well-paced. Penny and Rowdy's personalities took getting used to - especially in the beginning - however, the bond between the siblings was spot-on and fun to read about. Other favorite characters were Logan, Dash and Reese who I hope will take center stage in future installments! As for the "heat" level, I thought the romantic build-up could have been better. Penny and Logan's relationship started out tense and slow, but there was no transition between that and the eventual "long-term" relationship. One minute they were still "testing the waters", and the next they were full-blown boyfriend-girlfriend; the plot-line made this irritation easier to overlook. I will definitely be reading more books in this series, especially if I get to see these characters again - a theme Lori Foster sticks to. Recommended for adults seeking an action-filled romantic reprieve from reality.

Rating: On the Run (4/5)

*** I received this book from the author (Media Muscle) in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.

About the Author: (from

     Since first publishing in January 1996, Lori Foster has become a Waldenbooks, Borders, USA Today, Publisher’s Weekly and New York Times bestselling author of over 70 novellas and novels. She currently writes single titles for HQN.

     Lori believes it’s important to give back to the community as much as possible, and for that reason she ran special contests in conjunction with a publisher, facilitating many first sales for new authors. She routinely organizes events among authors and readers to gather donations for various organizations.

     Along with her good friend, Duffy Brown, Lori hosts a very special annual “Reader & Author” event in West Chester, Ohio. Proceeds from the event have benefited many worthy causes, including the Hamilton County YWCA Battered Women’s Shelter, the Animal Adoption Foundation, The Conductive Learning Center for children with spina bifida and cerebral palsy, and The One Way Farm, Children’s Home.

     In 2007, Lori put together The Write Ingredients a cookbook of recipes donated by popular authors. Proceeds from the cookbook go toward Lori’s ongoing “Troop project” of collecting and mailing fun, and sometimes necessary, items to our troops.

     In 2008, Lori coordinated with other authors of her choosing and arranged for the publication of The Power of Love, a special romance anthology of novellas about empowering women. All author and agent proceeds from the anthology go to the Hamilton Co YWCA Battered women’s shelter.

     In 2009, Tails of Love, another romance anthology with Lori and other contributing authors, was published with all agent and author proceeds to benefit The Animal Adoption Foundation.

     In 2010, The Gift of Love romance anthology, with Lori and other contributing authors, was published with proceeds to benefit The Conductive Learning Center, a school for children with cerebral palsy and spina bifida.

     In 2011, The Promise of Love, a romance anthology with Lori and other contributing authors, was published with proceeds to benefit the One Way Farm, a home for abused and abandoned children.

     In 2012, Love Bites, a romance anthology with Lori and other contributing authors, was published with all agent and author proceeds to benefit The Animal Adoption Foundation.


“If not prickly, then what?”

     She glanced up, saw he’d been watching her as she studied him, and wanted to sink into the floor. Her face went hot, her body hotter—but probably not for the reasons he assumed.

     “I’m private.” Although, the way she’d just looked at him, sort of eye-raping him—oh, God—it was no wonder he didn’t understand that.

     Every single time he got within her view, she visually molested him.


     As a special treat for Lori’s loyal fans, we’re doing various giveaways and contests to celebrate the release of RUN THE RISK and the launch of her new “Love Undercover” series!

     Starting October 1, we’ll be giving away one exclusive BookTrib Collectors’ Edition badge each weekday. These badges will be given to Lori’s diehard fans that follow her through every book. Entries will close at noon ET every day so be sure to get yours in! Participants may enter every day if you haven’t previously won.

     Another contest we will be running is with beautiful prints of Dirty Car Art! Check out the video below of how an artist turns a dirty car into Lori’s latest cover! We will be giving away one print of the Dirty Car Art every Friday during the month of October. But that’s not all! The winner will also receive a RUN THE RISKt-shirt! Enter here for your chance to win!
ENTER TO WIN a Dirty Car Art print by following the steps below:

Watch an artist turn a dirty car into Lori Foster’s cover: