Saturday, October 30, 2010

Giveaway: Pretty Little Things

Pretty Little ThingsEarlier Jilliane Hoffman did a very informative guest blog with us.  We are lucky enough to have one copy of her novel Pretty Little Things to giveaway.


In order to qualify for this thriller, you need to do the following:

  • Be a resident of the US.
  • Enter the contest before November 6 at Midnight EST.
  • Fill out the form below.

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Guest Blog: Jilliane Hoffman

Yesterday I reviewed a great thriller, Pretty Little Things by Jilliane Hoffman.   It is with great pleasure that today we welcome Ms. Hoffman as a guest blogger. 

Protecting Your Child From Cyber-Monsters

By Jilliane Hoffman,  Author of Pretty Little Things

Last December, New York's Attorney General Andrew Cuomo announced that more than 3500 registered sex offenders had been purged from the social networking sites Facebook and MySpace in the state's first database sweep for sexual predators.

That's 3500 caught, convicted and registered sex offenders who'd actually used their real names when they signed up for a Facebook or MySpace page. That's not counting all the deviants that haven't yet been busted, pled to a lesser charge, had charges dropped, never registered their emails with their probation or parole officers, socially communicate using an alias, or live outside the Empire State. With that in mind, consider this sobering statistic: According to the Center for Sex Offender Management (CSOM), the average sex offender offends for 16 years before he's finally caught. In that time span, he has committed an average of 318 offenses and violated 110 victims.

Wow. Now just imagine who your kids may be chatting with online.  

The explosion of the Internet over the past decade has spawned fertile hunting grounds for sex offenders. Kids, and particularly teens, live their lives instantaneously and out loud on social networks, where every detail from where they'll be hanging out that night to who they'll be with and what they'll be wearing when they get there is posted for all of their "friends" to see. And those friends are not just the traditional bunch of kids you've known since elementary school. Social networking sites and chat rooms have literally opened up a whole new cyber-world to children. Online, they can be "friends" with hundreds, sometimes thousands, of people from all over the globe, most of whom they've never met outside of a WiFi connection. And of course, as the tragic headlines constantly remind us, in this faceless cyber world not everything is kid-friendly and not everyone is who they say they are. 

There are over 665,000 registered convicted sex offenders living in the United States. According to a study commissioned by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, one in every seven kids has been approached by a sexual predator online. That's 13% of children who use the Internet. Sex Offenders no longer need to leave the comfort of their living rooms to find and "groom" fresh victims. Rather, with just the click of a mouse, they can mingle in chatrooms, send and receive child pornography, and, of course, purview the walls of Facebook and the posts of MySpace like they might entrees on a dinner menu, replete with helpful personal information and pictures. Just ask the detectives who work online undercover or the producers of Dateline's popular To Catch a Predator -- in this fast-moving cyber-world, a predator can be anyone he wants to be: A twelve year-old boy, Jay-Z's agent, a modeling scout, a fourteen year-old girl. And teens, being the invincible bunch they are, always believe they'll be able to spot a poser or a predator a mile off on the computer, when the truth is they can't -- oftentimes until it is way too late. They've already been groomed. 

Back in the mid 90's, in response to the headline-making abduction of eleven year old Jacob Wetterling of Wisconsin, and the sexual assault and murder of seven year-old Megan Kanka by her neighbor, a repeat child sex offender in New Jersey, the feds enacted a series of laws designed to warn the public of the presence of dangerous sex offenders and heighten community awareness on an issue that was literally moving in right next door to Joe the Plumber. Each state was charged with establishing a sex offender registry and implementing a community notification program. The theory behind which was simple: Knowledge is power. If a sex offender is going to be out and about in the community, people -- and more particularly, parents -- should arm themselves with information about their identities and whereabouts so as to better protect their kids. Without promoting vigilantism, making yourself aware of the scum living in your zip code that your children might very well come in contact with and warning kids appropriately can be a very effective crime-fighting tool. But in today's world, where every kid has a cell phone in their pocket and a computer in their room, it's just not enough.

My daughter was in the fourth grade when a fellow eleven year-old classmate was approached on AIM (AOL Instant Messenger) by a 43 year old sexual predator who went by the screen name of "rooster69" and claimed he was a 16 year-old boy. It wasn't until he asked one of the little girl's friends to send him nude pictures that one of the children finally spoke up. I thought I had more time to ready myself on the dangers of the Internet. I was wrong. 

So what's a parent to do? How can you make sure your kids are Facebooking with fellow thirteen year olds and not forty-three-year-old convicted sex offenders? I'm a big believer in the real world. Show kids the headlines. Let them read the stories of teens who disappeared or were assaulted after meeting up with someone they met online. The stories are out there, and there are plenty of them. Check out perverted-justice.com for a real eye-opener. Then talk to your kids about limiting the amount of personal information they post, particularly addresses and schedules; inappropriate posts and pictures; the new horrible growing fad of sexting; and finally, limiting the amount of "friends" they have and just what those friends are able to see. And as a parent you have to know of what you speak. So if you don't have a Facebook or MySpace yourself, you better thoroughly check it out. And if you do allow your kid access to a social network, it should be a number one rule that he or she "friends" you with unrestricted access, so that you can monitor what he or she is doing. 

Then make sure you do just that. 
© 2010 Jilliane Hoffman, author of Pretty Little Things 

Author Bio

Jilliane Hoffman was an Assistant State Attorney in Miami between 1992 and 1996. Until 2001 she was the Regional Law Advisor for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, advising special agents on complex investigations including narcotics, homicide, and organized crime. Pretty Little Things is her fourth novel, following the international bestsellers Retribution, Last Witness, and Plea of Insanity. She lives in Florida.

A special thank you to Ms. Hoffman for sharing her insight with us.

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And The Winner Is...

Bending Toward the Sun: A Mother and Daughter MemoirCongratulations to Carol for winning Bending Toward The Sun by Leslie Gilbert-Lurie.

Please email Julie or Alice your mailing address so we can send the book off to you as soon as possible. Thanks to all of you for participating.

Girls Just Reading uses Random.org to produce the winner.

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Friday, October 29, 2010

Alice's Review: Pretty Little Things

Pretty Little ThingsSummary:  Some twists and turns in Hoffman's stand-alone thriller may leave readers scratching their heads, but the suspense ratchets up to such a high pitch that most will keep flipping pages till the end. Coincidentally, the 16-year-old daughter of Bobby Dees, a Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) special agent supervisor, a leading expert on discovering the fate of missing children, has been gone without a trace for almost a year. But that doesn't keep Bobby from being one of the best at his job. His immediate concern is the fate of 13-year-old Lainey Emerson, who's in the hands of a sadistic serial kidnapper known as "Picasso" for the bizarre depictions of the victims delivered to TV reporter Mark Felding. While Picasso taunts Bobby, Felding turns up the media heat on the investigation. Publishers Weekly

Review:  I normally don't read too many thrillers and man I was glad I read this one.  Pretty Little Things takes place in South Florida, centering around Agent Bobby Dees of the Crimes Against Children Division.  When young Lainey goes missing, the man they call "The Shepherd" is the one sent to find her.  There are two major story lines flowing simultaneously through this novel, the hunt for the one they call Picasso who targets young women and the back story of Agent's Dees missing daughter Katy. 

I loved the character of Bobby Dees.  Jilliane Hoffman wrote him as a flawed hero.  He seemed so real to me, focused on his job, trying to get his life back together after his own tragedy.  As a romantic at heart, I really enjoyed the connection between Bobby and his wife LuAnn.  I thought Ms. Hoffman portrayed married life in an authentic, heartfelt way.  I thought Ms. Hoffman had a way of capturing my attention and not letting it go until the last page.  Bobby wasn't the only character I enjoyed getting to know.  Ms. Hoffman managed to capture the essence of Lainey, the abducted 13 year old.  I completely believed her fear, her insecurities.  She was a beautifully multi-faceted character. 

Although I loved the characters, I thought there were a couple of plot holes that should have been addressed.   I had a few questions at the end.  I think the fact that the material was difficult to read didn't make it any easier.  Ms. Hoffman has a way with words, she didn't shy away from describing the horror Picasso inflicted on the victims.  There are some pretty sick people in this world and Ms. Hoffman delivered quite a villain in Picasso.  If you enjoy a good mystery with a touch of perverse horror, this is the book for you.  I'm sure you'll love Bobby as much as I did.  I look foward to reading what Ms. Hoffman has up her sleeve next.  Hopefully she'll bring back Agent Bobby Dees. 

Final Take:  3/5

A special thanks to Anna Suknov of FSB Associates for this great book.

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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Julie's Review: The Track of Sand

Summary: At the start of bestseller Camilleri's robust 12th Inspector Montalbano mystery (after 2009's The Wings of the Sphinx), the Sicilian inspector looks out his window and sees the carcass of a horse on the beach. The animal, he discovers, has been bludgeoned to death. As he turns his back to phone in the crime, the horse vanishes, leaving a track in the sand. Was the horse slaughtered for its meat by illegal immigrants? Is someone trying to send a message to the owner? Or is the Mafia edging its way into the racing industry? The repeated vandalizing of Montalbano's home and a Mafia thug's murder complicate the investigation. The street-smart inspector takes a broadly comic trip to the racetrack in an effort to link all these events together. While convoluted plotting and byzantine complexities distract, Montalbano uses some creative chicanery and tweaking of the law to provide a dramatic and satisfying conclusion. ~amazon.com

Review: I really believe that crime is the same everywhere and while many of the police officer traits are the same the approach is different. The Track of Sand is the first crime/mystery novel I've read set in Sicily, Italy. It is the 12th book in the Inspector Montalbano series. I have to say that at times it was difficult to understand the history between the characters. Although it was quite evident early in the book that Montalbano is quite the ladies man.

This is the most unusual case since he's not investigating the murder of a person but of an animal, a horse who was killed in the most heinous way. The mysterious part of it was that as soon as he turned his back, the animal carcass was gone. Who would kill a horse on the beach and then come back for the body? Was this linked to the Mafia? Was it linked to illegal horse gambling/racing? Inspector Montalbano was going to find out.

Most of the novel leads him on a wild goose chase to figure out who killed the horse. Along the way he meets the interesting Rachele Eastman, who is the owner of one of the horse that went missing. I wasn't quite sure which way the plot was going to go, which was a good thing. Mr. Camilleri does an excellent job of having a few different plausible plots to consider.

I also enjoyed how the story was wrapped up at the end. Inspector Montalbano is very clever in the way that he gets the confession out of the criminal. The conclusion is in the final 15 pages of the book and wraps up all the plots very well.

If you are a fan of International police novels, then the Inspector Montalbano series is for you. You don't have to start at the beginning of the series but it probably helps. Although I didn't feel I needed a map to understand the basic plot.

Thanks to the publisher for sending me a copy of the book to read.

Final Take: 3.75/5


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Monday, October 25, 2010

Jenn's Review: Infinite Days


Infinite Days (Vampire Queen)Summary:  "Throughout all my histories, I found no one I loved more than you...no one."


Those were some of Rhode's last words to me. The last time he would pronounce his love. The last time I would see his face.

It was the first time in 592 years I could take a breath. Lay in the sun. Taste.

Rhode sacrificed himself so I, Lenah Beaudonte, could be human again. So I could stop the blood lust.

I never expected to fall in love with someone else that wasn't Rhode.

But Justin was...daring. Exciting. More beautiful than I could dream.

I never expected to be sixteen again...then again, I never expected my past to come back and haunt me...



Review:  To tell the truth, I've been a little vampired-out so it took me a while to get around to reading this.  I shouldn't have waited; I adore this book!  Rebecca Maizel brings a fresh and fascinating take on vampires.

The story begins after Lenah's human transformation with well chosen flashbacks to her vampire life. It's a difficult style of storytelling (it can get so mired and bogged down), but Ms. Maizel pulls it off beautifully.  This way we experience Lenah from two perspectives, as the terrifying Vampire Queen, and as a teenager dumped in the wrong century.  The reader is taken along as Lenah grows and adapts to life in the twenty first century.  Lenah is endearing as she becomes human and her Vampire instincts begin to fade.

But the coven is looking for her, and what chance does a mere mortal stand against a vicious set of Vampires?  How do you protect your friends let alone yourself?

Ms. Maizel has created some fascinating vampires too. I am enthralled with Rhode, both his unusual vampiric nature and his ultimate sacrifice. Suleen is another vampire drifting in and out of the story, that I can't wait to learn more about. I have read some criticism for her characters being underdeveloped, and I think it's unfounded.  One of the caveats of writing in the first person, is that you only get to see the story from one person's point of view, the narrator.  Ms. Maizel has brilliantly given us two points of view through the narrator, and I think asking for more is a bit much.  Yes, some things are left to the imagination, but the readers perspective of each character changes as Lenah's does.  It is subtly, but cleverly accomplished.

This book is an enchanting twist on an, albeit, overrun subject. Rebecca Maizel made me fall in love with Vampires again.  I didn't think that was possible.  I anxiously await the second installment of the Vampire Queen series, Stolen Nights, due out June 22, 2011.

Final Take: 4.5/5.0 

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Sunday, October 24, 2010

And The Winner is...

Congratulations to Julie for winning The Lost Summer of Louisa May Alcott by Kelly O'Connor McNees.

Please email me (Julie) your mailing address so we can send the book off to you as soon as possible. Thanks to all of you for participating.

Girls Just Reading uses Random.org to produce the winner.





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Saturday, October 23, 2010

Giveaway: Bending Toward the Sun

Bending Toward the Sun: A Mother and Daughter MemoirEarlier, author Leslie Gilbert-Lurie did a great guest blog for us.  We are lucky enough to have a copy of her mother/daughter memoir Bending Toward the Sun to giveaway.

In order to qualify for this memoir, you need to do the following: 
        • Be a resident of the US
        • Enter the contest by October 30th at Midnight EST.
        • Fill out the form below

...and good luck!

Girls Just Reading uses Random.org to produce the winner.



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Guest Blog: Leslie Gilbert-Lurie

Tuesday I reviewed a great memoir, Bending Toward the Sun by Leslie Gilbert-Lurie with Rita Lurie.  Today I am honored to have Leslie Gilbert-Lurie join us for a guest blog.

It Can't Hurt to Ask: 15 Conversations to Have with Your Parents
By Leslie Gilbert-Lurie
Author of Bending Toward the Sun: A Mother and Daughter Memoir

For readers who still have the chance, there may be no greater gift you can give yourself and your children than to know more about your parents' early years. Sometimes the opportunity to ask questions simply presents itself, perhaps at a family reunion, or in a relaxed setting on vacation. But for many, it will not. I've found that since my memoir of my mother and I, Bending Toward The Sun, came out three weeks ago, people have told me that they wish they had asked their parents more questions about their pasts. We often have to pro-actively initiate these probing, more intimate conversations, which are not always in our comfort zones.



However the opportunity arises, what follows are 15 suggestions that will help open up these important discussions among family members.


1. Create a family tree with your mother, father, or both. Ask them to tell you everything they know about your ancestors, including birthplaces and important dates in their lives.


2. Ask your mother or father to describe his or her primary childhood home. Perhaps he or she can go on to tell you about a particularly happy memory of an event that took place there, and a painful memory as well.

3. Ask your parent what books, movies, and music were his or her favorite as a child. You can then move from there to ask about current favorite books or movies.

4. Childhood heroes provide a rich topic of conversation. Ask your parents who their childhood heroes were. Again, you can move from childhood to present day and explore whom they most admire and why.

5. Explore the family vacations your parents took as a child. Ask about where they particularly liked to go, and whether there were any trips they disliked.

6. Try and discover what the rules were in your mother's or father's family, and which of these rules, if any, they felt were unfair. Also use this opportunity to learn what responsibilities your parents had as children, and how these contributed to the people your parents evolved into.

7. Inquire about the things your parents wanted to do as children but could not because your grandparents wouldn't allow them to, they were unaffordable, or your parents did not possess the talent or skills to do them.

8. Ask your parents what questions they wish they had asked their own parents but never did.

9. It is not always easy to ask parents about their own fears, but it provides a good opportunity for mutual understanding. Ask your mother or father what he or she was afraid of as a child and about what he or she fears most today.

10. Ask your father or mother to describe a crush he or she had, or a special teenage romance.

11. Explore how your parents perceived themselves as children. Ask them how they thought adults and peers viewed them, and which aspects of these perceptions were accurate or inaccurate.

12. Ask your parents what first attracted them to each other, and what they most respect or respected in the other. If they are no longer married to one another, see if they will discuss what drove them apart and why.

13. Probe into the highs and lows of your parents' lives. Ask about their proudest accomplishments and greatest disappointments. If they had one thing to do over in life up to this point, what would it be and why?

14. While they are reflecting, ask your mother or father what they would most want to be famous for, if they were destined to be famous for something.

15. Don't miss the opportunity to explore how your parents view you. Ask your parents what about you reminds them of themselves at the same age. Ask what they are proudest of in you. And, if you are feeling particularly comfortable by that point in the conversation, ask if they have any questions to for you.

Most people have neither the time nor the desire to spend a decade writing a memoir about a parent or close family member, as my mother and I had the opportunity to do. But even a couple hours spent exploring the past with a parent could provide new and deeper appreciation and understanding. Moreover, a few pages of heart-felt answers could be very satisfying and useful to future generations.


©2010 Leslie Gilbert-Lurie, author of Bending Toward the Sun: A Mother and Daughter Memoir


Author Bio:
Leslie Gilbert-Lurie, author of Bending Toward the Sun, is a writer, lawyer, teacher of Holocaust Studies, child advocate, and former executive at NBC. Leslie Gilbert-Lurie is a member and past president of the Los Angeles County Board of Education, a founding member and past president of the non-profit Alliance for Children’s Rights, and a board member and co-chair of the Education Committee for the Los Angeles Music Center. She has been a recipient of the American Jewish Congress’s Tzedek Award for Outstanding Commitment to Civil Rights, Civil Liberties, and Justice, and the Alliance for Children’s Rights Child Advocate of the Year Award. This year she will be honored in Los Angeles by Facing History and Ourselves, for her work as a writer and teacher.

She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and two teenage children. For more information please visit her website at http://www.bendingtowardthesun.com/

A special thanks to Ms. Gilbert-Lurie for taking the time to share this blog with us.


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Friday, October 22, 2010

Julie's Review: Jericho Point

Summary: When a woman’s body washes up on the shore of California’s Jericho Point, she’s identified as Evan Delaney. Except that Evan is very much alive—apparently the victim of an identity thief who’d been scamming Hollywood elite. The thief may be dead, but the crimes she was murdered for—committed in Evan’s name—are turning Evan’s life into a nightmare. Now it’s all Evan can do to survive in the shadow of a dead woman’s lies. ~amazon.com

Review: Ah Evan, she always finds herself and her loved ones in precarious situations but this one takes the cake. This is the worse possible case of stolen identity that I could ever dream of. Not only is your fiance/lover on his way to identify your body, but you have bills you didn't even know about. How do you deal? Well if you are Evan Delaney, you throw yourself right into the mix. Me, I'd cry and try to wade through it with the police. Hence, why I'm not a kick butt attorney/writer.

Jericho Point picks up soon after Mission Canyon and we still see the affects of that on both Jesse and Evan. Jesse is even more self-loathing and destructive than before, but it's bordering on reckless for both himself and Evan.

Somehow Evan always ends up taking things into her own hands and yes, she comes out ok in the end but there is going to be some emotional and psychological ramifications here as well. You can't go through what Evan does in the book and not be seriously affected.

Meg Gardiner always knows how to write a fast-paced, action packed book with character development and I LOVE that. So many times, it's one or the other. I also loved that she brought back Evan's brother Brian, nephew Luke and Brian's wingman, Marcus Dupree. OK, I admit it I find Marcus Dupree yummy. I wouldn't mind if Evan found solace in those arms. I know she won't because she loves Jesse, but a reader can dream.

There is one thing that did bother me about the book and that was the mastermind behind the identity theft, I just didn't buy it. I just didn't think the character was smart enough and cunning enough to pull it off. You also can figure out pretty early in the game the crowd that's involved and like Evan we just need to puzzle the whole picture together. The band of criminals almost seemed cartoonish at times, especially the leader.

Also, I feel that Jesse needs to grow as a character. He needs to deal with his anger over the accident and move past that. Same with Evan. I know she loves Jesse but she needs to figure out if she's ever going to be willing to marry him. I think they have issues that would have came to a head even if Jesse hadn't been in an accident. Jesse's reckless behavior will have disastrous effects on both of them.

All in all a good entry in the Evan Delaney series. I still really enjoy Evan and I love the way Meg Gariner writes. I just want to see character growth in the next couple books. I don't think that's much to ask.

Crosscut is the next novel in the series and I definitely plan on reading that in the next few months. Pretty soon I'll be caught up and anxiously awaiting a new book.

Final Take: 3.75/5

Jenn's Review: Jericho Point


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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Alice's Review: Bending Toward the Sun

Bending Toward the Sun: A Mother and Daughter MemoirSummary:  The lasting impact of the Holocaust on a survivor and her daughter emerges in this joint account by Lurie-Gilbert and her mother. Lurie was five when a farmer agreed to hide her along with 14 Polish-Jewish relatives in his attic in exchange for jewelry and furs. While in hiding, Lurie witnessed the Nazis shoot a cousin and an uncle; her younger brother and mother died in the stifling, stinking hideout (years later her daughter, Gilbert-Lurie, wonders if the boy was smothered to quiet him and if her grandmother died of a broken heart). After the war, in an Italian DP camp, Lurie's father remarried to a stepmother Lurie resented; her father became increasingly depressed and remote when their fractured and traumatized family relocated to Chicago; and deep depressions haunted Lurie's own otherwise happy marriage. Gilbert-Lurie in turn recalls her mother's overprotectiveness, her career as a TV executive, a 1988 visit to her mother's childhood village and her own guilt, anxiety and sadness. Although the voices and experiences expressed are valuable, the writing is adequate at best, with none of the luminosity of Anne Frank, to whom Gilbert-Lurie compares her mother. Publishers Weekly

Review:  This has to be one of the most unique memoirs I have ever read.  It's a joint effort between Leslie Gilbert-Lurie and her mom, Holocaust survivor, Rita Lurie.  What drew me toward Bending Toward the Sun is the detail that Mrs. Gilbert-Lurie in particular describes the dynamic of her family and the effect the Holocaust continues to have on them.   The underlying theme of this memoir is whether grief and fear could be transferred from generation to generation.  If that is true, I think it's safe to say that strength and courage is transferable too.

Mrs. Lurie is truly inspiring.  She is a survivor in every sense of the word.  She is a woman who never had a childhood, who suffered such shocking loss at such a young age, yet learned to live a life full of joy.  She took what she was given and made the best of it.  She lived.  I enjoyed reading both her account of her time during the war and also her daughter's memories of her.  She was so brutally honest with herself at times, it was heartbreaking to read.  She moved me to tears during her bouts of depression.  I wanted to jump into the pages, lay down next her, cry into the pillow with her and comfort her in the way she needed but wouldn't allow anyone to give her. 


Mrs. Gilbert-Lurie did justice to her family.  I have been fascinated by World War II for some time now however this is the first time I read a memoir from a Holocaust survivors point of view.  She did a fantastic job of writing in a way that pity for Gamss family is the farthest thing from my mind.  I was honored to get to know a family who did everything in their power to protect each other, to care for each other.  This family did everything it took to survive and instill that will to survive in them all.

My favorite part came towards the end of Bending Toward the Sun during an assembly held by Mrs. Lurie to her grandson Gabe's school. 

"The main message she tried to communicate was that while life was rarely perfect, individuals had the strength inside to overcome setbacks, to love instead of hate, and to influence others to be better human beings...(she) urged the students not to go along with what they knew was wrong, mean or destructive to themselves or others."

And that is how you survive.

Final Take:  4/5

A special thank you to Julie Harabedian  of FSB Associates for providing me with this wonderful memoir.


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Sunday, October 17, 2010

Julie's Review: Black Sun

Summary: In the heart of the Amazon, NRI operative Danielle Laidlaw makes an incredible discovery: a translucent Mayan stone generating massive waves of energy while counting down toward the infamous apocalyptic date: December 21, 2012. And somewhere, there are three more just like it. What power will be unleashed if all four stones come together? Who created them—and who has them now? Using a cryptic Mayan map and a prophecy that points to the end of the world, Danielle and her team race toward answers. But one staggering question remains: Were these artifacts meant to save us—or to destroy us once and for all? ~amazon.com

Review: Want to read about the end of civilization? Yeah, me either but Graham Brown hooked me with  Black Rain a few months ago, so I knew Black Sun was going to make in on my TBR list. This one takes off 2 years from where Black Rain ended. Do you need to read Black Rain to get Black Sun; not really, but I definitely thinks it helps to understand the characters and their history together. Black Sun is an action packed thriller from the start.

The NRI has been studying the stone they found in the Amazon for 2 years and has determined that there are at least 2-3 more stones similar out in the world somewhere. Danielle Laidlaw and Professor McCarter are on a mission to find it and they do but not without some issues. Professor McCarter falls and almost dies and Danielle is kidnapped by a Chinese Mafioso. This is where we are re-introduced to Hawker. Let me tell you, I was happy to see him. Of course, not only is the Chinese Mafioso after them but they've got the Russians after them as well.

This time around the players know what they are getting into and each for different reasons. Danielle wants to finish what she started, McCarter wants to complete the puzzle that is the Mayan Culture, and Hawker wants to protect Danielle. They each are striving for their own truth.

Mr. Brown does an excellent job of pulling the story together and of explaining the scientific components in layman's terms. For me this was helpful as science wasn't my strongest subject. The resolution that he writes about in the book left me extremely satisfied. Saying that, I would love to see this NRI team back for another adventure. The world might have been saved from this disaster but there's always another one looming.

I'm not one for Doomsday books or prophecies, they freak me out but Mr. Brown writes it in a way that is enlightening instead of scary. That greatly pleased me because it was fresh. The truth of the matter is that no one really knows what the Mayan calendar truly means but of course there are plenty of theories.

So, do I think the world will go dark on 12/21/2012? No, but if it does, we certainly won't know it. Plus, weren't we all supposed to be sent back to the 1800s on 1/1/2000?

Final Take: 4/5


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Saturday, October 16, 2010

And the Winner Is...

Congratulations to twoofakind12 for winning a copy of Josi S. Kilpack's fourth culinary mystery, Key Lime Pie!

Key Lime Pie - A Culinary Mystery
Please email me (Jenn) your mailing address so that we can send the book off to you as soon as possible. Thanks to all of you for participating.

Don't forget all of Ms. Kilpack's recipes are available for download on her website to be found under each book, respectively.
Girls Just Reading uses Random.org to produce the winner.

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Monday, October 11, 2010

Giveaway: The Lost Summer of Louisa May Alcott

Earlier today, author Kelly O'Connor McNees did a wonderful guest blog for us detailing how her novel came to be. We are lucky enough to have a copy of her novel The Lost Summer of Louisa May Alcott to giveaway.

In order to qualify for this fantastic book, you need to do the following:

  • Be a resident of the US or Canada
  • Enter the contest by October 22nd at Midnight EST.
  • Fill out the form below

Good Luck!!

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