Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes

The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes is about an aging Anthony Webster discovering the truth of the suicide of a friend from many years ago.

Upon the death of an old girlfriend's mother, Tony receives a mysterious willed gift of 500 pounds and some documents. The documents, one being a diary, belonged to his friend, who had taken his own life.

How had his ex-girlfriend's mother ended up with the diary? Why had she willed him money? And why was his ex-girlfriend keeping the diary, even after being solicited by his lawyers? Finally she agrees to meet with Tony. Hoping for clarity, Tony only gets more and more confused.

He can only hope that by meeting more with the bitter old girlfriend, that things will start to make sense. But he never expects to find what she will lead him to discover.

You can purchase The Sense of an Ending here:

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Before the Moon Rise by Dawn Gray

The cure for the darkness and death of a vampire is the light. Vampires feeding off of the one who holds the light are able to feel their heart beat again, their skin no longer turns to ash in the day, their stench of death retreats, and their coldness melts to warmth.

The light, protected and flowing in the blood of the unknowing Lily Reynolds, awakens the attraction of the vampires when Lily decides to vacation in New Orleans with her friend Kylie. Meeting up with a friendly historian and a strange, mysterious, very attractive man, they find themselves hunted by the local blood-thirsty beings.

Secrets reveal themselves about their new friends and about the history of the DeLaCrouix family line. Is history to repeat itself? Or will the addition of the strange new man keep the vampires from the blood they seek to steal?

Find Before the Moon Rise by Dawn Gray at

Friday, October 21, 2011

S.P.I.R.I.T: Fire Storm by Dawn Gray

A small Vermont town with a portal to an identical town a thousand miles away causes some spiritual paranormal activities for the fiery Samantha Ricketts.

A close-to-death experience links her to her true love, Zander Smith. Connected to each other by the portal, the two must figure out how they came to be where they are and why they're there.

Zander is part of a squad of special army agents assigned to the demons that steal souls. A squad referred to as the S.P.I.R.I.T. men.

Equipped with the power of fire and electricity, and the unique abilities to see and hear the demons that steal souls, the couple need to piece together the puzzle of Sam's past and connect the dots to their instant attraction and supernatural connection.

As they delve into the mystery, the demons get stronger and the nights get heated. Now they must help a lost soul find his way to his fiance's soul in the afterlife, battling one nasty demon for possession over him. But there's more to this than meets the eye. Guess who the lost lover soul is?

Find out by reading SPIRIT: Fire Storm by Dawn Gray. You can find it only in ebook format at Use promotional code JW95Z for a discount! Offer valid through November 16, 2011.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

It was supposed to be a challenge, though when it began when they were only five and six years old they didn't know the depth or the magnitude. In fact, they knew nothing of the game except that the game existed and their weapons were their ways with magic. Real magic, not smoke and mirrors.

Two magicians set against each other, binded together by ancient charms and enchantments combined into two rings. Each received their ring from their opponent's teacher. Each living their lives preparing for a game that neither knew anything about.

The venue? A circus. Each action affecting each and every performer and show in the circus, sometimes in a deadly fashion. And then they meet, and true to Isobel's tarot cards, they have fallen for each other. The older they get the more they see how their magic affects the circus itself, how it affects them. And soon they learn how the game finally ends. One must die.

How can the circus uphold itself if one of the true magicians are gone when all along it has been a combination of the two that allowed the circus to operate in the first place? Who will be the one to fall? Who will be the victor? The beautiful Celia Bowen, Master Illusionist, or the slight and quaint accountant with a learned disciplined ability, Mr. Marco Alisdair? And who gets trampled along the way?

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern is an intriguing and mysterious read. Find it at your local bookstore and national bookstores around the States.

To our Authors around the world:
"When the battles are fought and won and lost, when the pirates find their treasures and the dragons eat their foes for breakfast with a nice cup of Lapsang souchong, someone needs to tell their bits of overlapping narrative. There's magic in that. It's in the listener, and for each and every ear it will be different, and it will affect them in ways they can never predict. From mundane to the profound. You may tell a tale that takes up residence in someone's soul, becomes their blood and self and purpose. That tale will move them and drive them and who knows what they might do because of it, because of your words. That is your role, your gift." ~ The Man in the Grey Suit, The Night Circus, Erin Morgenstern.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

David Sedaris comes to Burlington, Vt.

David Sedaris has made his way to the little nook in the Northeast Kingdom known as Burlington, Vt. Sedaris is a humorist with bestselling titles such as Me Talk Pretty One Day, When You Are Engulfed in Flames, Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim and Naked. (Find my review of Naked here:

Catch him for one night only at the Flynn Center for the Arts on October 16, 2011. Tickets cost $60.00. Can we say Narcissistic Personality Disorder? Just kidding, David, know I love you.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh

Poplar, black...courage. Poplar, white...time. Mistletoe...I surmount all obstacles. Hazel...reconciliation. These are the flowers that define Vanessa Diffenbaugh's The Language of Flowers.

Throughout her life Victoria has been in and out of foster and group homes. At the age of nine she finally finds herself in a home she can handle. It is the home of Elizabeth, a single woman who owns a successful vineyard. Because Elizabeth grew up in a troubled home, she understands Victoria in a way no one else ever has. Victoria, reluctant at first, finds herself softening up to Elizabeth, life on the vineyard, and the beautiful language of flowers Elizabeth has taught her. Each flower, each plant, has a single meaning.

Elizabeth's past haunts her and her decision to reconcile with her sister has Victoria in a tift. In an attempt to keep Elizabeth to herself, Victoria commits an act that causes her to lose everything.

Back in the state's custody, Victoria is deemed unadoptable and stays in group homes until her emancipation at age eighteen. After a brief stay in a halfway home and the failure of finding (or rather looking) for a job, she is evicted. Homeless and surprisingly content, she is able to impress a local florist enough to get weekend work. On her first day of work the shopkeepr, Renata, takes her to the Floral Market to purchase the flowers needed for the day. At a booth Victoria meets an unshakeable character who, over time, she realizes knows the same language she knows.

Now Victoria finds herself communicating with this strange person by flowers and plants. Soon she finds their pasts intertwine in an unexpected way. And now all the things of her past with Elizabeth will return, along with a new big "bump", and all the Hazel (reconciliation) in the world is needed.

The Language of Flowers can be found in all major bookstores and online as an ebook. It comes with Victoria's Floral Dictionary.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Kill Me If You Can by James Patterson & Marshall Karp

Kill Me If You Can by James Patterson and Marshall Karp is the story of Matthew Bannon, an ex-Marine turned quaint and quiet art student. Nothing extraordinary here, just another art student that's fallen in love with his art teacher. Or is there?

The Diamond Syndicate is missing diamonds, the Russians who run the business are firing mad. The man who stole them, a former employee of the Syndicate, Walter Zelvas, was ordered assasinated by a mysterious kill-for-hire by the name of Ghost. Except, after the job is done, one lucky art student happens across the diamonds and becomes more than just a starving artist.

While taking his art teacher lover on a trip around the world, back home the Diamond Syndicate is hounding Boss Chukov to get them their diamonds back. So Chukov sends out the Ghost to catch the kid and also sends out German Marta Krall. He hopes that in the end the two will kill each other and he'd get his diamonds. So how does this puny art punk get out alive? Is he able to out manuever both of the most well known kill-for-hires of this time?

Kill Me If You Can is found at all major book vendors.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Litigators by John Grisham Pre Release Review

It's no surprise that John Grisham has done it again with his new book The Litigators. Long time law partners Finley & Figg have lead a boring legal life of DUIs and divorces. Now they think they finally have caught their big break when a bright new attorney who has made a few mistakes shows up on their doorstep needing a job. He has a sharp mind and is almost magical, but has a sketchy past. No one near as bright has ever shown interest in their firm. Not only that, but now they've found a pharmaceutical lawsuit to curtail onto, one that's worth $25 billion! It all seems a little too easy. As always, Grisham leads you through the exciting twists and turns of the judicial system with amazing characters. He never fails to entertain. Catch a full review here after its release in hard cover and ebook on October 25, 2011.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Confidence Men by Ron Suskind

Confidence Men by Ron Suskind hit shelves September 20, 2011. Ron Suskind, a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, recounts the US financial hysteria of the Obama Administration era.

The book is a composition in story-telling form that relies on the journalist's interviews with the public figures and White House employees. There is, of course, other sides of the story. One must always keep in mind that when writing and talking about politics and journalism reporting, that there are many sides and one story always looks different to another person.

Suskind illustrates how the President learned of the impending financial crisis that was inevitable, and the reasoning behind the American President's ideas on how to help the failing US economy.

Confidence Men continually takes the view that President Obama lacks leadership skills to make timely and informed decisions mostly due to his lack of experience and thus not knowing what to do when the crisis struck.

Suskind compared Obama to Neville Chamberlain, the English Prime Minister in the late 1930s who, as Sunskind put it, stepped aside when he realized he wasn't the best man for the job.(Wikipedia reports Chamberlain realized the Labour and Liberal
parties wold not support him in office and he saw that the country needed to be united in their support for their leader). Chamberlain resigned from his post and Winston Churchill took his place. Suskind uses Confidence Men to say that Obama should dedicate his time to preparing for the next President in line who can lead, rather than attempting to lead himself because he does not yet possess the proper leadership skills.

Confidence Men chronicles pieces of the Presidential race that Senator Obama won, covering details of how he won some of the hardest states in the campaign and out played Hillary Clinton with his charisma, finesse and seemingly unalterable calmness.

Confidence Men is a great book to read if you need a summary of the Obama Administration from the winning of states in his election up until early 2011.

Monday, September 19, 2011

A Stolen Life by Jaycee Dugard

A Stolen Life by Jaycee Dugard is the first person account of what it is like to be abducted. Kidnapped June 10 of 1991 at the age of eleven, Jaycee recounts her experiences with Phillip & Nancy Garrido. Forced to become a sex slave for the pedophiles, she is held captive for 18 years and gives birth to two daughters before her seventeenth birthday. It's not until years later that one small mistake on behalf of Phillip, allows the truth to come forward. Finally, the world knows where Jaycee Dugard has been all these years. And finally, after eighteen years, she is allowed to say her real name and to tell her girls that she is not their sister, but in fact their mother.

While in captivity Jaycee and her daughters are forced to live in small shed-like houses and tents in the hidden second back yard of Phillip's mother's house. Their entire world consisted of just this back yard until eventually Phillip allows them to go on outings with Nancy.

A Stolen Life
tells how Jaycee has been reunited with her family: the first phone call home to her mother after all those years, finding a sister who she doted on but who can't remember her because she was just a baby when Jaycee was kidnapped, and the reunion with a special aunt and some old friends from school. Jaycee tells her readers how difficult it is to deal with the media after reunification and how a certain therapist has been crucial to changing the effects of the manipulation she has been through.

The Mill River Recluse by Darcie Chan

The Mill River Recluse by Darcie Chan is the story of how one old lady's generosity affects the members of her small rural Vermont community.Forced into confinement by her social anxiety disorder and agoraphobia, Mary McCallister has always trusted the wrong people her whole life. After the death of her abusive husband and caring father, Mary is left to fend for herself. Her husband's family wants nothing to do with her. Except grandpop Connor McCallister, who makes sure Mary is financially secure and set for the rest of her life. It is Conner who makes the local priest promise to help Mary for the rest of her life because of her social condition. The loyalty of the priest brings Mary a crucial friendship.

The Mill River Recluse follows the stories of a Police Chief and his bakery wife, a life-risking Boston police officer turned tired small-town cop and his motherless daughter, a new grade school teacher and a certain evil-minded pyromaniac whose lives all affect each other.

Mary lives her life experiencing the world from her marble mansion on the hill by looking out the window down onto the town she loves. She gets information about the inhabitants from newspapers, radio shows and television. Now on her death bed, she wants to give something back to the community she has watched grow over those sixty years. Something that will change all their lives forever.

Friday, September 2, 2011

The Help by Kathryn Stockett

The Help, by Kathryn Stockett, is a story told in the 1960s amid events such as the March on Washington led by Dr. Martin Luther King, the death of a popular US President, Mr. John F. Kennedy, and the most important era of Civil Rights activism.

Ms. Skeeter Phelan returns home from college to find her life-time maid, Constantine, gone and no one will tell her where she is and why she left. Constantine was her one true friend.

Skeeter sends her resume to Harper and Row, a big publishing company in New York City. Who would hire a female recent graduate from Jackson, Mississippi to work in New York City? And much to her surprise, she receives a letter. Yeah, it's a rejection letter, but the sender, Ms. Stein, encourages her to find unique things to write about and to send her a list of those things and she'd help her out. She encourages Skeeter to get a job at the local newspaper. And so Skeeter does...writing a housekeeping advice column.

When Skeeter realizes she knows nothing about housekeeping she turns to her good friend Elizabeth Leefolt and asks to use Elizabeth's hired help, Aibileen, to help her answer the Ms. Myrna housekeeping questions.

It is with Aibileen that Skeeter gets her most majestic idea ever.

"No one ever writes from the side of the help," she explains to Ms. Stein. And then she's off, collecting stories from maids all over town about what it's like to work for a white family. It isn't easy at first. What black lady in her right mind would take such a risk in the deep south in the sixties, telling stories about the white families they work for? Fortunately, Skeeter is able to convince Aibileen to take part and through a series of events, convinces more than a dozen others as well.

These women are risking their very lives to tell their stories. The stories these women tell are stories of hurt, shame, appreciation, love and everything in between. They are stories of heroism, bravery, and fun times along with the bad. Skeeter finds herself wrapped up in the lives of these ladies and the new perspective she's found to tell an old story. But in keeping the secret, she loses her best friends, Hilly Holbrook and Elizabeth Leefolt, and now her relationship with the Senator's son is at stake.

Will their personal accounts be published for the world to see? Of course, it'll be published under Anonymous, and all the names are changed. Will anyone recognize the stories and find out they come from Jackson, Mississippi? Even if they do, Minny has a weapon. Will it be strong enough to keep them from getting the maids thrown in jail...or worse?

To find out if Aibileen, Skeeter and Minny are able to pull off the most daring endeavor of the time, look for The Help at your local bookstore or online.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Shoot the Moon by Billie Letts

How ironic that I should be sitting in the Nashville airport and reading a Billie Letts novel. For those of you who are not familiar with Billie Letts, she is the woman who wrote Where the Heart Is, which was made into a movie most affectionately known as the Walmart Baby movie. So as you can see this book is a very country type of reading.

Shoot the Moon has the same rural Oklahoma small-town scenery as Where the Heart Is. It brought back memories of old dirt roads leading out to dilapidated old trailers and small houses. It reminded me of my own upbringing. I could see a run-down hole in the wall pool hall that doubled as the local burger place. I could imagine a Dollar General Store on the corner across the street from the local bank and the gas station that had two pumps, one of which was always out of order.

The premise of the story is a murder mystery. A young mother is stabbed to death and her young infant baby's body was never found. Some twenty years later, a young Californian veterinarian man's parents die and he discovers he was adopted. When he flies out to the small Oklahoman town where his life began, he discovers it was his mother who was murdered...and the one who done it is a person you'd never suspect.

A full cast of characters including a tough-guy sheriff who has a thing for beating his wife (though has never touched his only son, who has Downs Syndrome), a pool hall owner and her world-travelling daughter who has returned home after learning she is pregnant, a set of giggling, sparkly Native American girls and a few rusty old men who play dominoes at the pool hall every day.

Shoot the Moon is a memorable story with a classic rural town feel. I'd recommend it to all those who enjoy happy endings.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

A Hundred Miles to Water by Mike Kearby

Living next to the Gunns in the cattle raising fields of McCullen County, TX has brought the Reston cowboys nothing but grief. Each day the Restons must defend their honor, their family and their herd against the hot-handed, murderous Gunns. When stealing cattle turns to killing the brothers, the eldest Reston son decides it's an eye for an eye.

When you've got 200 head of cattle and you're a hundred miles from water, that's quite a predicament. When you've got a band of brothers stealing your cattle and murdering your own, well, that's a hundred miles to water problem.

Join Pure and his foreman July as they chase their bandits to the Mexican border and beyond for justice and revenge. Each day is a new surprise, a new ambush and a new death in this family blood fued. What family will turn up on top in the end? And how many men have to die to claim it?

Mike Kearby, a seven-time novelist, does a fine job creating the character July, an African American cattle Foreman for Pure Reston of the Triple Bar R herd. Kearby tells his story through a cross of believable journal entries of July and third person point of view.

Louis L’Amour novel lovers would enjoy this story. Those interested in the stories of Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday will find themselves immersed in the show-downs and throat cuttings in this book, though don’t expect the witty dialogue associated with the Doc, or the academic and biblical references. But do expect the guts and glory and upholding of the old western codes. Do expect to sit on the edge of your seat waiting to read what happens next.