Posted in Uncategorized on November 10, 2008

Publisher – iUniverse Inc

The Power of Love – 4 out of 5 stars

The author, Dr. Paul Greenbaum, is a chiropractor and acupuncturist and is in the process of writing several other books about healing.

This is a true story based on a specific time in Dr. Greenbaum’s life beginning in 1985. He had recently lost his dog, Big Pal, and was visiting a friend to go camping, when this friend showed him puppies that lived next door that were not being cared for, or at least not very well. His friend encouraged him to take one so it would have a better life. Paul resisted, but something told him to go ahead and take the female puppy, Vicious, home with him. Vicious was misnamed; she wasn’t vicious at all, in fact she was very scared of everything around her, as Paul quickly realized on the car ride home.

Eventually the puppy was renamed Dobie and what followed for the next 13 years was nothing short of a miracle for Paul. Dobie overcame her fears and phobias and Paul learned what it meant to truly love someone. While he helped to heal Dobie, Dobie returned the favor and helped Paul heal and learn how to truly love.

This isn’t a long book; it’s only 127 pages, but what is in those pages had an impact on this reader. I have always loved dogs, and know that there is something to be said for the unconditional love that a dog shows for its owners. This is one of my favorite quotes from this book and I think that it sums up what the author is trying to convey:

“Love is more powerful than death. In fact, love transcends death. When the sacred chord is struck that opens two hearts to pure love, it matters not if they’re together for the full cycle of a lifetime or for just an instant. It is something that exists for eternity.”

If you love dogs or have a special connection to any animal, I recommend this book. You will appreciate your pet even more and perhaps create the same type of bond that Paul had with Dobie.

Reviewed for RebeccasReads (6/08)

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Posted in Uncategorized on November 10, 2008

Publisher – Poisoned Pen Press

Politicians are like piñatas, sometimes you have to beat them up to get what you want.

4 out of 5 stars

Greasing the Piñata is the third in the Cape Weather series by author Tim Maleeny.

The players:
Cape Weathers – former reporter turned PI
Sally – an Asian orphan that was raised and trained by the Hong Kong Triads and is a deadly force.
Rebecca Lowry – the Senator’s daughter that is searching for her missing brother and father
Chief Inspector Oscar Garcia – Mexican policeman, or is he?
Luis Cordon and Antonio Salinas – heads of opposing drug cartels in Mexico

In this installment, PI Cape Weathers is hired by a former Senator’s daughter, Rebecca Lowry, to find her brother and father. Her father disappeared a few days after her brother went missing. The news isn’t good, both her father and brother were found dead (and missing body parts) in Mexico and under suspicious circumstances.

What follows next is a web of lies and deceit by politicians, heads of drug cartels and even the Mexican police inspector. What is their plan? What are they trying to cover up?

While not having read the first two books of this series I wasn’t sure if I would be able to keep up with the characters or understand their background. The author did a great job of filling in the background on the characters so that you were drawn into their lives within the story and could only wonder what more there was that hasn’t been revealed. Cape Weathers has a dry sense of humor that almost gets him killed several times, but he manages to sidestep that danger just in the nick of time. Sally is definitely a deadly force not to be reckoned with if you wanted to stay alive. The heads of the drug cartels have their own agenda and wouldn’t mind taking over the other’s territory.

This is an intriguing political thriller that kept me on the edge of my seat wondering what could possibly happen next and who was behind the deaths of the Senator and his son? Would they be brought to justice? And if so, what sort of justice? Of course the twist near the end of the story was not expected and that just brought up more questions for this reader.

This is definitely a must read for those that enjoy a story that has so many twists and turns that you feel like you are on a rollercoaster and aren’t sure what is around the next corner.

Reviewed for RebeccasReads (9/08)

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Posted in Greece, Mykonos, mystery on November 10, 2008

Publisher – Poisoned Pen Press
Even beautiful places are not exempt from murder
4 out of 5 stars

Murder in Mykonos is the first novel for author Jeffrey Siger but he is no stranger to Greece and the island of Mykonos. He was a resident for 25 years and is able to translate that knowledge and his personal experience of the island into his novel.

The story starts with a beautiful young woman arriving on the island to enjoy the island and revel in the all night partying that Mykonos is known for. She is only able to enjoy the nightlife for a few days before she disappears with no fanfare.

Also new to the island is newly appointed Chief of Police is Andreas Kaldis. He is a former homicide detective from Athens but has been moved to the island in a political power play. He isn’t thrilled to be here but does his best to improve the law enforcement on the island. However, he arrives on the island in time to be caught up in a mystery that spans 20 years upon the discovery of the young woman found dead along with bones from at least 3 other victims.

Then another young woman disappears and this time someone is looking for her: her mother and her uncle, Deputy Minister Renatis. However, time is running out and they must find the killer before he strikes again. Will they find her before he follows through and kills again?

I thought for a first book that the author did a great job of pulling me into the storyline and throwing in just enough suspects that I was not able to figure out the killer might be and even at the end it took some deciphering of the conversations to figure out who the killer was since he was not named. This may have been the only part that I didn’t like because I had to go back and figure out who it was based on some information that was provided.

As I got closer to the end I definitely couldn’t put it down, it had me hooked and reading faster because I wanted to know who was killing the women, especially since he had been doing it for 20 years and had gotten away with it thus far. I don’t know that I liked that one of the police investigators was involved and knew what was going on but that is what makes a story, intrigue and underhandedness.

If you like mysteries and thrillers you will love Murder in Mykonos.

Reviewed for RebeccasReads (9/08)

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Posted in Eliza Blake, kidnapping, mystery on November 10, 2008

Publisher – Harper Collins
Life can be turned upside down in a moment
4 out of 5 stars

Author Mary Jane Clark is back with her latest novel involving Eliza Blake, the host of a morning news show on KEY News. Eliza has lost her husband and it is now just her and her seven-year old daughter, Janie. The day starts off as a normal day, Janie is off to camp for the day, Eliza is off to work, and the housekeeper, Carmen, is doing her daily chores. All is going well until one of Carmen’s rituals backfires and she is taken against her will and forced to take Janie from camp, possibly to never to be seen again by her mother.

Enter Stephanie Quick, a psychic that has helped police departments in the past solve crimes. She offers her assistance but is brushed off by the local police, until something she told them that she saw in her dream makes them at least consider the possibility.

Also involved are Eliza’s co-workers and friends, Annabelle, BJ and Margo. While they have Eliza and Janie’s best interests at heart, they also interfere with the investigation of the FBI by not revealing information to them that could assist in the search.

It has been a little while since a book pulled me in so quickly and I didn’t want to set it down. I read half the book during my lunch break and finished it that evening. The short chapters also helped!

The timeframe of the story is only a few days. There are a variety of characters and it took me a short bit to keep them straight and while I tried to figure out who kidnapped Janie and why, the ending was a HUGE surprise. I did not see it coming and didn’t figure it out until the main character, Eliza, did.

If you have never read anything by Mary Jane Clark, read this one. You needn’t have read any of the other books featuring Eliza to be reeled into this storyline, especially since it is one that most parents fear, their child being abducted for unknown reasons.

This reviewer definitely gives the book 2 thumbs up!

Reviewed for RebeccasReads (9/08)

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Posted in marriage, nonfiction, self help on November 10, 2008

Publisher – Atria Books (a division of Simon & Schuster, Inc)
Dare to believe that marriage is good
4 out of 5 stars

The author, Mark Gungor, is a pastor at Celebration Church in Wisconsin, a motivational speaker, musician and CEO of Laugh Your Way America.

This book is about the differences between men and women and how it affects their relationship with each other. The concept is similar to many books out there but the author puts a slightly different spin on the principles by including scriptures when applicable and humor. He includes real life experiences, both his personal experiences and experiences of those that he counsels or that attend his seminars.

I will admit that the title is a bit misleading. I’m not sure what I was expecting, maybe how to laugh in your marriage and this book didn’t provide that information. It did, however, provide a lot of insight into men and women and how they think or process information and how it will affect their spouse. It gave me a lot to think about when I request things from my husband and how he might act or react. Overall it is a good book and one that was an easy read.

There is a section in the book called Sex, Lies and the internet that is directed towards men in particular. Sure men may read the whole book but he starts the chapter by welcoming the men and saying that if they are like most guys they flipped to this chapter first. I’d say that he is pretty accurate with that statement. Women will learn from this section too, so don’t skip it!

There are a few quotes and passages that really struck me from this book and made me rethink how I view marriage whether it is my own or someone else’s.

“…finding someone to journey with in marriage is the slenderest part of a life-long relational journey. Marriage is more about work than about divine luck, more about finding someone to love than about finding someone to meet your own laundry list of personal needs.”

“Dare to believe marriage is good, that the one you are in is good. Dare to ask God to help you treasure it, appreciate it, and stay committed to it…..”

I would recommend this book to anyone that is looking to strengthen their relationship or wants to ensure that it continues to be successful.

Reviewed for RebeccasReads (7/08)

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Posted in paranormal, vampire on November 9, 2008

Cerridwen Press c/o Ellora’s Cave Publishing Inc.
9781419956836, $7.99, May 2007
Teacher turned vampire solves the mystery
3 out of 5 stars

“Underdead” is the first book by author Liz Jasper. She is a former middle school science teacher so the career of the main character is something she knows.

The novel starts off with Jo Gartner, a science teacher, out with her co-workers when they notice a handsome man looking their way. Co-worker Becky encourages her to go up to him and start a conversation. Jo doesn’t have that sort of courage but ends up chatting with him thanks to some help by Becky. They end up on the patio outside the restaurant/club talking about books. The next thing she knows is that Will is biting her neck and this causes her to panic. Jo is able to get away from him and make her way home but not before passing out in what she thinks is a cab. It turns out the cabbie is an undercover police officer and Will is a vampire that has just claimed Jo as one of his own, or at least partially.

It takes awhile for Jo to realize what has happened and she doesn’t take it well, after all who wants to become a vampire? She has to deal with different food cravings and a bad reaction to the sun. On top of that, co-workers are dying around her and she becomes the center of discussion among the parents because of rumors are circulating from leprosy to pregnancy. And then they think she is the one that is killing her co-workers.

Jo solves the mystery with the help of Gavin the undercover police officer but not without a few run-ins with Will and one of his minions, Natasha.

Overall I thought the book was ok. This was one of my first paranormal books and it didn’t seem to start off well and was just confusing. It seemed to be full of clichés about vampires (silver bullets, wooden stakes, an aversion to sunlight) and I was hoping for a bit more. Perhaps some background before the main character is bitten by the vampire would have been good to give us a better feel for Jo and who she is and what she does. The book did improve closer to the end but I don’t know if I will want to read her next book, “Underdead in Denial”.

This book would probably appeal to those that like the paranormal genre and even young adults.

Reviewed by Leslie Storey for RebeccasReads (6/08)

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Posted in fiction, New York, real estate on November 9, 2008

Publisher – Oceanview Publishing
ISBN – 9781933515137
Price – $23.95
Publication Date – 5/1/08
Was it The Deal of a lifetime?
Number of stars for (4/5)

The author, Adam Gittlin, is a commercial real estate executive in New York City. This is his second book; his first was The Men Downstairs.

Jonah Gray was on the fast track to success from growing up with a family that owned and managed real estate in the Northeast to working for a commercial real estate company owned by a family friend and brokering some of the best deals of his young life. So when the opportunity of a lifetime came along from a family friend that wished to purchase real estate in the Big Apple, who was he to question the request? Sure he only had three weeks to make the deal of a lifetime, but that is what makes the request a challenge. Everything seemed perfectly normal until a series of incidents that lead him to dig deeper than he ever imagined. Was the family friend on the up and up or was there more involved than meets the eye? And would his life ever be the same when it was all said and done?

I am familiar with commercial real estate and that world so was interested to see how the author brought this in as a part of the storyline especially since this is something the author is very familiar with in real life. While there are references to buildings in NYC, it was not heavy on the details which could be good or bad depending on what you were expecting.

There were times when the chapters lagged and I felt like there was too much detail for a scene at a club or restaurant. There was also more foul language than I normally prefer, however I was able to read past that part. Once the main character found a Fabergé Egg in his possession, everything changed and the pace of the story picked up and it kept me engrossed until the very end.

There are many twists and turns that I did not see coming. Who was his father and what had he not told him over the years? And what about his old family friend, Andreu? Was his story about needing to purchase the real estate legitimate? And why the rush? These questions are all answered as Jonah digs deeper and deeper into his family history.

Take a chance on this book, it is a good read and it just might surprise you.

Reviewed for RebeccasReads (5/08)

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