Posted in Review, TBR, Tuesday on June 18, 2013

Well I don’t know how it happened, but I have more books to review that I can shake a stick at!  So I wanted to share with you what will be coming up for review in the coming months.  And these are only the paper copies…the eBook’s are a whole ‘nother post!

sweptupby the sea Swept Up by the Sea by Tracy Hickman

saving faith

Saving Faith by Patrick M. Garry

the seers

The Seers: New World Order by M D Kaczkowski


What Matters Most by Bette Lee Crosby


The Last Keeper’s Daugher by Rebecca Trogner


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Posted in chick lit, teaser, Tuesday on September 25, 2012

This week’s teaser comes from author Ariella Papa who has written several books including On the Verge and Bundle of Joy.  Well this will be a little more than the usual teaser, but perhaps it will pique your curiousity!


Prologue – Mo’ Money Mo Problems

I like to think of money in terms of the rock shrimp tempura at Nobu Next Door. When I take a cab I think, that’s about a third of a plate of tempura. So I prefer the subway. Sometimes, I don’t buy clothes because, that’s two to four plates worth. I try not to think about my rent in those terms. That might make a girl lose her appetite.

The city is filled with food. Everything from the beef cheek ravioli at Babbo to the pumpkin pomegranate soup at Mesa Grill. Don’t even get me started on the loads of possibilities opening up to me every week in the Dining In/Dining Out of the New York Times. It’s almost too overwhelming for this foodie to bear.

So every two weeks I invite a friend out for rock shrimp tempura, always with the spicy creamy sauce. It just sort of keeps things in perspective. In a city full of savory tempting substances, there’s got to be one thing that’s familiar.

I was your typical working girl struggling to make ends meet and pay off my credit card and student loans. Next thing I knew ON THE VERGE magazine named the character I had created and animated a feminist icon for the tween generation.

Esme’s Enlightments was just a bunch of short interstitials, which are like short film commercials, I worked on between animating title sequences and doing promo graphics for Explore Family! They were an upstart channel trying to make their way in the tough world of kids TV. Unfortunately they had no animated series but as soon as Esme got on the radar, (and who would think any one even read that magazine?) Hackett the head of programming called me into his office and set unbelievable deadlines for me to get an actual episode produced. He wanted me to turn my sixty second shorts into an actual TV show!

I loved my character, Esme. She may have been a bespectacled smart-aleck thirteen year old, who was a glorified imaginary friend, but she was my baby. She was comfortable with herself and her smarts. Everything I hadn’t been at thirteen, everything I still wished that I was now. I couldn’t believe people liked Esme so much. Overnight, I got a staff, a promotion, a fat raise and a hair cut. I busted my ass to get the first 22 minute episode of Esme’s Enlightments ready for the Upfront, where all the advertisers would lay their money down for the following season.

It was a huge success. The licensing department worked up all these plush Esme dolls and created an Esme’s board game and the advertisers spent their money if there was no tomorrow. Hackett gave an inspiring speech about how Esme was going to help shape the future of the network and even though she was a girl, she had tested well with boys who thought she was a techhead. I felt tears coming to my contacts when he talked about how Esme had tons of possibilities and it was all thanks to one young woman who believed. Me.

I stood up and got a huge round of applause. If my life were the movie I often wish it was, the credits could have rolled right then. Okay maybe, Tommy my recently exed boyfriend who I still found time to have stress relieving fantastic sex with, would have come from the side of the stage and lifted me up into a freeze frame, just like in Dirty Dancing. Then the audience to my movie could have left with feel good smile that you always see in the commercials for blockbusters.

Like many people who work in TV, I’m obsessed with film.

But, he didn’t come and the credits didn’t roll and even though it was a really great feeling. I still had to produce 13 episodes in a matter of months and I barely had time to breathe, much less properly blow out my new haircut.

The first few episodes of Esme’s Enlightenments The Series got exceptional ratings and press, but my work wasn’t done. We are constantly rolling out new episodes and that meant late nights. And believe me, all the delivery food I have to order in to my office doesn’t satisfy this food addict’s jones.

But, I was an adult and these were adult responsibilities and I had to deal, right?

So, I was out for an every second week dinner at Nobu with my roommate, Lauryn. I barely saw Lauryn with the hours I kept. When I arrive, she has already ordered a mango martini for me. We kiss hello and I take a bite of the dried piece of mango that comes with the drink.

“You seem very happy.” I say. Since Lauryn realized her marriage to Jordan was really only a starter marriage and his ideas about commitment involved spending her money and sleeping with other women, she had become very bitter. It was nice to see her smile and not mention that I was twenty-five minutes late.

“Well, Rebecca, it’s finally over.”


“My D-I-V-O-R-C-E became final today,” she sang.

“Wow! That’s great,” I said. I’m not sure I really think so. I mean, we’re barely 27 and she is divorced, but I guess it’s cool because she is happy and Jordan is a dick. I hold up my martini glass and clink it into hers and a little bit of our drinks spills.

We order our meals, we each get shitake mushroom salads and she gets yellowtail sashimi with jalepeno. I approve, knowing I will be able to sneak a bite. I try not to associate with anyone who don’t believe in sharing foods.

We get more drinks. I’m exhausted, but kind of enjoying just listening to Lauryn chatter about her day after going to the lawyer. She is telling me about all the birds in Central Park and how she had always been a closet birder.

Suddenly, I realize that Lauryn is telling me something big.

“Wait a second! What?”

“I’m quitting my job and going up to a study the feeding habits of piping plovers on Martha’s Vineyard this summer. I’m also applying to get a Phd in Ecology in Boston.”

“But, what about our apartment? Your apartment?”

“You can have it, if you want. I just figured you’re never there and the lease is up in June and you’re probably moving back in with Tommy soon anyway.”

“Why? I’m not dating him anymore.”

“But, you’re still sleeping with him.”

“Three times!” I said holding up my fingers. “Three times in five months. And they were all after extremely stressful days.”

“This city is full of stress,” Lauryn said suddenly, strangely at complete peace with herself. “That’s why I’m moving out. Anyway, I think you’re forgetting a few drunk dials.”

“They were stressed out drunk dials.” She smiles at me. She has been more cheerful since starting therapy.

‘You can keep it if you want. I bet you can afford it now with your promotion.” The waitress sets my tempura down in front of me. For the first time ever, I wasn’t hungry for it. There was no way I could afford $2,100 a month and ever expect to see this plate in front of me again.

The next sip of my drink tasted more like vodka than mango and only one thought occurred to me: What if this was my last plate of rock shrimp tempura ever?

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Posted in romance, teaser, Tuesday on September 18, 2012

I won Ocean Beach by author Wendy Wax from Book Hounds many month ago…I still haven’t read it yet but thought I would highlight the book because it does sound good!



Madeline, Avery and Nicole, the unlikely friends from Ten Beach Road, have hit some speed bumps in their lives, but when they arrive in Miami’s South Beach neighborhood, they are all hoping for a do-over. Literally. They’ve been hired to bring a once-grand historic house back to its former glory on a new television show called Do-Over. A lot hinges on the success of the DIY program. For Nikki, it would mean getting back on her feet financially. For Avery, it’s a chance to restart her ruined career. And Maddie hopes it will give her a shot at keeping her family together.

At least, that’s the plan—until they realize that having their work broadcast is one thing, but having their personal lives play out on TV is another story entirely. Soon they’re struggling to hold themselves and the renovation together, even as a decades-old mystery—and the hurricane season—loom on the horizon, threatening not only the project but everything that’s brought them together.



This is from page 169

Next she unwrapped a sterling-silver dresser set.  “Oh my gosh,” Maddie said as she held up the hairbrush, comb, and mirror.  “These are beautiful.  I feel like I’ve been let loose in a treasure chest.”



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Posted in China, Historical, teaser, Tuesday on September 11, 2012

My book club is reading this book for our gathering this weekend where we will also watch the movie.  I will have to say that the tradition of binding feet is a little disturbing but I know it was what was done at that time.

Lisa See is the author of this novel.


In nineteenth-century China, in a remote Hunan county, a girl named Lily, at the tender age of seven, is paired with a laotong, or “old same,” in an emotional match that will last a lifetime.  The laotong, Snow Flower, introduces herself by sending Lily a silk fan on which she has written a poem in nu shu, a unique language that Chinese women created in order to communicate in secret, away from the influence of men.  As the years pass, Lily and Snow Flower send messages on the fan and compose stories on handkerchiefs, reaching out of isolation to share their hopes, dreams, and accomplishments.  They both endure the agony of footbinding and together reflect upon their arranged marriages, shared loneliness, and the joys and tragedies of motherhood.  The two find solace, developing a bond that keeps their spirits alive.  But when a misunderstanding arises, their depe friendship suddenly threatens to tear apart.


page 103

Wife Wang knew she was doomed for sleeping with her husband, but when he tested her knowledge of the Diamond Sutra and found that she could recite it without flaw, he gave her a room of her own so she could remain celibate for the rest of their married life.

ok, I haven’t gotten this far and have no clue what this is about but I am intrigued!

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Posted in suspense, teaser, Tuesday, Washington DC on May 8, 2012

Today’s teaser is from The Nazi Hunter by Alan Elsner.


Mark Cain – deputy director of the Office of Special Investigations – tracks down and brings to jusice ex-Nazis who have quietly slipped into the country since World War II.  But on a rainy November afternoon, it’s a woman wearing a red brooch who slips past security and into Cain’s office.  “I am looking for the Nazi hunter,” she says.  “I have documents – important documents.”  She promises to show him the documents when they next meet, but she never returns.  At first, Cain dismisses her as just another crackpot, but when the Washington Post reports that a woman wearing a red brooch has been brutally murdered, he suspects he may be on to something big.  He must find those documents!

Meanwhile, the Republicans have taken control of Congress, and the newly elected Speaker of the House can’t wait to cut big government down to size.  The thread of budget hearings hangs over Cain’s head, but he knows that the Office of Special Investigations is immune from elimination, or is it?

As Cain slides further into a tangeled web of secrets and murder, he realizes that he has entered a race for his life – one that will draw him from the vicious halls of Washington politics, through the dark heart of Europe’s past, and into the savage lair of America’s right-wing militias.


from page 124

“We’ll be cutting government deaparments all across the board, ” Doneghan said, his voice rising.  “Nobody’s exempt.  You boys thing you’re above everyone else? The era of big government is over for everyone, mister, and that includes you.”

It was like watching a prizefight, two heavyweights beating each other senseless.  But I was also proud of Eric.  He wasn’t backing down an inch.

“We’re not ‘big government’ as you put it.  Our department is small, our budget is tiny, and we can account for every center. If you come after us, you’ll be making a big mistake.”

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Posted in teaser, Tuesday on April 10, 2012

Today’s book comes to us from Janet Evanovich and Dorian Kelly and is titled Love in a Nutshell.  The website touts it as a romantic suspense…well, ok there is some suspense but not that much IMHO!


Kate Appleton needs a job. Her husband has left her, she’s been fired from her position as a magazine editor, and the only place she wants to go is to her parents’ summer house, The Nutshell, in Keene’s Harbor, Michigan. Kate’s plan is to turn The Nutshell into a Bed and Breakfast. Problem is, she needs cash, and the only job she can land is less than savory.

Matt Culhane wants Kate to spy on his brewery employees. Someone has been sabotaging his company, and Kate is just new enough in town that she can insert herself into Culhane’s business and snoop around for him. If Kate finds the culprit, Matt will pay her a $20,000 bonus. Needless to say, Kate is highly motivated. But several problems present themselves. Kate despises beer. No one seems to trust her. And she is falling hard for her boss.

Can these two smoke out a saboteur, save Kate’s family home, and keep a killer from closing in…all while resisting their undeniable attraction to one another? Filled with humor, heart, and loveable characters, Love in a Nutshell is delicious fun.


This week’s teaser comes from page 68 and just highlights the humor that these authors always manage to include in the books:

“Let me get this straight,” Matt said.  “I hired someone who hates beer to work in a microbrewery?”

“It looks that way.”

“I think I need a more detailed application form.”

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Posted in Tuesday on March 27, 2012

I was poking around Goodreads and upcoming events and saw that author Vannetta Chapman would be in my area this Saturday signing copies of her newest book A Perfect Square.  This is book two to follow Falling to Pieces.  This book series is set in Amish country and a quilt shop that a young woman inherits from her aunt.  I’ve read Amish stories before but I think this is the first series that has included a murder.  No wait, I take that back. There is also a fun series by Tamar Myers that involves the Pennsylvania-Dutch and involves cooking (yum!)

Anyway, the teaser for today is from Falling to Pieces.


When two women—one Amish, one English—each with different motives, join forces to organize a successful on-line quilt auction, neither expects nor wants a friendship. As different as night and day, Deborah and Callie are uneasy partners who simply want to make the best of a temporary situation. But a murder, a surprising prime suspect, a stubborn detective, and the town’s reaction throw the two women together, and they form an unlikely alliance to solve a mystery and catch a killer.


from page 132:

“Of course if Harper is detained on a more permanent basis, Mrs. Yoder would be able to return during regular visiting hours and see her.”

“That’s not the outcome we’re working toward, Officer.”

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Posted in America, Tuesday on March 20, 2012

On a website I belong to ( they were asking for 10 volunteers for a challenge.  The challenge is for 2 weeks to buy only items made or produced in the USA.  Sounds easy right?  Wrong!  Looking at the items on my counter to make a salad last night, only the spinach was grown in the USA.  The rest was imported from Mexico.  This could hamper our eating once I start the challenge.

This was brought on by a book called Buying America Back: A Real-Deal blueprint for Restroing American Prosperity by author Alan Uke.  Alan is a San Diego businessman, entrepreneur and community leader and has provided hundreds of jobs and revenues fo rthe San Diego area for over 40 years.  He is also the architect of the federal Automobile Smog Index. (did you even know there was such a thing?!)

 This is not a long book at all.  The actual book is 81 pages and then the rest of the book is references and other supporting documentation.

This particular sentence stood out to me on page 16:

It is interesting to note that in 1968 there were sixty-two  lobbyists in Washington.  Lobbyists are usually hired  by business and special interest groups.  Today, there are 34,000.

Perhaps that is what is wrong with our country and the economic problems we face.  Too many fingers in the pot and our politicians doing what they lobbyists want and not what the American people want or need!

I also liked this bit of information on page 6:

When we put labels on products to encourage purchases which are beneficial to the United States, we can begin to change our buying habits.  If each person shifted just 1% ($1 per day) of their spending, we would see instant change.  By each person spending just one dollar more per day on products manufactured in America, we would shed 100 billion dollars from the trade deficit.  If each billion dollar shift in the trade deficit translates to 13,000 jobs, this would create 1.3 million jobs in America.  More than the stimulus package produced – with just one dollar per person per day!

If this is something you are interested in learning more or taking a pledge or signing a petition, please visit the website.

I’m all for making a change to help my country, how about you?



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Posted in mystery, romance, Texas, Tuesday on February 2, 2012

I had good intentions this year to post at least twice a week….well that worked for the first few weeks of the year and then I don’t know what happened.  Actually I can’t believe it is February already, where did January go? 

So my teaser that I should have posted on Tuesday made it to Thursday, but it is still a day that begins with the letter T! 

Today’s teaser is a new series by author Diane Kelly called Death, Taxes and a French Manicure.  The main character is Tara Holloway, an IRS special agent (in Dallas!) out taking down those tax evaders, like Capone.  She is in Texas and grew up in East Texas (Nacogdoches to be specific) and is a take charge woman that can shoot her way out of a situation if necessary.  But heaven forbid it should mess up her manicure!

This book is a romantic mystery with a LOT of witty dialogue.  Heck the first sentence of the book had me laughing and I knew I was in for a treat.  If you are looking for a new series, definitely check this one out.  The second book in the series Death, Taxes and a Skinny No-Whip Latte is due out March 1st and the 3rd book, Death, Taxes and Extra-Hold Hairspray will be out in July.  I cannot wait!  Oh and I just saw on her website that she will be signing copies of that second book on March 10th in Arlington, I’m planning to be there!

So I’m going to offer 2 teasers – the first is the first sentence in the book.  The other will chosen at random.

Chapter One – Some People Just need shooting

When I was nine, I formed a Silly Putty pecker for my Ken doll knowing he’d have no chance of fulfilling Barbie’s needs given the permanent state of erectile dysfunction with which the toy designers of Mattel had cursed him.

from page 61:

Her eyes moved from my face to the pink Cadillac visible through the glass front of the clinic.  “What is it this time?  Makeover gone horribly awry?”

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Posted in Cozy, Tuesday on January 17, 2012

Today I’m going to give you two teasers….If you know me, you know I love Cozy mysteries.  They are light and usually a quick read for me.  One of my favorite authors is Elaine Viets who writes two different series.  The one I’m teasing you with today is from the Josie Marcus, Mystery Shopper series.  The latest book is Death on a Platter.

This is from page 131:

She was almost inside her flat when one of the names hit her: Our Lady of the Sheets?  What kind of religious order was that? Was it a charity?  An order of sisters?


The second teaser is from a new series, the Cookie Cutter Shop Mysteries, by Virginia Lowell.  The second book in the series is A Cookie Before Dying.


This is from page 99:

While Spunky paced between the door and the window, Olivia closed her eyes.  She had done her duty, which ought to help her relax and fall asleep.  She envisioned wading into a chocolate lake dotted with pink and yellow sugar sprinkles.

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