The Lame “My 10 Favorites of 2010” Post
Opinion / December 31, 2010

This year has been a tough year for me.  Many changes were either implemented on decided on in many aspects of my and my family’s life.  I think that starting this blog has helped me stay a bit sane in an insane year. Why end the year on a lame “top 10” list? No reason, who the hell is going to read any meaningful (or not so meaningful) post on New Year’s Eve anyway? These are the top 10 books I reviewed, not read or published this year. Without further ado – my favorites of 2010 (in alphabetical order): Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese Child 44 by Rob Tom Smith Devil’s Garden by Ace Atkins Kingdom Under Glass by Jay Kirk A Long, Long Time Ago and Essentially True by Brigid Pasulka Purge by Sofi Oksanen The Secret History of the Mongol Queens by Jack Weatherford The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón Three Seconds by Anders Roslund and Borge Hellström Washington – A Life by Ron Chernow Zohar – Man of la Book Related articles Cutting for Stone. Abraham Verghese. ( Eason Top Ten Ebooks ~ October 2010 ( — Please like and follow —

Author Q and A with Steve Anderson
Author Q&A / December 28, 2010

When I started to read “The Losing Role” (Buy | Book Review – don’t forget to enter the giveaway) I immediately knew that I have something special in my hands – I couldn’t resist an espionage novel set in World War II. The author, Steve Anderson (Website | Facebook | Twitter), has been kind enough to answer a few questions about his ideas, research and social media. Q. How did you come up with the idea of writing a WWII espionage novel from the German perspective? A. I read an article that told the real story behind this infamous mission in which English-speaking German soldiers impersonated American units behind the lines. In legend it was a frightening and deadly ploy. The reality was totally different. Most Germans called up for it could barely speak English and the few who could were far from ideal soldiers let alone crack terrorists. The whole thing was a disaster. Something about the absurdity of it all appealed to me. So, the German perspective just evolved from that — I like to give a different angle to known events in my writing, and telling it through some sorry German conscript’s eyes seemed a good way…

Book Review: The Losing Role by Steve Anderson
4 Stars , Historical Fiction / December 27, 2010

I got this eBook for free. The author has kindly made available three (3) books in SEVERAL FORMATS to be given away – Enter at the end of the post. My rating for The Losing Role – 4 About: “The Losing Role” by Steve Anderson (Website | Facebook | Twitter)  is a historical fiction book which takes place during World War II. The story follows a failed German actor who is drafted to infiltrate American lines posing as an American officer. A very unique perspective of WWII – Buy the book here Thoughts: I’m a sucker for espionage thrillers especially if they take place in WWII. “The Losing Role” is an interesting book with a refreshing twist, it is told from the view point of a German solider – and a likable one at that. Max has been disillusioned by the promises of America, he has been grinded by the rough life of an immigrant and an actor and has decided to go back and protect the Fatherland. As an immigrant I can certainly understand Max’s disappointment. Many immigrants come to America with a promise of “streets lined with gold” only to realize that the only thing guaranteed is hard…

Book Review: Corked by Kathryn Borel
3 Stars , Biographies & Memoirs / December 26, 2010

I got this book for free. My rating for Corked – 3 About: “Corked” by Kathryn Borel is a memoir of a trip Ms. Borel and her father took down the unfamiliar roads of France in 2005.  This was not just a road trip, Mr. Borel, a Frenchman, is a wine connoisseur who posses limitless knowledge of wines and ways to annoy his daughter. Thoughts: Synopsis: Kathryn Borel, having a killed a man in a traffic accident, decides to reconnect with her father who, according to her, will ultimatly die.  The father and dauther team up to visit French vineyards in an effort to connect. Throughout the trip Mr. Borel’s knowledge of fine wines shines through while his daughter feels obligated to make him proud and bond over their mutual love of wine. I liked this book much better than the other selfish and needy memoir (book review) that made far more headlines this year. — Please like and follow —

Book Review: Stories Behind the Best-Loved Songs of Christmas by Ace Collins
2 Stars , Fiction , Non-Fiction / December 24, 2010

I got this book for free My rating for Stories Behind the Best-Loved Songs of Christmas – 2 About: “Stories Behind the Best-Loved Songs of Christmas” by Ace Collins (Website) is a short book, divided into sections, each corresponding to a beloved Christmas song. The book is arranged alphabetically and includes lyrics to most of the songs. A perfect Christmas gift – Buy it here Thoughts: I was looking forward to read “Stories Behind the Best-Loved Songs of Christmas”, not only to get into the holiday spirit but also because I love this type of books since my childhood. These short stories filled with charming facts and little unknown tidbits were always fascinating to me. Not to mention a great resource in case I’ll be on “Jeopardy” one day. The premise of this book is quite interesting, that is telling the history of each carol or Christmas song. Mr. Collins is a good writer and makes the stories he writes about engaging and easy to read, but he lacks some serious research. The core fact of what the author is describing are woven with information which cannot be verified (such as putting thoughts in people’s heads) or is simply misleading…

Book Review: The Christmas Cookie Club by Ann Pearlman
1 Star , Fiction / December 22, 2010

I bought this book. My rating for The Christmas Cookie Club – 2 About: “The Christmas Cookie Club” by Ann Pearlman (Website | Facebook | Twitter)is a short fictional novel which takes place on one December evening. The event is the annual Christmas Cookie party where twelve women exchange cookies and donate some for charity. Each cookie delivery comes with a story, a recipe and a few historical facts about the ingredients. The host of the event is Marnie, who started the club, created the rules and has had a complex life herself. What can be better at Christmas than cookies…and clubs – Buy the book today Thoughts: Even though each chapter in “The Christmas Cookie Club” is supposed to be about the woman presenting the cookies, it isn’t since we hear the story through Marnie’s ears and are privy to her thoughts. So basically Marnie goes on tangents, as we all do from time to time, when a word or a phrase reminds her of another event. This is a short novel which in turn is divided into twelve short stories. There are many characters but I didn’t get vested in any of them and the narration is mainly…

Author Q and A with Tami Hoag
Author Q&A / December 21, 2010

Tami Hoag (Website | Facebook) is the New York Times bestselling author and at the time of this post has thirteen consecutive best sellers.  Ms. Hoag was kind enough to take the time and answer a few questions, her responses are both enlightening and thought provoking. Q. It seemed to me that both “Deeper than the Dead” and “Secrets to the Grave” are somewhat based on actual crimes. Is that so? If yes how do you pick which crime to write about? A. I’m constantly studying actual cases.  Though I never set out to dramatize a real crime, real-life cases always raise questions for me which I will explore in the context of my own stories. Q.  There is an underlying question (intentional or not) in both books about the nature of murderers and the old debate of nature vs. nature especially with Dennis Farman, a disturbed little boy. What is your opinion on the matter? A. This is the age-old debate regarding criminal behavior, and there is no easy answer.  I feel both nature and nurture factor in.  There are plenty of kids who have grown up in the same negative environment as Dennis, yet turn in the opposite…

Book Review: Secrets to the Grave by Tami Hoag
3 Stars , Fiction / December 20, 2010

I got this book for free as part of the TLC Book Tour promotion. Dutton has made available both copies of “Deeper than the Dead” and “Secrets to the Grave” to be given to one lucky winner – enter below. My rating for Secrets to the Grave – 3 Buy Secrets to the Grave from* More books by Tami Hoag* About: “Secrets to the Grave” by Tami Hoag (Website | Facebook | Twitter) is a fictional mystery featuring the recurring characters we met in “Deeper than the Dead” (Buy | book review).  The novel takes place in the same town of Oak Knoll, CA and is set in the mid 1980’s. What Secrets? Buy the book and find out… Thoughts: “Secrets to the Grave” by Tami Hoag (Website | Facebook )is a well written book, while “Deeper than the Dead” was about families breaking apart, “Secrets to the Grave” seem to be about families coming together.  The strength of the book comes from the interaction of the well developed characters.  The mystery was not as involved as the previous book, I figured out who the killer is a bit before the ¾ mark.  However, I found the side stories…

For My Father
Opinion / December 17, 2010

My father died yesterday morning. After 27 years of fighting cancer, the last two years very aggressively, he succumbed; but not without a fierce fight. It took his heart 12.5 hours to stop beating after the tubes were taken out, his blood pressure was steady the whole time and he gobbled up 4 bags of morphine (“enough for a big elephant and a small elephant” as the nurse said). He died as he wished – in a dignified manner, peacefully and unaware. He was my hero and my role model. He taught me how to work (“it’s not done until you clean up“), how to drive and how fix everything from drywall to a water heater. This was a man who while weak as a child still got on his knees to play with the grandchildren in, what would turn out to be, the last weeks of his life. I will miss his special affection for conspiracy theories; “I know the government is tapping our line” – which many have been proven true after 9-11.  I will especially miss his sense of humor and sensibility.  On my marriage day he told me not to worry “only the first 35 years…

Book Review: A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick
4 Stars , Fiction / December 15, 2010

I bought this book. My rating for A Reliable Wife – 4 About: “A Reliable Wife” by Robert Goolrick (Website | Goodreads) is a fictional story about a 58 year old widower and his mail order bride. The story takes place in the frozen tundra of Wisconsin, as well as in the heated, burning desire of the characters’ hearts. Just how reliable of a wife she really is – click here to find out Thoughts: “A Reliable Wife” by Robert Goolrick is a wicked novel. Every character in the book has his or her own agenda, alliances and schemes. The freezing wasteland of Wisconsin is a perfect back dropfor this tale where the colder it gets, the hotter the heart and the madness becomes. This is a strange book, none of the characters are especially likable or identifiable, yet it works. The many faces of what we call “love”, a story desperation, deception and survival are all a factors. However, there are some drawbacks, there are some inconsistencies in the story and the ending is too convenient, tying everything up in a neat package. Nevertheless, the story is told in vivid narrative, it is sinful and tense, with flashes of…

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