Guest Post: “No Hope for Gomez!” Birthday Party. Win kindles, iPods, and get free books!
Guest Posts / November 30, 2010

Guest Post by author Graham Parke (website | Facebook) “It’s the age-old tale: Boy meets girl. Boy stalks girl. Girl already has a stalker. Boy becomes her stalker-stalker.” It’s hard to believe, but it’s been a year since I handed in the final proofs for my weird little book ‘No Hope for Gomez!’ To celebrate this, and the fact that it just became a finalist in 2010’s Best Book Awards, I decided to throw an international party. As I’ve had a debilitating fear of throwing parties and no-one showing up since early childhood, I’d be more than delighted if you’d come! Of course, with every cool, international party comes a gift bag. Here’s just some of the stuff attendants will get: Exclusive short story collection No Hope for Gomez: The Lost Chapters Making of Gomez: behind the scenes eBook Signed hi-res poster + bookplate (These are all exclusive items and will not be available again) Additionally, several lucky attendants will win a Kindle or an iPod! Oh yeah, you can bring as many friends as you like, just don’t bring your crazy uncle who drinks too much and then tries to get me to go to the attic with him…

Book Review: The Secret History of the Mongol Queens by Jack Weatherford
5 Stars , Non-Fiction / November 29, 2010

I bought this book. My rating for The Secret History of the Mongol Queens – 5 About: “The Secret History of the Mongol Queens: How the Daughters of Genghis Khan Rescued His Empire” Jack Weatherford (website)  tells a gripping story of lost history and the role the female heirs of Genghis Khan played in his Empire. While the Great Kahn was out conquering the world, his wives and daughters managed his empire, created bureaucracies, public projects and kept trade relationships alive. Great gift for that Mongol in your life (or his queen) – Buy it here Thoughts: After reading Jack Weatherford’s “Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World”  (book review) I went and pre-ordered this book – and I wasn’t disappointed. While busy conquering the world, Genghis Kahn had a problem, who would manage his empire? Who could he trust? In a stroke of genius, Genghis Kahn married his daughters to men who ruled strategic points along the famous Silk Road which not only lent him eyes and ears in those important locations, but also established his presence even though he wasn’t physically there. These daughters weren’t the timid kind; they were strong, independent women who inherited their…

Book Review: Deeper than the Dead by Tami Hoag
4 Stars , Fiction / November 26, 2010

I got this book for free. My rating for Deeper Than the Dead – 4 Buy Deeper than the Dead from Amazon.com* More books by Tami Hoag* About: “Deeper than the Dead” by Tami Hoag (website | Twitter)  is a fictional thriller set in 1985, before computers, forensics and a cell phone was as big as a brick (and weighed just as much).  The book follows an FBI agent who is following a killer in a small town in California. Thoughts: “Deeper than the Dead” by Tami Hoag is a  compelling, well written, fast paced thriller. If you are a child of the 80’s (as I am) you’ll get a kick out of all the “Miami Vice” and other pop culture references. The book’s investigative team uses old fashion technology and hard work to attempt and solve a crime.  That approach might seem strange and antiquarian but I still remember those days where a computer in your house was a luxury…and that was a Commodore 64.  There are no DNA tests, computer records, fingerprint matches are still done manually and the science of profiling is just starting to catch on as legitimate. The book is deliciously suspenseful, surprising and the…

Author Q and A with John Connolly
Author Q&A / November 24, 2010

John Connolly (website | Twitter | Facebook) is a best selling author, journalist and radio show host.  I was introduced to John’s work while reading “The Gates” (book review) a supernatural book, completely out of my genre which I absolutely loved. John has kindly agreed to answer a few questions to the Author Q&A feature, his skillful narrative and sense of humor are evident as you will soon see. Q. The Gates introduces very complex scientific theories in simple language.  How did you work out that process? Did you have help? A.Well, I think my journalistic experience helped a little there, as I was used to talking to experts in their field, and then finding a way to make their knowledge understandable to the general reader, whether that was in business, politics, science, or the arts.  In the end, I read an awful lot on the subjects upon which the book touched, particularly physics, and then tried to find a way to make these complex ideas comprehendible without compromising the truth of them, which is always a danger.  Once the draft was done, a lovely academic named Dr Colm Stephens, who is an expert on CERN and teaches at the…

Book Review: Galveston by P. G. Nagle
4 Stars , Historical Fiction / November 19, 2010

I got this eBook for free. My Rating for Galveston: 4 About: “Galveston  (Civil War in the Far West)” by P. G. Nagle is a historical fiction account of events in Texas and New Mexico during the American Civil War.  The story culminates in the battle for Galveston, a Texan barrier island. Civil War buffs? Buy the book here. Thoughts: Let me preface by saying that Galveston is part three or a series and I have not read parts one or two. “Galveston” by P. G. Nagle was an easy read and a fascinating one as well.  The outdoor descriptions of New Mexico and Texas are very good and help transport you to the 1860s.  I was mesmerized by the descriptions of the battle (there is only one) and the tactics used at the time.  Ms. Nagle also took the time to put us into the minds of civilians being caught in the midst of the war – an aspect which should not be overlooked. The book flows smoothly, is entertaining and well written.  However, the characters aren’t complex, but that could be due to the fact that I have not read the previous two books. I did like the…

Book Review: The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives by Lola Shoneyin
4 Stars , Fiction / November 17, 2010

I got this book for free. To participate in the Gratitude Giveaway to win a free copy at the bottom of the page. My rating for The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives – 4 About: “The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives” by Lola Shoneyin is a fictional story set in modern day Nigeria and centers around the house of a polygamist.   The novel examines the complex relationships between the wives, their children and a new wife who is brought into the house. Think one wife is enough? Buy the book and find out. Thoughts: “The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives” is a sometimes sad, sometimes funny book.  The novel examines the compound relationships of a polygamous family, the jealousies, infighting, self deception and conniving. I know very little about Nigeria; however Ms. Shoney made the country very familiar, as well as the people, so I felt at ease reading the book.  Since the story is told by multiple people the reader is privy to their emotions, ambitions and world view which makes the characters fully developed and dimensional in a surprisingly short amount of pages.   Weaving through each separate narrative, the reader learns of the events which…

Book Review: The Mark of the Assassin by Daniel Silva
4 Stars , Fiction / November 15, 2010

I borrowed this book from the local library. My rating for The Mark of the Assassin – 4 About: “The Mark of the Assassin” by Daniel Sivla is fast paced fictional mystery about CIA agent Michael Osbourne. The story takes place mainly in the United States & England and involves several contemporary themes. Thoughts: “The Mark of the Assassin” was a good, quick read with several references to Silva’s first novel “The Unlikely Spy” (book review) which I found entertaining – even though this is a separate story.   The book starts out a bit slow (but well paced) and keeps you reading with twists and a surprise I didn’t see midway through. To be fair though, the setup alone is half the book. There are many elements in the mix: political intrigue, a wife, medical issues, international locations, twists, turns and a few surprises. Those elements are a winning combination. The book has well developed characters, great plot-line and it kept me interested until the last page, as well as a theory which is thought provoking, if nothing else. | Synopsis: The story starts with an act of terrorism. A jet liner is shot out of the sky using an…

Author Q And A with James R. Benn
Author Q&A / November 12, 2010

James R. Benn (website) is the author of the Billy Boyle (Reviews) book series.  As a fan of historical fiction as well as consuming everything I can about the World War II era I immediately took to the series of a Boston Cop investigating crimes in Europe. And you know what? I also learned a thing or two along the way. Q. How did you come up with the idea for a Massachusetts Yankee in the Court of St. James? (apologies to Mark Twain). A. From the movie The Godfather. I was always curious about the opening wedding scene, where Michael sits alone in his Marine uniform, with all his medals. He’s the outsider within an ethnic clan that cares little for the war that has just ended. For the Corleones, it’s all about family. So instead of Sicilians at the end of the war, it’s Boston Irish at the beginning. The Boyles are dedicated to each other, a free Ireland, and look with suspicion upon another war to rescue the British Empire. Q. The Billy Boyle books center around not-so-well-known events during World War II. How do decide which events to write on? A. I look for events that are…

Book Review and Giveaway: The Templar Salvation by Raymond Khoury
4 Stars , Fiction / November 10, 2010

I got this book for free. Article first published as Book Review: The Templar Salvation by Raymond Khoury on Blogcritics. Giveaway: Five (5) hardcover books courtesy of the publisher. Enter below. My rating for The Templar Salvation – 4 About: “The Templar Salvation” by Raymond Khoury is the long awaited fictional sequel to “The Last Templar“.  The Knights Templar existed for more than two hundred years doing the bidding of the Roman Catholic Church.  At some point the knights have fallen out of favor with the  Pope, were hunted down and took their secrets (and some say artifacts) to the grave. What’s so mysterious? Buy the book and find out Thoughts: “The Templar Salvation” is a fast, imaginative page turner which brings back archaeologist Tess Chaykin and her boyfriend FBI special agent Sean Reilly.  This is an enthralling book and I could not find any glaring historical inaccuracies in it, quite the opposite, I thought learned a few things along he way. The book jumps back and forth in time, switching between the story of one of the last Templars and our contemporary heroes.  While the knight is trying to hide the objects of desire, central to the plot, Tess…

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