Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Blog Tour and Giveaway:Bo's Cafe' by John Lynch, Bill Thrall and Bruce McNicol

About the book from

High-powered executive Steven Kerner is living the dream in southern California. But when his bottled pain ignites in anger one night, his wife kicks him out. Then an eccentric mystery man named Andy Monroe befriends Steven and begins unravelling his tightly wound world. Andy leads Steven through a series of frustrating and revealing encounters to repair his life through genuine friendship and the grace and love of a God who has been waiting for him to accept it. A story to challenge and encourage, BO'S CAFE is a model for all who struggle with unresolved problems and a performance-based life.

Steven Kerner is your typical "A-type" personality.
Over-worked and over-stressed, he finds salvation through an unlikely encounter with a group of B-types (or, are they?)
This book is for anyone who has ever felt at the end of their rope-I swear my blood pressure went down just by reading it. You'll stop and think, you may just be tempted to take the book and go sit in a park or garden to read it-this is the mood it will put you in-if you allow it. :-)
Bo's Cafe' is a collaboration, written by John Lynch, Bill Thrall, and Bruce McNicol.
You can learn more about these writers by visiting here.

I am pleased as punch to be participating in my very first Blog Tour and Giveaway.
To learn more about the book Bo's Cafe' please visit and check out the other tour stops below for reviews, author Q&A and more chances to win.

Participating Blogs:

September 28th

September 29th

September 30th

October 1st

October 2nd

Thanks to Miriam at The Hatchette Book Group, I have 5 copies of this book to give to 5 lucky commenter's.

If you'd like to win this book, just leave a comment about which personality traits you most identify yourself with (Type A-multi-tasking over-achieving stress-junkie, or Type B,patient, relaxed, easy-going-or maybe you're a combination of both?) IMPORTANT! Include your email address-leave it in code if you like-example:you(at)yahoo(dot)com. After all, I can't notify you that you win otherwise!
I will notify the winners individually by email for their shipping address to forward to Miriam at the Hatchette Book Group. The winners will have 48 hours to reply with their shipping info, or I will draw new winners.

The winners will receive their books directly from Hatchette. Sorry no PO boxes.
This contest is open to US and Canada.
This giveaway ends on October 15th at midnight EST.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Review: Playing House a novel by Fredrica Wagman

About the book from FSB Media:

When Playing House appeared in 1973, Publishers Weekly hailed it, "A probing descent into madness that will fascinate the same audience that appreciated I Never Promised You a Rose Garden." This nationally bestselling story of one woman’s struggle with the lasting effects of a childhood sexual relationship with her brother shocked American readers; it remains a literary work of enduring quality and value. In his foreword Philip Roth writes, "The traumatized child; the institutionalized wife; the haunting desire; the ghastly business of getting through the day -- what is striking about Wagman's treatment of these contemporary motifs is the voice of longing in which the heroine shamelessly confesses to the incestuous need that is at once her undoing and her only hope."

When I began this book I wasn't quite sure what to expect.
I knew it was about incest.
I quickly realized that I needed to put other thoughts aside to be able to fully grasp the story.
If you've ever read I Never Promised You a Rose Garden, or even to some extent, The Catcher In The Rye then you'll know what I'm talking about.
This novel is a first person narrative told by someone with a shattered psyche.
You hear the child and the woman's voices interwoven throughout the story.
The voice is different, yet it is one and the same.

I could feel the intense anger and the deep yearning for something that she could never get back. She could never rationalize her feelings, or the events that took place. In telling the story, she never tries to. She simply can't. Everything stopped for her.

While some readers may perceive that the narrator was longing for the taboo relationship she had with her cruel sociopath brother,
I felt that what she truly wanted was her childhood.
Unspoiled. Pure. Innocent.
She was never a child. But she also never matured.
Everything was frozen in time with her lost innocence.

While one is tempted to make the brother the one villain, the whole dysfunctional family dynamic comes into play in this tale.
The absentee father. The cold uncaring mother. The suicidal sister. They are not without blame. And one senses that they are also victims with their own stories to tell.
This narrative is a haunting portrait of one woman's life in a curious and sad limbo.

My thanks to Julie from FSB Media for my review copy.

About the Author:

Fredrica Wagman is the author of six previous novels. She has four grown children and lives with her husband in New York City.

For more information, view Fredrica Wagman's Web site

Sunday, September 20, 2009

The Coveted Zombie Chicken Award

Recipients of this award believe in the Tao of the zombie chicken – excellence, grace and persistence in all situations, even in the midst of a zombie apocalypse. These amazing bloggers regularly produce content so remarkable that their readers would brave a raving pack of zombie chickens just to be able to read their inspiring words. As a recipient of this world-renowned award, you now have the task of passing it on to at least 5 other worthy bloggers. Do not risk the wrath of the zombie chickens by choosing unwisely or not choosing at all.

Rachel over at Bookwormwannabe has bestowed the much sought-after Zombie Chicken award to me, so rather than face the wrath of the Feathery Fowl, I must pass it along to 5 other worthy bloggers.

Without further ado, I hereby bestow this most coveted of bloggy awards to the following blogs. Some I've followed for a while, and some are new discoveries.
Check them out!

1-Mandatory Blog Here

2-The Peach Tart

3-Chaotic Compendiums


5-The Ladies Room

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Review: Deconstructing Sammy by Matt Birkbeck

Book Description from

Adored by millions, Sammy Davis Jr. was considered an entertainment icon and a national treasure. But despite lifetime earnings that topped $50 million, Sammy died in 1990 near bankruptcy.

Years later his once-vivacious wife, Altovise, heir to one of the greatest entertainment legacies of the twentieth century, was living in poverty. With nowhere else to turn, she asked a former federal prosecutor, Albert “Sonny” Murray, to try to resolve Sammy's debts and restore his estate. For seven years Sonny probed Sammy's life and came to understand the tormented artist as a man of tragic complexity.

Deconstructing Sammy is the extraordinary story of an international celebrity whose outsize talent couldn't save him from himself.

I was eager to read this book. I find that one of the most fascinating facts of our celebrity culture has always been their ability to continue earning long after they have left us.
They cease to be individuals and in fact, become corporations and icons, their names and likenesses a logo, with every part of their existence licensed and trademarked.

According to Forbes, Elvis Presley was the top earner in 2008 for the 2nd year in a row, pulling in an impressive $52 million dollars...(which is incidentally, 8 million more than Justin Timberlake earned, and 12 million more than Madonna, who are both still alive and kickin'.)

And depending on which source you read, there are reports that Michael Jackson has already topped $100 million just since his death in June.
To quote Forbes reporter Peter Hoy "While things might be topsy-turvy in the financial markets above ground, it's still a bull market in the boneyard."

So my question is not why did a cultural icon of the sixties and seventies like Sammy Davis Junior die over 15 million dollars in debt and owing half of that to the IRS,
but how come 20 years later his estate is still in shambles?

By all accounts Sammy should still be bringing home the bacon with his heirs enjoying a handsome income from their father's legacy. He was Mister Bojangles, he was the Candyman, (ironically that hit was a song that Sammy hated and didn't want to record) There would've been books, a movie deal or two, merchandising, and royalties that should have long ago satisfied the IRS and other outstanding debts.

He was part of The Rat Pack, that infamous group that included Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin, who ruled Vegas for almost a decade.
These men, or rather their estates still earn tidy sums of money posthumously-why doesn't Sammy?

Matt Birkbeck has written an in depth probe into the entertainer's life and death and all that followed afterward.
It's a tragic report of greed, excess, and mismanagement.
This book was so well researched and written, that it held me enthralled from start to finish. I knew I was watching a train wreck but I couldn't look away.

I guess I am always amazed to see that someone who had it all could end up with so little, and this book is a hard lesson on what happens to someone who chooses to live their life "In the moment".

My thanks to Kateri Benjamin of Harper Collins for my review copy.

About the author: from

Matt Birkbeck is an author and award-winning investigative journalist. A reporter for the Morning Call, he has written for the New York Times, Reader's Digest, People Magazine, Boston Magazine, and the Philadelphia Inquirer. He is the author of Deconstructing Sammy, the critically acclaimed book on Sammy Davis, Jr.; A Beautiful Child - the remarkable true story of a brilliant young woman raised by the felon who kidnapped her as a toddler - and A Deadly Secret, which was the subject of an MSNBC documentary. He also coauthored Till Death Do Us Part with Dr. Robi Ludwig.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Review: The Man Who Loved Books Too Much by Allison Hoover Bartlett


Rare-book theft is even more widespread than fine-art theft. Most thieves, of course, steal for profit. John Charles Gilkey steals purely for the love of books. In an attempt to understand him better, journalist Allison Hoover Bartlett plunged herself into the world of book lust and discovered just how dangerous it can be.

Gilkey is an obsessed, unrepentant book thief who has stolen hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of rare books from book fairs, stores, and libraries around the country. Ken Sanders is the self-appointed “bibliodick” (book dealer with a penchant for detective work) driven to catch him. Bartlett befriended both outlandish characters and found herself caught in the middle of efforts to recover hidden treasure. With a mixture of suspense, insight, and humor, she has woven this entertaining cat-and-mouse chase into a narrative that not only reveals exactly how Gilkey pulled off his dirtiest crimes, where he stashed the loot, and how Sanders ultimately caught him but also explores the romance of books, the lure to collect them, and the temptation to steal them. Immersing the reader in a rich, wide world of literary obsession, Bartlett looks at the history of book passion, collection, and theft through the ages, to examine the craving that makes some people willing to stop at nothing to possess the books they love.

I love to read but I am not a bibliophile.
Perhaps that is why I had trouble getting into this particular book.
Or maybe I just don't care for the subject matter.
And I don't mean collecting rare books.
I'm referring to thieves.

It's the true story of John Gilkey, a man who stole a fortune in rare books simply for the pleasure of owning them.
It's also the story of Ken Sanders,a book dealer/detective, who made it his mission to put John Gilkey and his like behind bars.

Gilkey is just like any other sociopath.
From the author's interviews, he presents as narcissistic, and totally unrepentant of his crimes, although he robbed legitimate collectors of their treasures.

He doesn't feel that what he's done is wrong,
and he repeatedly justifies himself for his deeds.
Even the simple act of being put on hold by an unsuspecting bookstore clerk
during a phone call, makes him feel validated in robbing the same store.

Not to mention all of the stolen credit card numbers he used to "purchase" the books with.
Anyone who has ever had their credit information stolen, and suffered fraudulent charges,and knows what a pain in the ass it is to straighten the mess out, will not feel empathy for this man.

I sometimes felt that the author was trying to (maybe unintentionally) romanticize this man, because after all, it's not like he was some drug-addled thug who stole simply to sell the books for profit.
He was a collector. He truly loved his acquisitions. He wanted to build himself a fine library.
He just didn't feel that he had to pay for his hobby like everyone else.

That having been said, I don't give a rats patooty how much he adores and cherishes books, he is nothing but a thief-plain and simple.
Frankly, I don't know if he was worth the couple of years this author spent interviewing him, let alone, writing a book about.
And those are my thoughts.

Like I said before, I'm not a bibliophile,
but as I also stated, I do love to read, so my thanks to Lydia from The Penguin Book Group for my review copy.
This book has a release date of September 17th.

About the author from

Allison Hoover Bartlett's writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post,, the San Francisco Chronicle Magazine, and the San Francisco Magazine, among others. She lives in San Francisco with her husband and two children.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Award Time Again!

I just got an awesome award from Rachel over at Bookworm Wannabe
If you haven't checked her blog out yet I highly recommend doing so.
You'll find great reviews and fun book giveaways there!

Now I am going to pass this sweet award onto some other people with great content.

B-loody Good Blog- Bloody Bad a Book Blog
I-nvestigative Blog- True Crime Book Reviews
N-aughty but Nice Blog- Seductive Musings
G-enerous and giving Blog- Sweeps4Bloggers
O-utrageously funny blog- Pretty But Shallow

Amazing What a Little Paint Can Do.

We decided to paint.
It came out so nice that it made us realize how shabby the carpet looked, so up came the carpet and I talked Yankeeman into hardwood.
He's a do-it-yourself-er, so the floor is about halfway done but looking beautiful.
So beautiful that the furniture looks like recycled yard sale decor in it's reflection.
So with his blessing, I have been touring the furniture stores looking for sales.

Next comes the kitchen. Of course we can't do the kitchen and just leave the same old bathroom.
Then the bedrooms.
I may end up with a new house out of this yet.
All because we decided to paint.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Review: The Sum of His Syndromes by K.B.Dixon

About the Book from

“This is a strangely, enigmatic novel, which is kind of addictive, the story of a young man on the cusp of something . . . With passages that are so well turned they can be called lyrical—and others that are laugh out loud funny. This is the kind of book where we see a bit of ourselves and grimace—but keep reading.” —A.M. Homes

The Sum of His Syndromes is a wry, odd, idiosyncratic book. A collage of notes written in a sixth-floor men’s room, it is the story of a dissatisfied, slightly disturbed young man named David who has found himself at a personal and professional crossroads. He has a job he hates, but cannot leave, and a girl he loves, but cannot fully understand. With help from his friend, Peter, and his therapist, the irrepressible Dr. Costa, he struggles to make sense of his complicated young life.

A fractured, fragmented, unconventional narrative, Syndromes offers a comic look at office angst, contemporary psychiatric practice and romantic uncertainty.

A conglomeration of thoughts, observations, commentary, overheard conversations and cameo appearances, its story—David and Kate’s story emerges surreptitiously from this innovative presentation of a confused and chaotic time.

This little (126 pages) novel is a first-hand collection of observations told by a young man named David as he sits in the men's room at work.
Through his comments we learn about David's relationships with his therapist Dr. C., co-workers, best friend Peter, and girlfriend Kate.

Almost like reading someone's journal, I followed along David's commentary,
often funny, sometimes sad, and I began to wonder if this was all leading to some psychological break-through for him or, maybe he was just going to go "postal" one day.

He clearly hates his job and loves Kate.
He's also very insecure in his relationship with her.
He refuses to let his therapist prescribe antidepressants for him, and one senses that he is in fact, waiting for some sort of epiphany that will give meaning to everything.
Or,(to quote Jack Nicholson's character Melvin Udall from the movie,) "What if this is as good as it gets."

Overall, I found this book to be an engaging, quick, and quirky read.
My thanks to Michael from Academy Chicago Publishers for my review copy.

About the Author from
K.B. Dixon’s work has appeared in numerous magazines, newspapers and journals. The recipient of an OAC Individual Artist Fellowship Award, he is the author of Andrew (A to Z), a novel, and My Desk and I, a collection of short stories.