23
Mar

No Date for Gomez!

   Posted by: Lynne   in eBooks/Print Books, Fiction, Humor, Romance

Book Details
Title: No Date for Gomez!
Author: Graham Parke
Format: Ebook: Epub, Kindle, PDF, Custom PDF
Number of Pages: 38 (PDF)
Summary: Gomez’ attempts to secure a date with the new girl in his building are nothing if not unorthodox and alarmingly awkward. But, as fortune would have it, this is not your typical girl next door. This strange creature hides a dark secret, one in which Gomez may well find himself caught up.

No Date for Gomez! is a prequel novella to the No Hope for Gomez! series. It is a complete and stand-alone story. No Hope for Gomez! is now available from Amazon.
Price: Free
Author Bio: Graham Parke is responsible for a number of technical publications and has recently patented a self-folding map. He has been described as both a humanitarian and a pathological liar. Convincing evidence to support either allegation has yet to be produced.

No Hope for Gomez! is Graham’s fiction debut. You can visit his website at www.grahamparke.com.


nodateforgomez_cover

***

When Graham Parke sent me an email requesting a review of No Date for Gomez!, my initial inclination was to turn him down. The description of his novella didn’t quite appeal to me, and neither did the cover. (I know, I know, don’t judge a digital book by its cover*.) But since I like to give authors a chance to win me over, I looked to see if by chance there was a preview of the first chapter to read. (I like to read a snippet of any book before I pass final judgment.) To my surprise, the entire ebook was a freebie! I downloaded the PDF version, figuring I’d read the first few paragraphs, hate them, and thus feel no guilt in sending a kindly rejection email.

But the first sentence got me interested, so I read more, then a little more, and by the time I finished the first chapter–a mere 2½ pages later–I was hopelessly hooked. I had planned to do some productive work on the computer (paying bills, working on taxes, etc.), but instead I spent the next hour or so reading the entire story, smiling and laughing practically the entire time. No Date for Gomez!is absolutely hilarious.

Gomez is a nerdy, nice guy (sort of like Peter Parker at the beginning of Spider-Man, before he gets his spidey superpowers) who is completely clueless when it comes to people of the female persuasion. He falls for the beautiful new girl in his building, Gretchen, and immediately tries to come up with schemes to get her to go out with him. His priority is to show her how cool he is, so that when he gets around to asking her out, she’ll say yes. Unfortunately, he becomes tongue-tied whenever he runs into her, so their conversations typically go something like this:

I could remember talking to people. Knowing the kinds of things one said in polite conversation. I could remember making people think and laugh. But, at that very moment, I couldn’t put my finger on any of the words one might use when running into a fellow human being in a hallway.

Gretchen smiled and said, “Hi!”

Which was one of the words one might use.

“How are you doing today?”

Which, I now recalled, was a bunch of others.

Gomez soon becomes convinced Gretchen is annoyed with him, which turns out to be true, but not for the reasons he imagines. My only confusion after finishing the novella was that the dark secret Gretchen is hiding isn’t revealed or even hinted at. When I asked Parke about that, he said that there is more to come. I can’t wait!

No Date for Gomez! is the most fun read I’ve had in a long time. Do yourself a favor; turn off the depressing news, skip the latest episode of Lost, and read this instead. It’ll put you in a better mood.

Click here to download No Date for Gomez!
Click here to visit Graham Parke’s website
Click here for a chance to receive a free signed, printed copy of No Date for Gomez!

*Update: Parke provided a new cover that I like better; that’s the one posted here. 

Disclaimer: “No Date for Gomez!” is a free download. My reviews are not influenced by receiving free review copies, nor am I compensated any other way for reviewing books. I may provide affiliate links where books can be purchased, but I do this on my own.

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21
Mar

Mr. Darcy Broke My Heart

   Posted by: Lynne   in Chick Lit, eBooks/Print Books, Fiction, Romance

Book Details
Title:
Mr. Darcy Broke My Heart
Author: Beth Pattillo
Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 272
Summary: Claire Prescott is an unemployed office manager from Kansas City who leaves behind her nice, if somewhat neglectful, boyfriend to attend a Jane Austen seminar in Oxford, England. There, she discovers the original manuscript for Pride and Prejudice titled First Impressions. Rumored to have been destroyed centuries ago, it reveals Austen’s secret struggle to find the right leading man for Elizabeth Bennet. Was she really supposed to end up with Mr. Darcy after all?As Claire pieces together Austen’s original story, she crosses paths with a dashing stranger—her own Mr. Darcy—who causes her to question the direction of her current relationship. But Neil’s unexpected arrival in Oxford complicates Claire’s quest to find her leading man, and she realizes that a true hero can appear in the most unexpected places. Mr. Darcy Broke My Heart is a lively mixture of humor, romance and intrigue perfect for the Jane Austen fanatic to the hopeless romantic.
Price: $14.99
Author Bio: Beth Pattillo currently resides in Nashville, Tenn., with her husband and two children. Her passion for all-things Jane Austen began when she studied abroad for a semester at the University of London, Westfield College. She has made regular trips across the pond for the past 20 years, the most recent of which took her on a pilgrimage through Hampshire, where she visited many of the sites featured in her popular book, Jane Austen Ruined My Life. Pattillo is also the author of The Sweetgum Knit Lit Society (WaterBrook Press, 2008), Earth to Betsy (WaterBrook, 2006) and Heavens to Betsy (WaterBrook, 2005), for which she was awarded the RWA RITA (Romance Writer’s Association) award for Best Inspirational Romance. Visit www.bethpattillo.com for more information.
mrdarcybrokemyheart 

***

Mr. Darcy Broke My Heart isn’t your typical paperback romance, and for this reason alone I loved it. First of all, the heroine, Claire Prescott, isn’t perfect. Through the course of the novel she realizes her own frailties and flaws and by the end of the book she has made steps towards becoming a better person. She doesn’t blame everyone else for her problems. She learns that having a dashing “Mr. Darcy” sweep her off her feet doesn’t heal all hurts, nor does it rescue her from the realities of life. Her character’s motives and actions rang true for me, and it was refreshing to read a romance that didn’t espouse the notion that all a woman needs is a rich, handsome guy to magically wave away her neurosis by marrying her.

The secondary storyline, that of Claire meeting a slightly daft elderly woman, Harriet Dalrymple, whose greatest secret is ownership of the original First Impressions manuscript (which was destroyed after Jane Austen reworked it into Pride and Prejudice), was a delightful twist in the story. Pattillo imagines how the original plot may have differed from the story we all know, and treats us to her version. I was just as interested as Claire in reading the scraps of manuscript pages doled out to her over the course of a week’s time. For me it was a fun diversion from the main story; for laire it helped provide insight into how her life got off track and the motivation to correct it.

Amidst Claire trying to help Harriet with the secret manuscript and becoming ever more attracted to the dashing James Beaufort, her boyfriend unexpectedly shows up, threatening to ruin the little house of cards she’s built for herself during her week-long excursion in Oxford. Claire has to figure out what to do with an angry boyfriend when she’s got a chance to snag a Mr. Darcy of her own. I was completely satisfied at her solution—and the conclusion of the novel itself.

Overall, Mr. Darcy Broke My Heart is a fun and breezy read. I loved the humor and the light-hearted tone. The only thing I didn’t like is that due to my schedule I could read it only in bits and pieces over the course of a month. I hated having to put it down to attend to more pressing matters–I felt like Claire having to wait for the forgetful Harriet to find another section of the First Impressions manuscript! I recommend this book, especially if you’re tired of reading the same old retread romances.

Click here to order Mr. Darcy Broke My Heart
Click here to visit Beth Pattillo’s website

Disclaimer: I received a free advance copy of “Mr. Darcy Broke My Heart” for review from Phenix & Phenix Literary Publicists. My reviews are not influenced by receiving free review copies, nor am I compensated any other way for reviewing books. I may provide affiliate links where the book can be purchased, but I do this on my own.

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Book Details
Title
:The Side-Yard Superhero
Author: Rick D. Niece
Format: Hardcover
Number of Pages: 260
Summary: “I know where Bernie Jones is.” With one late-night phone call, Rick Niece is transported back over forty years to cherished childhood memories of small town DeGraff, Ohio. His daily newspaper route, the sights and wonders of a traveling carnival, the sounds of Christmas caroling-the idyllic memories all circle back to one special relationship.To Rickie, being friends with Bernie Jones was no different than being friends with any other boy in town. Bernie’s physical world was confined to a wheelchair, but that didn’t stop him from being an intrepid daydreamer, adventurer, and hero to Rickie. The unique friendship the boys forged defined an era in both their lives. When he left for college, Rickie promised Bernie they would meet again. Now, decades later, he is making the pilgrimage back to Ohio to fulfill that promise.
Price: $12.21
Author Bio: When he was four, Rick Niece’s family moved to DeGraff, Ohio, a town of 900 citizens. Life in DeGraff was good, and the lessons learned from treasured friendships still inspire him today. As president of the University of the Ozarks in Clarksville, Arkansas, Dr. Niece and his wife, Sherée, are the proud parents of 675 students.
 

The Side-Yard Superhero

The Side-Yard Superhero

 

***

In The Side-Yard Superhero, Rick Niece recalls his childhood friendship with Bernie Jones, a boy in a wheelchair who is confined not only by his own body, but by the limitations imposed by the 1950’s and 60’s small-town society. When Niece becomes a paperboy in DeGraff, Ohio, population 900, one of his customers is Bernie Jones’ parents. Bernie doesn’t attend school–special needs children had few opportunities for education in those days–but he does spend a lot of time sitting outside in his wheelchair. Niece is afraid of Bernie at first, and has a disasterous first meeting with him. But after a pep talk from his father, Niece takes the inititive to try again, and so begins a long friendship. After Niece leaves for college, he loses track of Bernie. Decades later, he discovers where Bernie is, and sets out to see him, as the happy and bittersweet memories come flooding back.

I admit to being predisposed to like The Side-Yard Superhero, simply because I grew up in a small town myself (and still live here.) But even if you didn’t grow up in a small town, this book is a delight to read. The Side-Yard Superhero is a mixture of humor, adventure, and memorable characters. Rick Niece has fond memories of the people and events that shaped his childhood, and it shows through the way he tells his story. Although the main theme of the book is Niece’s friendship with Bernie Jones, many chapters describe other people Niece grew to know during the years he delivered newspapers. One such person was Fern Burdette, a “brassiere wearing, hard drinking, wooden leg walking, frequent spitting, world interesting” retired newspaper jounalist whose best friend was a dalmation named Duke. Another was Miss Lizzie Moore, a recluse whose fiancé had been killed in France during World War I. Then there was Mary Waite, an invalid who requested Niece read the obituaries to her when he delivered the paper. These and other colorful characters weave through Niece’s tales of childhood exploits and revelations of universal truths.

Funny and poignant, The Side-Yard Superhero is well written, and my only quibble is that the chapters aren’t perfectly chronological. For instance, one chapter takes place during Niece’s teenage years, while the following chapter takes place during his childhood. This made me a bit confused at times, because afterwards I wasn’t always sure of his age when he started a new tale in a new chapter. However, I can’t think of a better way he could have organized the chapters/stories, so I really have no cause to complain.

Niece calls his book an “automythography” which he defines as “A work of nonfiction that looks reflectively at what we think we remember and how we think we remember it; an iridescent memory based upon truth and fact.” Whether or not everything happened exactly as Nieice recalls it, he tells it well, and I loved reading his “iridescent” version of life in DeGraff. I highly recommend reading it.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of The Side-Yard Superhero for review from Phenix & Phenix Literary Publicists. I subsequently lost the book on a trip to Rapid City, SD, so bought a replacement copy from Amazon. My reviews are not influenced by receiving free review copies, nor am I compensated in any other way.

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24
Feb

New Design!

   Posted by: Lynne   in by Lynne

I was searching for new book review blogs to add to my list, when I came across a blog with this great WordPress design. I just had to have it, and to my luck it was free! Cool, isn’t it? What I had before worked fine when I was just going to review internet marketing ebooks and work-at-home programs. But since I have swerved into reviewing mostly fiction, the “Aspire” design fits much better.

I had to fix one of the graphics as it put in a most annoying line through some of my text, but other than that, the install was seamless. Now I have to try to make my catalog portion of the site match; not an easy task, since it uses Zen Cart instead of WordPress.

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23
Feb

Walking With Elephants

   Posted by: Lynne   in Chick Lit, eBooks/Print Books, Fiction

Book Details
Title: Walking With Elephants
Author: Karen S. Bell
Format: PDF, Microsoft (lit) formats
Number of Pages: 260
Summary: Suze Hall is at a crossroads. Her nemesis at work, Wanda, has been promoted and now will be her boss. Her husband, Bob, is leaving her and the three kids for a six-month sabbatical down under. To top it off, her best friend, Marcia, is missing in action–playing footsie with some new boyfriend! Adding to this disaster stew, David, the gorgeous hunk who broke her young-girl’s heart has coincidentally popped back into her life and has something she desperately needs to keep her job. Walking with Elephants, a lighthearted slice-of-life story, brings to the table the serious work/family issues facing women today. It explores the modern dichotomy of a workplace that is filled with homemakers who still must cook, clean, carpool on nights and weekends, shop for prom dresses, and “create” the holidays—such as Suze. But it also is filled with women who have the same drive as men, have no family responsibilities, and will do what ever it takes to get ahead. So step into the shoes of Suze Hall and commiserate over workplace politics, titillate your sexual fantasies, ride the wave of a working mother, and fall-down laughing.
Price: $5.99
Author Bio: Karen S. Bell was a theater critic and celebrity interviewer for a weekly tabloid in Jacksonville, Fl and earned a Master’s in Mass Communication from Oklahoma State University. For 15 years she worked in Corporate America as a technical editor/editor/writer. She experienced first hand the politics and intrigue that goes with that territory and the balancing act that comes with being a working mother.
 walkingwithelephants

***

I totally related to Suze Hall. She’s a forty something, graying, slightly overweight, associate editor who has the boss from hell. I fit that physical description, and though I had a different job title, I’ve had a female boss almost as nasty as Wanda Walsh. I empathized with Suze as she dealt with the kind of office politics I left behind four years ago. Her family struggles were also totally believable–how to become a career woman while still staying connected to her children’s lives, and how to understand her husband’s desire to temporarily leave her just when her old boyfriend shows up after twenty years. Her reactions are at once contradictory and authentic. When she tells a big lie at work that only her old boyfriend can rectify, we feel her dread as everything spirals out of control.

I loved the humor Bell brought to her writing–and her character’s personality. In the beginning of the book, Suze muses,

I have come to understand that the big questions such as, What is my purpose in life? and Why am I here? converge with the little questions like, Where is my other shoe? and When will pot roast go on sale? Big questions, little questions, big thoughts, little thoughts, even famous people have them. So we’re not so different.

Except for the limos.

Bell writes well, capturing the clever, mundane, and sometimes random thoughts running through Suze’s mind perfectly. During a romantic escapade, the writing suddenly turns more and more florid, which at first confused me, until I realized the reason for the purple prose, and loved the jest. The ending is satisfying, though I would have liked an epilogue to let us know if everything turns out where it seems it’s headed. The ending is also preceded with an essay written by the character which seems too much like a “moral to the story.” Although I liked the essay itself, it seemed too long and I soon wanted to get back to the real story.

But overall, Walking With Elephants was a fun read, and I recommend it.

Buy Walking With Elephants (pdf)
Buy Walking With Elephants (lit)
Read the first chapter
Karen S. Bell’s website

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10
Dec

Donna VanLiere’s “Christmas” Movies on LMN

   Posted by: Lynne   in by Lynne

Lifetime Movie Network is having a special promotion of Donna VanLiere’s “Christmas Hope” books.

On December 13th, LMN will air the following television adaptations:
4PM ET: The Christmas Shoes
6PM ET: The Christmas Blessing (LMN Premiere – one telecast only)
8PM ET: The Christmas Hope (Premiere)
10PM ET: The Christmas Shoes (Encore)
12AM ET: The Christmas Hope (Encore)

(Note that the LMN website schedule has the programs airing Dec. 12th, but my satellite TV menu shows it as the 13th.)

Read an excerpt from The Christmas Secret on Lifetime Movie Network.
Read my review of The Christmas Secret
Read an original essay by Donna VanLiere.
LifetimeMovieNetwork.com is also to sponsor a contest to win signed copies of the “Christmas Hope” books, but I haven’t found any details on that yet.

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10
Dec

The Christmas Secret

   Posted by: Lynne   in Christian, eBooks/Print Books, Fiction, Romance

Book Details
Title:
The Christmas Secret
Author: Donna VanLiere
Format: Hardback.
Number of Pages: 304
Summary: When a struggling young single mother saves the life of an elderly woman, she sets into motion a series of events that will test her strength, loyalty, and determination, all the while setting her on the path to finding true love.Christine Eisley is the mother of seven-year-old Zach and five-year-old Haley. Her ex-husband provides little, if any, child support and makes life difficult for Christine by using the children as pawns. She works long hours as a waitress to make ends meet, but her job is in jeopardy because she’s often late to work due to the unreliable teenaged sitters she’s forced to use.When Christine saves the life of a woman who works in Wilson’s department store, the owner of Wilson’s wants to find her, to thank her, but Christine has disappeared, losing another job once again. He sets his grandson, Jason, to the task of finding the mysterious “Christy.” Jason, an accountant by trade who has lost his job to downsizing, thinks he is “above” working at Wilson’s. Soon, he discovers that this new task gives him more than he bargains for.The Christmas Secret is a novel for anyone who wants to see how love is a gift that keeps giving back; that hope is a treasure that never runs dry, and that faith is a miracle that is reborn with each new day.

Price: $14.99
Author Bio: Donna VanLiere is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of The Christmas Hope series and Angels of Morgan Hill. She lives in Franklin, Tennessee with her husband and three children. 
christmassecret 

***

I loved Donna VanLiere’s autobiography Finding Grace and so I was excited when I got the opportunity to read and review The Christmas Secret. I hadn’t read any of VanLiere’s Christmas series, though I did see the movie version of The Christmas Shoes (and of course, heard the song.) Since Finding Grace was an almost perfectly
written book, I looked forward to reading VanLiere’s fiction. Unfortunately, I was disappointed with The Christmas Secret. Not so much with the storyline; I enjoyed that. Most of my disappointment was due to the writing itself. I think a little more editing was in order.

The book begins with a prologue in which the protagonist, Christine, recalls a particular
Christmas in her childhood, and how her adult life since then had been spent stumbling around without any direction or goal. “I got to the point in my life where I was so tired of waiting and wanted to know that my life was not just leading anywhere but somewhere,” she tells us. Christine ends the prologue by stating that with help, “I discovered the gift.” This was similar to the theme of Finding Grace, so I was drawn right into the story. But the first chapter gave me troubles. It’s subtitled “November – One Year Earlier,” which I took to mean a year earlier in Christine’s childhood, since the prologue takes place then. But no, it means a year earlier than her discovering the “gift” which is summed up in the epilogue at the end of the book. At any rate it took me three paragraphs into the chapter when Christine’s five-year-old daughter enters the scene to realize the storyline has jumped to Christine as an adult. The subtitle should have been eliminated altogether; it was unnecessary and just caused confusion.

Later in the same chapter, Christine has a flashback of a conversation with her mother. Again, this transition was a bit confusing. I think the section should have been broken with an extra line of space to better delineate that it’s a flashback instead of mashing
it between the scenes taking place in the present.

But by far the most irksome thing of the novel to me was the choice to switch from Christine’s first-person point of view to other characters’ third-person point of view. I suppose I’ve read novels before that do this, but I found it quite jarring. I would have preferred Christine’s POV to be in third-person to match with the rest of the characters.

VanLiere choses not to name the town in which the story takes place (or at least, I never saw a name), so when Christine tells us, “When Brad found a job here my mother seemed angry,” my first thought was where’s “here”? The restaurant Christine is working in when she relates this to us? The town? The state? My confusion could have been avoided by simply replacing “here” with “in this town” or by simply giving the town a name.

Some of the writing gave me a chuckle, such as this sentence: “‘Everyone clocks in here,’ she said, pushing open the door to an empty room filled with vending machines and three small round tables with chairs.” (An “empty” room shouldn’t be “filled” with anything but air.) I’m not saying the writing was bad, it just needed a little more polishing/editing.

And one last complaint. One thing about Christine’s character that bothered me no end was the fact that she refuses to allow her ex-husband visitation with their children because he hasn’t paid child support. This is the only reason she continually refuses contact. I find this vindictive and petty. Of course he should be paying child support and is a deadbeat not to. Yes, he’s a jerk to her and pulls nasty stunts of his own to get even. However, he is not abusive or dangerous to her or the children, so there’s no reason she should cut off contact between them. And since she’s desperate for a babysitter, refusing to allow him to care for the children is plain silly. She doesn’t even allow the children to know he stops by to see them. Severing their relationship with him over money is selfish. He is their father and a continuing relationship with them should be encouraged, not used as a weapon. (Besides, he’s more likely to pay up if he actually gets to see his kids.) None of the characters point this out to her; in fact they aid her in keeping the ex away from the children. Disgusting. (Okay, enough of my soapbox.)

So each of these annoyances kept me from really enjoying the book at first. However, after 80 or 90 pages (and a day or so break from reading it) I really started getting into the story. I liked the characters, enjoyed the multiple storylines and how they interconnected, found the romance appealing, guessed most of the twists beforehand (which didn’t diminish their reveals) and didn’t get tripped up with any more of the writing. Most of the mysteries are resolved at the end, and I felt satisfied after the book was finished. It’s possible I’d read the book again, and I am still definitely interested in reading VanLiere’s previous Christmas books. And I plan to watch the movie versions of the books on LMN. Overall, I’d give the book a solid “B” grade. Well done, with plenty room for improvement.

For more information about Donna VanLiere and her books, visit http://www.donnavanliere.com.
About The Christmas Secret: http://donnavanliere.com/books.html#tcsec
To order The Christmas Secretclick here.
About Donna VanLiere: http://donnavanliere.com/bio.html
Previous Books: http://donnavanliere.com/books.html
Videos/Trailers: http://donnavanliere.com/video.html
For Book Clubs: http://donnavanliere.com/bookclubs.html

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25
Sep

Love Equals Sacrifice

   Posted by: Lynne   in eBooks/Print Books, Nonfiction

Book Details
Title: Love Equals Sacrifice: The Journey of Loyalty and Service
Author: Michael Stidham
Format: Paperback Print.
Number of Pages: 96
Summary: As a Certified Public Accountant, Michael Stidham dealt with numbers most of his career. Alzheimer’s was just another passing word he heard on television. Little did he know that one word would become a focal point in his life. Thus began his journey back to the Catholic Faith and the realization that Love Equals Sacrifice.
Price
: $9.95 (paperback)
Author Bio: Michael Stidham is a Certified Public Accountant who was self-employed for most of his career. After selling his business in August of 2002, he spent several years taking care of his father who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Michael is currently semi-retired and resides in Bellevue, Kentucky. He enjoys outdoor sports including golf and is a member of several organizations including The Knights of Columbus.
 loveequalssacrifice

***

I was most interested in reading Love Equals Sacrifice because I myself am currently caring for my elderly parents, and like Stidham’s father, my mother has Alzheimer’s. I expected the story to focus mainly on Stidham’s caregiving years, but only a little over a third of the book is devoted to that time in his life. And at a mere 85 pages of actual text, Love Equals Sacrifice seems more like a long essay than a book, and left me wanting more. Much more.

The book begins by sketching out Stidham’s parents’ early lives and marriage, and then Stidham’s own childhood. The story moves quickly to Stidham’s adulthood and his first jobs. The first time I wished for more details came when Stidham says of his sports bar’s customers, “As well as the good side of people, I also witnessed the dark things they are capable of. Some of the fictional things I’ve seen on television, I’ve also witnessed in real life.” But instead of giving specific examples, Stidham moves on with his narrative. (I’m also puzzled by the random italics.)

However, since the book’s description highlighted Stidham’s caregiving, I figured that section would contain more detail. Stidham described coming to the slow realization that something was wrong with his father, the doctor visits to resolve ailments, and the typical daily routine he and his father shared, as well as a few anecdotes. However, this section comes to an end all too soon. The book’s final chapters outline Stidham’s return to his Catholic faith after years of neglect.

Though Love Equals Sacrifice could have used a little editorial tweaking here and there, Stidham writes fairly well, and I found his story compelling. My only real complaint is that the book is much too sparse. I would gladly have read more family stories and wished he would have fleshed out details of the joys and frustrations of daily living with someone suffering from Alzheimer’s. Too many authors pad books with extraneous fat. Love Equals Sacrifice to the contrary, is much too lean.

Click here to buy Love Equals Sacrifice
 

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11
Sep

The Broken Parachute Man

   Posted by: Lynne   in eBooks/Print Books, Fiction

Book Details
Title:
The Broken Parachute Man: A Novel of Medical Intrigue
Author: Robert B. Bolin
Format: Hardback and Paperback Print.
Number of Pages: 300
Summary: After middling pharmaceutical company executive Clyde Young boards an airplane to attend a national meeting to make a presentation concerning his employer’s premium drug, his schedule is thrown into a curve when terrorists hijack the plane. After refusing to keep his head down, he is hurled out with a parachute that barely functions.

He is able to survive in the wilderness, but upon his arrival back to civilization, no one believes his story. They assume he is one of the terrorists that hijacked the airplane, so Young escapes to Las Vegas to determine why he was targeted and who was responsible for his ordeal. He lives as a street person and meets four people who believe his story: a sociopath, a prostitute, an alcoholic doctor and a pickpocket.

These people become his allies. They travel with him to the east coast and then to Europe. As Young continues his investigation, he discovers abuses on the part of his employer that could result in mortal danger for innumerable innocent patients. He must act quickly to expose the danger by staying one step ahead of the unknown criminals who are closing in on him and his allies.

Price: $18.95 (paperback)
Author Bio: Author of Unwanted
Inheritance
, Robert B. Bolin practiced oncology in a small northwestern town in the United States for more than twenty-one years and has written several medical articles. He currently lives in eastern Oregon.

brokenparachuteman

***

As a thriller, The Broken Parachute Man suffers from an identity crisis: it starts out
with a bang, but soon veers into a wilderness survival guide, then a gritty life-on-the-streets drama before settling into a detective story wrapped around a lesson
on pharmaceutical drug research and development. But in the end I liked it as a coming-of-middle-age character study.

Clyde Young is a middle-aged, middle-management type with average looks. He’s a bit
frightened of the world, unsure of himself, and is hopelessly stuck in a dull, predictable life. Getting thrown out of an airplane by terrorists is probably the best thing that could have happened to him. He survives a hard winter stranded in the mountains, learns to live on the streets, and finally pushes to discover why he of all people was targeted for elimination by a pharmaceutical company. He doesn’t instantly transform into a rough, self-assured man, but as he perseveres through each small victory, he slowly comes to realize his own strength of will. The Broken Parachute Man isn’t the best thriller I’ve read; it rarely gets you on the edge of your seat with nail-biting action, but I really liked Clyde, and rooted for him throughout the book. He was like the tortoise in Aesop’s fable; each plodding step bringing him closer to solving the mystery that started with a shove out of a plane.

The book starts out as a thriller, what with Clyde getting pushed out of an airplane and landing in the mountains and all. However, he doesn’t get rescued right away. Instead, he has to survive several months in the wilderness. This part of the story doesn’t fit the “thriller” genre, but I enjoyed it nonetheless. After he gets rescued, he ends up homeless in Las Vegas, and we see him developing friendships with other homeless
characters and learning to live in a different type of wilderness: the streets. Again, not a thriller, but it works as a drama of sorts. Finally, Clyde decides to start investigating the company he worked for, and he slowly solves the mystery, which includes an overly  complicated explanation of drug formulation. At one point near the end, Clyde says, “I think I can see the players, but the plot is too complex for me.” That’s about how I felt; there were several “bad guys” each with multifarious motives. Keeping it all straight took a bit more concentration than I prefer. The author apparently thought so too, because after the main mystery is solved, he has the characters explain the plot in detail to each other to make sure we, the readers, understand who did what and why.

The Broken Parachute Man is filled with memorable characters, though I had trouble
telling the difference between two of them: Dan and George, Clyde’s homeless buddies. I blame this on myself rather than the author, however, because he infused both
characters with their own quirks and disparate personalities. I don’t know why I couldn’t keep them straight; perhaps because both were introduced at about the same time and have rather nondescript names. The rest of the characters were quite clear in my mind, and all were fleshed out.

The book, however, contains a most egregious error for a thriller/mystery: the character Dan asserts that another character couldn’t have been responsible for a particular criminal attack because that character was already in jail. This claim didn’t sound right when I read it, so I immediately went back and read the previous chapters and discovered the criminal attack happened a full four days prior to the arrest.
Oops. Looks like the storyline was too complex for even the author to keep straight.

But the one thing about The Broken Parachute Man that really irritated me was the
author’s choice to periodically speak directly to the reader throughout the first several chapters. The moment Clyde gets a parachute strapped to him and shoved out the
plane, the author interjects the story with this: “At this time, I’m sure you, the reader, are questioning the story and wondering if I’m confabulating.” Huh? I’m in the middle of one of the most exciting moments in the book and the author yanks me out to tell me what I’m thinking? Later when Clyde wakes to discover he has survived the fall out of the plane, the author asserts, “Now, if I was a reasonable reader, at this point, I would scoff at the whole story.” Once again I’m pulled out of the adventure and told to question the validity of the events. Um, I’m reading a fiction book here. The suspension of disbelief is a given. Don’t jump in and tell me I shouldn’t trust every word. Did Tolkien constantly interrupt his readers to say, “I’m sure you’re having trouble believing in the existence of hobbits.” Or “As a reasonable reader, you’re probably scoffing at the idea of a magical ring.” Absolutely not. When I’m reading Lord of the Rings I totally believe in hobbits, elves, wizards and powerfully evil rings. Thankfully the author quit jumping in with unwanted opinions after the first few chapters.

Overall, The Broken Parachute Man is a lousy thriller, but the characters were so lively
and sympathetic, I didn’t much care that the plot was a convoluted, slow-paced mess. I’m unlikely to read it again, but I’m don’t feel cheated for having read it once. Experiencing Clyde Young’s transformation into a hopeful, confidant individual was worth it.

Buy The Broken Parachute Man: A Novel of Medical Intrigue
Visit the authors website at http://www.robertbolin.com

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15
Jul

My First Blog Tour!

   Posted by: Lynne   in eBooks/Print Books, Guest Posts

I’ve heard of blog tours for authors before, but never quite knew how they worked. Well, there’s no better way to learn than by doing! So I’ve jumped right in and am a stop along the way for Tomi Akinyanmi, author of A Worthy Legacy. She kindly wrote to me about the process of publishing her book:

I didn’t realize that publishing a book was such a tedious task. I actually believed that the toughest part would be sitting to write. It wasn’t until I got down to the publishing part that it occurred to me that the writing was the easiest part of making a book.

Perhaps it was because it was the first time I would be doing this or perhaps it was the fact that I had three little ones to deal with during the day and the only time I could dedicate to this project was the time between when I got my babies to bed and the time it took me to get sleepy afterwards. I don’t really know which it was but I do know that it’s been quite a challenge. I must confess though that seeing “A Worthy Legacy” finally in print does give me a thrill.

Being a novice, I needed to do a lot of research and find information with regards to the book business. What this means is that for the last few months, I’ve spent a lot of time surfing the internet and reading all the articles I could find on authoring, publishing as well as marketing. I also picked up some books in my quest to learn all I needed to know. However, learning the whole process has been more tedious than I have imagined. Between cleaning up the house once the children are off to dreamland and getting the stuff for the next day ready in addition to learning the book business, I‘ve gotten little or no sleep most nights since I started the publishing project.

From obtaining an ISBN to getting the manuscript edited while working with an overseas designer to design the cover and finally sending the competed text off to the printers, it was a lot of fun. I especially enjoyed working with my designer mainly because she was someone who took pride in her work. Because she was more concerned about the outcome of the project than the timing, she applied herself and that put us on the same wavelength. It was as much fun for me to work with her as it was for her to do the job which I could tell she thoroughly enjoyed. I felt I had chosen the right person for the job. Also seeing the responses to the cover tells me I was not wrong about this. What I learned from this is that “it pays to work with people who take pride in what they do”.

Anyway back to the book business, so far it seems that every new level is more challenging than the last. As much as I thought putting the book in print was tough I’m finding out that maybe marketing is even tougher. I am yet to make up my mind which part of the process of creating a book is the easiest. However, I can pretty much say that I’ve learned so much about this business now that I know the next time around, it would be much easier. For anyone out there considering self publishing, here’s what I can tell you – when you are new to the game, publishing is not easy but it sure is a lot of fun especially if you love to learn new things.

Read my review of A Worthy Legacy here.

Tomi Akinyanmi is the author of A Worthy Legacy, winner of the Silver Award in the Inspirational/Spiritual Category of The Young Voices Foundation’s 2009 Young Voices Award, Second position in the Inspirational/Spiritual Category of the 2008 Reader Views Literary Award, Second position in the Young Adult Non-fiction category of the 2008 Reader Views Literary Award, and Top Book Awards by Black Pearls Magazine sponsored by EDC Creations.

Learn more about A Worthy Legacy and Tomi Akinyanmi.
Buy A Worthy Legacy here.
Check out the book trailer on Youtube

eBook Reviews Online is just one stop on Tomi Akinyanmi’s blog tour!
Visit the other sites of the tour here:

BLOG DATE
Write for a reader July 5
Merry Weather Book Blog July 5
Drey’s Library July 6
Violet Crush July 6
A Bookworm’s World July 6
Lost in books July 7
Book Nest Reviews July 7
Mis(h)takes July 8
A Circle of Books July 8
Peeking between the pages July 9
Reading Frenzy July 9
A Book Blogger’s Diary July 10
Luxury Reading July 10
Bella is reading… July 11
Jenny loves to read July 11
Belle of the books July 12
The Unadorned Book Review July 12
Worducopia July 13
Poisoned Rationality July 13
Socrates’ Book reviews July 14
My thoughts…your thoughts July 15
eBookReviewsOnline July 15
Grace’s Book Blog July 16
Bookalicio.us July 16
The Friendly book nook July 17
Just Another New Blog July 17
I’m on a bookathon
Simply Stacie
Real page turners
Booksnake reviews
The Eclectic Reader
The Bookworm

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