Wednesday, June 23, 2010


Author: Holly Weiss
Publisher: Star Publish

Step into the lives of Gracie Antes and the Woods family of Eagles Mere Pennsylvania. Gracie, who decided to take control and live her life, left her sheltered family in 1925 to pursue her dreams. Crestmont was a summer job, a way to start earning money in order to follow her dream and sing. Little did she know she would find herself, friends, and a family of her own by taking a job at the Crestmont Inn. The woods own the Crestmont and spend their time keeping the dream of Mrs. Woods’s father alive. The Crestmont is not just and Inn, but a place of happiness and solitude for many guest as well as the charming staff.

As you read this wonderful novel, you will be taken back in time to the 1920’s. You will feel you are part of the Crestmont and its staff. As Gracie’s’ story unfolds you are vividly aware of the decade, its people, pastimes and its trials. The book is truly engulfing. You will not want to put it down. The characters are unique and charming, giving the book a truly small town feel with a get away to dream of.

I really enjoyed this debut novel. I felt I was actually part of Eagles Mere and the Crestmont Inn. The characters are charming and loveable. It makes you want to visit the modern day Crestmont, though I’m sure you would arrive and be disappointed. The book is a work of historical fiction, combined with actual history, The Crestmont is a wildly entertaining read. Everything is well presented and thought out. The descriptive nature enables you to envision life during this time. The author does a wonderful job at drawing the reader in and making them welcome, wanting to be part of the story and happenings. She has a way of making the business of running an Inn feel charming and delightful. It is a pleasure to read.

**Reviewed for Reviewthebook**  To purchase: Crestmont

Saturday, June 19, 2010

A Hot Dog Stand in the Himalayas

As a child our imaginations are endless, our ambitions know no bounds, our dreams are realistic possibilities and our feet are never still. Somewhere along the way our feet pause and slow down. Our dreams fade to what will probably never be, and our ambitions have boundaries. We lose sense of our imagination because we are no longer innocent and our imaginations are easily blocked by the harsh realities of life. As far away as these qualities may go, they never disappear. Deep within us all lays our imaginative self, the ambitious dreamer, the child within.

A Hot Dog Stand in the Himalayas captures this child and doesn’t let her go. It is grandma’s memories, a granddaughter’s words and actions spoken, a beacon reminding us all that we are life. We are all the excitement, joy, hopes and dreams. Who says only children can keep that alive? The book challenges you to find your inner five year old and remember. Take your wisdom and knowledge of the years and use it to help fuel those ambitions and dreams, never loosing sight of your imaginations. For “It is if you believe it is”!

I really enjoyed this book. It was simple and easy to read. It was short, a nice cleansing of my mental palette, a break from the longer novels I have been reading. I was wrapped up and drawn into my own childhood memories of my beloved Nana. It was as if I were five again and learning to cook and dream big. It is a flashback, but yet a glimpse of the future. It will challenge you, if not for yourself, then for future generations. I would recommend this book to all readers, young and old. It will hold something different for each, because we are all different. One thing will remain the same, the memory of your youth and the thoughts that young child dreamed and imagined.

Author: Deborah K Martin.   ISBN: 9781438913230

Friday, June 4, 2010

Island Story: A True Story of a Never Ending Summer

Author: Ayumu Takahashi
ISBN: 978-1935548027
Publisher: One Peace Books

After returning from a two year low budget honeymoon around the world, Ayumu Takahashi decides to have the next adventure in his homeland, on the island of Okinawa, in Japan. The adventure is one that will prove to be both exciting and challenging, ultimately changing his life. His goal was to build a self sustaining village on the island. Island story is a vibrant, photographic journal of his quest. The process took eight years, however the self sustaining village is a paradise, lush, green and vibrant! Amazingly, it was built from nothing. Island Story chronicles Ayumu’s journey along with his friends who set out to help him. This small group of friends created shops, an Inn, and a place where visitors and residents could spend their days with the spirit of fun. Using only the resources around them, they accomplished their goal. It is a paradise that will inspire you, as it has inspired the world.

This book is amazing. It was hard to overcome my difference in personality and way of thinking, at first. Our personality traits are so different, that it was almost too difficult to open my mind and think as Ayumu does. Once I did, it amazed me. The feat of what these people have accomplished against all odds and negativity thrown towards them, is inspiring. Their determination to be independent and rely only on themselves and the land is eye opening. It took hard work, effort, determination and the good will of others who could share and envision the dream to make this island possible.

I realized that this book is much more than adventure and fun. The experiences in this book and the eight years chronicled are what has made Ayumu and his friends who they are today. Ayumu was basically like a freshman in college. He was not sure who he wanted to be, or what job he wanted to have. He was full of life and wanted to dream big and accomplish something. He put his mind to it, and he did accomplish his goal. This experience molded him and help him discover these parts of himself. Today is he successful and still sharing the dream with others all over the world through his book and his island. The book was wonderful for just the pictures and beauty of the island of Okinawa, the story was just a second amazing part to this book.

Look Before You Leap: A premarital guide.

 Look Before You Leap, is a wonderful guide for couples thinking about getting married or wishing to better their relationship. This guide starts off with an introduction of what it takes to have a good marriage. These pages are filled with fundamental principles and issues that marriages involve. It is honest and raw, it is not meant to make the reader comfortable, but rather to evaluate and think, as any helpful guide should. The book has a personality quiz and relationship quiz with discussion Reponses for both. These are meant to enhance and help the couple through questions that might stump them or be hard to answer. The response chapters are extremely helpful and a wonderful addition to the quizzes. The author doesn’t leave you hanging on your own, but truly tries to help you as a couple in understanding each other and the difference in your possible answers.

The guide also has Communication and Conflict resolution tips suggested solutions for problems that might arise in a relationship. Case studies and examples of couples and their stories are given throughout the book, with a focus towards the end. These are meant to help guide the couple and show that everyone has issues. They can be big or small. Some are overcome and others are deal breakers. All of them agree that it would have been better to find out before the marriage rather than during or after. As in most relationships the longer your together and the more advanced the relationship becomes, the more hurt you will endure in the event of it ending. Divorce is not only upsetting, it is also very expensive. The author gives a guide to different personality disorders at the end. This was extremely interesting to me. I found it very helpful to understand why some people act and react the way they do. I thought this was an interesting and helpful approach to add to the premarital guide.

Lastly, the guide has a chapter on “people you may meet”. This is meant to help understand each other and how you deal with different types of people. Every couple has friends, family, co-workers and ex-relationships that will merge into your lives together. It is unavoidable, but you are able to help curve the situations by understanding your mate and their personality along with others personalities. The author gives an appendix with recommended resources for further review or more specific review of a given topic that you as a couple want or need to explore.

I can’t say enough about this guide. I loved it! Having been married for six years, I was able to fully review how helpful this guide would be to those who have not yet been married. The questions and quizzes are full of legitimate information and questions that should be discussed when thinking of marriage. The author brings many good suggestions and helpful advice to the table. I feel the author was very real, in that she didn’t make this guide condemn anyone. She is realistic in her approach to the issues couples face today. I would suggest everyone buy a copy of this or borrow it from your local library and go through it together as a couple. It has a wonderful section on communication and its importance. Even if you have a strong relationship, you can always learn something. My husband and I learned more about each other through this guide. It is well worth the money you will spend, and your time spent exploring each other along with your compatibility.

Let's Play Ball

Political scandal wrapped up in a nations past time, Let’s Play Ball is an intriguing story of sisterhood; friendship and scandal that will make you doubt every relationship. Miranda and Jessica are ambitious, successful sisters that have grown up loving baseball. Miranda, who is married, has an important government job with homeland security, a nice home and a prominent lawyer husband. Her sister Jessica is outspoken, unconventional and a sports writer, who has built her career based on her instincts and investigative journalism. She owns her own publication “Let’s Play Ball”. Her first renowned article was about her soon to be husband Manny Chavez. Manny is a baseball star that traveled to Cuba to retrieve his abducted son and bring him home. When Jessica invites her family to join her in the luxury suite to watch Manny’s championship game, no one is prepared for the events about to transpire.

Manny is abducted after the game and held hostage in Cuba. Jessie trusts no one. While struggling with her own marriage and issues, corporate greed and international politics throw Miranda into a world unlike any she has ever known. The book highlights the sisters relationship along with their ambitions in the midst of international conflict, immigration issues and a nations past time. Let’s Play ball will keep you wondering who can be trusted and will justice prevail?

I enjoyed this book; however I felt parts of it were a little slow, especially in the middle. It was easy to be wrapped up in the book wile major events were taking place. It wasn’t as easy to keep interested during the moments of speculation, where the characters were trying to figure out what exactly had happened, along with who let it happen, with nothing but gut and speculation. I feel this book is very similar to what takes place in most of today’s political scenes. The author did a great job with the story and its “likeness” to real life. I would classify this book as political fiction and recommend it to anyone who likes politics and sports. If you’re not into politics, the book is still a good read; you will just enjoy it differently.