Monday, January 31, 2011

Winner of To Have Not

To Have Not

Congratulations to Laura H!   
Thank you to everyone who entered to win this title!

Didn't win??  You can still purchase this title by clicking here!

Wallie Exercises

Wallie ExercisesSteve Ettinger
Illustrated by Pete Proctor
ISBN: 978-0-9845388-0-5
Publisher: Active Spud Press
Source: BookPleasures

Wallie is a wonderful dog but he has a problem, Wallie is super lazy! He never goes outside to play with the other dogs and he won’t play fetch with his boy. Instead he just sits and watches TV while eating junky food until his boy convinces him to go on an adventure and get in shape. Along the way Wallie learns fitness concepts with help from his Elephant fitness instructor. His journey is quite funny and a little silly but very important! Wallie is challenged to exercise as well as learn why his exercise is important. Will Wallie learn to exercise properly or will he stay pudgy and return to his lazy ways?

Wallie Exercises is a wonderful book! My children loved it, I loved it and their grandma loved it. We have had oodles of fun reading this book and then practicing the lesson it teaches. The book is written in four stanza rhymes and is very easy to read as well as understand. The characters are adorable and funny, they attract your attention easily. The book flows well making the transition from page to page pass quickly. It was quite fun to read aloud. Along with the words are vivid and colorful illustrations that tickle your funny bone. If you have ever exercised, you will be able to understand Wallie and the hurdles he attempts to cross in order to exercise for the first time in a long time.

One of my favorite aspects about this book was the last couple pages. At the end of the story there are instructions for exercise ideas and healthy reminders of what you should do when exercising. Exercise is explained in regards to why it is important for your body and mind. It also explains why warm-ups and hydration are an important part of your exercise routine. Challenges questions are given to make children think outside the box and answers are provided to help stimulate the thought process.

Overall this book is a wonderful example to children who might need to be reminded why TV, computers and video games should be used in moderation. A healthy daily exercise routine is important for everyone, even if you’re playing tag, soccer, basketball or any other physical activity that you enjoy. My children love this book and I enjoy reading it to them. The book encourages healthy exercise along with physician consultation when it comes to what exercises are right for your individual child. I would recommend it for children 0– 8 years of age. It would make a wonderful gift for any child.


Sunday, January 30, 2011

Interview with Steve O'Brien

Author of
Elijah's Coin: A Lesson for Life

Please tell me a little about yourself. When did you know you wanted to become an author?

In the seventh grade one of my teachers provided encouragement about my writing and I guess it started then. I did stints as a sports writer in high school and college and wrote several short stories, but wasn’t concerned about the publishing side. It was primarily for my own enjoyment. Then law school and my legal career overwhelmed my writing time. Only in the past few years have I focused on my dormant writing career.

Please tell me a little about “Elijah’s Coin”.

Elijah’s Coin is a story I wrote for my kids. A young man is trekking down a dangerous path and meets an unusual mentor, Elijah King, who gives him advice and a coin. Through meetings with Elijah and others who had received the coin, the young man learns what true success is and gets his life back on track. He comes face to face with his darkest memories and in the process has to choose to stay on the path or revert to his previous ways.

How did you become published?

Through my legal work, I came to know several publishers and tapped them for any knowledge I could glean. I was fortunate to find a startup publisher who was interested in inspirational fiction and it all came together.

What was the publishing process like?

Slow. I had no idea that the time from a finished manuscript to a release date could be so long. It seemed like time was standing still. I also am a serial re-writer, so they had to literally tear the manuscript from me, otherwise I’d still be revising.

What is something you wish you would have known about the publishing business?

As a writer, I believed the manuscript was the product. It isn’t. The manuscript gets turned into a book. That is the product. Sounds simple, but I had no appreciation for the steps required to go from manuscript to published book.

What has been your best author experience so far?

I boarded a plane and a gentleman was reading Elijah’s Coin. I didn’t know whether to say something or not. I sat a few rows behind him and I watched to see how he was reacting. When the flight ended, I chose not to say anything to him, but the experience of seeing a total stranger holding my book was a thrill. I wondered how he found out about the book, was it a gift, did someone recommend it, where did he buy it?

What is the least thrilling/attractive part of being an author for you?

I don’t think I’ve found one yet. I love the writing process. I’ve never experienced writer’s block. I’ve experienced “story block” where I’m undecided about which direction a specific storyline should take, but even that is challenging and enjoyable.

Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?

Write something every day. Read every day. Learn the craft. Stephen King said something that stuck with me. He said we don’t get to decide if our work has commercial value. Kind of an odd remark to inspire a writer, but the point is we have to be ourselves as writers. We have to develop our own style. If a writer tries to mimic a known, commercially successful author’s style, the work won’t have any sense of identity. Be yourself.

Is “Elijah’s Coin” your first book? If no, what other titles do you have out? If yes, what was it like to see your debut novel in print?

Elijah’s Coin is my first book. Maybe the greatest experience for an author is to hold that first book. It is really a special moment. Also walking into a bookstore and seeing the book is a thrill.

How did you decide to write novel in this genre? Have you written any other genres?

I guess the genre picked me. As I said, I wrote the book for my kids and they hit the YA demographic. I chose to write it in first person and made it a book that would not be intimidating to read.

Do you have a novel in the works?

In March my second novel, Bullet Work will be released. This is a very different book from Elijah’s Coin. It is a mystery suspense novel set at a thoroughbred race track. It is written in third person, so I have evolved to a different genre and style of writing. I also have a suspense thriller manuscript that is nearly through the first draft. I still have a lot of work to do on that one.

What is your favorite book?

To Kill a Mockingbird.

What is the last book you read?

The Emperor’s Tomb by Steve Berry

What are you currently reading?

Horse Heaven by Jane Smiley

Do you have a pet?

Not currently. Growing up my family had a steady assortment of dogs and cats.

Do you have kids? If so, how do you balance writing and parenting?

We have a son and a daughter. My best writing time is early in the morning, so I try to use that “alone time” for writing.

Name three things you couldn’t live without.

My family, my computer and my car.

If you were given the opportunity to invite any 5 people to dinner who would you invite?

If living or dead, I’d pick--Albert Einstein, Ernest Hemingway, Benjamin Franklin, Clarence Darrow, and Winston Churchill. If living only, I’d pick Stephen King, Cormac McCarthy, Jane Smiley, Nora Roberts, and Greg Iles.

Name three things on your bucket list.

Week long vacations in Dublin, Rome and Paris.

Are you a night owl or early bird?

Early Bird, definitely

Who is your favorite author?

Cormac McCarthy

What is your preferred writing atmosphere?

Either the kitchen table early in the morning or a coffee shop. The latter comes with noise and distraction, but sometimes that is helpful.

What do you do with your time when you’re not writing?

I spend time with my family. Also, I’m an avid reader, so there’s never a bad time to read.

Do you have a favorite reading/writing snack?

Hhhmmm. Does black coffee count?

Which question in this interview was your favorite?

The one about advice for aspiring authors.

Thank You Steve!  It's been a pleasure getting to know you better! 
To purchase a copy of Elijah's Coin on Amazon CLICK HERE.

Friday, January 28, 2011

The Snow Globe

The Snow GlobeAuthor: Sheila Roberts
ISBN: 978-0-312-59448-0
Publisher: St. Martins Press
Source: BookPleasures

Kylie Gray has lost her job, lost her fiancĂ© and lost her hope. On a girls weekend get-a-way she wanders into an antique shop and buys an enchanting snow globe. The snow globe is not ordinary and has a touching story behind its existence. As the shopkeeper tells the story of the snow globe, Kylie is given a little hope that her own miracle might happen. Her hopeful shake of the globe leads her on an adventure once the snow has settled. After she is made a believer Kylie shares the story and the globe with her two best friends who need a little miracle of their own. Though they doubt her, the women are all sure to remember the joy of Christmas and the miracles the season can bring as each find their own miracle with the snow globe’s guidance.

“The Snow Globe” is one of the first books I have read in a while where I agree with all the review quotes on the back of the book. It indeed is an “absolutely wonderful….full of warmth, charm and second chances” read. The author made me laugh and the novel left me “inspired, hopeful and happy” just as it did for Debbie Macomber. The novel takes a look at the lives of three women, three best friends who have been there for each other and are honest with each other. It touches on many different aspects of most every woman’s dreams and hopes. I easily connected with the characters, seeing myself in each of them during phases of my life. The novel has a realistic view on life, relationships, family, work and many other aspects of the reader’s everyday life. I fully enjoyed it!

While this book would make a great stocking stuffer or gift around the holidays, I found it was more than that. It was the perfect read for a cold night by the fire. I enjoyed a cup of hot cocoa while reading it and curled up with a blanket. The story is heartwarming and welcoming. It greets you as a friend. I would suggest this novel for anyone who is looking for a good, uplifting, and comical read. Whether you end up a believer or not is your choice, though it is sure to give hope and comfort with its lessons. While anyone could read this novel and enjoy it, I would recommend it for women. It has elements of inspiration, romance, family and friendship in it. It also includes a fun Thanksgiving football game scene which I think most men would enjoy.

This novel is simply a short, sweet, uplifting and gratifying read. It is one to be shared with others just as the globe was meant to be. The author did a wonderful job with all the elements of this book and had me turning the pages swiftly to find out what would happen next. It was a wonderful read.


Thursday, January 27, 2011

Textual Healing Book Spotlight & Giveaway

Textual Healing

Few people have to deal with a haiku-speaking flower-shop-owning ninja every day on their way to work. Unfortunately for Andrew Connor, he is one of those people.

And poor Andrew, his week has been a rough one. His former bestseller, Chasing Fireflies, is on clearance at Barnes & Noble for $1.37, his girlfriend left him for a corporate America action figure, and he's been tricked into joining Textual Healing, a support group for writers who can't seem to write anymore.

Dealing with his employees at his failing used bookshop, a strange new love interest from the Midwest, and a pet sugar-glider that has somehow managed to destroy his entire apartment... when will he ever find the time to put pen to paper again?

A quirky comedy set in present day New York and New Jersey, Textual Healing follows the story of Andrew, a self-deprecating, once famous author, his small bookstore in Hoboken, and the colorful characters that surround him.

About the Book:
Author:  Eric Smith
ISBN: 978-1452062457
Publisher: Author House
Reviews:  Amazon : Goodreads

About the Author:
A native of Elizabeth, New Jersey, Eric Smith received his undergraduate degree from Kean University in Union, New Jersey, before relocating to the Philadelphia area to attend graduate school at Arcadia University.  The co-founder of top Philly blog Geekadelphia, Smith has a love of videogames, zombies and consumer tech products perhaps unmatched by other contemporary writers.  Smith teaches Composition & Literature at Pierce College in addition to working in publishing.  The former editor of uwishunu, Smith lives in the Rittenhouse neighborhood of Philadephia with his bunny, Rory and chinchilla, Mittens.  You can follow his blog at or follow him on Twitter @ericsmithrocks.

Review & Giveaway:
I will be reviewing this title!  While I read it, you should too!  I have 3 copies available for giveaway thanks to Eric!  Fill out the form below.  Rules are listed on the form.  You must follow or subscribe to this blog.  (It's easy, just see my sidebars!)  Gain an extra entry or two by commenting on this post and telling me what interest you about this book and/or by passing the word along!

Good Luck!


My Blogger Spotlight

I am the Blogger being Spotlighted over at e-Volving Books today!  Thank you to Deepali for having me on her blog!  I hope you enjoy reading a little more about me and my

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Enticing New Release

Little Princes: One Man's Promise to Bring Home the Lost Children of Nepal
Author: Conor Grennan
ISBN: 9780061930058
Publisher: William Morrow
Source: Shelf Awareness

About the Memoir
 [taken from the back cover of my ARC]

It was well after nightfall when I realized we had gone the wrong way.

The village I had been looking for was somewhere up the mountain,...if we could even find the trail in the pitch-dark.  My two porters and i had been walking for almost thirteen hours straight.  Winter at night in the mountains of northwestern Nepal is bitterly cold, and we had no shelter.  Two of our three flashlights had burned out.  Worse, we were deep in a Maoist rebel stronghold, not far from where a colleague had been kidnapped almost exactly one year before....I wondered how things would have been different if I hadn't gotten hurt.  Or if I hadn't split from my team, or if I hadn't decided to wait on that mountain for a helicopter that never came.  It didn't matter now.  What did matter was figuring out how we would get through the night.

Wow, what a memoir!  Little Princes is a compelling read.  The book is an eye-opening experience of the world around us.  Nepal for me is an intriguing place.  I find myself reading about it often.  The memoir is one of courage, selflessness and hope as Connor endures many different situations in a corrupt and dangerous land.  As a mother, it was difficult to read about the child trafficking and everything the children endure and suffer through, yet rewarding and uplifting to know that children have been reunited with their parents.  While the book has many serious aspects it also had moments of laughter to help ease some of the more serious situations.  Overall, it is a optimistic book full of love, faith and hope as one man vows to help change the lives of others.  It challenges you to put yourself aside and think of others.  The world around us is bigger than our home, our city, our state and our country.  We can make a difference in all of these places, we can at least be thankful for what we have and what we are for the most part protected from. I would recommend this book.  It is quite compelling and thought provoking.

Helpful Information
The purchase of this book helps the children of Nepal through charities that have been set up and are already working to make the lives of children in nepal better.  You can visit to find out more.  I urge you to check out this site in addition to reading Little Princes.

About the Author
Conor Grennan volunteered in Nepal at the Little Princes Children’s Home in the village of Godawari in 2004. He eventually returned to Nepal to launch Next Generation Nepal (NGN), a nonprofit organization dedicated to reconnecting trafficked children with their families in postwar Nepal. [] Conor graduated from the University of Virginia and the NYU Stern School of Business. He currently resides in the NYC area with his wife and son.

Quick Buy Links:

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Monday, January 24, 2011

And The Winner Is....

Val Pearson 

Thank you to all who entered! 
If you didn't win I encourage you to still check out this title

Froggy Fun

Froggy Fun
Author: Treva Jean Edwardson
Illustrated by Carolina Seth
ISBN: 978-1-61566-568-6
Tate Publishing & Enterprises, LLC
Source: Reader Views

Freddy and Fanny live in the hallow of a tree in Fernleaf forest. Franny says “Peek-a-boo” every morning, it’s her secret code phrase to Freddy. Freddy is so shy he can only say me too, he never says “peek-a-boo”. Freddy and Franny do all sorts of wonderful froggy fun activities together. At night Freddy plays his auto harp and sings for Franny. Franny believes in Freddy and thinks he is wonderful. She understands he is shy and wants to help him have confidence to play in front of others. She also knows his talent is a gift from God and tells Freddy he should not be shy because he is special to God and those who love him. One day during a game of hide and seek Freddy learns how special Franny is to him and in turn learns not to be shy. Soon all the woodland animals are enjoying Freddy’s night time lullaby’s. Everyone is so happy he is no longer shy!

My four years old thoughts:
Froggy fun, two delightful little frogs. They played on the water with their friend Mr. Woodpecker. Freddy is shy. They play hide and seek and he wouldn’t find Franny, it was sad. He whispered peek-a-boo to her when he found her. He picked flowers and mushroom caps for their hats and they danced with joy. Freddy wasn’t shy anymore.

I liked they rhyming words like frog and bog and bee and tree. The best part was when they danced and all the creatures came out to hear his beautiful song. I like the pretty pictures.

This book was cute and imaginative. I enjoyed the good lesson the story holds for it‘s readers. The book is full of wonderful illustrations that are colorful and quite fashionable for a frog story! I have noticed that the binding of this book is starting to come unglued, this is unfortunate as we have not yet had it for a full month. The story is a bit long but has great rhyming stanzas that help give it flow and ease in reading. Madison always lost interest on pages 28 and 29 where there are four, 4 line stanzas and no pictures. Overall, I enjoyed this book and so did my daughters. I thought it was a cute story with a helpful lesson. I would suggest this book for children ages 4-8 years of age.


Sunday, January 23, 2011

Surrender the Heart

Surrender the Heart (Surrender to Destiny)
Author: Mary Lu Tyndall
ISBN: 978-1-60260-165-9
Publisher: Barbour Publishing
Source: Reader Views

Engaged to be married by way of arrangement, Noah and Marianne have both agreed to the marriage to save their families but are not happy with the arrangement. Though they have grown up together, each of them is vastly different than they used to be. Both have pre-conceived notions about the other, but they are incorrect and based on old would that haven’t healed. On the brink of the war of 1812 these two find themselves facing their worst nightmares. Full of fear and uncertainty they must learn to rely on God and re-trust in him. Their destinies are an outcome with the potential to change the war as well as history, forever. In the end will they find love or walk away as friends united by a common bond?

“Surrender the Heart” is book one of the Surrender to Destiny series. The majority of this book takes place on board sea vessels and is full of action for the reader. The beginning of the book was slow yet steady. It took a couple pages of reading for the book to capture my attention. Once I was captured the novel was hard to put down. The last half of the book was my favorite. I quickly devoured the pages in anticipation. The authors writing style is easy to read and full of action and wit yet gently reminding that God loves us as we are and never leaves us. I enjoyed the writing as well as the action packed story line.

The characters were interesting but never completely captured me. The novel was predictable in terms of romance and mostly held suspense for the action of war and capture of the ships involved. In the end that level of suspense is not high due to the predictability of the romance. I enjoyed reading this novel! I love historical fiction and “Surrender the Heart” captures the brink of the war of 1812 wonderfully. The novel feels realistic to the time period although it is fiction. I could easily imagine most of the events that transpired. I would recommend this book to other readers, particularly those who have an interest in romance, Christian fiction or historical fiction. I look forward to reading the remainder of this series.