Monday, October 31, 2011

Guest Author: Cathy Stopps

If you wonder about the title “Let’s Do Lunch”, despite the fact that I am French, it has nothing to do with food.

When I first moved to Boca Raton, thirty years ago, I used to take my son to school every morning. There I met his friends’ parents. As a newcomer to this great community of ours, I was enchanted by the kindness of these ladies who on a regular basis would declare “Let’s Do Lunch”.

I am still waiting…

Born in France, I was raised in Madagascar during the Colonial era by parents in the service of the French Government. My formative years were spent at a boarding school in Paris, after which I set off for England to study and work. I was awarded a degree in English Language and Literature from Cambridge University. It was there that I met my future husband. Our family moved to the US over 30 years ago to settle in South Florida.

Over my years here I have discovered a new way of life: “One Upmanship”. I have met many wonderful people whose one and only goal in life is to impress others. I learned what car my daughter’s boyfriends drove before they even told me their names. I learned that people only value your friendship if you lived in a certain part of Boca. I learned that appearance was number one, no matter the cost. Most of all I learned the true meaning of the word “Pretend”.

This is what prompted me to start writing. My book can be perceived as the story of greed and murder in the Sunshine State, but it is really the story of everyday life in Boca Raton- with a touch of imagination- viewed through the eyes of a European girl.

“Let’s do Lunch” follows protagonists Richard Beauvoir, Emmanuelle Darvieux and detective Sam Loubard as they work together to solve a series of high-profile town murders. When a prominent figure and his wife go missing and their grand-daughter is murdered soon thereafter, Richard and Emmanuelle find themselves drawn into a web of mystery and deceit. Local detective Sam Loubard, Richard’s childhood friend, works with Richard and Emmanuelle as the mystery intensifies, entangling them in the inner-workings of the upper echelons of society and inculcating their psyche with mind-twisting danger.  


Sunday, October 30, 2011

Book Review: Night Machines by Kia Heavey

Night Machines

Author: Kia Heavey
Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Unfiltered Creative (June 15, 2011)
Amazon Link

Note: I received this book free from the author, Kia Heavey. The review posted below is based on my personal thoughts while reading the book.


★ ★ ★ 

My thoughts:

The book tells the story of an ordinary housewife Maggie, after staying as a full time mother for years to her kids, decided she wanted to go back working. Her new employer, Cambien turns out to be a classmate in high school. While having problems with her husband, Rowan, a police detective working 24/7 on a case of a murdered young girl, she finds herself liking Cambien. She develops a harmless "crush" on her boss and sometimes dreams (mostly lust dreams) about him. She feels this "imaginary affair" with her boss will help her get through her problem with Rowan. Things became complicated when she starts to dream about Cambien almost on a daily basis. It became much more complicated when Cambien told her he knows about these dreams and they are all real. Creepy right? Yay! 

The author wove a great story of one family which is totally relatable to the readers. Even Maggie's problem is totally relatable - feeling "unloved" since her husband seems to focus all his attention to his job. It was an easy read mixed with a lot of suspense and mystery. Loved the ending of the story - it was a complete surprise! Overall, if you are looking for a great book to read this Halloween, you might want to buy a copy of this book. ;)

About the book:

Maggie decided to have an affair. No one needed to know, not even her lover.

Who would it hurt, if Maggie decided to carry on a torrid affair in her mind? It would soothe her feelings, hurt by her husband’s emotional abandonment while he worked on a disturbing new murder case. It would provide an outlet for the dizzying desire she felt for her employer. It would make her feel loved and appreciated and better able to be a good wife and mother.

But Maggie loses control of the fantasy as lust becomes love, and things she believed confined to her own imagination are somehow known to her spectral lover. A harmless mind game spins out of control and threatens the sanctity of Maggie’s greatest treasure – her family.

Women looking for a fresh voice in contemporary storytelling will be pleasantly surprised by genuinely likable characters in a compelling thriller that explores marriage, motherhood, morality and, ultimately, the nature of love itself.

About the author:

I live in Connecticut with my husband, a police chief, and our two children. After graduating from Barnard College with a degree in German Literature, I went to work as an art director in advertising.

I wrote Night Machines because it was a book I really wanted to read, but no one had written. I love a captivating, creepy story that weaves a spell. Nemesis by Rosamond Smith is a favorite. I also love Andrew Klavan. Please feel free to send me recommendations of good books to read!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Guest Author: Phill Pappas

I thought about dropping out of college the summer after my freshman year. I was building 2004-2005 Ford F-150s on the assembly line in Dearborn, Michigan, and I loved the job. I would have continued working for Ford had the auto-workers union not gone into holdouts around my 80th day – I was on an 89 day contract with Ford. I returned for my sophomore year two weeks later.

I thought about dropping out of college the summer after my sophomore year. I was competing as an amateur boxer, traveling the country with the Crown Boxing Club, based out of Lansing, Michigan, and I decided to take a year off from school to concentrate on fighting. I won a national championship that summer in the men’s 165 pound novice division. Two months later I discovered that I needed reconstructive surgery on my right shoulder. Surgery was scheduled for that winter, and I spent my year off from school working and rehabbing my shoulder. 

In hindsight, it really feels as if I was looking for any excuse to not continue my education in the traditional system. School didn’t inspire me the way boxing did. School didn’t give me the satisfaction that the weekly paychecks from Ford did. I simply felt that I didn’t belong. Sure, I liked my friends, partying, and the occasional class, but I found myself in the exact same place that I had been in middle and high school – out of place.

I could get by in the classroom, I was always good at getting by, but getting by only takes you so far. To be honest, I was almost incapable of learning. I couldn’t pay attention in class, I didn’t do any of the readings, I didn’t know how to study, I barely did homework, and when it came time to take a test I was pretty much at the mercy of the gods, so to speak. 

So what changed? I’m not sure, but I do know that it wasn’t sudden – there was no miracle. After those first two years in college, I spent the next five years gradually developing the skills to operate within the educational system, and, eventually, I began to excel.

I was part of an ADHD support group in college, and it was at our meetings where I began to hear similar stories to my own. The continuous struggles of operating within a system, year after year, that refuses to adapt to us, but that we must adapt to. And it was at these meetings I discovered that I wanted a book written by a person who struggled through college,figured some things out, and eventually excelled. After I graduated, I decided that I didn’t want to wait around for someone else to write that book, so I wrote it. Why? Because, why not? I don’t even know if it’s any good, but I do know that every time I pick it up and read a sentence here or there I say, “Oh, I should probably start doing that again.” Because, in the end, I wrote about a state of mind, a concise account of my search for knowledge of self. I hope that it helps you in your journey. 

Phill Pappas

Monday, October 24, 2011

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

Yay, a new meme for me! Finally, I get to join this fun meme "It's Monday! What are you reading?" hosted by Sheila @ Book Journey. This is where we share what we have read last week and our reading plans for this week. 

Last Week Read and Reviewed

Book for Posting Review

Currently Reading:


Sunday, October 23, 2011

Book Review: Lies, Love & Porn by Humphry Knipe

Lies, Love & Porn

Author: Humphry Knipe
Paperback: 282 pages
Publisher: Createspace (November 19, 2010)
Amazon Link

Note: I received this book free from the author, Humphry Knipe. The review posted below is based on my personal thoughts while reading the book.


★ ★ ★  

My thoughts:

The first few pages were a little slow-paced, you know getting to know the characters. The novel is actually based on the author's personal experience, also based on real people and actual events. For me, it is what makes the book interesting. The novel talks about the story of how an underage girl, Blue got into porn movies. This book actually takes you to how the porn industry/business works. Girls like Blue usually start with some modeling and dancing in clubs. Eventually these girls get tired of it and would dream BIG. For them BIG means doing porn movies. Imagine they could get one to two thousand dollars per day. Who can resist that?

Things got complicated when Blue, after getting into porn movies, realized she wants to cross-over in making legitimate movies. Aaron Fine, her producer would not allow her to stop doing porn movies and for her there is only one thing she can do to end everything. That is to reveal she is seventeen years old not twenty-one as she first claimed.

I really enjoyed reading the story. When the author approached me for a book review, I was hesitant to read Lies, Love & Porn since I am not really into porn stories. After re-reading the synopsis, I decided I really want to try this one out. I'm just so glad I did. I had a great time reading this. I recommend this story to readers looking for a unique experience.

About the book:

It is 1986, a year when shooting blue movies is both chic and dangerous. It is the year that President Reagan publishes his chilling 1,960 page Commission on Pornography, payback to the religious right who had re-elected him to office in 1984. It is the year that superstar Traci Lords turns 18 and admits that she was underage when she performed in more than 100 erotic movies. Lies, Love & Porn is set during this turbulent time. Damon Luce, a cult film director, makes his fortune but loses his soul directing porn movies. PC, who Damon discovered and groomed, is reaching the end of her carnal career. Into their increasingly desperate lives comes a beautiful teenager with a false ID who calls herself Blue and who is on a fast track to mainstream movie stardom. At first Blue seems to be the answer to everyone's prayers but she has a game plan of her own.

About the author:

Award winning novelist Humphry Knipe is a graduate of Rhodes University, South Africa. He is co-author of The Dominant Man (Delacorte 1972), a study of animal and human "pecking orders" which has been translated in five languages and was hailed as "absolutely brilliant" by author Colin Wilson. In 1977 he ghosted the autobiography of his wife, famed erotic photographer Suze Randall, titled Suze (Dell 1977). 

The Nero Prediction (Process 2005) a revolutionary re-evaluation of Rome's notorious emperor, won the 2006 Independent Publishers "Best Historical Novel" award. Lies, Love & Porn draws on his intimate involvement in the Traci Lords underage fiasco of 1986. 

He lives on a ranch in Malibu, California. He and Suze Randall have three children. 

Friday, October 21, 2011

Friday Blog Hop

It's time for the weekly hop. If you wanna join the fun, visit Crazy for Books 
and Parajunkee's View for the link

Book Blogger Hop
Question of the week
Q. What is your favorite type of candy?

A. I love dark choco, so I try every dark chocolate I can find but my favorite is Ritter Sport dark dark darrrk chocolate.  

Q. What superhero is your alter-ego?

A. Storm from X-men. It would be sooo cool to be able to control the weather!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Guest Author: WJ Smith

I walked into work 1 morning and the boss asked could he see me in his office.  Tapped on the shoulder, but in the boss’s protracted-practiced corporate mumbo-jumbo, I was being downsized, outsourced, reallocated and I was like, excuse me, this is a person sitting across the desk from you, not a resource.  Fire me, but spare me your bloated euphemisms.  

20 minutes later, I was driving home, jobless.  

So there I was, retired abruptly and after all those years and I had, along with a great sense of relief, and on the short ride home, an epiphany – write!

Only thing was, I didn’t have a clue what to write.  Did I have anything I wanted to say?  Not really.  Did I have a particular area of expertise to interest people?  No.  Any adventures to relate?  None.  And what did I know about writing?  Uh, not much, except I had been reading, uh, voraciously, since forever.  What I had was a sharpened pencil and a stack of blank paper and time, oh, did I have time!  And what I did with those things, and god knows why, maybe because I didn’t know any better, I wrote 2 books simultaneously and all in the space of about a year and a half and all the while re-familiarizing myself with the rules of grammar and language.  

1 book was a sword and sorcery thing, the other was a paranormal ghost-story that looks and feels like YA but isn’t.  Sometimes I think it is but it isn’t, not really.  It’s boomer fiction.  

Welcome to Bobby Slater’s World.

It’s the summer of 64, our beloved president has been dead for nearly a year, the Beatles have arrived and there is an edge − change was coming, faster to some places than to others.
For us small town kids, it was no longer the 50s and not yet the 60s.

Our world was a world without play dates, theme camps or travel teams; a world where sports were mostly sandlot and each sport, and there were only 3, had its season.  Bikes were for getting places and the kids rode without helmets and we rode in the backs of pickup trucks too and with our dogs back there and the dogs weren’t surrogate children or fierce guardians.  They were a part of the gang.

BSW takes a timeless theme – handsome rich boy falls for beautiful pauper girl, tosses in a ghost-boy and sets it all in a gritty industrial town close by to a lake where the rich people spend their summers.  It’s Bobby’s first ever romance and it’s bliss except Bobby’s girl is fickle.  Sometimes she’s sweet and funny, sometimes not and it’s because of the curse that has haunted her family for 150 years.  The curse is fickle too, it might skip a generation or 2 or 3, then strike as many in a row.  It took the girl’s mom when Marlene was 3 years old and witnessing her mom’s death (not gruesome, nothing’s ever gruesome in Bobby Slater’s World,) imbued the little girl with an adult clarity − she’d be next and soon and she’s OK with it, see, she’s an Indian girl living in a white town and she’s pretty much alone and picked-on and miserable.  Going to her ghost-boy (he’s an Indian too,) is kind of like going home, until Bobby comes along and complicates her life.  Now Bobby has shown her somebody can care about her, she’s not so sure she wants to die.  

But it may not matter what she wants.  I mean, how do you fight a paranormal ghost-boy?  Bobby will fight with the only weapons he has – sincerity and respect and courage and will it be enough to dissuade the ghost-boy from taking what he considers to be his?  And can Bobby bring the snooty summer folks together with those eccentric townies – a grumpy Indian chief, the local gypsy fortune teller and the weird guy who everyone knows isn’t right in the head and who spends his days walking the woods around the lake, looking for something very important, some- thing lost for 150 years?

WJ Smith, aka Hugh Centerville, is the author of The Denouement.  He lives in New York’s Hudson Valley. 

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Book Review: Gandhi (A Manga Biography) by Kazuki Ebine

Gandhi (A Manga Biography)

Author: Kazuki Ebine
Paperback: 192 pages
Publisher: Penguin (Non-Classics); Original edition (September 27, 2011)
Amazon Link

Note: I received this book free from the publisher, Viking Adult. The review posted below is based on my personal thoughts while reading the book.


★ ★ ★ 

My thoughts:

I enjoyed reading this manga. It was a fast read as this manga/graphic novel is just 192 pages. I knew that Mahatma Gandhi was an Indian hero, and that he was the one who lead the salt march (for the Indian Independence). However, I was not aware of all the things he did for his country to be considered as a great man in India. I even didn't know the meaning of Mahatma until I read this manga. Mahatma means Great Soul and that Mahatma Gandhi's real name is Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi.

This manga would be a great help to teachers of history. It's a great way to entice the students in reading his life. If all history books are done in manga/graphic novel style, I'm sure no one will get bored in reading them. I also recommend Gandhi: A Manga Biography to other readers looking for a  unique experience.

About the book:

The life of a true twentieth-century hero told in a vibrant graphic novel format.

Through his quietly powerful leadership and influential use of nonviolent resistance in India's struggle against the British Raj, Mahatma Gandhi became one of the most revered figures of the modern era. While history has recorded Gandhi's words and deeds, the man himself has been eclipsed by maxims of virtuosity that seem to have little resonance in our everyday lives. In Gandhi, the third volume in our exciting new manga biography series, created in conjunction with Emotional Content, Kazuki Ebine combines a gripping narrative with stunning illustrations to share Gandhi's inspiring and deeply human story with a whole new generation of readers.
Developed in conjunction with Emotional Content.

About the author:

Kazuki Ebine is an up-and-coming manga artist and has won several highly recognized awards from the major comic book magazines in Japan. He lives in Tokyo.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Guest Author: Alma Alexander

Back in the days when I was a student, my University had a secret.   It was a place that more or less appeared on no maps. There were no  signs advertising its presence. It was tucked away in a hidden courtyard at the end of an un-promising alley. If you did not know it was there, you would NEVER find it. 

But it was a special place, a secret passed down from one generation of  students to the next. It was a magical spot, something that lingers in  the memories of everyone who ever passed through it, and they will all  (even thirty years later) describe it to you in uncannily similar  terms, like it had been preserved in amber. 

It also made the best  Irish Coffees on the planet, bar none.  

It doesn't exist anymore; it's long gone, replaced by… other things. The  secret courtyard and its treasures are no more, except in the mind and  memory and spirit of each and every person who ever passed through it -- a place of trysts, celebrations, and sharing, a  place where only truth might be spoken. 

Its name was Spanish Gardens.  And sooner or later it would find its way into the worlds which I create in my fiction.  Spanish Gardens, the café itself, is as much of a character as any of  the human protagonists in my new novel, "Midnight at Spanish Gardens".  If you want a quick summary, I could offer you this:  

"On the eve of the end of the world, 20 December 2012, five friends  meet in Spanish Gardens, the café where they had celebrated their  college graduation 20 years before. Over Irish coffees, they reminisce  - and reveal long-held and disturbing secrets. 
Each friend in turn is given a curious set of instructions by an enigmatic bartender named Ariel: "Your life is filled with crossroads and you are free to choose one  road or another at any time. Stepping through this door takes away all  choices except two -- the choice to live a different life, or return  to this one...."    

Each in turn passes through the portal and is faced with a new life and challenges. Their decisions show a new life -- or something far  worse. At the end of the world, it's a chance for redemption, or a  chance to learn something about themselves.  Four of them return to their own lives, imperfections and all.  One does not." 

This is a novel that asks - and leaves open the answer to - one of the  most powerful and poignant questions ever asked by a human mind:  WHAT IF? What if you had made a different choice? How would it have  changed your life?  

Read the book. Play the game.       

Alma Alexander

Friday, October 14, 2011

Book Blogger Hop

It's time for the weekly hop. If you wanna join the fun, visit Crazy for Books 
and add your blog addy in the link

Book Blogger Hop
Question of the week
Q. What is your favorite spooky book (i.e. mystery/suspense, thriller, ghost story, etc.)?

A. I have two books on my mind right now but they are not actually my favorite. Frostbite by Richelle Mead (Vampire Academy Series book 2) and Mojo by Kris Sedersten. In reading both these books, I remember they were both pretty creepy (especially Mason's ghost) and I had to sleep with my lights on after reading them. 

Thursday, October 13, 2011

In My Mailbox

IMM (In My Mailbox) is a weekly meme hosted and created by Kristi at The Story Siren

This is a way to share books we received for review, bought, and borrowed from friends or library.

Received for review

Maggie decided to have an affair.
No one needed to know. 
Not even her lover. 

Who would it hurt, if Maggie decided to carry on a torrid affair in her mind? It would soothe her feelings, hurt by her husband’s emotional abandonment while he worked on a disturbing new murder case. It would provide an outlet for the dizzying desire she felt for her employer. It would make her feel loved and appreciated and better able to be a good wife and mother.

But Maggie loses control of the fantasy as lust becomes love, and things she believed confined to her own imagination are somehow known to her spectral lover. A harmless mind game spins out of control and threatens the sanctity of Maggie’s greatest treasure – her family.

Part women's fiction, part suburban fantasy, and part psychological thriller, this unique tale is difficult to categorize. Women looking for a fresh voice in contemporary storytelling will be pleasantly surprised by genuinely likable characters and an engrossing story that explores marriage, motherhood, morality and, ultimately, the nature of love.

Does “The One” truly exist?

This is the question that Scarlett O’Shea attempts to answer in this passionate, inspiring, and life-changing story of finding her Beloved. As she travels around the world calling in “The One”, an orchestra of events is set in motion that brings about their destined meeting. Along the way, she discovers that her Beloved (who is an well-known International “spiritual” teacher) is far more demanding than her international celebrity yoga lifestyle could have ever imagined. With flames licking at her heels, he invites Scarlett to leave her old life behind so she can fulfill her desire to know what happens when you say“Yes!”tolove,no matter what the cost!

Ride the twists and turns of this rollercoaster in this hilarious, irresistibly romantic, and soulful journey. Pilgrimage of Love is a tale that will have you believing in love all over again.
Anaiya Aon Prakasha’s quest to truly know love started when she was twelve years old after she “met” her Guardian Angel on the steps of the Sacre Coeur in Paris. This destined meeting set her on a journey of love that included fifteen years of teaching Kundalini Yoga and writing books such as Open Your Heart with Kundalini Yoga and Womb Wisdom – Awakening the creative and forgotten powers of the feminine. Pilgrimage of Love is based on her own adventure into the spirit of love. Anaiya has been featured in magazine and newspapers such as Kindred Spirit, Spirit and Destiny, The Telegraph and The Guardian, as well as in numerous TV and radio shows. Her passion lies in re-awakening the power of love within others and working with the spirit of sexuality to heal, make whole, and rebirth women and men worldwide. She spends her love-filled life in London, England.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Most Ignored Cancer Symptoms

I usually read news and some sort of health articles and I found this one regarding cancer symptoms, just wanna share this with you guys.

Most Ignored Cancer Symptoms

Routine tests and checkups, like pap smears and colonoscopies, are important -- but don't rely on tests alone to protect you from cancer. It's just as important to listen to your body and notice anything that's different, odd, or unexplainable. Although many of these symptoms could be caused by less serious conditions, they're worth getting checked out if they persist. You don't want to join the ranks of cancer patients who realize too late that symptoms they'd noticed for a long time could have sounded the alarm earlier, when cancer was easier to cure.

For Both Men and Women

Wheezing or Shortness of Breath
One of the first signs lung cancer patients remember noticing when they look back is the inability to catch their breath. "I couldn't even walk across the yard without wheezing. I thought I had asthma, but how come I didn't have it before?" is how one woman described it. Thyroid cancer can also cause breathing problems if a nodule or tumor begins to press on the trachea, or windpipe. Any breathing difficulties that persist are reason to visit the doctor. 

Swallowing Problems or Hoarseness
Most commonly associated with esophageal or throat cancer, difficulty swallowing is sometimes one of the first signs of lung cancer, too. A hoarse or low, husky voice or the feeling of something pressing on the throat can be an early indicator of thyroid cancer or a precancerous thyroid nodule, as can the feeling of having something stuck in your windpipe.

Frequent Fevers or Infections
These can be signs of leukemia, a cancer of the blood cells that starts in the bone marrow. Leukemia causes the marrow to produce abnormal white blood cells, which crowd out healthy white cells, sapping the body's infection-fighting capabilities. Often, doctors diagnose leukemia only after the patient has been in a number of times complaining of fever, achiness, and flu-like symptoms over an extended period of time.

To read more, click HERE.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Book Review: Obsidian Butterfly by Laurell K. Hamilton

Obsidian Butterfly

Author: Laurell K. Hamilton
Paperback: 608 pages
Publisher: Jove (September 24, 2002) 
Amazon link


★ ★ ★ 

My thoughts:

Obsidian Butterfly is the 9th book in the Anita Blake series. I was so excited to read this book because I miss Edward sooo much. I was so damn tired with Anita dealing with vampire and werewolf stuff that I thought seeing Anita work again as a necromancer would make me feel great. In this book, Anita had to go down to New Mexico to help Edward solve a mystery. Someone is skinning and mutilating victims and Edward believes that Anita is the only one who can solve this mystery.  Anita and Edward believe a monster is responsible for this gory thingy while others believe otherwise.

Monster = gory, gory = monster *one more time* monster = gory. You get it? Having read this book makes me want to stop reading the series, *looking at my TBR pile* I still have 4 more Anita books *sigh*.  The series started out strong but aaarrrr the gory thingy is REALLY starting to get on my nerves. I know they are monsters, but can they do "normal death" for once? Like eat them and then they die. I noticed that Ms. Hamilton's having so much fun in writing stories with a lot gory stuff. The only thing I enjoyed in this book was the "getting-to-know" part of Edward's personal life. That he actually has a love life. Imagine "Death" has a love life and he's getting married! So that was the only fun part of the book and I guess I have to disconnect with Anita's life for a while. Yes like Sookie, Anita, you need a break too! Please...  

About the book:

There are a lot of monsters in Anita Blake’s life. And some of them are human. One such individual is the man she calls Edward, a bounty hunter who specializes in the preternatural. He calls her to help him hunt down the greatest evil she has ever encountered. Something that kills and maims and vanishes into the night. Something Anita will have to face alone…

“MY NAME IS ANITA BLAKE. I’D LIKE YOU TO MEET EDWARD… ” Edward was a hit man. He specialized in monsters. Vampires, shape-shifters, anything and everything. There were people like me who did it legal, but Edward didn’t sweat the legalities or, hell, the ethics. He was an equal opportunity killer. I may be one of the few friends that Edward has, but it’s like being friends with a tame leopard. It may curl on the foot of your bed and let you pet its head, but it can still eat your throat out…

About the author:

Laurell K. Hamilton is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of two series that mix mystery, fantasy, magic, horror and romance. Her Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter novels from Berkley Books began with GUILTY PLEASURES and continues to thrive with over sixteen volumes to the series and an comic adaptation. There are now more than 6 million copies of Anita in print worldwide, in 16 languages. Hamilton's Ballantine series features Fey princess and private investigator, Merry Gentry and there are now six novels exceeding one million copies in print. She lives in St. Louis County Missouri with her husband Jonathon Green, daughter, two pug dogs and one boxer/pug dog. She invites you to visit her website and message board at or catch her on MySpace at

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Book Review: Kitchen Counter Cooking School by Kathleen Flinn

Kitchen Counter Cooking School

Author: Kathleen Flinn
Hardbound: 304 pages
Publisher: Viking Adult (September 29, 2011)
Amazon Link

Note: I received this book free from the publisher, Viking Adult. The review posted below is based on my personal thoughts while reading the book.

Ratings: ★ ★ ★ 

My thoughts:

This is not an ordinary cook book as this one could also be considered as a memoir. The author, Kathleen Flinn shares her experiences and journey after she graduated in a culinary school, the famous Le Condon Bleu in Paris. I enjoyed reading this book as I can relate to some of the stories Ms. Flinn shared. However, there were a few times in the middle where I did skim over it.   As a beginner, I was expecting to see pictures to help me understand Ms. Flinn's recipes. I am so not familiar with almost all of the ingredients here so I had to search some in order for me to understand them. 

Overall, I enjoyed reading Kithen Counter Cooking School however I don't think that this is a book to recommend for someone who has NEVER cooked before. 

About the book:

The author of The Sharper Your Knife tells the inspiring story of how she helped nine others find their inner cook. After graduating from Le Condon Bleu in Paris, writer Kathleen Flinn returned with no idea what to do next until one day at a supermarket she watched a woman loading her cart with ultraprocessed foods. Flinn's "chertenal" instinct kicked in: she persuaded the stranger to reload with fresh foods, offering her simple recipes for healthy and easy meals.

The Kitchen Counter Cooking School includes practical, healthy tips that boost readers' culinary self-confidence, and strategies to get most from their grocery dollar, and simple recipes that get readers cooking.

About the author:

Kathleen Flinn is the author of "The Sharper Your Knife, the Less You Cry," a memoir with recipes about leaving her corporate life to study at the venerable Le Cordon Bleu in Paris and falling in love along the way. Her next book is "The Kitchen Counter Cooking School: How a Few Simple Lessons Transformed Nine Culinary Novices Into Fearless Home Cooks" (Viking/Penguin 2011).

A long-time writer, her work appeared in dozens of publications, including the Chicago Sun-Times, Smithsonian, Men's Fitness, the Globe & Mail (Canada) and USA Today. She serves as the chair of the Food Writers, Editors & Publishers section for the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP). She is at work on two additional books and teaches both cooking and food writing Seattle.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Follow Friday

It's time for the weekly hop!
If you want to join the fun, visit Parajunkee's View for the linky HERE ;)

Now for the question of the week ;)

Q. If you could pick one character in a book, movie, or television show to swap places with, who would it be?

A. Rose Hathaway, because I would love to have Dimitri Belikov ;)  

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