Favorite Quotes on Books and Reading

"A book is a gift you can open again and again." Garrison Keillor

Literature is a textually transmitted disease, normally contracted in childhood.” Jane Yolen

"It is what you read when you don't have to that determines what you will be when you can't help it." Oscar Wilde

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Book Blitz: LOSING THE GIRLS and THE ROAD PAVED IN PINK










Non Fiction - Memoir - Self Help - Breast Cancer
Date Published: August 2013


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Readers can delve into the breast cancer journey and beyond in Losing the Girls, a unique memoir differentiated by the author’s cutting-edge nipple-sparing mastectomy (NSM)—a little-known breast cancer surgery technique that leaves the breast completely whole.  Shirley Alarie shares her story to boost awareness of this specialized procedure, which is only offered at select hospitals.  She believes that women facing mastectomies deserve to know all of their options. 



Shirley found that the biggest challenge of her life began with a convoluted breast cancer diagnosis; and then there was the overwhelming array of surgery options.  Mastectomy or lumpectomy?  Single mastectomy or double?  Reconstruction or no reconstruction?  She worried about making the right choice and how her decision would affect her both in the short and long term.  How would it affect her marriage? W as it crazy to choose a hospital three hours from home?



After the surgery, Shirley’s determination to beat the cancer triggered a lifestyle transformation that resulted in a stronger, more empowered woman.  Her deep faith in God and her peace with the afterlife helped shape her response to this life-changing ordeal with cancer—and the love and support of an amazing posse of family and friends, along with a liberal dose of humor and hope, pulled her through the darkness and back into the warm, sunny light.



Losing the Girls is a powerful and uplifting book for every woman—and the people who love them—to read.



What others have said:



As I read 'Losing the Girls- My Journey Through Nipple Sparring Mastectomy and Beyond', I was touched by Ms. Alarie's honesty, humor and spirit that shone through her written words. I cried, laughed and at times held my breath as she took the necessary steps to face her fears and come out the other side of the journey, strong and healthy. Ms. Alarie faced the gut wrenching reality of hearing - you have breast cancer, and now she is a survivor sharing her story with the world. A must read. Lucinda Race



What a fantastic read! From the very first pages Shirley opens up and gives honest glimpses of her life to her readers. Knowing she has a family history does little to take the sting out of her diagnosis. The way she deals with her tests, results, doctor visits and eventual surgery is truly an inspiration for any woman dealing with this disease. Along with writing about her emotional journey, Shirley shares with her readers all the information she has gained from researching breast cancer and what she has learned through her support system of Drs., nurses and the like. Great knowledge for anyone who many deal with breast cancer themselves or have a family member go through it. I found her reliance on God through her ordeal comforting and inspiring. Any reader will feel that they've gained a friend by the end. P Walker





 






Non Fiction - Memoir - Self Help - Breast Cancer
Date Published: July 2014


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Lovey’s nightmare has begun. She’s been thrust into a terrifying and confusing journey, joining the nearly 250,000 women who will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year. If Lovey is fortunate, she has an excellent support team, also known as Angels. The Road Paved in Pink: A Practical and Personal Guide for Breast Cancer Patients and Their Loved Ones offers Lovey and her Angels the comprehensive guidance needed to withstand the challenges ahead.



Readers will be empowered by the love and support of the many others who have already traveled the same bumpy road.



The Road Paved in Pink is offered with a unique “Pay it Forward” program designed to reach as many people in need as possible. By request via her website, Shirley Alarie will provide a free book to people recently affected by breast cancer, with the stipulation that they forward it to someone else in need when they are finished with it, and so on.



If someone agrees to take a booklet from the Pay it Forward program, they will be asked to sign in to the website and log their first name and location, so we can watch the books travel around the country - and hopefully, the world!



Request a copy of The Road Paved in Pink - Pay it Forward Program at the following link: http://shirleyalarie.com/2014/08/road-paved-pink-pay-forward-program/



What others have said:



This is a very worthwhile read. The author does an excellent job of giving useful information that is very understandable, which doesn't always happen in the medical field. She is able to tell her story as well as provide the reader with an understanding of the many choices available for their own journey. Also a great guide for families and friends to help them be helpful in what can be a truly difficult time. P Walker



A moving and to the point awesome guide. If you don't know someone with breast cancer odds are in your lifetime you will. Have this book on hand, everyone involved will need it, as will you. Twenty seven years ago my mother had her first breast removed only to have the other one worked on seven years later. I was there, so wish I had this guide. I have it now and have already highlighted my "talking points", when I'm faced with being an angel for someone. Marion Brenan











About the Author



I spent the first twenty years of my career in an industrial manufacturing environment, running around the hamster wheel as fast as my legs would carry me. My breast cancer diagnosis jammed on the brakes and forced me to put life in perspective. My journey since breast cancer has been focused on making a positive difference in the world. Stepping off the hamster wheel has brought greater harmony to me and my home. My husband and furry baby appreciate that the "Crazy Lady" of the house is gone and a more "Mellow Mama" has taken her place.



My writing adventure began with Losing the Girls: My Journey Through Nipple-Sparing Mastectomy and Beyond, my memoir, written with the intention to entertain as well as spread awareness of nipple-sparing mastectomy (NSM). My website identifies some of the hospitals that perform this surgery, through the “What is NSM?” and “Where is NSM?” links.



My follow-up, The Road Paved in Pink: A Practical and Personal Guide for Breast Cancer Patients and Their Loved Ones serves to heighten awareness of reconstruction options, among other key topics specific to a breast cancer challenge. I am thrilled to offer the “Pay it Forward” program in conjunction with this book promotion.



Another tool I’ve created to help further the awareness of breast cancer surgery options is a free 11-minute video that describes and shows the various options. Since studies have shown women undergoing treatment for breast cancer aren’t always informed of all of their options, I’m striving to ensure women facing this challenge are able to make fully informed choices. I invite all women to become educated on this topic, as this information might make a huge difference for someone they love. The video can be found on my website: http://shirleyalarie.com/2014/08/breast-cancer-surgery-options-video/



I’d love to have you join me in my journey to making a positive difference in the world!





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Sunday, October 26, 2014

Book 362: WEB OF BETRAYAL Review

Web of Betrayal by Clare F. Price
ISBN: 9780990372301 (paperback)
ISBN: 9780990372318 (ebook)
ASIN: B00LDZFRHC (Kindle edition)
Publication date: June 28, 2014
Publisher: CFP Media Group, LLC.



There's No Hiding in Cyberspace
The year is 1994, the dawn of the Internet Age, when companies from Silicon Valley to London are fighting to claim the billions to be made on the new information highway. 
Peter Ellis, an aggressive investigative reporter struggling to repair his damaged reputation after being framed for rigging a story, attends the Consumer Electronics Show and learns that a skilled programmer known for cracking secure computer code has mysteriously disappeared. 
Peter's quest to find the missing programmer unwittingly pits him against a brilliant hacker and deranged killer with an agenda of his own: taking revenge on the man who ruined his life—computer industry luminary David Lockwood—who is now poised to introduce a product that will change the Internet forever. 
As Peter is drawn into the deadly game of betrayal and murder, he is faced with losing everything he holds dear: his career, his one true love, even his own life. Can he find the programmer's encoded disk—which the holds the key to the killer's identity—before his luck runs out?



It's 1994 and the race is on to build a set-top box that will stream digital cable, multimedia, and the internet. Two companies are on the brink of delivering the information highway to the masses, but only one will be the first and reap the rewards. Enter Peter Ellis, an investigative journalist focusing on business and technology. Peter hopes that his stories on this quest to be first will help solidify his career in journalism. Little does Peter know that his investigation into these two companies will put his life at risk. The high-stakes world of technology and corporate sabotage are the background for Web of Betrayal by Claire F. Price.

Web of Betrayal is a tech-thriller that is truly a blast from the past. It doesn't seem real to read about a world without high speed internet, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google, or Amazon. But 1994 is a world with brick-style cell phones, limited online bulletin board systems, and little interest in email for mainstream America. Peter Ellis, an intrepid young journalist, is onto a story that starts out with competing rival tech businesses striving to be first to produce a set-top digital converter box, and quickly becomes a tale of disappearances, murders, corporate sabotage, drug cartels, money laundering, and more. 

I wasn't quite sure what to expect from Web of Betrayal and initially felt that this wasn't going to be a book I'd like. The first few chapters were a little slow and I wasn't quite sure where the story was going. However, the pace of the story picked up quite a bit when it began to focus more on Peter Ellis and his investigations than on Toby Eastman, the antagonist in the story. Peter is young, hardworking,  and from a wealthy and privileged background. However, he was also neglected by his parents, abused by his older sister, and cutoff from the family when he went into journalism rather than becoming a lawyer. When we meet Peter, he is still smarting from an article that was rushed to publication with flawed research. The story is retracted and his reputation is in ruins, and his relationship with his girlfriend quickly follows. His search for the truth behind the digital set-top box is his ticket to salvation. Web of Betrayal has a lot of action: corporate sabotage, family betrayal, murder, mayhem, and even rape (male-on-male rape, something that is still not openly discussed). Most of the action in the story takes place over the first few months of 1994, but there are flashbacks to events in preceding years. Once the story pace picked up I was pulled in and couldn't wait to find out what was going to happen next. I found the characters to be realistic and the action to be quite plausible. Web of Betrayal may not be a fast-paced, action-packed thriller, but it is a well-written, intellectually stimulating thriller that combines technology, intrigue, and even a bit of romance. If you like reading thrillers, then you may want to put Web of Betrayal on your TBR list. I found it to be a perfect read for a lazy fall afternoon and evening. I look forward to reading more from Ms. Price in the future.



Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book free for review purposes from the publisher via Partners In Crime Tours. I was not paid, required or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."









Enter for a signed copy of Web of Betrayal and a $25 Amazon Gift Card. Giveaway ends November 23, 2014. Winners will be chosen by Partners In Crime Tours.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Book 356: FIVE DAYS LEFT Review

Five Days Left by Julie Lawson Timmer
ISBN: 9780399167348 (hardcover)
ISBN: 9780698140868 (ebook)
ASIN: B00INIQUNW (Kindle edition)
Publication date: September 9, 2014
Publisher: Putnam Adult



"A beautifully drawn study of what is at risk when you lose control of your own life.  Unique, gripping, and viscerally moving -- this impressive debut novel heralds the arrival of an extremely talented writer." —Jodi Picoult, New York Times bestselling author of The Storyteller and Lone Wolf



Destined to be a book club favorite, a heart-wrenching debut about two people who must decide how much they're willing to sacrifice for love.

Mara Nichols, a successful lawyer, and devoted wife and adoptive mother, has recently been diagnosed with a terminal disease. Scott Coffman, a middle school teacher, has been fostering an eight-year-old boy while the boy's mother serves a jail sentence. Scott and Mara both have five days left until they must say good-bye to the ones they love the most. Through their stories, Julie Lawson Timmer explores the individual limits of human endurance, the power of relationships, and that sometimes loving someone means holding on, and sometimes it means letting go.


Imagine you only have five days left to say goodbye to a loved one and you're literally counting down the days to goodbye. Now imagine two different families in this situation. One family resides in Michigan and includes two foster-parents and a young boy about to be returned to his biological mother after a year. The other family resides in Texas and consists of an adoptive couple, their adopted daughter, and the adoptive mother's adoptive parents. The Texas family is dealing with a progressive and degenerative neurological disorder and the mother, although only 42 years of age, is contemplating suicide rather than giving into this horrible disease process. These two scenarios provide the foundation of the story Five Days Left by Julie Lawson Timmer.

Mara Nichols is a young, urban professional residing in Texas. She's at the peak of her career as an attorney. Her husband, Tom, is a physician with a thriving practice. Tom and Mara have been together for more than twenty years. They adopted their daughter, Lakshmi, as an infant from India and are now the proud parents of a kindergartner. Regrettably their lives were given a major twist when Mara was diagnosed with Huntington's Disease or HD four years ago. Since that initial diagnosis, Mara has suffered from a host of HD symptoms, including short term memory loss, balance and gait issues, bladder control, mood swings, and more. She has been forced to take early retirement from her beloved career as an attorney and partner in a law firm, can no longer drive due to motor control issues, and is scared beyond belief that she is unwittingly forcing her family to suffer along with her as HD destroys who she is as a person. Mara's one saving grace is her online link to a forum for adoptive, foster, and step parents. It is in this forum that she can voice her parenting issues without question or judgment.  It is here that she finds friendship with MotorCity, also known as Scott Coffman.

Scott Coffman is an English teacher at an inner city Detroit middle school. Scott also coaches basketball at his school and considers himself fortunate to have met some outstanding talent, including Brayden Jackson, his foster-son's older brother. He and his wife have been trying to get pregnant for years through IVF. Now that their lives are focused on a slightly hyperactive, mild behaviorally challenged seven-year-old boy, there's less stress about getting pregnant so of course they actually get pregnant with their last round of IVF. Scott's wife isn't exactly eager for their year of fostering to be over, but she is eager to have some time alone with her husband before their biological child is born. Scott is torn between wanting what is best for his son Curtis (when did he stop thinking of him as a foster child but as his child) and wanting to keep him to ensure he has everything a child deserves: a clean home, three meals a day, clean clothes, and involved parents.

I've got to admit that I put off reading Five Days Left simply because I thought the story was going to be depressing and morbid. It isn't. Don't get me wrong, it is sad. I don't think you can read about someone with a degenerative life-threatening disease and a child being raised in filth without basic amenities like running water by a drug-addicted mother without it being sad. But Ms. Timmer has also provided glimpses of hope amidst the sadness. Mara's story is sad and heart-wrenching, but the love her family and friends have for her and one another is uplifting. It was incredibly disturbing to read about Mara's decline due to HD (there's one incident in the grocery store and another in the elementary school that had me taking a break just to dry my eyes). I was just as torn as Scott when Curtis's biological mother decides to take him back days before he was scheduled to leave the Coffmans. What made it worse was he wasn't even given the opportunity to say goodbye. 

Five Days Left is told in alternating voices of Mara and Scott. Although the action takes place over the course of five days, there's a lot jammed into those days. Yes, you'll probably need to have a box of tissues handy when you read this story, but sadness isn't the only thing you'll remember about this story. Five Days Left focuses on love and the families we make as a result of that love. Some of those families are built with blood ties, and others are built through adoption, fostering, step-parenting, and friendship. I found Five Days Left to be a remarkable story with realistic characters and scenarios. Five Days Left is simply an amazing story and I know this review probably doesn't do it justice, so if you're going to take anything away from my thoughts take this . . . you should definitely read Five Days Left.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book free for review purposes from the publisher via NetGalley. I was not paid, required or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."


Friday, October 17, 2014

Book 351: DECEIVED Review

Deceived (Private Justice #3) by Irene Hannon
ISBN: 9780800721251 (paperback)
ISBN: 9781441245137 (ebook)
ASIN: B00KDN8646 (Kindle edition)
Publication date: October 07, 2014
Publisher: Fleming H. Revell Company


For three years, Kate Marshall has been grieving the loss of her husband and their four-year-old son in a boating accident. But when she spots a familiar-looking child on an escalator in the mall, she is convinced it is the son she thought was dead. With police skeptical of her story, she turns to private investigator Connor Sullivan. The former Secret Service agent is dubious but agrees to investigate. Digging into the case he discovers that the incident may have been no accident at all. But if Kate's son is alive, someone is intent on keeping him hidden--and may be willing to go to lethal lengths to protect a sinister secret. 
As Irene Hannon's many fans have come to expect, Deceived is filled with complex characters, unexpected twists, and a riveting plot line that accelerates to an explosive finish.


Three years ago Kate Marshall's life was turned upside down. A routine father-son fishing trip turned into a nightmare when Kate's husband was found dead and her four-year-old son was presumed to have drowned. Kate left upstate New York for St. Louis, Missouri. She has begun to build a new life until a chance encounter in the mall has her questioning everything. Kate is sure the young boy she saw on an escalator at a local mall is her son. The police don't find her story plausible so she hires a private investigator. Although Connor Sullivan isn't quite sure what to believe, he agrees to take the case on a provisional basis. What he finds out is even more shocking than the original incident that claimed the life of Kate's husband. Can Connor find the truth and return Kate's son before more tragedy occurs?

Deceived is the third book in the Private Justice series by Irene Hannon. I found this to be a fast paced and thoroughly enjoyable read. Deceived is a clean, inspirational, romantic-suspense read. As with previous books in this series, we get the opportunity to read about ordinary people of faith in extraordinary circumstances. Connor Sullivan is a great investigator, but he doesn't have the faith that his co-workers have until he is able to truly see faith in action through Kate's life. It is always uplifting to read about characters that place their belief at the forefront of their lives versus the backburner . . . at least it is for this reader. I enjoyed the interaction between Connor and Kate. It was fascinating to read about a woman overcoming her grief and building a life where she goes out of her way to help others overcome their problems. Ms. Hannon provides the reader with strong men and strong women that become even stronger when they work together. Yes you know when you start reading this book that it is going to be a HEA (happy-ever-after), but not in the more traditional sense because these characters still have issues to work out and through but they do so together. Ms. Hannon's stories are crafted with the just the right amount of suspense and romance to make for a wholly enjoyable and intriguing read from beginning to end. If you enjoy inspirational fiction, romantic suspense, or are just looking for a good read, then I can definitely recommend Deceived. (If you haven't read the previous books in this series, then you'll want to add Vanished and Trapped to your list as well.)

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book free for review purposes from the publisher via NetGalley. I was not paid, required or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."


Monday, October 13, 2014

Book 352: FAIL by Rick Skwiot Review and Giveaway

Fail by Rick Skwiot
ISBN: 9780985808686 (paperback)
Publication date: October 27, 2014
Publisher: Blank Slate Press


Disgraced African American St. Louis Police Lieutenant Carlo Gabriel wants fiercely to return to the headquarters hierarchy from which he has been exiled to the city's tough North Side. All he needs do is track down the missing husband of the mayor's vivacious press secretary. Instead he unwittingly and unwillingly unearths a morass of corruption, educational malpractice and greed that consigns thousands of at-risk youths to the mean streets of America's erstwhile murder capital. Worse, it's the kind of information that could get a cop killed.
Fighting for life and his honor, Gabriel makes chilling discoveries that ultimately lead to a life-threatening and life-changing decision-a choice that could affect not only his own future but also that of the city and its top leaders.


Carlo Gabriel doesn't dress like anyone's idea of a typical detective. He wears Italian leather shoes (Ferragamo), a cashmere overcoat, and has a silk scarf thrown around his coat lapels. However, looks can be deceiving because Lieutenant Carlo Gabriel is all cop, albeit one in disgrace. Gabriel hopes that a case with ties to the mayor will be his ticket back to the inside and the upwardly mobile track within the police department. This seems like a simple case of a missing husband, but the more Gabriel digs the more he realizes this case is anything but simple. Fail by Rick Skwiot is a story that could be ripped from current headlines as Gabriel discovers a mess that adversely impacts the lives and welfare of large numbers of at-risk youth in the toughest and poorest sections of town. 

When we first meet Lieutenant Carlo Gabriel, he is waiting to meet the mayor's press secretary. Ms. Cantrell needs to report her missing husband but wants the matter dealt with in a quiet manner. Gabriel is a little suspicious that this woman's husband has been missing for three days, but he's tired of being in disgrace with the powers-that-be; if this case is what it takes to get back in, he's more than willing to handle it as discretely as requested. Gabriel quickly learns the Ms. Cantrell's husband was a doctoral student, an adjunct professor, and that he was fired. As Gabriel continues his investigation, he unearths information that will disturb the powers-that-be. This information could end not only his career but his life.

I found Fail to be a quick and enjoyable read. There were times the story seemed to drag a bit, but this never adversely impacted on the likeability of the story. Mr. Skwiot has captured the political side of being a police officer. He also provides a fascinating glimpse into the poorer and neglected sides of a great city. Although Gabriel is being "punished" due to charges of excessive force, he also knows that he is lucky to still be on the force. He might not like being on the North Side of town, since it means he is no longer in the thick of things at police headquarters, but he isn't willing to do shoddy work to please or appease anyone (even his erstwhile friend, the mayor). Fail is much more than a story about the haves and the have-nots; it is a story about good triumphing over evil, greed, and corruption. Gabriel may not appear heroic, but he definitely performs heroic feats to ensure truth and justice prevail. If you enjoy reading suspense thrillers then you'll definitely want to add Fail to your TBR list.






Use the Rafflecopter form below to enter the giveaway for one print copy of Fail by Rick Skwiot. Winner will be chosen at the conclusion of this tour.

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Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book free for review purposes via Partners in Crime Tours. I was not paid, required or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."


Tour courtesy of Partners In Crime Tours