Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Daughters of Iraq by Revital Shiri-Horowitz

A novel of three women who were staunch believers in their families and their religion.

Daughters of Iraq allows the reader into the lives of Farida, Nao, and Violet.  Their lives were shared through everyday situations, through diaries, and through memories.  Each woman had a dream of her own, but they all had their family and their religion as the base of all of their dreams.  You learn how each woman is different yet the same. The descriptions of the characters in terms of physical as well emotional is phenomenal...that definitely is the strong point of the novel.  Shiri-Horowitz's writing is flawless.

I really enjoyed learning about each woman.  You will be able to clearly visualize each one of them as their stories unfold.  A few poignant  pages that contained a letter from Noa's father could apply to any son or daughter and will make you do some strong actually brought tears to my eyes.   Learning about the immigration from Iraq to Israel  and information about the Jewish holidays and celebrations was truly educational. 

The only negative for me was that I couldn't keep all the characters straight, but the author thoughtfully placed a glossary indicating which character was which and in what chapter they were introduced.  She also had a dictionary with explanations of the words and expressions used throughout the book.

The book definitely held my interest, and even though the difficulty of identifying who was who did cause a stumbling block for me, I am rating the book a 5/5 simply because of the exceptional content and lesson learned from each of the women.  I eventually did figure out the connection between everyone.  ENJOY!!!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Meet Mary A. Berger author of A Trip to the Water's Edge

Mary Berger graciously agreed to be a guest author and do an interview on my blog.  

Welcome to you, Mary.

About the Author

A native of Michigan, where she earned her arts degree, Mary A. Berger is an author whose writing has appeared in the Saturday Evening Post, Lady's Circle, and Today's Family, as well as in various small press publications and her local newspaper, the Times News.

She currently occupies her time with the Friends of Henderson County Public Library, The Michigan Club, her homeowners association, her pottery, and her church. Married 52 years, Mary has two daughters, four grandchildren, and two "greats."

Book available for purchase through


Book Synopsis
Take a couple of fun-loving gals who witness a murder, add to that a food poisoning problem, throw in some fun with an aerobics class and a laughable attempt to "cook from a real recipe," and you have the makings for another hilarious adventure with Mattie Mitchell in A Trip to the Water's Edge, the sequel to the equally comical novel, The Trouble with Mattie, the first in the Mattie Mitchell Mystery Series.
Interview Q & A:

When did you first feel the urge to write? 

I probably knew writing would be a part of my future, when I’d dash off six- or seven-page letters to my cousins.  The problem was, I rarely heard back from them.  They may have thought that if they didn’t respond, I might stop sending such long-winded letters.  In grade school, I once “wrote” a book for a class assignment.  My teacher praised my efforts.  She might have influenced me greatly, when she told me—in front of the whole class—that I should become a writer.  That’s pretty heady stuff for a fourth-grader to hear.

What finally got you started in actually writing a book?

The gift (to myself) of a laptop computer was a stepping stone on my road to writing, or I should say rewriting, a book.  Actually, I had composed The Trouble with Mattie some time ago but was unable to find a publisher.  So my Mattie book sat in a box in my closet for years.  After retyping and updating the entire book manuscript on my new computer, I felt in my heart that I had something important to say, not earthshaking, but important to me.  So I entered the world of electronic self-publishing, and here I am. 

 What do you bring from your life that adds to your writing?  

Being a “people watcher” has always been a habit of mine, and it’s possible that’s had some influence in describing my characters.  Years ago, my husband and I would visit the airport, the mall, or other places where folks gathered.  We’d pick up ice cream cones and sit back watching people come and go, while we’d work on our ice cream.  Little did I realize how much of that experience got tucked into my memory bank. 

On another note, my family consisted of twenty aunts and uncles, plus 26 cousins, and an English grandfather.  “Grampy” would prop my sister and me on his lap and astound us with his stories of working in Australia and Africa, and of the people and their songs.  Again, watching and observing my own family members became a learning experience in itself.  It’s amazing—and fortunate, in my case—how much of our childhood gets locked into our brain, especially on the creative side.

Do you use external supports in writing? such as a writing program or an ongoing editor?  

For my books, I have ongoing editors who help make “repairs” on some of the things I’ve botched up.  Not only are they supportive, they’re encouraging as well.  Editing newsletters has helped my writing experience, too.  In addition, I have participated in creative writing groups in Ohio, Michigan, and here in North Carolina.  Currently, I’m a member of The Read on Western North Carolina and the North Carolina Writers’ Network.

Is there a theme that runs through your writing?

Humor appears in nearly everything I write.  My one attempt at writing serious fiction turned out sounding like the world’s worst soap opera.  So I decided to stick to humorous writing.  I try to use a humorous approach to “doing the right thing.”  In my Mattie’s Mysteries books, I try to put my main character, Mattie, in places where she gets into all kinds of comical situations, and trouble, in her effort to do the right thing.

One of the offshoots of writing funny is that we can sometimes make ourselves laugh at our own humor.  And that’s a positive.

What writers have influenced you?

Garrison Keillor is one of my favorite writers of humor.  I can pick up Lake Wobegon Days and be in stitches in two minutes.  Janet Evanovich’s books are another favorite, not so much for content but for style.  I also admire subtle humor, such as that found in John Grisham’s The Testament.

How has your writing evolved over time?

I’d like to think my writing has gotten funnier.  But I would imagine that’s what most humor writers (and probably comedians) hope for themselves.  I do feel that my writing has gotten more crisp, more tight.  When people tell me they laughed out loud while reading my books, well, that says a lot.     

How do you promote your books?

My blog site,, is my main contact with the writing world.  I also make myself available for readings/discussions at our library and its branches, book clubs, private organizations, etc.  This year, I participated in our area’s BookFest, where I sold books and made a couple of contacts not only with editors but with other authors, as well.  Of course, my business cards and bookmarks are always with me to distribute wherever I can.  Word of mouth is another important way to spread the word about my books.  It also helps to have 26 cousins who are willing to help!

How do you promote your web site?

I use a blog site, which is promoted by my editors through other book blogs and internet book search sites.  

I didn't have an opportunity to read the book, but it sounds like  a great read.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick

A lie from the first moment they met....Ralph knew she wasn't the girl he had placed an ad for.

But Catherine never thought twice about how she lied to this man she was going to marry and how her destitute life before Ralph made her such a phony…but the lying didn't even faze her.

Her life before Ralph Truitt was always in her blood and on her mind...the men, the late nights, the lights, the music. But she had to not let it interfere with her life as she knew it now. She pretended that her previous life never existed even though she longed for her old life style. She had to "play" the part of a reliable, demure wife who had no history.

Neither had been honest with each other. Both Ralph and Catherine had plans after the marriage took place, but her plans were not the same plans Ralph had for her. Too bad they were not on the same page.

Deceit, unfaithfulness, poison, a life that was a lie, regret, unbelievable forgiveness, and a hint of mystery.....that is what A RELIABLE WIFE was made of. incredible writing style that will keep you reading way into the night, and one you will not want to put down. 

Friday, September 9, 2011

Ladies and Gentlemen....The Reedemers by Michael Scott Miller

Talented musicians, musical passion, friends, and their band.

You will receive a lesson in compassion and determination and realize that one's life can be turned around at any age.  The dialogue among the characters makes up most of the book....not much narration.  
The characters are very interesting and very well described.  The main character is trying to resurrect a  band not only to return to the life he once had, but also to get gifted musicians together.  He and each character are believable. 
If you are a musician, you will thoroughly enjoy how the main character searched and searched for the perfect band members.   If you are not a musician, you will appreciate the talent and passion music professionals have. 
I enjoyed the book for a peek into a subject area I have no background in.  Musicians are talented, unique individuals, and you will be able to see all these traits in the book.  
The book is heartwarming, and the "redeeming" ending fits perfectly with the title.
 4/5....only because it dragged a little at times, and it got tedious waiting for the band to get going.  :)

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Check "me" out at THE SCENE OF THE BLOG

Cathy of Kittling Books has featured me today in her SCENE OF THE BLOG post. 

The post will be there "forever" in her SCENE OF THE BLOG tab at the top.  :)

She did a wonderful job, and I thank her very much.

Click here or on the SCENE OF THE BLOG icon at the top to see the post that has comments from me and also photos of my blogging spaces and bookshelves.


Sunday, September 4, 2011

A Guest Review of The Third Q by Arnold Francis and Robert Luxenberg

My son was home for the weekend and was enthralled with the book's cover. He wanted to read and review the book so I hope you enjoy my first guest reviewer.

“According to our greatest thinkers, Zoro, we can dissect our world into three worlds.” – Max Cisary

The three worlds, or “Q’s” as the book refers to them, make up the premise for this journey of a chauffeur from a rough part of the Bronx named Zoro and his affluent and eccentric employer, Max.  The authors take us on a journey through New York City and all of its famous landmarks such as Bryant Park, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and other notable sites while telling us that once we discover the 3 Q’s our life will be changed forever.   

The first Q, the subconscious mind, is the first step on the road to unimaginable wealth.  The second Q, the conscious mind, is the second step on the road to God-like power.  The Third Q, and the premise of the story, is unlocking your mind from itself and placing yourself in a Nirvana-like state.  In order to find the missing 4th sketch which purportedly contains a word, that once spoken will reveal the true name of God and give the speaker unimaginable power and wealth, Zoro must master the three Q’s and unlock the secret of where his deceased father hid the missing Michelangelo sketch.   

The story primarily takes place inside of Max’s Bentley limousine.  While Zoro is driving and going through many emotional breakdowns and fighting NYC taxi traffic, Max is in the back seat instructing him on how to master the three Q’s.   

Throughout the story, the authors weave an intricate tale of good versus bad, rich versus poor, and powerless versus powerful.  The story reads very much like a Dan Brown novel set in New York City with themes such as the evil assassin, the secretive rich man, the hunt for the missing treasure.   

Overall the story was entertaining and an easy read, but it  lacked real depth and character development.  With the 1 to 3 page chapters, the story jumped frequently between different characters, settings, and totally unrelated themes, such as break-ins, maritial stress, and “Q” mentoring sessions.  At the end of the day, I felt no genuine sympathy for the plight of Zoro as everything that he did to solve the mystery appeared to be out of his control and defined by his destiny and his subconscious thinking instead of merit and hard work.  While an entertaining read, it is the Da Vinci Code rehashed again with different characters and a different city.  3.5/5

Saturday, September 3, 2011

A Bitter Truth by Charles Todd

To purchase the book from Amazon, please click on the book cover.


A stranger on your doorstep with bruises, a stranger you let into your home, and a stranger who became your friend and brought trouble when you arrived at your new friend's home.  Could you make friends that quickly and feel comfortable enough to go to their home?

Bess thought it was possible, and when she arrived at Lydia's home she immediately knew there was something strange about Lydia and her entire family.  This became even more apparent when a family member was murdered and Bess became one of the suspects in the investigation. How did a well-bred girl get herself into such a mess....being nice definitely didn't pay off in this case.

The case involved Mr. Hughes who drank too much that evening and blurted out a family secret in front of unknowing family and a few town guests.  Could that have been the reason Mr. Hughes was murdered.  Who would revert to murder to keep something quiet?  Everyone in the household was questioned, and being the last one to speak to Mr. Hughes before his death, was incriminating for Bess.   

When the police thought they found the murderer, everyone was free to leave. Bess left but not without having to promise Lydia she would find someone for her. Bess hesitated but knew the person in question may be the root of the reason for the murder so she promised to look in France.   Bess's nursing career kept her busy, but she managed to "try" to search.  This search was the key to many secrets.

The story took place in the early 1900's with scenes from makeshift hospitals in France and the house where the family lived...Vixen Hill.   The home, the town, and the family life of that era were well described...the lack of phone communication was frightening...also the "motorcar" that had to be cranked to get it started.

The book was slow at first, but once the murder took place, the interest picked up.  The murder and some of the story's characters were somewhat bizarre, but interesting. 

I can honestly say the book wasn't bad but it did get too much with the patient care and such.  I have never read a Bess Crawford mystery by Charles Todd, but have read the Inspector Rutledge ones.  It won’t disappoint you, but finding out who committed the crime will surprise you and how the police operated in the 1900's will keep your attention.