Welcome to our website. This site is here to provide a community for all you book lovers. I've set up a discussion area for you to discuss your favorite books. We'll have reviews of old and new books in the Reviews section. Upcoming titles and information from major publishers will be listed in the news/home page section, as well as updates on when new reviews have been posted, community information, etc.

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Review: Bobby Rydell: Teen Idol on the Rocks – Bobby Rydell

Posted on: September 27th, 2016 By Rick Rhodes
Bobby Rydell
Paperback: 266 pages
Publisher: Doctor Licks Publishing (April 29, 2016)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0997385103
ISBN-13: 978-0997385106
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Review

He was riding high on the rock & roll mountain in the 1960s. Hanging out with people like Fabian, Frankie Avalon and even Sinatra. But the ride was brief. Along with the glamour of rock and roll came a lot of womanizing, and alcohol problems. In this memoir, Bobby Rydell tells all. From his humble beginnings in South Philadelphia to the top of the music charts, and to the crashes that came afterwards. A rock and rollercoaster of a ride through life.

I found this a very interesting and very fast memoir to read. It was rather short at 148 pages, but very fact filled. I learned about him, about the music world during that time period, and some of the pitfalls these “teen idols” would find themselves falling into. For fans of the early days of Rock & Roll, of Bobby Rydell, or just music in general, I’d definitely recommend this book.

Trigger Warnings

None

*Disclaimer* A special thanks goes out to Rebecca at The Cadence Group for a review copy of this book. It in no way influenced my review. You can discuss it here or join my facebook page and discuss it there.

Review: The Darkling Child – Terry Brooks

Posted on: June 13th, 2016 By Rick Rhodes
The Darkling Child
Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: Del Rey (June 9, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0345540794
ISBN-13: 978-0345540799
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Synopsis:

Reyn Frosch has trouble. Everytime he’s threatened, people end up dead, and he doesn’t know why. There are two people that do know, Arcannen and Paxon Leah. Paxon wants to protect him, Arcannen wants to control him. Reyn is caught in tug of war with no idea which side to trust.

Characters:

Paxon Leah – Wielder of the Sword of Leah and Defender of the Druids.
Arcannen – Dark Wizard
Reyn Frosch – A man discovering he has the ability of the Wishsong.

Review

In this followup to The High Druid’s Blade, the reader now finds Paxon Leah as the defender of the Druid Order. The story begins as he’s called into the office of the Ard Rhys, Aphenglow Elessedil, who proceeds to tell Paxon that she’s dying, and she has one more mission for him. He escorts her to the Hadeshorn, where her spirit joins with that of all the other druids. When Paxon returns, he’s notified that one of the Druids has noticed a familiar pattern in the waters, showing the use of some form of magic. This is where the plot than switches between that of Reyn Frosch, a young man with magic he doesn’t understand, Arcannen who is wishing to possess control of Reyn’s magic, and Paxon’s group who want to protect Reyn.

I really enjoy this. This series has seemed like a slight departure for Mr. Brooks. While you still have the normal trappings, good, evil, wishsong, there’s no global threat but only the threat of Arcannen wanting to seize power. In some ways, this is a fantasy version of a political thriller. That I think was the interesting aspect to it. Like all of Mr. Brooks books, which I’ve read, I found myself loving this one, and I look forward to when I have time to crack the cover on it, and return once again to the world of Shannara.

About the Author

Terry Brooks is the New York Times bestselling author of more than thirty books, including the Dark Legacy of Shannara adventure Wards of Faerie; the Legends of Shannara novels Bearers of the Black Staff and The Measure of the Magic; the Genesis of Shannara trilogy: Armageddon’s Children, The Elves of Cintra, and The Gypsy Morph; The Sword of Shannara; the Voyage of the Jerle Shannara trilogy: Ilse Witch, Antrax, and Morgawr; the High Druid of Shannara trilogy: Jarka Ruus, Tanequil, and Straken; the nonfiction book Sometimes the Magic Works: Lessons from a Writing Life; and the novel based upon the screenplay and story by George Lucas, Star Wars:® Episode I The Phantom Menace.™

His novels Running with the Demon and A Knight of the Word were selected by the Rocky Mountain News as two of the best science fiction/fantasy novels of the twentieth century. The author was a practicing attorney for many years but now writes full-time. He lives with his wife, Judine, in the Pacific Northwest.

You can discuss it here or join my facebook page and discuss it there.

Review: The Culture of Open – Nick Berg

Posted on: June 7th, 2016 By Rick Rhodes
The Culture of Open
Paperback: 148 pages
Publisher: NSB Publishing (April 2, 2016)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0692659919
ISBN-13: 978-0692659915
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We’ve all seen the extremes that companies will go to in keeping their secrets. But many times, keeping these secrets can cost a company. In The Culture of Open, author Nick Berg details what openness is, how companies can be more transparent, and the benefits of doing so. He also covers examples of companies who adopted transparency and who didn’t, and how each was impacted.

Overall, I found this company fascinating. As a former programmer, I’ve seen what the benefits of having things like open source software can be. The book was well written, and was very informative. The real world examples are something everyone could understand. The text is written, so even if you aren’t a business professional, you can still understand it, so the author doesn’t get too technical. I find that quite a relief in this type of book. So if you’re a CEO of a large corporation, or a small business owner, and you want to give yourself that edge, than pick up The Culture of Open, I have a feeling it might help you.

About the Author

Nick Berg Executive level strategist with over 20 years of innovation and global business experience, Nick Berg advises C-level peers on the impact of particular people, processes and technology solutions for the corporation as a whole. He believes true value is the fluency in both business and technology. As a business process improvement consultant, Berg advises Fortune 500 companies on cultural and business transformation.

*Disclaimer* A special thanks goes out to Author for a review copy of this book. It in no way influenced my review. You can discuss it here or join my facebook page and discuss it there.

Review: Finding Unauthorized Faith in Harry Potter – Nicole L. Rivera

Posted on: April 21st, 2016 By Rick Rhodes
Finding Unauthorized Faith in Harry Potter
Paperback: 260 pages
Publisher: Hickey’s Books (July 13, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0996524207
ISBN-13: 978-0996524209
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Synopsis:

A look into all seven books in the Harry Potter series and how you can draw parallels between them and the Christian religion.

Review

Harry Potter, a world of Magic and dark forces. The idea of their children being exposed to it, is a big drawback to parents. Due to their religious beliefs, they object to their children reading about Wizards and witchcraft. The same argument has been used since I was a teenager playing Dungeons and Dragons. However, parents have the right to be concerned. No one wants to tell them what they can and can’t believe. But Nicole Rivera was a big Harry Potter fan and also a woman of faith. She set out to see how the two compare, and Finding Unauthorized Faith in Harry Potter is the result.

Each section of the book details one of the books in the Harry Potter series. I liked it being divided like this, because it can be used as a kind of reader’s guide. Read Harry Potter and the Sorcer’s Stone, then read about how various bible passages parallel the lessons that can be drawn from it.

I found the book very interesting, although a bit spoiler filled as I’ve only read the first book in Harry Potter. That fact aside though, it was well written, and well researched, and was obvious to me that it was a product of Ms. Rivera’s love for both the Bible and Harry Potter. I’d recommend this for all ages, and especially those who might be intersted in Harry Potter, but a bit reluctant. It’d be a good opportunity for both parent and child to read the books together, and discuss them.

About the Author

Nicole RiveraThere is a quote that says, “If you can quit, quit. If you can’t, you’re a writer.” Ever since I could write, I loved to write, especially stories. Stories are my passion which is why I wrote “The Parable of Harry Potter” series (book 1 released), to explore one of my favorite stories of all time!

My goal is to write the books I would want to read. I believe that in writing what I want to read, I will write what others want to read.

*Disclaimer* A special thanks goes the Author for a review copy of this book. It in no way influenced my review. You can discuss it here or join my facebook page and discuss it there.

Review: The Jericho River – David W. Tollen

Posted on: April 19th, 2016 By Rick Rhodes
The Jericho River
Paperback: 356 pages
Publisher: Winifred Press; 2 edition (August 4, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0985451726
ISBN-13: 978-0985451721
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Synopsis:

Jason Gallo is the son of a father who is an avid historian. After his mother dies, things become difficult between he and his father. Then his father is found in a somewhat comatose like state. Jason is tasked with going on an adventure that can only occur through a dream state. This adventure takes Jason on a journey through the entire history of western man.

Characters:

Jason Gallo – Young explorer.
Rim-Hadad – A Barbarian
Tia – Egyptian Temple Priestess.

Review

This book while aimed at younger readers, I found very interesting. Each chapter begins with a note from Dr. Gallo, father to Jason. This note informs the reader of the historical facts behind what Jason will be witnessing in that chapter. The overall plotline is rather simple, Jason must find his father who is lost. Along the way, Jason meets many companions, which in a way is similar to Wizard of Oz and many other such stories. This historical blending into the storyline I found very fascinating, and ended up really enjoying it, and even at my age, found that I learned a bit about history, which was it’s intent.

Overall the book is good for young teens. There are some scenes of mild violence that may not be suitable for some readers. The characters are well developed and very interesting. Overall for teens and pre-teens just beginning to learn world History, I think this would be great book to expose them to. I’ve discovered from experience that a lot of people learn and retain more when the subject is made fun, and this does make the subject fun.

About the Author

David W. TollenDavid Tollen writes novels that teach history and science — as well as works of nonfiction about technology law.

David’s first novel, THE JERICHO RIVER, won first place at both the London Book Festival and the Next Generation Indie Book Awards. It also won a bronze medal in the Readers’ Favorite Book Reviews and Awards Contest, among other honors. THE JERICHO RIVER is a novel that uses fantasy to teach the history of Western Civilization. It’s published by Winifred Press. (The book’s first edition was released under the author pen-name “David Carthage.” The current/second edition uses the author’s actual name.)

David’s second novel — not yet published — is SECRETS OF HOMINEA, a middle grade fantasy that teaches history and science.

David is also the author of THE TECH CONTRACTS HANDBOOK: CLOUD COMPUTING AGREEMENTS, SOFTWARE LICENSES, AND OTHER IT CONTRACTS FOR LAWYERS AND BUSINESSPEOPLE (Second Edition). It’s published by the American Bar Association, and it’s the number-one bestseller for the Intellectual Property Law Section of the ABA. THE TECH CONTRACTS HANDBOOK is a how-to guide for drafting and negotiating IT agreements, written in simple English.

David earned law degrees from Harvard Law School and Cambridge University in England, as well as a B.A. in history from U.C. Berkeley. He’s the founder of Sycamore Legal P.C., a San Francisco technology and intellectual property law firm. He also provides training and expert witness services related to negotiating and drafting IT contracts.

*Disclaimer* A special thanks goes out to Rebecca at The Cadence Group for a review copy of this book. It in no way influenced my review. You can discuss it here or join my facebook page and discuss it there.

Review: The Spy House – Matthew Dunn

Posted on: February 28th, 2016 By Rick Rhodes
The Spy House
Hardcover: 352 pages
Publisher: William Morrow (October 20, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0062309498
ISBN-13: 978-0062309495
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Characters:

Synopsis:

Review

About the Author

Matthew DunnAs an MI6 field officer, Matthew Dunn recruited and ran agents, coordinated and participated in special operations, and acted in deep-cover roles throughout the world. He operated in highly hostile environments, where, if compromised and captured, he would have been executed. Dunn was trained in all aspects of intelligence collection, deep-cover deployments, small-arms, explosives, military unarmed combat, surveillance, and infiltration.

Medals are never awarded to modern MI6 officers, but Dunn was the recipient of a very rare personal commendation from the secretary of state for foreign and commonwealth affairs for work he did on one mission, which was deemed so significant that it directly influenced the successful conclusion of a major international incident.

During his time in MI6, Dunn conducted approximately seventy missions. All of them were successful. He lives in England.

*Disclaimer* A special thanks goes out to Pamela at Harper Collins for a review copy of this book. It in no way influenced my review. You can discuss it here or join my facebook page and discuss it there.

Review: The Force Awakens – Alan Dean Foster

Posted on: January 26th, 2016 By Rick Rhodes
The Force Awakens
Hardcover: 272 pages
Publisher: LucasBooks (January 5, 2016)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1101965495
ISBN-13: 978-1101965498
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Synopsis:

Characters:

Rey – Desert Scavenger who is emarking on an adventure that will change her life.
Finn – First Order Stormtrooper who is taking charge of his own fate and living according to his conscience.

Review

Sometime in the late 80s, I stumble across a book in our county library. This book amazed me, it turns out that it was a novel featuring the characters from Star Wars. Until that time, all I’d seen were the novelizations. The book was Splinter of the Mind’s Eye, and I was amazed. Finally there were more stories to be told. The author of that book was Alan Dean Foster, and now almost 30 years later, I’m looking at another book from Mr. Foster again featuring some of those same characters, but this time new characters. This book is the novelization for The Force Awakens, and I absolutely loved it.

From the first chapter, this book begins expanding on the story a lot more than the movie did. You see more of characters motivations, thoughts, feelings. Certain scenes began to make more sense to me, even though I’d seen the movie twice already. There were also some scenes that were either cut or written for the novel and never filmed, that I thought were very interesting, and should have been in the movie.

Some of the battle scenes came out a little flat, and not as exciting as in some of the older “Legends” novels, but part of that may be that the characters are still growing on us, and finding their own way in the Star Wars Universe.

Overall thought, I thought it was a great book, a great companion piece to the movie, and just a lot of fun. So check it out, and as always be sure to drop back in and let us know what you thought.

About the Author

Alan Dean FosterAlan Dean Foster’s work to date includes excursions into hard science-fiction, fantasy, horror, detective, western, historical, and contemporary fiction. He has also written numerous non-fiction articles on film, science, and scuba diving, as well as having produced the novel versions of many films, including such well-known productions as “Star Wars”, the first three “Alien” films, “Alien Nation”, and “The Chronicles of Riddick”. Other works include scripts for talking records, radio, computer games, and the story for the first “Star Trek” movie. His novel “Shadowkeep” was the first ever book adapation of an original computer game. In addition to publication in English his work has been translated into more than fifty languages and has won awards in Spain and Russia. His novel “Cyber Way” won the Southwest Book Award for Fiction in 1990, the first work of science-fiction ever to do so.

Foster’s sometimes humorous, occasionally poignant, but always entertaining short fiction has appeared in all the major SF magazines as well as in original anthologies and several “Best of the Year” compendiums. His published oeuvre includes more than 100 books.

You can discuss it here or join my facebook page and discuss it there.

Review: Before the Awakening – Greg Rucka

Posted on: January 21st, 2016 By Rick Rhodes
Before the Awakening
Hardcover: 224 pages
Publisher: Disney Lucasfilm Press (December 18, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 148472822X
ISBN-13: 978-1484728222
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Synopsis:

Young adult novel that follows three of the new characters from Star Wars: The Force Awakens and shows events leading up to their storylines in the movie.

Characters:

Rey – A Young desert scavenger.
Finn – An Imperial Stormtrooper in Training.
Poe Dameron – A Pilot for the New Republic.

Review

While this novel was geared towards younger readers, I found it enjoyable. I learned a lot more about the characters and their backgrounds, then I had learned from The Force Awakens. As each story is told as a standalone short story, I’ll look at each one.

Rey – In her story, readers learn a lot more about how she developed her flying skills. We also get to see much more of her like on Jakku, her thoughts, and her goals. Then we get to see how determined she is, when she finds a crashed ship in the desert and proceeds to begin rebuilding it.

Finn – Finn is loyal to the First Order. So much so that he’s considered one of the best stormtroopers they have. But then Finn begins little by little to doubt things he’s been told. He begins to develop a conscience which goes against his very training. This one was interesting because you get to see a bit more detail behind his actions in The Force Awakens, and it makes him a much better character.

Poe Dameron – In this story, Poe Dameron is one of the best pilots the New Republic has. He’s leading his own squadron, but he’s beginning to believe that the First Order is becoming a threat to everything the Republic has worked for. However, no one in command will believe Poe. That is when he takes it upon himself to find evidence. This lands him in hot water with his superiors, but also changes his entire future.

If you’re a Star Wars Fan, or a fan of The Force Awakens, then you’ll want to read this. Even though it’s aimed at the 7th grade level, I still found it to be an enjoyable set of stories, and it added to my love of all things Star Wars. So check it out, drop back in and let us know what you thought.

About the Author

Greg RuckaThe author of four novels about professional bodyguard Atticus Kodiak — Keeper (nominated for a Shamus Award by the Private Eye Writers of America), Finder, Smoker, and Shooting at Midnight, Greg Rucka has been writing since he was eight years old, and hopefully is improving with age. A longtime comics fan, his first graphic novel series was the suspense thriller Whiteout, published by Oni Press and nominated for three Eisner Awards in 1999. Since that time he has been a contributing writer for DC Comics and an active participant in the Batman series of titles.

Born and raised in California, he earned his undergraduate degree at Vassar College and his MFA at the University of Southern California. He currently resides in Portland, Oregon. Mr. Rucka has two tattoos, and rides a motorcycle.

You can discuss it here or join my facebook page and discuss it there.

Review: The Silent Girls – Eric Rickstad

Posted on: January 19th, 2016 By Rick Rhodes
The Silent Girls
Paperback: 416 pages
Publisher: Witness Impulse (January 27, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0062351540
ISBN-13: 978-0062351548
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Synopsis:

Harland Rath is pulled into the investigation when a young girl disappears. He begins to suspect a serial killer, but no one else can be convinced.

Characters:

Frank Rath – Former Police Detective, now Private Investigator.
Harland Grout – Newly promoted Detective on the Canaan Vermont Police Force.

Review

This was a very involving novel. There’s the one main plot involving Rath, there’s a subplot involving his missing daughter, and a lead-in plot obviously for the next novel involving a man he put in prison for serial killing. The action was pretty well paced out, and the plot was interesting, and a little more planned out then in a lot of novels lately.

You could to witness the characters grow and change. Rath learning to trust his daughter more. Grout learning to be a better detective. This is definitely not a novel though for the easily offended. The main plot line involves a very controversial subject that some readers might find offensive. That would be on the subject of abortion, abortion protestors, and all that is connected.

If the subject matter, and the strong language and content doesn’t offend you though, you’ll find it’s a well written, well planned out novel. I recommend it to all thriller fans out there. Be sure to drop in and let us know what you thought.

About the Author

Eric RickstadEric Rickstad is the New York Times, USA Today, Wall Street Journal, and Globe & Mail Bestselling author of THE SILENT GIRLS, a #1 bestselling Nook and Kindle novel heralded as intelligent and profound, dark, disturbing, and heartbreaking. His latest novel is LIE IN WAIT. His first novel REAP, a literary suspense novel, was a New York Times Noteworthy Novel. He lives in his home state of Vermont with his lovely wife, daughter, and son.

He is represented by Philip Spitzer of the Philip G. Spitzer Literary Agency.

*Disclaimer* A special thanks goes out to Lauren at Harper Collins for a review copy of this book. It in no way influenced my review. You can discuss it here or join my facebook page and discuss it there.

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Giveaway – Ghostly Southern Mystery Series

Posted on: January 15th, 2016 By Rick Rhodes

Since it’s been a long time we’ve given away anything, I thought I’d kick off the New Year with a big Giveaway.  One lucky winner will receive not one, not two, but all four of Tonya Kappes Ghostly Southern Mysteries.  This is to date the whole series.  So how do you win?  Simply follow the below rules.

1) One Entry if you’re a follower [You can follow through Google Friend connect to the right, you can also sign up to follow through Twitter or Facebook].
2) An Additonal Entry if you blog about this contest.
3) An Additonal Entry if you’re a new follower.
4) One entry each for posting on facebook and/or twitter.
5) Must leave a comment letting me know how you follow me, blog link to this post, facebook/twitter link, etc.
6) Contest will continue until 01/31/2016.
7) This giveaway is open to residents of US only. No PO Box addresses (street mailing only).

If you’re the lucky winner you’ll receive:

A Ghostly Undertaking
A Ghostly Grave
A Ghostly Demise
A Ghostly Murder

Good Luck.

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