Archive for March, 2010

Worst Case – James Patterson & Michael Ledwidge

Wednesday, March 31st, 2010



Hardcover: 368 pages
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company; February 1, 2010
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0316036226
ISBN-13: 978-0316036221
Order from here:

Cast of Characters

Michael Bennett – New York City Detective
Emily Parker – FBI Agent


A man becomes upset over how we began to fail the world. Failure in our caring for others. Failure in our caring for the environment. He decides to take matters in his own hands and teach the world a lesson. He’s going to kidnap and test the children of some of New York’s wealthiest families. Will they pass the test, or will they die before Bennett can stop him.


This novel was pretty fast paced. I’d read some of the Alex Cross novels, but first time reading one with Bennett. James Patterson’s character’s seem pretty interchangeable. Alex Cross is Michael Bennett is The Women’s Murder Club. This book though, provides a lesson in how even good thoughts can go awry when taken to the extreme. The character’s are pretty interesting. Bennett is a single father raising 10 kids along with his father in law Seamus. Seamus reminds me a lot of a priestly version of Uncle Charlie from My Three Sons. The antagonist kidnaps the children of the wealthy of New York. While holding them captive, he questions them on social justice issues. What happens if they fail the test, or pass it? I can’t tell. I could kind of feel the frustration of the captor. Things go on in the world that you want to change, but feel powerless to do so. He also feels that no-one else cares as much. However, regardless of how well his thoughts are, the ends don’t always justify the means. Bennett is also faced with problems of pushy local politicians, and pushy family members.

Overall this was a pretty enjoyable thriller. I wondered whether Bennett would find each person in time. The pseudo-romance involving him and Emily wasn’t as overpowering as in some thrillers I’ve read. It was just the right amount of romance for my personal tastes. The antagonist reminded me at times of the character in Saw with maybe not such a sadistic bend. I’d like to have seen a little more of his interrogations, those scenes seemed too brief, and I couldn’t get the feel of whether the person (through the eyes of the antagonist) deserved their fate.

If you get the chance though, grab this at your library, or local bookstore. I think you’ll enjoy the story.

You can discuss it here.

Pride & Prejudice & Zombies: Dawn of the Dreadfuls – Chapter Excerpt and Book Trailer

Monday, March 29th, 2010

Anna at FSB Associates provided me with the following book trailer as well as the first Chapter of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Watch the trailer, reader the first chapter, and also if you haven’t already, read my review here.

YouTube Preview Image

Chapter 1
by Steve Hockensmith,
Author of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dawn of the Dreadfuls

Walking out in the middle of a funeral would be, of course, bad form. So attempting to walk out on one’s own was beyond the pale.

When the service began, Mr. Ford was as well behaved as any corpse could be expected to be. In fact, he lay stretched out on the bier looking almost as stiff and expressionless in death as he had in life, and Oscar Bennet, gazing upon his not-so-dearly departed neighbor, could but think to himself, You lucky sod.

It was Mr. Bennet who longed to escape the church then, and the black oblivion of death seemed infinitely preferable to the torments he was suffering. At the pulpit, the Reverend Mr. Cummings was reading (and reading and reading and reading) from the Book of Common Prayer with all the verve and passion of a man mumbling in his sleep, while the pews were filled with statues — the good people of Meryton, Hertfordshire, competing to see who could remain motionless the longest while wearing the most somber look of solemnity.

This contest had long since been forfeited by one party in particular: Mr. Bennet’s. Mrs. Bennet couldn’t resist sharing her (insufficiently) whispered appraisal of the casket’s handles and plaque. (“Brass? For shame! Why, Mrs. Morrison had gold last week, and her people don’t have two guineas to rub together.”) Lydia and Kitty, the youngest of the Bennets’ five daughters, were ever erupting into titters for reasons known only to themselves. Meanwhile, the middle daughter, fourteen-year-old Mary, insisted on loudly shushing her giggling sisters no matter how many times her reproaches were ignored, for she considered herself second only to the Reverend Mr. Cummings — and perhaps Christ Himself — as Meryton’s foremost arbiter of virtue.

At least the Bennets’ eldest, Jane, was as serene and sweet countenanced as ever, even if her dress was a trifle heavy on décolletage for a funeral. (“Display, my dear, display!” Mrs. Bennet had harped at her that morning. “Lord Lumpley might be there!”) And, of course, Mr. Bennet knew he need fear no embarrassment from Elizabeth, second to Jane in age and beauty but first in spirit and wit. He leaned forward to look down the pew at her, his favorite — and found her gaping at the front of the church, a look of horror on her face.

Mr. Bennet followed her line of sight. What he saw was a luxury, hard won and now so easily taken for granted: a man about to be buried with his head still on his shoulders.

That head, though — wasn’t there more of a loll to the left to it now? Weren’t the lips drawn more taut, and the eyelids less so? In fact, weren’t those eyes even now beginning to —

Yes. Yes, they were.

Mr. Bennet felt an icy cold inside him where there should have been fire, and his tingling fingers fumbled for the hilt of a sword that wasn’t there.

Mr. Ford sat up and opened his eyes.

The first person to leap into action was Mrs. Bennet. Unfortunately, the action she leapt to was shrieking loud enough to wake the dead (presuming any in the vicinity were still sleeping) and wrapping herself around her husband with force sufficient to snap a man with less back-bone in two.

“Get a hold of yourself, woman!” Mr. Bennet said.

She merely maintained her hold on him, though, her redoubled howls sparking Kitty and Lydia to similar hysterics.

At the front of the church, Mrs. Ford staggered to her feet and started toward the bier.

“Martin!” she cried. “Martin, my beloved, you’re alive!”

“I think not, Madam!” Mr. Bennet called out (while placing a firm hand over his wife’s mouth).”If someone would restrain the lady, please!” Most of the congregation was busy screeching or fleeing or both at once, yet a few hardy souls managed to grab Mrs. Ford before she could shower her newly returned husband with kisses.

“Thank you!” Mr. Bennet said. He spent the next moments trying to disentangle himself from his wife’s clutches. When he found he couldn’t, he simply stepped sideways into the aisle, dragging her with him.

“I will be walking that way, Mrs. Bennet.” He jerked his head at Mr. Ford, who was struggling to haul himself out of his casket. “If you choose to join me, so be it.”

Mrs. Bennet let go and, after carefully checking to make sure Jane was still behind her, swooned backward into her eldest daughter’s arms.

“Get her out of here,” Mr. Bennet told Jane. “Lydia and Kitty, as well.”

He turned his attention then to the next two girls down the pew: Elizabeth and Mary. The latter was deep in conversation with her younger sisters.

“The dreadfuls have returned!” Kitty screamed.

“Calm yourself, sister,” Mary said, her voice dead. She was either keeping a cool head or had retreated into catatonia, it was hard to tell which. “We should not be hasty in our judgments.”

“Hasty? Hasty?” Lydia pointed at the very undead Mr. Ford. “He’s sitting up in his coffin!”

Mary stared back at her blankly. “We don’t know he’s a dreadful, though.

But Elizabeth did know. Mr. Bennet could see it in her eyes — because now she was staring at him.

She didn’t grasp the whole truth of it. How could she, when he’d been forced to keep it from her for so long? Yet this much would be obvious to a clear-thinking, level-headed girl like her: The dreadfuls had returned, and there was more to be done about it than scream. More her father intended to do.

What she couldn’t have guessed — couldn’t have possibly dreamed — was that she herself would be part of the doing.

“Elizabeth,” Mr. Bennet said. “Mary. If you would come with me, please.”

And he turned away and started toward the altar. Toward the zombie.

The above is an excerpt from the book Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dawn of the Dreadfuls by Steve Hockensmith. The above excerpt is a digitally scanned reproduction of text from print. Although this excerpt has been proofread, occasional errors may appear due to the scanning process. Please refer to the finished book for accuracy.

Copyright © 2010 Steve Hockensmith, author of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dawn of the Dreadfuls

Author Bio
Steve Hockensmith is an award-winning novelist and reporter. His debut mystery, Holmes on the Range, was a finalist for the Edgar, Shamus, and Anthony awards. Critics have hailed the novel and its sequels as “hilarious” (Entertainment Weekly), “dazzling” (The Boston Globe), “clever” (The New York Times), “uproarious” (Publisher’s Weekly), “wonderfully entertaining” (Booklist), and “quirky and original” (The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette). He lives in Alameda, California, with his wife and two children.

For more information, please visit

Coming up for Last Days of March/Early/Mid April

Monday, March 29th, 2010

Coming up in the next few days I’ll have a review of WOW: A Handbook for Living.

In early/mid April we’ll have reviews of:

Review of Sexaholics by Pynk – “Miki, Valencia, Teela Raye, and Brandi share one thing…they are all addicted to sex. United through Sexaholics Anonymous, these women try to recover from their dependence on wild, spontaneous, and even sometimes, dangerous sex. From whips and chains, to sex in public, they have done it all! Led by Dr. Rachel Cummings, each woman takes the first step to recovery by sharing her biggest sexual act with the group. SEXAHOLICS takes readers through the outrageous experiences of four women on their long path to success.”

Review of The Power of Half – “It all started when 14-year old Hannah Salwen, idealistic but troubled by a growing sense of injustice in the world, had a eureka moment when a homeless man in her neighborhood was juxtaposed against a glistening Mercedes coupe. “You know, Dad,” she said, pointing, “If that man had a less nice car, that man there could have a meal.”

Review of Traction – “Do you have a grip on your business, or does your business have a grip on you? Don’t let common problems and frustrations run you and your business. Get a grip and gain control with the Entrepreneurial Operating System. Inside Traction, you’ll learn the secrets of strengthening the Six Key Components of your business. You’ll discover simple yet powerful ways to run your company that will give you and your leadership team more focus, more growth, and more enjoyment. Based on years of real-world implementation in over 100 companies, the Entrepreneurial Operating System is a practical method for achieving the business success you have always envisioned. Successful organizations are applying it every day to run profitable, frustration-free businesses — and you can too. ”

Review of Scott Turow’s Presumed Innocent – “PRESUMED INNOCENT brings to life our worst nightmare: that of an ordinary citizen facing conviction for the most terrible of crimes. Prosecutor Rusty Sabich is transformed from accuser to accused when he is handed an explosive case–that of the brutal murder of a woman who happens to be his former lover.”

Review of Bank on Yourself – “Bank On Yourself: The Life-Changing Secret to Growing and Protecting Your Financial Future reveals the secrets to taking back control of your financial future that Wall Street, banks, and credit card companies don’t want you to know.”

Review of James Patterson’s Worst Case – “The son of one of New York’s wealthiest families is snatched off the street and held hostage. His parents can’t save him, because this kidnapper isn’t demanding money. Instead, he quizzes his prisoner on the price others pay for his life of luxury. In this exam, wrong answers are fatal.”

Review of Fate of the Jedi: Backlash – “Repercussions from the dark side’s fatal seduction of Jacen Solo and the mysterious plague of madness afflicting young Jedi continue to wreak havoc galaxy-wide. Having narrowly escaped the deranged Force worshippers known as the Mind Walkers and a deadly Sith hit squad, Luke and Ben Skywalker are in pursuit of the now Masterless Sith apprentice. It is a chase that leads to the forbidding planet Dathomir, where an enclave of powerful dark side Force-wielders will give Vestara the edge she needs to escape—and where the Skywalkers will be forced into combat for their quarry and their lives.”

We’ve also got two giveaways planned to date, one for Presumed Innocent (3 Copies) and Sexaholics (5 Copies). We’ve also got a Q&A Planned with Pynk, author of Sexaholics for Mid April.

The Art of Racing in the Rain – Garth Stein

Wednesday, March 24th, 2010



Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: Harper Paperbacks; X edition (June 9, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0061537969
ISBN-13: 978-0061537967
Order from here:

Meet Enzo. Enzo is a Philospher. He lives with the Swift Family. The Swift family consists of Denny, a mechanic and race car driver, his wife Eve, and their daughter Zoe. Then there is Enzo. Enzo loves television. He loves auto racing. Enzo is a dog.

This story by Garth Stein is often humorous, touching, tear jerking. There were times it left me a little angry, times a little sad. It is told from the perspective of Enzo. Enzo is a philosophical dog, who tells the story while relating things to auto racing and television programs. The book follows Enzo’s life with the Swift family, from the time he was born. He has a belief that when a dog dies, he gets to be reincarnated as a man. Enzo is ready to become a man.

I loved the sense of humor given to Enzo, an example is in this excerpt:

“I’m old. And while I’m very capable of getting older, that’s not the way I want to go out. Shot full of pain medication and steroids to reduce the swelling of my joints. Vision fogged with cataracts. Puffy, plasticky packages of Doggie Depends stocked in the pantry. I’m sure Denny would get me one of those little wagons I’ve seen on the streets, the ones that cradle the hindquarters so a dog can drag his ass behind him when things start to fail. That’s humiliating and degrading. I’m not sure if it’s worse than dressing up a dog for Halloween, but it’s close. He would do it out of love, of course. I’m sure he would keep me alive as long as he possibly could, my body deteriorating, disintegrating around me, dissolving until there’s nothing left but my brain floating in a glass jar filled with clear liquid, my eyeballs drifting at the surface and all sorts of cables and tubes feeding what remains. But I don’t want to be kept alive. Because I know what’s next. I’ve seen it on TV. A documentary I saw about Mongolia, of all places. It was the best thing I’ve ever seen on television, other than the 1993 Grand Prix of Europe, of course, the greatest automobile race of all time in which Ayrton Senna proved himself to be a genius in the rain. After the 1993 Grand Prix, the best thing I’ve ever seen on TV is a documentary that explained everything to me, made it all clear, told the whole truth: when a dog is finished living his lifetimes as a dog, his next incarnation will be as a man.”

Mr. Stein does a great job of making you see what a dog would be thinking. It’s also done in what seems like a realistic portrayal. One instance is where Enzo thinks a stuff zebra is possessed of the demon and ends up destroying a room full of toys to get the zebra. I fell in love with Enzo reading this. His reactions to people were similar to how I would react were I a dog.

I think this book would appeal to anyone, but especially those who love animals, and those who’ve lost animals they loved. There is some stronger language, and some situations that wouldn’t be good for young readers, so I’d set the age as mid teens and above. A beautiful story about life, and the desire to be human. Pick it up if you get the chance, you’ll love it, and I’m certain you’ll love Enzo.

*Disclaimer* A review copy of this book was provided by Sarah at Terra Communications.  Thanks go to her for this book.  It didn’t affect my review in any way.

Thanks to Terra Communications, I’m able to have the following contest. One lucky winner will get a copy of The Art of Racing in the Rain and a swag bag. What’s in the swag bag, you might ask? Well, I’ll tell you. It includes a tote bag, magnet, lapel pin, note pad and bumper sticker. So, now for the 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 March 31, 2010.
7) This giveaway is open to residents of US and Canada. No PO Box addresses (street mailing only).

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

The Dalai Lama’s Little Book of Wisdom “The Essential Teachings” – His Holiness The Dalai Lama

Tuesday, March 23rd, 2010



Paperback: 400 pages
Publisher: Hampton Roads Publishing (April 1, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1571746285
ISBN-13: 978-1571746283
Order from here:

There have been some great spiritual leaders in the world. I wasn’t around for Gandhi. Being the son of a Baptist Minister exposed me to Jesus. And the Dalai Lama I discovered on my own. In this book they cover the teachings of the Dalai Lama through various subjects, here are some examples:

  • Contentment: Joy and Living Well – “Humans have the potential not only to create happy lives for themselves, but also to help other beings”.
  • Facing Death and Dying – “I think at the time of death a peaceful mind is essential”.
  • Dealing with Anger and Emotion – Having those who are enemies, or don’t agree with us gives us practice in patience and tolerance.
  • Giving and Receiving – “When people in a big town or city feel lonely, this does not mean that they lack human companions, but rather they lack human affection.
  • Transforming the Mind – Here he discusses how our mental attitude can affect things such as physical health. 
  • Transforming through altruism –  Two aspects to altruism – One is for enlightenment, the other is working for the welfare of others.  One way to do this is to think of strangers as a close friend, family member, etc.
  • Transformation through insight – Recognize all sentient beings as your equal
  • Eight Verses on Transforming the Mind – Here are eight verses that a person can meditate on to help transform the mind.
  • Compassion – The Basis for Human Happiness – “There are a number of qualities which are important for mental peace, but from the little experience I have, I believe that one of the most important factors is human compassion and affection: a sense of caring”.
  • There are many helpful ideas of wisdom.  One thing I appreciate about the Dalai Lama is he doesn’t feel the need to force you to be Buddhist.  He states in this book and others that you should take what helps you or works for you, leave what doesn’t.  I think if we were able to do this with all religions, a lot of the problems we face globally might begin to disappear.  I feel that a person can be Christian, or Jewish, or Muslim, but still learn from the leaders of other religions.  I know the Dalai Lama’s teachings speak to me at times, particularly times of great stress.

    This book is a small, thick book.  It’s pretty quick to read with very short paragraphs.  If you are going through rough patches in your life, or know someone who might be, then check this book out, it might provide a little bit of wisdom that will help.

    *Disclaimer* A review copy of this book was provided by Bonni and Rosemary at Redwheel Weiser.  Thanks go to them for this book.  It didn’t affect my review in any way.

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

    Alice in Wonderland and Philosophy – Edited by Richard Brian Davis

    Tuesday, March 23rd, 2010



    Paperback: 240 pages
    Publisher: Wiley; Original edition (January 12, 2010)
    Language: English
    ISBN-10: 0470558369
    ISBN-13: 978-0470558362
    Order from here:

    This book is a collection of essays on philosophy and how those philosophical ideas can be related to Alice in Wonderland. It’s part of a series called the Blackwell Philosophy and Pop Culture Series. Other novels in this series include Southpark and Philosophy, The Simpsons and Philosophy, and Twilight and Philosophy among other titles.

    Some of the subjects ideas covered are Alice as a feminist. Most female protagonists it seems in fiction, depend on a man to help them get through their situations. In the case of Alice though, she is very assertive, self reliant, and able to fend for herself if the need arises. There is also a section on the social contract. I found this area very interesting. It helped me understand some of the current situation in the political field. As people we abide in certain contracts, mostly non-spoken, that pattern our behavior. For example, it’ not polite to just run up to a stranger and smack them in the back of the head. When things happen, people sometimes find themselves outside this social contract due to things they didn’t agree to. This causes chaos within the person, because if their way of life is no longer there, and what they feel they have a social contract with doesn’t exist, then the mind begins to doubt that anyone/anything can be trusted.

    Another interesting part I caught on to was a description about how time is constantly moving forward. The example used was a piece of paper. We all know that eventually that piece of paper is going to crumble to dust. All things decay. But it’s an ongoing process. If you hold a sheet of paper in front of you, it won’t be the same now that it was one second ago. I’d never deeply contemplated a sheet of paper before, but found it interesting to think of.

    I found this an exciting book. Philosophy and the different ideas tied to it can be a very interesting topic. This book ties into some of those topics, and could provide some very interesting discussions I think. Pick it up, and give it a read. And be sure to come back here and discuss some of your philosophical thoughts.

    *Disclaimer* A review copy of this book was provided by Julie at FSB Associates.  Thanks go to her for this book.  It didn’t affect my review in any way.

    Here is an excerpt from the book:

    Introduction: You’re Late for a Very Important Date
    Edited by Richard Brian Davis with series editor William Irwin,
    Editors of Alice in Wonderland and Philosophy: Curiouser and Curiouser (The Blackwell Philosophy and Pop Culture Series)


    “You take the blue pill,” Morpheus says to Neo in The Matrix, “and the story ends . . . . You take the red pill and you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit-hole goes.” It’s a tempting offer, isn’t it? For at one time or another in our lives, we’ve all wanted to escape — from a dull and tedious job, an impossible relationship, from a world in which we often have so little control over what happens to us. Perhaps it’s for reasons such as these that our culture has become positively obsessed with the idea of transcending the confines of this world for the cool fresh air of another. Whether it’s by a red pill, a secret wardrobe, a looking glass, or a rabbit-hole, it doesn’t really matter. We’ll take it.

    Of course, we don’t just want to know how deep the rabbit-hole goes. That’s a given; after all, it’s a portal to another world — “four thousand miles down, I think.” We also want to know how to make sense of what we discover when we suddenly land “thump! thump!” in Wonderland and pass through the looking glass. And Alice’s Wonderland is an oh! so curious place filled with both dangers and delights. Here we encounter blue caterpillars who smoke hookahs, babies who turn into pigs, cats whose grins remain after their heads have faded away, and a Mad Hatter who speaks to Time. There is a White Queen who lives backward and remembers forward, and there are trials in which the sentence is handed down first with the evidence and verdict given out only afterward. And you’d better be on your best behavior while there. As the Red Queen sees it, beheading is a punishment that fits every crime!

    We’ve spoken of Wonderland’s dangers, but what of its delights? Why should anyone want to travel to such a world? As Cheshire Puss tells Alice, you must be mad “or you wouldn’t have come here.” Is Wonderland simply a land of sheer nonsense, or is there a method to Lewis Carroll’s madness? Well, as the Duchess wisely observes, “Everything’s got a moral, if only you can find it.” And the moral of the book you now hold in your hands is that there are deep philosophical riches to be had in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass, answers to life’s ultimate questions, if only you have the proper guide.

    You don’t have to be blue, a caterpillar, or under the effects of the hookah to ask a deep question like “Who in the world am I?” As Alice says, “That’s the great puzzle!” Indeed it is. How can I know whether this or that job is right for me, if I don’t know who me is? Indeed, how can I know what I can become in the future? (Hardly any of us, I dare say, is satisfied with who we are at present.) And to know the answers to these questions, I must know who I have been. I must remember. But that’s often my problem: I forget. What to do? What to do? The Alice-addicted philosophers in this book will clear the air of the hookah smoke and forward you the decryption codes for unlocking your personal identity. And you’ll be glad they did.

    As you read on, you’ll be amazed to discover why nice girls don’t make history (and Alice is better than any Disney princess); what the Red Queen can teach us about nuclear strategy; whether we should do more with mushrooms than just eat them (and what sort of “trip” to expect if we do); and how Alice, procrastination, and the Spice Girls are all mysteriously connected. “What a curious feeling!” You can put it all together for the first time. So “Read Me.” Venture to taste this book, and if “finding it very nice,” we recommend that you “very soon finish it off.”

    The above is an excerpt from the book Alice in Wonderland and Philosophy: Curiouser and Curiouser (The Blackwell Philosophy and Pop Culture Series) edited by Richard Brian Davis with series editor William Irwin. The above excerpt is a digitally scanned reproduction of text from print. Although this excerpt has been proofread, occasional errors may appear due to the scanning process. Please refer to the finished book for accuracy.

    Copyright © 2010 Richard Brian Davis with series editor William Irwin, editors of Alice in Wonderland and Philosophy: Curiouser and Curiouser (The Blackwell Philosophy and Pop Culture Series)

    Editor Bios
    Richard Brian Davis is an associate professor of philosophy at Tyndale University College and the coeditor of 24 and Philosophy.

    William Irwin is a professor of philosophy at King’s College in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. He originated the philosophy and popular culture genre of books as coeditor of the bestselling The Simpsons and Philosophy and has overseen recent titles, including Batman and Philosophy, House and Philosophy, and Watchmen and Philosophy.

    The Blackwell Philosophy and Pop Culture Series:
    A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down, and a healthy helping of popular culture clears the cobwebs from Kant. Philosophy has had a public relations problem for a few centuries now. This series aims to change that, showing that philosophy is relevant to your life–and not just for answering the big questions like “To be or not to be?” but for answering the little questions: “To watch or not to watch House?” Thinking deeply about TV, movies, and music doesn’t make you a “complete idiot.” In fact it might make you a philosopher, someone who believes the unexamined life is not worth living and the unexamined cartoon is not worth watching.

    To learn more about the Blackwell Philosophy and Pop Culture series, visit 

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

    Book Blog Tour – Sexaholics – Pynk

    Tuesday, March 23rd, 2010

    Coming up on April 14th, we’ll be participating in a blog tour. This time around for Urban Lit. Author Pynk. The book on tour is Sexaholics.

    Here’s a brief synopsis:

    “Miki, Valencia, Teela Raye, and Brandi share one thing…they are all addicted to sex. United through Sexaholics Anonymous, these women try to recover from their dependence on wild, spontaneous, and even sometimes, dangerous sex. From whips and chains, to sex in public, they have done it all! Led by Dr. Rachel Cummings, each woman takes the first step to recovery by sharing her biggest sexual act with the group. SEXAHOLICS takes readers through the outrageous experiences of four women on their long path to success. ”

    There’s a group discussion guide here.

    About the Author:

    Marissa Monteilh (Mon-tay), writing as Pynk, is the best-selling author of seven mainstream novels, May December Souls, The Chocolate Ship, Hot Boyz, Dr. Feelgood, Something He Can Feel, As Fate Would Have It, and Make Me Hot. Make Me Hot was an African American Literary Award nominee. She also contributed to an erotica anthology called Morning Noon and Night: Can’t Get Enough. An updated version of The Chocolate Ship will be released in August 2009, and the follow-up to Hot Boyz, called The Ladies of Ladera, hits the shelves in September 2009.

    Marissa writes erotica under the pseudonym, Pynk. The first Pynk title, Erotic City, will be released by Warner Books in November 2008, and the second title, Sexaholics, comes out in October 2009.

    The youngest of three and the only girl, Marissa was born in Los Angeles, California to creative parents who were both World War II veterans. Her father was a well-known tenor sax player, and her mother was an actress. At the age of twelve, Marissa was praised by her junior high school English teacher for her superb writing ability. She would sneak to read her mother’s books by James Baldwin but mainly read Nancy Drew mysteries and comic books, and hungered regularly for the arrival of her book-a-month orders at school. Though she had a zest for reading and a recognized gift of writing, Marissa, a gifted student who skipped the sixth grade, was also very good at math and after high school, she attended California State University at Northridge where she studied finance and modeled part-time. Marissa married her high school sweetheart and had three children by the time she was twenty-seven, all while working her way up in the banking industry to the position of regional operations analyst. After working in banking for more than a decade, Marissa took a position as a senior executive assistant to the President of Twentieth Century Fox, and then as an office manager for Quincy Jones Entertainment and for film directors, Tony and Ridley Scott. She also worked for the television show Hard Copy as an assistant producer where she was approached by a director at Fox news to work for KMPH as a news reporter in Fresno, California. She was praised for her news writing and encouraged to produce and host a talk show called The Opposite Sex. In the late-90’s she was a commercial actress and print model for many top companies, including Disney, Coca-Cola, and Sprint, yet she jokes that her most prized assignment was playing the part of a news reporter on The Power Rangers.

    In 1998, after being inspired by relationship-type novels by Terry McMillan, Marissa wrote her first book, May December Souls, which was semi-autobiographical. She shopped the manuscript to agents and editors for two years (saved every rejection letter) before self-publishing the title in 2000, and by the next year, she secured an agent and was involved in an auction with three major publishers. She signed with Harper Collins for three books and then later with Kensington for two titles, as well as an urban title with Life Changing Books. In 2006, Marissa decided to branch off into erotica and created the name Pynk as a way to identify the erotic side of her works. She has never forgotten that defining moment when her English teacher acknowledged her writing talents years ago.

    Marissa now lives in Atlanta, Georgia with her family and is also trying her hand at playwriting, adapting May December Souls into a stage play, set to debut in 2010. She enjoys reading books by Eric Jerome Dickey, HoneyB, and Jennifer Gilmore, among others.

    She’s My Dad – Iolanthe Woulff

    Thursday, March 11th, 2010



    Paperback: 469 pages
    Publisher: Outskirts Press (November 13, 2009)
    Language: English
    ISBN-10: 1432743775
    ISBN-13: 978-1432743772
    Order from here:

    How far will a person go because of their hatred. Hatred due to race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, is a cancer. Sadly, in this world, it’s often proven that people will go as far as taking the lives of others, simply because of some difference. This story illustrates that in a beautiful manner. The story begins in 1979 in a small Virginia town. A young, soon to be college graduate, named Nicholas Farrington has an affair with a married woman. This relationship results in the birth of a son, Nicholas “Collie” Skinner. 26 years later, a nearby liberal college hires a new professor, Nickie Farrel. Nickie has a secret, one she’d like to keep private but soon gets out. It seems Nickie is a trans-sexual. A billionare has decided to take it upon himself that this school of “perverts” must be destroyed. How far will he go to carry out his hate filled agenda. He’s going to launch a “dirty” bomb within the school.

    This book was very touching. I found it very hard to see some of the things Nickie went through. I think it was harder, than some fiction, because in some way, I knew these people. There was Jay-Bo, a hate filled ex cop. Jay-Bo’s oldest son Lloyd goes around beating up what he calls “pansies”, while continuing to have sex with other men. In his mind, it’s okay, because it’s masculine sex, not “sissy” sex. There’s LuAnne Skinner, a compassionate woman, who lives with an abusive man. There is Robin, a strong, Christian woman, who truly seems to follow the biblical principal of love thy neighbor, and don’t judge. There is Cinda, a Lesbian investigate reporter. She takes it upon herself to make life miserable for Professor Farrel. Then there is Collie. Collie is a not so tolerant, 26 year old male. He hates Windfield college, and the people who go there. He’s never had a very happy life, thanks to his “father”/Step-Father Jay-Bo.

    There were so many facets in this story. What is it like for a person to feel like they may never find someone to love them, simply because of who they are? How would a person react if they found out one of their parents, was now the opposite gender? Is it right to spill another person’s secrets, just because you feel they need to be open? Self Hatred? Overcoming your own biases?

    I think Ms. Woulff did a beautiful job on character development, and on the story line. I could see an event like this happening, especially in post 9/11 America. I truly got involved in the lives of these characters. I wanted some to succeed, others to fail. I wanted Nickie to find someone to love her. I wanted Collie to get to know his “father”. If there were one negative to this book, it would be that I didn’t get to spend enough time seeing Nickie and Collie get to know each other. I liked how Ms. Woulff portrayed a christian character. Robin was not judgemental, at one point she said to the effect, I don’t understand it, but God made this person the way he did, and had a reason.

    If you get a chance to pick this up and read it, I’d suggest you do so. It’s so accurate, I felt in it’s portrayal of people, hatred, etc. I hadn’t reviewed books in LGBT fiction prior to this, because having no experience within that particular life, I felt I wasn’t able to judge fairly whether the story was accurate or not. When the chance for this book came along though, I had to read it. In fact I contacted Ms. Woulff to see about getting a copy. I felt it was one story I could relate to, because sadly I know or have known people like Jay-Bo, Lloyd, and Ambassador Douglass. On the bright side, I also know people like Nickie, Collie, and Robin. I look forward to more writing from Ms. Woulff.

    About the Author

    Iolanthe “Lannie” Woulff was born Nathaniel, the eldest son of author Herman Wouk. Lannie underwent gender transition surgery in 1997. She lives with her spouse Jolene, and is a proud parent. This is her debut novel. See her website at and become a fan of hers. You can also read the prologue to the book there.

    You can discuss it here

    I’m adding this review to Cym Lowell’s Book Review Party Wednesday.


    Contest Winners

    Tuesday, March 9th, 2010

    Congratulations to Leslie Taylor and Alva Kuhl. Leslie won our contest for Raven Stole the Moon while Alva won a copy of Topless Prophet.

    Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dawn of the Dreadfuls – Steve Hockensmith

    Sunday, March 7th, 2010



    Paperback: 287 pages
    Publisher: Quirk Books; Original Edition (March 24, 2010)
    Language: English
    ISBN-10: 1594744548
    ISBN-13: 978-1594744549 
    Order from here:

    Hertfordshire England. Nineteenth Century. There are many things a young lady in this time period looks forward to. Her coming out ball, a romantic love interest, and her first zombie kill. This book has all those things. The story centers around Mr. Bennett and his 5 daughters: Lydia, Jane, Mary, Elizabeth, and Kitty. There’s also Mrs. Bennett. Mrs. Bennett seems to ignore all the things going on around her. Her mind is occupied by more important things, such as the approaching ball, and finding a suitable suitor for her oldest daughters. Mr. Bennett however, is concerned with the more mundane things in life, such as saving his community, and teaching his daughters to be sword wielding zombie killers.

    Along the way, the reader is introduced to some possible suitors and romantic interests. There is Dr. Keckilpenny, a man obsessed with trying to restore life to the zombies. Master Hawksworth who is sent to help train the girls in the deadly arts. Then there is Lord Lumpley, a rather disgusting individual who becomes quite interested in Jane Bennett. Then there is an unusual cast of surrounding characters. There is Lt. Tendall, who wants to protect Elizabeth. There is Captain Cannon, a man with no arms and no legs (due to a zombie battle) but two soldiers he calls Right Limb and Left Limb who push him around in a wheelbarrow.

    There is a lot to offer in this book. There’s zombie fighting. There’s romance. There’s humor. There’s zombie fighting. There’s character twists. And there’s zombie fighting. Some of the humor may border on dark humor, but at times made me laugh at loud. Some examples, one of the Bennett girls is describing how brave Captain Cannon was to stay in the middle of a battle, when everyone else, including his limbs ran away. Then there is the minister, who is constantly reciting things that aren’t run of the mill, nor have they anything to do with the situation, such as when he’s carrying around a book by the Marquis de Sade. There’s also some humorous events when the girls first begin learning to use their new weapons.

    All in All, this was a fun book to read. It had a lot of adventure, and a lot of humor. I don’t know how true it stayed to the original Austen characters, because Jane Austen is not someone I’ve ever read before. However, based on my knowledge of the time period, they did seem to stay true that period, for example, Young Ladies are not supposed to say the word Zombies. I think you should pick this up, and give it a shot, I think you’ll have fun reading it. It’s actually made me interested in going and getting Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and maybe Sense and Sensibilities and Sea Monster’s just to see what they’re like.

    You can purchase the book from here.

    Quirk Classes is having a contest until March 10th. Here’s what you need to do:

    1) Go to this address: Quirk Classics Contest.
    2) Give a link to my Blog – Rhodes Review –
    3) Winners will be announced March 11.

    You will have a chance to win one of 50 prize packs. What’s in this prize pack you ask? Well, being the kind, benevolent host that I am, I’ll tell you:

    o An advance copy of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dawn of the Dreadfuls
    o Audio Books of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters
    o A password redeemable online for sample audio chapters of Dawn of the Dreadfuls
    o An awesome Dawn of the Dreadfuls Poster
    o A Pride and Prejudice and Zombies Journal
    o A box set of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies Postcards

    So head on over to Quirk Classics, enter their contest, and good luck to you.

    You can discuss this review here